A Song of Deliverance
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to Isaiah, chapter 26. We have been noticing in this study that the book of Isaiah falls naturally into several divisions. We are in the midst of the fourth division of the first half of the book of Isaiah. This division begins with chapter 24 and concludes with chapter 27 and is referred to as the Little Apocalypse or the Little Revelation , because in these few chapters is presented in brief form all of the truths related to us in the book of Revelation from chapters 6 on through to the end of the book.

You will keep in mind that in the book of Revelation, beginning with chapter 6, we are introduced to a period of time that is to come upon the earth known as the Tribulation . It is a time of great judgment for the entire earth. Of course, it is good to keep in mind that all born-again believers will be taken out of the earth before this period of judgment actually begins. The Rapture of the Church is the next thing on God's prophetic program, and it is the thing for which we all ought to be looking. We should never be looking toward death as Christians, though we may die, but we should be looking for the Rapture of the Church, when the Lord Jesus Christ is going to catch us up to be with Himself.

That event is an undated event. We know not when it will be, but we do know that the signs indicate that the time for it is very, very soon. When the Rapture of the Church occurs, then begins, as we have suggested, the Tribulation. That Tribulation, a time of great trouble, was described in chapter 24 of the book of Isaiah, when we noticed verse 1:

Isaiah 24

1Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.

The chapter continues to present to us the destruction of the earth during the Tribulation and the reason thereof. The very last verse of chapter 24, says:

Isaiah 24

23Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

The glory of Christ will be so bright that the moon and the sun will be overshadowed therein.

Of course, we know from our study of the book of Revelation that when that hour comes, the Millennium will have begun. Millennium , you will keep in mind, is simply a word that describes a thousand years of righteousness upon this earth, in which the Lord Jesus Christ is going to rule and to reign—a time when the whole earth will be as God intended it to be before Adam and Eve brought sin into this present planet.

In chapter 25 of the book of Isaiah, we find Isaiah himself exalting, saying:

Isaiah 25

1O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

He goes on to describe in chapter 25 how God has defeated the enemy and has brought to pass a time of victory as is presented in verse 6. He said:

Isaiah 25

6And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

Figurative language, describing the time of great blessing and great prosperity.

A Song of the Millennium

In chapter 26, he turns to the whole nation of Israel, and he says to them, “I have been singing. I want to tell you a song that you will sing. Follow as we read chapter 26, verse 1:

Isaiah 26

1In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
2Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
5For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.
6The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.
7The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
8Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
9With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
11LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.
12LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
13O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
14They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
15Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
16LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
17Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD.
18We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

We will stop our reading there, because that is the end of the song. You may be wondering why I said at the beginning of our discussion that this is a song that will be sung in the millennial reign of Christ, particularly when you discovered in this chapter a very precious promise that you have claimed a number of times and which has been claimed by believers all down through the ages. Let us settle in our thinking exactly where this passage of Scripture belongs, for keep in mind that we have suggested to you that every passage of Scripture has one interpretation and then as many applications as is consistent with the whole truth of God's Word.

Addressed to Israel

We know that this particular passage of Scripture belongs to the millennial reign of Christ, because of the first phrase in verse 1 of this chapter, where Isaiah says:

Isaiah 26

1In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah…

“In that day…” That is a phrase with which you are familiar if you have spent very much time in the prophetic Word of God. As you know, that phrase deals with a period of time that begins with the Rapture of the Church and concludes with the end of the millennial reign of Christ—beginning with the Rapture of the Church, including the Second Advent of Christ, and ending when eternity begins.

You recognize, also, that this phrase can be used exclusively to refer to one particular phase of that prophetic period. You have to determine which phase of that prophetic period the prophet had in mind by the context that surrounds the phrase. For example, “in that day,” is a phrase that is used in chapter 24, and we told you that that was dealing with the Tribulation. “In that day,” is used in chapter 25, and we told you that that was dealing with the millennial reign of Christ. “In that day,” is used here in chapter 26, and we have suggested the same thought to you.

