[ 721 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] The Chosen Nation Redeemed |a
[ 722 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] The Chosen Nation Redeemed |b
[ 723 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Isaiah 42:8-45:3 |a
[ 724 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Isaiah 42:8-45:3 |b
[ 725 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] The Victorious Sacrifice of Christ |a
[ 726 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] The Victorious Sacrifice of Christ |b
[ 727 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Isaiah 51-53 |a
[ 728 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Isaiah 51-53 |b
[ 729 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] The Glorious Promises to Israel |a
[ 730 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] The Glorious Promises to Israel |b
[ 731 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Isaiah 54:1-57:1 |a
[ 732 ] Les Feldick [ Book 61 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Isaiah 54:1-57:1 |b
THE CHOSEN NATION REDEEMED
ISAIAH 42:8 – 45:3
We always appreciate when folks write and tell us they feel like they’re sitting right there on the back row and it reminds them of a college classroom. Well, that’s just exactly the way we want you to feel. We’re just here to teach the Word, and the only way you can teach is use the Textbook! And, of course, that’s another thing we always appreciate that all of you folks come in with your own Bible.
We’re not here to preach at anybody, but we do teach salvation by faith and faith alone as taught by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, by believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again plus nothing else added to that.
Okay, we’re going to jump right in where we left off in our last taping. We’re spending a little time in the book of Isaiah. We’re not going to take all sixty-six chapters verse by verse like we did Romans and some of the others, but we’re going to hit some of the highlights and remember the background, as I’m always stressing – whenever you read a portion of Scripture always determine who’s writing; to whom is he writing; when was it written; what are the circumstances?
Bear with me as I keep reminding you that this is all back at about 700 BC, that Isaiah is writing, and the nation of Israel has been split between the two kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom with ten tribes and the Southern Kingdom with the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah. The Temple is still operating; so when we look at all their idolatry; don’t think for a minute that the Temple isn’t still there. They go into idolatry in spite of it.
But then we’re going to find, as I’ve put on the timeline on the board, that all the way back in 606 BC, six hundred years before Christ, when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians came and besieged Jerusalem and finally broke through, they destroyed the city and destroyed the Temple. They took, for the most part, the whole nation of Israel to Babylon for 70 years.
Then, as we’re going to see in one of our further programs this afternoon, the next empire that comes on the scene is the Medes and the Persians who defeat the Babylonians. The king of the Medes and the Persians will then be what God calls “His servant” who will give the decree to Ezra to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple first, and then about a hundred years later Nehemiah goes back and starts rebuilding the city walls.
Now, it’s interesting and I think this bears repeating, in fact let’s look at it in Scripture. Come back with me to Leviticus 26. This is an appropriate time to use this verse. God is speaking while they’re still there in Egypt. This is even before they’ve come out of Egypt, and yet the prophecy stands looking forward to when the nation will go into captivity. Of course, the first time is this seventy-year captivity in Babylon, and then the second time, as we’ve shown on the board, is in 70 AD.
From history now we know that in 606 BC God permitted the Babylonians to come in and destroy the Temple and the city and take the children of Israel back to Babylon. This left the land empty. Then in 70 AD we have Titus destroying the Temple and sending Israel again into the dispersion so that the land was emptied. Now, this is the amazing thing, anytime the land is emptied of the Jew, Leviticus 26 tells us what’s going to happen, and let’s look at it.
Leviticus 26:32 and remember the timing now. This is during the time of Moses, he’s writing, but look what it says. God is speaking to the nation of Israel, and He says:
“I will bring the land (that is the Promised Land) into desolation: your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. (That is the desolation. In God’s own time, He says) 33. I will scatter you among the heathen, (that is the non-Jewish world, what we call Gentiles) and I will draw out a sword after you: (They’re going to suffer persecution.) and your land shall be desolate, your cities waste. 34. Then shall the land (that is the Promised Land) enjoy her sabbaths,…” Now, this is a direct reference to the 70-year captivity. The sabbatical year was when every seventh year the ground was to be left fallow; given a rest, and they never did it. So, over a period of 490 years neglecting the sabbatical year, they owed God 70 years. So, God is going to get those years back.
“Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth (what?) desolate, and you be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. 35. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when you dwelt upon it.” In other words, they kept it in production.
All right, now, I think while you’re in Leviticus, we might as well use another verse that I use so often, Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 1. Remember, this is always apropos when God removes Israel from the Promised Land, whether it’s 606 BC or whether it’s 70 AD, it’s still going to pretty much be under the same process. The only difference is on the third one that we’ve been talking about in Isaiah. This is when the judgment of the Tribulation comes and goes and Christ returns, then, of course, Israel will never again be scattered out of her land.
But the first two times they were. The first one, as we’re looking at now in this lesson today, is the Babylonian captivity and they were gone only 70 years. In the second one, when Titus overran the city and destroyed the Temple, they were dispersed for 1900 and some years, until they came back in 1948. All right, but here’s the process, if I may call it that:
“It shall come to pass, when all these things have come upon you, the blessings and the curse, which I have set before you, and thou shalt call them to mind (or you’re going to be remembering them) when you are among all the nations. (all the nations not just, some of them) where the LORD thy God hath driven thee.” Now, of course, you have to know history. At the time of the Babylonian captivity, the then known world was still pretty small.
The only known part of the planet was the area around the Mediterranean and on out to the Far East. They knew nothing of the New World. They knew nothing of the Western Hemisphere. So, the “all nations” in 606 BC were a lot fewer in number than the “all nations” of 70 AD, when they would finally end up around the whole planet. But now, at either time, whether it was 606 BC or whether it was at the end of the next one, which was like I said, in1948, this is what’s going to happen.
“And shalt return…” Now, that’s plain language isn’t it? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that after they have been scattered by God’s Sovereign design, when He is ready, He will bring them back.
He did when Cyrus the Mede-Persian Emperor made a decree that they were to go back and rebuild the city and the city gate. All right, in 1900 AD thereabouts, the Jews finally started putting things in order that they could get ready to come back to the Holy Land again. Then we saw the Nation suddenly appear and become a Nation in 1948.
All right, so here’s the promise that they would be scattered and that while they’re scattered, while they are out of the land of Israel, however you want to put it, the land of Israel will become desolate.
Now, isn’t it amazing? You would think that as soon as the Jew was gone, the Arab world would have come in and taken advantage of the production of those vineyards and those orchards and those wheat and barley fields. But did they? No. Don’t you ever believe it when people try to tell you they did. They never lifted a finger to put the land back into production when Israel was taken out. It remained desolate – both times! During the seventy years while they were in Babylon, oh sure, there were a few Bedouins and a few Arabs in the area but not enough to bring it into production. In fact, I can just prove that. I didn’t intend to do any of this. I don’t know why this came up.
Turn to Nehemiah chapter 2, with me so you can see what I’m talking about. Now, this is when Cyrus gave the decree. Cyrus was a “servant of Jehovah” the Bible tells us. He was, by design, brought into a place of power where he would have the authority and the sovereignty to send Nehemiah and his company of Jews back to Jerusalem. He could give them whatever they needed from the forests for their lumber. They had full authority. But, now look at the setting after 70 years. In fact, by the time Nehemiah comes, it’s more like a hundred and seventy years, because he comes back much later than Ezra, who would come back after the 70 years. So, Nehemiah is really writing almost a hundred years – I’m going to be on the safe side – 150 years after the fact. So, here’s the setting by the time Nehemiah comes back.
Now, you would have thought that when the native people are gone, the neighbors around would have just come in and taken advantage of them. What do you think the world would do if all of a sudden all of us Americans were relocated out of our country? What would the rest of the world do? Why, they’d come in like a flood and take over everything that we’ve got. They would put everything into production. They would enjoy our homes. But, see, the Arabs didn’t do that when the Jews left. They left as well, for the most part.
“Then I said unto them, you see the distress that we are in, (that is, he and his fellow Jews) how Jerusalem lieth (what?) waste,…” They hadn’t cleaned it up after the Babylonians besieged it. They hadn’t gotten back into populating it. No, it was still laying waste a hundred fifty or a hundred sixty years after.
“…and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more reproach.” Then there’s another one. I’ll think – where is it? In chapter 4, where it speaks of the rubbish and the trash they had to clean up? So the Arabs didn’t take over that land while Israel was out of it, because it was desolate. Well, anyway, you can come over to chapter 4 and see the same opposition; I can make that point if nothing else, that they have today. Nothing has changed. Because, you see, all during the time of 70 AD, until the Jews came back after the turn of the century, the Arab world didn’t come in and occupy it. Now, Arafat would like to make us think so, but it’s not true. It was desolation.
I’ve read the comment of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) who traveled back in the middle 1800’s. You’ve heard me read it over and over, and he said, “The place is a total desolation, not even the weeds of the desert grow here. The wild animals of the desert are gone.” They never saw a soul driving all day. They finally got to Jerusalem and he said, “There were a few people there, of course, but it was a desolate place, and I would never want to live there.”
So, where do these people get the idea that when the Jews were gone those 1900 years the Arab world made it verdant – that’s the word they like to use – v-e-r-d-a-n-t. That it was in great production. No, it wasn’t. It was desolate, just like God promised it would be. So, read here in Nehemiah chapter 4 when they come back and try to rebuild the walls; let’s bring you down to verse 15.
“And it came to pass, when our enemies (Nehemiah 2:19 the Arabians) heard and it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, that we returned all of us to the wall, everyone to his work.” That is the city wall, not the Wailing Wall, but the outer wall of the city, which was the number one line of defense.
“And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, the other half of them held the spears and the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons: and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17. They who build on the wall, and they that bear the burden, with those that laid it…” In other words, carrying the mortar and the bricks and the whatever, “Every one.” Now, watch this. Just like today.
“…every one with one of his hands worked in the work and with the other hand he held (what?) a weapon.” The Arabs were constantly trying to thwart the work of rebuilding the city wall and the gates and so forth.
So, it’s no different then than it is today. But, on the other hand, I want to make the point that when God emptied the Jew out of the land it became desolate. It was non-productive. Earthquakes kept anybody from building. Diseases such as malaria kept anybody from enjoying a healthy lifestyle. The water was in short supply. The rains stopped. So, with all those things, God made sure that when the children of Israel were out of the land it was desolate. Never forget that. That’s one of the points I want to make today.
All right, back to Isaiah 42. Now, we can take off where we intended to start in the first place. That as Israel comes under the chastisement of Jehovah and God takes them out of the land, their neighbors don’t come in and enjoy it but instead it becomes desolate and that has happened over and over but especially in 606 BC and again in 70 AD.
All right, Isaiah 42 and we’re going to drop in at verse 8. Remember, in our last program, we were talking about how Israel was being groomed and prepared to be the missionaries and the evangelists to the Gentile world. That’s their whole purpose. God is getting them ready for the coming of their King, their Messiah and their Redeemer. Then, if they could have the King and His Kingdom they could evangelize those pagan Gentiles. All right, but now in verse 8, we’re going to be aware that Israel’s number one problem leading up to the Babylonian captivity was idolatry. Idolatry.
Now, that just seems almost impossible to comprehend. This was a nation of people that had experienced the miraculous power of their God uniquely to them; holding back their enemies and blessing them like no other nation on earth; bringing them through the Red Sea. Forty years later He brought them through the River Jordan at flood time. He was watching over them constantly, giving them promise after promise after promise and yet they went “whole hog” for idolatry. It’s just utterly hard to believe. This is what we’re building up for; that they are going to have to be dealt with because of their idolatry.
“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory I will not give to another, (In other words, He’s not going to share it with an idolatrous god.) neither my praise to graven images.” See what God is talking about? I am not going to let you take praise and worship away from Me and give it to some dumb idol. But, that’s what they were doing.
“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” What’s He talking about? His foreknowledge. God knows what’s going to happen. He knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. He knows what’s going to happen a hundred years from now. There is nothing that He is not aware of. All right, so now then, verse 10 He comes back and gives an instruction:
“Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 11. Let the wilderness (the desert) and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.” That’s what God expects.
“Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.” Or, within the borders. Now, verse 13, we’re going to see the other side of God. He’s the God of blessing. He’s the God of joy. He’s the God of happiness. But He’s also the God of wrath and discipline. So, now we see that other side.
“The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: (He’s going to come in and He’s going to be ruthless with them.) he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.” Not Israel’s especially but God’s.
“I have long time holden my peace. I have been still, (God’s gracious, remember? It takes a long time to get God to a place of meting out judgment) and refrained myself: now I will cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. 15. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up their herbs; I will make their rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight, These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
Now, this is one thing I have to constantly remind you. No matter how far Israel goes down; whether it’s unbelief, like at Kadesh-Barnea or whether it’s idolatry, like we’re dealing with here, God had made them a very special promise.
Now, I’ve got to bring you back to II Samuel chapter 7, and all the way through the book of Isaiah I want you to be reminded of this constant promise. II Samuel chapter 7. Now, He’s talking to David and He’s setting things in order to go down the eons of time coming to the birth of Christ and it’s going to be through the lineage of King David, so this is who He’s talking to. God tells David concerning, not just Solomon, but this whole lineage of the House of David that will be coming down the pike, God says:
II Samuel 7:14-15a
“I will be his father, he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, (See, there it comes. God knows that he will. He’s also talking about the nation of Israel in total.) I will chasten him with the rod of men, (I will bring in enemy armies. I’ll bring in enemy empires that will tax you. They’ll overlord you.) and with the stripes of the children of men. 15. But
(the flipside, even though God will chasten and He will discipline) my mercy shall not depart away from him,…” Now, that’s the constant promise that God holds before the nation of Israel; that even though He will bless them and He will bring chastisement, yet His mercy will never depart.
Now, here we are 4000 years after the Nation made its appearance. They’ve been through the throes of persecution. There has been a constant satanic effort to destroy them. They have never gained any great numbers of people but then neither have they disappeared. Of course, that’s the miracle of the nation of Israel today, as I’ve said over and over in seminars and in our classes in Oklahoma. Most of you have heard me say it over and over. They should have disappeared 1900 years ago. They should have lost their identity through inter-marriage, through persecution, through martyrdom, whatever. But here they are in the news every day! How can anybody not see that this little nation of people that should have disappeared, have anything but disappeared. They’re in the news like no other little nation on earth. It’s just unbelievable; except it’s what the Word of God has declared.
All right, so now then, coming back to Isaiah chapter 42 for just a second, our time is just about gone. We come on down to verse 17:
“They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, you are our gods.” Can you image? Well, who’s he talking about? Israel! Not the pagan world. That’s a given that they were idolaters. Even Terah, you remember, the father of Abraham was an idolater, but Israel?
They have now come hundreds and hundreds of years since becoming a Nation; they’ve had the prophets; they’ve had the five books of Torah. They’ve had Moses. Yet, the Nation, with the exception of a remnant, we’ll look at that maybe in the next program or two, but for the most part, the Nation has fallen in total rejection of the God of Abraham. They are falling into idolatry. They are following the gods of the pagans around them. Why, when God has been so good to them? It’s just one of the things of human nature. You want to remember a Jew is just as human as the rest of us.
LESSON ONE * PART II
THE CHOSEN NATION REDEEMED
ISAIAH 42:8 – 45:3
Again, we always like to explain to our television audience, because every day we get new listeners, that we’re just an informal Bible study. I’m not some highfaluting scholar. I’m not going to be throwing a lot of Greek and Hebrew at you, but hopefully we can just sort the Scriptures out and compare Scripture with Scripture. And bring folks to the place where they can understand what the Bible really says. You know, a lot of these denominations have been so steeped in tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation that it’s come to the point they’ve forgotten what the Book says and all they really know is what the denomination says.
Well, I’ll tell you right up front, when you come before the Lord, whether it’s the Bema Seat for the believer or the Great White Throne for an unbeliever, blaming your denomination for leading you astray is not going to cut anything with God, because you have the Word of God.
You have it in your own hands, and you study to show yourself approved, and just see what the Word says and not what someone else says. I don’t want to even have someone say, “Well this is what Les Feldick says.” No! You have to determine what the Word of God says. This is our whole premise. Take the doctrine of salvation, for example, and Paul gives us in this Age of Grace our instructions for salvation “You must believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again,” plus nothing else! I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10. If your denomination is teaching you some other way to heaven than that, then you’d better examine yourself again!
All right, we’re going to pick right up where we left off in the last program. We are still in Isaiah chapter 42 and remember in the last three or four words of verse 17 Israel, nationally now, is speaking to their idols saying:
“…Ye are our gods. (plural) (But God comes back and says:) 18. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, if you may see. 19. Who is blind, but my servant?…” Well, now, who’s the servant? Israel.
“…or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’s servant? 20. Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he who heareth not. 21. The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable.” Now, here again, you’ve got to be reminded this is long after the Mosaic Law has been given. They’ve got the Torah. They’ve got the Ten Commandments. They’ve got the temple. They’ve got the priesthood. Yet, in spite of all that they are going deeper and deeper into idolatry. It’s just mind-boggling.
“But this is a people robbed and soiled; they are all of them snared in holes. And they are hid in prison houses; they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. 23. Who among you will give ear to this? Who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24. Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and who gave Israel to the robbers? Did not the LORD, (Who did? The Lord did in chastisement. Just read on.) he against whom we have sinned? (That is the Nation.) for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient to his law. 25. Therefore…” Now, this is plain English. Because of their rebellion, because of their idolatry:
“Therefore he hath poured upon him (that is the nation of Israel, now. We’re referring to it as Jacob or Israel.) the fury of his anger, the strength of battle and it has set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.” Now, you’ve got to stop and think. Come back up with me to Romans, chapter 11. I think maybe this is the easiest way to do this. Here Paul is referring back to Elijah.
Now, I thought it would be easier to find Romans than it would I Kings, because I Kings is where you have the Old Testament account of Elijah on Mount Carmel confronting the prophets of Baal. Now, remember Elijah lived 200 years before Isaiah. So, you see, time has been going by ever so slowly. Now, get your timeframe, again, that at 2000 BC you’ve got the call of Abraham, you’ve got the beginning of the nation of Israel. For 490 years, they first sojourned up and down the land of Canaan. Then the second half of that 490 they’re down in Egypt. That takes us up to about 1500 BC. We’ve lost about 500 years now from Abraham to Moses. They come out of Egypt and they are now the nation of Israel.
All right, another 500 years go by under the judges and so forth until they have King David. King David rules about 1000 BC, halfway between Abraham and the cross. All right, David and Solomon both rule 40 years each. So, from 1000 BC until we get Elijah it’s only a hundred years, and look how far they’ve already gone down the pipe in that little while they have been a nation.
All right, look how Paul refers to it, then, in Romans chapter 11. Let’s just jump down to verse 2. Romans 11 verse 2, where Paul says:
“God has not cast away his people, whom he foreknew….” In other words, God knows what they’re going to do hundreds of years before they do it. God hasn’t cast them away.
“…know you not what the scripture saith of Elijah? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, (against the nation) saying, 3. Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down (or they’ve torn down) thine altars; and I am left alone, (I’m the only one left!) and they seek my life. (Now, verse 4, but Paul reminds us:) 4. But what saith the answer of God unto him? (That is to Elijah. God tells Elijah) I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Well, what was Baal? A pagan idol. So, already, a hundred years after King David, the Nation has gotten to the place where Isaiah thinks he’s the only one left that hasn’t fallen to idolatry.
But, God says, “No, I’ve got a remnant.” That’s the way it’s always been. God has always kept that small percentage of Israelites, or Jews, however you want to refer to them, who remain true to Jehovah. But, for the most part, the Nation went down. Now, I know the average Jew probably would tell you that they’re going to be in eternity with us because they’re the children of Abraham. Well, I beg to differ, because there’s only a small remnant of Jews that were ever true believers. All right, now then Paul brings it on up to his own day and time. Back here in about the 58-59 AD, verse 5:
“Even so then at this present time (while Paul is writing) there is also a (what?) remnant according to the election of grace.” There is always that little remnant. So, there was a remnant in Paul’s day. All right, now drop down to verse 7.
“What then? Israel (the Nation) has not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (the true believer, they) obtained it, and the rest were (what?) blinded.” They were blinded. So, for the last 1900 and some years, that’s been the lot of the rank and file Jew. They are blind to the things of God. Even their Old Testament, they’ve got it all fouled up, because God has sovereignly blinded them.
But, all right, now when you come back to Isaiah, you’ve got to constantly be reminded that even though God chastises the Nation as a whole, He has always had that remnant that remained true to Him. I think I can safely say this: because of the remnant they would finally come back to the place of blessing. Then, they would be blessed nationally for a period of time, and then it wouldn’t be long until, again, they would just sink down, for the most part, into a national point of unbelief. All right, now, let’s just move on into chapter 43. Again, God is going to constantly remind the Nation of Who He is.
