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Isaiah 17–18: The Root, Shoot, and Fruit of Jesse (Part II)



Recap of Part I 

In Part I of this series, we approached Isaiah 17 comprehensively and established the crucial backstory of the book of Isaiah—the much anticipated arrival of Messiah, the ultimate Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15). Buried deep in a chapter that is commonly cited for the complete destruction of Damascus is an end-times prophecy of Israel's judgment and a gracious escape for a grafted-in, Gentile "branch."

Recall from Part I that Isaiah 17 and 18 are tied together by consistent harvest imagery, and we stopped at 17:11, the account of the disappearing harvest of Gentiles. In Part II, we will cover 17:12–18:7 (a complete unit all its own) and examine how this section fits into the big picture. Afterwards, we'll see how the mystery of the disappearing harvest unfolds as the book of Isaiah progresses. Finally, we'll look at the exciting implications of an early harvest for the body of Messiah, the Church.


A Brief Rundown of 17:12–18:7

In keeping with the theme of our study (the botanical metaphors of Messiah), I cited a key verse in Part I that relates to Isaiah 18 in a major way. I'll post it again to keep it top of mind:

On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations [Gentiles] will seek Him, and His resting place will be glorious (Isa. 11:10, HCSB, emphasis mine).

As the prophecy of 17:12–18:7 progresses, the scene gradually shifts from God's swift judgment against the nations to an encouraging vision of the Millennial Kingdom, a time when surviving Gentiles who come out of the Tribulation will go up and worship the LORD in Jerusalem (Mt. Zion).

Here's a brief rundown of Isaiah 17:12–18:7 with commentary:

(1) 17:12-14 – Following the disappearing harvest of 17:11, the world comes unglued in verse 12. The nations rage "like the roaring of the seas," and biblical parallels abound; e.g. Psalm 2:1-2 and Luke 21:25. See also the Tribulation indicators of Matt. 24:6-7, Lk. 21:9-10, and Rev. 6:3-4. In view of all the terrible judgments that will befall Israel during the Tribulation, verse 14 is a word of consolation for God's people (cf. Ps. 30:5). The prophet speaks for Israel's future remnant, when he writes, "...[t]his is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us" (ESV).

(2) 18:1-3 – If your Bible has a header before chapter 18 that reads something like "Oracle Against Cush" or "Woe to Ethiopia," then pretend it's not there. Those are misleading summaries that don't account for the details in the text. The exact nation "feared near and far" (v. 2) is not explicitly named, and verse one merely states, "The land...beyond the rivers of Cush." It does not say "Cush" is the land, specifically.

Whatever the case may be regarding the nation's identity, all the inhabitants on earth are addressed in this prophetic passage. And so, "the land beyond the rivers of Cush" is a representative sample of all the people who are going to be reached with the gospel even "to the ends of the earth" (cf. Isa. 49:6, 22; 52:7-10; Acts 1:8). Recall Isa. 11:10—The Root of Jesse is the banner raised up and beheld by all at the time "when the trumpet sounds" (v. 3).

*Side note: The "swift messengers" (v. 2) sent to the nation(s) could be interpreted as divine agents sent by Yahweh himself to assist in reaping the harvest. After all, the Hebrew word for "angels" is given here [malachim], and the LXX also has "angels" [Grk. aggelos]. In light of the overall context of an end-of-the-age harvest, it would make sense for these "angels" to be the same as those who accompany Messiah when He returns to the earth (cf. Matt. 13:39, 41-42).

(3) 18:4-7 – The LORD of the harvest finishes His work in the field (cf. Matt. 9:38). This scene is reminiscent of several passages of Scripture that deal with the end-of-the-age harvest. It is both a harvest of judgment (v. 5-6), and a harvest of mercy (v. 7). Based on New Testament revelation, we can equate this scene in Isaiah 18 to the separation of the sheep and the goats (cf. Matt. 25:31-33). Verses 5 and 6 also remind me of passages like Ezekiel 39:4, 17-20 and Revelation 19:17-21. Ezekiel and Isaiah both affirm that it is at this time, the end-of-the-age harvest, that all the world will know that the one true God is the LORD, the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 17:7; 18:3; Ezek. 39:7, 21-23).