If you will glance down at verses 1 and 2, you will recognize that this is indeed a song that will be sung in Judah during the millennial reign of Christ, because after Isaiah has finished describing the song, he says in verse 20:

Isaiah 26

20Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

Of course, the people to whom Isaiah addresses himself is the nation of Israel. What is he saying to them? “Come, shut the doors to your chambers. Hide yourselves because trouble is coming—a time of indignation.” But it will be for a brief moment.”

Tribulation to Precede the Song

The Lord Jesus Christ takes up this same theme in chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew and says, “If these days were not shortened, no flesh would be saved. If the days were not shortened, even the very elect, the nation of Israel itself, would not survive.” He also says, “When the days of indignation come, if individuals are on top of the house [as they often were in that country, for the houses were flat-topped and people spent time on them like you might spend on your patio] don't take time to do anything about getting ready to come down. Flee immediately to the wilderness, because the time of tribulation is come; the time of indignation has arrived.”

That this suffering is different from the ordinary trials and tribulations that the nation of Israel has suffered and will yet suffer is indicated in verse 21, for there you read:

Isaiah 26

21For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

As we learned from chapter 24, the Tribulation is not only a judgment of the nation of Israel, though she will suffer in a special way, it is a judgment upon the entire earth. Though God has visited judgment on folk all down through the ages from the time of Adam and Eve, there is only one time when the Lord Jesus Christ leaves His throne and comes down to this earth for the purpose of judgment, and that is related to what is referred to as the Second Advent , or the Second Coming of Christ . What Isaiah is actually saying is, “Before you will be able to sing this song, there will be tribulation, there will be trials. Hide yourself away. God will see you through it, and when you enter the land of Israel during the millennial reign of Christ, you will be able to sing this song.”

God's Protection of Jerusalem

What song is it that they are going to be able to sing? The first thing they will sing about is their city. They said, “We have a strong city, a well defended city; it has unusual walls and unusual guard gates.” They said, “Salvation will God appoint for walls and for bulwarks.” The ancient city of Jerusalem had a wall all the way around it. The old city of Jerusalem, as it is known now, has a barbed wire entanglement around it, but when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back to this earth and restores Jerusalem as the center of the earth, there will be no need for walls. There will be no need for barbed wire entanglements. God Himself will be the protection of the city.

In verse 2, they sing:

Isaiah 26

2Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

You might read this verse of Scripture and say, “I don't know exactly what it means. It is some sort of figurative, poetic language, I suppose.” We do not interpret it so. We interpret it as literal language, because we read in chapter 2 of the book of Isaiah that when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back to this earth and sits in the city of Jerusalem on His throne, all of the nations of the earth are going to go up to the city of Jerusalem to sit at His feet and to hear what He has to say. So, those who sing the song, sing, “Open the gates and let the righteous nations come in.”

Where are those righteous nations going to come from? When you have time, study chapter 25 of the gospel of Matthew, for there you will read of wicked nations and righteous nations, and you will read the righteous nations will be permitted to enter the millennial reign of Christ and the gates of the city of Jerusalem will always be open to them so that they might come and worship as they please.

Israel to Know Peace

For the first time in centuries, the nation of Israel will know peace. From the time that the Lord Jesus Christ sat on the Mount of Olives outside the city of Jerusalem and said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee together as a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings, but thou would not” (Matthew 23:37) to the hour in which we live and on beyond this hour if the Lord Jesus Christ tarries, yea until the time the nation of Israel dwells in the city of Jerusalem singing the song that we are talking about, they have no peace and they will know no peace. There is no peace for them.

But what do we read? For the first time, they are enjoying peace. They will sing in verse 3:

Isaiah 26

3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

Yes, these are the words that the nation of Israel will sing when they dwell in perfect peace in the city of Jerusalem someday.

If we passed these words without adding something else to them, we would be doing an injustice to the Scripture, and we would be unfair to you. These words illustrate what I said at the very beginning of our discussion and what I have said to you many, many times over, and that is that every passage of Scripture has one interpretation and as many applications as is consistent with the truth of the whole Word of God.

The Promise of Perfect Peace

Even though these are the words that the nation of Israel will sing during the millennial reign of Christ, they are words that have proven precious to the saints of God all down through the ages. If you haven't claimed this promise for yourself sometime or other, I would like to introduce it to you, and if it has proven precious to you any number of other times, I would like to refresh your memory about it before we go on with our chapter.

