“The Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.” We turn again to the New Testament in order to correctly interpret the prophecies contained in the Old Testament. We find in Romans 9 through 11 an extensive consideration of the meaning of “Israel” and particularly of God’s choosing of His people.
Paul tells us in Romans 9:6 that “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.” While there may have been a partial fulfillment of Isaiah’s words in the return of the Lord’s people from exile, the bigger story was clearly presented by Paul many centuries later. Millions of Gentiles have become the “sojourners” who have been attached to “the house of Israel.” We have become willing “slaves” of the King of the Jews.
“Babylon” is surely fallen (Revelation 14:8), but the Babylon that the apostle John would write about at the end of the first century would not be the empire that took over from the Assyrians and was soon defeated by the Medes and the Persians. The ultimate Babylon would be the anti-God system led by a fallen angel over the course of a very long period of time. In the words of Isaiah, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!” (See also Job 38:7.)
Isaiah also anticipated the joy of the church ransomed by Jesus as we serve the Lord of Israel. We are not the captives of Judah taken away in chains. We are the rejoicing bondservants of a Messiah who is leading us home in peace as we worship Him. “The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing.” (See also Psalm 68:18-27 and Ephesians 4:8.)
The enemy of our souls has been restrained for a time so that the nations can hear the good news of the kingdom and find new life in our Redeemer. An ancient serpent had dreams of a very lofty place of honor for himself. “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But those pretensions have been shown to be against the decree of the Almighty. “You are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” Even now he is held in check by the Lord who truly reigns in the heights of heaven (Revelation 20:3). One day this proud adversary will never be able to trouble us in the least (Revelation 20:10).
Isaiah wrote not only of “Babylon,” but also of Assyria and the Philistines. The fate of every nation would be determined by the Almighty and not by the dreams of those who thirst for their own glory. Those who would rejoice in the injuries that would come to God’s people would find that they themselves would suffer from the wrath of the Lord.
The final words of Isaiah 14 are the great hope of all those who would align themselves with Jesus of Nazareth: “The Lord has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of His people find refuge.” The “Zion” referred to by the prophet is more than just the Promised Land of old or the remnant of Israel who would return from exile in Babylon. All of the Lord’s chosen people have become His precious city, and the “refuge” that is our joy is far greater than anything that we could ask for or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of Hosts, have compassion upon Your people, and give us rest from our pain. Men and angels have struck Your people with unrelenting persecution. You will bring the pompous low. Even that angel who made a plan to ascend upon the clouds shall be cast down. Judge the way of antichrists who have tried to deceive multitudes. If they had their way, we would have been utterly swept away from the land of the living. Your Hand is much stronger than any adversary. You will bring us safety and rest at just the right time. We take refuge even now in Your Son.