Verse 7 previews the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth from His throne in Jerusalem (Mt. Zion). While other passages of Scripture affirm that Gentiles will bring material gifts to the Messiah during the Millennium (see Ps. 68:29; 76:11-12; Isa. 60:5-7, 11; Zeph. 3:10), this text may actually indicate that the people themselves are the gift brought to Mt. Zion and presented to the LORD as an offering.

Here are a few points in support of interpreting human beings as the "gift" brought to Mt. Zion in verse 7:

a. The Masoretic Text reads, "At that time a gift will be brought to the LORD of hosts: a people tall and smooth-skinned..." Your Bible may have "from" in brackets with a footnote: The preposition is found in the second clause but not the first. It's a tough call on this one, but a scribe may have added the preposition for a smoother reading grammatically.

b. The description of the people in verse 7 is an exact parallel to the description in verse 2. If the "swift messengers" of verse 2 are heavenly angels, then perhaps the angels are the means by which the people of verse 7 are brought to Mt. Zion and presented to the LORD.

c. A gift/offering of people [specifically Gentiles] brought to the LORD during the Millennial Reign is also depicted in Isa. 56:6-7 and 66:20-21.

This concept of a priestly offering of people selected from the nations is important, and we'll revisit this later. There is a partial fulfillment of passages like Isa. 18:7; 56:6-7; 66:20-21 that the apostle Paul speaks of in reference to this current Church age.


Isaiah 17–18: A Thematic Review of the LORD's End-Time Harvest

Before we move on from these two chapters, I'll recap and summarize the picture that has developed so far from this study. Overall, a major theme has surfaced that binds these two chapters together: The final, end-time harvest. And the rest of the biblical record confirms that the LORD has appointed a time for an early and late harvest, each in their own order (Church, Israel, Nations).

Like storyboards drawn up before the actors perform the script live on set, Isaiah provides a few screenshots of the last days harvest in chapters 17–18:

Opening Scene: The Aftermath (17:1-9): A panoramic view of the fallout from the Tribulation, when the survivors give glory to the Holy One of Israel.

Scene Two: The Flashback (17:10): The backstory and reason for God's extreme judgment on His people—Israel has rejected her Rock; therefore, the Gentiles will be grafted in and harvested first.

Scene Three: The Turning Point (17:11): Once incorporated and merged with the messianic "Seed," the Gentiles grow to full maturity with the help of their Root. On the day of judgment, Israel suffers as the Early Harvest disappears.

Scene Four: The Flood of the End (17:12-14): With God's restraining influence removed, the nations churn and rage until the Holy One of Israel makes a quick end to worldwide chaos and rebellion. Jacob's Trouble is terrifying but over soon. It is likened to a passing storm in the night, and then the morning of the Messiah's kingdom arrives.

Closing Scene: The Root of Jesse Returns to Rule (18:1-7): The Messiah, Root and Offspring of David, comes to earth along with His heavenly hosts. It is the appointed time of the Late Harvest, and it is time to separate the sheep from the goats. Survivors from the nations will be presented as an offering to the LORD who rules from Jerusalem over all the earth.

These two action-packed chapters in Isaiah, while only a thumbnail sketch within the grand story of the Scriptures, confirm the well-established pattern and sequence of major end-time events: We have the Resurrection and Rapture of the Church in 17:11 (Early Harvest), followed by the Time of Jacob's Trouble in 17:12-14 (Remnant Saved), and the end of the Tribulation/start of Millennial Reign in 18:1-7 (Late Harvest).

Given that most of you taking the time to read this are a members of the body of Christ and "strange branches" attached to the true Vine and messianic Seed, I figure you might want to know if the curious case of the disappearing harvest crops up elsewhere in the book of Isaiah.

Let's see if we can piece together the rest of the story...


The Disappearing Early Harvest Crops Up Again

First, a reminder: Throughout the Bible Israel/Zion is referred to as a "woman" and often associated with "the land," or "the earth" (in contrast, the Gentiles/nations are "the sea"). This is important to grasp, because as we piece together the story of the disappearing early harvest in Isaiah, we should also take note of the tight-knit connection between Israel and the Church.

*I cover the continuity and discontinuity of the Israel/Church relationship in a previous post entitled "Birthday-Breakaway." 

As we go through the following passages, notice how the metaphors merge and blend together to the extent that the "woman/land" will be described as both "giving birth" and "producing a harvest." The term "seed" [Heb. zera; Grk. sperma], whether explicitly stated or implied, is the common denominator throughout these verses. The reason is that "seed" can poetically describe both human offspring and plant life. When the "seed" is fully mature, the result is a two-fold resurrection/glorification metaphor: A "birth" from the womb and a "springing up" from the ground.