Look at the words with me again and notice what they say:

Isaiah 26

3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Look at the words perfect peace . If you were reading this in the original text, you would find the same Hebrew word twice repeated. You would find the words shalom, shalom for the words that are translated “perfect peace,” because that is the manner in which the ancient writers emphasized the completeness of any one particular thing that they were talking about. Actually what you would be reading is, “Thou wilt keep him in peace, peace…” but it sounds better and it conveys the idea of the phrase to say, “perfect peace,” for when the word is repeated in the manner that is suggested here, it is “perfect peace.” “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace…”

What is perfect peace? Actually this word shalom conveys the idea of being safe in body, in mind, in a state of perfect safety. It involves, also, the idea of completeness and well-being. Let me give you an illustration of what I am talking about. Turn in your Bibles to II Samuel, chapter 18, where you will find an interesting story. You will recognize in this story a phrase that will help you to understand what we are talking about. Absalom, the son of David, had rebelled against his father, and the armies of the king had to go out and do something about it. The father was not concerned about the rebellion; he was concerned about his boy. So in verse 29, we read:

II Samuel 18

29And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.
30And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.
31And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.
32And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.

King David was not glad to hear this because, as you know the rest of the story, Absalom wasn't safe. We called your attention to this incident that you might notice the word safe , twice repeated in this paragraph. It is the translation of the Hebrew word shalom . That is what it means when we read in Isaiah, chapter 26, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” It means, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect safety, whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Turn to chapter 43 of the book of Genesis. You will remember that Joseph was dealing with his brethren who had come down to Egypt to buy food, because there was a famine in the land of Canaan. In Genesis, chapter 43, verse 27, Joseph inquired about his father by saying:

Genesis 43

27…Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

The word well is a translation of the Hebrew word shalom . What does it mean: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”? It means that God will keep the individual well in body, soul, and mind, when he places his trust in Him.

Someone says, “There will be no sickness?” No, keep in mind that every promise in the Word of God must be interpreted in the light of other promises; and though the Word of God does teach us that there will be illnesses because God has lessons for us to learn, that there will be illnesses because we are living in a world which is condemned to disease, we must realize that many of the illnesses that we have, we might not have to have if our mind was stayed on Him, because He is able to keep us in perfect peace.

Protection for the Mind

I would like for us to look at this verse again: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee ,” and notice how much of it is in italics. We have reminded you any number of times, when we find italics in a verse, it is the translators' way of showing us that those words are not in the original text. Always they make for easier reading, but they don't always emphasize the truth of the verse as clearly as they could.

Let me emphasize what I mean by leaving those italicized words out of our reading. “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, the mind stayed, because he trusteth in Thee.” You see what this verse of Scripture is saying, Beloved? It is saying that God is able to keep your mind. That is what I want you to notice, because I believe that we are living in a day when more attacks are being made on the minds and the emotions of people than at any other time. I believe that this passage of Scripture can be claimed by the children of God in many cases, and I believe that God can work.

The word for mind in the Hebrew is yetser . It is a very interesting word, for it isn't placing emphasis upon the mind as we speak of it, as the brain, a physical organ. It is speaking more of the function of the mind—the imagination, the thought. As a matter of fact, it is a word that speaks of framing or forming things.

You don't have any trouble with your mind when you can think clearly, do you? Isn't the trouble you have when your imagination runs away with you? Isn't the trouble you have with your mind the thoughts that you frame with your mind, causing you to have delusions of grandeur or delusions of persecution or any number of other things? It does not always mean that there is anything organically wrong with the organ that we call the brain. It is related to what we do with it, and that is the word that the Spirit of God has used here for mind.

In the book of Genesis, when God looked down upon the earth, He said, “The imagination of their minds are only evil continually.” He used this word yetser here.

Guarding Thoughts and Imagination

I would like for you to turn to I Chronicles, chapter 28, and notice an illustration of how this very word is used in the manner of which I am thinking so that you can understand that the thing that God has promised to keep in perfect peace is not us generally, although there is a element of truth in that. The thing that He has promised to keep in perfect peace is our mind. In I Chronicles, chapter 28, verse 9, David said:

I Chronicles 28

9And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Notice the word imagination in this phrase. In fact the phrase, “imagination of thoughts,” is this word that we are talking about— yetser . God said, “He would keep in perfect peace your imagination and your thoughts.”

