Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Isaiah Chapter 5
Metaphysically Interpreting Isaiah 5:1-7
5:1Let me sing for my wellbeloved
a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.
My wellbeloved had a vineyard
in a very fruitful hill:
5:2and he digged 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 hewed out a winepress therein:
and he looked that it should bring forth grapes,
and it brought forth wild grapes.
5:3And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge, I pray you, betwixt me
and my vineyard.
5:4What 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?
5:5And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard:
I will take away the hedge thereof,
and it shall be eaten up;
I will break down the wall thereof,
and it shall be trodden down:
5:6and I will lay it waste;
it shall not be pruned nor hoed;
but there shall come up briers and thorns:
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
Metaphysically Interpreting Isaiah 5:8-23
5:8Woe unto them that join house to house,
that lay field to field,
till there be no room,
and ye be made to dwell alone
in the midst of the land!
5:9In mine ears saith Jehovah of hosts,
Of a truth many houses shall be desolate,
even great and fair, without inhabitant.
5:10For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath,
and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.
5:11Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning,
that they may follow strong drink;
that tarry late into the night,
till wine inflame them!
5:12And the harp and the lute,
the tabret and the pipe, and wine,
are in their feasts; but they regard not the work of Jehovah,
neither have they considered the operation of his hands.
5:13Therefore my people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge;
and their honorable men are famished,
and their multitude are parched with thirst.
5:14Therefore Sheol hath enlarged its desire,
and opened its mouth without measure;
and their glory, and their multitude,
and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth among them, descend into it.
5:15And the mean man is bowed down, and the great man is humbled,
and the eyes of the lofty are humbled:
5:16but Jehovah of hosts is exalted in justice,
and God the Holy One is sanctified in righteousness.
5:17Then shall the lambs feed as in their pasture,
and the waste places of the fat ones shall wanderers eat.
5:18Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
and sin as it were with a cart rope;
5:19that say, Let him make speed,
let him 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!
5:20Woe 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!
5:21Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes,
and prudent in their own sight!
5:22Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine,
and men of strength to mingle strong drink;
5:23that justify the wicked for a bribe,
and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
November 25, 1906: Isaiah 5:11-23
Appetite is one of the most complex factors the metaphysician has to deal with. Some advocate giving it full freedom, trusting the transforming power of the Spirit to regulate it in Divine order. With many people this is found to work admirably. The spiritual consciousness penetrates every part and parcel of the man, and carnal desires are eliminated; a “new creature in Christ Jesus” appears without special effort. Those who have been meat-eaters find themselves free of the appetite. Tipplers of beer and whisky, and users of tobacco, find that they no longer enjoy these things, and they drop away as easily as a worn-out garment.
But this is not always the case, some who have clear perceptions of Truth are slow to give up the appetites of the flesh. The cause is in the acquisitive faculty. Appetite is governed by acquisitiveness in human consciousness, and when that faculty is active, there is slowness in giving up the desire for things that satisfy the stomach. The way to handle the situation is to deny the false desire, and put the appetite wholly in the keeping of the Spirit. This is not will-power, but a transformation of thought through the Word.
A great appetite indicates appropriative ability. Through this power comes the building up of substance, either in body or affairs. Therefore it should not be killed out, but educated along right avenues of expression. When it is very active, and the desire for meat and drink beyond normal, the power of the Spiritual Word should be directly applied. Say to the idea back of the outer expression, “You are governed by the law of the Spirit as revealed by Christ Jesus. You are now under Divine Law, and no longer look for the material satisfaction, but through the Spirit receive your highest good.”
April 24, 1921: Isaiah 5:8-10
What is the spiritual law governing prosperity? The spiritual law governing prosperity is that the degree, to which we make conscious union with God in the inner closet of prayer, marks the measure of our prosperity in our affairs.
Has God made ample provisions for all? Yes. Each individual is an heir to the kingdom, and no matter in what environment one may find himself, if he will open the channel into the inner spiritual realm, prosperity is bound to manifest.
What hinders one from demonstrating this law? Lack of faith in God as the source, or underlying principle, of all things.