Now, you know, even today I often have to wonder just how many rank and file church members, and I’m not going to even consider the non-churched world, but church people, how many of them really know who God is? Do they really have an understanding of His power? His might? His Sovereignty? His Omniscience? His Omnipotence? I’m afraid most don’t. God is just sort of a passing thought. Oh, He’s up there someplace. Yeah, He’s in control. But they really don’t know His power and His majesty. Well, Israel was no different. They were just blasé about it. So, God comes back and He is showing them who He really is.
“But now…” Now, that reminds me, I’ve said, you know, that I’m probably going to put together some programs someday using the “But now’s” in Scripture. But the “But now’s” are really ‘the flipside.’ Here we’ve seen Israel steeped in idolatry. “But now” we’re going to see the real God, not the god of wood and stone, but the God of Creation.
Isaiah 43 1a
“But now, thus saith the LORD who created thee, O, Jacob, he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have (what?) redeemed thee,…” Now, there comes that whole concept of redemption, that lost people, whether it’s Jew or Gentile, no matter what the person’s station in life, they’re in need of a spiritual redemption.
So, this word is just throughout the fabric of the Old Testament that Israel was to be looking for their Redeemer. All right, we’ll come to it again when we get to chapter 59, if not today, at a later time. All right, so “I have redeemed thee.” I have bought you back.
Now, stop and think again, because after all, to get knowledge of Scripture you’ve got to constantly go back to your building blocks. That’s what Paul meant when he says in Romans 15:4 “all these things written beforehand were written for our (what?) learning.” What does it rest on? What’s the foundation of all this? Well, let’s go back and just reconstruct.
Here we have Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve sons. Now, that’s the beginning of the nation of Israel. Now, believe it or not, I’ve had people who have taught Sunday School for twenty years come up after one of my classes and ask me, “Where does the Jew come from?” Can you imagine that? I’ll be flabbergasted, but it’s happened more than once. Even though I’m flabbergasted, I get my cool back and I say; “Well, now the nation of Israel came with Abraham at 2000 BC, pulled off of the main stream of the Adamic race.”
All right, now here we’ve got Jacob and the twelve sons, but one of them, they think, is kind of a braggart. He kind of thinks he’s better than the other eleven. Who was it? Joseph. Finally, Joseph irritated them to such an extent, what did they do? They sold him into slavery. Now, even way back then who were the slave traders? Ishmaelites. Well, who are Ishmaelites? Arabs. And the world can’t get their eyes opened. They have always been the master slave traders, even today, the Muslim world practices slavery more than the rest of the world put together. Why can’t the world wake up? They are adamant in their slave trading. All right, so Joseph gets sold into slavery and he ends up down in Egypt.
All right, now a lot of people can’t comprehend this. When the eleven brothers – now, of course, little Benjamin wasn’t intricately involved, but over all it was still a family deal – when the family sold Joseph down into slavery in Egypt, what happened between them and their God? Well, everything was broken. God lost them. Now, when God loses something like He lost the human race when Adam sinned, what does God have to do to get them back? Redeem them! That’s where the whole idea of redemption comes in.
All right, now you’re back there in Egypt and God has lost the nation, but they’re still increasing in population. God is going to be watching over them, don’t think He won’t. Finally, when the right time comes, He’s going to set up a plan of what? Redemption. That’s what the book of Exodus is all about. The exodus out of Egypt is a redemption story.
Now, how is He going to redeem the nation of Israel? The Passover Lamb, the blood. When you’ve heard me teach Exodus, I always made the point that it has never changed, God’s plan of redemption has three things: it takes the blood, it takes an individual, and it takes the power of God.
Now, they placed the blood on the doorpost on the night of the Passover. Moses was the deliverer, but when they get to the Red Sea and the sea opens up, who delivers the power to do it? God does. All right, now that’s the beautiful picture of redemption, no matter how you look at it. Whether it’s yours or mine or Israel’s it’s the same thing, it took the blood. The blood has the price of redemption. Jesus Christ was the person that God saw fit to be the deliverer and then at Resurrection morning it was the power of God that delivered it and brought the whole plan of Redemption to its completion.
So, whenever you see this term redeemed, that’s what we’re talking about, how God paid the price of redemption to bring whoever it was that He lost back to himself. All right, so for Israel then, God redeemed them when He brought them out of Egypt. You would have thought that from that point on those Jews would have been loyal believers to the “nth” degree. But they weren’t. Only a small percentage, just like it is today. All right, now then let’s go back to Chapter 43:1.
“…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by my name, thou art mine. 2. When thou passest through the waters, (I’m sure that’s a reference to the Red Sea.) I will be with thee, and through the rivers, (I think that’s a reference to the Jordan at flood time, when they came in under Joshua.) they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, (Well, who walked through the fire? The three Hebrews in Daniel) thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Why?) 3. For I am the LORD thy God, I am the Holy One of Israel, thy (what?) Saviour: (See how the language all fits?) I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Sheba for thee, 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight…” Now, this is God speaking with regard to His beloved, chosen people.
You know that makes me stop and think. I read an article the other day, again by one of these scoffers. If God was such a God of love why did he permit His chosen people to suffer and suffer and suffer? Well, I’ll grant that’s a good, logical question, but the reason He allowed them to suffer is because of their wickedness and their unbelief that precipitated it. He never stopped loving them, yet He would bring in the chastisement.
“Fear not:… Sound familiar? It’s exactly what Paul writes in Hebrews. “Fear not: I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back:…” Sound familiar? Well, that’s exactly what has happened since 1900. Same thing. The Jews have been coming back from the four corners of the earth, back to the homeland, Providentially. I think I said it in the last program, if you really stop to analyze it, what a miracle! They’ve been scattered into the nations of the world. They’re few in number. Yet God is bringing them back against all odds.
All right, now He didn’t do it just once. He’s already done it twice, and now of course, the next time they’re going to be there to stay. All right, reading on in verse 7.
“Every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory,” He’s not talking about the pagan Gentiles. He’s not talking about you and me. He’s talking about Israel. All right, verse 8.
“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.” A contradiction? No. Physically they’ve got ears. Physically they’ve got eyes. But spiritually what are they? Deaf and blind. It’s no different today. It’s not one bit different today. People have got ears to hear. They’ve got eyes to see. But will they?
Oh, I hear it constantly like I shared with you in the studio before we started today, once they see this. Now, this gentleman, I’m not going to put it out publicly, but this gentleman I talked to you about in the studio, I can guarantee you that when he goes back to his own people with these things that he has now seen so clearly, they’re going to think he’s lost it! They’re going to think he’s out of his cage. I’ve got people here who already know what I’m talking about. Why? People do not want to see what the Word says; they’re satisfied with tradition. They want to stay in their semi-darkness rather than see the light. We hear it all the time.
“Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this and show us former things?…” Who among the Children of Israel has the knowledge that their God has? Not a one.
You know even Job had to find that out, didn’t he? You know, I’m careful when I say this, but when you think of Job, I think the guy was proud. I think Job thought he had it made, but when he was confronted with the Omnipotent God, what did Job have to realize? He was nothing! When he got to that realization, what did he have to do? Repent in dust and ashes.
All right, now Israel is the same way. They were proud of the fact that they were God’s chosen people, and yet they didn’t take that into consideration when they started following idols. All right, read on, verse 10, oh, I’d better finish verse 9.
“Let all the nations be gathered together, let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this and show us former things? Let them bring forth their (what?) witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is (what?) truth.” That’s what counts. Truth. What’s truth? The Word of God. Everything else becomes just so much vapor, it just disappears, but the Word of God is truth.
“You are my witnesses, (God says to Israel. They alone had a knowledge of the One True God) saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen:…” What is the term again? Servant. What’s the role of a servant? He is to carry out the bidding of the master.
“…that you may know and believe me, (that’s faith, remember) and understand that I am he: (That is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.) before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” Sound familiar?
How did Peter put it in the book of Acts? “There is no other name given among men under heaven whereby we must be saved.” How does Paul put it? “There is no other name, but at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.” All of Scripture declares that – Old and New. All right, reading on, verse 12.
“I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore you are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” That was Israel’s role. That’s why God spent so much time with them and delivered them out of Egypt, gave them the priesthood, and gave them the tabernacle worship, so they could be a testimony to the pagan world around them.
“Yea, before the day was I am he; (I am your God) and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? (or permit it?) 14. Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, (See, there it is again, the One who has bought you back.) the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. 15. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your (what?) King.” Remember what Isaiah said a couple of programs back?
“I saw the Lord of Glory, I saw the (What? You remember?) King.” Oh, indeed He’s Israel’s King. Oh, He’s not active yet but He will be. That’s all future. But one day, He’s going to be Israel’s King and you see that in Revelation when it says what at the Second Coming? “And on His thigh is written King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” He’s never accomplished that role before. But, He’s coming and Israel is to be a witness of all that. All right, verse 16 and our time is running out.
“Thus saith the LORD, who maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17. Who bringeth forth the chariot and the horse, the army and the power;” In other words, when the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, come marching in against Jerusalem, who is bringing it about? The God of Glory! Israel’s God as a chastisement for their idolatry.
LESSON ONE * PART III
THE CHOSEN NATION REDEEMED
ISAIAH 42:8 – 45:3
Again, we welcome you to an informal Bible study. For those of you that are brand new, you’ve probably just caught us in the last week or two, we have gone all the way from Genesis up through the Old Testament and New Testament and pretty much hit all the highlights. Now, we’re coming back and picking up some of the things we skimmed over. The book of Isaiah is one of them, and we’ll probably do a few others like this. Now, let’s pick up at the beginning of chapter 44.
“Yet now hear, O Jacob (This is the Lord speaking, and again He refers to them as:) my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:” Now, you’ve got to remember God uses those two terms interchangeably and sometimes together. We have to be careful that we don’t lose sight of the fact that the Ten Tribes to the north were called Israel and the Two Tribes to the south were called Judah. But, nevertheless, we use the terms Jacob and Israel pretty much in unison.
“Thus said the LORD that made thee, (Well, what does that make Him? The Creator!) and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun (That’s just another title for Israel – the upright ones.) whom I have chosen.” Now, you want to remember (I won’t take you back and show you the verses) that the Lord said to Israel, “I have not chosen you because you are the greatest.” He didn’t choose them because they were the most powerful nation on earth. He didn’t choose them for any reason whatsoever “but by His grace.” By His Grace He chose them and set them aside to be the chosen or the covenant people. All right, reading on, verse 5:
“One shall say, I am the LORD’s and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. (See how synonymous they are?) 6. Thus saith the LORD the (What again?) King of Israel,…” Now, I want you to see these things, this constant reference to the Lord, Jehovah, God the Son as Israel’s King. Oh, He’s not ruling over them, yet, but this is future that one day He’s going to be their King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“…and his redeemer (See how the two go hand in hand?) the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last;…” What does that remind you of? Revelation, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” the first letter of the alphabet and the last letter of the alphabet. I am the beginning and the end, all through Scripture.
“…and beside me there is no God. 7. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them.” He is the God of the future!
“Fear not, neither be afraid: have I not told you from that time and declared it? You are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God, I know not any.” All right, I was reminded of the name Ingersoll, the great famous agnostic, or atheist? This is sort of, I’m paraphrasing, I can’t quote it exactly, but this is what the man said, “The God of the Bible is proud and arrogant. Who does He think He is?” Isn’t that something? Well, nobody but an atheist could say something like that.
God has every right to be anything He wants to be. He can be arrogant if He wants to be. He can be totally absolute because He is the God over everything. He’s Sovereign. He can do whatever He wants to do. It’s His universe. If He wants to wipe it out tomorrow – that’s His prerogative. The only reason He won’t is because He’s promised a better future than that for the believer, but He could if He wanted to. He’s Sovereign. I’ve been stressing that in all the years I’ve been on television, the God of this Bible is Sovereign. Nobody can argue with Him. Nobody can debate Him. He can do whatever He wants. All right, verse 9, now we come back to the idolatry again.
“They that make a graven image are all vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not,…” In other words, Israel with the background that they had and their history and with their Scriptures should have known better. How could they fall into the worship of wood and stone and metal, as we’re going to see here in just a minute?
“…nor know; that they may be ashamed.” My, they should have been embarrassed to tears to have their neighbors step in the door and see that idol up on the mantle. That’s what they should have been, but they weren’t. Now verse 10.
“Who hath formed a god, (small ‘g’, so it’s an idol) or molten a graven image that is profitable for (How much?) nothing? (Those idols can’t accomplish anything.) 11. Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together.” Who? These makers of idols.
Now, here they come, and remember this is 700 BC. Every time I read this, I’m immediately taken back to my days when I was in high school and shortly after in the ‘40’s’ and so forth, and you’d go to the village blacksmith and what did every blacksmith have? He had a forge. Come on, you older people know that. What was the forge? Well, it was that place where they had the pile of coals and something to blow the air up from underneath them, whether it was hand run bellows or, later on, an electric motor. They would blow that wind up through that coal until it would get what? White hot. They would lay that metal in there. I remember watching that old blacksmith more than once lay that piece of steel in there until it got white-hot. Then what would he do? He’d take his tongs and carry it over to the anvil and start beating on it with his hammer. It’s right out of the Book! Now, look at it.
“The smith (the blacksmith) with the tongs (with which he picked up the hot steel) both worketh in the coals, (They’re not just ordinary coals. They are forged coals with the air blowing through it to make them hotter.) and he fashioned it with (what?) hammers,…” Oh, I love this! They weren’t cavemen. My, they had all kinds of expertise. They were experts at it. They could mold this metal and with it they would make what? Idols. That’s what they’re doing. They’re using their expertise to make idols.
“…fashioneth it with hammers, worketh it with the strength of his arms;…” You know, have you ever seen a caricature of a blacksmith? What has he got? He’s got biceps like most pro-football players would dream of because he was using his arms constantly to either lift the heavy steel or to beat it with the hammer. All right, reading on:
“…and with it the strength of his arms; yea, he is hungry, his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.” Why? Because that idol couldn’t do him any good. Now, let’s go to the other guy. He doesn’t work in steel; he’s going to work with wood.
“The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; (same thing that they do today) he fitteth it with planes, (Now, you all know what a plane is. You plane your wood and get it smooth.) he marketh it out with a compass, (if he’s going to draw a circle) and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.” As an (what?) idol. Unbelievable! This is Israel! This is Israel, not Babylon, not Egypt. God’s chosen people!
“He heweth him down cedars and taketh the cypress and the oak, (He goes out into the forest and picks out a beautiful tree.) which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, (for whatever use he’s going to need) and the rain doth nourish it.” Who gives the rain? God does.
“Then shall it be for a man to burn: (Now, you want to remember that fire was intrinsic for cooking, or warmth, or forging the metal. It had its uses.) for he will take thereof, and warm himself; (by the fire, in the fireplace or wherever) yea, he kindleth it, baketh his bread; yea, he maketh a god,…” All out of what? The same tree! You get the picture? He goes out and he cuts down this beautiful tree, and he’s going to use part of it for firewood. But, he’s going to use most of it to make an idol. Unbelievable! All right, so he makes a god.
“…and worships it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.” I can’t comprehend it, and I don’t think you can either that these are Israelites, the chosen people, with the Temple there in Jerusalem, with the sacrifices going on every day. The priests, the prophets, preaching up and down the land and yet the rank and file of Israel are steeped in idolatry.
So, does it make any difference to have a church on every corner? Not really. That doesn’t make the difference, but it’s what happens in the heart. We were just talking at break time, now we can’t judge because we can’t look on the heart, God is the final judge, but my goodness, we can be fruit inspectors. What kind of a life do they live when they’re not sitting in their pew? Do they have any love for the Word of God? Do they spend time in prayer every day? Do they share the Word with others when they have the chance? Now, I’m not one that feels you must make a fool of yourself and constantly preach at people at work or wherever else. But, be ready. The Scripture says that when you have an opportunity to share the Gospel, you do.
But see, Israel was steeped in their religion. They didn’t miss a feast day. But in their every day life, what were they? Idolaters. Depending on idols. Okay, read on, our time’s going fast. Verse 16, and we’re still going back to the tree that he cut down in the forest.
“He burneth part thereof in the fire; (for his wood, for his baking, his cooking) and with part thereof he eateth flesh; (cooking. He’s roasting.) he roasteth a roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and says, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire.” Then, he turns right around and with the rest of the tree he does what? Makes a god! It’s laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful.
“And the residue thereof he maketh a god:… 18. They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; (that is spiritually) and their hearts, that they cannot understand.” All right, I’m going to take you up to show you how Paul puts it. Leave Isaiah a minute, come up to I Corinthians, because whether it’s 700 BC or whether it’s 60 AD, when Paul probably wrote Corinthians, or whether it’s 2004 AD, it doesn’t make any difference. Not a bit. The human race has not changed one iota.
Oh, we may wear a little different clothes. We may have cell phones, and we may have all the other good things of life besides the basic everyday things of life, but, no, the human race hasn’t changed. You know, I’ve always made the analogy, I think I used it Saturday in our all-day seminar. Up until 1860 you could have taken a family from almost any place on earth, uprooted them and set them down someplace else. They could have kept right on living in the community because everybody still carried their water. They still cooked with fire and there were no modern conveniences. They still homespun their clothes.
But then, all of a sudden, in about the middle 1800’s things started changing. Of course, getting the world ready for the end time. But, you see, for thousands of years they lived no differently. Now, a lot of you are old enough to remember when at least your parents or your grandparents lived this kind of a lifestyle. They cooked with fireplaces. Our pioneers, you all know they cooked over open fire. They had to carry their water. They had to homespun their clothes. So the human race hasn’t changed.
All right, now the same way when it comes to spiritual things. I didn’t give you the verse yet did I? I Corinthians chapter 2 and I’m going to start all the way up at verse 9. But, the point I want to make is that the unbelieving world is just as ignorant today as Israel was back in Isaiah’s time. It hasn’t changed one whit. Here Paul writes to these Gentiles at Corinth and to us today:
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Now, what class of people are we talking about? The believers. We’re talking about the believer.
I Corinthians 2:10-11
“But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: (that in-dwelling Holy Spirit that is part and parcel of the believer’s life) yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (In other words, we’re human. We’re just like anybody else) even so the things of God knoweth no man, but by the Spirit of God.” Only the believer. The unbeliever can’t have this.
I Corinthians 2:10:12
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” Now, are you getting the picture? Who alone can know this? The believer. The unbelieving world can’t put this together. They haven’t got a clue, is the word that I hear over and over. They haven’t got a clue, but we, the believer, do.
I Corinthians 2:13a
“Which things also (Paul says) we speak,…” He is revealing to us the things of the Spirit of God, which the unbelieving world can’t get a hold on. All right and it’s going to come to us.
I Corinthians 2:13b
“…not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches (How does the Holy Spirit teach?) comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” That’s exactly why I like to use various references to compare what the Word says here with what it says over there. I think it’s God’s way of enlightening us. All right, so “we compare spiritual things with spiritual things” and we can comprehend it. We can learn from it. But, now read the next verse.
I Corinthians 2:14
“But, the natural man (the unbeliever, the person who has never come into a salvation relationship) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: they are (what?) foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” God doesn’t expect him to understand. Why? “Because they are spiritually discerned.” Who gives us the discernment? The indwelling Holy Spirit, Who the unbeliever doesn’t have. So, he’s out in the dark, but that’s not his fault. He doesn’t have to stay there. What does John’s Gospel tell them? “Come in out of the dark, come to the Light.” But they don’t want to. As Jesus said it, John said it, “they love their darkness better than light.”
All right, back to Isaiah and coming back to where we left off in chapter 44. Verse 18 again, that’s where I got the idea of going to I Corinthians. It’s never been any different.
“They have not known nor understood: (Now, of course, we’re talking about Israel.) for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.” It was a providential judgment call because they were rebellious. How does Romans put it? “God gave them up.” It was a judicial thing.
“And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; (Now, we come back to that tree again. Don’t lose that tree.) yea, I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; (I’ve used it to heat the ovens.) I have roasted flesh, (I have cooked my meal with it.) and eaten it; and I shall make the residue thereof an abomination? (Yes, because what’s he going to do?) shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?” Well what’s he referring to? The idol that he made out of it.
Now, get the picture? He uses part of the tree for his household needs, the fire to cook, to bake, but he’s going to use the rest of the log for making an idol. Then, when he’s got it made, what’s he going to do? Fall down and worship it.
Isn’t that ridiculous? Oh, the absurdity of it. But, listen, people are just as absurd today. Don’t blame the Israelites, they’re no different. My, when you see the stuff that people send me; what people are falling for today, it’s unbelievable. You wonder, how can intelligent people fall for something that is so false? But, it’s human nature.
“He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (God comes back and speaks again to the Nation.) 21. Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: (God hasn’t given up on them. Anybody else would have, but the God of Grace doesn’t. He continues pleading with them and dealing with them.) I have formed thee; thou are my servant: Oh Israel, thou shall not be forgotten of me. 22. I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions,…” What does that tell you? Oh, now come back with me to Exodus. I’ve got time, and I think it’s chapter 33. Let’s drop down to verse 19, the last half of the verse. Remember that this is just shortly after they worshipped the golden calf at the base of Mount Sinai while Moses was up in the mountain. You know the story. In spite of all that, look what God reminds Moses in the last half of verse 19.
