Today: [Isaiah 26] Is the Church Spiritual Jerusalem? In this chapter Isaiah speaks of the song of deliverance that will be sung in the city of Jerusalem. Is there any application of these references to the church as spiritual Jerusalem? Some read these verses and apply them only to Israel and to the natural city of David. Others say it only applies to the church of the Living God. In this chapter we examine the preponderance of scripture determining to what extent we can apply references in the Old Testament to the community of the redeemed in the New Covenant.
[Isa 26:1-21 KJV] 1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will [God] appoint [for] walls and bulwarks. 2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. 3 Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH [is] everlasting strength: 5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, [even] to the ground; he bringeth it [even] to the dust. 6 The foot shall tread it down, [even] the feet of the poor, [and] the steps of the needy. 7 The way of the just [is] uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. 8 Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of [our] soul [is] to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. 9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments [are] in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, [yet] will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. 11 LORD, [when] thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: [but] they shall see, and be ashamed for [their] envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.
In chapter 26 Isaiah returns again to a millennial theme. The “in that day” reference in verse 1 speaks of that day when the cities of the earth have been cleansed of unrighteousness and even Egypt and Assyria will praise Him that rules from mount Zion. This chapter again asserts the pattern of judgment and mercy threaded through the book of Isaiah. Isaiah rails against the corruption in Jerusalem and Samaria but declares a governor shall come whose name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace. He speaks against Egypt as a source of false trust to the king of Judah, but then declares that there will be (Isa. 19:19) an altar to the Lord there and a pillar of witness to God Almighty. Isaiah declares destruction upon Assyria by the Babylonians yet predicts that the day will come that Egypt, Assyria and Ethiopia will serve the Lord together calling Egypt, Assyria and Israel “the work of My hands” (Isaiah 19:25).
Isaiah declares that a song will be sung in the land of Judah “we have a strong city, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks…” Now for us we realize that Jerusalem not only refers to the geographical city in the middle east but also to the church of the living God. It is important to get this down in your heart so you can find the New Testament application of this truth.
Paul referred to the church as the “Jerusalem which is above” in his letter to the Galatians:
[Gal 4:26 KJV] 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
John the Revelator understood that this heavenly Jerusalem was the Bride of Christ.
[Rev 21:2 KJV] 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Paul describes himself as a friend of the Bridegroom, presenting the church as a chaste virgin to Christ:
[2Co 11:2 KJV] 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.
Finally the writer of Hebrews speaks of Jerusalem, the city of the living God in direct connection to the church – thereby affirming a justification of seeing a dual meaning of Jerusalem references in the prophets – one to natural Jerusalem and another to spiritual Jerusalem which is the church of God, the community of redeemed people throughout time and in any particular generation.
[Heb 12:22-23 KJV] 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
We can conclude then that verse 2 refers to calling upon the gates to open up that the righteous nation that keepeth truth shall enter in. Who is the gate to that city? It is none other than Jesus Christ. What is that truth that we keep? It is the truth that Jesus referred to when He declared (John 14:6) that He was the way the truth and the life and that no man comes to the Father accept by Him.
12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. 13 O LORD our God, [other] lords beside thee have had dominion over us: [but] by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14 [They are] dead, they shall not live; [they are] deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. 15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed [it] far [unto] all the ends of the earth. 16 LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer [when] thy chastening [was] upon them. 17 Like as a woman with child, [that] draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, [and] crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. 18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. 19 Thy dead [men] shall live, [together with] my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew [is as] the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
When verse 12 speaks of the peace that God has ordained for us – it is a reference to the kingdom of God that the Father has place in our hearts as born again believers:
[Rom 14:17 KJV] 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Verse 13 speaks of other lords (both natural and spiritual) have had dominion over us but that we will only make mention of His name. What is His name? His name is Jesus. The kings of the earth that rule over us all go the way of death and will one day be deceased but while their memory perishes we serve a living Lord seated at the right hand of the Father.
Verse 16 tells us that when the people are in trouble they visit the Lord and call on His name. They become however like a travailing woman (v. 17) who travails to give birth but only bring forth wind. What travail is Isaiah speaking of? For the entirety of Isaiah’s life the kings of Judah and the people travailed with great effort to find solutions for the troubles of the kingdom of Judah. They negotiated with Ethiopia in order to be protected and that came to failure. They called on Egypt to preserve them and Egypt fell to the Babylonians. The made an alliance with Assyria and that didn’t work out. As verse 18 says the nation travailed and was unable to bring deliverance in the earth because they had forsaken the Lord God. They were looking outwardly to what they should have been looking to God for. Thus when they looked to Egypt God allowed Egypt to be destroyed. When they looked to Ethiopia, Ethiopia was taken into captivity. What you allow to come between you and God – God in His jealousy will remove.
What is the solution? When you are under pressure where do you run? Verse 20 tells us to enter into our chambers and hide ourselves in Christ until the indignation, the difficulty and problems that plague us from time to time are removed. We can hide ourselves in Him. This is not some convoluted strategy of spiritual warfare. This is not relying on ourselves to execute some crafted prayer of spiritual conquest that we might overcome. That is tantamount to spiritual witchcraft. No in times of pressure we simply run to Him as Isaiah has been exhorting the people in chapter after chapter. We don’t have to have all the answers. We don’t have to defend ourselves or assert some false testimony of how spiritual we are. We simply do as Jesus, no doubt referring to this passage in Isaiah tells us in Matthew 6:6:
[Mat 6:6 KJV] 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
What happens then? Verse 21 tells us. When we enter into the secret place the Lord comes out of His place of glory to punish the enemy and bring justice for His people. God is our defense. He will fight our battles for us. When we put our trust in Him there will be an end and our lives will be restored by the hand of His mercy.
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