Here are the key pieces of Isaiah's early harvest puzzle in order of appearance:


Piece #1: The Seed Sprouts, and the Harvest Vanishes (Isa. 17:11)

On that day you [Israel] will help your plant to grow, and in the morning you will help your seed to sprout up, but the harvest will disappear on that day of disease and incurable pain" (translation mine).

Piece #2: The Resurrection/Harvest of the Dead Goes into Hiding (Isa. 26:19-20)

Your dead will come back to life; your corpses will rise up. Wake up and shout joyfully, you who live in the ground! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits. Go, my people! Enter your inner rooms! Close your doors behind you! Hide for a little while, until his angry judgment is over!" (NET).

Piece #3: The Messiah's Resurrection (Firstfruits) and His Seed to Follow (Isa. 53:10-12)

...When You make Him a restitution offering, He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, and by His hand, the LORD's pleasure will be accomplished. He will see [light] out of His anguish, and He will be satisfied with His knowledge. My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil because He submitted Himself to death..." (HCSB, brackets based on the Dead Sea Scrolls + LXX).

Piece #4: The Birth of the Son (Male) Before Israel's Labor/Tribulation (Isa. 66:7-8)

Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?" (NKJV).

In all four pieces of the puzzle, we see a birth/resurrection of the Messiah and/or His Seed (Body). Piece #'s 1, 2, and 4 all refer to the same event: The Pre-Tribulation Resurrection and Rapture of the Church. Piece #3 is the essential first phase: The Messiah's "birth" from the earth (resurrection) and the assured promise of a dynasty (seed/offspring). New Testament revelation further develops these resurrection metaphors by referring to Messiah as "the firstborn from the dead" (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5) and "the firsfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20).

Further revelation from the standpoint of Isaiah certainly helps to fill in the gaps and complete the picture of the disappearing early harvest. Yet even without the New Testament, you could still preach and teach the Pre-Tribulation Resurrection and Rapture of the Church with evidence from Isaiah alone!


The Presentation of the Male-Child (A Gift from our Great High Priest)

Now that we have covered Isaiah 17–18 and pieced together the story of the disappearing early harvest, let's conclude this study by revisiting a concept touched on earlier in our discussion of Isaiah 18:7. Though this verse refers to an offering of Gentiles brought to the LORD at the end of the Tribulation and start of the Millennial Reign, there is a partial fulfillment taking place during this current Church age.

The apostle Paul connects the dots for us in Romans 15:15-18:

Nevertheless, I have written to remind you more boldly on some points because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of God's good news. My purpose is that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I have reason to boast in Christ Jesus regarding what pertains to God. For I would not dare say anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed" (HCSB, emphasis mine).

Keep in mind that Paul gives credit where credit is due. He boasts in Christ Jesus for His work through him to sanctify an acceptable offering of Gentiles. The apostle's language reveals his deep knowledge of the Torah and all the "shadows" of the Levitical laws that point forward to Christ and the fulfillment of Yahweh's appointed feasts (Lev. 23; cf. Col. 2:16-17).

The down payment of the Spirit was given at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) and is still being given to the body of Christ at the present time (Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22), but soon the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest, will make good on that guarantee and gather up the whole harvest in order to bring the fully-glorified body back to the Father as an acceptable offering (Jn. 14:1-3).

At the time of the Revelation 12 sign last September, I thought the Feast of Trumpets (Yahweh's 5th feast day) was a sure-fire lock for the Resurrection and Rapture of the Church, and I know that I wasn't alone in this assumption. There were (and still are) solid reasons for believing Trumpets to be the time of the Rapture.

That dreaded feeling of confusion and disequilibrium after September ended, though unpleasant as it was, did lead to even greater discoveries to the learners and humble seekers who did not give up. Some were convinced way before the sign came to pass that Pentecost was the ideal feast day for the consummation of the Church (I'm looking at you, Greg Lauer!). And now that I've gone through this study in Isaiah, I'm leaning more and more to the promising possibility of Pentecost.

So, the question still remains: When, or at what season, will the complete body of Christ be presented before the LORD as an acceptable offering?

