A King Will Reign in Righteousness
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Isaiah, chapter 31, that portion of the Word of God that we have been studying together. We are in what we referred to as the first half of the book of Isaiah, chapters 1-39. We discovered in our study of the first half of the book that we are in the fifth division of the first half—the division that is known as the Book of Woes , because each chapter, practically speaking, begins with the word woe . Today, as we open our Bibles to chapter 31, we recognize that we are going to be discussing the fifth woe. Five out of six have been under discussion, the sixth one is found in chapter 31. Follow in your Bibles as we read, beginning with verse 1, of Isaiah, chapter 31:

Isaiah 31

1Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
2Yet he [ he should be capitalized because it is referring to God] also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
3Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
4For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
5As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
6Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.
7For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
8Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited [enslaved] .
9And he [the Assyrian] shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign [his princes shall be afraid and desert their standard] saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

Let us just imagine that this chapter 32 division is not where it is, because it really shouldn't be here as far as the subject matter is concerned. Let us continue our reading, remembering that in this particular paragraph, we are reading the things that are going to occur in that day when God comes to the defense of His own city—the city of Jerusalem.

We continue reading another thing that is going to occur:

Isaiah 32

1Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
2And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
3And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
4The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.
5The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.
6For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
7The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
8But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

We will stop our reading right there, because the subject matter, as far as the discussion relative to the pointed theme in the chapter, comes to a natural conclusion.

Going back to the very first verse of chapter 31, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help,” we are reminded of the fourth woe that was found in chapter 30. Notice the words in verse 2: “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, who want to go down to Egypt.” You might think that we are discussing the same thing, but we are not. The woe is pronounced upon those who went down to Egypt for help, but the reason for the woe necessitates the two different woes. For example, in chapter 30, the reason that God pronounced the woe upon those who went down to Egypt for help was that they did not seek counsel at the hand of God. They didn't say, “God what do you think we ought to do?'' They went down to Egypt and said, “What do you think we ought to do?” God said, “That was a very foolish thing to do.”

Misplaced Trust

In chapter 31, once again we emphasize that the woe is pronounced upon those that go down to Egypt for help, but this time the woe is pronounced upon them because, if you will notice in the latter part of verse 1:

Isaiah 31

1…and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

In one instance they made the mistake of doing something without asking God's advice. In another instance, they made the mistake of going down to Egypt and putting their trust in them because they were so mighty and because they were so strong. They were saying in so many words, “We don't need you, God. We've got plenty of horses. We have plenty of chariots in our Egyptian friends, and so we can get along without you.”

Isaiah, in verse 2, utters a rebuke against them, and he does it in a very sarcastic fashion. In so many words, they were talking about their wisdom saying, “Oh, how wise we are to make this alliance.” Isaiah, in verse 2, says:

Isaiah 31

2Yet he [God] also is wise [He knows a little bit too. He isn't ignorant] , and will bring evil [calamity, judgment upon you] , and [notice] will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.

Notice with me, the phrase, will not call back His words . I want you to notice that particularly, because it emphasizes a principle that is taught throughout all the Word of God. If we understand this principle, we will be able to more definitely understand the prophetic portion of the Word of God, and we will be able to understand God's dealing with us.

No Promised Judgment Left Undone

Notice the phrase, call back . That phrase is the translation of one Hebrew word, suwr , which is translated a number of different ways in the Old Testament. I would like for you to notice two of them with me so that you will get the full import of what Isaiah was talking about when he said, “God will not call back His words.”

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Joshua. God had given commandments to Moses, and Moses had given commandments to his lieutenant, Joshua, because Moses knew that his time was short and Joshua would soon become leader of the nation of Israel. In chapter 11 we have the response of Joshua to all of the commandments which Moses had given him. We read in Joshua, chapter 11, verse 15:

Joshua 11

15As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.

Notice the phrase, he left nothing undone . That phrase is the translation of the Hebrew Word suwr , which is translated in Isaiah, chapter 31, “call back.” When Isaiah said, “God will not call back His words,” what did he mean? He meant that God would leave nothing undone of all that He had said.

