A canopy of divine love

Let’s spend some more time digging around in Isaiah. These next 3 verses of scripture explain so concisely what Jesus Christ did on the cross…

4 After the Lord has washed away the [moral] filth of the daughters of Zion [pride, vanity, haughtiness] and has purged the bloodstains of Jerusalem from the midst of it by the spirit and blast of judgment and by the spirit and blast of burning and sifting.

5 And the Lord will create over the whole site, over every dwelling place of Mount Zion and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a canopy (a defense of divine love and protection).

6 And there shall be a pavilion for shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge and a shelter from storm and from rain. – Is 4:4-6

It summarises so much scripture in just a few words. Let’s dig through it, piece by piece.

Isa 4:4 AFTER the Lord

This indicates that the Person we are reading about is Jesus Christ.

After the Lord has washed away the [moral] filth of the daughters of Zion [pride, vanity, haughtiness] and has purged the bloodstains of Jerusalem from the midst of it by the spirit and blast of judgment and by the spirit and blast of burning and sifting.

This is what He did on the cross. Not only did He wash away the filth of the world and all bloodstains, but He also took upon Himself the full judgement and burning that was due to us. Our sins brought God’s wrath upon us. But when our sins were placed onto Him, the wrath of God came upon Him. But He did not have to die over and over, because the full payment was paid in one single death. Once, and once for all.

But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself]. – Heb 9:26

We must not allow the enemy to undermine the full extent of His free gift and His completed work. His work covered everyone. Once for all. And the Is 4:5 goes on to explain the consequence of this immense change in the world, a world now free of sin, free of death, no longer separated from God as the sin of the fall separated us from God, now reconciled back to Him… the change is immense…

5 And the Lord will create over the whole site, over every dwelling place of Mount Zion and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a canopy (a defense of divine love and protection).

The Amplified Bible describes the canopy as a “defense of divine love and protection”. It also changes the word “assemblies” and makes it “over every dwelling place… and over assemblies” which I think is a better description.

I find that John Gill has an excellent explanation of what these words indicate. But first let’s note that this change affects “the whole site” and the canopy of glory is over “all”. This does not contradict the verse that is just before these ones…

Isa 4:3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem

It is true that those whose names are recorded for “eternal life” are treated differently, but the words are clear that the canopy of glory – Jesus Christ’s “defense and divine love and protection”, as described in the AMP – is over the whole land and over all. Both are true.

So let’s look at John Gill’s explanation of these words: smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night

A cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; alluding to the Lord’s going before the children of Israel in the wilderness, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; and to their being upon and covering the tabernacle, when it rested; and also to the cloud and smoke that were upon Mount Sinai, when the Lord was present there, Exo_13:20 and as a cloud was frequently a symbol of the divine Presence, both in the Old and in the New Testament, Exo_19:9, 1Ki_8:10 so it may here signify that the presence of God with his churches in the latter day will be very manifest and remarkable; he will be seen over them, and be the glory in the midst of them

And as the pillar of fire was to give light to the children of Israel, and direct them in their passage through the wilderness in the night time; so Christ will be the light of his people, by the very great illuminations of his spirit, and the clear preaching of the Gospel, which will give both light and heat; and from both which will arise such a bright shining light, as shall drive away the night of affliction, darkness, desertion, and sleepiness, which shall precede this glorious day.

Superb words.

6 And there shall be a pavilion for shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge and a shelter from storm and from rain.

Let’s continue with selected words from John Gill’s exposition of these words. Note that John uses tabernacle instead of pavillion…

Isa 4:6 And there shall be a tabernacle,…. Christ, who tabernacled in our nature, and is the minister of the true tabernacle, which God pitched, and not man; who will be spiritually present in the word…

for a shadow in the day time from the heat: from the heat of a fiery law, which works wrath; from the flaming sword of justice, which calls for vengeance; from the wrath of God, which is poured forth like fire; from Satan’s temptations, compared to fiery darts; and from the violence of persecution

and for a place of refuge; … from avenging justice, and the wrath of God; so he is a place of security, and has his chambers of safety … from all dangers, and from every enemy, Isa_26:20,

and for a covert from storm and from rain; from the blast of the terrible ones, the antichristian powers, which will be as a storm against a wall, Isa_25:4 …

Although John Gill has expressed these words so wonderfully, I believe that his interpretation of who gets eternal life and who gets the benefits of His death are too limited. He believes that Jesus Christ comes to protect Christians only and everyone else is thrown into wailing and gnashing of teeth… or something equally horrible. I don’t read scripture that way.

John Gill describes the pavillion as a tabernacle which likely refers to the tabernacle of King David which God enjoyed and said He wanted to recreate again – through Jesus Christ! If we read these verses that way, then John Gill is saying that Jesus Christ manifestly dwells with us in His tabernacle which covers us all. And the canopy of God’s divine love covers the whole land and covers all people.

How can this be? It’s because the death of Jesus Christ was not just for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world…

And He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world. – 1 John 2:2

Did Jesus Christ deal only with the sins of believers? No. He dealt with all sins of all people in all times.

And the consequence of this complete atoning sacrifice is stated clearly…

The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done]. – 1 John 3:8

The complete removal of the work of the devil. Wow. Incredible! What were his works? Sin resulting in death reigning over everyone, and the separation of people from God. These works have been destroyed on the cross. No more sin, no more separation, no more death.