Well, if the LORD continues to operate based on His own harvest calendar, then we need to take a look at a couple of passages in the Torah that relate to the offering and presentation of the firstborn male.

First, Exodus 23:14-17:

Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread...none shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the Feast of Harvest [Pentecost], of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year...[t]hree times in the year all your males appear before the Lord GOD" (ESV).

Second, for emphasis, Deuteronomy 16:16:

Every male [Heb. zakur] must appear in the presence of the LORD your God three times a year at the place where he will choose: for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Seven Weeks [Pentecost], and the Festival of Tents [Tabernacles]. He must not appear in the LORD's presence empty-handed" (ISV, emphasis and bracketed explanations mine).

I chose the ISV translation for the passage in Deuteronomy, because it is the only one I could find that translates "male" as it is literally written in the text (as a singular noun). The term zakur [male] in Exodus 23:17 and Deut. 16:16 is very closely related to zakar [male], the word used for the male-child of Isaiah 66:7 (cf. Rev. 12:5). Thus, the kinship between zakur of the previously cited passages in the Torah and zakar of Isaiah 66:7 give rise to some exciting possibilities.

If the male is to appear before the LORD three times a year (Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), then that helps to narrow the time-frame. Jesus, the firstfruits of a greater harvest to come, has already presented himself at God's temple in Jerusalem at the Triumphal Entry (Jn. 12:12-14). The next appointment for the presentation of a male would be Pentecost.*

*Update (6/25/2018): If Pentecost has already been fulfilled completely rather than partially, then that would leave Tabernacles as the time-frame of the presentation of the male-child. Therefore, the Feast of Trumpets is the logical next choice for the fulfillment of the Resurrection and Rapture of the Church. We may be coming full circle from the standpoint of the Revelation 12 sign. To be continued...

And since there is currently no fully-functioning temple in Jerusalem sanctioned by God, the male of Isa. 66:7 (the early harvest) will be presented to the LORD at His temple in heaven (cf. Isa. 26:20; Jn. 14:1-3; Rev. 12:5). In fact, according to Isaiah 66:6, it's from the temple in heaven that the voice of the LORD gives the go-ahead for the male to be delivered and caught up to His throne. After the birth [complete salvation] of the male and his swift removal, then Israel goes into Tribulation and bears the rest of her children later on (cf. Isa. 66:7-8).

Take a look at a few verses describing the Feast of Pentecost from Leviticus 23:17, 20, and 22:

You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD...[t]he priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest...[w]hen you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God" (NASB, emphasis mine).

It has been well-documented by others that the Feast of Pentecost depicts the merger of both Jew and Gentile in one body ("two loaves" + "baked with leaven"). We know from Acts 2 that the Spirit was given on Pentecost, establishing the conception of the Church, and fulfilled, at least in part, the requirements for the 4th feast. However, if Pentecost AD 33 was just a partial fulfillment, then we could potentially witness total fulfillment and the actual "birth" of the Church coming up on the very same day the down payment was given.

In the description from Leviticus given above, the high priest is to present the offering of the bread representing a Jew and Gentile body and the reapers are told not to harvest the whole land. Unique to Pentecost are the specific instructions to leave gleanings for "the needy" and "the foreigner."

Interesting. Now think back to our study of Isaiah 17–18 and the story of the disappearing early harvest. Remember the Early Harvest is reaped and disappears before the devastating judgments of the Tribulation ensue. Only gleanings are left by the time the Late Harvest comes (cf. Isa. 17:4-6). Doesn't this description sound like a Left Behind scenario?

Wow! This would make for a truly compelling sign and witness to the world: The birth and presentation of the male-child on Pentecost at the same time a hardened Israel celebrates the old covenant given at Mt. Sinai:

For you have not come to what may be touched [Mt. Sinai], a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, 'If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.' Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I tremble with fear.' But you have come to Mt. Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly [Church] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel" (Hebrews 12:18-24, ESV, bracketed explanation and emphasis mine).

Pentecost, or Trumpets, could be the day when Hebrews 2:11-13 is totally fulfilled:

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He [Jesus] is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly [Church] I will sing praise to You.' And again: 'I will put My trust in Him.' And again: 'Here am I and the children whom God has given Me" (NKJV, bracketed explanation and emphasis mine).

