From Death to Life
Arlen L. Chitwood
Blessings Awaiting Israel and the Nations
As Seen through the Death of King Uzziah in Isaiah 6
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”Then said I, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:1-8)
King Uzziah ruled over Judah during the eighth century B.C. He was faithful during most of his reign and never deserted the worship of the one true God. That which is seen in Isaiah 6:1-8 forms an overall type having to do with the complete history of Israel, with the emphasis on Israel’s future; and the type begins with and draws from something not dealt with in the text per se, though it is alluded to through cleansingthat is seen in the account.
During King Uzziah’s reign, the day came when he took it upon himself to do that which is reserved for the priests alone, those from the tribe of Levi. Though not of the priestly tribe, he sought to burn incense upon the altar in the Holy Place of the Temple.
He was opposed by Azariah the priest, along with eighty other priests. And because he had transgressed against the Lord, he was struck with leprosy; and he remained a leper,“cut off from the house of the LORD” until the day of his death (2Chronicles 26:1-21; cf.Leviticus 13:46).
Isaiah chapter six, drawing from this incident and experience in Uzziah’s life, has to do with “Uzziah” as a type of Israel.
As seen beginning in the book of Isaiah, Israel’s sickness, paralleling Uzziah’s leprosy is brought to the forefront in the opening verses:
Alas,sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity . . .
From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores . . .
Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence . . . . (Isaiah 1:4a, 6a, 7a)
Then, later in this opening chapter, extending into the next chapter, matters are presented where Israel is to one day be cleansed of her iniquity (1:25-31), with the “mountain of the LORD’shouse” subsequently being established “on the top of the mountains . . . .” (2:1-4).
This is exactly the same story told through the experiences and death of King Uzziah in chapter six. In the year that King Uzziah died — the death of a leper (who had been cut off from the Lord’s house), typifying the end of Israel’s sickness (the end of Israel being cut off from those things that the Lord has reserved for the nation) — the same thing is seen that was seen toward the end of chapter one and the beginning of chapter two. Following Israel’s cleansing, the Glory will be restored to the nation (Ezekiel 43:2-5); and Israel will then realize all that will be involved by and through the restoration of this Glory.
The whole earth [land] is full of His glory! (Isaiah 6:3)
Isaiah chapter six deals, first and foremost, with Israel and the land of Israel. The remainder of the earth has to do with the Gentile nations and the lands where they reside. And these nations during both Man’s Day and the future Lord’s Day (the Messianic Era) are seen, from a Scriptural standpoint, coming into view because of Israel and then being dealt with through Israel.
Israel is “the apple [lit., ‘pupil’]” of God’seye (Zechariah 2:8). And, accordingly, God views and then deals with the nations through Israel. This is the way God established matters through Abraham and the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis (12:1-3; 15:5-21; 22:17, 18), and this is the way matters must remain.
Even today, with Israel in a disobedient, spiritually dead state, God still views and then deals with the nations through Israel. God cannot violate that which He has established.
Blessings that God has reserved for the nations through Israel though, for the most part, are today being withheld. But, even during the present time, because of the manner in which God sees and then deals with the nations, blessings simply cannot be completely removed (e.g., note the numerous advancements in science, particularly in medicine, wrought by and through the Jews). And with the present as no more than a foretaste of things to come, think how it will be when God sees and then deals with the nations through a repentant and obedient Jewish nation, restored to the land, with the Glory restored to Israel.
That is the time seen in the latter part of Isaiah 6:3 — “. . . the whole earth is full of His glory.” The word “earth” in this verse is a translation of the Hebrew word, eretz. And this word can be understood and translated as either “earth” or “land.” This is the word used in Genesis 1:1, properly translated “earth.” This is also the word used today to refer to the land of Israel: Eretz Yisrael, “land of Israel.”
Again, bear in mind that Isaiah chapter six is about Israel and the land of Israel. The thought in verse three concerning the fullness of God’s Glory during the coming Messianic Era has to do with the land of Israel, not the whole earth at large.
In fact, to think of the matter in the latter respect, as the verse reads in almost any English version, can easily be shown to be incorrect. For example, Egypt will lie desolate the first forty years of this time (Ezekiel 29:6-15); and different nations will be rebellious throughout much, if not all, of this time (cf.Jeremiah 14:16-19; Revelation 20:7-9), separating themselves from anything associated with God’s Glory.
The fullness of God’s Glory will be seen in a restored land indwelt by a restored people through whom God will view and then deal with the nations. And any type of association with this Glory outside the land of Israel can only be seen in that day through the Jewish people as they traverse the earth as God’s evangels or move about in some other type of capacity (e.g., a governmental capacity, for Israel, in that day, will hold the scepter). Romans 9:4 would make this very clear.
