Isaiah 5 begins with a parable of the crucifixion of Christ and continues with a description of those that
God curses and the curse (woe) that will fall on them. The parable starts with a reference to the chosen
people.

"Now will I sing to My wellbeloved a song of My beloved touching His vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a
vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with
the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and He looked
that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes." (Is. 5:1,2).

As Verse 5 explains, "the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his
pleasant plant." The Lord took the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah and planted them as vines in
the Holy Land that he had given them for their inheritance. He chose for them a goodly land, hilly but
fruitful, perfect for growing grapes. The specific "very fruitful hill," is Jerusalem where the Christian
church was formed. New Christians are fruit of the True Vine, Christ. (See John 15:1-8.)

The vineyard is fenced, which means it is defended. It has had its stones removed. Stones mar cultivated
land, they make plowing difficult or impossible. When God instructed Israel to punish Moab, He told them:
"And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all
wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones." (2 Kings 3:19). God removed the stones
from the Holy Land by instructing Israel to destroy the possessors of the land when they came up from the
wilderness of Egypt. Thus God removed all impediments to the peaceful cultivation of the Holy Land by
His people Israel.

A tower is a place of refuge and safety. It is also a prophet. As God said to Jeremiah, "I have set thee for a
tower and a fortress among My people, that thou mayest know and try their way." (Jer. 6:27). In Jeremiah's
time he was the salvation of the flock; they followed God's instructions (which Jeremiah prophesied to
them), accepted the Babylonian captivity and lived. A tower then is a prophetic message, the only safety in
troubled times. "And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he
preserved." (Hosea 12:13).

A winepress is an instrument of judgment. Christ describes returning in judgment thusly: "I have trodden
the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger, and
trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My
raiment." (Is. 63:3).

Finally, in describing His vineyard, the Lord says that "He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it
brought forth wild grapes." (Is. 5:2). Wild grapes produce a bitter and unsatisfactory wine, so the Lord was
greatly displeased with His people.

"And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard.
What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked
that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" (Is. 5:3,4). God invites those about to be
judged to admit the fault is theirs, He has done all He could for them.

"And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall
be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: and I will lay it waste: it shall
not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that
they rain no rain upon it." (Is. 5:5,6). This is God's judgment on Jerusalem and Judah. They are to be left
undefended, their substance will be taken by others, they will be destroyed and the land laid waste. They
shall be replaced in their land by briers and thorns (the heathen). Further, the living water, the life giving
rain of the prophetic message will be taken from them.

"For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and
He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry." (Is. 5:7). This is the
reason that the judgment of God falls on the city Jerusalem and the land of Judah. They oppressed
Christ's ministry, then crucified Him.

Christ spoke of this very vineyard in parable. "Hear another parable: There was a certain householder,
which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and
let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his
servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his
servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than
the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will
reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir;
come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the
vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those
husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard
unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye
never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the
corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of
God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matt. 21:33-43).

Christ did not tell the elders and the chief priests who heard His parable of the full judgment God would
visit upon them (only that they would lose the prophetic voice that gathers the Kingdom of God), but the
prophet Daniel did in a time prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. (Dan. 9:24-27).

The explanation of this prophecy has been understood in the Christian church for many years. Houteff
does it well, note that each week is seven years. This comes from the day as a year principle given in Ez. 4:
6, "I have appointed thee each day for a year." Houteff's explanation follows:

""Dan. 9:24 --"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the
transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy."

""Since Gabriel is here explaining the vision of chapter 8 -- the things that were to take place during the
2300 days -- the seventy weeks are therefore a part of the 2300 days."

""The seventy weeks are actually 490 years. Mark that during these 490 years, Daniel's people, the Jews,
were to make an end of sin and make reconciliation for their iniquity, or else be hopelessly given up. Next
Daniel was told where the 70 weeks begin:"

""Dan. 9:25 --"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore
and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two
weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

""From the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem to Messiah the Prince, to Christ, there
were to be 7 weeks (49 years), and 62 weeks (434 years) -- 69 weeks in all, or 483 years. History shows that
the decree to rebuild the ancient city went forth in 457 B.C. Hence 483 years from 457 B.C. bring us to 27 A.
D., to the year Christ, the Messiah, was baptized. (This incident, too, proves that the 2300 days are
computed a day for a year, and that the seventy weeks are the first block of time from within the 2300
days...) We should now remember that after cutting off the 69 weeks from the 70 weeks there is yet one
week left. What takes place during this week is told in the verses that follow:"

""Dan. 9:26, 27 -- "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and
the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall
be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And He shall confirm the
covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the
oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the
consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

