Isaiah 33:1-12 Spoiling the Spoiler

In Isaiah 33:1-12, the Lord gives more details about the Second Coming of Jesus.  He concentrates this prophecy on spoiling the spoiler of Israel [v.1-4], on the spiritual qualities that fill Zion after the Lord is exalted [v.5-6], on the devastation following the broken “peace” agreement with Israel [v.7-9], and on the fiery destruction of the enemies of Israel when the Lord arises [v.10-12].

The spoiling of Israel and the recovering of the spoil – Is 33:1-4 – it is common for as aggressor nation to attack in order to spoil another nation – in this case, the antichrist’s army attacks partly for that purpose and deals treacherously with the inhabitants after conquering the city – the Lord says, “Woe to thee” – when the spoiler ceases spoiling and dealing treacherously, the Lord will spoil them and deal treacherously with them – what you dish out you get in return – look at this prime example in the Bible, Jer 25:8-14 – in 2 Ki 8:12 we find an example of how treacherous aggressor nations can be.

Isaiah prays for the Lord, v.2, to be gracious to Israel when they are being spoiled – he says, “we have waited for thee” which is what they are to do, Ps 37:34 – he invokes the Lord’s arm, Ex 6:6, 15:16, Deut 4:34 – he knows the Lord is their salvation in the time of trouble, Jer 30:7.

When the Lord lifts himself up, v.3, the tumult causes the people to flee and the nations to scatter, Ps 68:1-2 – because they flee, their spoil is “easy pickin’s,” v.4, as when the Samaritans spoiled the Syrians in 2 Ki 7:5-7, 15-16 – the recovering of the spoil is as when caterpillars or locusts wipe out an entire field in a night.

The spiritual qualities that fill Zion after the Lord is exalted – Is 33:5-6 – you would think after the recovering of the spoil that Isaiah would comment on Zion being filled with tangible wealth – instead, he shows us that Zion will be filled with spiritual qualities, those which had been lacking, upon the exaltation of the Lord who dwells on high, v.5 – these are judgment, righteousness, wisdom, knowledge, salvation and fear of the Lord.

Before the Lord is exalted there is no judgment because it is perverted by money Deut 16:19, there is no righteousness because they won’t keep the law Deut 6:25, there is no wisdom because they don’t fear the Lord Prov 9:10, there is no knowledge because their minds are reprobate Rom 1:28, there is no salvation because they reject Jesus Gal 3:24, and there is no fear of God before their eyes Rom 3:18.  When Jesus is exalted, all of these qualities come with him.  Israel can live without the wealth but she cannot live without Jesus.  Notice, the recovered spoil is not their treasure, the fear of the Lord is.

The devastation following the broken “peace” agreement with Israel – Is 33:7-9 – many times in the prophecy, Isaiah goes back and forth between things that happen when the Lord returns and things that happen before he returns – this part of the prophecy concerns something that happens in the Tribulation before the Lord returns – we need to look at some other scripture for a little background on this part of the prophecy.

During the Tribulation, the antichrist is going to come in peaceably [Dan 11:21-24] and negotiate a peace agreement or covenant with Israel [Dan 9:27] – later, he breaks the covenant and attacks [Ps 55:20-21] – that’s why Is 33:8 says, “he hath broken the covenant” – his valiant men and ambassadors cry and weep bitterly [the negotiators are similar to 2 Ki 18:17, 31-32]– when he ruthlessly attacks, the destruction is devastating – the highways are wasted, the cities are despised, men are killed indiscriminately, the earth mourns and languishes [Is 24:19-20], Lebanon, Sharon, Bashan and Carmel are all devastated – of course, when Jesus returns these places will rejoice and be restored [Is 35:1-2].

The fiery destruction of the enemies of Israel when the Lord arises – Is 33:10-12 – as we have seen many times before, when the case seems almost hopeless, then the Lord rises, lifts up himself and is exalted [Ps 12:5; Zech 14:1-3] – he comes down upon the nations against Israel and literally burns them up – they are like chaff [Matt 3:12] and like stubble [Mal 4:1] which are burned up by the Lord at his coming [2 Thes 1:7-9] – their own breath will be like fire and will devour them [like blowing on a flame] – the Lord will burn them as the burning of lime [Amos 2:1] and as thorns [Ps 118:10-12].