ISAIAH’S END-TIME TIMELINE
Isaiah’s End-time Timeline Chapter 56
The Call to Watchfulness and Faithfulness
Revelation 3:10, 16:15, Mark 13:34-37, Luke 12:35-40
Verse 1 “THUS saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment (equity), and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.”
What Jerome said about this first verse of Isaiah 56 was: “Isaiah is speaking to the listeners of that time that they should do all things which are right, and prepare themselves for the advent of the Saviour, for he is the justice and mercy of God.”
A sister Scripture in Revelation 16:15 is, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments…” Those garments are representative of those acts of his own judgment/equity based upon the Word of God, which he makes for himself by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The sum of which is this: God carries on the blessed work of perfecting His people until the Day of Jesus Christ. [Philippians 1:6]
So it is that now that these same Words speak to a certain required watchfulness for His next Coming to any listeners of this day. A corresponding verse in the Book of Revelation would be 3:10; “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon al the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
What has been presented to us in Isaiah Chapter 53 and continued here in Isaiah 56 is that the great gospel of Mercy is extended to all mankind from God, first to the Jew and then to Gentile. And that mercy and salvation being through the Messiah, the root and offspring of David; Jesus Christ. The overall message from the Spirit of God is clear, in that when we discover that God has extended His Hand in Mercy, we YET must accept, with whole heartedness, to do that “work or duty”, which He will now require of us, while we wait for our promised salvation.
Isaiah 56:1 is the call to “watchfulness and faithfulness” after conversion, unto that fullness of salvation and righteousness. It is the call to righteous behavior, after being “saved/born-again”. It is in the servant’s faithfulness in service after being indentured, that God is pleased to give an inheritance. See Mark 13:34-37: “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” And if we as His servants don’t heed, and do not walk in good judgment and justly in righteousness, we are frighteningly made aware of the awful judgments forth-coming. [Matthew 25:14-30]
Overall Isaiah chapter 56 has in view the 2nd Coming of Christ and His Millennial Kingdom and reign, in that new economy upon the Earth. The first verse of Isaiah 56 speaks to the servant’s awareness of the “Messiah’s” / Jesus Christ’s “Coming”. In whatever watch He may Come, and responding in thought and behavior accordingly.
Luke 12:35-40 “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching….and if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.” At that time the Lord was speaking, He had already come, eliminating the first watch. There then are two remaining watches for His servants; that of the “First-Fruits”, and that of the “Harvest.” We servants are currently living in the “second watch” for His next Coming. That watch will materialize, and be realized at the time of the First-Fruits’ offering; to be comprehended in the man-child of Revelation 12:5 and 14:4.
At the time of Christ there were the three watches, from the custom of ancient Israel. [Lamentations 2:19, Judges 7:19, Exodus 14:24] And there were 4 watches in Roman custom, reckoned from 6pm-9pm, 9pm to 12 midnight, 12-3am, and 3am to 6am. SO IT IS VERY IMPORTANT for a Christian to understand and distinguish between two different Greek words associated with Jesus Christ’s “Coming”; parousia & epiphaneia . As this relates to the critical understanding of the removing of only a small proportion of living Christians, while the great majority of them will remain behind on earth, required to patiently endure the Great Tribulation as chastisement for the worldly/Laodicean-typed unwatchfulness . Parousia or coming presence of Jesus Christ is first realized in His unseen coming from the 3rd Heaven to the heavens associated with this World. And from which there are two gatherings up to Him; the First-Fruits gathering and then 3 plus years later, the Harvest gathering. After which is the epiphaneia or visible “2nd” Coming to the Earth. The difference being; although the Lord is present bodily, He will be obscured from view in the typed “clouds” in Scripture, similar in the way He went up, in that when He returns to manifest Himself to the World, the “clouds” then obscuring His Presence will roll away and mortal man will behold Him in His Glory. This is His epiphaneia or open manifestation.
These are a few examples in Scripture of the ‘Parousia’ of Christ in the heavens associated with this World.“He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and thick darkness was under His feet . . . He made darkness His hiding place, His pavilion round about Him; darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies…” Psalm 18:11) (“…while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight…will come back in like manner.” Acts 1:11) (Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Matthew 24:41,42) (Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. [1 Thessalonians 4:17] “And he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, even them that tabernacle in the heaven.” [Revelation 13:6]
There then is an application to all 4 watches. In that there are yet 3 “Comings” of Christ before the Millennial Age: The first “watch” was His first Coming (epiphaneia); the incarnation as the Son of Man, born of a woman. Then that “Coming”(parousia) unto the first heaven from where He will receive the First-Fruits offering, that 2nd “watch” in which we now live.