“…I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; (and I’m going to put the pronoun in) and I will be gracious, to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” What is that? That’s the Sovereign God. Even though Israel deserved judgment and chastisement, He’s not going to give up on them. And it’s no different today.
You know the most rebellious sinner, how does Paul put it? Oh, I’ve got time here, let’s jump again all the way up to Romans. God hasn’t changed. I think I want chapter 5, I want you to see God hasn’t changed. Really, the human race hasn’t changed. So, we’re under the same set of circumstances and that’s why we can proclaim these things from the pen of Paul that are just as valid for us today as what Isaiah was telling Israel. The same God. Oh, we’re under a whole different economy, but look what God says now through the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 5, let’s start at verse 19. This is before Israel. This is Adam.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many (all, really) were made sinners, so that by the obedience of one (Jesus the Christ and the work of the cross) shall many be made righteous.” Remember that we’re now made righteous by believing in our hearts that Jesus died for your sins and mine, and rose from the dead, plus nothing else.” We find that in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10 and many other places in Paul’s writings.
“Moreover the law entered, (Now, you want to remember the Law came in 2500 years after Adam.) that the offence might abound. (That sin might be seen for what it is, and so the Law shows man’s sin. But now, here’s the part I wanted.) But where sin abounded; grace did much more abound:” Why? Because the Sovereign God says, “I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” So, the whole concept is that there is no sin so great but that the Grace of God can lift them out of it. What a message – What a God!
LESSON ONE * PART IV
THE CHOSEN NATION REDEEMED
ISAIAH 42:8 – 45:3
You in the studio audience have had your coffee at the break. For those of you joining us out there on television, I know a lot of you do as we do here. You grab your cup of coffee and then you go sit down and watch the program. We hear that over and over and over. But, the main thing is that you get what the Book has to say. If the coffee helps, so be it.
We’ve had many tell us that while studying with us they suddenly realize they had not previously believed in their heart that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, as Paul tells us to believe for salvation in I Corinthians 15:1-4. As a result of studying with us they have become true believers. So, praise the Lord for that.
Again, I want to thank our television folks. My, I just can’t put it into words how that without ever using any gimmicks, without ever begging or pleading for money for the ministry, it just keeps coming in and always covers what we need. We don’t have any great big bank balance, but the Lord just supplies it as we need it, so thank you from the bottom of our heart.
Okay, back into Isaiah chapter 44 where we were in the last lesson. I’m going to jump down to verse 24. We’ll skip a couple of verses here. But, remember now, that God is still pleading with Israel that He’s not going to give up on them. He’ll chastise them if He has to but He will never give up on them.
“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb,…” In other words, Israel came about by God’s judicial decree when He called Abram out of the Ur of the Chaldees and gave him the Abrahamic Covenant. When He said in Genesis 12:1-3 “that I will make of thee a great (what?) nation.” That was God’s idea. It didn’t just happen by accident. They were by design brought out of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Twelve Tribes.
“…he formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; (He’s the Creator of everything.) that stretchest forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;” He didn’t need any help! He speaks the Word and it accomplishes.
“That frustrateth the tokens of the liars and maketh diviners mad;…” (In other words, God can just totally foul up the works of Satan and his followers.) that turns wise men backward and makes their knowledge foolish;” My! Whenever I think of wise men made foolish, I have to think of the Apostle Paul when he confronted the intellectuals on Mars Hill and what’d they call him? The Babbler.
But, you know, as I’ve said over and over, whenever you go to Mars Hill and I hope it’s still there, (it was when Iris and I were there years back) there was a plaque to only one great famous figure who spoke on Mars Hill. It wasn’t Archimedes; it wasn’t Galileo or any of the other great Greek intellectuals. Who was it? It was Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul. So, the babbler was the only one that history really made an account of. But see, here it is again, God can frustrate the work of the so-called intellectual community, because He is God.
“That confirmeth the word of his servant, (that is Israel) and performeth the counsel of his messengers;…” Now, there I have to think, what’s he referring to? The Word of God. This whole book comes from the pen of what people? Jews. Every one of them a Jew! Don’t ever buy the gimmick that Luke was a Gentile. He couldn’t have been. He had to be a Jew to be a writer of Scripture because it’s “God’s servant” that wrote the Word, as we see in Romans 3:1.
“…that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited;…” Now, here’s a reference to when He has emptied them out for those seventy years of captivity and Jerusalem is a shambles, it’s empty, it’s lying waste. He’s going to bring Israel back.
“…Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, (after they come back) and I will raise up the decayed places thereof. 27. (I am the God. I’m putting that in now only for clarification.) That saith to the deep, be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: ” If God wants the Euphrates to be dry, He’ll dry it up.
” (I am the God) That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure;…” Now, let’s stop a minute. From history, who was Cyrus? Well, he was the emperor of the Mede and Persian Empire that defeated the Babylonians. So, it was the Mede and Persian Empire that ruled the then known world, including Jerusalem. So, after the 70 years of captivity had run their course, the Medes and Persians was now the empire, it was no longer Babylon. God had decreed through one of the Jewish prophets over a hundred years before that this man Cyrus would be raised up to open the way for the Jew to come back.
You know, I think I made mention of this. I had someone call one time and say, “Why are you so adamant that the Bible is the only true Word of God?” Because the Bible is the only Word that proves itself. I used this analogy right here. I said, “There’s not another religious book on this planet, not a one, that can name people 150 years before they’re born. King Josiah was named 300 years before he was born. Here we have Cyrus named 150 years before he was born. No other book can do that. No other book can decree that the Jew would be scattered into every nation under heaven and then one day come back. No other book can give three hundred and some distinct prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming and all be fulfilled. Not a one.” So, we always have to be adamant and I am. There is no other Book besides this Book! It is the only Word of God. Everything else is counterfeit.
Everything else is by Satan’s design, not God’s. They can counterfeit it, but they can’t take its place. So, I love this reference to Cyrus and I’m going to use it to the hilt because here is a king, an emperor by God’s design, in the right place at the right time because the seventy years of the captivity have run their course. Israel has now been out of the land for 70 years. It’s time for the Jews to go back and rebuild the city and the Temple and get everything in place for the coming of the Messiah, some five hundred years later? By the time the Temple is rebuilt we’re down to 400 BC. And 400 years later, Messiah comes. All right, so let’s just look at this a minute. Verse 28:
“(I am the God) That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd,…” Now, this is unusual. No other Gentile is referred to as one of God’s shepherds. That’s amazing. But this man is. He is there by God’s design.
Some commentaries will actually depict Cyrus as a “type” of Christ because Christ is the true Shepherd and Cyrus is merely a “type.” Well, I can see where they’re coming from because, you see, what’s Cyrus going to do? Cyrus is going to set up the decree and make everything ready for the return of Israel to Jerusalem. Cyrus is going to be almost a Messiah of “type” because he’s making the way ready for Israel to return.
All right, let’s go back and pick this man Cyrus up in Ezra chapter 1. Now, while you’re doing that I can go to my timeline. Here we come to 606 BC. Nebuchadnezzar overruns Jerusalem and destroys the city and the Temple. Israel is taken out to Babylon for 70 years. The nation is completely out of the land. There may be a few stragglers left, but for the most part the land has been empty. All right, now, we’re at the end of the 70 years, which takes us down to 546 BC or something like that. Under Ezra a small contingent of Jews, 44,000 really, just a small tiny percentage are going to come back, and they’re going to be rebuilding the Temple.
Now, they have started rebuilding the Temple in about 546 BC. A hundred years later, about 446 BC or thereabouts, comes Nehemiah and Nehemiah’s instruction is under yet another Emperor called Artaxerxes the King, and we may look at that if we have time, who follows Cyrus, but he’s still an Emperor of the Medes and Persians. So, Ezra comes back to rebuild the Temple which takes almost 50-60 years and they dedicate it just shortly before Nehemiah comes back to rebuild the wall and the gates and so forth. All right, so by the time we get to 400 BC everything is now getting ready for the nation of Israel to be repopulated. The Temple is operating. The priesthood is in place for the coming of the Messiah. Everything has to be rebuilt and ready.
Now, we know that King Herod, in order to gain favor with the Jews, thought he could remodel and embellish the Temple that Ezra made because, after all, Ezra and his poor guys coming back from Babylon didn’t have a lot of expertise. So, it probably was not all that beautiful. So, King Herod thought, “Well, I’ll do a favor to the Jews,” and Herod was a builder. There’s nothing that Herod was known for more than being a fantastic builder. So, King Herod decided that the Temple Mount wasn’t big enough for the Temple complex he wanted to build so what did he do? He enlarged it. All right, now when King Herod decided to enlarge the Temple mount, even today if you’re going to enlarge a hillside what are you going to do to hold the dirt in place? Well, you’re going to build a retaining wall. That’s what Herod did. Herod built that huge retaining wall so that he could fill it with dirt and so forth and have more room for the Temple Complex. Now, that retaining wall is what you see in the news every so often – It’s now called the Wailing Wall. That’s not part of the Temple itself. It’s simply Herod’s retaining wall to hold the fill dirt. Got it?
Now then, with the Temple Mount enlarged, Herod could build a more beautiful, larger Temple Complex. That was the Temple that was in place when Jesus began His earthly ministry. That’s why the disciples were even proud of that beautiful Temple. They were almost braggadocio about it. Then, that’s why the Lord told them in Matthew 24, “See all these things, every stone will be thrown down one on top of the other,” which, of course, the Romans did forty years later, in 70 AD. But, all right, Ezra chapter 1 verse 1, they’ve been gone now for 70 years and everything is a shambles.
“Now in the first year of Cyrus the King of Persia, (same guy.) that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD, (Now, always remember that LORD is Jehovah, it’s God the Son.) stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the King of Persia, (Now, remember, who was Persia in biblical times? Present day Iran. Same country. Same people) that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus the King of Persia, the LORD God of heaven…” From a pagan king! See? But, I think Cyrus may have been a believer. I don’t think I’m being too far a field by saying that. He may have been an exceptional Gentile who became a believer.
“…The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; (the then-known world. Why did he succeed in every battle? Because God saw to it that he did.) and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. (Now, verse 3, so King Cyrus puts out the news to the whole Jewish community.) Who is there among you of all his people?…” Now, that’s Israel. He’s not asking the Persians, he’s asking Jews.
“Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD, the God of Israel, he is the God which is in Jerusalem. 4. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of this place help him with silver, gold, goods, beasts beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” In other words, then, like now, if you’re going to go into a building project, what did it take? Money. It took money. It took goods. It took wherewithal. Things haven’t changed. It’s always been this way.
“Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all of them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.” Now, here they prepare to go.
And all they that were about them strengthened their hand with vessels of silver, and gold and goods and beast, precious things, besides that which was willingly offered. 7. Also Cyrus (this Gentile king) the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods.” You see why Nebuchadnezzar fell? He desecrated the Temple. He took all of the Godly things back to Babylon when he took Jerusalem and incorporated them into the pagan worship of the gods of Babylon. But Cyrus, you see, a servant of Jehovah, does just the opposite. He brings all of those things that were stolen from Jerusalem and takes them back to the building of the new Temple. Then, you get into chapter 2 and you have the number of people that will finally come forward and agree to go back to Jerusalem and start rebuilding the Temple.
All right, now then let me, while we’re here, just go on through Ezra. Go on to Nehemiah a minute where we were in our first program and stop in Nehemiah chapter 2. Now, this is many years later after the Temple has now been pretty much built, almost a hundred years, and now Nehemiah is a servant of the next king of the Medes and the Persians. It’s no longer Cyrus, who has already died and passed off the scene. So, here we are almost 100 years later in chapter 2 of Nehemiah, verse 1:
“And it came to pass in the month Nisan, (that is in April) in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king,…” Now, we’ve got a different king. Still the same empire, but this is probably a grandson or something of Cyrus.
“…that wine was before him: (he was serving wine before him) and I took up the wine, and gave it to the king. 2. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is your countenance sad, seeing you are not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was sore afraid. 3. And I said to the king, Let the king live forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, (Now, we’re not talking about the Temple, we’re talking about the city, the houses, the buildings, the wall for defense.) the place of my fathers sepulchers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?” A hundred and seventy years! Why didn’t the Arab world go in there and fix it all up and have it going like everything and claim it themselves. Have you ever thought of that? They could have. No, they couldn’t have. God wouldn’t have let them!
But, nevertheless, when you hear the propaganda today that the Jews have no right to the land, that it’s the Arab’s homeland, it has always been their land, it’s always been a land of production, ignore it. No, it hasn’t! It was desolate! There was nobody building it up. The trash and the rubble the Babylonians had left 170 years earlier were still laying there. Amongst the trash they built the Temple up there on the mount, but the city itself is still in rubble. Now, reading on in verse 4.
“Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Now, he didn’t run to his closet. He didn’t run to someplace to get in private. Right before the king he prayed. Do you think he so much as moved his lips? Nope. How did he pray? Silently. He just prayed in thought. That’s what I always try to tell people. You don’t have to be in some special place to pray. You can pray anywhere. You don’t have to pray out loud. God reads your prayers.
“And I said to the king, If it please the king,…” And so on and so forth. Well, the same thing happens to Nehemiah as happened to Ezra. The king gives him letters to give him safe travel and to give him permission to use whatever he needed from the king’s forest to start rebuilding the city. All right, then you come down to verse 10, and here again we want you to understand that instead of the Arabs having rebuilt everything, instead of everything all nice and ready for the Jews like the Canaanites had done hundreds of years earlier, they haven’t lifted a stone! They haven’t picked up a piece of wood. It’s rubble everywhere.
“So when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, (now what are those? Those are Arabs) heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.” Has anything changed? Nothing.
“So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.” All right, now for sake of time, I’m going to jump you all up to verse 17. Now, Nehemiah says:
“Then I said unto them, (that is to the Jews who are going to help build the city and the wall) You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth (what?) waste…” , I’m going to make the point if nothing else by repetition, repetition, repetition. How many years has it been laying waste? A hundred and seventy or more! Now, look, read on, the language.
“…and the gates are burned with fire: (They’re not closable. There were no walls to protect even the builders of the Temple. So, Nehemiah says) come let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.” Now, I made the point somewhere when I was teaching that back in antiquity what was the first real line of defense for a city? The wall. That was the only thing they had. They didn’t have the technology that we’ve got today. The wall was their first line of defense. If you were a city without a wall, you were almost a reproach. So, that’s what Nehemiah has said, “We can’t be a reproach in the midst of these people. We have to get the wall built.” So, they begin. Now, verse 18.
“Then I told them of the hand of my God (See His Sovereignty? Everything is accomplished because of the Sovereignty of Israel’s God.) who was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” But, verse 19, here comes opposition from the Arabs again.
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah his servant the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, when they heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us and they said, What is this thing that you do? Will you rebel against the king?” They didn’t know that the king was the one that brought it about.
“Then I answered and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
That’s what the Word of God says. Yet, the world tonight can’t read can they? They just can’t put it together.
LESSON TWO * PART I
THE VICTORIOUS SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
ISAIAH 51 – 53
I think most of our listeners know that we tape four of these programs in order when we do our taping, and in between we have a coffee break so we’re informal. I’m not associated with any one group. There’s no one underwriting us. We just depend on the Lord to supply our every need. It’s miraculous how He keeps doing it month after month. We get our bills paid and the bank account is just about down to zero but then here it keeps coming. So, we just thank every one of you for your help and especially for your prayers.
All right, we’re going to get right back into the book of Isaiah and we’re going to jump in at chapter 51 today. As I’ve done before, I like to spend at least a moment or so at the beginning of every taping session explaining the background of this particular portion of Scripture. Isaiah, remember, is a prophet writing in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but he addresses the whole nation of Israel. He’s writing 700 years before Christ. He’s writing 100 years before the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. That tells us that God’s wheels grind slowly. Even though Isaiah is prophesying some of these things as though they are going to happen next week or next month, yet it doesn’t become a reality for a hundred years.
You know, I’m reminded of the same thing today. My, as fast as things are pointing toward the end-time and we almost feel that the Lord could come next week, and He may, but, with God time doesn’t mean that much. It could go still go on for a good while, yet. To us it doesn’t seem possible, but it could. So, we don’t want to just get careless and say, “Well, the Lord won’t come yet for another hundred years.” On the other hand we have to realize that we can’t get over sensationalized and say, “Well, the Rapture will take place next week or next month or next fall or whatever.”
All right, so the book of Isaiah then is a book of prophecy. In it you will find no salvation for Gentiles. It is strictly a book that is detailing the things that are going to come to pass in the life and time of the nation of Israel. Now, this chapter again happens to come back on a high note. In the previous chapters we’ve seen how God is foretelling judgment to come and chastisement because of their rebelliousness and their unbelief. But, now, this chapter is a high note, again. Here we’re dealing with some of the good things that are in Israel’s future. All right, come in with me at Isaiah chapter 51 verse 1:
“Hearken (listen) to me, you that follow after righteousness,…” Now, what does that mean? Now he’s addressing the believing element. Again, I always have to emphasize, that a lot of Jews today think that every Jew is going to end up in Paradise or Heaven or whatever they think of, simply because they’re members of the family of Abraham. Well, I beg to differ because even the Lord Jesus Himself warned them constantly, “you are yet in your sin.” He spoke graphically of those who would be sent to the Lake of Fire because of their unbelief. So, there’s nothing to indicate that all Jews will be saved simply because they’re members of the nation of Israel. There’s always been the believing element, a small percentage, a remnant, and the rest have been doomed.
“Hearken to me, you that follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD:…” Now, that brings up another thought. So many times we’ll get a letter in the mail or a phone call, “Well, how can I know that I’m saved?”
Well, this is our first response. “Where are your priorities? Would you rather be with God’s people or the people of the world? Would you rather be in a Bible study or would you rather be in a filthy movie? Do you have a hunger for the Word of God? Or do you never open its covers? Do you have a time of prayer? Do you talk to Him? What about your life style? Are we a believer or aren’t we?” Now, you cannot practice these things in the flesh very long. Now, anybody can do some of these things for a while, but you cannot just go on consistently living the agenda of a Christian unless you are truly a child of God. So, here again, it was to those who knew that they were believers that Isaiah is writing and he says:
“…look unto the rock whence you are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you are digged.” I think he’s going all the way back to the onset of the Nation with the Abrahamic Covenant. Then, verse 2 makes that certain.
“Look unto Abraham your father, (the beginning of the Jewish race) and unto Sarah who bear you: (Not Hagar, but Sarah.) for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.” Here, again, is what so many church people do not understand. That the nation of Israel came about because of God’s Sovereign decision to call one man, pull him out of the mainstream of the Adamic race and out of him bring about the nation of Israel.
It was supernatural because both Abraham and his wife Sarah were beyond the age of normal childbearing. So, everything about it was a supernatural phenomenon. Then out of that line of Abraham came Isaac and then Jacob and then the twelve sons and the Twelve Tribes. So, here is the progression of this little nation of Israel, never great in number, usually around six, seven, eight million, which is nothing. They have never been great in number and never been great in square miles, but they’ve been the least of the nations. Yet, this is the nation through whom God has chosen to give us the Word of God. It was this nation through whom Christ came. It’s this nation around which all of prophecy revolves.
If you take Israel off the planet there’s nothing left for prophecy. Nothing. This is why when these people claim that the Jews have disappeared they have to throw away prophecy, because there is no prophecy if there is no Israel. We just got through emphasizing that on our last two weeks of teaching up north, how everything rests on God’s dealing with the nation of Israel. All right, so it’s to these believing Jews, now, that the prophet, as the spokesman for their eternal God, is speaking.
“For the LORD, (Jehovah) will comfort Zion: (Remember, Zion is a hill in Jerusalem.) he will comfort all her waste places; he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD;…” Now, we’ve got to stop. Why is there that kind of language in an upbeat chapter? Because, you see, whenever Israel is out of the land it becomes desolate. It becomes totally unproductive, uninhabited, it becomes a barren desert.
While we were up north last week somebody gave me some more out of Mark Twain’s book The Innocents Abroad. I’ve read parts of it over the years, but this was even more graphic. When Mark Twain was traveling in the area of present day Israel, or what was then called Palestine, way back in the middle 1800’s, this was his description. “The land is totally barren, it’s desolate. The weeds of the desert don’t even grow here. The wild animals of the desert are unknown because it’s totally desolate.” All right, so this is what the Lord is showing them after they’ve been out of the land. They’re going to be captured in 600 BC (we’ve still got the timeline on the board from our last taping). Nebuchadnezzar came and took the whole nation of Israel captive out to Baghdad and Babylon. But, what happened to the land of Israel? It became desolate. For seventy years it was desolate.
