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The Prophets Burden against the Valley of Vision
The prophets spoke the light of God with his truth. But the truth had fallen, his prophets were full of wind. Therefore, God sent other prophets. These men were different, for they knew the God of Gods. That which was to be the light of God had become the dwelling place of Baal. Thus, Isaiah was given the Burden against the Valley of Vision. The Prophets were to be Gods mouthpiece, but it failed to transpire. So God sent Prophets that knew him to bring the Word to a people whose own prophets failed. This is a type and a warning for the people of God and the Church today.
By the Watchman
Dana G Smith
Keywords: prophets, prophet, Jerusalem, judgment, valley vision, Isaiah, priest, Lord God
The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops? (Isa 22:1 KJV)
One of the most tragic of circumstances is one concerning a city as Jerusalem, the seat of God. It was the place of the prophets. That place the Jews came to the temple to worship the Lord was one where all looked to find the word of the Lord. Here was where light came from. Its priests descended from the first ones of the Levites; from Aaron and his sons. The God of the universe had chosen Israel, delivered them out of Egypt, took them 40 years in the wilderness to prove them, and then brought them over into the Promised Land. There they met enemies and conquered them. It was there that the kingdom reign of David and Solomon was set up. It also was there that they reached the pentacle of power and prestige in the world. God had been good to them and indeed their faithfulness had paid off. For God had blessed them. But there were times that Israel was thoroughly stiff-necked and refused to seek the Lord or walk in his ways. It was to these people God sent prophets. It was also to these people false prophets arose bringing a curse upon the people.
By the time of the Prophet Isaiah it was a divided nation. There was the northern kingdom known as Israel, today known as the lost tribes, Ephraim. Then there was Judah with its center in Jerusalem. The nation of Israel had been divided after Solomon’s reign due to his sin against the Lord in falling away from his God. Isaiah now writes in chapter 22 of the burden the Lord gave him against the Valley of Vision. Jerusalem surrounded by hills was the seat of Divine Revelation for the people. It had a storied history of prophets and the hand of God in their midst. Yet as Isaiah writes this judgment was coming. The city for all its Divine Revelation had no clue to this. The voice of the prophets no longer had Gods word. For it’s prophets, priests, King’s, and the people given over to idolatry and other Gods did not have the Divine anymore. Only Divine judgment would be theirs. Isaiah starts this vision by naming it the ‘valley of vision’, a metaphor, a clue that although they were believed to be able to see and know things Divine, they did not.
Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. (Isa 22:2 KJV)
This prophecy came before two of the greatest invasions of Judah. The one this refers to, thought by many scholars; is when Sennacherib invaded in 701 bc. Babylon invaded and the fall of Jerusalem is dated at 586 bc. From that point 70 years of captivity would ensue. As Matthew Henry’s Commentary speaks to the issue of a troubled Jerusalem. We can see how the once joyous city now has seen reality of the hand of God who allowed an invader to come against them. Even the leaders from other cities came to Jerusalem for safety. The other cities, crops, and herds were left to the invaders. The result would be shortages, famine, war, and death. The false prophets were a beam in the eye of truth. They disavowed such judgment, while Gods true prophets spoke truth. It was a battle for the truth.
It used to be a joyous revelling city. What with the busy part and what with the merry part of mankind, places of concourse are places of noise. “But what ails thee now, that the shops are quitted, and there is no more walking in the streets and exchange, but thou hast wholly gone up to the house-tops (Isa_22:1), to bemoan thyself in silence and solitude, or to secure thyself from the enemy, or to look abroad and see if any succours come to thy relief, or which way the enemies’ motions are.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary
All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far. (Isa 22:3 KJV)
Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people. (Isa 22:4 KJV)
For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains. (Isa 22:5 KJV)
As this invasion progressed, the Assyrians took all the cities of Judah and now were at Jerusalem’s doorsteps. This is also recorded in 2 Kings 18-21. Here King Hezekiah turns to the Lord when faced with the enemy and Isaiah the prophet came upon the scene and reassured the King that the invasion would not succeed. It had already been costly to Judah, this was prophesied to Judah by Isaiah in chapter 10, and now it had come to pass. Thus Judah had been taken and the city of Jerusalem was surrounded by enemies.
Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. (Isa 36:1 KJV)
The fact that King Hezekiah went directly to the Lord when the enemy came against him is what all believers need to do when the enemy comes at them. In the end this was a costly invasion for Judah and also the Assyrian King. The Lord God answered the prayer and threat of the invader by sending an angel into their midst.
