Description
This chapter portrays Jesus defeating Satan and Antichrist's end-time empire. He then restores all twelve tribes of Israel and they worship him in Jerusalem. Israel becomes a blessing to the whole world, and the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled.
Commentary
"At that time" in verse 1 follows directly on from the previous chapter which prophesied Israel's end-time deliverance, and the bodily resurrection of the dead at the end of the age. In 24:21-22, Isaiah prophesied that Satan and his demonic forces will be locked up in prison for a long time and then face punishment (as in Revelation 20). Here in verse 1, Satan is referred to figuratively and poetically as Leviathan, the great squirming seven-headed sea monster of Canaanite creation mythology (see NET Bible notes on this verse). Leviathan represents the forces of chaos that God overcame in creation, and that have resisted God throughout history. In the apocalyptic vision of Daniel 7, four world empires are portrayed as beasts that rise out of the sea. In Revelation 13 and 17, a seven-headed beast or dragon rises out of the sea. The dragon represents Satan, and its heads represent kings and their empires throughout history (17:10), culminating in that of the Antichrist. Here in verse 1, Isaiah tells us that the Lord (i.e. Jesus) will slay this monster with his great and powerful sword. It represents his defeat of Satan of his kingdom, as expressed through the empires of history and finally through that of the Antichrist.

In verse 2, the focus switches from Leviathan and Satan's kingdom to Israel. Israel is likened to a vineyard that God planted, as in the love song of Isaiah 5. In verse 3, God protects and provides for her. Verse 6 foresees a time (in the Millennium) when Israel will grow and blossom, producing fruit to fill the world. In verse 4, with Israel's enemies having been defeated, it is as though God misses having to confront thorns and briers (enemy armies) coming against her, because in doing so he could express his love for Israel and desire to protect her. He would consume them with fire (v4), unless they made peace with him and became his subjects (v5). God is speaking hypothetically in verse 5, because by the time in view here, Israel's enemies have already been defeated as portrayed in the slaying of Leviathan. However, this does suggest that in his slaying of Leviathan, Jesus will accept those who surrender and make peace with him. Antichrist's soldiers and followers will be given an opportunity to surrender and receive mercy.

Verse 7 contains two rhetorical questions that are awkward to translate (see NET Bible notes), but implying that God has not dealt with Israel's sin as severely as he dealt with her enemies. Verse 8 says literally, "in sending her away you oppose her". The vineyard motif switches to that of Israel as God's wife, implying that God chose to divorce her and send her away (see Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3:8) rather than to destroy her. Verse 9 describes her subsequent forgiveness and restoration. The crushing of the stone altars of her false gods, and breaking down of her Asherah poles, implies that Israel will fully renounce her adulterous ways and return to God as his faithful wife.

In verse 10, the fortified city that lies ruined and abandoned represents the power and might of Antichrist's empire, Israel's defeated enemy. In verses 10b and 11, this city is likened to a tree with dried up branches that are only good for animals to nibble and for women to use as kindling. Its inhabitants lacked understanding, so God showed them no compassion or mercy. In verse 12, this tree is shaken like you would shake an olive tree, in order to harvest its olives. The tree stretches from the River Euphrates to the stream of Egypt, representing the full extent of the promised land of Israel (Genesis 15:8). This region was historically controlled by the Assyrian Empire (2 Kings 23:29), and later by the Babylonian Empire (2 Kings 24:7). God promises to gather the Israelites up, one by one, like olives being harvested from the ground after the tree has been beaten. Verse 13 tells us that at that time, a large trumpet will be blown, presumably corresponding to the last trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Revelation 11:15). The ones lost in the land of Assyria (i.e. descendants of the lost ten tribes of the northern kingdom), together with the refugees in Egypt (descendants of the refugees from Judah who fled there at the time of the Babylonian Exile), will come. "They will worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem", meaning that they are restored to Israel as God's covenant people. This is the ultimate end-time and Millennial fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant. Israel is restored to the full extent as promised to Abraham.

This means that at the last trumpet, not only are believing Christians raptured, but God will also gather in all twelves tribes of Israel and give them the whole of the promised land as promised to Abraham. This is the region that Zionists refer to as Greater Israel.

By this point, God's people are free from the Devil, the Antichrist, and his end-time empire. So there is much reason to rejoice and worship God.
Tags
Places: Israel, Egypt, Assyria
Symbols: Leviathan, Serpent, Beast out of the sea, Vineyard, Thorns and briers, Tree as empire
Tags: Satan punished, Antichrist defeated, End-time empire defeated, Israel as a vineyard, Israel as a wife, Sword of Jesus, Highway of Holiness, Israel divorced, Last trumpet, Restoration of Israel and Judah, Lost tribes of Israel, Greater Israel, Mercy
27 At that time the Lord will punish with his destructive, great, and powerful sword Leviathan the fast-moving serpent, Leviathan the squirming serpent; he will kill the sea monster.
2 When that time comes, sing about a delightful vineyard!
3 I, the Lord, protect it; I water it regularly. I guard it night and day, so no one can harm it.
4 I am not angry. I wish I could confront some thorns and briers! Then I would march against them for battle; I would set them all on fire,
5 unless they became my subjects and made peace with me; let them make peace with me.
6 The time is coming when Jacob will take root; Israel will blossom and grow branches. The produce will fill the surface of the world.
7 Has the Lord struck down Israel like he did their oppressors? Has Israel been killed like their enemies?
8 When you summon her for divorce, you prosecute her; he drives her away with his strong wind in the day of the east wind.
9 So in this way Jacob’s sin will be forgiven, and this is how they will show they are finished sinning: They will make all the stones of the altars like crushed limestone, and the Asherah poles and the incense altars will no longer stand.
10 For the fortified city is left alone; it is a deserted settlement and abandoned like the wilderness. Calves graze there; they lie down there and eat its branches bare.
11 When its branches get brittle, they break; women come and use them for kindling. For these people lack understanding, therefore the one who made them has no compassion on them; the one who formed them has no mercy on them.
12 At that time the Lord will shake the tree, from the Euphrates River to the Stream of Egypt. Then you will be gathered up one by one, O Israelites.
13 At that time a large trumpet will be blown, and the ones lost in the land of Assyria will come, as well as the refugees in the land of Egypt. They will worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.
(NET)