We showed in our last taping that when they came back to Jerusalem, the Arabs hadn’t come in and made it productive. They hadn’t cleaned up all the residue of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and destruction. It was all still there. Then, a hundred years after that Nehemiah comes back and what does he say? “Everything was rubbish.” Well, why hadn’t the Arab’s gone in and made it livable? Well, God won’t let them. It’s always been that way. Every time Israel is removed from the land, nobody comes in and makes it their homeland. It remains desolate.
But, we’re dealing, now, with the first time, the 70-year captivity. It will be a wilderness, it’ll be desert, but when Israel comes into the place of blessing it will suddenly become productive again. It’ll be “like the garden of the LORD.” Now, verse 3, reading on:
“…joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” In other words it will be normal life, especially for the believers.
“Hearken unto me, O, my people;…” Now, “my people” in the Old Testament is Israel. Nobody else. Now, granted, you and I can come back here and make some applications, but by and large this is written strictly to the nation of Israel.
“…and give ear unto me, O, my nation: (See, that’s not us. That’s Israel.) for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment (or my rule, or my government) to rest for a light of the people. 5. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, mine arms shall judge the people; the isles (or the borders of all this) shall wait upon me, and on mine arm they shall trust. 6. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath:” Now, this is leaping clear out now, clear to the end of the millennium even. That’s what I told you earlier in this book of Isaiah. You’ve got three periods of time that are distinctly referred to, and you have to almost go to the text to find out which one it is.
The first one was the near-term Babylonian invasion, 606 BC. The next one would be the destruction by the Romans in 70 AD, but then the final one, leading to the end of everything as we know it and ushering in eternity, is at the end of the millennium. So, this is looking all the way to the end of the millennium when it says :
“…the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, the earth (the planet as we know it) shall wax old like a garment,…” Now, what do you do with an old garment? Well, you pitch it. However you’re going to get rid of it, whether you burn it or whatever. You just cast it aside; it’s gotten rid of.
“…and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. ” In other words, after this old planet has run its course, eternity kicks in and we go into eternal things. Now, it’s amazing how many times Scripture refers to this very fact. Back up, if you will, to chapter 50, and verse 9.
“Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.”
Now, back up for another portion of Scripture, which is in Psalms 102, verse 25, and we’ve got the same kind of language.
“Of old thou hast laid the foundation of the earth; the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26. (Now look what’s going to happen.) They (the earth and the heavens, I think the whole universe) shall perish, but thou (the believer) shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:” In other words, all the things that God has created. All right, now, let’s jump all the way up to the New Testament and we’ll see how we have the same language repeated even in the New. Come with me to Hebrews chapter 1, and let’s jump in at verse 10.
“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth (Now, that goes back to creation of Genesis 1:1.) and the heavens (The universe and everything that God’s created.) are the works of thy hands: 11. They shall perish; (It’s not going to last forever.) but thou (the Creator) remainest; and they (back to creation) all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12. And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: (In other words, it’s all going to cast aside someday.) but, (the Eternal God) thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” All right, let’s go ahead a few pages to II Peter chapter 3. Here we have almost the same thoughts but in different wording. All right, II Peter, chapter 3, verse 10, it wonderful how all of Scripture fits when you get on a certain theme.
II Peter 3:10-11
“But the day of the Lord (Now, that starts with Christ’s first advent and goes all the way past the millennium.) will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements (The very things that make up matter.) shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, (see just like working in a chemistry laboratory) what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy manner of living and godliness.”
II Peter 3:12-13
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, (in other words when all of these things will supernaturally start taking place) wherein the heavens being on fire shall be (what?) dissolved, (melted down.) and the elements (that which makes up matter again) shall melt with fervent heat? (But, is that the end? No, next verse:) 13. Nevertheless we, (we who trust the Word of God) according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth (no wickedness, no curse but what?) righteousness.” That’s the hope for the believer.
All right, let’s go all the way to the last chapter of your Bible, or next to the last anyway. Revelation chapter 21 and how glorious it is to see that all of the writers of Scripture, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, talked the same language.
“And I saw a (what?) new heaven and new earth: (why?) for the first heaven and the first earth were (what?) passed away;…” They’ve disappeared. They’ve burned up. They’ve melted down, or however you want to put it. Then he sees in verse 2:
“And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Now, we know from another portion of Revelation that this glorious city is going to be how big? Fifteen hundred miles cubed. Some think it’s a pyramid, I think it’s a cube but that’s irrelevant. But now look, would a city of that size rest on this little planet? Why, it would be cantilevered clear over on every direction. So, what does that tell us? This new earth, I think, is going to be so huge it’ll make Jupiter look like a model. It’ll be of such dimension that that 1500-mile city can come down and won’t stick out over the edge one bit. This is the prospect, and we know that God is in total control. All right, that’s the beauty of Scripture. Now, back to Isaiah 51 again, reading on:
“… and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: (In other words, the unbelievers are going to be removed along with that earth that’s been under the curse for all these thousands of years.) but my salvation shall be (how long?) forever,…” That’s the hope of the believer. Nothing comes to an end for the believer. Even this old universe can be burned up and totally destroyed and a new one come in its place, and we’ll still be ready to enjoy it.
“Hearken unto me, (That’s a second time now that Israel is told to listen.) ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.” Now, isn’t it amazing? It’s God’s people who maintain order and blessing and yet the rest of the community reviled them. It’s always been that way. It’s never been any different.
It’s the same way today. You know, as I’ve mentioned before in this program, one of the editorial writers of Time magazine has made the statement that he hates, he detests Christianity. He thinks it’s the worst thing that has ever happened to America. Well, he’s free to express his thoughts. But, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He may be a highly profiled editorial writer but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Christianity is what made this nation; it’s not what has destroyed it. But, nevertheless, it’s always been that way. The believer has been reviled by the unbelievers, even in Israel.
“For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, (You know what moths can do to a wool garment.) and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation.” The unbeliever is only here for a little smatter of time and he goes to his doom. But, the believer is going right on into eternity to come.
“Awake,…” The first of three times this is said in the next series of verses going on into chapter 52. Well, what does that tell you? Well, just like we say today – wake up!
You know, we’re seeing evidence of this even in America today. Wake up and realize there are forces out there that want to destroy us. But, people have got their head in the sand. My, we had evidence of it again the other day in Minneapolis, how people are so ready to embrace all of these elements that want to destroy us. How can they embrace something like that? They’re asleep! They’re ignorant, and how sad. But, see, Israel was no different, so even the believers are told, come out of your lethargy – wake up!
“…put on strength, (He’s not talking to the unbelieving element, he’s talking to the righteous, awake, put on strength.) O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, and the generations of old, Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?” Now, that sounds like something hard to comprehend, but the Rahab here is an indication of Egypt when Israel was under their bondage, and the dragon is a reference to Pharaoh and how he misused them and enslaved them. All right, verse 10, speaking of the God of Israel:
“Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, (See how this is all evidence of Israel coming out of Egypt.) the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over.” Well, who were the ransomed? Israel. The believing element.
“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return,…” Now, what does that word “return” indicate? They’re going to be gone. You can’t return if you haven’t left. Now, this is all prophesied as if it’s already happened. That’s the beauty of prophecy. So, Isaiah is speaking of this first initial out casting from the land, which was the Babylonian captivity, only 70 years in length. But, in that 70 years, the land would become desolate and Israel would return. All right, he’s speaking as if it’s already happened.
“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. 12. I (the Lord says) even I, am he that comforteth you: who are you that thou shouldest be afraid of a man who shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;” In other words, he will go into the grave.
“And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, (Here we come back again to God’s power of creation, His Sovereignty.) and laid the foundation of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?” Now, you want to remember the oppressor in view here is Babylon. He’s going to be coming in less than a hundred years, and he’s going to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple and take the nation of Israel captive. All right, verse 14:
“The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. 15. But (Take heart, Israel!) I am the LORD thy God who divided the sea, whose waves roared: (Referring back again to the Red Sea.) the LORD of hosts is his name. 16. And I have put my words in thy mouth, I have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, (What’s the promise?) Thou art my people.” That’s God speaking to Israel. What an assurance! Yet, in unbelief, the vast majority of them constantly reject it.
All right, now here’s the second wake up call. There’s going to be a third one in chapter 52, but here’s the second wake up call:
“Awake, awake, stand up, oh Jerusalem, which hath drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury;…” In other words, they’re going to come through chastisement and judgment before they can receive the blessings of the God of Israel. So, it’s always been, and so it will be even in the future.
LESSON TWO * PART II
THE VICTORIOUS SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
ISAIAH 51 – 53
All right, we pretty much finished Isaiah 51 and now we’re going to just jump into chapter 52 verse 1. Now I trust you all know your Bible well enough that Isaiah 53 is that great explanation of salvation for the Old Testament believers. But, it was in such veiled language that nobody really knew what it was talking about until we get to our New Testament revelations and then we can look back and see how graphically correct Isaiah 53 is. But before we get to 53 we want to take a run through 52, which is really leading up to that great chapter. All right, Isaiah 52 verse 1, here is now our third double “Awake.”
“Awake, awake; (Israel wake up!) put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Now what is that a reference to? Oh, the Kingdom of course is in reference here, when Christ will rule and reign and Jerusalem will be the capital of it all. But you see until that time, it is constantly under the heavy boot of the Gentile world.
Come back with me, I think its Luke 21. I hadn’t really planned to do this in this program but it just comes to me and is such an appropriate verse for comparison sake. Now here the Lord is speaking through the prophet Isaiah that Jerusalem will not have any Gentiles trodden their streets. It’s going to be the capital of Israel. Let’s begin with verse 24. Now this is a prophecy concerning the Titus invasion and destruction of Jerusalem and then what would follow after 70 AD.
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword (now if you have a red-lettered edition, this is Jesus speaking in His earthly ministry and He’s speaking of prophetic things out ahead of His day and time. And speaking of the invasion by Titus in 70 AD) and shall be led away captive into all nations:…” Which of course we know they were, they were dispersed into every nation under heaven after 70 AD. But now look what’s going to happen to Jerusalem compared to Isaiah.
“…and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of (whom?) the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Which of course will be by the time the Tribulation ends. So Jerusalem, you want to remember from time immemorial, has been trodden underfoot by the Gentile armies, or as the Bible refers to them as the uncircumcised. One after the other, and even since Titus destroyed Jerusalem they’ve come under all of the various empires, the last one of which was Great Britain whose empire on which the sun never set. So Jerusalem has been under constant Gentile dominion.
And even today, even though Israel is relatively a sovereign state, yet we know that without the Gentile powers Jerusalem wouldn’t survive. But now come back with me to Isaiah 52, the Jerusalem of the Kingdom Age, when Christ will rule and reign from Jerusalem then this becomes as if it’s already in place.
“…for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised (that’s the Gentile) and the unclean. 2. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and set down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3. For thus saith the LORD, you have sold yourselves for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.” In other words, it’s going to be the blood of Christ that will redeem them.
“For thus saith the LORD God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt (see how we keep going back to that slavery in Egypt) to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause,” Now I didn’t know until I was getting ready for this and I did some studying. Who do you suppose is referenced here as the Assyrian? Pharaoh! Pharaoh was Assyrian. And evidently archaeology has proven that. So, this is the reference that while they were in Egypt, the Pharaoh was basically Assyrian.
“Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people (see how He’s constantly referring to Israel) is taken away for nothing? They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” (now, that evidently is a reference to Israel’s enemies) 6. Therefore my people (Israel) shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.” (now here is another description of the God of Israel) 7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,…” Now of all the times I’ve heard that verse referenced I’ve never heard it referred to as Christ. But that’s who it is. “It’s Christ who is the one with the beautiful feet that brings tidings”.
“…that brings tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; (that can’t be anybody but Christ) that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.” Indeed He will, someday when we come to the 1000 year beautiful earthly kingdom. Verse 8.
“Thy watchman shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” Now look at verse 9. Once Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom and He’s got His throne room there in Jerusalem, look at the euphoria of the Nation.
“Break forth into (what?) joy, sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD hath comforted his people, He (the Lord) hath redeemed Jerusalem. (see all the prospect of His Second Coming?) The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Why? Because He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He’s going to rule the earth from Jerusalem.
“Depart ye, depart ye, go out from thence, touch no unclean things; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. 12. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.” Now you know what I’m thinking; it’s a reference back to the flight out of Egypt and by a comparison. What a difference! This time they will go in and out of Jerusalem with complete joy and safety and blessing. All right now the Scripture jumps all the way up to a graphic description of the suffering Messiah, the Servant.
“Behold, my servant…” Now again, I didn’t realize it until I started preparing for this, in every other portion where God says, “behold my servant” the fellow is named. “Behold my servant Moses.” Behold my servant so and so. So here the name isn’t necessary because it’s a given. There is only one true servant of Jehovah and that’s God Himself. So speaking of the Messiah:
.”Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14. As many were astonished at thee; his visage (now here comes the prophecy concerning the horribleness of the crucifixion) was so marred (or his appearance, his facial appearance) more than any man,….” Now you remember what was part and parcel of His suffering before they crucified Him? They pulled His beard. They ripped His beard and so no doubt His flesh just hung in strips from His face.
“…he was more marred than any man and his form more marred than the sons of men. (but as a result of that suffering and His exultation, which will follow, even though the verses are reversed, now look at verse 15) So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them they shall see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” Now there’s probably more than one way to look at that verse, but I think it’s really driving at you and you want to remember crucifixion hadn’t been invented yet.
And this is what I’m always emphasizing these people back here in the Old Testament were not looking forward to the cross like most of us had been told over the years. How could they? Crucifixion hadn’t been invented. Nobody has died a death of crucifixion. The Romans, if I understand right, created crucifixion. So, there was no way that these Old Testament patriarchs and believers could look forward to a cross. Unheard of.
And yet that’s what so many people think that they looked forward as we look back. Well looking back is far different than looking forward because when we look back it’s a point of history. The Romans crucified literally hundreds if not thousands of Jews. But nobody had ever heard of it before and so here we have then the first indication of an intense suffering but also his exultation.
All right, now before we go into Isaiah 53 I want to take you up to the New Testament again, and come with me all the way to I Peter chapter 1. And I may refer to this more than once going through Isaiah 53 because you have to understand that there was no way that anybody understood that He was on His way to a death by crucifixion throughout His three years of ministry. Nobody suspected that. That was the furtherest thing from their mind. But all right, now look what Peter writes in his first epistle and I’m going to start in verse 7. And we’re going to take this slowly.
I Peter 1:7a
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, (in the end and that your faith,) though it be tried with fire,…” Now you want to remember when we taught these little epistles, what is Peter preparing the Jewish believers for? The Tribulation. And that’s the fire that he’s talking about, the horrors and the testings of the wrath of God that will be poured out upon the whole human race, but Peter is preparing his Jewish believers to be tested with those fires of Tribulation.
I Peter 1:7b
“…and might be found unto praise and the honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” In other words, there will be an element of Jewish believers that would go through the Tribulation and be there to go into the Kingdom. Now it was true then; it’s still true in the future. We know there’s going to be a remnant of Israel that will survive the horrors of the Tribulation and be ready to come up and be the Nation starting the millennium. But all right, let’s move on. “The appearing of Jesus Christ.”
I Peter 1:8-9
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, (now that’s faith. Faith is taking God at His Word, without seeing anything concrete) you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9. Receiving the end of your faith, (which is what?) the salvation of your souls.” That’s setting the stage for his listeners or those who are reading his epistles, the Jew who was a believer at that very time. Now verse 10, he goes back to the Old Testament.
I Peter 1:10a
“Of which salvation (that these Jews now had in response to believing that Jesus was the Christ for their salvation remember) the prophets (the Old Testament writers) inquired and searched diligently,…” What were they looking for? What Peter and his believers have now witnessed, the whole scope of the plan of salvation, but they couldn’t figure it out. And God didn’t expect them to.
I Peter 1:10b
“…(these same prophets) who prophesied, (they foretold) of the grace that should come, unto you.” In other words, a coming redemption, a coming salvation. Now verse 11. These prophets, (don’t lose the subject)
I Peter 1:11
“Searching (that is in the Scriptures) what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who is in them (and caused them to write what they wrote) did signify, when it testified beforehand (that is way back in the Old Testament, like we’re going to see now in Isaiah 53, when the Spirit caused Isaiah to prophesy) the sufferings of Christ, (but that’s not all. But what?) and the glory, which was to follow.” Now you see we’ve been seeing that exemplified throughout the book of Isaiah. First the chastisement for their rebellion and then the blessing. Chastisement and then blessing. Oh, it’s going to be the same way. The Tribulation is going to be utter chastisement but it’s going to be followed by what? The most tremendous blessing Israel has ever known. But could the Old Testament prophets put it together? No.
They didn’t have a clue how this was going to happen. They knew there had to be a suffering Messiah. They knew there was going to be an exalted and a ruling Messiah but how it was all going to come together, no, they didn’t have a clue and God didn’t expect them to. All right, I think that’s far enough.
Now back up with me to Luke 18. We haven’t used that on the program in a long time. Luke 18. And I always use this as the primary example of how these Old Testament writers could write in latent language the crucifixion, the glory that would follow and yet the Old Testament prophets couldn’t figure it out. Well, maybe this will make it a littler easier to understand. Luke 18 verse 31, and this is toward the end of His three years of earthly ministry. In short order, they’ll be going up to Jerusalem for Passover and the crucifixion and the resurrection. All right, verse 31, He’s still with all twelve up in northern Israel.
“And he took unto him the twelve, and he said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” But they hadn’t figured it out. They couldn’t understand what it was talking about, but Jesus knew. And now look what He said, according to prophecy:
“For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, he shall be mocked, spitefully entreated, spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” Now He lays it all out in the open. So do the Twelve know? No.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things:…” Now don’t miss that. They understood none of this. They had no idea He was going to die. Why? Because God hid it from them, supernaturally.
“… and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Unbelievable? But you’d better believe it, because when they got to Jerusalem several days later, they had no idea what was going to happen and when they finally saw Him on that cross, did they just say, “Well take heart! Three days from now He’s going to be back.” Did they? No. Peter on the other hand says, what? “I’m going fishing!” Why? It’s all done. Everything collapsed. All their hopes were dashed.
All right now come with me to John chapter 20. See, and these are concepts of Scripture that you won’t normally hear, because that would go against what many denominations teach. And then when the Apostle Paul comes along and says I’ve been revealed mysteries, secrets that were held in the mind of God, they ridiculed that. That’s why they don’t like Paul. And that’s why I love him.
My, God chose that man to reveal all these things so that we don’t have any doubt. It’s there, and now all we have to do is believe it. But now look at John’s Gospel chapter 19 and you know the account how Mary Magdalene has come to anoint the body, the corpse, and it’s gone. And so she runs and finds Peter and John wherever they were and tells them that the grave is empty. And they couldn’t believe it. So the first thing they thought was what? Grave robbers. They’ve stolen Him. And they’ve taken Him someplace else.
“So they ran both together:…” Peter and John, and old John outran Peter. And I always have an explanation for that. I think John was a young guy in his twenties and I think Peter was a big, probably a forty year old sort of at the end of his athletic years. And I can just see young John just zipping right by him and here comes Peter huffing and puffing a little bit later. And John has already looked in but being timid didn’t go into the tomb, or into the cave, but he saw, now let’s pick it up:
“So they ran both together: and the other disciple (John) outran Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. 5. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying;…” Wow! So he hadn’t just been totally kidnapped, as we’d say or stolen, the evidence, the linen clothes were there. But he didn’t have the gall to go in. Now verse 6, here comes Simon Peter and he went into the sepulcher. He didn’t even think twice.
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7. And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” Peter just barges right in and looks at all the evidence, the linen clothes and the napkin. So he could tell that there was order to all of this. It wasn’t a haphazard grave robbery. Now then verse 8:
“Then went in also the other disciple, (John) who came first to the sepulcher, (now watch this) and he saw, (the evidence and then he what?) and believed!” They had no idea He was going to be raised from the dead. They had no idea He was going to be crucified. But when they saw the evidence they believed.
“For as yet (up until that point in time, after His three years of earthly ministry, after telling them that He would be put to death and be raised the third day, as yet Peter and John) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Now can I make it any plainer?
They didn’t know that Isaiah 53 was speaking of the death of their Messiah. Nor were they supposed to. God was just putting that back in there I think, for every human being on this side of the cross to now go back and we’re going to do it in the next program, if not in this one, go back and read these graphic statements in Isaiah 53 and say “here this was written 700 years before it happened and it all fell in place. What kind of a book is this?!” Well, it’s the Word of God and that why we have to rest on it.
Now let’s go back in the couple of minutes we have left and get started at least on Isaiah 53. Now remember all these verses we just read. Peter writes that these Old Testament prophets had no kind of clue as to how all this was going to happen. They understood there had to be a suffering Savior. They understood there would be a ruling Monarch. Glorious beyond human comprehension, but who and how and when? They did not have a clue. All right, so now let’s just start Isaiah 53 verse 1:
“Who hath believed our report?…” Is it any different today? My, we can talk about, we can teach all these end-time events that are taking place around us, what percentage of even America, the only near-godly nation left on earth, and what percentage of even America believe the word we say? Not many.