""Just what was to take place during the first seven weeks or 49 years I am not prepared to say, but in the
end of the next 62 weeks, or 434 years the Messiah was to be cut off, crucified. During the remaining
week, the 70th, He was to confirm the covenant with many, and in the midst of it He was to be cut off,
crucified; that is, there were to be 3 1/2 years from His baptism to the crucifixion, and 3 1/2 years after the
crucifixion in which He was to confirm the covenant. This completes the 70 weeks and brings us to the
time the apostles were commanded to go out and preach the Gospel to the Gentiles: One named
Cornelius (a Gentile), and Peter (a Jew and an Apostle) were both given a vision: Cornelius was instructed
to see Peter and Peter was commanded to meet Cornelius. See Acts, chapter 10. The Jews as a nation
failed to make an end of sin and were therefore rejected, given up."

""Christ's own sacrifice at the end of the first 3 1/2 years replaced the sacrificial ceremonial system, and
thus He caused the sacrifice to cease in the midst of the week. All this, time and event, you see, took
place exactly as Gabriel predicted."" (V. T. Houteff, Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 33, 1948).

Note that the destruction of Jerusalem which took place about 70 AD was prophesied here. The Jews
continued with animal sacrifice and oblations even though Christ had ended them and that was an
abomination. So was the persecution of the first Christians. The people of Judah are to be made desolate
and punished as God determines. "... for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate,
even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Dan. 9:27).

The first seven weeks, 49 years, was the time from the decree to restore Jerusalem to the first Jubilee,
which the Jews failed to keep. Since they should have known that the commandment to restore and
rebuild Jerusalem would take place in a Jubilee year, this was a sin to them and a proof to God that the
Babylonian captivity had taught them nothing.

The prophecy of Isaiah 5 gives specifics of this heavenly judgment. "And now go to; I will tell you what I
will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the
wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: and I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but
there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it." (Is. 5:
5,6). To summarize: The Jews would be destroyed, replaced in their homeland, and lose the prophetic
message (rain) that calls God's people into the Kingdom of God.

Specific judgments on individuals followed. These judgments are a guide to how God will judge us in the
end time, as will be seen from Is. 5:25, which is explained below.

"Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be
placed alone in the midst of the earth! In mine ears said the Lord of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be
desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the
seed of an homer shall yield an ephah." (Is. 5:8-10).

Those who accumulate great tracts of farm land are ignoring God's Jubilee Law. God says, "The land shall
not be sold for ever: for
the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land
of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land." (Lev. 25:23,25).

Most people are totally ignorant of God's determination that all of His people share the land. The Jubilee,
which is the subject of Isaiah 25, was established so that no family could lose their land after Israel had
taken possession of the Holy Land and each family had been assigned land by lot. This assignment of land
by lot will take place again when the Kingdom of God takes over the whole earth as prophesied in Dan. 2:
44. Because of the Jubilee provision of God's Law, each family will have perpetual ownership of their land.

Those who have accumulated great tracts of land have committed a trespass (a sin committed in
ignorance). God forgives trespasses readily to those who repent and reform. The simplest way to repent
and reform is to shelter God's people on your land during the time of trouble. In exchange for food and
housing and low wages, they will be very hard workers.

The benefits of such a program in the end time are two fold. As the scripture above shows extensive
farming with store bought sprayed chemicals will fail. Land nourished with store bought chemicals
becomes so depleted that it is chemically dependent, it won't grow crops without its yearly spraying.
Intensive organic farming will not fail because the application of organic materials like leaves and manure
improves the fertility of land for more that one year. Also such materials are readily available regardless
of worldly convulsions. The second reason to share your farm is that it procures a blessing from God.

"Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until
night, till wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts:
but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of His hands." (Is. 5:11,12).

God doesn't refuse people the right to celebrate, but He wants them to worship Him, "consider the
operation of His hands," and do His work (if not in the ministry, then producing food and goods and
tithing). Drunkards and those who find the meaning of their lives in drugs and meaningless celebrations
are cursed.

Next is a category of people who are trusting Satan's ministry to teach them the Bible. "Therefore My
people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished,
and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth
without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend
into it." (Is. 5:13,14).

Paul warned us about false ministers. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming
themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of
light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;
whose end shall be according to their works." (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

Satan's ministry will capture many who don't know the Bible in the end time, "they have no knowledge."
Their satanic pastors have neither milk nor meat nor living water for them, "their honorable men (pastors)
are famished" and they themselves "are dried up with thirst." The people and the glory of Satan's
churches all descend into hell and Satan, who rejoices in all this destruction, goes with them. To avoid
this trap, study No. 16, "A Warning To The Little Sheep."

