[ 733 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Comparing America Today with Israel of Old |a
[ 734 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Comparing America Today with Israel of Old |b
[ 735 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Isaiah 57:3-60:22 |a
[ 736 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Isaiah 57:3-60:22 |b
[ 737 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] The Stage of Biblical History |a
[ 738 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] The Stage of Biblical History |b
[ 739 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Isaiah 61:1-10 |a
[ 740 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Isaiah 61:1-10 |b
[ 741 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] God Is Not Being Unfair |a
[ 742 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] God Is Not Being Unfair |b
[ 743 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Isaiah 62:1-64:6 |a
[ 744 ] Les Feldick [ Book 62 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Isaiah 62:1-64:6 |b
COMPARING AMERICA TODAY WITH ISRAEL OF OLD
ISAIAH 57:3 – 60:22
It’s so good to see everybody again this afternoon. We just thank the Lord for a beautiful day in Oklahoma. We pray that as we open the Scriptures again today that hearts will be blessed and opened from one end of this country to the other. For those of you joining us on television, and we know that every day we have new listeners, we pray that the Spirit will open your understanding.
Okay, we’re in the beginning of book number 62, and the next twelve programs will be part and parcel of book 62. How much will be in Isaiah? I’m not sure yet, but these first four programs will be. So, let us turn to Isaiah 57. We’re going to pick up pretty much where we left off in our last taping.
I guess I should do this at the beginning of every four programs, I want to keep reminding our folks that Isaiah writes 700 years before Christ. He writes almost 100 years before the Babylonian captivity, which is his primary warning to the people of the things to come, that the enemy will be overrunning them. But on the other hand, remember, Isaiah doesn’t limit his prophecy to just the oncoming Babylonian captivity. He’s also looking forward to the Roman destruction of the city in 70 AD when they would be dispersed into every nation of the world. Then he also looks forward to the very end and the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ.
So, as we’ve been stressing, you have to almost dissect it yourself – is he talking about the near term? Is he talking about the mid-term? Or, is he talking about the final end? Some of them all meld together. But, the warnings and everything concerning Israel are with the view that one day the Glory of the Lord will still come upon them in spite of their unbelief and their rebelliousness.
So, the whole book of Isaiah is almost a roller coaster of the spiritual climate of the nation of Israel. When they are in a spiritual high, the Lord is blessing them. Then, it isn’t long until they go down into abject wickedness and idolatry. After the Babylonian captivity the Jews were never again guilty of idolatry. That’s one of the unique things of Scripture. Idolatry was the thing that caused God’s wrath that caused the judgment that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. But, when they came back from the 70 years in Babylon, they never again were guilty of idolatry.
But, as Isaiah writes, this is the number one thing that God has against the nation of Israel – their abject falling into idolatry. To such a pitiful extent, as we’re going to see here in the very first few verses, that even Israel, God’s chosen people, would go so far down into abject idolatry as to do the things that they did.
“But draw nigh hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.” Now, why in the world such language? Well, in antiquity, to refer to someone as the “son of a prostitute” was about as low a term as you could put on him. It was a term of scorn. So, this is how God is referring to His chosen people, Israel.
Now, remember whenever you see these sexual connotations here, it’s not physical, it’s spiritual. When we speak of adultery here it’s not physical adultery. It was spiritual adultery when Israel would start having relationships with pagan gods and goddesses instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All right, so here’s how He refers to the children of Israel, a term of scorn, “you who are the offspring of a prostitute.” Remember, even Hosea, by illustration, married a prostitute who gave him children but went back to the street and finally comes back and becomes the restored, forgiven wife of Hosea. This again, is just a typical picture of Israel.
“Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue?…” Now, you know I had to read that three or four times before it hit me. You know what he’s talking about? What do kids usually do when they make a face? They stick out the tongue. Well, that’s exactly the expression used here and you know what? It happened during the campaign didn’t it? Yeah, one of our ladies in the middle of the campaign stuck out her tongue at somebody. Well, it’s nothing new. It’s way back here in Isaiah’s day. So, that’s what Israel was doing to God! They were literally sticking out their tongue at Him in scornful rebellion.
You know, whenever I bring some of these things out of Isaiah I get a kick out of you in the audience how you suddenly catch on that this is exactly what’s in vogue today. There’s nothing new under the sun! Everything that has been will be Ecclesiastes tells us. All right and he says:
“…against whom [do you stick out the tongue]? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,” They are absolutely ignorant of truth, but they’re steeped in falsehood and false religions.
“Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree,…” What were they doing? Wherever there was a tree, they had idols. They were constantly worshipping those idols. Now, we’re not talking about Gentiles, we’re not talking about the Egyptians or the Babylonians, these are Israelites! All right, now watch the next portion. This is enough to make your stomach turn.
“…slaying the children (the babies, the little ones) in the valleys under the cliffs of the rocks?” Now, in order to get the full explanation of that verse I have to bring you up to verse 9.
“And thou wentest to the king…” Now the word king here in the Hebrew is the pagan god Molock. Now most of you remember that Molock was associated with what? Fire. He was called the ‘fire god’ and the depiction of the idol was a huge, ugly looking thing with great outstretched arms. And what would they do with those arms? Heat them white hot. And then lay their children on them as an offering to this pagan god. That was Israel! Unbelievable!
“And thou wentest to the king (you went to that great idol Molock) with ointment, (to pacify) and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, (in other words, to the prophets, like Isaiah, get out of here we don’t want you around here. We want to do this by ourselves. So, they laid their children on these white-hot arms of Molock.) and didst debase thyself even unto hell.” All right, this valley referred to in verse 5 was actually called, I think in another place here in the section, we may come up to it later, and it was the “valley of Tophet.” The word “toph” in the Hebrew was “drum.”
Okay, now put all this together. In this valley in which this fire god Molock was located, and where they offered their little infant children and their small children on those white hot arms of Molock, what would those children do? Scream! Now, in order to cover up the screams, what would they do? Beat the drums. That’s what the word toph means in Hebrew, a drum. So, it was called the valley of drums in order to drown out the hideous screams of their little children. Isn’t it awful?
Now, I was reading an account of a friend that just came back from Thailand. He left me some stuff to read. Some of the people amongst whom he was working not too many years ago were being intensely persecuted by the Burmese. It showed a picture of a fellow who had escaped them. But before he escaped they had actually held his feet in open fire to burn them so that he couldn’t walk. Well, see, we’re not accustomed to that kind of stuff in America, but that’s what’s going on around the world. I told Mike as he left, you know, almost every morning I pray that the Lord will come quickly. Not to take us out of our misery because we’ve got it pretty good, but for the sake of people like that who in other areas of the world are suffering beyond our comprehension, for whatever reason or another.
Not only in the area of Christianity but in other areas, you take Africa and the Sudan, these people are being murdered and slaughtered, so it behooves us to pray that the Lord will come. But it’s been this way since antiquity where people have been brought into places of such suffering. All right, come back to verse 5, and this is what the picture is, they were bringing their little children and offering them to the fire god Molock under the noise of these incessant drums that would drown out, hopefully, the screams of their little ones.
“Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the cliffs of the rocks? 6. Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion;…” Now, unless you understand some of antiquity, that doesn’t mean much. What do you suppose they were doing with these smooth stones from the creek bed? Making them an idol! Now, watch the rest of the verse and it’ll make sense.
“…they, (these smooth stones from the creek bed) they are thy lot: even to them (these worthless stones) thou has poured out a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I (God says) receive comfort in these?” Well, to whom would people pour out a drink and meat offering? A god. See how ridiculous people can get? We think it’s bad, but hey, we don’t know the half of it.
Now, I know we’ve got a segment in our society that are all in a dither. They can’t imagine that people would vote based on moral values. But, you see they don’t get it! They can’t comprehend that. But listen, Israel was even further down than that. They would actually go find a nice smooth stone in a creek bed, take it home and make it an idol! Now then, God says to these Israelites, “Should I receive comfort in these?” Is that part of your worship of Me? Well, absolutely not.
“Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: (Now, the word bed here is an ‘altar,’ a pagan altar.) even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.” Not to a sleeping bed, but to an altar. Now, verse 8:
“Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me,…” Now again, what does the term ‘discover thyself’ mean? Take off the clothes! Like someone preparing for an adulterous act physically. Can’t do it until they take off the clothes. Well, that’s exactly what’s mentioned here. Israel, nationally, had literally taken off their spiritual clothes to appear to the pagan gods as something they would want to have a relationship with. So, here’s the language:
“…and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, (altar again instead of the word bed) and made thee a covenant with them; (Who? Pagan gods) thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.”
Well now, lest you think that this is just uniquely Isaiah, we do this quite often because it’s just so graphically easy to understand. Turn with me to Jeremiah 44. Now again, you’ve got to remember that Jeremiah is much the same kind of a prophet, but he’s writing approximately 100 years later. Jeremiah is now writing at the time of the Babylonian captivity. Isaiah is writing a hundred years before it, but their prophecies coincide so beautifully because they’re both dealing with the same wickedness in the Nation of Israel – idolatry.
All right, in Jeremiah 44 starting at verse 15. Now don’t forget, this is Israel! The Israelites! The offspring of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and they’ve got the Temple down there at Jerusalem. The Law, of course, has almost been lost. They don’t even know where it is.
“Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, (who were guilty of that) a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,” Now, these were Jews who had been down in those foreign nations; they answered Jeremiah saying:
“As for the word that thou has spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, (Jehovah) we will not hearken (or listen) unto you. 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth,…” What is that? That’s rebellion. They’re not going to do what God says to do.
“…[we’re going] to burn incense unto (whom?) the queen of heaven,…” A female goddess and whenever mankind back in antiquity worshipped the female goddesses, the sexual immorality went to the greatest depths. That was just part and parcel of the worship of these female goddesses.
“…and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings,and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: (imagine!) for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.” Now, that was a lie, because it was the other way around.
“But since we left off burning incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.” They got it wrong. Why were they being consumed by famine and the sword? It was because they were worshipping the queen of heaven instead of the God of Heaven. Isn’t it amazing how the human race can be so, what’s the word? Ignorant. Idiotic. Yeah, that’s what it is.
Okay, back to Isaiah chapter 57, the time is just about gone already. Now, verse 10:
“Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved. 11. And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou has lied, and hast not remembered me, (God says through the prophet) nor laid it to thy heart? have I not held my piece even of old, and thou fearest me not?”
“I will declare thy righteousness and thy works; for they shall not profit thee. 13. When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain.” In other words, there was always that small percentage of believers even in abject idolatrous Israel. There was still that small segment of believers, and those believers are still going to inherit the promises of Israel’s God.
“And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people. 15. For thus saith the high and lofty One (another term for God) that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, (In other words, a believer in Israel had that relationship with the God of Abraham just as well as some of the patriarchs themselves.) to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” That is the true believers. Now, verse 16, we’re going to move quickly, because I want to get into a later chapter in the next program.
“For (God says) I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. 17. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth,…” Now, whenever you see the word covetousness in the Old Testament, it usually is associated with idolatry. Coveting and idolatry and even Paul will put those two words together over and over. They were hand in glove – coveting and idolatry.
“For the iniquity (then) of [their idolatry], was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. (speaking of Israel as a Nation) 18. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. 19. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.” Now, that reminds me of a verse way up in Romans. Let’s see how Paul puts it, because we still like to compare Scripture with Scripture whenever possible.
Come up with me to Romans chapter 10, and Paul uses almost the same language for us today. Even though chapter 10 is directed first and foremost to Jewish people, yet it is so appropriate for us. Lets start with verse 6. Now, this is Paul and he says:
“But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7. Or, who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in they mouth, and in thy heart; (What word?) that is, the word of faith, which we preach;”
Here is the word of faith for us.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, (or that Jesus is Lord) and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” All right, now of course, Israel wasn’t being approached with faith in the death, burial, and resurrection as we are today, but nevertheless, they were to approach the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by faith. They had to believe that He was. They had to be obedient to His Word. Now, back to Isaiah 57, and in the closing minutes let’s look at the last two verses,
“But…” Regardless Old Testament or New, “But” still means what? The Flipside! The just will live by faith and God will honor that faith. They’re going to have peace with God because they know that His righteousness has been imputed unto them. But, the flipside:
“But the wicked (the unbelieving) are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters (speaking of the sea now) cast up mire and dirt.” I imagine Floridians could tell us about that after all their hurricanes, how the sea can roar and be riled up with that which lies on the bottom. That’s the lost person, because now look at the last verse.
“There is no peace, saith my God, (to what people?) to the wicked.” Oh, they can drown out and they can try to cover it with all of their raucous activity, but do they have peace in the hearts? No! So many of our wealthy, especially athletes and entertainers, can take it in by the millions. Are they happy? Are they content? No. Most of them, in a few years, are bankrupt because…why? They spent all their millions trying to find a certain amount of peace. And to the wicked “There is no peace,” and never can be.
All right, now on the other hand, let’s again go back to Romans. This time let’s stop at Romans chapter 5, and what a difference between the peaceless existence of the wicked and the peaceful existence of the believer.
“Therefore (And remember, when we taught Romans we always point out when Paul uses ‘therefore’ he’s referring to that which went before.) being justified by faith,…” Now for us our faith is in that finished work of the cross – “that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead!” All right, when we trust that, then we’re justified by that kind of faith, and if we’re justified what do we have?
“…we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” No believer has to fear going into God’s presence. If the trumpet call should happen today, we don’t have to be shaking in our boots. If death should suddenly come, we don’t have to be afraid of death, “because we have peace with God.” I can’t skip verse 2.
“By whom (that is the Lord Jesus Christ) also we have access by faith (Not works, we don’t work for it, we simply believe it. We trust in what Christ has done and what He has promised.) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” That’s our lot as a believer. Well, Israel had much the same opportunity in antiquity. Now, they weren’t placing faith in a death, burial, and resurrection. They were placing their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of Israel. All they had to do was be obedient to what He told them as a nation of people, but were they? No. For the most part they utterly rejected all of His commandments. They rejected all of His requirements for temple worship and all that. They wanted new things. They’d rather run down and worship some pagan idol. They would rather offer their own children than to exercise faith in the God of Abraham.
LESSON ONE * PART II
COMPARING AMERICA TODAY WITH ISRAEL OF OLD
ISAIAH 57:3 – 60:22
Okay, it’s good to see everybody back from their coffee break. I imagine this is what makes our program unique. The people watching see the coffee cups and they wonder what in the world is going on. The other thing is this blackboard. They flip through the channels and see the blackboard and they think wait a minute, what was that? See, I get all this in the mail. Then they back up and watch a little longer. You know we’re pretty confident that if we can just get people to watch five minutes they’ll usually stay with it. Some say they just happened to catch our program, but we also know that things just don’t happen. Whatever the situation we’re glad you’ve become part of the ministry.
All right, for those of you here in the studio audience, we’re now ready to get into chapter 59 of the Book of Isaiah. I’m going to skip chapter 58 and let you read that at your leisure and go into chapter 59. While you’re looking that up, I’ll remind our TV audience that we are now in book 62. If you multiply that times twelve that tells us we’ve produced over 700 of these programs. Doesn’t seem possible does it, Kenneth and Luther? You guys have been with us since the beginning. It’s unbelievable. Louise, I don’t imagine you’ve missed more than one or two either have you?
Okay, for those of you out in television, let’s jump in at chapter 59 of Isaiah verse 1, and the very first word is:
“Behold, (in other words, pay attention) the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” Now, I’m sure many of you have been aware of that verse most of your life. You probably didn’t know where it was, but you’ve heard it. Well, what does it mean? Listen, God is always ready to extend salvation to the person who is ready to believe.
But, this is Israel’s problem: they wanted nothing to do with God. They wanted to do their own thing. In fact, a verse just comes to mind. I hope I’m still in the right place. I didn’t even think of it when I was preparing for this. But come back with me to – I think it’s the last verse of the book of Judges. I hope that’s where it is. That would be what – chapter 21 of Judges? This is 700 years before Isaiah. So, you see, people don’t change. Isn’t it amazing? I think I made this comment in our last taping. Why did God call out Israel and tell them that they were to be different? Well, to prove the point that even though they’re different, they’re all the same.
