CORRESPONDENCE: - iSAIAH 26:19-21
I recently was in touch with an elder brother and the topic of Isaiah 26:19-21 came up. I was told by him that this prophecy has nothing to do with the future but was for Isaiah’s contempories only and that it was unscriptural to view it otherwise.realize that bro Roberts did not feel this way (Christendom Astray p347). I would appreciate your thoughts on the topic.
Love in The Hope,
Isaiah 26:19-21 reads:
“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 her dead.Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thysef as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.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, and shall no more cover her slain”
The language used is the language of Resurrection: “thy dead men shall live … shall they arise … the earth shall cast out her dead.”Therefore, we need to look for a time of resurrection in order to see a fulfilment of this passage.I am not aware of such a time being present in the days of Isaiah – even symbolically – but there is plenty of Bible witness that when Messiah comes there will be a resurrection of the nature here described. As one example, Daniel 12 speaks of the future time: “ … at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book, and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:1-2) – at the same time described here as “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” which would appear to link in with Isaiah 26.
Looking carefully at Isaiah 26, we find that there are 2 classes amongst those who are said to “arise”: “thy dead men” and “my body”.And it is at the time when both are raised that “my people” need to enter into their chambers for safety, as Yahweh shall come out of His Place for the express purpose of carrying out His Judgements.
The Scriptures are clear in likening the multitude of believers to a single body – the “body of Christ”: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular…” (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12; 5:23; Col 2:17).By “my dead body” then, we are led to understand that the united body of believers shall be raised at that day, as those who are “delivered from the wrath to come” (1 Thes. 1:10).
It follows therefore, that the othercategory: “thy dead men shall live,” refers to Israel after theflesh. Israel after the spirit being the Body of Christ, Israel after the flesh still are the people of God (Rom. 11:2), and they still feature as a pivotal part of His Purpose.Ezekiel 37 describes the political and spiritual resurrection of the Nation, with Romans 11 further telling us that “if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them again, but life from the dead” (Rom. 11:15).
The language used in Isaiah 26 brings to mind two particular Old Testament events; The Passover (Exod. 12), and the Flood (Gen. 6-8). At the time of Passover, Israel were commanded to remain in their houses: “and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning” (Exod. 12:22).The Angel of death was to pass through the land, but by remaining in their chambers, the people would be saved.Amos also hearkens back to the Passover in his inspired description of the Day of coming Judgement:“I will pass through thee, saith Yahweh” (Amos 5:17).The night of the first Passover then, establishes a pattern of judgement which would come upon Israel again in the future.
At the Flood, we find a similar pattern, as eight souls were saved, along with a whole menagerie of animals by remaining inside the ark, until the “indignation” was overpassed.
Sometimes brethren use this passage from Isaiah 26 as being applicable to the Saints being called away to judgement, and kept in a place of safety (the marriage chamber), whilst the world experiences the severe judgments of Yahweh. Bro Robert Roberts expresses this approach in Christendom Astray.But as reluctant as I am to part company with our esteemed brother on this point, I cannot see how it could be so. Psalm 49:5-9 explicitly tells us that the Saints will be actively involved in bringing those judgements upon the earth: “this honour have all his saints”.It cannot be that the Saints are hidden from Yahweh’s judgments whilst at the same time being the agents through whom those judgments shall come.
Who then are those who are styled “my people”, and for whom provision shall be made for them to shelter from “the indignation” to come?It is difficult to see how it could be a reference to natural Israelites, for they shall be the centre of a world war, with Jerusalem being divided, the women ravished, and slaves taken (cp Zech. 14). Could it be that these are those individuals who hear the preaching of the Mid-Heaven Angelic Proclamation of Revelation 14:6-7, who repent and seek salvation whilst the general judgments are being carried out?It would appear that there will be such a class at that time (see 1 Pet. 2:12), and they could quite legitimately be described as “my people” (see Rom. 9:24-26) because of their belief in the things preached to them. Readers comments are welcome.
Be that as it may, the language of resurrection employed in this passage means that it cannot be limited to Isaiah’s own day (though there was a similar pattern of judgment then – see Isaiah 10:25), but refers to that epoch to come when the judgments shall be executed, and the rebellion of the flesh subdued.