Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: (Isaiah 28:14-15)
My earliest understanding of this passage was to relate it to the teaching on the Pre-Trib Rapture. This was based on the phrase: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us. The interpretation is that the overflowing scourge speaks of the tribulation judgments, and the speakers confidence that it shall not come unto us is based on the idea that we will be 'raptured' out, and thus escape these judgments. The people Jerusalem, speaks of the church, and the scornful men are the leadership. The four elements given as reasons are parallel expressions that speak of false teachings.
1. A covenant with death
2. An agreement with hell
3. A refuge of lies, and
4. A hiding place under falsehood.
Now no one actually says that they have made a covenant with death, etc., this is God's way of describing their teachings.
So it is because of the false teaching of the pre-trib rapture that the scornful men have confidence in escaping judgment. Even though Peter writes:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
Are we seeking to escape the judgments that must come on the house of God and also to escape the end time judgments that must come on the world?
My current understanding of this passage is that it has a much wider application. First it can apply just as well to those who do not teach the pre-trib rapture. Those who say in effect, that when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us because we are God's end time people and we will be protected through all this. This is also seeking to escape the judgments that must come on the house of God. Second, this passage applies to the religious system in general. That is: the scornful men who rule by means of false teachings is a depiction of the religious system and a religious spirit in action.
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