Yes, Pentecost, or during a Fall Feast, could be the day when our Great High Priest returns to the Father, not empty-handed (Deut. 16:16), but with the early harvest in tow. In the midst of the assembly [the newly glorified Church], He will say, "Here I am with the children God gave me." And afterwards, we will sing a new song back to Him:

But one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.' And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood the Lamb as though it had been slain...[a]nd they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:5-6, 9-10, NKJV, emphasis mine).

Hallelujah, amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
Post A Comment

41 comments :

  1. I'm excited for what the next few weeks may bring.

    Very grateful for how God has raised you up to edify the Body and expand all of our understanding about His promises to gather us to Him. You continue to cover a lot of previously unexplored ground.

    Maranatha!!

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    1. This is off topic, but I wanted to encourage everyone to watch this documentary. It's free on Amazon Prime and $3.99 on YouTube. Best testimony I've ever seen and if there is anyone in your life on the fence about Christianity I would recommend this movie above just about anything else:

      [youtube width="320" height="266" src="2DmhcChVcYA"/]

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    2. Thanks, Gary! I'm thankful to be a part of this team and that the Lord is opening up the Scriptures. When I first learned about Ephesians 3:3-6; 5:32, I did not realize at the time just how deeply entrenched this mystery of Christ's body was in the Old Testament. We are a big part of the story :)

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    3. 7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

      Enjoyed that article Gary, God is good!

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    4. Gary, thanks for the recommendation. My wife and I watched this documentary last night, and WOW! What a testimony to how God can change a man's heart and life. I have to admit, I have never heard any of his music before. I don't know why that is, as his music is great! God has given him a wonderful gift, and I am glad he did not give up.

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    5. Most welcome. His songs are pretty much a staple of church worship down south and can even be found in many hymnals.

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  2. Back to the store for me! I'm out of K-cups! Can't wait to study!!

    Thank you guys!!!

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    1. As a former Kuerig fan, I have to say one of these bad boys will save a lot of money in the long run and functions almost exactly like a Kuerig without the pods: http://a.co/fpJbKNV

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  3. What an EXCELLENT effort thus far!

    Before I get any further...

    Quoting, "First, a reminder: Throughout the Bible Israel/Zion is referred to as a 'woman' and often associated with 'the land,' or 'the earth' (in contrast, the Gentiles/nations are 'the sea')."

    Question for you guys: If we consider the Gentiles as symbolised by the sea and Jews by the land or the earth, how then may we interpret (Revelation 13:1) and (Revelation 13:11)? The concept has the prospect of completely changing my view of verse 11!

    Blessings,


    Pastor Rich

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    1. [insert standing ovation here]

      Points that caught my attention in Isaiah 18 come from (Isaiah 18:4 NKJV). Grapes are the first major fruit to ripen after wheat in Israel. The "heat of harvest" in verse four suggested to me the summer (grape) harvest which begins in June and runs as late as September. More precise timing is suggested in that "the sour grape is ripening in the flower..." May this point to Spring harvest time? May perhaps?

      Could this be about the time of Pentecost? Perhaps!

      "He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches." (Isaiah 18:5)

      Normal summer maintenance would call for pruning and tucking long shoots into the trellis to allow sunlight to bathe developing fruit and pruning of shoots that have no fruit above 7 or 8-large leaves. The tips of new clusters can be cut-off as it helps make larger grapes on the clusters.

      In this case we see that even the branches are cut down (seemingly to bare trunk) and left together with the tender sprigs for the birds and beasts of the earth. With the branches gone this plant would not bear fruit for some time and then only with special care and pruning.

      More pin-points for timing?

      PR

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    2. Thank you, Pastor Rich!

      Great additional insight. I was tempted at first to view chapter 18 as a fulfillment of the Resurrection/Rapture of the Church (Mt. Zion of 18:7 then being the one in heaven). However, I decided against it because of the references to the grapes and the supper of the birds (18:5-6), which I saw as correlating with passages like Joel 3:12-13 (cf. Rev. 14:15-20) and Ezek. 38:17-20 (cf. Rev. 19:17-18).

      So, the timing of this particular harvest in chapter 18 seems to fit better with the end of the Tribulation. But! I did see the possibility of a partial fulfillment of a "nation" being brought to Mt. Zion as a gift to the Lord. Hence the discussion about Paul's ministry to the Gentiles and the role of Christ as our Great High Priest who brings the offering of the Church to the Father as a gift, possibly on Pentecost.

