Isaiah 4: Returning to Jerusalem
Isaiah must have read better when it wasn’t divided into chapters. Chapter 3 and chapter 4 seem to be almost separated midsentence. Regardless, if you remember the judgment we referred to yesterday, we now get to see what is going to happen after that judgment.
Isa 4:3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
Isa 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
Judgment has a way of weeding people out. God is promising that there will be a remnant. There will be people that do return to Jerusalem. These people will be different than the wicked generation who went away into captivity. They will have been brought back to God. They will have recognized the error of their ways, and they will have been purified.
I had to review my Biblical history a little bit, but by the traditional timeline, approximately 200 years after the writing of Isaiah, both Israel and Judah were in captivity. Israel had originally fallen to Assyria, but Judah was able to remain a sovereign nation until Babylon overran them. Eventually though, we see Nehemiah come into the picture, and he brought the people back to Jerusalem. I really like that book for the record, and even though Isaiah comes after that in our Bible today, it is important to remember that Isaiah was actually written quite a bit before.
Why did the entire nation of Israel fall into captivity? They had abandoned God. When they returned, it was an entirely new generation. If you read Nehemiah, it is obvious that this is a generation that was fulfilling this prophecy. They were a people who understood what God required of them, and they were ready to follow Him.
I know that Isaiah is a largely Messianic book. I understand that, and I don’t mean to dismiss or downplay that. However, in this particular set of processes fit very well with the history of Israel, and it makes a lot of sense to me.