This is a repost from 2010
When the Israelites were set free from their hard slavery in Egypt, in accord with God’s solemn promise to his friend, Abraham, Jehovah then established his covenant with them. No other people were in such a blessed relationship with Jehovah God. But the blessing was conditional. Only as long as the people listened to God would they be blessed. God would cause the rain to fall in due season and no enemy could make exactions upon them – if they obeyed. But the terms of the covenant between God and Israel also stipulated that if the people did not strictly obey the voice of Jehovah God there would be dire consequences. Instead of the blessings, there would be the maledictions. Jehovah would become their enemy. It was unavoidable if they rebelled. The curses were written into the Law covenant. The 28th chapter of Deuteronomy lays it out in explicit detail.
Of course, Jehovah knew in advance that the nation would not keep his covenant. And so God actually foretold Israel’s desolation even before ever they entered into the Promised Land. For example, Deuteronomy 28:63 states: “And it must occur that just as Jehovah exulted over you to do you good and to multiply you, so Jehovah will exult over you to destroy you and to annihilate you; and you will simply be torn away from off the soil to which you are going to take possession of it.”
That is why portions of Isaiah’s prophecy, written approximately 800 years after the Israelites entered into the bond of the covenant, echoes part of the curse contained in the Law. As an example, below is the curse of the Law directed towards the “delicate and dainty woman,” which stated: “As for the delicate and dainty woman among you who never attempted to set the sole of her foot upon the earth for being of dainty habit and for delicateness, her eye will be evil-inclined toward her cherished husband and her son and her daughter, even toward her afterbirth that comes out from between her legs and toward her sons whom she proceeded to bear, because she will eat them in secrecy for the want of everything because of the tightness and stress with which your enemy will hem you in within your gates.” – Deuteronomy 28:56-57
Now consider Isaiah 3:16-26: “For the reason that the daughters of Zion have become haughty and they walk with their throats stretched forth and ogling with their eyes, they go walking with tripping steps, and with their feet they make a tinkling sound, Jehovah also will actually make the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion scabby, and Jehovah himself will lay their very forehead bare. In that day Jehovah will take away the beauty of the bangles and the headbands and the moon-shaped ornaments, the eardrops and the bracelets and the veils, the headdresses and the step chains and the breastbands and the ‘houses of the soul’ and the ornamental humming shells, the finger rings and the nose rings, the robes of state and the overtunics and the cloaks and the purses, and the hand mirrors and the undergarments and the turbans and the large veils. And it must occur that instead of balsam oil there will come to be merely a musty smell; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of an artistic hair arrangement, baldness; and instead of a rich garment, a girding of sackcloth; a brand mark instead of prettiness. By the sword your own men will fall, and your mightiness by war. And her entrances will have to mourn and express sorrow, and she will certainly be cleaned out. She will sit down on the very earth.”
As is apparent, this aspect of the prophecy of Isaiah is an enlargement of the curse in Deuteronomy. But even more profoundly significant, just as the Law and the prophets were actually preliminary to the advent of the Christ, it is also evident that the very same Law covenant and the prophets cast shadows of divine pronouncements against the people of Christ – the Israel of God, according to Paul – the product of the new covenant and the law of the Christ.
Consider more closely the details of the curse of the covenant and the overlapping features of prophecy: “Jehovah will raise up against you a nation far away, from the end of the earth, just as an eagle pounces, a nation whose tongue you will not understand, a nation fierce in countenance, who will not be partial to an old man or show favor to a young man.” – Deuteronomy 28:49-50
Written almost a millennium before Babylon destroyed the kingdom of Judah before even Jerusalem became the famed “city of Jehovah,” the opening pronouncements of the prophecy of Habakkuk uses the exact same imagery as the curse contained in the Law – likening the ruthless Chaldean to an eagle speeding to snatch the prey. But any knowledgeable reader of Habakkuk is aware that the prophecy is actually a vision yet for the time appointed, that is to say: for the time of the end, also termed the conclusion of the (global) system. The Chaldean foreshadows the eighth king. (See chapter – Habakkuk)
Not only that, but the description of the executioner of Jehovah’s judgments – he being “a nation fierce in countenance” – is also the precise language found in the prophecy of Daniel regarding a “king fierce in countenance.” The significance is that the prophecy of Daniel is also earmarked to undergo fulfillment in connection with the holy ones of the kingdom in “the final part of the denunciation” – during the “time of the end.” (See chapter – Daniel)
In recognition of the patterns cast in prophecy and the interconnectivity of the new and old covenants, the haughty daughters of Zion – whom Jehovah ultimately purifies and humbles through affliction – must foreshadow the individual members of the bride of Christ during the parousia. Not to be overlooked, the purpose of God’s withering punishment is, as stated above, so that “she will certainly be cleaned out.”
Did not Jesus similarly clean out the moneychangers from God’s earthly temple as a last act in his earthly ministry, which serves as a portent of his work as the messenger of the (new) covenant and the appointed laundryman destined to carry out the ultimate, fiery cleansing of the spiritual temple, as related in the third chapter of Malachi? Reasonably, then, the cleansing of the spiritual temple takes place immediately before the beginning of the new world.
The denunciation becomes even more graphic at Isaiah 4:4-5, where we read: “When Jehovah will have washed away the excrement of the daughters of Zion and he will rinse away even the bloodshed of Jerusalem from within her by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning down, Jehovah will also certainly create over every established place of Mount Zion and over her convention place a cloud by day and a smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; because over all the glory there will be a shelter. And there will come to be a booth for a shade by day from the dry heat, and for a refuge and for a hiding place from the rainstorm and from the precipitation.”
The Watchtower Society recognizes that the prophecy of Isaiah is a pattern for the judgment of Christ’s congregation. But as with their interpretation of virtually all prophecy, the Watchtower goes to great lengths to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that God’s judgments have already been carried out back in the 1914-1919 time-frame, against Rutherford and company; or, that they apply to Christendom. Here is what the Isaiah’s Prophecy commentary states on pages 71-72 regarding the span of verses above:
When faced with the scorching heat of persecution and the storms of opposition, the cleansed remnant will find Jehovah to be their Source of protection, security, and refuge. A beautiful prospect is thus set before them: If they leave behind the unclean beliefs and practices of Babylon, submit to the cleansing of Jehovah’s judgment, and endeavor to remain holy, they will remain safe, as if in “a booth” of divine protection.Notice that first comes the cleansing, then the blessings. This has proved true in our day. Back in 1919 the anointed remnant humbly submitted to being refined, and Jehovah “washed away” their uncleanness. Since then, “a great crowd” of other sheep have also allowed themselves to be cleansed by Jehovah. Thus cleansed, the remnant and their companions have been blessed—Jehovah has taken them into his protective care.