TODAY’S READING: ISAIAH 1-3
“In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, and the veils.” – Isaiah 3:18-23
What does this have to do with Jesus?
LATTER DAYS – NO MORE WAR
What is “that day” that Isaiah speaks of in Isaiah 3:18?
In Isaiah 2, Isaiah speaks what he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. What he sees shall come to pass “in the latter days.” This is in the latter days of Judah as a nation.
In the latter days “the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains.” In other words, God’s kingdom will be established, and it will be the greatest kingdom. People from every nation will come to the mountain of the Lord to learn his ways. The ways the people will learn when they come to God’s kingdom are specifically identified – “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Note that this happens in the latter days, or before that day.
THAT DAY – MAN IS HUMBLED AND BROUGHT LOW
Isaiah 2:11 says “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” This is a summary of what has been stated in verses 6-10. Jacob, God’s people, Judah, was rejected because they were:
- full of things from the east
- full or fortune tellers like the Philistines
- filled with silver
- filled with gold
- filled with horses
- filled with idols
Six is the number of man. Here we see the fullness of man in his idolatry and sin, summed up in haughty looks and lofty pride, that will be brought low and humbled in that day when the Lord alone will be exalted.
What is “that day” the Lord alone will be exalted?
Philippians 2:5-9 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”
Here Paul identifies “that day” as the day Jesus was crucified as it was on that day that God exalted him. It is on that day that we Jesus, the son of God, crucified, executed on the cross, by our own hands, revealing the extent of his love by forgiving us, that we are humbled and brought low.
A DAY – AGAINST ALL THAT IS PROUD AND LOFTY
In Isaiah 2:12-16, Isaiah says that Lord has “a day” that is against
- all that is proud
- all that is lofty
- all that is lifted up
- all the cedars of Lebanon
- all the oaks of Bashan
- all the lofty mountains
- all the uplifted hills
- every high tower
- every fortified wall
- all the ships of Tarshish
- all the beautiful craft
Ten is the number of orderly perfection, and 12 is the number of governmental perfection. Therefore, 11, being one more than 10 and one less than 12, symbolizes disorder and chaos. Verse 17 links all that is raised up against the mountain of the Lord, the kingdom of God, in the latter days to man’s haughtiness and lofty pride that will be humbled in that day that the Lord is exalted.
Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open, by triumphing over them in him.”
Here Paul identifies “a day” with “that day” in which all that was against God and his kingdom is nailed to the cross. The rulers and authorities were put to an open shame as God triumphed over them in Christ. These rulers and authorities are “the idols [that] shall utterly pass away” in Isaiah 2:18.
Second Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Here, Paul identifies all that is against God and his kingdom is not of the flesh. Rather, they are the arguments, ideas, opinions of man raised against the true knowledge and revelation of God. On “that day,” when Jesus was on the cross, all that was against God, all the idols, passed away.
THAT DAY – RELIGION IS CAST AWAY
Isaiah 2:20 says, “In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship.”
Idols are the physical representation of the unseen that man uses to worship. Mankind makes their own idols. Silver speaks of redemption. Therefore, mankind makes its own idols of silver, meaning that mankind seeks redemption through its own means and ability. And, gold speaks of the divine nature. Therefore, mankind makes its own idols of gold, meaning that attempts to be like God in his power, thinking that “equality with God [is] a thing to be grasped.”
Mankind seeking his own redemption his own divinity is the very definition of religion. But, in that day, mankind will cast it away.
Colossians 2:20-23 says, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations – ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch’ (referring to things that all perish as they are used – according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity of the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
Here Paul calls the man made idols of silver and gold “self-made religion,” the elemental spirits of this world. But, if you died with Christ, that is, if you participated with him in “that day,” then you have cast away the idols, the elemental spirits, the self-made religion, and set your sights on the things above where Christ is seated.
THAT DAY – EVERY SIN IS TAKEN AWAY
This brings us back to the passage, Isaiah 3:18-23, that I quoted at the beginning of this post. But, let’s look at it again.
“In that day the Lord will take away
- the finery of anklets,
- the headbands,
- and the crescents;
- the pendants,
- the bracelets,
- and the scarves;
- the headdresses,
- the armlets,
- the sashes,
- the perfume boxes,
- and the amulets;
- the signet rings
- and nose rings;
- the festal robes,
- the mantles,
- the cloaks,
- and the handbags;
- the mirrors,
- the linen garments,
- the turbans,
- and the veils.
These 21 items, items that were often used as idols or in some form of religious worship, are taken in “that day.”
What is the significant of 21 items in this list?
The number 21 is the number of distress brought about by the fullness of sin. In reference to time, 21 is a period of distress.
Jacob’s time of distress in serving Laban was 21 years (note it was three periods of seven) brought by his sin in grasping the birthright of his brother Esau.
Read carefully and you will note that for many of the patriarchs that the 21st time their name is mentioned has to do with distress or the end of distress.
Like Isaiah 3:18-23, Paul lists 21 things in reference to “the last days”, “But understand this, that in the last days there come times of difficulty. For people will be
- lovers of self,
- lovers of money,
- disobedient to their parents,
- without self-control,
- not loving good,
- swollen with conceit,
- lovers of pleasure
- rather than lovers of God,
- having the appearance of godliness,
- but denying its power.”
The last days that are times of difficulty are full of distress.
Paul does the same thing Romans 1:28-31, which says, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled
- with all manner of unrighteousness,
- They are full of envy,
- They are gossips,
- haters of God,
- inventors of evil,
- disobedient to parents,
Here again when Paul is describing the fullness of sin and distress he lists 21 things. Surely, this is not a coincidence.
But, what does this have to do with Jesus?
Luke 2:41-42 says, “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went according to custom.” It was at this time that Jesus’ parents unknowingly left in the temple. Then, in verse 49, Jesus said, “Why were you looking for me? Did you know know that I must be in my Father’s house?” So, at age 12 was the first time that Jesus announced he was about his Father’s business.
But, at what age did Jesus die?
How long was Jesus about his Father’s business?
This was a time of distress. But, ended in “that day” that Jesus was crucified on the cross, which removed the fullness of man in his haughtiness and pride as well as removed all idols and self-made religion. “That day,” the day Jesus was crucified, 21 years after he announced he was about his Father’s business, sin was taken away.
The number 21 is 3 x 7. Three is the number of divine perfection. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. At the end of his 21 years of doing his Father’s business, Jesus was crucified, taking away sin and ushering in a new creation that was divinely and spiritually perfect.
What a glorious day is “that day.”