And for those reading this book who read those words and wonder why they may still be seeing sin, separation and death around them, please consider these words which describe how we receive His finished work…

For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5:4

You see, there is a freedom for the whole world that has been achieved, and that freedom is to be received by those “who call themselves by His Name” and when they do, the whole land is healed, not just those the select few who surnamed themselves by His Name…

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. – 2Ch 7:14

If who? If ALL My people? No. If My people who are called by My Name. I believe that is a subset of the grand multitude who may claim to be believers… it’s the ones who have gone as far as to claim His Surname as their own. They are in Him, He is in them – by faith. Those are the ones who – as a result of their faith – cause Him to heal the WHOLE land. Not just bits of it. ALL of it.

Please, let’s not belittle His work on the cross. Let’s not take away from the words of scripture in order to make ourselves feel elite, chosen and special. We have eternal life if we believe and accept His sacrifice. That is fantastic. But there is more, so much more! Just for starters there is a completely renewed world and the Presence of God restored into this world.

For the sake of a dying world we must activate and use our faith; and through our faith receive the fullness of His finished work on the cross: complete freedom from the effects of sin and death and reconciliation to God.

Think BIG. There is absolutely no limit to the reconciliation that He gave the world, it covers everything. Everything? Yes everything…

And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross. – Col 1:20

Complete reconciliation. Peace.

Our faith is the key. Your faith is important to the well being of suffering people, of poor businesses and struggling governments around you.

A man I once knew and who I greatly admired once said to me “it’s not 50% God and 50% us, it’s 100% about God and it’s 100% about us”. God has done His part through Jesus Christ and the work is finished. Now God is working through the Holy Spirit within us to receive what Jesus did on the cross.

That is why you and I are (believers) are described as “salt and light to this dying world”…

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. – Matt 5:14-15

Look again at that scripture and consider…

  • If you and I give light, who benefits from that? Everyone else in the house.
  • And if we are a city placed on a hill, who benefits? Other people in surrounding dark valleys.
  • If we are salt in food, who benefits? Other people eating the food.

I like to think of Christianity as an organisation that exists for it’s non-members (as well as for it’s members too). No matter how arrogant it sounds, the faith that we each has is the spiritual light in this world. There is no other source of spiritual light. Our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ is not not only light to our lives, but also to our church and to our brethren in the world.

Let me give some examples:

  • What brings salt and light into my own life? It is my faith that Jesus Christ has given me eternal life and He has filled me with the fullness of God and blessed me with every spiritual blessing in Heaven (Eph 1:3)
  • What is it that brings salt and light into the church that I attend? It is my faith that Jesus Christ died for all these people and many of them are filled with the fullness of God and right now they already have eternal life.
  • What is it that brings light and salt into every corner of this world, regardless of race, creed or color? It is my faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross on behalf of this whole world (not just on behalf of a select few). My faith that He bore everyone’s sins, died in the place of everyone and He brought complete reconciliation in heaven and earth.

Would you like it if your faith brought light into the dark places of this world? Then join me in praying through Is 4:4-6.

Let me share how I pray the words of Is 4:4-6. Please note the italics which indicate where I have replaced words…

… AFTER Jesus Christ washed away the filth of us all on His cross and AFTER Jesus Christ cleansed the bloodstains of us all on His cross; and AFTER Jesus Christ took the judgment and the burning from God that was due to us all for our sins onto Himself on His cross;

THEN the LORD Jesus Christ created over the whole world and over all our dwellings and all our assemblies a cloud and smoke of His Presence by day, and Jesus Christ became the shining of a flaming fire between us and our enemy by night; for over all peoples and all lands the glory of Jesus Christ is a canopy of His defense and His divine love and His protection.

Jesus Christ is our tabernacle for shade from the heat of the requirements of the law by day, and Jesus Christ is a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain of the ruthless ones.

If you prayed that, then the world is ever so slightly more spiritually lit up than before you prayed it. If you keep on praying it daily – receiving this truth through your faith – then this you have been using the keys to Heaven… that which has already been loosed in Heaven by Jesus Christ, has become loosed here on earth…

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven. – Matt 16:19

And as you use the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, as these things written in scripture become manifest here on earth, you will have succeeded in making the wisdom and might of God as shown through this scripture known to the rulers and authorities in Heavenly places…

… [The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere. – Eph 3:8-10

Just imagine that. Through you and me, His might and wisdom is to be made known to the ones who rebelled in the beginning. Cowabunga.

You probably wondered about all the changes I made to those scriptures. In particular I added in Jesus Christ’s Name into those scriptures. Why? It’s because Isaiah lived 500 years before Jesus Christ appeared. Isaiah didn’t know Who he was writing about, all he could do was point to a coming Christ, a Messiah Who was to come. That was 500BC. It is now 2000AD and we know that Christ and Messiah was Jesus Christ. We can now fill in the “blank spots” with His Name.

So, although I have modified some descriptive words, I have added nothing and taken away nothing from the central message, which is the provision that Jesus Christ has made for us on the cross.

Isaiah promised that He will come, I’m claiming by faith that He has come. Isaiah promised what He will do, I’m claiming by faith that He did do it. Are you?

Taken from…

ms_word_iconBook: If My people (v24!) (670KB) – A free daily devotional which is under development. <100 pages.

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