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. (2Ki 19:32 KJV)
By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. (2Ki 19:33 KJV)
For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. (2Ki 19:34 KJV)
The enemy came and conquered to a point, but the Lord answered the King and that night sent an angel of the LORD went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians. That night 185,000 soldiers lay dead. The King departed and went to Nineveh only to become assassinated by his sons who smote him as he worshipped his false god.
And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. (2Ki 19:35 KJV)
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. (2Ki 19:36 KJV)
And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead. (2Ki 19:37 KJV)
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The city of Jerusalem although delivered by the hand of the Lord, should of not gotten to this point. The city that was to be light and goodness was not. Its prophets, priests, leaders, and people did not serve the Lord God. It is here that we find a people who will face judgment from the Lord for their doings.
For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, (Isa 3:1)
The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, (Isa 3:2)
The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. (Isa 3:3)
In this judgment, though, we find Isaiah warning both the righteous and the wicked. For those who were righteous and did according to the Lord, it would be well with them for they would “eat the fruit of their doings”. The wicked, however, who did not follow the Lord, it would be ill with him, “for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” [Is 3:10-11]
The sins of the people were many; you can read about it further in Isaiah chapter three. Jeremiah also writes and prophesies of these sins of the people. In short, two verses describe that the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem as they seek other gods. They offer these false gods incense, and other offerings. They set up altars to Baal. The people who had known the true God, no more sought him. They sought the demonic entity gods of the nations around them. They were no longer light. That which was to hold vision, promise, and a light for God had faded. In this fading of the things of God, Jerusalem now found itself no longer the center of the vision of God for good, but Gods eye was upon them, this time to reward them for their iniquity. Now the God of blessing had become the God who would send judgment and cursing upon them for what they did. In this, though, God would deliver out a remnant people who would serve him.
Jer_11:12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
Jer_11:13 For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
There are many scriptures we can put in here now, but we put only a few to give a glimpse of what the Light or vision of God was like at the time. The temple of the Lord had its priests and prophets. The people had leaders. All had a heritage going back to Abraham. Yet this did not suffice. For the people had sought other Gods. Here Jeremiah speaks bluntly to the people. Jeremiah told the priests, prophets, people, and leaders of Judah that those “who handle the law knew me not.” Further the pastors or priests “transgressed against me”, and the “prophets prophesied by Baal.” These so called men of God, the word says as follows: “the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them.” In other words, what these prophets prophesied would not come to pass. They were mere religious blowhards. They were not to be feared. The judgment that is coming, Jeremiah says will take these so called prophets and priests as well. They will not escape for the “prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means.” The people loved what their religious institutions were doing. They placated the people. The men of God, those who were to teach the people about God did not do so. They did not warn the people of sins, they instead brought upon the people a curse for what they did do in the name of the God of Israel.
Finally the word that these prophets and priests did not want to hear was coming straight from the LORD. Jeremiah said concerning the prophets, “the LORD said unto me, I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them. They prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart.” These prophets were telling the people that the judgment that was coming, which Jeremiah warned them about, was not coming. These prophets denied the judgment, the invasion to come, and in doing so sealed the lid on the people. The people did not want to hear judgment anymore. They wanted to hear good things, so these prophets and the priests, with the leaders of the city all held to their false visions. They had a temple of the Lord, priests of the Lord, and prophets of the Lord, therefore, they reasoned, the Lord would not smite this city, or his temple, or his priests. They were wrong.
Jer_2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
Jer_5:13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
Jer_5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
Jer_14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
Jer_14:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
If you are listening closely to the Spirit I should not have to direct your attention to the church today. Nor direct your attention to the many who say judgment won’t come to this nation, or to the church, or to its priests and prophets. There are many similarities and types in scripture between Israel, her priests and prophets and the church today. Let it not be said you were not warned. Many today are like those same prophets who prophesy false visions and divinations. It is a thing of naught, a deceit of their heart.
The Lying Spirit sent forth from the Lord into the mouth of the prophets. This is a warning to you and to the church today. For your desire and lust after those things you have twisted and turned from the truth. This is a staunch warning to beware, the judgment comes.
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. (1Ki 22:19)
And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. (1Ki 22:20)
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. (1Ki 22:21)
And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. (1Ki 22:22)
Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. (1Ki 22:23)
I remind you today what Isaiah told the people, with this I also urge you to seek the Lord. If you are walking with the Lord, as you should, it shall be well with him that does this. For all will eat the fruit of their doings. There are many more things to say, but I close with these three scriptures. Also this reminder, If God chose to judge his people thusly, shall we not also learn from their example?
Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. (Isa 3:10 KJV)
Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. (Isa 3:11 KJV)
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?