(Since parts of the preceding are based on a corrected contextual translation and understanding of eretz in verse three, note a similar and related mistake that the translators have made with this word in Jeremiah chapter four, resulting in the same type of confusion.
In verses 20-28, where the heart of that which is under discussion is dealt with, the word eretz appears in verses 20, 23, 27, 28. In almost any English translation the word is rendered “land” twice [vv. 20, 27] and “earth” twice [vv. 23, 28]. The entire chapter is dealing with Israel and the land of Israel. The subject has to do with Israeli disobedience and that whichresultantlyis befalling both the people and the land [e.g., vv. 6, 7, 14]. The “earth” per se is not in view.
In verse twenty, by and through the use of two Hebrew words seen back in Genesis 1:2 — tohu wavohu [“without form and void”] — that which had happened to the land of Israel is likened to that which had previously happened to the entire earth. One had resulted from Israel’s sin [Jeremiah 4:20], the other from Satan’s sin [Genesis 1:2].
The earth had become “without form and void,” with a view to eventual restoration and regality; the land of Israel had become “without form and void,” with a view to eventual restoration and regality.
Then there is the matter of the land of Israel being seen at times as synonymous with the people of Israel [Ezekiel 14:11-13; Hosea 1:2]. One cannot be dealt with apart from the other. When the people were dispersed among the Gentiles, the land had to become desolate; when the people are one day restored [removed from the nations], the land will have to be restored as well (note the fertility seen in parts of this desolate land today, evidently because of the presence of some 6,000,000 Jews in the land).
[In short, anytime you find the words “earth” or “land” in English texts of the Old Testament, it would pay to check the context, for the word eretz can be understood and translated either way].
The same would be true of the word ge in the Greek New Testament. This word, as eretz in the Hebrew text, is also used for both “earth” and “land.”
For example, note the second beast in Revelation 13:11, who comes “up out of the earth.” Again, this is the way almost any English translation will read. But are the translations correct?
As seen from eretz in Jeremiah 4:23, it can be easily shown from the context that the word ge should be translated and understood as “land” in Revelation 13:11, not “earth.” Note that the first beast comes up out of the “sea” [v. 1]. The “sea,” in Scripture, is used in a dual metaphorical respect as a reference to the lands of the Gentile nations and to the place of death [cf. Exodus 14:21-31; Daniel 7:3; Jonah 1:12-2:10; Revelation 13:1; 17:1, 15; 21:1, 4].
In Revelation 13:1, the usage has to do with the nations, which could be any or all of the earth’s lands, except for one part, the land of Israel, the land that God covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That land is never spoken of in connection with the “sea”; nor does the usage of “sea,” in this respect, ever encompass that land.
Thus, when the first beast arises from the “sea” [which could encompass any of the lands occupied by the Gentile nations, though other Scripture narrows it down to the land of one nation (land covered by the ancient Assyrian kingdom; Daniel 8:8, 9)], and the second beast arises from another part of the earth, another land, one is left without an option. This man can only arise from the land of Israel, and the translators should have recognized this and translated the word ge accordingly.
In the same respect, note that the word ge has also been translated “earth” in the next two verses, when Israel and the land are centrally in view, very evident in vv. 13ff.)
. . . your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged. (Isaiah 6:7)
In Isaiah 6:5-8, exactly the same scene is depicted as set forth in the opening two chapters of the book — Israel seen in all her iniquity (cf.1:2-24; 6:5), cleansing for the nation occurs (cf.1:25-31; 6:6, 7), then the nation is seen in the Messianic Era (cf.2:1-4; 6:8). This is the story presented over and over in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.
This is the story presented in the book of Exodus, beginning with the Jewish people being persecuted while dwelling in a Gentile land. And the complete story is subsequently told in Exodus, the remaining three books of Moses, and Joshua — an account that takes the reader from the people of God being persecuted in a Gentile land to their dwelling in their own land within a theocracy.
It is the same story depicted time after time in repeated occurrences throughout the book of Judges. Time after time the same scene is repeated in this book. Israel is presented in a disobedient state, with Gentile nations subsequently being allowed to come in and subjugate the people. And this subjugation, with persecution following, occurred for a divine purpose.
This was God’s designed means to bring His people to repentance in order that He might send a deliverer and subsequently deal with them in relation to their calling and position as His firstborn son.
Then, a continuance through the Old Testament Scriptures (as in Isaiah chapters one, two, and six) would show exactly this same thing throughout. And, accordingly, this is the way it is all brought to a conclusion at the end of the Old Testament, in the closing two chapters of Malachi.