December 4, 1927: Isaiah 5:1-12
What is the meaning of Isaiah's words, “my wellbeloved”? “My wellbeloved” here symbolizes the Christ, the ideal man.
What is the general theme of the “song”? The theme of the song is life. The fruit of the vine is symbolical of life, the wine of life; the vineyard represents manifest humanity.
Christ is typified as the husbandman who planted his vineyard “with the choicest vine,” with “a tower in the midst of it”; he “hewed out a winepress” and he expected that the vineyard would bring forth grapes but it “brought forth wild grapes.” Explain. The Lord placed man on the earth with perfect facilities for bringing forth perfect humanity. Instead, men have departed from the discipline and the culture of Spirit, and have become, for the most part, uncultured animals, counterfeits of true spiritual beings.
This lesson depicts that, because of men's sins, Jehovah is bent on destroying the human family. Is such a picture in harmony with the saving power of the Christ? No, in another chapter Isaiah promises, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). The old Hebrew prophets strongly believed in punishment as a remedy for man's shortcomings; this belief is painfully evident in much of their writings. They saw in man's many sorrows the results of man's disobedience, and they concluded that these sorrows were punishments sent by Jehovah. Now that we better understand the working of cause and effect in mind, we no longer attribute our ills to the Lord, but judge them for what they are, the results of broken law.
Do cries of “woe, woe” and threats of dire punishment tend to reform man? No, sinners are not reformed by being scolded. Every thought and word of condemnation adds to the sinner's burden. A scolding mother makes disobedient children. Thoughts act and react upon one another according to fixed laws. A person's state of consciousness envelops him, as a fog envelops a city. Suppose that a person were to go up and down the streets of London on a foggy day, shouting: “Woe unto you, men of London! You are in a fog! The anger of the Lord is kindled against you!” Would such faultfinding do any good?
What is the remedy to keep humanity from bringing forth “wild grapes”? Those who are in darkness need light. Ignorance disappears when understanding is quickened. Understanding displaces ignorance, as light displaces darkness. Darkness, ignorance, and sin are not real, and should never be thought to have any power to hold or to control men. When we think about sin and ignorance as being powerful and real, we intensify their darkness; then “how great is the darkness!”
September 4, 1932: Isaiah 5:11-16,22-23
What was the nature of the calamity that Isaiah pronounced upon the intemperate? The nature of this woe was the inevitable result of following “the works of the flesh.”
How is the sense appetite to be overcome? The overcoming of sense appetites must come through a new focusing of the attention, a new motivation at mind, and heart, on the part of the individual.
Does mankind, in general, understand the results of indulgence in alcoholic stimulants? Virtually everyone understands the effects of alcoholic stimulants on mind and body, but not everyone knows how to gain the temperate outlook on life that renders indulgence in hurtful things undesired.
What is man's problem? How to lose all appetite for forbidden fruit is the problem. As “brevity is the soul of wit,” so is moderation the soul of balance, of true judgment. The one who would be level-headed must supply himself with the right sort of ballast. The spiritual standard of thought and conduct supplies this; sense standards do not.
What leads to the captivity of mind, soul, and body? Lack of true understanding brings this result. There are captives of ignorance, of appetite, of poverty, of disease, and so forth. Chief of all the list is captivity to one's own limited ideals. Those who consider prohibition in the guise of an infringement of their personal liberties fall under such a heading. “If meat,” said Paul, “causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.”
How does one gain new ideals of life? By looking to “the work of Jehovah” and considering “the operation of his hands.” The person, who does this, sees that his own highest good is to be found in willing, glad obedience to the law that is best for all, the law of love.
July 23, 1933: Isaiah 5:3-12
What is the central theme in today's lesson? Today's lesson is a temperance lesson, in which Isaiah denounces drunkenness and other sins.
What trend of thought does Isaiah follow on this subject? Isaiah follows a negative trend, reciting the experience of those who disobey the laws of God. This is evidently for the purpose of calling man back to righteousness.
Metaphysically considered, is this the best plan for dealing with error of this character? No. Every sinner knows that he is suffering the consequences of broken law; therefore, scolding and reviling are worse than useless.
