The previous study focused upon the years during which saints have been subject to tribulation. This has surely been true as they have been crushed and downtrodden under the prevailing Apostasy. But they have not been perplexed  by these adversities. Their ‘Lord’ and the prophets told them no less. The remaining verses in Isaiah 26 forecast a  dramatic reversal in their fortunes. At length and at the appointed time God will send forth His Son. The Resurrection  (v19) and the outpouring of divine judgment (v20,21) upon the inhabitants of the earth, prepare the world for the greatest transition of all time, the inauguration of the Kingdom of God and the rule of Christ and the Saints.

Isaiah 26:19–21 continued

Verse 19

“Awake and Sing, Ye That Dwell in Dust”

This is a glorious statement. May we all live and experience the wonder of that day! In Christ, death is but a sleep, from which saints will be awakened  by his voice, according to the mighty power God has  placed in his hands (Phil 3:21). There is jubilation. They awake and sing! Imagine the joy of hopes realised and the glories that lie ahead, the work of  the saints released from the shackles of death and mortality and alive forever more to do the will of  the Lord! All the excitement of that day is embodied in this outstanding verse.

“for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth  shall cast out her dead”

Here is the rationale for singing. The ideas of  freshness, the restoration of the powers of youth  (Isa 40:30–31) never to fade; of immortality and  incorruptibility are called to mind by reference  to the “dew of herbs”. During the coolness of the evening condensation takes place and, as is forecast  of God’s people, “from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth” (Psa 110:3). There is  the standing up of Michael the great prince in a time  of unprecedented trouble, the deliverance of God’s  people whose names are found written in the book, the awakening of many who sleep in the dust, and the shining forth of the wise in immortal glory.

Verses 20–21 The Prayer is Answered:  Saints are Invited to Shelter in Yahweh While He Punishes a Wicked World

Verse 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 past.

“For, behold, Yahweh cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their  iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood  [‘therefore shall the earth unveil her shed blood’  Roth], and shall no more cover her slain.”

In verse 20 there is an invitation to saints to enter  “thy chambers”—and to “shut thy doors about  thee”, to hide for a little moment until Yahweh’s  indignation and punishment of the inhabitants of the  earth has passed. Saints will be protected by God in  the great battles to take place when the “kingdoms  of this world” are overthrown and “become the  kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Rev  11:15, 18). In fact, the saints will be involved in the  “judgments written” (Psa 149:4–9; Rev 17:14).

“Enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee”

This phrase has echoes elsewhere in Scripture.  Consider:

  • • Matthew 6:6 Jesus counsels saints to avoid  distraction when praying by entering into their closets, and shutting their doors … about them.
  • • Song 1:4 The bride of Christ speaks of how the  king has brought her “into his chambers” and this is followed by the rejoicing of her attendants.
  • • Genesis 7:1, 16 In anticipation of the flood soon to come on the ungodly of Noah’s day the same phraseology is used, when God says to Noah,  “Come thou and all thy house into the ark … and  they went in …, and Yahweh shut him in”.
  • • Luke 13:25 “When once the master of the house  is risen up, and hath shut to the door…” Once “the  door” has been shut and the marriage supper has  commenced there will be no further opportunity!  (cp Matt 25:10).
  • • Exodus 12:12, 22 Israel was delivered by the  blood of the Passover Lamb. When the wrath of God slew the firstborn of Egypt, they were safely ensconced in their houses and not permitted  to “go out at the door of their houses until the  morning”.

“Until the indignation be overpast …”

Again this language finds counterparts in other Scriptures.

  • Isaiah 10:25 speaks of Yahweh’s judgments on the Assyrian host at Jerusalem: “For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and  mine anger in their destruction”.
  • Job 14:12–15 There are numerous common thoughts and phrases to be found here, and it is clearly ‘in mind’ in the language used by Isaiah.

“So man lieth down, and riseth not:

till the heavens be no more, they shall not awakenor be raised out of their sleep [cp Isa 26:14,19].  O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave,  that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath  be past [cp Isa 26:20],

That thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and  remember me!

If a man die shall he live again?

All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Thou shalt call [cp Isa 26:19], and I will answer thee:

thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”

“… for a little moment …”

  • John 16:16–19 In these verses Jesus tells his disciples that in “a little while” they would not see him because he would be absent from them following  his death and resurrection. But then he adds that in “a  little while” they would “see him”. He explained to  them that during his absence they would weep and lament, but that their sorrows would be turning into  joy because “he would see them again” (v22).

Jesus’ “little while” would be only as long as  their lives, as in the sleep of death there would be no  reckoning of time. Isaiah’s “little moment” (v20) is  a different time and applies to those alive at Christ’s  return. They will be “hidden” for a “little moment”  until the indignation of God has overpast.

Verse 21 gives the reason why saints are to be  withdrawn for “a little moment”: the day of  Yahweh’s vengeance has come for the controversy  of Zion (34:1–6; Ezek 35), and the persecuting of  His saints during Gentile times (Rev 17–19; 20:  1–4). Yahweh is represented as coming “out of his  place”, which is heaven, His “holy temple” (cp Mic  1:2–3; Hab 2:20; Psa 115:3).

“to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their  iniquity”

Not only will the nations of the world suffer and be humbled because of their treatment of both the national and spiritual seed of Abraham but they  have also given themselves over to wantonness  and debauchery and blasphemed His Holy Name.  The Word of God abounds with prophecies of “that  day” when God will send forth His Son, who will  be “revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 1:7–9; 2:8,9).

“the earth shall disclose her blood …”

Rotherham’s translation is significant: “Therefore  shall the earth unveil her shed blood, and throw a covering no longer over her slain”. The earth is represented as bringing forth two witnesses justifying God’s judgments (cp Genesis 4:10).

1 Innocent blood which “she” was forced to drink in, but which is now disclosed, and cries for vengeance, and

2 Persons themselves who have been murdered by tyrants, and who slumber within her.

“Streams of blood come to light and bear witness;  martyrs arise and testify against their murderers. The  earth is appeased through vengeance being taken for  the martyr-blood it has drunk (Deut 32:43; Num 35:  33)”—Commentary in Isaiah Vol 1, Delitzsch.

Conclusion

These words of exhortation are also from the pen of our late brother CC Walker, himself sleeping in the dust of the earth, awaiting the call of his Master to awake:

“Thus the prophet, by the Spirit, spoke of the only refuge that God would provide for His people in the day of vengeance. No other shelter will do. We hear much of the ‘balance of power’, and the schemes and alliances by which the nations seek to secure and perpetuate peace on the basis of complete ignorance of God and His purpose. A more fatal fallacy could not be imagined. All history illustrates this fact. Where was the whole world of sinners when Noah entered into the ark, and the Flood came? That is a type that Christ applied to this very time. Noah’s ark rode the waters of the deluge for the brief space of about a year until “the indignation was overpast”, and then he came forth to establish a new order of things in the earth. Christ is the Ark of safety; in him alone is there assurance of deliverance from the deluge which will soon sweep away the existing order of things” (Ministry of the Prophets Isaiah, page 434).