We are thrilled to bring you another installment of Rod MacArthur’s series on Isaiah. This is great stuff, so, enjoy!
Isaiah Four: The Branch and the Salvation of Those Written In the Book of Remembrance
Our article on Israel’s Last Days Motifs depicted Yahweh’s judgment against her in the Last Days. But the rationale for this judgment (and, why it was necessary for Him to establish the mountain of His house in the Last Days) includes a look at the women of society. Consider Isa. 316–17.
Moreover, Yahweh said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud
And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes,
And go along with mincing steps
And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs,
And Yahweh will make their foreheads bare.”
He said: “Because the daughters of Zion are proud and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps…” It’s rather nauseating, isn’t it? The point is this: women become a gauge of society’s debasement. Generally, women are the ones who have more empathy, compassion and sympathy; they’re programmed to help more than men are, generally. So when the women of society are so self-absorbed and so without compassion, society is definitely sick.
The discussion of the women actually continues through 41. Notice vs. 18: “In that day…” an entire series of reversal of fortune befalls them. This is undoubtedly a consequence of their arrogance in departing from Him. Also notice 41: “In that day…” This is the same day! Isa. 42 also says: “in that day…” It is the time when the Branch appears! Connecting the dots shows us that the condemnation foretold for the women included more than the indignities they endured at the hands of the Babylonians. Isaiah’s introduction of The Branch extended his application into the first century AD.
So let us consider The Branch. Throughout his book Isaiah developed the concept of The Branch as the shoot of Jesse, the Son/Child born/given; even the One whom Zion would bear. Jeremiah picked up the theme and enhanced it; but Zechariah developed it to the point where The Branch became a proper name of the One who would become both king and priest on David’s throne. (Be sure to get Don K. Preston’s book The Last Days Identified, for an excellent discussion of Isaiah 2-4)
Check out some details from Isa. 42:
In that day the Branch of Yahweh will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel
We’ve already noticed that we’re still “in that day,” the Last Days of Isa. 22. Two things are said with regard to the time of The Branch: 1) He would be beautiful and glorious; and 2) the fruit of the earth would become the adornment of Israel’s survivors. (“Earth” should read “land”; it refers, not to territory but to the true Last Days people. We’ll develop this later.) He is not concerned with the globe; but with His people. He focused especially on what His “land” would produce. In chapter 5 we learn that God wanted fruit from His people. He planted them on this special land and was looking for fruit.
We’ll cover that in another article. But notice from this text that the fruit, whatever it might be, would become the “pride and adornment” of Israel’s survivors (remnant). This causes us to think of Paul’s “fruit of the Spirit” in Gal. 5; or, of his comments in Rom. 7 about dying to the Law (in the Last Days) in order to be joined to Jesus and bear fruit for God (Rom. 74).
Also take note that Isaiah mentioned a remnant, which he discussed further in vs. 3.
It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.
Consider two riveting details about this remnant: 1) they were left and remained in Jerusalem; and 2) they were recorded for life in Jerusalem. In Acts 323, Peter cited Moses: “It will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” Accepting Jesus as the coming Messiah kept any Israelite from being “cut off” (utterly destroyed). They became the remnant of life for Israel. Thus, those who followed Jesus were “left” and “remained.” The church was not a start-over; it was the continuation of Israel. It remained while unbelieving Israel was cut off.
Also, “recorded for life” is a fascinating phrase. Daniel hinted at it about 100 years later to talk about those who would survive the great tribulation. Read Dan. 121:
At that time Michael, the great prince who stands over the sons of your people, will arise, and there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
Let me point out that Daniel talked about a book having names written in it. Only the people whose names were in the book would be rescued from this distress. From Dan. 127, we understand that those things were to take place before or at the time that the power of the holy people was completely shattered. According to Daniel 9–11, “the holy people” referred to none other than Israel. They were completely and irrevocably shattered by Rome in AD70. Thus, the rescue of those “written in the book” occurred at that time, as well.
On this point, Malachi introduced the coming of two messengers of the covenant: John the Baptist, and Jesus. He dealt with that time when Israel’s purging and purification would take place. Look at Mal. 316.
Then those who feared Yahweh spoke to one another, (they started talking about what Malachi was teaching) and Yahweh gave attention and heard and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear Yahweh and who esteem his name and they will be mine, says Yahweh of hosts, on the day that I prepare my own possession and spares them as a man spares his own son who serves him.
That is a great thought! Yahweh asserts, “I have the names of whom I’m going to rescue at the time I destroy the rest written in the book.” Jesus highlighted this idea in Luke 1018, when the 70 returned, excited that the demons were subject to them in his name, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” Then He said in Luke 1020:
Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.
Yahweh has a book of remembrance. Names were recorded in that book. Paul talked about Euodia and Syntyche, whose names were in the book of life, along with the rest of his fellow-workers (Phil. 43). Many places in the Revelation also speak of this book. Consider Rev. 35, “He who overcomes…I will not erase his name from the book of life”. At the great white throne scene in Rev. 2012 we read: “the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged by the things which were written in those books.”
The Book of remembrance/life is a consistent theme from Isaiah to Revelation. Even before Isaiah, David and Moses referred to His book. Yahweh had a book. Everyone whose name was written was rescued. They became the remnant left in Zion when He built His house. That is, when He raised up the mountain of His house in the Last D
ays (Isa. 22).
Since we have just now reconnected with Isa. 22–4, note this interesting stylistic feature. We’ve already noted the Isa. 2–4 is a unified discourse on Last Days events. Opening and closing the discussion are these two powerful Messianic prophecies: Isa. 22–4 and Isa. 42–6. We’ve followed the “in that day” sequence from 22 throughout to 42. It’s the same “day.” In 22–4 the mountain of house of Yahweh was to be raised up. And in 42–6 the Branch was to be beautiful and rescue His people. Between the two He told of the judgment that would remove the enemies and protect His faithful. The section began with the Last Days prophesy and ended with a Last Days prophesy: the material in between described what Israel expected as Yahweh established the Mountain and the Branch. We will continue this in our next installment on the Branch of the Lord.