The evolutionists have a little cliché they like to use that “the more things go by the more they stay the same.” Well, there’s a certain amount of truth in that. People do not change. The human race is driven by the old satanic Adamic nature, and it’s been that way now for almost 6000 years. But look at Israel now 700 years before Isaiah, who was 700 years before Christ, so actually this is 1400 years before Christ and just a little while after the Law was given to Moses. Last verse of Judges 21 and this just says it all:
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” What do they call that today in modern technology? Situation ethics. If you’re comfortable with it, do it. Well, that’s what Israel was doing way back here. Listen, God has never given man that kind of freedom. He has never given us the freedom to just do whatever our old Adamic nature tells us to do. Yet Israel was so guilty of that very thing, all through their national existence.
All right, come back with me, if you will, to Isaiah 59. In spite of their rebellion, in spite of their unbelief, was God ready to save the man who would believe? Sure He was! Were His ears stopped up that He could not hear? Never! Even today, as the world is steeped in high-tech iniquity, that’s about what it amounts to. It’s the same old immorality that was back in antiquity; only now it’s associated with high technology, but it’s the same old stuff. Is God unable to hear the cry of a person for salvation? No. God’s ears aren’t stopped today anymore than in the days of Isaiah.
All right, now look at the first word of the next verse. “But…” See, that’s the flip side. Even though God is willing to save any Jew or Israelite that would have wanted to be obedient to what God had said. He was ready. But the flip side, this is where they really were.
“But your iniquities (their sin, their wickedness) have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Well now, even today, do you hear much about sin anymore? No. You hardly ever hear anything about sin. Oh, we may decry some of the acts of some people, but to just simply call it sin, most preachers are afraid to use the word. It’s always been the dilemma that keeps mankind from a relationship with God! It wasn’t God’s fault. God was listening. God was ready for their cry. But they were so steeped in their sin that God didn’t even enter their thinking.
“For your hands are defiled with blood, (murders didn’t even bother them) and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.” Now, I know that we may be getting kind of tired of this throughout the whole book of Isaiah, but the reason I’m staying with it is because we’re in the same dilemma in America today.
I still like to make that parallel even though Scripture doesn’t, because America was unknown in Scripture. But I do feel there is a parallel that you and I can use because not only was Israel God’s chosen people, they were under His promises. Godly men, on Biblical principals, established our beloved land.
In fact, I told somebody the other day that you will hear the media and these liberals decrying the Word of God someplace, such as in the courthouse. When Iris and I were in Washington DC a few years ago, I think we hit about every monument in town. And the thing that amazed me the most was that even the monument of Thomas Jefferson, who was probably the least spiritual of all of our founding fathers, even in the Jefferson Memorial – there was Scripture verse after Scripture verse after Scripture verse.
This all came to mind while I was reading an article the other night about the Washington Monument, the big tall spire. Well, we weren’t able to go when we were there because it was under renovation and closed. But it’s now open. This article revealed that at the very pinnacle of the spire that stands on top of this national monument is something that makes direct reference to God. That’s what America was founded on.
Every memorial in Washington D. C. is saturated with Scripture verses. You go into the Lincoln Memorial and it’s all over the place. Then they try to tell us that we’re to have nothing to do with Scripture in public places. They’re going to have to sandblast most of Washington! But here is where we have come. We’ve come under the influence of these people that want to take God and the Word of God out of every segment of life because of this stupid statement – “separation of Church and State.” Our founding fathers never intended to separate God from government. All they said was that the religious entities were not to control government, and that government was not to establish a national religion. We certainly all agree to that. I don’t want any particular denomination to have clout over government. But I certainly see nothing wrong with government realizing their responsibility under God. He’s Sovereign. That’s the way He intended it to be. All right, so Israel you see is just a good illustration of where we are as a nation today. It’s the same thing. My, you can just constantly make comparisons.
“None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, (See, that which appeals to the flesh.) and speak lies; (My, it gets to the place where they can tell a lie and get called on it tomorrow, and it doesn’t bother them at all.) they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.” Now, here’s another allegory, if I can call it that.
“They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, (Now, I don’t know what a cockatrice egg would taste like, but I don’t imagine it was very good.) and weave the spider’s web: (See the analogy here?) he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.” These are all just illustrations in a language that no one can say, “Well, I don’t know what he’s talking about.” It’s obvious. It spells nothing but trouble.
“Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works:…” Now, what’s that a reference to? Adam and Eve, after they had first eaten, what’d they do? They went and sewed fig leaves. They thought they could cover their nakedness. Did they? No! It didn’t hold water with God. Their nakedness wasn’t covered until He provided the skins of animals back in Genesis chapter 3. This is all a reference that just as ridiculous as sewing fig leaves by Adam and Eve, so also the Israelites are trying to cover themselves with false works.
“…their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Now remember, whenever you see the word violence in Scripture what are we talking about? Murder!
” Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.” Boy, I mean it’s just one thing after another. Now, let’s see how Paul puts it. Let’s jump up to Romans. I don’t want to stay in the Old Testament. Otherwise someone will say, “Well, Les, I get tired of you being in the Old Testament too much.” No, we’re going to jump back and forth. Now, let’s come up to Romans chapter 1 a minute, and see if there’s much difference between 700 BC and several years after the cross. Well, you know as well as I do. Not a bit. It’s the same old human race. All right, let’s drop in at verse 28. This could almost be Isaiah writing to Israel. In fact, I think he even quotes a couple verses out of Isaiah.
“And even as they (ungodly people) did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (or normal. Now here it comes.) 29. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, (This is Paul writing; this isn’t Isaiah.) murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31. Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:” My goodness, can’t get much worse than that can it? But what is it? That’s the picture of the human race – until they experience God’s saving grace.
All right, come back again to Isaiah. This is all just to show us that the human race is incorrigibly wicked because they are under the old Adamic nature. All right, back to Isaiah 59 verse 8:
“The way of peace they know not;” Like we looked at in the last program, being justified by faith we have peace with God, we have no fear of being brought into His presence because our sins have been forgiven. But Israel didn’t have that. They had no peace.
“…and there is no judgment in their goings:” Now the word judgment, as I understand it in the Old Testament, is that kind of rule that brings tranquillity. In other words, that’s the whole purpose of government in the first place, to guarantee the peace and safety of the civilian population. Paul tells us the same thing for today.
I Timothy 2:1-2
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quite and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” All right, but back here as Isaiah writes there is no government of that type.
“The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.” But like we saw earlier in the chapter, they’re going to be in constant turmoil.
“Therefore is judgment (or that kind of a fair government) far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk (where?) in darkness.” Now verse 10. This is the spiritual description again of Israel and America.
“We grope for the wall like the blind, (Now that can’t be improved on, can it? That’s as plain as you can picture it, how a blind person just gropes to figure out where he is. All right, and that’s what Israel was.) and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the (middle of the) night; we are in desolate places as dead men.” (what a horrible picture of the nation) 11. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves:…” You know, whenever I read the Old Testament I almost smile. I’m always amazed, because the language is the same as you’d use today.
What does a bear do when it is trapped? Iris and I have firsthand understanding of that. We stayed with a couple outside of Yellowstone Park a few years ago. They’d had a big grizzly and her two cubs come into their front yard and eat out of their apple tree. So, they called for the park people, and they came and set a trap. The old mama bear went in first and was trapped, but they couldn’t get the cubs. So, for almost 48 hours that old mama bear just roared and roared. They said you couldn’t sleep at night for the roaring of that old mama bear.
Well, I read something like this and I can’t help but think of something like that. That was Israel. Like a trapped Mama. Now, why did she roar? Her babies were up there in the apple tree and she knew it. Here’s the connotation. Israel in their unbelief and in their wickedness was just like a roaring bear. Then the other one is like “doves.” What kind of doves? Mourning doves with their mournful song. Between the two you have the extreme on both ends – that was Israel. But that’s also America. I can’t help but bring the two together.
