Isaiah 27 True And False Members Of The Covenant.
There will be a day of judgment when the LORD will punish the Leviathan in the sea (v. 1). This is no more a judgment on a creature of the sea, any more than there was a judgment on a snake in the garden, when there was not. Both these creatures symbolize Satan. In the case of the snake in the garden, snakes have always crawled on their belly. It was not as though they walked upright before the fall. The whole of Genesis 3:14-15 is against Satan-it is he who has been cursed below all creatures, and to eat the dust for the Devil is to suffer defeat before the Seed of promise. The sea often refers to the pagan nations, so that what Isaiah is referring to here is Satan through these pagan powers (Cf. 51:9; Ps. 74:13-14; Rev. 12:9, 15).
Ezekiel writes about the same subject when he refers to Tyre, a city which came to symbolize the nations which flowed through this international port-“in the midst of the seas” That is, the pagan nations (28:2). So arrogant is the Devil, that he thought of himself as wiser than the prophet Daniel, that is, those who have the very words of the LORD (v. 3). The wisdom exercised in trade, commerce, and power, would be no match for the LORD through his servants the prophets. The immediate stooge of the Devil here was the leader of Tyre, and then at chapter 32, the Pharaoh of Egypt. Satan is “like a young lion among the nations…like a monster of the seas, troubling the waters” (of the nations)… and fouling their rivers (lesser peoples).
“The Old Testament employs this image to denote evil, autocratic powers (30:7 note; 51:9; Ezek. 28:2; 32:2 and notes) and to assure the godly that the Lord(sic) will punish all such human expressions of power and resistance to His kingdom. Behind earth’s tyrants is Satan, and behind the elect is Christ (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 12:1-6)” (NGSB p.1067). Contrasted with Satan and these pagan leaders and nations, was the LORD’s vineyard, his covenant people. To them the LORD told Isaiah to sing a song, that he was the one who watered and protected her “night and day” (vv. 2-3 Cf. 5:1; 31:5; I Sam. 2:9; Pss. 80:8; 121:4-5; Jer. 2:21; Jn. 10:28).
Fury is not what the LORD wanted to exercise against his people (v. 4a), but no briers or thorns set up by the nations will prevail against the fire of the LORD (v. 4b Cf. 9:18; II Sam. 23:6). Ultimately the LORD wanted to make peace with his people, if they would recognize him and their need of him, that he alone would be their strength (v. 5 Cf. 25:4; 26:3, 12; Job 22:21-22; Rom. 5:1; II Cor. 5:20). Those who are effectually called and planted by the LORD, will “take root in Jacob,” and “shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (v. 6 Cf. Jn. 15:1-8). “The people of God (Jew and Gentile) make up the kingdom of God (1 Pet. 2:9-12)” (Ibid. p.1067).
Only those called and planted by the LORD will bear fruit throughout the world. Dew from the LORD will cause the remnant to grow (Hos. 14:5-6). It is the remnant from all corners of the earth who will “take root downward, and bear fruit upward” (37:31), and who will also be sent out as ambassadors from Jerusalem, through “the zeal of the LORD of hosts” (37:32; Cf. Heb. 12:22). The LORD did not strike Israel the way he struck the nations. “The Lord(sic) has dealt more graciously with His people than with their oppressors. God fatally struck the nations, not Israel (10:5-23; 13:19-14:2; 47:4, 5)” (Ibid. p.1067 v. 7 Cf. 30:30-33; Ps. 78:34-39; Jer. 30:11; 46:28). Against the nations the LORD, in his wrath, sent a rough east wind (v. 8).
The LORD would destroy the idols with their altars, take away the sin of his people in the covering of atonement, and as a result there would be fruit bearing to his glory (v. 9, 13; Lev. 25:9). The ultimate hope for Israel and the nations, would be found in the Messiah to come, just as the high priest in Jesus day “prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51-52 Cf. Is. 19:21-22; 56:8; Rev. 11:15). The scope of judgment included a city desolate, and the places of human habitation, that is the rural parts, would be “forsaken and left like a wilderness” (v. 10 Cf. 5:6, 17; 32:13-15; Jer. 26:18).
The end of the apostate members of the covenant community would be the same as the pagan nations at large. “The mighty city will become brittle like dried out branches” (Ibid. p.1068). Ultimately the problem was they lacked understanding, and that because they rejected the word of the prophet that would have given them this understanding, the LORD would “not have mercy on them” (v. 11a Cf. 1:3; Dt. 32:28). Though he formed them as a nation, he would “show them no favor” (v. 11b Cf. 9:17; Dt. 32:18). However, the promise of the covenant would find fulfillment in the remnant, threshed out or separated from the apostates of the nation (v. 12). The trumpet would sound, and the remnant would heed the call (v. 13 Cf. 11:11).