In our study of Isaiah chapter four, we look at the cleansing of the city of Jerusalem. The city has always been chosen by God as His city but today there are many there who do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
"In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, 'We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!'" NIV translation
Isaiah continues to describe the day of judgment that takes place for those that have turned their back on God. Because of of war casualties, there was a shortage of men. The once proud women are now competing for a man. This is also a picture of the fact that, in the last days, there will be a shortage of believers in the world.
"In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem." NIV translation
After the judgment on those who have turned their backs on God, those that remain will shine. They will be beautiful in the sight of God and the land will once again be blessed. This passage refers to "all who are recorded" which is talked about in Revelation as the Lamb's Book Of Life.
"The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgement and a spirit of fire." NIV translation
Throughout the Bible, fire is used for refining (purifying) things. As a precious metal is heated to a specific temperature, the bonds between the metal and any impurities are broken. These impurities then float to the top where they can be removed as dross. Here, Isaiah describes how God will purify Jerusalem with fire. Those of impure faith have been removed and what remains are God's people.
"Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain." NIV translation
After the city is cleansed, then God will be with the people. The smoke and fire is like it was when Israel left Egypt in the book of Exodus. The passage ends with assurance that they will be protected once again.