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    3. Thank you Jeff for your time invested and excellent exposition. The breadth of Scripture being pulled into view is stunning and begs one to do a double-take.

      Most excellent!

      After posting my note last night I got thinking of how the extreme pruning of the grapes likened a harvest to death of sour grapes. Fruit that was positioned to ripen to full maturity was cut-down. Prosperity cut short. A generation deprived of maturity. Not only cut down but the entire plant was pruned to a stump.

      Hmmm....

      Much more study to do.

      It is a blessing to share this space. Thank you for your inspired contributions!

      Blessings,

      Pastor Rich

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    4. Jeff/All,

      The Spirit turned my attention to a parallel of (Isaiah 18:5-7 ESV) found in Matthew this morning -- specifically Chapter 13, Verses 24-30 and 36-43. Jesus gives us here the Parable of the Weeds and the Parable of the Weeds Explained. See (Matthew 13:24-30 ESV) and (Matthew 13:36-43 ESV)

      Jesus paints a picture of the wheat harvest. A reaping to destruction and salvation of the harvest. The reaping to destruction is time specific that, "[t]he harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels."

      According to the Parable of the Weeds we see that the weeds are not immediately pulled, they are left until the harvest. At the harvest the weeds are gathered FIRST and destroyed.

      40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

      41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,

      42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

      43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

      (Matthew 13:40-43 ESV)


      Jesus' teaching the gathering of weeds echoes Isaiah recording that,

      "...before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away. They shall be all of them left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth." (Isaiah 18:5-6a ESV)

      Isaiah records a sour generation that is cut down with their branches. A heavy pruning of a plant that bears unacceptable fruit.

      I have a TON to unpack as I explore this further but I tend to agree with you Jeff that (Isaiah 18) might give us a picture at the end of the Tribulation.

      (Revelation 19:21) seems like a fit to this image as well. Like I said, more digging to do...

      PR

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    5. (Revelation 14:14-20 ESV) gives another view of the grape harvest. In earthly terms this is a summer to late summer harvest that culminates with the Feast of Booths (tents or tabernacles) in the fall. This is the last of the seven appointed times and known as Sukkot or Succoth.

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  4. Well thought out and inspired. Thank you for the time you put forth to help feed us.
    I had a quick mind flash as I read the last line "and we shall reign on the earth" and thought about :
    Rev 21:24  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour in to it.
    Rev 21:26  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 
    Rev 21:27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. 
    Not sure what to make of the mind flash connection as yet however. Questioning who the "kings of the earth" are and who the "they" are?

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    1. Some say that "Kings of the Earth," the seven kings are the last seven Popes. Some say that it is the original seven kings that reigned in Rome before the Roman Republic was founded around 509 BC. It points to Rome and the different forms of Government. I for one think it's the Popes, this current 266th Pope, Francis in my opinion is the false prophet of Rev 13:11

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    2. Thanks, William. Glad to put this together.

      Chapter 22 is pretty enigmatic, especially when you consider Rev. 21:4 where death is said to be a thing of the past. The fruit of the tree of life is said to be "for healing the nations" (Rev. 22:2). But why the need for healing if there is no death or sickness? I don't know the answer to that one.

      I do know that the main point about these statements at the end of chapter 21 indicate that all is right in the renewed heavens (sky) and earth. Heaven and earth are in harmony, and the nations [Gentiles] are no longer the raging "beasts of the earth" oppressing Israel, the Church, and rejecting God's authority.

      One possibility to the identity of the "kings of the earth" and the nations streaming into to the New Jerusalem are the "sheep" nations of Matt. 25:31-34. Though this context refers to the end of the Tribulation and start of the Millennial Reign, there will probably be a similar separation occurring at the end of the 1,000-year reign. I would say the nations of Rev. 21:24-27 are definitely "sheep" nations.