“…we look for judgment, but there is none; (There is no sensible government or judgment.) for salvation, but it is far off from us.” Is that God’s fault? No! We already saw that His ears aren’t stopped and His arm isn’t shortened. So, whose fault is it? It is unbelieving Israel. And today is no different. Why are people groping in their spiritual blindness? Because that is where they want to be. That’s where they choose to be. They don’t have to be there. God is ready and willing. He’s constantly on the alert.
Do you remember, way back in one of my earlier programs, how I gave the illustration of a swimming pool full of kids on a hot summer afternoon? If you’ve got a lifeguard that knows what he or she is doing, in the midst of all that screaming and laughing and everything, if there’s one little, weak cry of a kid in trouble, they hear it, and they’re after them. Well, that’s God. In the midst of all the turmoil of this world, His ear is still tender for the cry of a lost person seeking salvation, and He’s there instantly.
“For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; 13. In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.” Instead of dwelling on things that were honest and true and along the lines of godliness, they were totally the opposite.
Now another New Testament scripture comes to mind. Let’s go all the way up to Titus chapter 2. This, again, is Paul writing to you and me. Even as believers we have to be on constant guard against these thoughts that will take us in the wrong direction. After all, where does everything begin? In the thought. Everything has to start with a thought. That’s why we have to be constantly aware.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Now, remember what we just heard in Isaiah? His arm is not shortened. His ears are not closed. Well, it’s the same way here. God’s grace has appeared to every human being, one way or another. Now, verse 12, what does the grace of God teach you and I as believers?
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, (the lusts of the flesh) we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, (Now that’s a small ‘g’. We’re to live godly lives. That simply means an absence of sinful living. We are to live all of these things.) in this present world;” You don’t have to wait to get over to eternity for this. This is the here and now. How many church people can sit in church on Sunday morning and yet the rest of the week know nothing of this. Israel was the same. Oh, they kept their temple worship. It had already been counterfeited and it had been adulterated, but they were still religious. But there was no faith connected with it. They thought more of their wickedness than they did of pleasing God. All right, back to Isaiah 59.
“And judgment (Again, I’m still going to use that definition. Judgment referred to a governmental authority that would bring peace and happiness to its people.) is turned away backward, (They don’t even want that which is good for them.) and justice standeth afar off:” You know, every once in a while we’ll have one of our listeners that has gone through a court situation for whatever reason write and invariably was justice served? No. Too often it isn’t. You know why? Because too many of our judges are corrupt. If you’ve got a corrupt judge, justice will not be served.
So, here’s what’s happening in Israel. The same thing, you couldn’t find justice. There wasn’t anything fair. If you weren’t part and parcel of the murdering crowd and the lying crowd you just couldn’t survive. We in America are getting there so fast ourselves.
“…for truth is fallen in the street,…” Isn’t that beautiful? My, that just says it like it is. Truth is something that’s walked underfoot. It’s fallen in the street,
“…and equity (fairness) cannot enter. 15. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself (what?) a prey:…” You stand for that which is right in Israel at this time and you were probably murdered for it. They couldn’t stand you. Well, in some areas of our country it’s already that way. The godly people of our land are hated for the most part. You stand up for truth and you won’t last long. A sorry state of affairs, isn’t it?
“…and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. (or fair system of rule) 16. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: (not even the like of an Isaiah) therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. 17. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” All right, again, let’s go back and see how Paul puts it in the last chapter of Ephesians. It is the same language and same illustration. Here is Paul, during this Age of Grace, comparing the situation with Israel in the time of Isaiah. With this we can just about come to the end of our program. Ephesians chapter 6 and let’s drop in at verse 10, this is still appropriate for us today, just as it was for Israel in 700 BC.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (or all the devices) of the devil. 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Not in the pew but in the places of spiritual and denominational authority. All right, now here he almost quotes from Isaiah.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (And now look at verse 17, word for word from Isaiah.) 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” Why does he emphasize the helmet? Because under the helmet is what? The brain. The mind. The very source of all our activity. So the Word of God is our weapon. But this weapon does nothing unless you have everything upstairs that you need. How do we get that? Through the leading, the directing, of the Holy Spirit, and we depend on Him for all of our needs.
LESSON ONE * PART III
COMPARING AMERICA TODAY WITH ISRAEL OF OLD
ISAIAH 57:3 – 60:22
Okay, I see everybody is back in here after your coffee break. For those of you out in television that are rather new to the program, we always like to periodically let it be known that we tape four programs in succession here on a Wednesday afternoon. Between each half-hour program we have a coffee break. The ladies bring in enough refreshments for a ‘log rolling,’ so we have a good time all afternoon with Bible study and sweet fellowship.
We’re in Isaiah chapter 59. We’re going to pick up where we left off because I want to come in at verse 20 and 21 and the first part of chapter 60 this half-hour. Remember, that in spite of all of Israel’s sin, God still puts before them the prospect of glorious things to come, especially that earthly kingdom. Now, as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, most of Christendom, church-goers and Sunday School people, don’t have a clue as to this thousand year earthly kingdom coming on the earth. The reason they know nothing of it – it isn’t taught in their particular denomination. But just because it isn’t taught doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen!
This glorious earthly kingdom with Christ Himself as the King will be primarily to fulfill all of the promises made to the nation of Israel. The end result of everything will be this glorious Kingdom over which they will be the primary nation. We’ll be looking at that sometime in the next two programs. All right, so even though it’s depressing to read about all of Israel’s sin and their unbelief and their wickedness, yet the prospect is still out in front of them of this glory yet to come.
“According to their deeds, (that is their unlawful, wicked deeds) accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands (or the borders of other nations) he will repay and recompense. 19. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. (which is the east) When the enemy shall come in like a flood, (which of course, is a reference now to the Babylonians) the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” All right, now we’ll leap all the way up in verse 20 to Christ’s first advent.
“And the Redeemer (And you see that’s capitalized. So, it’s a title, and it simply means the One who will pay the price for Israel’s salvation. That is going to be their Messiah.) shall come to Zion, (Never forget Zion is Jerusalem. Mount Zion is in Jerusalem. Never forget that.) and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” All right, now when Christ came to the nation at His first advent, just like it’s been all the way in their history, how many responded and believed who He was? Just a small percentage, only a few.
All right, now let’s go again and see how the Apostle Paul deals with that phenomenon. Let’s go again to Romans, chapter 11. It was only a small percentage of Israel that could understand and believe who Jesus of Nazareth really was. Of course, it carries over into Paul’s writings here in Romans 11 as he’s dealing with the nation of Israel. Here Paul is showing that even from antiquity and up to his present time, as I said last program, things never change. There was a remnant back then, there’s a remnant here, and there will be a remnant in the end-time scenario.
“God hath not cast away his people (Israel) which he foreknew.” Now, that flies in the face of a lot of teaching that’s going out today that God was all through with the Jew after 70 AD and that everything promised Israel has been given to the Church. Not according to Romans 11! They have to throw this chapter away, because here it’s as plain as day that:
“…Know you not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,” Now watch, if this isn’t a true ringer with what we’ve been reading in Isaiah. Even Elijah was already experiencing it.
“Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” Why were they seeking Elijah’s life? Because he was a true man of God, and they didn’t like him in their midst. That’s been Israel’s history.
“But what saith the answer of God unto him? (That is to Elijah.) I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Baal was the god in Elijah’s day. In Isaiah’s day it was Molock and some of the others. But it’s always that same small percentage that did not fall into rank unbelief. Now, look at verse 5, Paul writes:
“Even so then at this present time (as he writes, in about 60 AD, just a few years before Rome will come in and destroy the Temple and the city) there is a remnant (that small percentage) according to the election of grace.” So, what happened? Verse 7:
“What then? Israel (the nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;” Well, now what does that mean? Well, all up through the Old Testament, because of the prophets, they had an understanding that there was a King and Kingdom coming, and that it would be glorious. And in spite of all those promises they still would turn their back on it. Now, Paul makes reference to that fact. Israel was looking for a King and Kingdom, but they didn’t get it because they wouldn’t believe who Jesus was.