In relation to the nation of Israel, that meant judgment. God had promised them a whipping, and He was going to do it. He is different from many of us parents. So often, you know, we say to our children, “If you don't stop that, I am going to spank you,” and we never follow through. God isn't like that. God leaves nothing undone of all that He promises, and you can be sure that if God promised the nation of Israel a spanking, a spanking they would have. You can be sure that if God promises you or me, as Christians out of fellowship with Him, a spanking, a spanking will be forthcoming.

When God Speaks to Man

Turn, please, to the book of Job, chapter 33, and notice another illustration of this particular word. In this chapter, we have presented to us a method by which God deals with man. Now, as far as our immediate discussion is concerned, we are not interested in that method, but I do want you to notice one word. However, since we are looking at this passage of Scripture, it would behoove us to remember some of the things that are recorded herein. Notice verse 14:

Job 33

14For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

Do you see how much like human fathers God sometimes has to be because He is dealing with human beings? How often have we fathers said, “I am not going to speak to you again. I told you to do it, and I'm not going to tell you another time. I have already spoken twice.” God has to speak twice sometimes, and sometimes more than twice. Notice again:

Job 33

14For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

How does God speak? Notice verse 15:

Job 33

15In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

That is all talking about the same thing. God sends a dream to men sometimes, and speaks to them. Notice verse 16:

Job 33

16Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction [He makes plain to them what He has to say] ,
17That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
20So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
21His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
23If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
24Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

God does all of these things for one express purpose. Glance up at verse 17:

Job 33

17That he may withdraw man from his purpose…

Look at that word withdraw . It is the translation of our Hebrew word suwr , the one that is translated “called back,” in Isaiah, chapter 31, and “left nothing undone” in the book of Joshua.

God's Calling for Israel

Turn back to Isaiah, chapter 31. What is Isaiah saying? He is saying to the people of his day, “God is not going to leave undone one thing that He said. You may think He is, but He isn't. God is not going to withdraw one purpose or promise that He has made.”

The nation of Israel has not fully realized that even yet. The Apostle Paul found it necessary to emphasize this same truth in the book of Romans. This is the reason that I said if you do not understand this principle, you will not understand the prophetic Word. There are many sincere men who, in my estimation, though they are sincere and love the Lord, are not rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Because they are not rightly dividing the Word of Truth, they will quote to you from Paul's letter to the Galatians, saying there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; there is no difference between the bond and the free; there is no difference between male and female; they are all one in Christ Jesus. They also say that God has no further purpose for the Jew and because they say that, everything that is related to the Jewish nation, in a literal fashion, you either have to disregard or spiritualize.

Isaiah said, “Not one word that God has said, in relation to the nation of Israel, will be left undone. God will not withdraw the word.” Paul emphasizes the same thing in Romans, chapter 11, when he emphasizes this same principle concerning the nation of Israel. Notice in verse 29 where He emphasizes this truth in connection with Israel itself:

Romans 11

29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

God is explaining why there is still a future for the nation of Israel. God gave to the nation of Israel a calling to be the channel through which He would evangelize the world, and He has not changed that purpose. The prophetic Word very plainly teaches that what we as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ have been unable to do in 2,000 years times, the nation of Israel is going to do in three and one-half years, so that every nation, tribe, and tongue will hear the Gospel.

I don't want to say anything that would dissuade you from missionary giving. I would encourage you to do more, but I say to you that it is misinterpreting the Word of God to say that we as the Church must preach the Gospel around the world before the Lord Jesus Christ can come. That isn't true. He can come before the world hears the Gospel, for they will hear it through the lips of the Jewish nation, because that is the purpose for which God called them, and that is the reason God said, “Not one word I have spoken concerning the nation of Israel will fail.”

