Isaiah seems to pause in his rebukes and warnings to encourage those who are living for God and for those who are being taken advantage of by the rich and powerful. He might even be trying to get people who are in sin to see that there is a bigger picture and that there is something after this life we are currently living in. Today we are going to talk about Heaven as Isaiah encourages us to stay focused on what really matters and what is waiting for us. Heaven is something that many people talk about but many people do not know what it is about and how they can even get their. Isaiah is going to answer those questions today as he calls us to remember that earth is not our final destination.
Isaiah 4:2-6 In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.[a] 5 Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
1) Heaven is our Home
It is comforting to know that earth is not Heaven but something better is waiting for us who put our faith and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This world is full of heartache and troubles and we are promised one day that those things will be gone. Isaiah has been trying to get them to see outside of themselves and now he is trying to get them to see outside of this world. Because we live in this world it is easy to get focused on it as if it is going to bring fulfillment to our lives and people do all they can to have a life they dreamed of while they are finding out that the things of this world will not satisfy them.
“In that day” always points to the end of time when God intervenes by stopping a world that has become corrupted.
There will be a day when the pain is gone, the tears will be wiped away and all that was distorted by sin will be made right again. This is why Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came and died for our sins and rose again defeating death so that we can be guaranteed to be with Him in Heaven.
“The branch of the Lord” is the promise of the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12)
Isaiah is letting them know that there will be a glorious and beautiful place that we will be able to go to because of the promised Messiah and Jesus made the same promise to His followers.
John 14:1-6 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you have ever been to a hotel you know that your stay there is usually short and so you do not redecorate or hang your personal pictures on the wall. It would be crazy if you brought in an interior decorator to your hotel room and had them redo the entire room for you. Not only would that be a waste of money it would more than likely be frowned upon by the hotel because it would not be to their standards. For many people that are living on earth they are redecorating the hotel room because our stay on earth is short compared to eternity yet we spend so much time and energy trying to make a place a home that is not meant to be our home.
In John 14 Jesus is using marriage terminology that Jesus because the groom would leave to go prepare the house and when he returned he would take his bride with him. The bride did not know when the groom would return but she knew that at some point she would be living to go and live somewhere else. Jesus was reassuring His disciples that He not only would go and prepare a place for them but He would come and take them with Him. It was such intimate language that Jesus was using which is what separates Christianity from almost all other religions because no other religion has a personal God like that of Christianity.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
You cannot even imagine how great Heaven is going to be the Bible tells us but because we cannot see it we focus more about what is in front of us instead of what awaits us.
“Then the Lord will create” God is going to do something new and amazing that it will be beyond description.
Revelation 21:1-2 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
We are told a little bit about Heaven so we do not get focused on this world and all the things that will one day be gone. The People in Isaiah’s day and throughout History have always been focused on the wrong world and we have to be reminded that the things of this world will one day no longer exist.
In Matthew chapter four Jesus was tempted by Satan to have all the Kingdoms of this world and it is a temptation that Satan still offers us today. Just like Jesus we have to realize that the kingdoms of this world do not compare to the kingdom of God.
Isaiah then says “He who is left” which is terminology that not everyone will be in Heaven. It is a popular notion to believe that everyone goes to Heaven but that is not what the Bible teaches. If you do not believe the Bible or Jesus that is one thing but for those who call themselves Christians or Christ followers Jesus did not leave room for us to make that error.
How can we know for sure we are going to make it to Heaven?
2) Heaven is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ
“Recorded for Life” is a statement meaning there was a registry of those who belonged to the city.
Jesus talked about this registry and the book that our names are written in which proves we belong in Heaven.
Luke 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The Apostle John goes on to tell us more about the vision that God gave him about Heaven and who would be and who would not be allowed into it.
Revelation 20:12, 15 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The books (plural) are all the things good and bad that people have done that they think will earn them a place in Heaven. Many people think that they are not bad people and that if they did anything wrong then they can make up for it by doing more good things that bad. Revelation 20 clearly tells us that the people that thought that were cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 13:8 calls it the Lambs book of life because the only way your name could be entered into the registry is by accepting the finished work of what Jesus Christ did on the cross because Hebrews 12:14 says that without Holiness no one will see the Lord. The problem man has with God is his sin and because of sin we are separated from God and the only way we can gain righteousness (being in a right standing with God) is not based on our actions but the actions of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
Just like we believe in the past work of Christ they looked forward to a day that they would be made righteous by the Messiah that was to come. Verse 4 says that “God will wash” which is part of a ceremonial cleaning meaning totally pure. Will “be called holy” because it is something they are declared not something they have earned or were able to achieve on their own. Wash away the filth is a term used for vomit. (The way God sees our sins). Again, to be as clear as I can be, you cannot earn your salvation it has to be something you receive as you believe in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:31)
The good news if you notice who is being cleansed it is the daughters of Zion the ones who were mentioned last chapter that were all about themselves and treated people poorly. Gods redemptive (bought back) plan applies to everyone not just the people we think deserve His grace. If we teach the cross of Christ correctly it is offensive because that means the worst of the worst can get in through faith yet the people we declare good will not if they do not accept Jesus Christ. We cannot earn our holiness in order to stand before God it is something He has to do to us and that is why He came to die on the cross. We do not see how separated our sins have made us from God but when we do see God face to face we will realize it is only through His work that we can be cleansed.
3) Heaven is about God’s Presence
“a Cloud by Day and a fire by night” Although there will be no more night the reference is how God was with them as He led them out of Egypt and through the desert. What is going to make Heaven so wonderful is not all the stuff but the presence of God. The reason we have to be pure and Holy is because God Himself will be with us and if we are unholy then we could not stand to be in the presence of God.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God
The word Canopy in Isaiah is used either as a marriage chamber or just a protection by God but it shows the intimacy of God to those who put their hope and trust in Christ. People think it is unfair that God will not allow everyone in but the people who are not going to Heaven do not want to be in the presence of God anyway so He is just giving them what they want. Shelter from the heat and storm God will protect us in such a way that we will no longer face the trials and troubles of this world.
Revelation 21:4-5 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
This entire passage that Isaiah is telling them in Chapter 4 is the opposite of all the things that he talked about in Chapter 3.The Promise was given to the people who were faithful in an unfaithful world as encouragement that one day God will make all things new and He will reverse what they are experiencing now.
“What is certain is what God will do. What is uncertain is what the people will do. Will they choose to accept God’s purification so they can be holy and dwell in God’s presence, or will they arrogantly continue in their sinful ways?” (The New American Commentary, Isaiah, Pg 159)
There is no room in Heaven for those who proudly think that they deserve to be there because of their works of righteousness. Acts 16:31 says Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Do You believe that Jesus death on the cross paid for your sins and His resurrection secured a day when you will rise and meet Him again. Are you discouraged by the things in the world or the things in your personal world? Take faith in knowing that God is going to make all things new for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Heaven is our home to try and focus too much time here does not make sense.