In that respect, how would one expect the New Testament to open, continue, and close? It could only be the same way, for the New is simply an opening up, providing a further explanation, of that already seen in the Old.
The New Testament begins very near the end of the 2,000-year period that God has allotted to deal with Israel during Man’s Day. And the New Testament, in complete keeping with the subject matter seen in the Old, opens with a call for Israel’s repentance by the Deliverer Himself, with cleansing from sin and the kingdom in view. This is what the gospels are about, something seen throughout all four accounts.
The events of Calvary though — climaxing Israel’s rejection of the Deliverer and the proffered kingdom — wrought a change. God, at this point, so to speak, stopped the clock marking off time in the Jewish dispensation. He stopped it seven years short of the complete 2,000 years allotted for the dispensation, or seven years short of the complete 490 years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, the closing 490 years of the complete 2,000 years (Daniel 9:24-27).
Seven years yet remain in which God will deal with Israel relative to repentance, with cleansing and the kingdom in view.But during the time in which the clock remains stopped, with God having set Israel aside, He has brought into existence a completely separate 2,000-year dispensation in which He has sent His Holy Spirit into the world to call out a bride for His Son (the antitype of that seen in Genesis 24).
The Church, the new creation “in Christ,” from which the bride for God’s Son is being taken, was brought into existence in Acts chapter two. But the book of Acts relates centrally an account other than God dealing with the Church, forming, in a respect, a fifth gospel. Throughout this book, the offer of the kingdom is left open to Israel, conditioned, as previously seen in the four gospels, on the nation’s repentance (e.g., Acts 2:37, 38; 7:51-60; 28:23-29).
The Church is seen throughout the book of Acts as the vessel that God used to continue the offer of the kingdom to Israel (from 33 A.D. to about 62 A.D.). It is not Acts though but the epistles that have to do with the Church (some were written during the Acts period). And though the things having to do with Israel — as previously seen throughout the Old Testament and the opening five books of the New Testament — are seen only sparingly in the epistles (e.g., Romans 1:16; 2:9, 10; 9:11; 1Corinthians 1:22), the Jewish nation, as seen in the book of Revelation, will appear back in the picture in all the nation’s fullness once God has completed His purpose for the present dispensation.
The opening four chapters of the book of Revelation deal centrally with events immediately following the present dispensation — the removal of the Church (chapters1a, 4a), the appearance of Christians before Christ’s judgment seat (chapters1b-3[chapters2, 3 alsopresent a history of the Church during the present dispensation]),and subsequent events having to do with findings and determinationsmade at the judgment seat (chapter4b).
Chapter five has to do with the search for One worthy to break the seals of the seven-sealed scroll introduced in the chapter. This scroll contains the redemptive terms (judgments) for the forfeited inheritance (the heavens and the earth, occupied and controlled by Satan, to be occupied and controlled by God’s three firstborn Sons).
Then chapters six through nineteen deal with Israel and the nations, picking up where the Old Testament or the book of Acts in the New Testament left off. These chapters deal with the last seven years of the Jewish dispensation, during which time God will bring His people to the place of repentance.
That is centrally what the book of Revelation, beginning with chapter six, is about. God, through the severity of Gentile persecution existing in that day, will bring His people to the place where they will be left without a choice, other than to turn to the God of their fathers (cf.Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff).
And, since that is what these chapters are about, it would indeed appear strange if Israel was not seen occupying a significant place in this respect throughout these chapters. In fact, such would be completely out of line with any and all previous Scripture (even the epistles, for Israel has not been permanently set aside; the nation has been set aside, until . . .[cf.Acts 15:14-18; Romans 11:25, 26]).
Israel occupying center-stage and brought to the place of repentance through Gentile persecution/judgments though is exactly what is seen in these chapters in the book of Revelation. Chapter six and chapters eight through ten present all of the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll (with the vial judgments in chapters15, 16 being a further description of the trumpet judgments, under the seventh seal, chapters8-10). And these judgments occur throughout the Tribulation and extend into judgments surrounding Christ’s return following the Tribulation.
Then Israel is seen throughout chapters eleven through fourteen and seventeen into twenty, with Israel brought to the place of repentance, followed by cleansing, in chapter seventeen through the opening verses of chapter nineteen, with a view to Gentile world power being destroyed (chapter19b) and the kingdom being ushered in (chapter20a).