How often have we said, “If I could just control my thoughts.” That is why we worry. We can't control our thoughts. That is why we put ourselves in a state of nervous prostration—we can't control our thoughts. What does God say? “I'll control them for you. I'll keep your mind. I'll keep your imagination. I'll keep your thoughts if you permit Me to do so.” This word keep is from the Hebrew word natsa r, which means “to guard,” “to protect,” “to maintain.” It literally means “to set up a guard at the very door of your minds and guard your imagination and your thoughts.”

I am sure that many of you are thinking about how the Apostle Paul took up this same truth from the book of Isaiah in his letter to the Philippians and said practically the same thing. Turn to Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6, where Paul says:

Philippians 4

6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The word keep here is the translation of the Greek counterpart of the Hebrew word for keep in Isaiah. You could literally say, “God will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus.” He is able to take care of your mind in these days when minds are being attacked and emotions are brought into distress if you will let Him, but most of us won't.

Go back to Isaiah, chapter 26, again, and notice what he said:

Isaiah 26

3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee…

“Thou wilt guard him, whose mind is stayed on God.” That is what it says according to our text here, because the words “on thee” are there, but you will notice they are in italics. It is all right because we need to keep our minds stayed on Him, but we lose a little emphasis of the meaning of the word with those italics, for what this verse actually says is, “God will keep in perfect peace the mind that is stayed…” The word stayed comes from the Hebrew word camak , which really means “to be at rest.” It means “to rest oneself.”

Rest On the Word of God

Turn with me to II Chronicles, chapter 32, and notice a day when Israel was surrounded by the enemy and Hezekiah was giving out a word of encouragement. He said in verse 7:

II Chronicles 32

7Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him [speaking of Assyria] :
8With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles…

Notice what he said: “There is more with us than with the king of Assyria.” The people looked at the little handful of soldiers that the Israelites had and that great army of the Assyrians gathered on the plain and they said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “I'm just talking about this: Out there on the plain all you see is the arm of flesh, but if you look inside the city at the pitiful handful of soldiers we have, you see the arm of God, and that is the difference. It isn't just a handful of soldiers against the mighty army. It's the arm of God against the arm of flesh, and you don't have anything to worry about.”

Look at the last part of verse 8:

II Chronicles 32

8…And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Do you see the phrase, “rested themselves”? That is the translation of the Hebrew word camak , which is translated “stayed” in Isaiah, chapter 26. Whose mind will God keep in perfect peace? The mind that is stayed. The mind that has learned to rest itself not only on the LORD, but on the Word of the LORD. Until you learn to rest yourself upon the Word of the LORD, your mind will never be stayed.

I don't know how many people I have tried to help, and I have given them promises from the Word of God, and they have said, “I know that. I've known that all along. That is nothing new to me.” You want to know what is wrong with them? They haven't learned to rest themselves upon the Word of God.

Beloved, if you don't learn to rest yourself upon the Word of God, God will not be able to keep you. Even God is powerless to keep the man that is not staying on the Word. Of course, if you are going to stay yourself upon Him or if you are going to stay yourself upon the Word, then you are going to have to learn the meaning of trust, and that is the reason—back to Isaiah, chapter 26—we read:

Isaiah 26

3…because he trusteth in thee.
4[Isaiah gives the advice] Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

What does it mean to trust? It means to be bold and to be confident because of the thing upon which you are stayed.

Trusting In Christ, the Rock of Ages

I want you to notice the phrase, “everlasting strength.” I don't like it. It is not a real translation of the words. Have you sung the song Rock of Ages ? Do you love it? Do you realize the truth of it? This is where it came from right here, for this phrase, everlasting strength , is Rock of Ages . The word for strength everywhere else in the Old Testament is translated “rock,” and the word everlasting is and may be translated “of the ages.” We are reading, “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD JEHOVAH is the Rock of Ages.”

When you learn to trust in the Rock of Ages, then God is able to stay your mind and keep it in perfect peace. Yes, the Israelites will sing this in the Millennium, but you and I can sing it now.

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