Monday, January 7, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 4

What is your vision of heaven? In the fourth chapter of Isaiah, a very short chapter, we step away from the doom and gloom of the previous chapters. It is here that we see the result of the judgment of God, as Isaiah gives us a vision of what things will be like after said judgment. What we see is very brief, as this chapter spans just a handful of verses, but there is a reason for that. I think that it is because we can't possibly do a proper vision of heaven justice with our own finite vocabulary. We can deal in concepts of heaven, but until we actually experience it we will have no real idea.

2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. – Isaiah 4:2-4

Can you imagine being called holy? This is something I have difficulty wrapping my head around. I can't imagine being called holy because I know just how often and how greatly I have fallen short of being holy. The good news is that I am not alone, as none of us are holy in our own right. The only way we can be made holy is by putting our faith in Christ. Once that happens we are promised that we will be made holy in the eyes of the Lord. When this happens, everything we have done is washed away and we become pure.

The beauty of that comes from God's immeasurable grace. Just because we accept this gift doesn't mean we are suddenly impervious to sin. We can still fall, and often do. It is because we believe, however, that we are cleansed of these transgressions by grace. It makes for quite a simple equation of grace plus faith equaling salvation. What makes this all the more amazing is that Isaiah saw this hundreds of years before Christ came to earth, yet he outlines much of the plan right here in Isaiah.

5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. – Isaiah 4:5-6

Again, we are treated here to another simplistic vision of heaven. Surely it will be more than a shelter and a refuge. I have always envisioned it as the same for everyone, yet different as well. I view it as being the same in that we will all be worshipping the same God that is responsible for our lives. I also believe it will be different for everyone because we will be able to accomplish or live whatever we want at the same time. For example: being the basketball nut that I am I can finally go back and relive some of the greatest times in my life from my high school team. This is obviously an experience unique to me, but at the same time we'll be in the presence of God Himself. What better way to spend eternity?


  1. What is your own vision of heaven?
  2. What is the spirit of judgment and spirit of fire and how does it affect those that are made holy?
  3. Do you agree that the vision of heaven is the same, but different for everyone?

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