Then in the 3rd “watch”, His 3rd “Coming” (parousia) when He will receive those who endured and were faithful in the Tribulation up into the “clouds” of the first heaven. And then in the “4th watch”, His Second Coming (epiphaneia); at the climax of the Tribulation judgment when all eyes will see Him. In all four of these watches are represented “keepers” of God’s Word, and in the keeping we find the various fulfillments of Isaiah 56:1b…. “….for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.”
The first verse of Isaiah 56 is an exhortation that is parallel with the New Testament Scripture of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. [Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31] That being that the Christian should not give place to worldly concerns and cares as these obscure and choke out the spiritual realities. That when He does come, if you are found unprepared for His return and assessment, and are found wanting, you are thereby excluded from His in-gathering. The previous referenced verse Luke 12:38 is in that context. “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” So it is that Isaiah 56 speaks to all the “watches” for the Lord.
Luke 12:39 & Matthew 24:43 & Revelation 3:3 have a certain watch in view. “But know this if the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” These verses speak to having a view of a watchfulness unto the “2nd watch” that is to say the First-Fruits gathering. Jesus is warning of an unseen force to come and separate the watchful household members from the unwatchful household members; in the catching up and away of the watchful unto Him in the heavens and leaving the others on the Earth.
But then those same Scriptures will take on a second application of exhortation; a vital watchfulness for those Christians that were left behind, having been full of the choking briars/the concerns of the World, who are then faced with the refining fires of persecution and trials, the same as those God-fearing Jews. See Revelation 12:17 & 14:12-16. The time is the last of the Great Tribulation, and in Revelation 16, that describes the concluding Wrath of God represented in judgment vials being poured out on His and Israel’s enemies. In which after the 6th vial, we see that final calling of those devouring beasts that Isaiah 56:9 had in view; to come to Israel, climaxing in the great slaughter of Armageddon. In the course of the pouring out of these 7 vials at the last of the Great Tribulation, Revelation 16:15 uniquely/singularly speaks thus: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” This speaks directly to those of His Church who have been subject to the Great Temptation and Tribulation period, and are now exhorted by the Lord (in this the 3rd watch) unto a continued faithfulness. That which will be rewarded in the sudden catching up all those watchful living and faithful among the dead… in the Harvest. [Revelation 14:16]
The 56th Chapter of Isaiah verses 9-12 speaks to that prophesied spiritual condition and associated events, that which is to occur just immediately before the 2nd Coming (epiphaneia); that which corresponds with Revelation 16:12-14. The going out of the mouths of the unholy trinity; 3 unclean spirits, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the Earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Then (peculiarly to most expositors of the Book; the seemingly out of place statement by Christ…) “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments…” The understanding of the placement of this Scripture comes in realizing that in the first secret Coming (parousia) of the Lord in the 2nd watch, was about the separating of the household members. In the 2nd secret Coming (parousia) in the third watch, it is about the loss of inheritance and its parallel punishment. In the first, his household was spoiled and he was separated, but he retained his clothes. In the 2nd, his clothes were burnt, and his judgment of shameful nakedness commences.
It is in this verse we may find the time of the “Harvest”. After the 6th vial is poured out on the Euphrates, and the 3 unclean, deceiving spirits are sent from out of the mouths of the unholy trinity, and before the gathering of those nations unto Armageddon. This then is the gathering of those unto the slaughter, just preceding the Vintage Wrath of God. The actual 2nd Coming/bodily manifestation to the earth of Christ; in the Vintage of Revelation 14:18-20, that will be accomplished in Revelation 19:11-21.
Isaiah 56 verses 2-8 is that which happens to that person just after this, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and into the Earthly Millennium; who suddenly realizes he has no inheritance, he is neither of the New Man household nor is he of the Jewish household. It is primarily to him these verses of loving comfort speak.
It is in the context of this prophetic word of Isaiah 56 that places us in the right dispensation… “…..their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
The Lord, in Mark 11:17, points ahead to a distant future time, also prophesied in Isaiah 56. “Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?” The Lord and Isaiah have looked across this present time, unto the restored kingdom of Israel and the Temple of the Millennium and its renewed sacrifices in view. That time of justice, equity, great joy, and abundance in that time of the latter day rain of the Holy Spirit. It is there and then that God on His altar shall accept burnt offerings and sacrifices, from these strangers. The restoration of animal blood sacrifices in the Millennial dispensation is a truth hardly received in Christendom, although the Book of Ezekiel and Psalms attest to it. Yet, it is an equally certain truth that the blood of bulls and goats may not take away sins Hebrews 10:4. But as to their reinstitution, and having some efficacy, and commemorative value, it must be acknowledged. Additionally, we can be sure there is an intermediate value that the Millennium of Justice will accomplish in the fullness of God’s Salvation Plan.
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