The Book of Isaiah is one of the most prophecy-filled books in the entire Bible. Isaiah 1 is a chapter that I think merits its own article because it is the first chapter of this prophecy-filled book. In this article, I will provide my thoughts on Isaiah 1 with a particular focus on verses 24-31, which I think may have potential relevance to the end times.
I believe the first 23 verses of Isaiah 1 relate to the past because there are many references to sacrifice in these verses (particularly Isaiah 1:11-14). I believe the references to sacrifice in Isaiah 1 unlikely relate to the future. Although there will be temple sacrifice during the end times, it won’t last long as the Antichrist will put a halt to it at the midway point of the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27). In contrast, the Lord mentioned that He had grown tired of the many sacrifices in Isaiah 1:11 and Isaiah 1:13-14; implying that the sacrifices had gone on for an extended period of time.
Isaiah 1:21-23 is interesting because Jerusalem is referred to as a “harlot”, something that proponents of Jerusalem = Babylon the Great will point out, and there is such a strong condemnation of the leadership.
“(21) Oh how the faithful city has become a harlot! She was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it. But now, murderers! (22) Your silver has become dross; your wine is diluted with water. (23) Your princes are rebellious and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe, and is pursuing rewards. They do not judge the orphan, nor does the cause of the widow come to them,” (Isaiah 1:21-23)
However, I believe Isaiah 1:21-23 relates to the past because of the appearance of the word “now” in verse 21, which would fit what Isaiah 1:4 says about the spiritual condition of Israel at that time: “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD…”
Isaiah 1:24 begins a passage where the Lord discusses how He will deal with the sinners & transgressors and will restore Jerusalem to a faithful city:
“Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:” (Isaiah 1:24)
Many Bible commentators believe that “adversaries” and “enemies” in Isaiah 1:24 concerns the corrupted officials mentioned in the previous verses of the chapter. I think there’s a strong possibility that “adversaries” and “enemies” in Isaiah 1:24 concerns corrupted officials of the past, but I would not rule out a dual fulfillment of this verse because the end times will be a period when the Lord will avenge His enemies. For instance, Zephaniah 1:7-12 suggests that the Lord will punish corrupt leaders during the Day of the Lord:
“(7) Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. (8) And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. (9) In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. (10) And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. (11) Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. (12) And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.” (Zephaniah 1:7-12)
In addition, the following Bible prophecy verses and passages mention the Lord avenging His foes during the end times.
“(17) For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. (18) According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. (19) So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (20) And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 59:17-20)
“(4) Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;…(7) Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:” (Joel 3:4, 7)
“A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.” (Isaiah 66:6)
“(6) Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, (7) Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.” (Isaiah 65:6-7)
Isaiah 1:25 mentions that a purging process will take place. I think that the wicked will be purged.
“And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:” (Isaiah 1:25)
One potential fulfillment of Isaiah 1:25 could be the besiegement of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which is characterized as a refining process in Ezekiel 22:19-22.
“(21) Oh how the faithful city has become a harlot! She was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it. But now, murderers! (22) Your silver has become dross; your wine is diluted with water…(25) And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:” (Isaiah 1:21-22, 25)
“(19) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. (20) As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. (21) Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. (22) As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.” (Ezekiel 22:19-22)
Another potential fulfillment of Isaiah 1:25 could be during the end times when a refinement and purging of the people of Israel will take place (Ezekiel 20:38). For instance, Malachi 3:2-4 concerns the refinement of the tribe of Levi:
“(2) But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (3) And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. (4) Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:2-4)
Isaiah 1:26 mentions that Jerusalem will afterwards be called “the city of righteousness” and “the faithful city”:
“And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.” (Isaiah 1:26)
This is a verse that looks like it potentially could have some relevance to the future because it appears Jerusalem will be a city of righteousness when the Lord will reside there:
Jerusalem Will Be a City of Righteousness
- God’s Possession
Zechariah 8:3: Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
Isaiah 62:1:-3: (1) For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (2) And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. (3) Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
Isaiah 1:27 also looks like it could have some relevance to the future with the statement that “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment”. Isaiah 4:4, a verse from a passage that I believe has future relevance, suggests that Jerusalem will have undergone a “spirit of judgment”:
“Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.” (Isaiah 1:27)
“In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (3) And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (4) When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” (Isaiah 4:2-4)
The attention shifts to the transgressors and the sinners in verse 28:
“And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.” (Isaiah 1:28)
Verse 28 may have end times relevance as Isaiah 66:24, a verse that I believe relates to the future, mentions that the wicked shall be consumed (with fire).
“And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24)
Verse 29-31 continues the focus on the transgressors and the sinners. The passage notes that the transgressors and sinners will be ashamed of their creations & they and their creations will both be burned:
“(29) For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. (30) For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. (31) And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.” (Isaiah 1:29-31)
The passage may be related to two other Bible prophecy passages. The similarities between Isaiah 1:29 and these other passages are shown in the following table:
Comparing Isaiah 1:29-31 with 65:2-3 and 66:16-17
Isaiah 1:29-31: (29) For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. (30) For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. (31) And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
Isaiah 65:2-3: (2) I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; (3) A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
Isaiah 66:16-17: (16) For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. (17) They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
If Isaiah 1:24-31 sees its ultimate fulfillment during the end times it may be connected to the siege of Jerusalem covered in chapters/passages like Joel 2, Ezekiel 7, Zechariah 12, Zephaniah 1, Isaiah 51:17-23, and perhaps Isaiah 5:26-30.
If you would like to learn more about the end time siege of Jerusalem, click the following link for my article about the topic: When Will Jerusalem Be Attacked During the End Times?
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