Back in Isaiah, chapter 31, you will notice in verse 3 how God appeals to the reason of the nation of Israel, encouraging them to look at fact, something that many of us do not do. He says in verse 3:

Isaiah 31

3Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down…

We are sometimes prone to think that that upon which we depend is God or supernatural or divine. God would remind us that the Egyptians are not God and their horses are not the Spirit of God. They are made of mere flesh and they will fall.

I trust that you will be able to make the application of this in your own hearts, for in the Scripture Egypt is a type of the world and the flesh. Whenever we put our faith and trust in flesh and in the world, we can expect to be disappointed, particularly if we put our faith and our trust in the world as though the world was God.

A Promise of Deliverance

We have noticed all through this particular section that God has promised that though it would be necessary for Him to lift His chastening hand against the nation of Israel, He would deliver them. He would not desert them at the last moment. In verses 4-5, Isaiah gives us two illustrations of the manner in which God is going to deliver the nation of Israel.

In verse 4, he takes a picture from the shepherd's life. Here is a lion that has just taken a little lamb for his very own, and he clutches that little lamb to him. The one shepherd is no match for the lion, so he goes out and gets a lot of other shepherds to come. He says, “Help me get the lamb back from the lion.” Isaiah says, “Do you think that lion is going to give up that little lamb, because of all the noise that is made by those shepherds? Do you think that that lion is going to be afraid because all of those shepherds come out against him? Of course not. God has Jerusalem for Himself, and do you think because the Devil, the Antichrist, the forces of evil, come out and make a great big noise that God is going to be frightened away? Not at all; no more than a lion is frightened away by the noise of the shepherd will God be frightened away by the enemy that gathers against the nation of Israel.”

Look at verse 5:

Isaiah 31

5As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.

You may read this verse, and you may see a picture of a bird hovering over its nest, flapping its wings to frighten away the enemy that is about to take the little birds. That would be a satisfactory explanation, but I wonder if it is the full explanation. I am not alone in this, because many of us who have studied the Word of God have found that the prophets speak of things that were to happen in a distant day in the language which they can understand. This verse of Scripture has been interpreted by many Bible scholars as having been fulfilled in part at the end of World War I.

Isaiah had never seen an airplane. He wouldn't know how to describe it, would he? All he would know is that it was like a great big bird that flies in the air. Could Isaiah, looking down through the corridors of time, have seen what happened at the end of World War I, in connection with the city of Jerusalem? You are familiar with that. It was necessary for the allies to take the city of Jerusalem, but all conscientious people were very much concerned that in the taking of the city of Jerusalem, toward the close of World War I, many of the sacred places—sacred to Christianity—would be destroyed. They thought of every way in the world that they could to take the city without bombardment and without destruction. They came up with this idea: They sent over the city of Jerusalem a host of airplanes that flew back and forth, back and forth, monotonously across the city of Jerusalem. They didn't drop a bomb. They didn't shoot a gun. They just flew back and forth across the city. It so terrified the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem that when General Allenby marched toward the city of Jerusalem, they opened wide the gates and said, “Come in. We don't know what's going on, but we certainly don't want to risk any more trouble.” General Allenby took the city of Jerusalem without a shot being fired, because the planes flew monotonously over the city.

I say, though I won't insist on it, that many Bible scholars see a fulfillment of this passage of Scripture in that event, but only a partial fulfillment; because, as we are going to see as we continue our discussion, what Isaiah had to say here went far beyond his day. It went far beyond our own day. It goes until the end of time that is described in the phrase, in that day , that you find in verse 7.

We recognize that the phrase, in that day , refers to a time that is yet future as far as we are concerned, when all the nations of the world will be gathered around the city of Jerusalem and they will be absolutely helpless and they will cry out to God, as we are going to see in the very last part of chapter 31, and God will deliver them.

Wars In Prophecy

I read that the war in Japan, fought with manpower, took four years. When it was decided to drop a bomb upon Japan, the war was ended in ten days. The same article said that we could have fought the war in Vietnam with manpower for twenty years and got no farther than we did. If those in authority had seen fit to do something more definite, it would have ended in a matter of days. That may be true and it may not be true, but it is an indication that wars are not going to be fought by numbers of men; they are going to be fought and won by what happens in the air.

