Isaiah 28:14 pronounces judgment against the rulers in Jerusalem. This judgment would apply to any who embrace the doctrine of hell.
In Verse 15 the rulers reply that they have an agreement or compact with death and hell (sheol see Hell, Death/Grave for an explanation of the truth on Hell). Clergy scare and control their congregations with this doctrine. Their united authority gives them false confidence. They believe their lies will protect them from God’s judgment (the scourge or whip).
Verse 16 introduces the judge, a foundation stone, a cornerstone. The Apostle Peter quotes this scripture and applies it to Jesus. 1 Peter 2:4, 6-8 (NET), “…‘Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.’ So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word…”
Verse 17 continues the construction metaphor introducing a line and plummet. The line and plummet are used to build a straight, upright wall. This illustrates a standard of absolute justice, correctness.
Hail and water are also symbolic. Literal hail sweeps away crops and damages structures. Could real hail destroy a lie – a thought in someone’s mind? Waters can overflow a hiding place during a flood. But if the hail is symbolic, water is too.
What do the hail and water represent? In John 4:9-14 Jesus offers living water to the Samaritan woman. In John 7:38, 39 he offers living waters to the thirsty ones who believe. Thus, water symbolizes truth and hail (hard water) represents hard truths. As people become more educated they are reasoning on the doctrines of their churches.
Verse 18 shows the results – justice and truth will be a weapon to annul their agreement with death and hell. Do we see today some staying away from the subject of Hell or redefining what Hell means? How could a God of love torture someone forever? This false doctrine has been used to control Christians and instill a fear of God. The overflowing scourge they thought they could escape (verse 15) is trodding down their lies.
Verse 19 continues. This just judgment continues day after day. The King James margin reads, “He shall make you to understand doctrine.” Superstition and fear are less and less binding reasonable people to the churches. The truth of God’s word contains a standard of behavior. Today, bad behavior within churches is being exposed continually.
1 Corinthians 4:5, “…the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.”
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