See, that’s the whole thrust of Christ’s earthly ministry. I guess I can use one of my favorite verses while we’re in Romans anyway. Jump ahead a few pages to chapter 15. Many of you have heard me use this verse. I use it so often on my traveling seminars as an introduction to almost any subject I want to teach on for a whole day. I can start with this verse. Romans 15 verse 8. Most of Christendom doesn’t even know it’s in their Bible. But it is. It is! Where Paul says:
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (that’s Israel, and for what purpose?) for the truth of God, (Now, what was His purpose when He came to the nation in His first advent?) to confirm (or fulfill or bring to fruition) the promises made unto the fathers.” That says it all! So, why did Christ approach the nation of Israel? To proclaim Himself as their King and how He was ready to bring in this glorious Kingdom promised all through the Old Testament. But did they accept it? No. Their unbelief caused them to be blind to even that for which they were looking.
Now again, you know my favorite illustration of that was when they could have had the Promised Land. They could have gone in and had the land flowing with milk and honey. When I make these two comparisons, I always ask the question, was He playing games with Israel when He said the land of milk and honey is theirs? No, it was for real. They could have had it. But why didn’t they? Unbelief. Oh, we can’t beat those Canaanites. They’re too big. They’re cities are walled. Where was their faith? They had none. So, they had to turn around and die in the desert. Well, it was the same way at His first advent. Here He made all the fulfillment promises. If they would just believe who He was they could have had it, but only a few did, and that wasn’t enough because it had to be the whole nation. So, what a sad commentary. But, listen, don’t just blame Israel. That’s the world in general.
In fact, I was just talking to someone on the phone yesterday and we got to talking about some of these parallel percentages. When seven thousand in Israel didn’t bow the knee to Baal, out of a population of seven million, now most of you have heard me use this before, what was the percentage? It was one tenth of one percent, or one out of a thousand. That’s all.
Now, look at America today. Even though our churches may be full of raucous worshippers, how many are true believers? How many are resting on that finished work of the cross? (That’s faith that he died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.) There are not many. I’m not going to be bold enough to say one tenth of one percent, although I’d like to. But listen, it’s going to be a small percentage. When the Lord comes, they won’t even miss us. Those that are missing won’t even make a dent in the population. So it was in Israel.
Now, back to Isaiah and verse 21 as Isaiah is leaping all the way over the Babylonian invasion and he’s coming all the way up now to His (Christ’s) first advent in verse 20, which we just looked at. Now, verse 21:
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, (that is believing Israel) saith the LORD; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.” Now, when Israel rejected Him at His first coming this won’t become fulfilled until when? The Second Coming. At His Second Coming we can expect Israel to come under the fulfillment of what we call the covenant that He makes with Israel.
Jeremiah, let’s look at it a minute, Jeremiah 31 and the new covenant. Not the old covenant of Law, but the new covenant, which will be ushered in at the advent of the Kingdom. Now, of course, when Israel rejected everything at His first coming this was pushed back 2000 years, which nothing in Scripture indicates. There’s nothing in here to indicate a 2000-year period between His first advent and His second. It may even be more. We’ve already come almost to 2000, according to our calendar anyway. But, whatever, it’s going to be at His Second Coming. This new covenant is not for the church as so many would try to tell you it is. This will be for the nation of Israel.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” Now, that has never been made yet, because Israel rejected everything. But when He comes the second time it will become a reality. Now verse 32. This is what that new covenant is going to be, just like Isaiah foretold in his writing.
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; (That was the covenant of Law. This is going to supersede the Mosaic covenant of Law.) which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:” He didn’t give up on them any more than a husband will on his unfaithful wife. Now, verse 33:
“But, this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, (That is, after anything intervening and He finally comes and sets up His Kingdom, this is what’s going to happen to every Jew that comes into that Kingdom experience.) saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” It’s going to be an automatic thing.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me,…” See, there won’t be any unbelievers to stick out the tongue in the Kingdom. They’re all going to be of like minds.
“…from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” That’s coming! But until that day, Israel is still plagued with all the things that Isaiah is writing about.
Okay, let’s come back again to Isaiah where we just left off, and that would be in chapter 60. Isaiah chapter 60 and this, of course, is a reference first and foremost to His first coming and the following Kingdom, if Israel would have accepted it. But they didn’t. So now, they’ve been sent into the dispersion, they’ve been scattered into the nations of the world. They have now been coming back these last many years to their ancient homeland in order to be ready for His Second Coming. It’s no accident that the Jews are back in the Holy Land. It’s no accident that they have become a nation of people once again. They have to be there for the coming of their Messiah at His Second Coming. All right, but now we’re talking about the first advent in verse 1.
“Arise, (the prophet writes) shine; for thy light is come,…” Whose light? Israel’s. And Who is Israel’s light? The Messiah, Jesus of Bethlehem and later on of Nazareth.
“…and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (the Nation of Israel) 2. For, behold, the darkness (spiritual darkness) shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:” (Israel) Even though they had the temple and the priesthood, yet it was nothing but a manmade ‘works’ religion by the time Christ comes, and they are in a spiritual darkness. “But,” that’s not going to stop God.
“…but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Then, if Israel would have been obedient and if they would have recognized who Jesus was, the Tribulation would have gone by, the King would have set up His Kingdom and then Israel could have been what?
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” That was their prospect. But they lost it. They lost that opportunity when they rejected their Messiah. So, now, there will be no unsaved Gentiles after Christ sets up His Kingdom because that will have totally changed. Now, turn to Matthew 23. This is just to show you that Christ knew Israel was going to reject Him, and that they would have to wait for a period of time, it never tells us how long, until He would yet return and give them the King and the Kingdom. All through His earthly ministry He gives no indication of Israel’s rejection, even though the vast majority were not becoming followers and believers. Yet, He did not indicate that there would be a break in the time or in the outflow of Old Testament prophecy.
Here in Matthew 23 verses 37-39, are verses I’m sure you’re all acquainted with. These are a couple of verses that I just cherish.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…” Can’t you hear Him? Many of you have seen the painting of Christ sitting on the Mount of Olives looking out over the city. This is where I think the painter got the setting. He sits here and looks out over the city that is now rejecting Him out of hand, and this is His heart-cry,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,…” (They’ve been doing it for hundreds of years.) and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often (all the way through their history) I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Now, it’s unfortunate in our day and time that very few people know what a phenomenon that is. When I was a kid, when we still had the old, as we called it, the old cluck or setting hen with her little brood of chicks. My, she could just ‘tick, tick, tick, tick’ and here they’d all come and hide under her feathers. Just totally disappear. Well, it’s exactly the illustration He’s drawing.
How He would have called Israel under His Almighty feathers, as the Psalmist put it, “I will hide under the feathers of your wing.” That was the connotation. The old hen with her brood and He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but you would not.” Little chicks had brains enough to come running. But Israel wouldn’t. Quite an analogy isn’t it? But “You would not.” You couldn’t sense your danger. You couldn’t sense the tranquillity under My wings, and you rejected me out of hand. All right, now then, here’s where I think He gives an indication that Israel is going to reject Him and all the promises are going to fall through the cracks until a later time. So, He says in verse 38:
“Behold, your house is left unto you (what?) desolate. 39. For I say unto you, (Now, here comes the indication; now nobody understood this. The Twelve didn’t grasp it. They thought everything was going to keep right on coming. He would yet set up His Kingdom. But the Lord knew.) Ye shall not see me henceforth, until (So, it’s still coming, but it’s going to be at a later time.) ye shall say, (that is Israel as a Nation) Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” That, of course, will be at His Second Coming.
All right, now let’s back up into the Old Testament and stop at Zechariah, which is just ahead of Malachi. Drop in with me at chapter 12 and verse 10. This is prophecy and it fits right in with what the Lord said in Matthew 23. God speaking through the prophet says:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they (the Nation of Israel) shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son,…” In other words, when they’re reunited. Not a mourning of death and losing that son, but of a renewed acquaintance like Joseph and his brethren wept on one another’s necks. It was not because they were losing him, but because they were being reunited. All right, and then we read on:
“And shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” All right, now the next one is in chapter 13, verse 6. Now see, all of this prophetically showed that Christ would suffer and die and then yet set up His Kingdom.