      :)

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    3. Jeff dear brother the question about the tree of life to "healing the nations" is quickly answered: there will still be humans in natural flesh during the millennium on earth. They are spiritually 'born again' (in the beginning all of them, starting with the survivors of Armageddon, the Israel remnant and the judgement of the living in Matthew 25 from the nations) but later there will be decline again as people may obey to Christ for fear only but not because they believe (Psalm 101:8 / Isaiah 66:24). Satan will be bound but there's still sinful flesh on earth so people will need healing to live a 1,000 years timespan. The book of Enoch refers to this special tree in chapter 25. The access to the tree of life was forbidden since the Fall but now this tree will make part of the kingdom of God again as long as there are people living in natural flesh.

      https://bookofenochreferences.wordpress.com/category/the-book-of-enoch-with-biblical-references-chapters-21-to-30/chapter-25/

      Blessings to you! MARANATHA! :)

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    4. Dear Brent, the "Kings of the earth" in the millennium will just be literal leaders of nations. We as the glorified saints will rule with Christ but they will still hold their power as natural persons. Think of how Satan will be released in the end to gather them against Israel again for the last big battle (which I personally identify Eze38 in fact to be a description of). These are natural persons in the flesh but not Popes as there won't be ANY of Babylonian false church when Jesus Christ sits on the throne of David in Jerusalem to be worshipped! Remember: anyone who does not give credit to Christ will be punished with drought (Zechariah 14:17). Blessings to you :)

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    5. I'm tracking with you in regard to the Millennium, Annabel. But how do you reconcile Rev. 21:4, "...and death shall be no more..." and the leaves that heal nations in Rev. 22:2? If the new earth and the descent of the New Jerusalem is after the Millennial reign, and death is no more, then why the need for healing? That's really the heart of the question.

      What say you?

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    6. Dear brother, "death shall be no more" for the GLORIFIED SAINTS only with INCORRUPTABLE bodies. There will be people on earth in natural flesh which is still corruptable and sinful until they DIE (Isaiah 65:20).

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    7. Sorry, I overlooked your question what comes AFTER the millennial reign. Well, the "healing of nations" is only LIMITED to this period as far as I understand. Afterwards there will be the great judgement before the white throne, death and Hades will be cast into the Lake of fire then as they will be no more needed (Revelation 20:14). End of death. Makes sense?

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    8. Makes sense, Annabel. There might be some overlap between chapters 20-22. Oh, and check out Ezek. 47:12!

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  5. Thank you! yummy, yummy, Maranatha!

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    Replies
    1. Lol, Jimboni. Three course meal for ya!

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  6. Currently, I'm happily stunned and excited to go back through again with Bible and pencil in hand and devour it. I couldn't do that the first time, too anxious to read it. Great work Jeff and so fitting for the time we are in. He seems to be wrapping things up in packages and tying the bows on them so we can see them not as disparate parts, but as the whole He intended. Thank you for being an absolutely fabulous gift-wrapper! Blessings - Sherry

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Sherry!

      That's the best way to view this work---as a gift! That's also how I was encouraged in seminary to view the work put into study and sermon prep. It is a gift to others in the body.

      Thank you for being a blessing to the body as well.

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  7. That was a blockbuster read, but this will be one event that I think we are going to soon be living rather than watching!

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    1. Amen, Brandon! Lord, let it be so.

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  8. Wow! Great Article! The timing is amazing! I've been reading "Does Scripture Support A Pentecost Rapture" by T.W. Tram which has convinced me that a Pentecost (also known as "Feast of Harvest of First Fruits") is a much stronger case than the case for a Trumpets Rapture. Your article strengthens the Pentecost Rapture theory even more. It may or may not be in 2 weeks, but I don't know how we can go on much longer before the whole planet implodes!

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    Replies
    1. Between Hawaii exploding, embassies moving, Iran planning, Lebanon falling, and peace plans soon to be unveiling... I think this month holds some promise.

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    2. Gary , I know, when September - October came and went with no rapture and with much learning since then, the next date on my radar was Pentecost give or take few weeks either way, definitely gonna be an exciting month even if we don't fly just yet.

      Jeff, your articles are always so informative and a true delight to read and study on these 2 from Isaiah have been my favorites - you truly have a gift from our Lord and savior Jesus.

      MARANATHA DONNA

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    3. Thank you, Donna!

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    4. Thank you, George. I know we were all in for Trumpets, but I agree with you. The more I've been open to Pentecost, the better it seems to fit.

      The timing was right for this two-part series. I had put it on the back-burner for some time.

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  9. I find it remarkable all throughout the Bible GOD references all manner of plants. He must be one heck of a gardener!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Ha, Ha - You're right about that Mark. I love the fact we are all "His Seed". Love it, Love It - we are in the hands of the Master Gardener! Blessings - Sherry

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  10. Thank you Jeff - such an encouragement to read this!

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