What is the true remedy? The understanding of Truth. Those who are in darkness need light. Understanding displaces ignorance as light displaces darkness. Therefore those who are suffering from the results of sin need to understand Truth.
Is false appetite real? No. Those who find themselves in the clutches of false appetite and who are suffering the consequences, should bear in mind that only God is real. What they crave is the God reality. “As the heart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
July 23, 1933: Isaiah 5:18-24
The prophet condemned those who call evil good and good evil. Who are they? Those who live in the outward, worldly consciousness and decree arbitrary ethical and religious laws that make good appear evil. For example, when Jesus healed the sick on the Sabbath day, He was really doing good, but the Pharisees said He was wicked, because He broke the Sabbath.
Who are those who “are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight?” The intellectually wise and the morally prudent who lack spiritual wisdom and understanding. They do not see spiritually; consequently, they have no real wisdom. It was to such as these that Jesus referred when He said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes.”
What becomes of those who have built their characters on the foundation of personality? According to the prophet, “their blossoms shall go up as dust” and “their, root shall be as rottenness,” because they have rejected the law of Jehovah and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
July 23, 1940: Isaiah 5:11-12
What is the significance of the “woe” pronounced on those who drink intoxicants? It means that through the drink habit they will bring misery on themselves and others.
Why are musical instruments mentioned in connection with the “work of Jehovah” and the “operation of his hands”? They here symbolize the pleasures of the senses as distinguished from the spiritual pleasures that come from joy in one's work and in the beauty of one's world.
July 28, 1940: Isaiah 5:18-23
What other persons are intemperate enough to bring suffering and misery upon themselves? Those who are false in thought, word, and deed, and those who are so impatient that they will not wait for the divine law to manifest itself in due order.
Do those who confuse good and evil, light and darkness, bitter and sweet, suffer for their failure to discern aright? Yes. The spiritual law is unvarying, and “ignorance of the law excuses no one.” However one who knowingly breaks the divine law suffers to a greater degree than one who does so because of ignorance.
– UNITY magazine.
June 28, 1942: Isaiah 5:20-23
What is lacking in those who “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness”? Judgment, understanding, and wisdom are undeveloped and lacking.
What kind of wisdom and prudence are really unwise and imprudent? The “wisdom” and “prudence” that spring from self-love and self-esteem. They cause us to make erroneous decisions and to do imprudent things. Both are forms of intemperance.
What faculty is misdirected in those who are “mighty to drink wine, and . . . to mingle strong drink”? The faculty of strength. Rightly used, it gives men control of their appetites, so that they find it normal and easy to abstain from intoxicating drink and find satisfaction in wholesome habits instead.
How are those accounted for who “justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him”? By their failure to recognize and accept truth as the basic principle of life. They therefore look for satisfaction in falsity, and their influence upon others is negative in every way.
How can men nullify the “woes” pronounced in this lesson? By disciplining the mind and body to obey the law of life or the law of health and wholeness. Thought habits must be under the control of the divine will, and the ideal that one follows must be above the level of the sense consciousness. Thought and act must be in harmony, and both in accord with Truth.
October 30, 1949: Isaiah 5:1-12
What is “a song of my beloved touching his vineyard”? It is a song of praise to Jehovah. “My beloved” represents Jehovah, and the vineyard represents Judah (praise).
Is our consciousness sufficiently awakened to praise and thanksgiving for our own good? No. We are well endowed with the faculty of praise and appreciation, but we sometimes neglect to give it adequate expression in our everyday life. This fact is symbolized by the vineyard that was well equipped and planted with the choicest vines [rest is unreadable].
How can the “choicest vine” be caused to bring forth “wild grapes”? Through neglect and lack of care. Each vine produces fruit according to its kind, but pruning and cultivation are needed to produce choice fruit. This is true also of man's spiritual life.
When we have done all that we apparently can do and the result is disappointing, what is the proper course to pursue? We should consider what we have done in the light of our spiritual experience and of the wisdom we have gained in doing it. We should then at once begin again, trying to avoid the mistakes already made and profiting by them to do better a second time.
What can be done when justice is swallowed up in oppression and the helpless are treated unrighteously? Both the individual and society should proclaim and strive to acquire a new consciousness.