“And one shall say unto him, (That is at His Second Coming, after He has made Himself available to the population.) what are these wounds in thine hands?” Now, what does that tell you? When He returns in that resurrected body, what’s going to be the evidence of His suffering? Nail prints in His hands. He’s coming back physically and visibly in that same body with which He ascended in Acts chapter 1. Here’s the proof of it – prophetically. They’re going to say, when He returns:
“…what are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Well, who were His friends? Israel! It’s all so obvious. Now, come back to Isaiah chapter 60 verse 3.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,…” Now see, I hope you have gathered, in all of our studies over the years, that God never instructed Israel to evangelize the Gentiles. Never. Jonah was the lone exception. He was sent to Ninevah. That was all. That was for fulfilling a ‘type.’ But nevertheless, we always like to make it plain and simple that Israel only had one requirement from their God – to be obedient to the Mosaic Law and the system of Law and Temple worship. They were to take it all by faith and look forward to this coming glorious King and His Kingdom. That’s all Israel was expected to know. They knew nothing of a crucifixion. They knew nothing of a death, burial, and resurrection, and God didn’t expect them to. But they were to believe what God was telling them. They would not. They refused it.
All right, now if they would have accepted that King and the Kingdom, they could have evangelized the whole world. That was the prospect, because in Exodus 19 God said, “every Jew would be a priest,” or a go-between. But when they rejected the King and the Kingdom, they lost that opportunity of evangelizing the Gentile world, because there will be no lost Gentiles in the Kingdom. Now, that’s a no-no, because the Lord Himself said, except a man be born again he cannot see or enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But in the Old Testament prophecies that was Israel’s possibility of being the light to the Gentile world under the Kingship of their Redeemer and their Messiah. But when they rejected Him they lost it all, at least for a couple thousand years.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
COMPARING AMERICA TODAY WITH ISRAEL OF OLD
ISAIAH 57:3 – 60:22
As we begin our 4th lesson for today, we always like to remind you how much we appreciate your letters and phone calls and your gifts and prayers, everything that makes this ministry possible. How we thrill at how many are coming to a real knowledge of salvation. We get letter after letter where they’ll say, “I’ve been in church all my life, but for the first time I’m not afraid to die. I’m ready for the Lord to come.” Well, nothing could thrill us more. So, you just keep praying that the Lord will continue to use us, and that the Holy Spirit can work through us.
Okay, we’re going to jump right in where we left off in Isaiah chapter 60. Now all of a sudden, instead of all the horrors of Israel’s iniquity and unbelief, we’re looking at the glorious prospect of when their Messiah will come and Israel will enjoy the blessings of the Kingdom. So, it’s a whole different scenario with entirely different language. All right, let’s just jump in at verse 4 – well, I’d like to read verse 3 where we left off in the last lesson.
“And the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) shall come to thy light,…” Whose light? Israel’s. Now, too much of Christendom does not understand that Isaiah is not writing to the Gentile world. He’s only writing to Israel, and Christ was Israel’s light at first. Now, Christ will be the Light of the world. He is today, but in Israel’s antiquity it was to that nation that the prophets are addressing.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy (Israel’s) light (their Messiah, their Redeemer.) and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Now verse 4, here is the instruction for the nation of Israel.
“Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” All right, let’s go back and pick this up in Deuteronomy. I think we may have looked at this several programs back. But here in Deuteronomy 28 come the promises of these glorious blessings that are still awaiting the nation of Israel. They’re still going to come! Don’t you think for a minute they won’t. It’ll be in God’s own time, but it’s going to happen.
All right, Deuteronomy 28, we’ll just take a look at verse 1 and 2 just to open the chapter and then we’ll look at a couple of verses that are the fulfillment of all this. This is Moses writing 3500 years ago in 1500 BC.
“And it shall come to pass, if (See, it’s all conditional, depending on Israel’s ability to be obedient and believe.) thou shalt hearken diligently to the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee (Israel, the nation) on high above all nations of the earth: (See that? That’s God’s promise even through the prophet Moses.) 2. And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” All right, now all the various blessings are listed, but now, just for sake of time, let us come down to verse 12. This will never happen until they have the King and His Kingdom.
“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. (They’re never going to be short of operating cash.) 13. And the LORD shall make thee the head, (that is of all the nations of the world) and not the tail; (Which they are now, you remember. They are the smallest nation, practically, on earth) and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; (In other words, they’re not going to be at the bottom of the totem pole. They’re going to be the head nation once this glorious Kingdom comes in.) if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:” Now, of course, Israel lost the first opportunity at His first advent. By the time He returns at His second advent we’re going to find that they will recognize Him, as we saw in the last half-hour, by the wounds in His hands. They will know that He is that promised Messiah, Redeemer, and King.
All right, back to Isaiah chapter 60. I want you to keep this upper most in your thinking – that the day is coming when Israel will be a blessing to the Gentile nations, and they (Israel) will be the greatest nation on the earth.
You know, it goes back to common sense numbers. You see, by the end of the Tribulation, when the whole planet will be totally destroyed as we understand it, and the vast majority of the population is going to be destroyed, yet there is that one-third of Israel that is going to be kept safe out in the desert. Israel’s population is about 15 million today. A third of that is five million. So, there are going to be five million Israelites that are going to come through the Tribulation. But all the other nations are only going to have a small percentage of survivors.
It’s like after a humongous earthquake today, four or five days after the earthquake they’ll find a few survivors in the rubble. Well, that’s an indication of the surviving Gentiles. So what does that tell you? There’ll only be a few in every Gentile nation, compared to five million Jews. So, if you start with five million, over maybe a few hundred thousand or a million, it follows that who’s going to be the greatest nation on earth? Israel. And they will be! Israel will be the greatest nation on earth.
Come all the way back to Isaiah chapter 2. In light of this it all makes sense, but you have to put the big picture together. Isaiah chapter 2 verse 2. This is where we really started in our whole study in Isaiah several months ago.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days,…” In other words, in that last thousand years of this old planet’s history, when the King will return and set up His glorious Kingdom, with the capital in Jerusalem. Now, look at the language.
“…that the mountain (or the Kingdom) of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains,…” Now mountains and hills in Old Testament symbolism are kingdoms and nations, or empires, however you want to put it.
“…and shall be exalted above the hills; (but now here’s the key) and all nations shall flow unto it.” What does that mean? It’s going to be the headquarters, the capital of the world, because it’ll be the crowning nation to which all the Gentile nations will subscribe.
All right, now back to Isaiah chapter 60 again. Here is the fulfillment of all these things. When the Redeemer will come to Zion, and he will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All right, now verse 6 – this is simply Old Testament language of tremendous activity or commerce and what have you.
“The multitude of camels (which of course were the primary source of transportation in Biblical times) shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.” See what that’s doing? The nations of the world are going to bring praise to the King of Kings, holding forth there in Jerusalem.
“All the flock of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.” See what a difference that is from the previous chapters when we had to deal with Israel’s sin?
“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? 9. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, (Now, most Englishmen will think that Tarshish is a reference to England, but whatever.) to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them,…” Now, what does all this amount to? Well, whenever a conquering emperor would come in and take over a nation and the population, what would they do with their wealth? They would take it back to their own capital. When the Babylonians invaded and destroyed Jerusalem, they took all the wealth of Jerusalem back to Babylon. Well, this is going to be on a benevolent scale. Instead of robbing and pillaging, this is going to be a voluntary offering of all these things because of their adherence to the King of Glory.
“…their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, (why?) because he (God) hath glorified thee (the nation of Israel) 10. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls; and their kings shall minister unto thee: (See the obedience of all of the nations of the world to Israel’s king?) for in my wrath I smote thee, (back in their time of unbelief) but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.” Remember how I opened the first program today? That we’ve got two sides of the question – Israel’s unbelief and God’s chastisement, Israel’s obedience and the blessings of God upon them. It’s just common sense.