If that is true, is there any reason why verse 5 could not be a prophecy of what is to come? Of course, if you were reading some commentaries on the book of Isaiah, they would tell you that this verse was put in here by an editor who lived some thirty years after Isaiah died, because there is no way in the world that Isaiah could mention something like this.

Of course, if we believe that the Holy Spirit is the author of the Scripture, then we don't have to find an extra editor for the book of Isaiah. All we need to do is recognize that the Holy Spirit can guide Isaiah or others in these sacred Writs, as the case may be.

An Appeal to Israel

Look at verse 6. Having told the nation of Israel that even though God's chastening hand would rest upon them, God would deliver them, He makes an appeal in verse 6:

Isaiah 31

6Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.

“Why be in rebellion against God any more? Turn to Him.” This is an appeal that could be addressed to the nation of Israel in any day, but we believe that it is a particular appeal addressed to the nation of Israel that will be living in the days just prior to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told that in verse 7, in that day one of several things is going to begin to happen. Notice verse 7:

Isaiah 31

7For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.

There was a sense in which they did that when they returned from Babylonian captivity, and we are aware of that, but this turning to God and this casting away of idols is related to the siege of the Assyrian, whom we have discovered in our study is another name for the Antichrist. The reason that we know that the Assyrian in verse 8 is not the Sennacherib of Isaiah's day is that we are told in verse 8 that the Assyrian is not going to be defeated by human means. He is not going to be defeated, for example, by a mighty man, nor is he going to be defeated by a mean man. A better word for mean here is the word humble . He is not going to be defeated by a great man, and he is not going to be defeated by a humble man, but he is going to flee from the sword of God. He will be defeated by divine intervention. So great will be his defeat that he will pass over, in verse 9, his stronghold.

He had some fortresses along the way in which he was going to hide, but he would be so discomfited from fear that he would completely pass them by. Even his lieutenants would be so stricken with panic that they would desert the standard and flee in abject terror before the intervention of God.

When you have time, for amplification of this drastic defeat, let me suggest that you read chapter 14 of the book of Zechariah and chapter 19 of the book of Isaiah. You will notice in the last part of verse 9 that the LORD says that His fire is in Zion and His furnace in Jerusalem; that's where His home is.

The Appearance of the King

Another reason that we know that this is a reference to the Assyrian of a future day is that immediately following the defeat of the Assyrian is the appearance of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. The first verse of chapter 32 can refer to no other than Him:

Isaiah 32

1Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness…

That's our Lord Jesus Christ. There has never been a king who reigned in righteousness, but He will when He comes back.

In verse 2 we read that not only will He be a king who reigns in righteousness, but He will provide whatever kind of protection is needed in that hour. Notice verse 2:

Isaiah 32

2And a man [it would be more accurate to say, “this man, this king”] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

These are figurative expressions. They will become literally true during the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, but we don't need to wait until then to make them personally applicable to our lives and make them true in our experience. The Lord Jesus Christ can afford this kind of protection even today for anybody who is interested in coming to Him. He can be a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, and as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Government Under the King

You will notice that one phrase in the first verse. We want to come back to it, because it is a thrilling thought to me. Notice the verse again:

Isaiah 32

1Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.

The King will reign, but He will not reign alone. Princes will rule in judgment or government or in justice—that is, they will exercise the government under the King in this day when He returns.

Who will they be? Do we have any idea? We do not have time to turn to all the other Scriptures, but let me remind you of them. You remember that Peter said to the Lord Jesus Christ, “God we have left all and followed Thee. What are we going to get out of it?”