Europe is a basket case, spiritually, forget about them. And for goodness sakes don’t fall for their system of government. They have got those people so wrapped up in regulations and red tape that they can’t even breath and yet everybody thinks we’ve got to be like Europe. It’s unbelievable isn’t it? But see that’s the world tonight. They don’t believe the things that this Book declares. Israel was no different.
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” All right, now here comes that latent kind of language that Israel, I think should have understood, but they didn’t.
“For he (now remember we’re talking constantly about the Messiah in this chapter. Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, as we know of Him from this side of the cross) 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.” Now I think a lot of folks have misconstrued that to think that He had no physical appearance that would attract people. I don’t think that’s what it’s talking about at all. Well, we’re going to have to sort of wind down, our time’s just about gone and we’ll pick it up in our next program. And we’re going to make a scriptural reference to this when we come back. But here we’re talking about the Messiah who would not come in as a great ruling son of an emperor or anything like that, but He’s going to come with no real credentials to magnify Himself.
LESSON TWO * PART III
THE VICTORIOUS SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
ISAIAH 51 – 53
Once again we’re going to get right back into Isaiah chapter 53. We might as well go back to verse one again, we just closed the last program with it, but in Isaiah 53 verse 1, now remember this is the great chapter foretelling Christ’s death and suffering and yet Israel never comprehended it before nor were they expected to. But this is the number one chapter that we as believers use to enliven Jews, Jewish people, how that this from their Old Testament is a graphic description of the suffering of their Messiah, our Saviour and Lord.
“Who hath believed our report? (in other words, it’s always been a dilemma to believe the Word of God) and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2. For he (speaking now of this Messiah that would be coming) shall grow up before him as a tender plant, as a root out of a dry ground:…” Now use a little imagination. That’s good language. What does that speak of? That seems something so fragile. That’s just something that could almost be flipped away at a thought. Not something that’s coming on the scene as a great conquering hero or anything like that. But just like a little blade of grass in dry piece of ground:
“…he hath no form nor comeliness;…” Like I said, in the last program, He didn’t come as some son of a great monarch. He didn’t come as some great family person.
“…and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” I think it merely speaks of His humility at his first advent. Now to speak of that “branch out of dry ground” come back in Isaiah to chapter 11 because I think it behooves us to just constantly compare Scripture with Scripture so that we can understand the language.
“And there shall come forth a rod (or a branch) out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch (now that’s capitalized because that’s a term of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament) shall grow out of his roots: ” All right, so here we come, going back to the genealogy of David who was the son of Jesse, here would come a little stem out of the dry ground which would show his humility, his lack of showing power and pomp and circumstance as most leaders tend to do but now back to Isaiah chapter 53, verse 3.
“He is despised and rejected of men;…” Now you know that’s still hard to comprehend, isn’t it? How that when He came to the nation of Israel and began His earthly ministry and with, right off the bat, the miracle of changing the water into the wine. Now you would have thought that something like that would have immediately just sent quivers across the Nation. Here is somebody special.
They might not have recognized Him as the Messiah just yet but they should have known that here is someone special. Now listen communication travels just about as fast in the ancient as it does today. They didn’t have a radio or anything, but word of mouth travels fast. They should have understood. Now here’s something special, but they didn’t. Instead they immediately start reviling Him and rejecting Him.
“…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:…” Now I don’t want to take anything away from His Passion during the hours of the crucifixion. But, all during those three years, how do you suppose His heart must have felt concerning Israel and their rejection of Him? And He saw the untold wickedness and remember, people have been people from day one. There was just as much sin. There was just as much immorality during those three years of His earthly ministry in Israel as there is today. And how do you suppose it affected that righteous, holy God-man. I think it must have just torn at His heart to see the rank unbelief even amongst His covenant people.
And so, He was “acquainted with grief.” He was sorry. You know, we get some weird questions once in a while. And yet I never like to come away from what I’ve always said, I don’t get stupid questions, but once in a while they get kind of weird. And one of them was, “Did Jesus ever tell jokes and laugh?” Did He? Well not that we know of. Because His whole ministry carried the weight of sin and redemption upon Him, how could He be flippant about it? He knew what was coming. As I’ve read in the last program, He knew exactly what was going to happen. How could He be joking around and laughing with that kind of a mindset? No. I don’t think He did. I think it was three years of utter seriousness, realizing the heart-cry of a lost people.
Well, when He used the example of the hundred sheep that comes to mind. The ninety and nine He left out in the wilderness to rescue the one caught in the crevice that knew he was lost. But what was the lot of the ninety-nine? Lost. Lost out there on the desert with no shepherd. Well now just stop and just analyze that a minute. Is that something that you can laugh about? Is that something that makes for a good joke? No. It was just so sorrowful that the vast majority of Israel were like sheep out in the desert without a shepherd. Sorrowful. He was acquainted with grief.
“… and we hid as it were our faces (now remember who were the pronouns? Israel! We’re not talking about the Gentile world back here. We’re talking only in terms of the nation of Israel. That’s the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘our’ and so forth) from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Now how should they have esteemed them? As the Messiah, the King, the Redeemer! But instead they scoffed at Him and they said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” Now let’s just look at a verse all the way back to I Peter chapter 2 verse 21. Now most of you were with us when we were teaching these little Jewish epistles, as I call them. James and Peter and John and Jude and as well as Revelation, they were all written to the nation of Israel. And that’s the only way they make sense and here is a good example, how this compares almost word for word with Isaiah 53. But this is Peter writing to Jewish Kingdom believers that Jesus was the Messiah.
I Peter 2:21-22
“For even hereunto where you called: because Christ also suffered for us, (now he’s not talking about the whole world here yet, he’s talking about Jews. Israel) leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps; 22. Who did no sin, neither was guile (or anything unkind) found in his mouth:” Now let’s come back. A thought just came to me. Now granted, Peter is writing here to Jews, but let’s see how Paul puts it in II Corinthians chapter 5, and you can see again that the God of Israel is also the God of the whole world. But in order to understand Scripture, we have to understand when God is addressing Israel, and when He is addressing the world as a whole. Now through the Apostle Paul who is the Apostle of the Gentiles, it is spoken to the whole world and not just Israel. Whereas Peter is writing to Jews. (Now remember the God of verse 20 is the “He” of verse 21)
II Corinthians 5:21
For he (God ) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, (He) who knew no sin; (See how that rings a bell with Peter?) that we ( the whole world, not just Israel now under Peters’ pen, but) that we (the world) might be made the righteousness of God in him.” In Israel’s Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth. All right, so come back again to I Peter again for a moment. Remember Peter is writing to the nation of Israel. He’s writing to Jewish believers. Verse 23, and here this comes right out of Isaiah 53, same words:
I Peter 2:23a
“Who, when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;…” Now He could have. He was the miracle working God-man. He could speak to the wind on Galilee and immediately it was calm. He could speak, to the fish to find the coin someplace and have it ready for Peter. All those miraculous things were at his disposal but he didn’t revile again. He didn’t use His power to get even.
I Peter 2:23b-24
“…but he committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (which is the Father God in Heaven) 24. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, (the cross) that we, (even Jews) being dead to sins should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes (the stripes of the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the same word that Isaiah uses) you were healed.” Not physically, we’re not talking about physical healing! We’re talking about spiritual healing, sin sick souls!
I Peter 2:25a
“(this is all Jewish language) For you were as sheep going astray;…”
See now then I didn’t realize that I was going to use this when I referred to the “hundred” but that’s exactly what he’s got in mind here. Just like the parable of the hundred sheep who were lost without a shepherd. And that’s what Peter says Israel is. “You are like sheep who have gone astray.” Well when do sheep go astray? When there’s no shepherd. They’re dumb. They just go and go and go and they don’t know where they are.
I Peter 2:25b
“…but now you are returned unto the Shepherd (which is their Messiah because Peter’s writing to Jewish believers remember?) and the Bishop of your souls.” Which was a trust in Jesus the Messiah.
And so here we have the perfect parallel with Isaiah chapter 53, after the fact. See now Peter could understand what Isaiah 53 was talking about, but before the cross, he couldn’t. Crucifixion was unknown.
And so that’s why you know, as I said in the very first program today, how many times haven’t we all heard, “Well the Old Testament people they were looking forward to the crucifixion and the cross as we look back.” No. They couldn’t look forward to something they knew nothing of. They didn’t understand Isaiah 53, it was all in veiled language and God didn’t expect them to. All they were to believe was what God revealed to them openly and that they could readily take by faith. All right, back to Isaiah chapter 53 verse 6. Again a reference to the sheep.
“All we like sheep (that’s Israel) have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD (the God of Creation, the Triune Creator God) has laid on him (God the Son) the iniquity of us all.” And again this is what Paul is constantly reminding us of as well, how that He died. In fact let’s go back and look at it. A verse that we use over and over and I’ll never tire of it because too many of Christendom don’t even know these verses are in their Bible and yet it’s the Gospel of salvation that you and I are to use today.
I Corinthians 15:1-4, you all should know them by now, shouldn’t they? Yeah. We’ve got more and more people showing evidence of it wherever we go. But see this is Paul’s approach to salvation in this age of Grace!
I Corinthians 15:1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (There’s only this Gospel for us today) which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand.” Now remember Paul is writing to Gentile believers at Corinth so they had been recipients of this Gospel. And they were standing in it. They were positioned in it. Now verse 2.
I Corinthians 15:2a
“By which you are saved,…” I had a lady just recently who was dealing with a young lady in a cult and she took her to this verse, these first four. She had never seen them before. She had never seen these before. And see beloved, this is where it’s at. This is the Gospel by which we are saved.
I Corinthians 15:2b
“…if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed ” In other words, Paul said, you’ve got to understand what we’re talking about. You’ve got to know that this One who was crucified was the Creator God. He was the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, rejected, crucified, shed His blood, was buried and rose from the dead! That’s the Gospel and nothing less will do.
I’m afraid multitudes are going into an eternal doom, good people, fine people, church members, choir singers, Sunday School teachers, but they’ve never believed this Gospel for their salvation. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. And so we have to constantly show people that this is the Plan of Salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all, all that which I received, (in other words, Paul’s revelation from the ascended Christ that now this work of the cross becomes God’s Gospel of the Grace of God) how that Christ died for our sins according to (what?) the scripture;” Now what Scripture? After the last two hours, what Scripture do you think he was referring to? Isaiah 53, as well as a few others. But Isaiah 53 made it so plain that the Messiah would suffer at the hands of mortal men for the salvation of the human race. And so Paul can rightly say, it was in the Scriptures, it was in the Old Testament.
I Corinthians 15:3b
“…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, (we’re going to see that a little later in Isaiah 53, how that He took his burial amongst the rich, Joseph of Arimathaea. That’s what it was all talking about and I’m sure this is what Paul is referring to, see?) and he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: ” That’s salvation!!! And nothing else will do.
You can’t add to. Or subtract from. That’s it. And oh, we’re finding multitudes that are suddenly, been in church all their life, and they’re finding salvation through these verses. It gives goosebumps!
We share in our seminars, I don’t like to do it on nationwide television, but in some of my seminars I share some of these people that call and it’s just unbelievable the position that they’re in – denominational leaders. And tell us for the first time they see that this is the Gospel of salvation. On the one hand it’s frightening. On the other hand, like I said, it gives us goosebumps. We had a gentleman just the other day who owns several radio stations and a great denominational leader called him and said, “Don’t ever take that program off your radio station. It opened my eyes.” Well you see, those are things we normally don’t share with our audience but listen, it’s not Les Feldick. It’s the Gospel! Because few people are understanding that that is what saves lost sinners. It’s not a baptism. It’s not a works. It’s not a church membership. It’s not a denomination. It’s that finished work of the cross!
And you’re not hearing it anymore. And so we have to kind of get our hackles up and let people understand the Gospel of salvation is so simple and that’s why people can’t understand it. It’s too simple. But that’s it. “When you believe that Christ died for you and was buried and rose again,” and you embrace that, God has promised to declare you righteous. He has promised to put you into the Body of Christ. He has promised to keep you for all eternity.
But oh, people can’t buy that. That’s too simple. No it isn’t! It’s so complex that I can’t understand it, but yet that’s where it is. All right, so now Paul is saying basically the same thing that Peter is saying but in a little different setting. In a little different understanding. Because he’s approaching the whole human race whereas Peter back here is considering the nation of Israel. All right, back to Isaiah and he’s the same way. Isaiah is only addressing the Jew. But we can garner confidence from it that if this was prophesied in such detail 700 years before it happened then who am I or you or anybody else to doubt it? It’s got to the true.
“All we like sheep have gone astray;…” and Israel is always referred to as the sheep of the fold. My, you all know Psalms 23 and what is it? “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Israel is always depicted as the sheep of the fold.
“…we have turned every one his own way;…” Now what’s the picture? Well, I’ve given it two, three times already this afternoon. Those 99 sheep and where did they go? Wherever they wanted to go. There was no shepherd. They were out there in the open desert, wilderness. Unless you’ve been to the Middle East you can’t understand it.
I remember coming up from Petra – desert as far as you can see. Once in a while you’d see a few camels but other than that just pure desert. Well, that’s what I picture of these 99 sheep out there on that wide-open desert. All going their separate way, wherever they find a little lump of grass. They don’t care where they’re going. Well that was Israel. Everybody going their own way, most of the time. And they were like sheep without a shepherd. All right, reading on:
“…and the LORD hath laid on him (the chief Shepherd) the iniquity of them all. 7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, (they beat Him, they scourged Him) yet he opened not his mouth:…” Now I don’t have to take you back to Matthew, you all know that, that as the Romans were beating him, He never said a word.
You know I’ve been debating for the last half hour whether I should use this illustration or not. But I’m going to try it, see if I can get away with it. Back in my younger days, I would get to the slaughterhouses once in awhile when I was a livestock farmer. And the first one I was never able to shake from my mind and my thinking was the slaughtering of the sheep.
Many of you may know this and many, especially my city people out there in your big cities, you have no clue. But when they get ready to lead a bunch of sheep into the slaughter what leads them? A goat. And he’s called “Judas” because he’s a betrayer. So what does he do? He runs ahead of the sheep. Takes them up to the door leading to their slaughter and there’s a side gate that he slips out and the sheep go to their slaughter. He comes back and he leads another bunch. That’s his job. He’s a perfect Judas.
He’s the betrayer of the innocent sheep. But you know what the amazing thing was? Not a sound! Everything was perfectly quiet. They just went to their slaughter without making a sound. Now you go to the hog killing floor and what is it? It is so much squealing and screaming it about drives you crazy. But not the sheep.
All right, now that’s why Scripture uses that analogy. When Jesus was being confronted and beaten and everything, did He argue back? Did He say a word? No. And then you remember, I wanted to take time but I don’t think I will. In Matthew it says, they smote Him on the cheek and what did they say? “Who smote you? Who hit you? If you’re God you should be able to tell us.” Did He answer? No. And so all of this was prophesied 700 years before it happened that as He was led to the slaughter, to the cross, He never opened His mouth and it’s just one of the unique fulfillments of Scripture.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, (not without brains but silent. He was absolutely silent and) so he openeth not his mouth. 8. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off (now we’re going to take the next half hour to compare that Scripture reference in Daniel, for he was cut off) out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Now never forget, John tells us so plainly, that He came unto whom? “His own, Israel, first. And His own received Him not.” And from there it went to the whole Gentile world.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
THE VICTORIOUS SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
ISAIAH 51 – 53
Okay, again, we always like to emphasize for our television viewers, and we know we get new ones every day, that we’re just an informal Bible study. We don’t claim to be highly educated theologians. I don’t have any degrees behind my name. We just teach as the Lord lays it upon our hearts to teach. We just thank the Lord for touching so many hearts through our ministry.
Okay, let’s just get right back into where we left off in Isaiah 53. This great chapter was written 700 years before Christ and depicts the crucifixion so graphically. If we have time in this half-hour, we’ll go back and compare some of these verses with Psalms 22 where we have much the same to show again that this is truly the Word of God. How divinely inspired every word has to be!
All right, let’s come back again to verse 8 where it was spoken that He was “taken from prison and from judgment.” Now, you want to remember, if you understand the night of the arrest and leading up to the crucifixion, they arrested Him in the early hours of the morning. Probably at 3 o’clock and pitch dark. They imprisoned Him for a few hours in a place we usually visit when we go to Jerusalem. Then, He was taken out of there and brought before the judgment hall of Pilate.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: (not for anything He had done, but) for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” All right, let’s go to Daniel. We mentioned in our last program that we were going to do this. Let’s jump up to Daniel chapter 9. This is that great chapter of the benchmark of all prophecy.
Daniel chapter 9 where we find that He is spoken of in exactly the same kind of language, and where we have this prophecy concerning the Messiah and Israel and the coming of the anti-Christ and the Tribulation and so forth. But in verse 24:
“Seventy weeks (That is of years, or 490 years.) are determined upon thy people (the nation of Israel) and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:…” Or 69 weeks of years or 483 years. Remember that 490 years are promised in this prophecy. Now, verse 26.
“And after three score and two weeks (plus the other seven for a total of 69 weeks of years or 483) shall Messiah be (what?) cut off, (All of a sudden His life on earth will be ended.) but not for himself:…” Not for Himself. Again, the emphasis is He didn’t deserve it. He did nothing to deserve death.
“…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;…” This is a reference, of course, to the Romans out of which empire the anti-Christ will come, which is still future.
So, here we have Scripture identified with Scripture with the exact same words that “he was cut off from amongst the living.” All right, now in Isaiah chapter 53 verse 9, there is another direct prophecy that was fulfilled to the last detail.
“And he made his grave with the wicked, (That is amongst lost humanity.) and with the rich in his death…” His tomb was in a piece of real estate owned by wealthy Joseph of Arimathaea, a wealthy Jew.
“…because he had done no violence, (He had done nothing to precipitate His death.) neither was any deceit in his mouth.” That’s why we’re constantly emphasizing He never said a word in rebuttal. He never tried to defend Himself. He stayed silent. Now, verse 10:
“Yet it pleased the LORD (that is God the Father in this case) to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,…” Now, let’s come all the way back. In fact, let’s go all the way back to Genesis chapter 3. There had to be a sin offering to restore the fellowship of mankind with the Creator God. Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 3 or 4. I can use either one. Let’s go to chapter 4 and drop in at verse 4. We’ll skip over Cain for a minute and come down to Abel.
“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock (which indicates, more than likely, a sheep) and of the fat thereof. (In other words, the very best that he had in his flock of sheep.) And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” Well, what kind of an offering was it? It was a sin offering. Now, let’s compare that all the way up to Hebrews, chapter 11, and drop down to verse 4. This is the New Testament reference to that very same sacrifice that Abel gave.
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice (What kind of a sacrifice? It was a sin offering to cover his sin.) than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it (That is by his faith.) being dead yet speaketh.” All right, come back to Isaiah 53, again. So, Christ became that sin offering, not just for Israel but for the whole human race. All right, let’s see, where was I? Verse 10.
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,” The sins of the whole world. Now, so many have seen the movie, The Passion. You’ve heard my comments on it as well as others. There was no way humanly possible for anybody to show what Christ really accomplished when He settled the sin debt of the whole human race. That’s beyond our comprehension. He didn’t just die for the few. He died for every one from Adam and Eve to the end of time. Every sin was paid for in that death at the cross.
No movie can show that. All we saw was just a little tip of the iceberg. His physical suffering, but in the realm of the spiritual, He had to be God. This is what I tell people when I deal with the cults and some of these false religions that have no plan of redemption. Their so-called prophet or whatever they want to call him can’t die for the sins of the whole human race. They don’t even try to express it. They know better than that, I guess. But this One did. He died for every sin of every human being to bring about our salvation. And all we have to do to appropriate that salvation is to believe in our heart that “Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again” as we saw in the last half-hour.
“…when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
Well, imagine the suffering that Jesus went through on the way to the cross, going all the way back to the early morning hours and as He hung there in agony and shame. Yet, what was the most glorious aspect of all of God’s dealing with the human race? The resurrection! That was primary. How He arose from the dead victorious over all of His opposition. There was nothing that could take from His power and His glory when He arose from the dead.
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:…”
Why? What was the next to the last statement on the cross, or is it the last? “It is (what?) finished.” What have men been trying to do ever since? They been saying, “No, it wasn’t finished, we’ve got to do this, and we’ve got to do that.” No, beloved, it was finished! It’s that finished work plus NOTHING that brings our salvation. And, oh, what a pity that such a finished work of redemption has been besmirched with men trying to “do something.” It’s pitiful. But we’ll just keep proclaiming that it’s by faith and faith alone in that finished work, culminating in the power of His resurrection.
