A Study of Isaiah 32:15

“Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.” (Isaiah 32:15)

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In the 32nd chapter of Isaiah God is speaking of the coming Saviour in His time.

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment,” verse 1.

“And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” verse 2.

Those who truly put their trust in Christ – the Messiah – will be as a hiding place from spiritual storms and as a shelter (Christ’s protection) from the tempest. We are as rivers of water in a dry place: the spiritual wilderness of earth.

Isaiah 41:18 – I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

John 7:38 – He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

This is the long-awaited times of refreshing (the Gospel Age; our seventh day Rest in Christ) prophesied throughout scripture:

Isaiah 28:12 – To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Isaiah 32:2 concludes by stating that God’s children shall be “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” No doubt we are living in a weary land, but the believers are to be God’s shadow in this wilderness; we are to shadow that great rock in our lives and that rock is of course the Lord Jesus Christ as prophesied in allegorical fashion and historical events of Old Testament days.

Exodus 17:6 – Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:31 – For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

Deuteronomy 32:37 – And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,

2 Samuel 22:47 – The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.

Nehemiah 9:15 – And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.

Psalms 18:2 – The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Romans 9:33 – As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

1 Corinthians 10:4 – And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Scripture is filled with spiritual insight; metaphors, allegories, parables, etc. just waiting to be discovered.

God is planting His forest and continuing on in Isaiah chapter thirty-two we read for following in verse 3:

3 – And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.

In the physical sense, the majority of eyes in the world see and the majority of ears in the world hear. In God’s forest, however, He is planting spiritual eyes and spiritual ears to hear and understand the ways of God.

Isaiah 35:5-10 –

5 – ¶Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

6 – Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

7 – And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

8 – And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Gospel (that way) was a source of contention, even in the early church, of course:

Acts 19:9 – But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

Acts 19:23 – And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

Acts 24:22 – ¶And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

Continuing on in Isaiah 35:

9 – No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

10 – And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

God is building His Church in the same fashion that He is planting His spiritual forest in the metaphorical sense; nonetheless, God has chosen to utilize much allegorical and parabolic language in bringing forth simple word pictures with highly spiritual meanings.

Back to God’s forest and Isaiah 32, beginning with verse 4:

4 – The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

When do we understand true knowledge and speak plainly when scripture indicates otherwise?

Psalms 12:2 – They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

Psalms 39:5 – Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

This is the state of unsaved man apart from the knowledge of the true God. Every man at his best state is altogether vanity! This is why God indicates in Isaiah 32:4 that He will build His Church or plant His forest and cause those within to understand knowledge and speak plainly. There can be no other way in the true and eternal Church of Christ, for we are all one in Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:13 – Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Isaiah chapter thirty-two continues in depicting the times of ancient Israel until verse 15, when we reach the passage where God speaks of the actual going forth of the good news of salvation (Gospel).

“Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.”

(Isaiah 32:15)

Indeed for God has counted His fruitful field as a forest. The Hebrew tells us that the word “counted” carries the definition: To think of, to regard as, to esteem, to consider as, to purpose or to think as, etc. The Hebrew states to “imagine” also as defining this term “counted.” So we clearly see from Isaiah 32:15 that God indeed views His Church as His forest.

Isaiah 32:15 – Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.

We know that the above verse is altogether speaking of Pentecost, when God poured out His Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:17 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Acts 2:18 – And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

God’s Forest

Isaiah 44:23 – Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel

Yes, shout for joy because the Lord has done it! Done what we may ask? The Lord has redeemed Jacob and glorified Himself in Israel. But why should I be excited over something that occurred in Israel some two-thousand years ago? And especially since I’m not Jewish? And why did God redeem Jacob alone? These questions are natural and the word redeem here is in reference to Christ redeeming the souls of all that are called unto salvation. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” Acts 2:39.

All the world should rejoice because the Lord has redeemed Jacob, but of course the world does not and will not rejoice. “For many are called, but few are chosen,” Matthew 22:14. Jacob is synonymous with the word Israel and therefore when God states that He will redeem Jacob we know that God is speaking of redeeming Israel. Some may still wonder how the redemption of Israel will affect them. It is crucial to understand that Old Testament physical Israel is in reference to the future spiritual estate of God’s Church, the eternal Israel, Galatians 6:16. God’s plan for our eternal salvation can be seen through the eyes of Old Testament Israel. The literal and historical occurrences of ancient Israel are our examples and schoolmaster in learning of our eternal future. For further reading on this doctrine please see our study “God’s Spiritual Israel.”

Once more let us ponder this verse:

Isaiah 44:23 – Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel

Isaiah 59:20 – And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

Psalms 72:14 – He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Psalms 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalms 78:35 – And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.

Isaiah 44:23 tells the believers to shout, for the Lord has done it!

