For As In The Day of Midian's Defeat

9: 4-5

    DIG: How does Isaiah describe the effects of the dawning light in 9:3-5? In the context of the Assyrian threat, what does this light mean (see 10:26-27)? What will be the light? How is He defined in 9:6-7? If Isaiah is describing the end of warfare, why is he talking about boots and garments? Where does this battle take place? Who is the first casualty of the battle? Who wins the battle? What is His title? What happens to the enemy?

    REFLECT: Has God done some amazing things in your life? How has He shattered some of the yokes that burden you? What is one yoke that you desire to have Him shatter now? How can you help others throw off their yokes? Does this ultimate Campaign and battle seem cruel or just? Vindictive or righteous? Why? Does the title of the victor surprise you (Joshua 5:15)? Does such a One give you comfort, or impart fear? Can you imagine such a time when there will be no more war? What will it be like to live in such an era?

    Now the immediate cause of rejoicing is explained (9:3). The increased future joy of Israel in the Messianic Kingdom will be the supernatural work of God. His act of deliverance will be similar to the day of Midian’s defeat (Judges 7:1-24; Isaiah 10:26). This is the first explanation of the hope just described (9:1-3). Facing impossible odds, Gideon and his people discovered that in the LORD, weakness is turned into strength (Second Corinthians 12:9-10). They watched in amazement as God used them to bring deliverance (Judges Chapters 6 through 8). Consequently, given the character and power of ADONAI, Isaiah points to those events as evidence that the picture he presents of the nation’s deliverance is entirely possible.

    The Holy Spirit combines that imagery of both the exodus and Gideon’s victory into one act of deliverance at the Second Coming. Speaking about God’s future restoration of the nation in the Millennial Kingdom, the prophet said: You have shattered the yoke that burden’s them, the bar across their shoulders, and the rod of their oppression (9:4). Isaiah looks back to Egypt and the exodus when he mentions the yoke (Leviticus 26:13), burdens (Exodus 1:11, 2:11, 5:4-5, 6:6-7), and oppressor (Exodus 3:7, 5:6 and 10-14). Then he couples that with Gideon and the defeat of Midian. It was a victory brought about through an insignificant mediator (Judges 6:15), in such a way that it could only be the work of ADONAI (Judges 7:2-14), but involving and benefiting Naphtali and Zebulun (Judges 6:35). The yoke is suffering endured; the rod is suffering inflicted. The contrast communicates totality. All suffering will be over. The redeemed will enter Zion with singing, and everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:9b-10).

    All suffering will be at an end when the LORD returns to set up His kingdom. The Assyrian emperors loved to tell how they imposed their heavy yokes upon the people they captured. Here Isaiah looks off to a day when One mightier than the Assyrians of this world will break those yokes to pieces. He calls to us and says: Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-29).

    The LORD’s people will enjoy the fruits of victory that they did not win. It is the Messiah who will be victorious by ending all oppression. But how will He do that? By putting an end to the warfare, which is the basis of all oppression. ADONAI will not replace oppression with greater oppression; nor will He substitute warfare with greater warfare. Instead, He will do away with all wars.

    The figure Isaiah uses to illustrate the elimination of war is a powerful one. For every warrior’s boot used in battle and every piece of clothing rolled in blood will be destined for burning, it will be fuel for the fire (9:5). He uses the lesser to show the greater, and in doing so, gives us the complete picture. If the boots and the pieces of clothing of the soldiers will be burned, we can be assured that not only will the weapons will be destroyed, but also the soldiers who used them. The soldiers’ boots that shook the earth will be silent. The pieces of their clothing, mixed with their own blood, will one day feed the flames.

    Revelation 19:17-20 deals with Messiah as the righteous warrior, for we see Him defeating Satan’s armies in what is often called “the Battle of Armageddon,” but in reality is the war of The Great Day of the LORD's angelic armies. Armageddon means Mount of Slaughter. This war will take place in a single day, and the battle of Armageddon will be just one of the battles of that war. Actually, this war will encompass more than just the Valley of Megiddo (Jezreel). It will cover practically all of the land of Palestine. The battle starts at Bozrah and will continue all the way back to the eastern walls of Jerusalem which overlook the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

    Among the very first casualties of the battle will be the antichrist himself. Having ruled the world with great power and spoken against the true Son of God, the counterfeit son will be powerless before Christ (Habakkuk 3:13-14). The ease with which the Messiah will slay the antichrist is described by Rabbi Saul in Second Thessalonians 2:8, And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The one who has claimed to be God, the one who has been able to perform all kinds of miracles, signs and wonders, the one who exercised all authority of Satan as he ruled the world, will be quickly dispensed by the word of the righteous warrior.

    After the death of the antichrist, the slaughter of his army will continue. The commander of the LORD’s army (Joshua 5:15) will continue marching through the Land in indignation, as if treading the winepress of His wrath, causing blood to be sprinkled on His clothing. Zechariah 14:12-15 describes the manner in which this massive army will be destroyed. This carnage will continue all the way back to Jerusalem, coming to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat as Joel 3:12-13 states. The nations that gathered against the Jews (Joel 3:9-11) will now find themselves being slaughtered by the King of the Jews. The blood from this encounter with the living God will run about one mile wide and one hundred and eighty miles long, from the Valley of Jezreel in the north of Israel, to Bozrah in the south and will literally reach to the horses’ bridles (Revelation 14:20). A sea of humanity will become a sea of blood. It will practically cover the length of Israel, and when this battle comes to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, so does the seventh stage of the Campaign of Armageddon (see Kh – The Eight Stage Campaign of Armageddon).

    At that time, the implements of warfare will be destroyed (2:2-4). He will do away with wars so they will not be needed. He makes war cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:9-10). But how will He do it?


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