“He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: (Because it was finished, there was nothing more that could be done.) by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify (what?) many;…” Not just Israel, even though Israel is the only one being addressed in this passage. Now, let’s go all the way up to the Apostle Paul. Let’s go up to Romans chapter 3 and see how this same suffering Messiah now becomes the object of faith of not just Israel but of the whole world, Jew and Gentile.
“What then? are we (Now, remember, Paul can speak as a Jew.) [Jews] better than they?” Those Gentiles? Well, ordinarily the answer would have been what? Well, you’d better believe it! But not after Paul becomes the Apostle. Now, we know they are not better than the Gentiles. Everybody in the whole human race is on the same level playing field, and he tells us that.
“No, in no wise: for we have before proved (Now, this is the Word of God. This isn’t just one man’s idea. This is inspired just like Isaiah was.) that both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. 10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Not even in Israel. Not even amongst the Gentiles. All right, now then, come all the way over to verse 19. This is the Apostle writing in light of everything that God had accomplished through the nation of Israel, who were under the Law and Temple worship. The Messiah came to them as the Shepherd of the sheep of Israel, but now Paul brings us across that great divide and includes the Gentile as well.
“Now we know (There are no ifs, ands, or buts.) that what things soever the law saith, (Now, the Law here is a reference to the Ten Commandments.) it saith to them who are under the law:” Now, I think you all know who was under the Law. Israel. The Jew. Gentiles weren’t under the Law, ever. But the Law didn’t stop at Israel’s border. It went all around the globe.
“…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world (not just Israel) may become guilty before God. 20. Therefore by the deeds of the law (or the keeping of the Ten Commandments,) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:” My goodness, tell this to your fellow church members. Most of them, not all, but most of them think that if they do their best and keep the Commandments, they’ll make it. Hey, nobody’s ever going to get to Glory keeping the commandments, because it’s impossible.
“…there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:” Why? The Law wasn’t given to save. The Law was given to condemn. It was an instrument of death, II Corinthians 3 tells us. Yet, how many of even Christendom feel that the Ten Commandments are somehow going to be their ticket to eternal bliss. Well, I’ve got news for them; it’s a ticket for the other direction. It’s a condemnation of death.
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The knowledge that we’re lost. All right, but now, verse 21. You know, I’m still thinking about making a program someday on the ‘but now’s’ in Scripture. I don’t know if I’ll get it done, but we’re going to work on it.
“But now the righteousness of God without the law (See that? With the Law completely out of the picture) is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” Of course, that’s why we’re studying Isaiah; to see that all things written back there were building block leading up to our glorious Gospel of Grace.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ (and now look) unto all and upon all them that…” (Them that keep the Commandments? No! To all of them that that repent and are baptized? No! To all them that do good works? No. I could keep going and going and going with what most of Christendom is trying to put in here. That’s not there. But it’s to all of them that what?
“…believe:…” What is the other word for believe? Faith. By faith.
“…for there is no difference:” A Jew has to be saved today the same way that we Gentiles are, and a lot of them are being misled. Fortunately, we are getting a few who are responding; they’re seeing. All right, now then, keep moving in this chapter. We might as well just keep reading verse after verse.
“For all (Jew and Gentile) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24. Being justified freely (not by works but) by his grace through the redemption (or the process of paying the price) that is in Christ Jesus:” What was the price of redemption? His shed blood.
“Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his (what?) blood,…” Don’t hear that much anymore do you? Hardly ever. But, you can’t take the blood out of Scripture. Now, some translations are trying, but God won’t have it. We still have to have faith in His shed blood as the price of our redemption.
“…through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26. (Oh, I love this one.) To declare, I say, at this time…” On this side of the cross, Isaiah 53 couldn’t say this yet. It hadn’t happened. It was prophesied, but it hadn’t happened. But now, at this time, he can declare:
“…his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” There is no salvation in anything else. We’re justified by faith in Jesus Christ! Not His earthly ministry, but rather, by faith in His death, burial, and resurrection!
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded…. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” So, now we can come back to Isaiah 53 and pick up again this whole plan of salvation prophesied in this one chapter. It should appeal to every Jew wherever they are, that an Old Testament prophet depicted the suffering of their Messiah in such distinct language.
“…for he shall bear their iniquities. (Which He did when He hung on that cross.) 12. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: (Now, that’s speaking again of His death by crucifixion.) and he was numbered with the transgressors; (What does that mean? The two thieves one on either side.) and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Now, I’m not going to take you back because I trust you all remember. As they were hanging there and suffering, and none of us can comprehend what crucifixion did, but as they were suffering the one thief turned to Him and said what? “Remember thou me.” What was Jesus’ answer? “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Here, it’s prophesied 700 years before it happened. I hope I’ve said that often enough this afternoon that you remember it. Seven hundred years before it all happened, this chapter lays it out detail by detail how “He bear the sin of many.”
All right, I think we’ll take the last five minutes and come back to Psalms chapter 22. Here we have the same kind of graphic language but written even earlier than Isaiah. David writes, probably around 1000 BC, and look at the language. Remember that this is 1000 years before Christ.
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Where did you hear that before? It was one of the statements from the cross.) why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (As He’s suffering) 2. O my God,…” Now, let’s be careful. When Christ called out to God here on earth, He cried out from His humanity. Whenever He prayed He prayed from His human side. When He used His Deity side He didn’t have to pray, He was God.
In other words, when He forgave the sin of the woman taken in adultery, He didn’t have to pray and ask God to forgive her. He forgave her. This is what disturbs the Jew. Well, who was He to forgive that woman’s sin? He was God! That’s why He could forgive her sin. He didn’t have to pray. But you see, whenever He cries out to God, He cries from the human side. That’s, of course, where He suffered, from the human side.
“Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, (Now, we know He was crucified sometime in the forenoon and it was about six hours before He gave up the Spirit.) but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (That is the God of Abraham.) 4. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6. But I (Now, the God-man, speaking from His humanity) am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Now, what’s he speaking of? While he’s being beaten and His beard was being pulled and the crown of thorns was being plaited on His head, He was just simply treated like worse than an animal. But the cry is from His humanity.
“All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8. He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” What did they taunt Him with as he hung on the cross? “Well, if thou be God let the angels come down and take you down.” They taunted Him. They scoffed at Him. All right, now verse 9:
“But thou art he that took me out of the womb: (Now, where do we go? All the way back to Bethlehem) thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.” As a young lad He grew up in humanity.
“I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from mother’s belly. 11. Be not far from me; for there is trouble near; for there is none to help. (Nobody came to His defense.) 12. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.” That’s speaking of all of His enemies as they scorned Him and scoffed Him. Now, verse 13:
“They gaped upon me with their mouth, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14. I am poured out like water, (What did He cry out from the cross? I thirst.) all my bones are out of joint:…” Why? That’s what crucifixion did. As they were hanging there with arms outstretched it pulled almost every bone from its socket. It was a horrible way to die. Here the Psalmist graphically explains it.
“…my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd;” What’s a potsherd? It is a piece of clay. All of these are graphic descriptions of the crucifixion.
LESSON THREE * PART I
THE GLORIOUS PROMISES TO ISRAEL
ISAIAH 54:1 – 57:1
We want to thank everybody for coming today. We just praise the Lord! I was reminding our studio audience, for those of you out in television, that we started fourteen years ago this month (Oct 2004). We decided this morning that we taped our very first program fourteen years ago. It doesn’t seem possible, but we had probably fifteen people in attendance for that first taping and today we have well over 100. So, over the years it’s gradually been growing. Again, I want to thank all of you in the studio audience for putting forth the effort. I know a lot of you have driven a long way. We’ve got folks here from Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and, of course, Oklahoma.
Okay, now let’s get back where we’re going to start in Isaiah 54 verse 1. Now, again, for those of you who may be new to the program, we like to repeat and repeat and repeat for your benefit. Remember, now, that Isaiah is writing 700 years before Christ, and yet in some of these things he writes as though it’s almost a past tense. That is how unique prophecy is in our Bible. And again, I keep repeating this – there is no other book on earth that can do that. Only our Bible, the Word of God, can tell things hundreds and hundreds of years in advance, as if it’s past, and never forget that.
Whenever they try to lift up some other religion and their writer and their book and their god, they cannot hold a candle to this Book, because they cannot tell one event in the future. Even your most famous fortunetellers, like Jean Dixon a few years ago, you know what their batting average is at the very best? Fifty percent. That’s all they are, just 50 percent guesses. But this Book is right 100 percent and it’s written, many times, thousands of years in advance.
We’re going to see some of that in our first half-hour this afternoon. So, again, we always want to remember that this is written in 700 BC. The nation of Israel has just recently been divided into the Northern Kingdom with ten tribes, the Southern Kingdom with two. But yet, Isaiah, living in the Southern Kingdom, will address both the Northern and the Southern Kingdom. And, of course, 700 BC is around a hundred years before Nebuchadnezzar will come in and destroy the city and the temple and take Israel captive. Again, it’s written as though it’s just right out in front of them.
Now, as I was driving up yet today I was mulling over how often we forget the vast amount of time that elapses up through the Old Testament. In other words, from Moses until King David was almost 500 years. Then, from King David until Isaiah starts writing about the coming judgments and everything is another 300 years. Now, think about that. That’s a long time! My, we’ve been a nation less than that. So, all these events that are unfolding throughout our Old Testament are not just within a short period of time. It’s over hundreds and hundreds of years. God’s wheels grind slowly and surely.
Okay, we’ll pick up where we left off after the last taping and the prophecy concerning Christ’s crucifixion – the graphic description of His suffering and His death in chapters 52 & 53. Let’s go on into chapter 54 as we come into the glorious promises that will follow Israel. First, after they’ve come back from the Babylonian captivity, they re-establish Temple worship. But the big picture, remember, which is what we’re always looking at, is after the horrors of the seven years of Tribulation. Christ will return and Israel is going to have all these Old Testament promises fulfilled. This is what we’re going to look at right here.
“Sing, O barren, (Well, what does singing remind you of? Good feelings, joy, and happiness.) thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child:…” More than likely, what Isaiah is referring to are those years when Israel was spiritually dead. There were hundreds of years where Israel was steeped in their unbelief and their rebellion, and, consequently, there was no joy or an increase in blessings or anything else. So, now with the hope of this coming kingdom, they can sing like one who has travailed.
“..for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.” All right, now that’s kind of a tough one to explain, so I’m going to pass over that. Come down to verse two. (Transcriber’s note: Don’t you love someone who isn’t afraid to say, “I don’t know?”)
“Enlarge the place of thy tent,…” What does that speak of? Well, progressive growth. When you enlarge the tent it just simply means that you’re getting ready for more occupants. That’s what Israel is to do. They’re to get ready, now, for great expansion of their blessings.
“…and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;” Remember, he’s speaking of a tent back in antiquity and the tent pegs would be stretched out further away to make room for a larger tent. In other words, it is a symbolic picture of how the Nation will be increasing in blessings.
“For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; (Blessings upon blessings are waiting for the nation of Israel.) and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,…” Now, you’ve got to remember, since the Babylonian invasion and destruction of the city according to Scripture, especially from that point on Israel has been under the heavy boot of the Gentile empires. They have never enjoyed national blessings as a separate entity. But the day is coming when they will. Not only will they enjoy the blessings, but they’re going to be supreme over all the Gentile nations. We’re going to look at a few of those in just a moment.
“…and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” In other words, it’s going to be a great growth of Israel’s population. Now, let’s go back and look at a few of those promises that are sprinkled throughout the Old Testament looking forward to this day when Israel will finally cash in on all of these blessings of the promises.
Let’s go all the way back, if you will, to Deuteronomy chapter 28, and we’ll get a glimpse of the blessings that are awaiting the Nation of Israel. They have never enjoyed this in their history. Not even close. But the day is coming when they will. Now, they had it as a prospect all through their history but because of their unbelief, their belligerence, their wickedness, and their lifestyle of sin, they never experienced it. All right, let’s drop all the way in at verse 9. Now, these are all promises that God has made to the Nation of Israel.
“The LORD shall establish thee a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. (In other words, God demands obedience.) 10. And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, (They’re going to be productive beyond our imagination.) in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land (the Land of Promise) which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” What’s Israel’s financial situation today? They have to borrow constantly or they couldn’t survive. All right, but it’s going to be reversed. Israel will be in a position to lend to other nations.
“And the LORD shall make thee the (what?) head, (They’re going to be the top nation of the nations when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom.) and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:” Well, that’s one of the very earliest Scriptures, long before they even got into the Land of Promise. But, all the way up through the Old Testament you have these promises of how Israel will one day enjoy the blessings.
Now, let’s see, let’s go to Zechariah, that’s the next to the last book in your Old Testament. We’ll be running across some others before we leave Isaiah in the next few programs. As you get to Zechariah chapter 8, we’ll begin at verse 20. We’ve used these verses, especially in our classes and seminars, but I don’t think I’ve used them much on the program. Now remember, these are all Old Testament prophecies and promises. None of these have been fulfilled as yet, but they will.
Now, I guess this is as good a time as any to stop. You know, there are those who oppose my line of teaching by saying that God is all through with the Jew. That when Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, that was the end of all these promises. They say that Israel disappeared, that they faded away as a nation of people and all the promises have been turned over to the church. Some people call it “replacement theology.” I call it plain old “amillennialism.” Now, there’s another new name for it, and it is “preterism.” Well, if they claim that there’s nothing more to be fulfilled after 70 AD, then all these promises have failed! Then our God has failed! I might as well throw the Book away and go home!
But, they haven’t! They’re still going to be fulfilled. Our God is still in control. Those people in the Middle East are Jews. They try to reject that fact, but they’re Jews. They’re Israel. In fact, I just had a call, I think early this morning, about “all the tribes of Israel.” I said, “Well, you’ve got to remember that they never were “lost.” They all went into the Babylonian captivity. They all came back under Ezra and Nehemiah.” Then I took him to the verse where Peter says in Acts 2:36, “…therefore let the whole house of Israel know assuredly.” So, what does that tell you? Even in Peter’s day, that Pentecostal crowd included Jews of every tribe. None of them were ever lost. The same way when the 144,000 will be chosen out of Israel at the very beginning of the Tribulation, they’re all there. They’re all going to be able to provide 12,000 young men from every tribe to fulfill the 144,000. They’re not lost. God knows who they are. All right, so here we have it again. This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. But it will be!
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass,…” Is God lying? No, He’s not lying! Is He incapable of fulfilling it? No, He’s not incapable. He is fully capable and He will!
“…that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22. Yea, many people and strong nations (That’s the Gentile world.) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts (Where?) in Jerusalem, (That’ll be the world’s capital) and to pray before the LORD. 23. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days (When Israel has her King.) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: (Why?) for we have heard that God is with you.” Why? Because of all these promises.
All right, let’s go into the New Testament. Let’s go into Luke chapter 1, and we’ll drop down to verse 64. While you’re looking for it, I’ll give you the background. You remember that one of the priests of Israel was a man by the name of Zacharias and his wife’s name was Elizabeth. Zacharias and Elizabeth supernaturally had a child whose name was John the Baptist.
All right, all during Elizabeth’s gestation of nine months, Zacharias was stricken speechless. He could not talk. Practically everybody in Israel knew it. But, when the child was born and they asked Elizabeth what the name would be, she said, “John.” Well, they were all shook up because no Jew had ever been called John, so they trot up to the Temple and find Zacharias. They write on a tablet that the baby had been born and what’s to be his name? He took the pen and wrote, “John.” As soon as he wrote John, he got his voice back. Well, then everybody was all alarmed. What in the world’s going on? All right, let’s pick it up in verse 64,
“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.” Well, like what? This elderly couple, she conceived, and the minute she conceived he lost his voice. And he’s been absolutely, what we call ‘dumb,’ for nine months. But, as soon as the baby was born he’s got his voice back. What’s going on? All right, here we go, verse 66:
“And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.” Now remember, we’re not talking about Jesus, we’re talking about John the Baptist.
“And his father Zacharias (the priest) was filled with the Holy Spirit,…” Now, this is long before Pentecost. Yet, he’s filled with the Holy Spirit, which means that everything he says is directed from God Himself. This isn’t wishful Jewish thinking; this is God speaking through this Spirit-filled priest. All right, now this is what he says, and remember what we’ve just read in the Old Testament.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied, saying, 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he (the Lord) hath visited and redeemed his people, 69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Now, as we read this, be careful to watch, is there any reference to Gentiles? Not a word. This is all dealing with the promises made to Israel, and none of these promises apply to the Gentiles except as they come through Israel. So, these promises here are to the Nation.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (Now, watch the language.) 71. That we should be saved from our (not sins, what?) enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” All right, now stop and think. Who were Israel’s enemies from day one? Well, the Arab world. You know, I always have a good time going back in to Nehemiah especially in my classes here in Oklahoma. I show that even in the day of Nehemiah, when they were trying to rebuild the city wall and the city gate, who was constantly opposing them? The Arabs. It got to the place where if the Jews wanted to work they had to work with a trowel in one hand and a weapon in the other, or they couldn’t get anything done. So, it’s always been this way. But you can just fast forward up to 2004 as we tape this, and it’s still the same. All these promises are still valid that the day will come when Israel won’t have to worry about the Arab world. Israel won’t have to worry about Nazis or Communists or anybody else. They’re going to be under the protective care of their Messiah King.
“72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; (What covenant?) 73. The oath which he swore to our father Abraham,” Now, you’ve got to remember (I’m going to cover the covenants when we finish Isaiah) that in that Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham was promised a nation of people totally different than anybody else. That reminds me of something else I thought of on the way up. I read a long time ago how God made the Nation of Israel “different’. They have been and still are. But what was the eternal purpose in it? To prove that nobody in the human race is any different from the other.
So, Israel was shown to be different to prove they’re no different. Now, did I make my point? The whole Adamic race, whether it’s Jew or Gentile, are still sons of Adam. All right, now let’s go back again. The Abrahamic Covenant promised that out of Abraham and Sarah would descend this special nation of people. Why would it be special? Because out of Israel would come first the Word of God, out of Israel would come the Messiah, and out of Israel would come all the prophetic promises.
You’ve heard me say it over and over, Israel is the hub of God’s wheel; you pull Israel out, you destroy the nation of Israel, and God’s program falls apart, and, again, you could throw the Book away. But, Israel will never, never leave. Okay, let’s go a couple more verses here; our time is about gone already.
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Which, of course, will go on into eternity. Then he goes on to show the promises made to the man John the Baptist. But anyway, the promises are all the way through, and if we had the time we could go all the way back to the last chapters of Revelation when the glories of that kingdom on earth will be fulfilled on behalf of the nation of Israel.
All right, for the next couple of minutes let’s go back again to Isaiah chapter 54 and look at verse 3, again.
“For thou shalt break forth on the right and on the left; and thy seed (In other words, the coming generations) shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4. Fear not;…” Now, you’ve got to remember that before all this could come to pass, Israel is going to go through 3000 years of suffering and turmoil. Three thousand years. Now, remember that when we come into the next program, next half-hour. I’m going to show you how God compares it in His line of thinking.
“…for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth,…” That is as a nation they’ll forget all the trials and tribulation that the nation of Israel has gone through over these hundreds and hundreds of years.
“…and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. This is when God left the Nation to their own devices and said you are no longer my people. That’s been over a good portion of their national lifetime. All right, verse 5:
“For thy Maker (the Creator) is thine husband;…” Now, here we have that husband and wife relationship especially as Hosea points it out. Maybe someday we’ll teach Hosea on the air. I’ve been thinking about it. In Hosea’s little six or seven chapters we have a beautiful picture of Israel as the adulterous wife of Jehovah. Now, why do I call her adulterous? Because, she ran after other gods. Just like an unfaithful woman will chase after men who are not her husband, so Israel chased after other lovers, nationally speaking, in the realm of the spiritual. So, she’s called the unfaithful wife of Jehovah. But one day, Jehovah will forgive her of all of her sin and she will come in and be that blessed wife of the husband. That is the beautiful picture portrayed in Hosea.
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Now, there again, that puts all other gods and goddesses and religions, whatever you want to call them, it just puts them down into the realm of nothingness, because only the God of Israel is the God of Creation and the God of this Book.
“For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, (and that marriage has been dissipated by unfaithfulness because of Israel’s chasing after other gods) when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 7. For a small (Now watch this. Here’s what I was coming to.) moment have I forsaken thee;…” And what’s He calling a small moment? Three thousand years! Isn’t that something? Yet, that’s the eternalness of our God. Three thousand years are but a moment in His line of thinking. It’s so hard for us mortals to comprehend that.
That’s why, along with my enthusiasm for the soon return and as we see the world seemingly getting so ready for Christ to enter back into human history, that I have to always temper my enthusiasm with this very thing, that with God time means nothing. Ten years isn’t even a split second in His line of thinking. So, yes, I think the Lord could be coming in the next few years, but God may think otherwise.