Can the law of increase be misused? Yes, it is often misused by selfish persons. “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no room.” Misuse of the law of increase through greed results in injustice.
What follows upon the misuse of the law or its utilization to promote selfish ends? Spiritual poverty or a character that is lacking in the primary essentials of integrity. “Ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath [about nine gallons], and a homer [eight bushels] of seed shall yield but an ephah [less than one bushel].”
What is the outcome of giving way to the desires of the personal self? Those who indulge or give way to the desires of the personal self (“follow strong drink”) overlook or ignore their opportunities to grow spiritually, and lose sight of the true purpose of life.
Metaphysically Interpreting Isaiah 5:24-30
5:24Therefore as the tongue of fire devoureth the stubble,
and as the dry grass sinketh down in the flame,
so their root shall be as rottenness,
and their blossom shall go up as dust;
because they have rejected the law of Jehovah of hosts,
and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
5:25Therefore is the anger of Jehovah kindled against his people,
and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them;
and the mountains tremble,
and their dead bodies are as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger is not turned away,
but his hand is stretched out still.
5:26And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far,
and will hiss for them from the end of the earth;
and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.
5:27None 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:
5:28whose arrows are sharp,
and all their bows bent;
their horses' hoofs shall be accounted as flint,
and their wheels as a whirlwind:
5:29their roaring shall be like a lioness,
they shall roar like young lions;
yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey,
and carry it away safe, and there shall be none to deliver.
5:30And they shall roar against them in that day
like the roaring of the sea:
and if one look unto the land,
behold, darkness and distress;
and the light is darkened in the clouds thereof.
November 24, 1901: Isaiah 5:8-30
Reformers have by a large majority done away with the “horrible example” method in their work. In the days of John B Gough and Francis Murphy the woes of intemperance were portrayed by the pen and tongue of eloquence, and even reeling drunkards paraded on the platform as awful examples. But it did not prove effective. Familiarity with vice took away its repulsiveness, and those who were brought frequently in contact with it, though for reformatory purposes, often proved its easy victims.
So the prophet's cry of “Woe! Woe!” is found to be but a makeshift in the field of reform, and the modern school of temperance workers are using other and more effective methods to wean the victims of appetite from their slavery. It is found that certain innate impulses of the human soul are working out in the convivial inebriate, that it is not so much desire for strong drink that he wants, as it is sociability and good fellowship; in other words happiness. So the most successful temperance reform movement at present are those based upon education, innocent amusement, and a wider sociability. Thus the “Spirit of Truth which will lead you into all truth” is at work everywhere. This Spirit of Truth gives man understanding, and when he understands, he is usually quick to act in the right way.
The new method of reform will do away effectually with intemperance by educating the faculties along more rational lines of activity. It is seen that coming generations will be the beneficiaries of this movement and the present generations are being somewhat neglected, except by the Keeley Cure and other drug reformers. But to the metaphysicians this Spirit of Truth reveals that this education may begin right now, and the present generation of drunkards be saved. There is a mighty power in man, which, when brought into juxtaposition with the will, produces an entire change in the consciousness. By introducing into the mind new ideas, the whole of thought and desire is changed. The weak-willed man becomes strong, and the sensual tendency is raised put of its slough of matter into the realm of mind.
The very first step in the use of this mental remedy is to do away with the “Woe! Woe!“ cry, not only on the part of friends, but in the mind of the victim himself. Fear and the belief in the power of evil paralyze, and thousands are weak of will because of this subtle belief that they have fallen into sinful ways and cannot reform. Let there be a clear understanding in the mind of the sinner, or his healer, that man is spiritual and not subject to sin. Let all condemnation for sin be forgiven and wholly withdrawn by everybody. All join in the realization of the power of Good as the guiding presence, directing in happy ways all the thoughts, removing every fear of weakness, all condemnation of self, all sensual appetite, and filling the mind with the joyous freedom of our loving God. This simple and easily applied remedy has healed thousands, and is equal to the reformation of the most desperate drunkard on earth. If are a victim, you can apply it to yourself; if you are the friend of a victim, you can apply it for him.
– UNITY magazine.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-08-2013