“Therefore thy gates shall be open continually;…” Now, remember, this is probably spoken in symbolic language. If a city is sitting there ruling the world with open gates, what does that indicate? That no one is being withheld. It’s full access for everyone in that Kingdom world to the city of Jerusalem.
“…they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, (See how the Gentiles are now being brought into the picture?) and that their kings may be brought. 12. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee will perish; (Well, what does it tell you? They’re either going to be part and parcel of it or they won’t even last.) yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13. The glory of Lebanon (which was always the picture of the cedars of Lebanon) shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” See how plain all this is? This is Israel’s future.
Now even though today, for the most part, they’re a nation of iniquity and unbelief and their government is just as corrupt as anybody else’s government, the day will come when these believing Jews will have the King of Glory. They’re going to revel in all the blessings they have missed for these last 3000 years. All right, I’m going to bring you all the way down to verse 16:
“Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: (Instead of having to borrow it, it will just naturally flow into this Kingdom.) and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” See, we don’t lose the spiritual aspect.
Let’s come back to Luke chapter 1. Let’s look at it again, it never hurts to repeat. Luke chapter 1 – because this complements what Isaiah is talking about. Luke chapter 1 and we’ll jump in at verse 64. Now, here’s the backdrop. I think we rehearsed it in one of our previous tapings. The Lord announced the coming birth of John of the Baptist to his parents Zacharias and Elizabeth. The father, Zacharias, was stricken dumb, unable to speak. He was one of the priests operating in the Temple. Until John the Baptist was born, he was never able to speak a single word. But as soon as the baby was born:
“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.” Now here is one of those little remnants of Israel again, a true believing priest of God operating in the Temple.
“And fear came on all that dwelt around about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! (Now remember we’re not talking about Jesus, we’re talking about John the Baptist.) And the hand of the Lord was with him. 67. And his father (John the Baptist’s father) Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit,…” Remember, the Holy Spirit was operating long before Pentecost. All right, so the Holy Spirit came upon Zacharias and he spoke forth saying, now watch this very carefully because this is telling us what Israel was legitimately expecting. Legitimately. This is the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through Zacharias.
“Blessed be the Lord God of (the world?) Israel; (this is all Jewish) for he hath visited and redeemed his people, (Israel.) 69. and hath raised up an horn of salvation (see there’s the spiritual connotation) for us in the house of his servant David; 70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71. That we (the nation of Israel) should be saved from our (sins? No.) enemies,…” We’re not dealing in the spiritual here, we’re dealing in the physical. That Israel will be spared from all her enemies. I’ve pointed this out many, many times. Who were their enemies at the time of Christ’s first advent? The same ones that you’ve got tonight. The Arab world. The Gentile world. They all hated the Jew then, as they hate them today.
All right, so this will turn the tables and, all of a sudden, instead of being the hated little nation of no consequence, they’re going to be the greatest nation on earth and all the world will respect them.
“…and from the hand of all that hate us; 72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, (see all the way back to Abraham) and to remember his holy covenant; (what covenant?) 73. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,” Now, you want to remember, what does the Abrahamic covenant contain? That the nation of Israel would be blessed supremely by the Creator God, but that also out of that nation would come the Redeemer for the whole human race. That was all promised to Abraham.
“That he (God) would grant unto us, (Israel) that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him (God) without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness…” Not in idolatry and covetousness and wickedness and immorality, but they would be a nation of holiness and righteousness.
“…before him, all the days of our life.” That’s what Israel was looking for. Yet the main stream of Israel rejected it and consequently they were scattered into the nations of the world. Now they are back in the land and waiting for the Second Coming of Christ at which time they will certainly recognize Him and believe who He is. All right, back to Isaiah chapter 60, and verse 17.
“For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stone’s iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. (Now here comes another promise.) 18. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,…” Quite the opposite from what we had earlier isn’t it? Because what did they have before? They had violence and murder and dishonesty. It’s going to be a total opposite.
“…wasting nor destruction within thy borders; (none of that) but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. 19. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” Now, that brings up a question. Are we going to have the sun, moon, and stars during the Kingdom. Yes. Because this planet is not going to change its position in the solar system. It’s going to be renovated, it’s going to be made like the Garden of Eden, but it’s not going to lose the sun and the moon and the stars. But now, here’s the glorious part. When Christ is ruling from Jerusalem, His eminence will be so bright that it will cause the sun to disappear like stars do in the daylight.
Think about that for a minute. They’re still going to be out there, but His brightness will be so beyond the sun and the moon and the stars that they won’t even be visible. Let me give you a good illustration, I think I’ve got time. Come back with me to Matthew, chapter 17, maybe this will help us understand the glory, the glory that’s yet coming to this old planet. Matthew 17, and remember this is the same person that’s coming back. Here of course He’s in His earthly ministry, He’s in His body of humiliation, but when He returns He’s going to be in His glorified, resurrected body. This is just a little glimpse of it, remember, just a little window.
“And after six day Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2. And was transfigured before them: (He was suddenly changed.) and his face did shine as the (what?) sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Now, do you get a little picture of that? I think those three men must have almost fallen down as dead men when they experienced that glorious light of the transfigured Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just a little preview. So, when He returns and sets up His Kingdom in Jerusalem, His brightness will be so exceedingly bright that the sun and the stars and the moon won’t even be discernible. All right, back to Isaiah chapter 60 and then it’s almost time to wind it up. Verse 20:
“Thy sun (not the sun out there in solar space, but Israel’s son, the Son of Righteousness, the God of Glory who is now ruling in Jerusalem) shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD (Jesus the Christ) shall be thy everlasting light,…” Have you ever seen this before? I’ll bet most people haven’t, but this is going to be the glory of His presence as He rules and reigns from Jerusalem. He will be so bright that Israel won’t even need the light from the solar system.
“…and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” Now listen, you all know, for the most part, what has been the existence of Israel down through history? Misery. Unbelief. My, they have been tortured and tormented. We all are aware of the Holocaust. We’re even aware today of the hatred that’s extended toward the Jewish people, just because they’re Jews. The Arabs spew their hate, just because they’re Jews. They haven’t done anything to the Arabs. That will all end.
“Thy people also shall be all righteous: (There won’t be an unbeliever in their midst.) they shall inherit the land forever, (No Arab is going to stand in their way.) the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I (God says) may be glorified. 22. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation:” Now, this is all just to indicate how the nation of Israel is going to prosper in everything they touch. Their population is going to explode. Their wealth is going to explode. They are going to be everything that any nation on earth could ever hope to be. And the Lord says:
“…I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” We’re getting there fast, and we think we’re close.
LESSON TWO * PART I
THE STAGE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY
ISAIAH 61:1 – 10
Once again, we always like to make it plain that we’re just a simple Bible study. We’re not associated with any one group. We’re not underwritten by anyone. The Lord just keeps supplying our every need, and, consequently, I have to thank all of you out there in television for your prayer support, your financial support, and my, how we enjoy your letters! Especially when folks write and tell us that after hearing us teach salvation, they have become true believers. Well, we give God credit for opening hearts so that you may believe in your heart for your salvation what Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:1-4 “that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.”
You know, so many folk think there’s got to be more to receiving salvation than that, but you see, that’s all God requires. In fact, if you try to do more than just believe that, then Christ shall profit you nothing, the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians chapter 5.
All right, we’re going to keep right on going where we left off in the book of Isaiah. Now, hopefully, in the next four to eight programs, we’ll be winding up the book of Isaiah. But today we’re going to be in chapter 61. Again, like we’ve done almost all the way through Isaiah, in this first half-hour of an afternoon of taping I like to always remind folks of the wherewithal and the why and the who of these various books.
Isaiah was a prophet writing about 700 BC. He writes about 100 years before the prophesied judgment that would come upon Israel would actually come to pass. That’s why I always like to emphasize that God’s wheels grind slowly. Even though Isaiah prophesies these things as if they’re going to happen next month or next year, it was almost a hundred years before the first of these prophecies became a reality.