LESSON THREE * PART II
THE GLORIOUS PROMISES TO ISRAEL
ISAIAH 54:1 – 57:1
Let’s go back where we left off in Isaiah 54. We stopped with verse 7, so let’s look at that verse again for just a second.
“For a small moment…” God says, for just a little bit of time, but like I pointed out at the end of the last program, how long has it been? About three thousand years that Israel has been going through tough times. They’ve had certain periods of relative quiet, but most of the time the Nation has been under turmoil, under the hatred of all the other nations of the world, and still waiting for the day when they will finally have their Messiah.
Now, that’s why every Jew of any spiritual worth at all has a favorite saying, and what is it? “Next year Jerusalem.” I always get a thrill out of the picture when they first captured the Temple Mount in the Six-day War. How those young Israeli soldiers, you could tell they were kids, 18-20 year olds, and how they were celebrating that they had finally gotten the Temple Mount. It is known only to God why the Israeli general at that time, Dayan, gave it back to the Muslims. He could have just kept it for Israel, but I guess he thought he was trying to maintain good relations, whatever, but he gave it back to the control of the Muslims, and so it’s been ever since. But, nevertheless, they have always had a heart-cry for a return to the city of Jerusalem.
“For a small moment I have forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.” This is the hope of Israel. One day, they are still going to have all these Old Testament promises fulfilled and Christ Himself will be their King. Now, let’s go on into verse 8.
“In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; (for a little while) but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” Now there’s comparativeness. Here 3,000 years compared to eternity is what? A moment. None of us can have a concept of eternity. It’s just beyond us. But eternity is eternity is eternity. And 3,000 years of time as we know it is just (snap) nothing. All right, so he makes this comparison, now then, verse 9.
“For this is as the waters of Noah (the Noahic Flood) unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so I have sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” Now, what’s the comparison again? As soon as the floodwaters left and the rainbow appeared, what did God tell Noah? “That’s my covenant promise, the bow in the sky, that I will never again destroy planet earth with water.” And that’s what we’re to be reminded of whenever we see the rainbow. That’s God’s covenant promise with mankind that He will never again destroy the earth with water. Has He? No! And will He? No! But what’s the reason for it here? To make the comparison, neither will He ever give up on Israel.
They may rebel, they may be wicked, they may be sinful, they may be guilty of unbelief, but God will not give up on His chosen people. All right, let’s go back again and look at some Scripture verses. Let’s go back to II Samuel chapter 7, because this is one of the first promises that this is exactly the way it’s going to be. Israel will be rebellious, they’ll be sinful and wicked, but God will never withdraw His mercy from the Nation.
All right, II Samuel chapter 7, and it’s being spoken by God through the prophet Nathan to David. Verse 14: Here’s the promise that God makes to David concerning the Nation. Not just Solomon by himself but the whole Nation.
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. (Now, He’s speaking here of the nation of Israel.) If he commit iniquity, (and we know they have and they will) I will chasten him with the rod of men, (What’d He mean? Invading armies, the enemies that would overrun them over and over and over again) and with the stripes of the children of men:” God would punish them. But now verse 15, what’s the first word?
II Samuel 7:15a
“But (the flipside) my mercy shall not depart away from him,…” In other words, God will never, never give up on the nation of Israel. All right, now let’s jump up to Jeremiah a moment. Again, as I mentioned in our last program, there may be those who think that God is all through with the Jew. They may think that everything ended in 70 AD. But, I’ve got a question for them. Then what are you going to do with these verses? This is the Word of God. You can’t just throw it out and say, “Well, God has forgotten about it.” No, He hasn’t.
Jeremiah 31 and drop down to verse 35, now this is a promise of God concerning His earthly people.
“Thus saith the LORD, (Well, that’s all you need isn’t it? God said it!) which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar;…” I think that has a reference to the tide. You know, whenever we’re on a seacoast area, that is the one thing that still intrigues me – the tides. I just can’t fathom it that everything is so meticulously timed that they can set up schedules of the tides, way in advance. Unbelievable! But again, here is a reference to it.
“If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, (In other words, if all of a sudden the tides would stop going in and out, or if the sun or the moon should suddenly cease to function…) then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before me forever. ” But they haven’t departed. And Israel hasn’t stopped being a nation, nor will they.
“Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, (I think He’s speaking of the heaven of the heavens, the abode of God. He’s not just talking about space as we know it. He’s talking about the abode of God Himself, if that can be measured. If man can figure out where it’s at and find out the distance and everything, but it’ll never happen.) and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, (then God says,) I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” But, He won’t because the promises are steadfast and sure that all of these promises are going to be fulfilled.
Again, let’s jump all the way up to Zechariah, one of the great prophecy books in the Old Testament, other than Isaiah. Zechariah, chapter 14, I’d like to start at verse 1, because this is what the world is getting ready for tonight. The whole world, the planet, either in the natural forces of earthquakes and volcanoes and tidal waves and the power of weather, or whether it’s manmade weapons of mass destruction, everything is getting ready for these final moments of human history. Here’s where Zechariah culminates. It’s what we call the Battle of Armageddon. It’ll be the last great push that Satan will perform against the eternal coming Christ. These are all still future.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. (This is all spoken to Israel.) 2. For I will gather all nations (The whole world, now, you talk about a coalition, this is going to be a coalition and then some.) against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; (Sound familiar? That’s warfare. That’s the residue of armies.) and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3. Then (when it seems as though Jerusalem will disappear from history) shall the LORD go forth, (the Second Coming of Christ) and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” Well, we know what’s going to happen from the Book of Revelation. He’s going to annihilate those nations brought together by the anti-Christ, and this will introduce, then, His peaceful appearance to set up the Kingdom.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,…” The Mount of Olives? Does everybody know about the Mount of Olives? Well, I hope you do. On every tour we’ve ever taken to Israel, that’s one of our stops. We hope to go again next spring, and we’ll be standing on the Mount of Olives.
All right, now jump with me, keep your hand in Zechariah and let’s just jump up to Acts. Because what I like to prove to people over and over is how these Old Testament prophecies, whenever they’re referred to in the New, are so explicitly and simply put that nobody can argue with it. Acts chapter 1 and this is when the Lord has just finished His forty days in His resurrected body with the twelve or the eleven, rather. They’re now meeting on the Mount of Olives, and I’m sure these eleven men have no idea of what is about to happen. They just think it is another one of their confabs with the Lord, but then all of a sudden, verse 9, when He had finished speaking the things in verse 8:
“…while they beheld, (just all of a sudden with no forewarning) he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (They watched Him go.) 10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven (watching Him leave from the Mount of Olives) as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, (Now watch this! Jesus, in that resurrected body, the nail prints in His hands, who has now been with them for forty days walking, talking, eating.) who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.”
Now, do you have to have a theological degree to understand that? Why, it’s as simple as can be. Now, flip back to Zechariah. And isn’t that the same thing? Now Zechariah foretold this 500 years before Christ. Almost like after it happened. Let’s read it again:
“And his feet (the returning Christ) shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives,…” He’s not going to come in an invisible Spirit. He’s not going to come like an ethereal cloud or like an angel of some sort. It’s going to be the resurrected Christ, the same one the Twelve watched go into heaven. So, we know it’s the same one, and He’s going to come and stand on the Mount of Olives, which in turn will be separated to make way for a glorious river of fresh water running between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. We pick that up now in verse 8.
“And it shall be in that day, (when Christ sets up His throne room in Jerusalem) that living waters (fresh water) shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, (the Mediterranean) and half of them toward the hinder sea: (that is the Dead Sea, out to the east) in summer and in winter shall it be.” In other words, it’s going to be an ongoing thing year round.
“And the LORD shall be king over (what?) all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Now, that’s plain and simple. He’s going to establish an earthly Kingdom as we saw in the first program today. Israel will be the top dog of the nations. They will never again have to ask somebody else for help. Instead, they’ll help others. They’re going to have their Messiah as their King. Israel is going to be blessed beyond all the other nations. It’s coming.
All right, now then, let’s come back to Isaiah, we’ll make a little headway. In chapter 54, verse 9, and I think this is a good verse to remind yourself of the eternalness of our God. Now, the water was on the earth how long with Noah? A little over a year before it started receding. All right, so the waters of Noah were just like nothing compared to this nation of Israel.
“…for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (Why?) 10. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; (this is all supernatural activity) but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” All these promises for Israel will one day come to fruition.
All right, but now we come back to their state of unbelief and their wickedness and they are being afflicted, verse 11:
“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, (See, all this before they can have the blessings of the Kingdom? But, look what’s coming.) behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.” Now, I’m sure this is all in symbolism, but actually it may become literal when the throne room is brought here to Jerusalem that all these beautiful gemstones will be part and parcel of the building of it. But either way, it just makes for glorious reading to see how God is going to bless His covenant people one day.
“And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, (which are a bright red stone) and all thy borders of pleasant stones. 13. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. 14. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Now, remember, this is all such an opposite scenario from what the Jews have experienced over these last 3000 years of their history.
“Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” Now, whenever the nations of the world turn on Israel, you can just bet whatever you want to bet that the adversaries of Israel are going to be losers, because God is not going to let anyone touch Israel without his design.
“Behold, I have created the smith (Now we’re talking about a blacksmith.) that bloweth the coals in the fire, (that’s the forge to heat the metal) and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; (whatever the blacksmith is making. In antiquity it would usually be swords and spears. All right, so if that is what he was talking about then he says:) and I have created the waster to destroy. 17. No weapon that is formed against thee (Israel) shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn….” You see, this is why I have begged anyone I’ve taught for the last thirty years to pray every day for God’s people, Israel, and He’ll bless you for it. Write your congressman, call them; don’t ever turn against the Nation of Israel. They are God’s promises and the promises are that if we turn against them we’re going to fall. And I’m sure that in spite of our wickedness, this is why God has blessed America. So, never forget these promises that God will bless them that bless Israel, He will curse them who curse Israel.
“…This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” In other words, He is in control of everything. All right, now we’re going to go right into chapter 55, and all of a sudden, just like Paul does up in the New Testament, the prophet shifts gears. Now, instead of looking forward to the glories of the Kingdom after having gone through the years of turmoil, we go into the glory of God’s saving grace. This is a salvation chapter again.
“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,…” Now, stop and think a minute. What does that remind you of? What did the Lord tell in His own earthly ministry of Himself? “Come and drink of me, and you’ll never thirst again.” Why? He is the Living Water! You go back into Numbers, when Israel was thirsty and their herds were bellowing with thirst, what’d He tell Moses to do? Strike the rock! Out of that rock came rivers of water to water the millions of Israelites plus all their livestock. Well, who was the Rock? Christ! He’s the Rock of Scripture.
So, out of Him came living water. Here we have it again. Israel is invited to come and drink of the waters of salvation that God will freely give, because look at the rest of the verse. These waters are for that person who has no money.
“…come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Why? Because God’s salvation is free. It’s the same way today. You can’t work for it. My, I just spent minutes again the other night with someone who was brainwashed – they think they have to work, work, and work. I said, “Can’t you trust the cross?”
“Yeah, but…!” They’ve got to work for it. It’s just unbelievable. Because you see, as soon as you have to work for salvation, what human being can know if they’ve done enough? Well, you can’t. So consequently, whenever you ask someone who is basing their going to heaven on their works and you ask them, “Are you sure you’re going to go to heaven when you die?” What’s their invariable answer? “I hope so. I hope I’ve done enough.” But, they can never know. But, you and I don’t have to hope so, we know so! Not because we’re so good. Not because we’ve done so much, but because we’ve done nothing. God has done it all! That’s all God wants is faith – believe it!
Here this verse makes it so plain that even in the Old Testament economy salvation was free. It didn’t cost. All right, we’ve got a couple of minutes left, so let’s go on into verse 2.
“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? (It’s of no use) and your labor for that which satisfieth not?…” Now what’s he referring to? Materialism. Look at the world around us. We are saturated with materialism. It’s all our younger generation can think about. A bigger house. A better car. More activity for their kids. Well, that’s all well and good as far as it goes. But listen, Beloved, that in itself never satisfies. It’s worthless.
Now, after we’ve gained salvation and we have all these precious spiritual promises, yes, God doesn’t tell us that we’ve got to live like hermits. God doesn’t tell us to move into a monastery and be isolated. No. But, we do have to have our priorities straight, realizing that salvation costs nothing and that it’s free and that once we have it, then we can go and certainly enjoy the things that God has blessed us with.
“…hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (that is, in spiritual blessings) 3. Incline your ear, (Listen to what God has to say.) and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” Now, never forget he’s talking here to Jews. We can certainly take application, but the actual text is for the Nation of Israel.
“Behold, I have given him (David, a man after God’s own heart) for a witness to the people, a leader and a commander to the people. 5. Behold, thou shall call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.” Now, there again, I think that’s just a reference to those verses that we saw earlier. When Israel finally enjoys her King and that glorious earthly Kingdom, all the nations of the world are going to be blessed through Israel. It’s going to be Israel’s King that’s ruling. Israel is again the hub of the wheel and all the nations of the world will be blessed through that blessed covenant nation of Israel over whom Christ, God the Son, their King, will be ruling and reigning and not just for 1000 years. It’ll be forever and ever.
LESSON THREE * PART III
THE GLORIOUS PROMISES TO ISRAEL
Isaiah 54:1 – 57:1
If you’re new to the program, we’re just a simple, informal Bible study. We try to compare Scripture with Scripture, and we always try to rightly divide the Word of God as the Apostle Paul tells us to do. Some might say, “Well, how do I rightly divide the Word of God?” Since all the Body of Christ doctrines are given only to Paul for us Gentiles believers, then we feel that the Holy Spirit was telling Paul to separate the Scriptures – Paul’s epistles from the rest of Scripture. If you’ll do that, then the Word of God will open up to you and there will never be any thing that seems to conflict with other Scriptures. You’ll be able to see that Paul’s writings completely separate Law and Grace and stand by themselves and will give you direction in this age of Grace.
Now, if everyone is ready in the studio audience, let’s jump right back into Isaiah chapter 55 verse 6. We’ll pick up where we left off in this great salvation chapter, along with chapter 53. Let’s begin with verse 6:
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” In other words, the offer of salvation is not something to be taken lightly. Okay, now this is Isaiah addressing the nation of Israel, but in the same light, let’s jump all the way up to the Apostle Paul and his appeal to the Gentile world and you and I living today in our particular time.
Come up with me to Romans. We’re going to start with chapter 5 for just a moment, because we’ve already seen how Israel was steeped in sin and unbelief, but so are we. So, the appeal is the same. Let’s drop down at verse 20, and then we’re going to go to chapter 10.
“Moreover the law entered, (back under Moses) that the offence (in other words, that men’s sin) might abound.” Not that the law is going to make people sin more, but they’re going to know what sin is. That was the whole purpose of the law, to make it so plain that nobody had to wonder, is this wrong, is that wrong? The law covered all the bases.
“But (Now, here’s what I wanted you to see.) where sin abounded, (whether it was Israel or whether it’s the Gentile world) grace did much more abound:” In other words, there is no sin, there is no sinner so great but that God’s mercy and grace will lift them out of it. All right, now let’s just come over to Romans chapter 10, remembering, now, what we just saw in Isaiah, that they were to call upon God while He was available. Now, in Romans chapter 10 we have Paul saying almost the same thing. Let’s jump in at verse 4:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (not to the unbelieving world, but to whom?) to everyone that believeth.” So, as soon as we become believers, the law has no more control over us, none whatsoever. We’re not under law; we’re under Grace. Now, that doesn’t give us license. It merely means that the law has no commands to us. The law has no more power over us; it’s been crucified with Christ, if we’re a believer.
“For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law,” Now remember that the law was a ‘works’ religion. It was prompted by faith, but it was faith plus works. Whereas, we in the Body of Christ are faith plus nothing!
“That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (It was a works religion) 6. But (the flipside!) the righteousness which is of faith (plus nothing!) speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7. Or, (faith doesn’t say) Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8. But what saith it? (Now, here’s the verse I had in mind when I came out of Isaiah.) The word is (where?) nigh thee,…” You know, I think when I taught this years ago, at least someplace in the past, I used this analogy. Do you have to cross a raging river to find salvation? No. Do you have to climb a sheer cliff and get bloodied fingers in order to attain salvation? No. Where is it? It’s right in front of us.
Every step of every lost person’s way, the plan of salvation is right in front of them. They don’t have to go someplace to find it. It’s right in front of them. All right, now that’s what Paul is saying.
“The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;” Now, here comes Paul’s Gospel of salvation in a little different format.
“That if thou shalt confess (In other words, admit with our whole being the Lordship of Christ, that He is Lord.) with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” What is that? That’s Paul’s Gospel, in a little different wording. Now, let’s compare it. I didn’t intend to do all this, so we’ll probably have to have another program to finish this chapter. But I Corinthians 15, this is Paul’s Gospel. When he says ‘my’ Gospel, or that Gospel which I preach, this is what he’s talking about. It’s amazing how most of Christendom ignores it. They’ll dance all around it is one expression that came in a letter years ago. “They dance all around it, but they never face it.”
You just watch. Whenever somebody sends me some tracts with the hope, of course, I suppose, that we’ll send them on, the first thing I look for is what do they use for the plan of salvation. If they don’t promote faith in the death, burial, AND the resurrection; they go in the trashcan. I can’t help it. I cannot send something out that does not promote Paul’s Gospel. The Gospel is not just to believe that Jesus is the Christ or anything like that. We have to believe in our heart that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Here it is, Paul’s Gospel of salvation, I Corinthians 15 verse 1-4. This is probably the one-thousandth time I’ve read it on these programs, but I’ll never stop.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you ‘the’ gospel (not a gospel, but the gospel) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.” Paul tells us this Gospel will save you unless this Gospel has been adulterated, and many do that while teaching salvation. Don’t mix the Gospel of the Kingdom message under Law with the Gospel of Grace as preached by Paul. Now, verse 3 and 4 are the very heart of the Gospel of salvation.
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;” And we saw that in the last taping in Isaiah 53. It was graphic. It was described. Now nobody understood it, of course, until after the fact, but it was back there. Paul can honestly say, “it was according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:4
“And that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the Scriptures:” Now, the next time you look at some piece of literature that explains the plan of salvation, I don’t care whose it is, you look to see that they cover all three points of the Gospel. Many of them just stop that you believe that Christ died for you and they just sort of slough off the fact that He arose from the dead. Don’t pass something like that on. You’re misleading people. It has to be that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead, because it’s resurrection power that sets you and I free. And if you can’t believe in resurrection power, I don’t believe you can have true salvation. It has to be the whole package, or it’s none.
All right, back to Romans chapter 10 and look at verse 9, again.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (And here’s the reason.) 10. For with the heart (not the head, the heart) man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” You express what God has done; you tell others. You’re going to confess the fact that this salvation is real. You know that God has saved you. You know God has kept His word the moment you believe that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead.
“For the scripture saith, (See, we’ve already seen some of this back in Isaiah.) whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Now, stop and think. Can you imagine, can you imagine the disappointment and the heartache when church members are going to come up before the Great White Throne Judgment and hear the words from the Lord Jesus Himself, “Depart from me; I never knew you, because you never believed Paul’s Gospel for your salvation.” What are they going to say? Well, He gave the example in His earthly ministry back in the four gospels. What are they going to say? “Didn’t we do this and didn’t we do that?” What’s His answer, “Sorry, it was never heart Faith; I never knew you.”
All right, here’s where we have to be careful. We cannot just water these things down. We cannot just open the floodgates and let the masses come in and agree that they’re having salvation. No. I constantly come back to people when they say, “What about all these great thousands of people that are being affected?” Well, what did the Lord say about the great numbers in Matthew 17:13&14? “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many go in there at. But narrow is the way that leadeth to life eternal and few there be that find it.” We’ve got to remember that. We must not be taken in by these great, massive numbers that are being thrown at us today. All right then, verse 12:
“For there is no difference (Now, this is a big difference from Isaiah. Isaiah was dealing with Israel. Paul deals with the whole human race.) between the Jew and the Greek:…” Or the Gentiles. We’re all on the same playing field in this Age of Grace. Israel isn’t under the law today. Their temple worship isn’t satisfied, because they haven’t got the temple. So they, too, are on the same level field as we are in need of God’s saving grace, by believing Paul’s Gospel.
“…for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that (work, work, work? No! But,) call upon him.” In faith. That’s all it takes. But, see, the masses don’t want to do that. They’d rather put forth all this activity and all these works and then be able to tell God, “Look what I’ve done.” But God won’t have it. He will not have any part of that.
All right, verse 13, this is a verse I’m always reminded of, that I’ve used several times after leading someone to the Lord. I’ll say, now look, the first thing when you get up tomorrow morning the devil’s going to hit you with doubt. The old devil is going to say nothing happened; you’re no different than you were yesterday. You come right back and you look up Romans 10:13. I think you can, with validity, put your finger on that verse and you can remind God, “This is what I’ve done, and Lord you promised.” And God will never go back on a promise. We can rest on it, that “whosoever shall call upon the Lord [by faith] (as we have seen in verse 9 – of course by believing in our heart Paul’s Gospel) shall be saved.”