As the chapter continues, God promises to overthrow the cruel, humble the powerful and those with
grand estates and titles. "And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled,
and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: but the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God
that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the
waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat." (Is. 5:15-17). God will be exalted in the judgment He
brings upon the earth and in the righteousness of His people. He will feed His people as a flock of
innocent lambs and give them the derelict land of the "fat ones," the greedy land barons.

Next, God curses those who delude His people. "Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity,
and sin as it were with a cart rope: that say, Let Him make speed, and hasten His work, that we may see it:
and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!"  (Is. 5:18,19).

The weapons of Satan's ministry will be accusations; they "draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it
were a cart rope." (Is. 5:18). These are the weapons they used when they accused Christ. "But when the
Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the
devils." (Matt.12:24). Satan's ministers also pretend that the Kingdom of God is just a series of cults, and
that they are watching vigilantly for signs of God's Kingdom, but don't see any.  

There are two types of accusations in this scripture, one successful and one unsuccessful. First there is
iniquity used as cords of vanity. A cord of vanity is a cord like those used to bind Sampson. These cords
did not work, Sampson broke them. (Vanity as used in the Bible has a primary meaning of uselessness.) So
the fact that the cords are of vanity means that these lies don't work. Despite the lies, some people
investigate for themselves. These see that the gathering of the Kingdom is indeed righteous and
according to Bible prophecy and they leave the cities and join it.

The use of sin as a cart rope is successful, it ties the deceived members of Satan's flocks into bundles of
tares. The "bundles of tares" is a reference to Christ's parable of the wheat and the tares. "Let both grow
together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
Gather ye together first the
tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them
: but gather the wheat into my barn. The field is the world;
the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the
enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels
(to the churches). As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it shall be at the end of
the world." (Matt. 13:30,38-40). God leaves the unrighteous to Satan's ministry, who deceive them so that
they remain in Satan's domain until God destroys it. “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful
kingdom (of Satan), and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth...” (Amos 9:8).

Next, God curses liars. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and
light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Is. 5:20).

Then, He curses the great leaders who conform to the world and lead His people away from His
righteousness. "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" (Is. 5:21).

Finally, God curses the judges. "Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to
mingle strong drink: which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the
righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so
their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the
law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." (Is. 5:22-24).

Drunkenness is a biblical symbol of delusion. Men who "are mighty to drink wine" and who "mingle strong
drink" are deluded. Judges are also "men of strength," they have great power. God accuses them of
taking bribes to pervert justice, they "justify the wicked for reward." And He accuses them of deliberately
imprisoning the innocent, they "take away the righteousness of the righteous from him." Also, God
accuses them of casting away His Law and despising His Word, "they have cast away the law of the Lord of
hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." If they were honest men, the Bible would be their
guide. Because they are deluded about the power of God, they do not fear to ignore His Word.

Finally, God decrees their punishment. Their parents and siblings, the root from which they grew, are also
cursed, "their
root shall be as rottenness." All of their children and grand children, and great grand
children are also cursed, "their blossom shall go up as dust." In the beginning, judges were a gift from
God. Perverting a heavenly gift draws a terrible punishment.

"Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people, and He hath stretched forth His hand
against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst
of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still." (Is. 5:25). God
destroyed Jerusalem about 70 years after Christ's birth. Despite this destruction, He was still angry.

God still intends to visit destruction upon His people until they follow His Law, "His hand is stretched out
still." "As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury
poured out, will I rule over you: and I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the
countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury
poured out." (Ez. 20:33,34). God will either gather His people by their own will, or He will chase them with
His wrath.

"And He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth:
and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: none shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall
slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be
broken." (Is. 5:26,27). The Ensign is the flag that flies over the Kingdom of God. (See No. 36, "Prophecies
Of The Ensign.") God will "hiss unto them from the ends of the earth," not shout, but hiss softly through
the mouths of missionaries preaching the Kingdom of God one on one in every land, in every language.
The harvest will be very quick, God's people "shall come
with speed swiftly." (See No. 27, "Sudden
Harvest.")

God's people won't be deterred, they will pour into His Kingdom. "In those days, and in that time, saith the
Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping
(repentant): they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces
thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be
forgotten." (Jer. 50:4,5).

God's earthly hosts will defend His people. "Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their
horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind. Their roaring shall be like a
lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away
safe, and none shall deliver it. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and
if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof."
(Is. 5:28-30). No force on earth will be able to withstand the hosts of God as they fight for His people. The
warfare over God's people takes place in a time of darkness and sorrow and terrible trouble. God is
pouring His fury out to rule over His people.

Amo Paul Bishop Roden
THE JUDGMENTS OF ISAIAH 5