Advent Devotional Day 18: Isaiah 25.6-9
The Mountain Feast
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And He will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
In previous days of this devotional series, we have looked at themes related to the coming Davidic King. We have learned that this King would bring about a universal reign of peace over the whole creation, we learned that the character of this New Creation reign of the King would be one where peace and righteousness are established and the curse of sin and death on creation are undone. We have seen that this coming King who would reign on David’s throne is also the One who is called “Mighty God,” and “Father of Eternity.” (Isaiah 9.6) We have also seen pictures of the Mountain of the Lord (Isaiah 2) and how in the days of this King God’s reign will be established from Zion, God’s Mountain, as He reigns over all the earth. In that day the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11) These are glorious, grand promises. However, as we move forward in the prophecy of Isaiah there are even more promises to consider! One of the most striking ones is found in our text above.
Isaiah 24 is a chapter about God’s furious judgement upon the whole earth. Earlier chapters focused in on Israel, but as Isaiah prophecies about the coming judgement on Israel, the Spirit causes him to widen his gaze and draw the picture of a future day when the Lord will pour out His fury on all nations. “Behold the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and He will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.” (Isaiah 24.1) Chapter 25 opens with a song of praise for Yahweh for this fierce judgement: “O Lord , you are my God; I will exalt You; I will praise Your Name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” (Isaiah 25.1) Isaiah’s point of view is clear, he looks forward to the day when all evildoers will be judged by the Lord of hosts. He praises God for His justice and righteousness, but this is not where this passage ends. Out of this coming judgement, magnificent salvation flows!
The “Mountain of the Lord” plays a key part in this text, as it has in previous texts in Isaiah as well. The mountain of the Lord is the place of God’s power, reign, and presence with His people. The coming kingdom is pictured in Isaiah 2 as God reigning from His mountain. In this text, with so much death in view in the final judgement, God causes the restoration and renewal of all creation to flow from His mountain. He makes on this mountain a feast of rich foods for “all nations.” (verse 6) This place of the Lord’s presence and reign established in the earth will overflow for men of every tribe, tongue, people and nation with rich blessing and joy. These are the blessings of salvation pictured in this meal. This feast is not where the passage ends though!
There is an ultimate enemy that every single person who lives must stare down and face. In these verses it is described as a “covering” or a “veil” cast over all nations. There is a universal reality that comes for you no matter what race, tribe or family you are from. This enemy that comes for you, and the veil that lingers over you your whole life is death. Death is pictured in this text as the ultimate enemy, the epitome of the curse on God’s creation. (Genesis 3) This is a text that takes place after God has defeated all of His enemies, and now the last enemy that remains will finally be defeated on God’s mountain. The last enemy that will be defeated is death itself. (1 Cor. 15.26) After all of God’s enemies are gone, He will deal with the last enemy that lingers on. “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces..” (verse 8)
Why is this text included in an Advent devotional series? After all, it doesn’t even mention the coming Messiah! If we understand Isaiah’s flow of argument in context, we see that these passages of hope in the midst of judgement and terror are meant to come together to form one singular picture. The Child to be born to us, the stem of Jesse who would rule establishes a kingdom of perfect peace and righteousness. He rings in a new creation that is consumed with the knowledge of the Lord and the curse is reversed. This cannot be if death is still instated as the ultimate enemy of God’s people. The Child who was born to us came to crush death. He is the One who swallows up death forever through His coming! The actual abolition of death after the judgement of the nations in Christ’s second advent is just the application of what the Baby born in a manger came to purchase in His first advent. He was born to die, be buried, and rise in power. In this action of His first advent, the coming King swallowed up death forever, and it is because of this action that He deserves our eternal praise, adoration, and worship. (verse 9) Christ has stared down and faced our ultimate enemy, and He has swallowed it whole. He is the King of this New Creation and the Ruler of God’s mountain.