That’s it. That’s set in concrete. There’s no compromising it. It’s what the Word of God says. All right, but this isn’t the verse I came to look at. I came to look at the one in verse 17, but let’s keep going.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Or the Greek word, I like even better, is a proclaimer. Someone who proclaims this finished work of the cross.
“And how shall they preach (or proclaim), except they be sent? (In other words, God is in control of every step of everything. Now, here we move on.) as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the gospel (or the good news) of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Now, Paul dips back to Isaiah where we just came from.
“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, Lord, who hath believed our report?” Well, it’s always been a small number. God never gets the big masses of people. Even in Israel’s day, it was only a small percent of Israel who were true believers. The rest could care less, and it’s the same way today. All right, now here’s the verse I wanted to come to, verse 17:
“So then faith (which is right there in front of us) cometh by hearing, (hearing what?) and hearing by the word of God.” The only place salvation can be ascertained is by what God has said. All right, now he comes back again to Isaiah:
“But I say, have they not heard? (Hasn’t Israel heard about the God of David?) Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19. But I say, Did not Israel know?” Well, of course they knew. But what’d they do with their knowledge? They turned their back on it. Look at our own beloved America. We’ve been saturated with churches on every corner as old as our nation is. We’ve got Bibles in every home. Our Constitution is rested on Biblical facts and truths. Our original government was based on Christian principles. And now we’re throwing it out the door as fast as we can throw it out. They’ll condone all the other present day religions, but you can’t name the name of Christ in the public school. And what do we do? Nothing. My, we ought to be making so much noise, but we don’t. That’s exactly what’s happened, and Israel was no different. They had the truth, but most of the people ignored it, they threw it out.
“…First Moses saith, (way back at the dawn of the Jewish Nation) I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” Well, I wonder if this isn’t what Paul is talking about. Skip across the page to chapter 11 verse 11.
“I say then, Have they (the nation of Israel, the Jewish people) stumbled that they should fall? (In other words, be completely out of God’s grace?) God forbid: (Banish the thought. Don’t think such a thing. God hasn’t given up on the Jewish people.) but rather (here it comes now) through their fall (through their rejecting everything back there in the early chapters of Acts) salvation has come unto (What people?) the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Now, just stop and think a minute. All through those first eight chapters of Acts, Peter, James, and John (we don’t hear the others mentioned as often, but all of those twelve men, including Matthias) were constantly doing what? They were preaching to the nation of Israel that the One they crucified was the Christ, and if Israel would repent of it Christ would come and give them the Kingdom. But what’d they do? They reject it and they reject it, and as I’ve always put it, the crescendo of their rejection was when they stoned Stephen and said, “We’ll not have that Man ruling over us.”
So, in Acts chapter 9 whom does God turn to? He turns to the Gentiles by telling the Apostle Paul; “I’m going to send you far hence to the Gentiles.” Now, you see, this is what I have to constantly clarify when people call or write, because most of Christendom has got the whole ball of wax all mixed up. They bring you right out of Christ’s earthly ministry as though that’s the beginning of Christianity and that everything is the same as it’s always been. The only thing is, now Paul comes up with a little addendum to the Gospel of Salvation.
I always do just as I’ve done here, show people that all through Christ’s earthly ministry, just like in the Old Testament, who’s He ministering to? He is ministering to Israel under the Law to prove that Jesus was the Christ. He was ready to bring in the glories of the Kingdom, if they would believe it. But they wouldn’t. Finally, about seven or eight years after the crucifixion, God turns to this other Jew, Saul of Tarsus. He saves him on the road to Damascus and in the same breath, you might say, tells him, “You’re going to go to the Gentiles.”
Now, listen, up until that time no Jew ever went to the Gentiles. They were a despised race of people, filthy morally, filthy in their habits, and a Jew would have nothing to do with them. But, at that fork in the road, here’s where people have to see this vast difference between Paul’s Gospel of Grace and what Jesus and the Twelve preached to Israel, called the Gospel of the Kingdom, still under the law. Now, Paul’s Gospel of Salvation goes primarily to the Gentile world but also to the nation of Israel who had rejected the Gospel of the Kingdom, and most will also reject Paul’s Gospel.
All right, back into verse 11 of chapter 11. It’s a key verse. Memorize it.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? (Is God all through with Israel? No. But, He’s set them aside.) God forbid: but rather though their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Now, you see, that was God’s eternal purpose. But, when mankind got hold of all this and they started thinking man’s thoughts instead of God’s thoughts, what did man come up with? “God’s all through with the Jew. He’s worse than an animal. He’s nothing but trash under our feet.”
Consequently, “Christendom” despised the Jewish people for thousands of years. Well, what were the thoughts of Jews then toward Gentiles? Hated them all the more! Because, now, not only were the Gentiles pagan and everything else, now they had more or less usurped their God and hated them in spite of it.
Now, you’ve got to realize history. For the last 1900 years, how did the world of Christendom treat the Jew? Well, they hated them. Drove them from place to place. If I’m not wrong, and I stand to be corrected, but even our ivy-league colleges back in time, would not admit a Jew to their college only because he was a Jew. Germany, at the Nuremberg Trials, what did they bring up? They brought up statements from famous protestant leaders who themselves hated the Jew and used that as a reason for Nazi’s treatment of the Jews. Well, this backfired. Instead of causing the Jew to say that well, the Gentiles are taking our God, let’s wake up and take part of it with them. It turned them even more against Christendom than ever. Now, it’s only in the last few years that Jews are beginning to realize that the best friend Israel has got are good, evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. They’re beginning to realize that.
But, you see, for the last 2000 years they thought just the opposite. They thought Christianity was their worst enemy, and I can see why they did. But, that isn’t what I intended to bring out. I wanted to just simply bring out; back to Romans 10 for just a second before we go back to Isaiah, Paul says, verse 17 again:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” You consider the Gospel and believe it because it is the Word of God. All right, let’s just drop on down to verse 20:
“But Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that ask not after me.” All right, what’s he saying? As a prophet of Israel, do you think the nation of Israel loved Isaiah? Are you kidding?! Oh, they couldn’t stand his message. Now, he got by a little better than Jeremiah did. Jeremiah prophesied a few years after Isaiah, and Jeremiah actually ended up in one of the deep dungeons in Jerusalem. That’s where the Babylonians found him. Why? Because they didn’t like Jeremiah’s message any better than they did Isaiah’s. They hated it.
Well, we’re getting to the same place in America. The rank and file American doesn’t want to hear this any more. They’d rather hear all this other garbage, but truth? It’s a frightening as well as a sad circumstance. All right, only got two minutes left, so let’s run back to Isaiah quickly, and we’ll have a jumping off place for our next program, anyway. Isaiah chapter 55 verse 7. Now, just like Paul said in Romans 5, “that where sin abounded Grace does much more abound.” In other words, we have to recognize that sin is the problem. Well, it was no different in Israel’s day.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him (the unrighteous man) return unto the LORD; and the LORD will have mercy upon him; turn to our God, for he will (what?) abundantly pardon.” Why? His Grace! Mankind cannot comprehend the Grace of God. He is so willing to forgive. Not just simply to wink His eye and say, “Well, go ahead and do what you’re doing. I love you.” No. What God wants is a total change of heart and mind from the wickedness and the rebelliousness and the unbelief to a life of faith and obedience to the things of God. Whether it was in Israel in 700 BC, or whether it’s in American in 2004, the attitude is the same. All right, let’s take another verse and then time’s going to be up, verse 8. My, I love this verse. Now, I memorized all these Isaiah chapters way back when I was a kid, so these verses are old stuff to me. But I love this verse where it says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,…” Now, what does that answer? A ton of questions! Why? Well, why does God do this? Hey, He’s so far above us, we can’t comprehend. He thinks things that are way beyond us. He knows the future, and things come to pass that we have no reason of knowing why. But we always have to come back to this very promise. He has a reason.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
THE GLORIOUS PROMISES TO ISRAEL
ISAIAH 54:1 – 57:1
All right, let’s go back into chapter 55 where we left off in the last lesson and begin with verse 8, where God says:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” That’s why we can’t outguess God. Why does he permit the things that He permits? We don’t always know. But He does. He has the foreknowledge. He’s going to see what happens. You know, we were so thrilled with our daughter when in the height of her injury that just recently happened (Sept. 2004) she just sort of whispered to her Mom, “If one soul is saved through all this, then it’s worth it.”
Well, that’s the way we have to look at it. God has a reason for everything that He permits. Now He permits it. In fact, after all this happened to us, somebody called and they had been reading the book of Job. I hadn’t even thought about Job, but it’s a good reminder that when you’re going through trials and testing God permitted it, but who carried it out? Well, Satan did. But after it was all over what did God do? Restored ten-fold. So, that’s the way we have to look at some of these things, because I know we’re all human and the first thing we are prone to ask is, “Why?” Well, God has His reasons. He has His purposes. That’s the only way we can look at it, “His thoughts and ways are higher than ours.” Now, verse 9:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Now, this is all dealing, of course, with the nation of Israel. You all know without my telling you how the Jews have suffered at the hands of their enemies for thousands of years. In fact, I’ve given this little anecdote on a previous program. One old Rabbi was praying one day, and he says, “God, I know we’re your chosen people. But choose somebody else for a little while.” Well, that says it all, because, my, how they have suffered and suffered and suffered.
But the day is coming when the blessings are going to more than compensate for all the suffering they’ve gone through. So, even Israel has to understand although they can’t give a reason for all their suffering. Why are they so downtrodden? Why are they so hated? And it’s going to get worse. What did the Lord tell them in Matthew 24?
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Again, this is the reason – Satan knows they are God’s people. Satan knows that nothing can finalize prophecy if Israel is gone. So what’s he trying to do? Destroy them. If Satan can destroy the Jewish people, then God is defeated and He cannot fulfill the prophecies.
So, he will never give up. The anti-Christ is going to be Satan’s tool, and he’s going to bring in the worst persecution that Israel has ever known. But, the finality of it is the return of Christ and the blessings of the Kingdom. So, even for Israel there was no way they could comprehend why God dealt with them the way He did. Now then, in verse 10 He gives an analogy.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither,…” It has to go out to the oceans and then it’ll evaporate and come back, of course, but we’re not looking at that part. We’re just looking at its original fall. When the rain falls it stays where it’s at for its own purposes. The snow doesn’t return back to the clouds, but…
“…but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (This is all part of God’s Divine purposes.) 11. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void,…”
That’s God’s promise. His Word is always going to accomplish His purpose. Now, when it comes to purpose, I can’t help but jump up to Paul and to Ephesians where he uses the same words, “the Divine purpose.”
“In whom (speaking of Christ) also we (as believers of this age of Grace – you and I today. This is Paul writing to Gentile believers.) have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” In other words, God is the blueprint. He has mandated all these things, and yet I never feel that He takes away our free will.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” Oh, He wants every believer to respond to these things for His glory, not ours, but for His.
” In whom ye also trusted, (or believed or placed our faith) after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: (which we looked at in the last program, how that Christ died for ours sins, was buried, and rose from the dead) in whom (speaking still of Christ) also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” All right, now just come on over to II Timothy a minute and we’ll pursue this “purpose” part (Ephesians 1:11), because I think it’s well for us to understand that we’re not believers by accident.
You know, Iris and I both get a kick out of people when they write and say that, “They just happened to find our program.” Well, then a little later, they’ll say, “No, it wasn’t happenstance, it was by Divine guidance.” Well, I have to agree to that. Everything that happens, God has a purpose. But for those of us that believe, here it is in II Timothy chapter 1 verse 9.
II Timothy 1:9a
Who (God in verse 8) hath (already) saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace,…” You’re a believer tonight because this is part of God’s purpose for this day and time. You have a role to fulfill. We’re all members of the Body of Christ, if we’ve believed Paul’s Gospel for salvation, and we are now on the same team. Now, this is what I think is unique about football. Whether you’re a football fan or not, football is a team sport. In basketball, a lot of times, one man can take the ball and go and score. But football is a team sport. Let any one of those eleven men miss his assignment and the whole thing crashes. Well, that’s what we are as believers, we are a team. We are to enhance one another. We are to encourage and exhort one another. It’s a team effort and this is what he’s saying, that it’s all part of “his purpose and grace.” And where did the grace come from?
II Timothy 1:9b
“…which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” God knew about us millions of years ago, whenever it was. He knew you and I would be here today. He knew you would be a believer. He knew what your role would be in this Body of Christ. Is it mind-boggling? Yes! But there again, what did Isaiah say? “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” We have to take these things by faith. All right, let’s come back to Isaiah chapter 55 and verse 11.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Why? Because it’s God’s purpose. He’s the One that has ordained it. He’s the One who has purposed it. All right, verse 12, for the believer then, even in Israel. Never lose sight of the fact that this is God dealing with Israel. We have to jump up to Paul to find His dealing with us Gentiles, but for Israel it was still the same God. It’s still the same grace of God. All right, verse 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 fields shall clap their hands.” Now this, of course, is symbolism to show how all of God’s creation rejoices over spiritual things. Now, verse 13 portrays the opposite of the life of the unbeliever in Israel.
“Instead of the thorn shall come up a fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign (How long? Everlasting) that shall not be cut off.” So, Israel, too, has the prospect of going into eternity of eternity.
Now, let’s just jump down to chapter 57, I’m going to skip chapter 56 today and go into chapter 57, because I saw something here while preparing for all of this that I had never seen before. That’s why I like to teach, see, I learn. Every time I teach, I learn. I hope you do as well, and I saw something here I never saw before. I wonder if you’ll catch it as I read it?
“The righteous (the believers) perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: (They don’t care if a believer dies because the world would just as soon be rid of us.) and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”
What’s he talking about? Yeah! I think so. The Rapture. Now, look at it again. “Merciful men are (what?) taken away, and none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil (what?) to come.” Now, what’s our whole hope of the Rapture? That before the Tribulation breaks out, we’re going to be taken out, because Paul says:
I Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
“…we shall be saved from wrath through him.” What’s the wrath to come? The Tribulation. So, there will be a segment of humanity that will be alive and will be suddenly translated before the Tribulation can begin.
Now, I had a letter just yesterday refuting that. It was very thick. Well, I haven’t got time to read all that. I didn’t have to. You know why? I could skim through page after page and in a matter of thirty seconds I could see that 99.9% of everything she said is Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and Revelation. So, where’s she coming from? She’s using everything pertaining to Israel and prophecy. She was trying to tell me that the Church couldn’t be raptured before the Tribulation. It’s got to go into the Tribulation and suffer all the things with Israel. No way!
I’m going to write a short note back. I’m not going to make a big, long argument, but here we have it. “The righteous are going to be taken away before the wrath falls.” Now, I’ll be careful to also make this point. We may see some tough times before we’re taken out. We may suffer yet as believers. I don’t say that we don’t. But we are not going to go into that seven years of Tribulation. Now, let me show you again, from Paul, what most people miss completely. Let me take you back to Romans chapter 11. With someone like this, this is going to be my number one reason for responding. She does not understand that to Paul, and Paul alone, were given all the things that have to do with the Gentile age of Grace.
Only Paul knows anything of the Body of Christ. You’ve heard me say it on the program. You cannot find the term the “Body of Christ” anywhere in Scripture, except Paul. He is the only one that had the revelation of this outcalling of believers in this Age of Grace that would come into what we call, the Body of Christ, totally insulated from that prophetic program for Israel. The Body has nothing to do with prophecy. That’s why we’re not involved with the Book of Revelation.
Oh, we can study it to see what’s coming, but we’re not going to be there because the Body of Christ will not fit with Israel. It’s like gasoline and water, they won’t mix. So, you have to keep the Church separated. Consequently, it has to be removed before God can finish that prophetic program. All right, let’s start with Romans chapter 16 and verse 25. This is something that no other portion of Scripture knows anything about.
“Now to him that is of power (that resurrection power and because of His resurrection power) to establish you according to my gospel, (What’s the ‘my’ Gospel that we must believe for salvation? That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead.) and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” Now see, most people don’t know this verse is in their Bible. Most people, if they just casually read it, don’t get what it says. But what does it say? That Paul’s Gospel is part of a revelation of things that no other portion of Scripture knows anything about. It has been kept secret in the mind of God all through the Old Testament prophecies.
Now, He gave us a little tidbit back there in Isaiah 57:1 in what we just saw. He knew there’d be an element of righteous people who would be removed before the wrath to come. But it wasn’t enough of a tidbit to release the secret. It didn’t betray the secret, because nobody knew what He was talking about. But here it is – this whole revelation concerning the Body of Christ. The preaching of Jesus Christ was salvation based on His death, burial, and resurrection and had been kept secret since the ages began until it was revealed to this Apostle.
All right, how in the world, then, can anybody try to put the Church up into the book of Revelation when God never did? How can you put the Church in the four Gospels? God never did. If you leave it back here with Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, then it’s perfectly legitimate all by itself. Insulated from all the prophecies of Israel.
All right, let’s go to another one. I Corinthians chapter 15, but now let’s go to the last part of the chapter instead of the first, chapter 15 verse 51. I Corinthians 15:51 and this says what it means and means what it says. There’s no way you can twist it. Now, this is all based on Isaiah, where he says, “there’s going to be righteous people removed before the wrath should come.”
I Corinthians 15:51a
“Behold, I show you a mystery; (a secret, that’s what the word mystery means in the Greek) We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed,” You can’t go to heaven in this body! So, how’s it going to happen?
I Corinthians 15:52
“In a moment, (the shortest period of time) in the twinkling (or the blink) of an eye, at the last trump: (That’s not the trumpets of Revelation. This is a separate trumpet. It’s singular. It’s not an angel. It’s God.) for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, (The first resurrection and then Paul tells those who are living when he writes:) and we shall be (what?) changed.” In that moment, in that split second, because this old body of corruption must put on incorruption.
All right, now in the few moments we have left we’ll go to the companion passage in I Thessalonians chapter 4. Most of you have gone through this with me a hundred times, but there are people out there in the television audience that are going to hear it today for the first time. Here we have it, I Thessalonians chapter 4 comparing with I Corinthians 15, and remember why we’re here? Isaiah said, “that the righteous would be removed before the wrath to follow.” That was all that was said about it, and nobody understood what he meant. No Jew figured it out. Peter didn’t know anything about it. Paul had never heard of it before, but it becomes part of his revelation of these things kept secret.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, (That’s most of Christendom. They’re ignorant of these things) concerning them which are asleep [died], that ye (as believers) sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (He means the lost world. Why?) 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, (we have salvation, we’ve been brought into the Body of Christ) even so them also which sleep [have died] in Jesus will God bring with him.” They’re in Glory with Him, in the realm of the invisible, the soul and the spirit. All right, but they’ve got to have a body. It’s going to be a resurrected body for the dead and new body for those who are alive.
I Thessalonians 4:15-16a
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord (Those of us who are alive when this great event happens.) shall not precede them which are asleep [have died]. (In other words, we’re going to have to wait a half-a-second.) 16. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:…” Not an angel’s trumpet. Now catch this, in Revelation there are trumpets of angels, seven of them. This is one trumpet and it’s God’s trumpet. Big, big difference.
I Thessalonians 4:16b
“…and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” Those believers who have died since Saul’s conversion and who are now going into the Body of Christ, one by one. They are going to be resurrected out of their place, wherever they are in the deepest ocean, or if they’ve been burned in fire, it makes no difference. God knows where they are and He will resurrect them. He will give them a new body fit for eternity into which that soul and spirit from heaven will immediately enter.
I Thessalonians 4:17a
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptura – raptured – in the Latin Vulgate) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:…” In the atmosphere. Now, you remember in an earlier program when we showed the Second Coming, where do His feet stand? On the Mount of Olives. Not this time. He doesn’t stand on the earth anywhere in here, He comes to the atmosphere.
I Thessalonians 4:17b
“…and so shall we ever (for all eternity) be with the Lord.” Now, I’ve got one more verse that we’ve got to look at quickly because the time is gone. Turn to II Thessalonians chapter 2 and we might as well start at verse 1.
II Thessalonians 2:1
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (that is for the Body, not the Second Coming for prophecy, for Israel, but for the Body) and by our gathering together unto him.” When the trumpet sounds and we’re going to be caught up to meet Him in the air.
II Thessalonians 2:2-3
“That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord (the Tribulation) is at hand. (Paul says you are not in the Tribulation, it hasn’t come yet. Now, here it is) 3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of wrath, the Tribulation) shall not come, except there come a departure first, (Whether from the truth, or from earth to heaven, whatever, it’s going to be a great departure.) and (once that departure is completed) that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” Who’s that? The anti-Christ. So, the anti-Christ cannot be revealed. Now, we may have some ideas, but no one will be able to ever name him or who he is until the Church is gone. Then, of course, God will cause his hand to be played, and he will make his appearance and usher in the wrath to come.