The Lord Jesus Christ said a number of things, but one thing He said is this: “Ye that have followed Me [the twelve Apostles] in the regeneration [another word for Millennium ] will sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

I accept that literally, and I believe that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, the Apostles (Mathias taking the place of Judas) will sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

I also know that in chapter 20 of the book of Revelation, you and I are going to have places of responsibility in connection with the millennial reign of Christ. I don't know if you have ever run for any public office and been defeated or not, but there is one thing of which we can assure you; and that is, if you are faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, you are going to have a place of governing responsibility when He returns to this earth. Somebody says, “That is ridiculous.” Well, the Bible declares it, and you can't disanull what the Word of God says.

The parables in the Gospel of Matthew that deal with this subject are usually misinterpreted. For example, you remember the Parable of the Pounds. The Lord said, “The individual who is faithful over a few things will be made faithful over many things.” You hear a lot of sermons on that, and it is an indication that when you all get to Heaven, you will have a great big reward. But, you read that carefully. It isn't that at all; it is during the millennial reign of Christ. The man who gained three pounds is going to be governor over three cities. The man who gains five is going to be governor over five cities, etc. You see, the place that we have during the millennial reign of Christ, when He returns to this earth and we return with Him, is going to be determined by the faithfulness that we have exercised on this earth in relation to responsibility that He has given to us up to this time.

Are you interested in being important someday? Then discharge faithfully every responsibility that God has given you now, and when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth, you will have the opportunity of reigning with Him in some place of responsibility.

Wrongs to Be Made Right

Notice chapter 32 again. I want to point out to you how everything that is wrong will be right when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back. In verse 3:

Isaiah 32

3And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.

This is not only an indication of perfect health, though it is certainly included, but it is a reference to the dim eyes and deaf ears that we have been studying about in the book of Isaiah. The nation of Israel cannot seem to grasp the truth of God, but the veil will be removed from their eyes, plugs will be taken out of their ears, and they will be able to see and hear. Look at verse 4:

Isaiah 32

4The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

The word rash there, could be translated “the heart of the man who speaks without thinking,” for that is the idea in the word rash . There are a lot of us who speak without any basis of fact and we don't understand knowledge; we just talk. But in that day there will be nothing like that.

There are some of us who would like to explain what we know, and somehow we just can't do it. We stammer, and we don't speak plainly. I'm not thinking about a literal impediment of speech, but I am thinking about the fact that many of us want to explain these truths, but we just can't. We know them, but we just can't get them out. In that day, everything will be just so clear and so definite that we'll be able to express ourselves freely, with all the hindrances gone. Notice verse 5:

Isaiah 32

5The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.

I don't know if I leave you with that verse that you will fully understand what it means unless you have given some time to meditate on it, because it is not very clear, is it? Let me suggest that you change the word vile to the word foolish . This word vile is the same word that is translated fool in Psalm 14, verse 1, where we read:

Psalm 14

1The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…

We are talking about a fool here in verse 5:

Isaiah 32

5The fool shall be no more called liberal [noble] , nor the churl [greedy man] said to be bountiful [liberal] .

This verse is telling us that in this day and time, we have a twisted sense of values. The fool is looked up to. He is a noble man and everybody gives him praise. If God says, “The man who has said in his heart that there is not a God is a fool.”, I can say that. I am amazed at the notice and the attention that is given to the fool in this country who is running off at the mouth against God, saying, “There is no God.” Fools are saying that there is no such thing as deity. They are getting a lot of attention. They are occupying some of the highest places in the land today, but when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back, the fool will take his proper place.

It is amazing how many greedy men are patted on the back and commended for their liberality. When you actually examine their so-called liberality, it is nothing—they have so much left for themselves—but when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back, according to verses 6-7, the fool will act like a fool, because every day will be exactly like it ought to be. The greedy person will act like a greedy person. He won't fool anybody.

Conclusion

Keeping in mind the word liberal means “noble,” we read the encouraging thing in verse 8:

Isaiah 32

8But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

Yes, our society and our world today is all twisted up. The perversity of our world is almost unbelievable, and that is the reason that I am reminded today that the time for my Lord's return must be very soon. What else can turn this world right side up save the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? I am glad that in this topsy-turvy world, where everything is perverse, I have the hope of the Lord's return.


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