The judgments in chapter six, chapters eight through ten, and chapters fifteen and sixteen are designed to bring Israel to the place of repentance. It is Israel in chapter eleven to whom the two witnesses minister; it is Israel in chapter twelve who is about to reign; it is Israel in chapter thirteen who is confronted by the beast and his false prophet; it is Israel in chapters seven and fourteenthat is seen bringing forth 144,000 evangels; it is Israel, seen as the harlot woman in chapters seventeen through the opening part of nineteen, who is brought to the place of repentance and cleansed; and it is Israel who will reign in chapter twenty following the destruction of Gentile world power at the end of chapter nineteen.
(For a more detailed exposition of the preceding, refer to the author’s books, The Time of the End and The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.
On the harlot woman in Revelation 17-19a, proper exposition is not difficult at all if one compares Scripture with Scripture and recognizes that metaphors and symbolic language are being used extensively, not only in these three chapters but throughout the book as a whole. Though the latter has been generally recognized by expositors over the years, most have failed to compare Scripture with Scripture. And the results of attempts to identify the harlot apart from comparing Scripture with Scripture have, understandably, been quite varied — usually seen as a false religious system of some type, but sometimes seen as a governmental system.
And interpretation of the preceding nature is, in itself, tragic. Loose dealings of this type with Revelation 17-19acompletely destroys the ending that God built into the last seven years of the Jewish dispensation as it is presented in the book of Revelation, an ending seen throughout the Old Testament and a number of places in the New Testament outside the book of Revelation.
To illustrate the point, note how simple the interpretation is regarding the harlot woman if one remains solely with Scripture, allowing Scripture to interpret itself.
In Revelation 17:18, the woman is clearly identified in so many words: “And the woman whom you saw isthat great city . . . .”
The expression, “that great city [‘that’ or ‘the,’ the same word appears in the Greek text]” is used nine times in chapters eleven through eighteen. In the first usage in chapter eleven [v. 8], “the great city” is clearly a reference to Jerusalem [“. . . where also our Lord was crucified”].
Then, in chapter fourteen [v. 8] and chapter sixteen [v. 19] “that great city” is identified as Babylon, the same as the harlot woman in chapter seventeen [“. . . MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (v.5)]. And one can know for certain that “Babylon,” with all its corruption, is being used as a metaphor for Jerusalem (cf.1 Peter 5:13), for Babylon in all three verses is seen to be separate from the Gentile nations, something true only of the Jewish people.
Thus, the reference in all three verses can only be to Jerusalem, which, in turn, is a reference to the Jewish people [often seen in an inseparable respect to both their capital city and their land (Lamentations 1:5-8; Ezekiel 14:11, 13)]. In this respect, interpreting the metaphor being used, the opening part of Revelation 17:18 could read, “The woman whom you saw is Israel . . . .”
And the destruction of this harlot woman (17:16, 17; 19:1-3) has to do with the end of Israel’s harlotry, which has to do with cleansing following repentance, paving the way for the Messianic Era to be ushered in.
Again, note the simplicity of biblical interpretation if Scripture is allowed to interpret itself. And the preceding is only one of several ways that the harlot is clearly identified in these three chapters.)
. . . Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8b)
A central reason God called Israel into existence was to be His witness to the nations. The Jewish people were to be the evangels, going forth to the nations with the message concerning the one true and living God (Isaiah 43:1-11).
A first fruit of the nation will be saved and go forth during the Tribulation, resulting in “a great multitude [converts among the nations]which no one could number” (Revelation 7:9ff;cf.Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5).
Then during the Millennium, with the conversion of the entire nation, the main harvest will follow. The entire nation will go forth bearing witness to the Gentile nations, relating the message of their Deliverer, the Great King-Priest who will be seated on David’s throne in their midst.
They will go forth in the antitype of Jonah who was delivered from the sea after two days, on the third day (cf.Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:39, 40; Luke 24:7, 21, 46). They, as well, will be delivered from that typified by the sea (the nations, and the place of death) after two days, on the third day (after 2,000 years, on the third 1,000-year period [Hosea 6:2]).
(The” sea,” as previously seen, is used in Scripture in a dual metaphorical sense — the place occupied by the Gentile nations and the place of death [cf. Exodus 14:21-31; Daniel 7:3; Jonah 1:12-2:10; Revelation 13:1; 17:1, 15; 21:1, 4]. Both usages are seen in the book of Jonah, covering the complete history of the Jewish people.)
As Jonah, following his deliverance, went to the Gentiles with God’s message, resulting in the conversion of an entire city to which God had sent him, Israel, following the nation’s deliverance, will go to the Gentiles worldwide, resulting in the conversion of untold multitudes throughout the earth.
With the ministry of 144,000 Jews over three and one-half years resulting in “a great multitude which no one could number,” think what an entire nation going forth for 1,000 years will be able to accomplish!
And this is exactly what will occur in the coming day when a repentant and converted nation states, “Here am I! Send me.”