Psalms 32:11 – Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Psalms 35:27 – Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

Psalms 65:13 – The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

The hearts of God’s people truly shout for joy when they consider their salvation. Those who may not understand the above verse must wonder as to why the Israelites shout for joy. Is it because of their abundant flocks and their plentiful harvest of corn? Yes, the children of Israel were surely happy with their large corn harvests and their abundant flocks, but this is merely an historical parable; a history event that truly took place but one that held highly spiritual or heavenly implications as well. It should be widely known that the true worshipper of Christ is depicted in scripture as corn or wheat.

The above verse states that the pastures are clothed with flocks and the valleys are also covered over with corn; and they shout for joy and they also sing. Do flocks and corn sing? God’s flocks and corn certainly do.

Psalms 78:52 – But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

Psalms 80:1 – ¶To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.

Psalms 107:41 – Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.

Isaiah 40:11 – He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Luke 12:32 – Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Acts 20:28 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Ezekiel 34:31 – And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.

We as Christians are God’s flock and God’s wheat.

As we speak of God’s forest from Isaiah 32:15, our main text in this study, we see that the Hebrew word for forest (Strong’s Hebrew # 3293) is also translated as wood.

Psalm 96:12 – Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.

True believers in Christ are perceived by God as trees, among many other symbolical terms.

Isaiah 61:1-3 –

1 – ¶The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 – To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 – To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Christ came to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. All of humanity is a spiritual prison, captive to our fallen condition of sin and spiritual death. Only through our Redeemer Christ could the doors of this prison be opened. Thus He has given us beauty for our fallen state of ashes; the oil or Holy Spirit of joy for our mourning. We now wear the garment of praise which takes the place of our once spirit of heaviness. The Lord has planted us in His garden or in His forest, and we are now His trees of righteousness.

Isaiah 55:12 – For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Matthew 7:17-18 –

17 – Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 – A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

The Planting of God’s People

“But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” (Matthew 15:13)

True worshippers of Christ are depicted in scripture as plants in God’s garden, God’s vineyard, and in God’s forest. This metaphor was first given to Christ Himself

Ezekiel 34:29 – And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.

This passage speaks of the then coming Messiah – our Plant of Renown. We also see Old Testament language that once more depicts Christ as a plant:

Isaiah 53:2 – For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Isaiah chapter fifty-three is a well known passage, since it gives much insight on the crucifixion of the Savior. Verse two depicts Christ as a tender plant and also a root out of a dry ground. God has begun to sow in His spiritual forest, garden, and vineyard. Christ certainly entered this world as entering a dry ground; nothing of heavenly significance grew at that point, there was only spiritual darkness until His arrival.

Isaiah 9:2 – The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

John 8:12 – ¶Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Christ of course is the light of the world and He is the Word of life, John 1:14. As Christ was the first plant, so also are all true believers metaphorically speaking. This is unabated biblical language sure and fully trustworthy. Believers will not become gods in eternity, we will remain as the children of light and the children of God in our Father’s eternal house. As Christ is the light of the world, believers must also replicate that light in the same way that Christ spoke to His disciples:

Matthew 5:14 – Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

We are the light of the world only because we must reflect Christ, who is the true Light of the world. While we are still in our sinful bodies we will continue to sin until the resurrection at the last day wherein we receive our eternal bodies. The eternal Father; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost will always be our God and we will be His children.

In the same fashion that all worshippers of Christ are the light of the world and all worshippers of Christ are God’s spiritual plants, we are also God’s trees in His vineyard, garden, and forest. Why trees? We must follow Christ and in doing so we take on His attributes and characteristics. The Christ is our Tree of Life.

Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Christ is our Tree of Life and yet He is our Vine Tree in God’s forest.

Ezekiel 15:6 – Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

God speaks of many varying trees in depicting Christians in allegorical fashion.

Isaiah 41:19 – I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:

Psalms 104:16 – The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

Do you suppose that God, in the above two verses; is strictly speaking of natural trees? One must only visit a garden shop or nursery to learn about specific trees. No, God is most certainly using poetic and metaphoric language as He speaks of eternal salvation in simple terms of planting or sowing, trees in His garden, vineyard, or forest. God first plants His spiritual seed in us as we see in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew chapter thirteen.

1 Chronicles 17:9 – Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,

Many today believe that Old Testament Israel still has a glorious role to play in God’s calendar of events. When true doctrine of scripture is examined and it is determined that ancient Israel was used of God as a foreshadow or prefigure in foretelling the coming of the Gospel Age and the completion of God’s people, many will call it anti-Semitic. Today peoples of all nations, including national Israel, have access to Christ. No person on earth can be eternally saved simply because they are of the lineage of Abraham.

Galatians 3:7 – Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

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