Then, secondly, I always like to mention that Isaiah is not just talking about the immediate, the hundred years, but he’s talking all the way up to the time of Christ’s first advent. The first advent was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. Then, he leaps even still further, beyond the Church Age, beyond the next 2000 years of prophecy, to the return of Christ at His Second Coming, which is preceded by the horrors of the Tribulation. So, we’re going to be looking at that aspect of prophecy today in Isaiah 61, as the one thousand year Kingdom rule now becomes more and more the center of prophecy. Now, there again, I always have to stop and explain that most of Christendom knows nothing of this thousand year rule and reign of Christ.
Of course, it was all precipitated by a fellow way back in the early years of the church by the name of Origen. He came up with the graphic idea that since Israel had rejected their Messiah and crucified Him, that God had, in turn, cast His judgment upon them by destroying the city and the Temple. He scattered the Jews throughout the then known world in 70 AD, therefore God must be all through with the Nation of Israel.
From that came this whole idea of no end-time prophecy or what I’ve always called Amillennialism, which now is more often referred to as “replacement theology.” The whole following of that is that if Christ, and God, is through with the Nation of Israel and they have disappeared from the scene, then it follows that none of these end-time events can happen according to Scripture, because, after all, the Jew is gone.
But, these folks fail to admit that the Jew in the world today is the Jew of this book. According to prophecy, they are back in the land. They’re back in their city. They have resurrected the ancient Hebrew language. Consequently, we feel, without apology, that we are looking now at the final end-time events, because Israel did NOT disappear. All the promises made in this Old Testament are still valid and will one day soon, we trust, be fulfilled.
All right, so we’re going to go into chapter 61 as we come toward the end of the book of Isaiah. Here we have the unfolding of literally the whole prophetic program. Now, before the program is over, I’m going to go to a timeline on the board. We’re going to show how all the Old Testament prophecies, especially since the call of Abraham and all the way up through the Book of Revelation, not counting Paul’s epistles, are all looking forward to the things that would unfold for the Nation of Israel. Everything concerning the Old Testament prophecies is zeroed in on the Jewish people, the Nation of Israel. So, you take Israel out of the mix and you cannot fulfill prophecy. It’s just as simple as that. So, contrary to a lot of these theologians, you see, I can look at all these Scripture verses and say, “Now, you’re going to tell me that’s not valid? That God lied?” But, He didn’t, and they are still valid.
All right, let’s start, if you will, here in the studio audience and those of you out in television with me, in Isaiah 61 verse 1, where the prophet writes:
“The Spirit of Lord GOD is upon me; (Now, that’s a reference to the Holy Spirit.) because the LORD (Now, remember, that’s the term of Jehovah that the Jew considered as the God of Israel.) hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2. To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; (and then that would be followed by) to comfort all that mourn;” Now, I’m going to stop there, because this is a portion of Scripture that Jesus used in the synagogue in Nazareth.
Now, remember, even though Jesus at one time told His questioners that He could not give them the day or the hour that all these things would come to finality, we know on the other hand, from His Deity side, He could have told them the exact day and hour. So, we always have to keep these things straight that never take away from His Deity. He was the God of Creation. In His earthly ministry He could have spoken one word and just as much could have happened as it did in the beginning. He had never laid aside His Deity. He had merely laid aside His Glory.
So, when they asked a question, yes, from his human side, He could not answer it. Never forget that in John’s Gospel, chapter 14, when the disciples were questioning him and Philip, you remember, said, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” What was Jesus’ answer? “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen (who?) the Father;…” So, what does that tell you? Well, from the Father aspect of His Triune relationship, He could have given the exact day and hour.
All right, it is so obvious as we turn to Luke chapter 4. I want you to keep your hand in Isaiah 61, because we’re going to flip back and forth now and see how beautifully all of this fits together. I don’t intend to get it all done in this half-hour. We may have to spill over into the next program in order to cover all this, but we’re going to take it slowly and surely. I don’t care if it takes all four programs. We’ll take whatever time it takes. Luke chapter 4 and we’ll drop right in at verse 16.
“And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, (His hometown) where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, (the seventh day Sabbath. Now, I always have to remind folks that in Christ’s earthly ministry He lived under the Law. He never abrogated it in one way or another.) and stood up for to read.” In other words, that was their prerogative in synagogue. If somebody had something to say or something they wanted to read, they would just stand up and be recognized. So, this is what Jesus does. He stands up to read.
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. (Which, of course, He must have asked for. Now, when I say must have, there are times in Scripture where you have to read between the lines. It can’t tell you every detail, so you read between the lines. So, He must have requested the Book of Isaiah.) And when he had opened the book, (Which was really a scroll, not a book as we understand.) he found the place where it was written.” Now, again, what does that indicate? Well, He looked for it. He didn’t just open the Book of Isaiah and start reading. He knew exactly what He wanted to read at this particular time. So, he’s going to read and quote directly from what we just read in Isaiah 61 verses 1 and 2, and He reads:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;…” Now, here’s where I always have to stop. What Gospel was Jesus preaching in His earthly ministry? Well, not our Gospel of Grace. He hadn’t died yet! He couldn’t preach faith in His death, burial, and resurrection. It hadn’t happened.
Nobody knew it was going to happen except God Himself. So, now back up with me to Matthew. Keep your hand in Luke! Keep your hand in Isaiah! We’ll try to keep them all together. Back up with me to Matthew chapter 9. The Scripture is explicit, and yet most of Christendom refuses to see the difference. Matthew chapter 9, verse 35, now your Bible says it just as well as mine, so it’s not something I’ve dreamed up. It’s in the Book.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, (See how Jewish this is?) and preaching the gospel of the (Grace of God? No! The what?) kingdom,…” He uses that same term again, now turn ahead with me to Matthew 24, when He is referring to the future time, the seven years of Tribulation when the 144,000 Jews will go around the world and perform evangelism like the Church has never dreamed of. They will finally fulfill the Great Commission, to “go into all the world;” they’ll do it. But again they’re not going to be preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, Jesus Himself tells us differently – Matthew 24 verse 14. If you’ve got a red-letter edition, it’ll be in red. He’s the One that is saying it. Matthew 24 verse 14, and He’s talking about the Tribulation. The whole chapter is Tribulation ground. So, now He comes to verse 14.
“And this gospel of the kingdom (See how plain that is? Just exactly the same term that He used in Matthew chapter 9.) shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then (what?) shall the end come..” Well, sure, the Gospel of the Kingdom will come back into the picture, once the Gospel of Grace has run its course in this Age of Grace. When we’re taken out of the way, then the Gospel of the Kingdom will pick back up again just like it was in Jesus’ day. It will be proclaimed during the seven years of Tribulation. By the time that seven years is over, those 144,000 Jews, with supernatural power and ability, will have indeed covered every tongue and tribe and dialect on the planet. Revelation tells us they will.
Okay, now then, come back with me to Luke chapter 4 and here we have Jesus, again under the Law, reading from Isaiah in the synagogue. He says, as He reads from Isaiah:
“…because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Then what did He do?) 20. And he closed the book, (scroll) and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. (All right, don’t stop there. Let’s read on.) And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” Now, I like to stretch that a little, if I may. They weren’t just fastened, they were what? They were staring at Him. I imagine He could almost feel those eyes staring at Him, as what kind of an individual was this that could do what He had just done? Most people don’t know what He did. Well, I’m going to show you in just a minute. All right, so now, when He realized that they were almost shook up, He stood up again now in verse 21.
“And he began to say unto them, This day (Speaking in His generalized first advent, these three years of His earthly ministry.) is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Now, watch what that says. That Scripture was what? “Fulfilled.”
Everything that He had just read out of Isaiah, He had now accomplished in those few years of His earthly ministry. All right, now let’s go back to Isaiah 61 and see what He did that shook up the Jews in that Synagogue. Again, you’ve got to compare, so keep your hand in Luke and flip back and forth. Isaiah 61 again and we won’t read it all, but I’m just going to jump up to verse 2, to the closing words of what He read in the synagogue before He closed the scroll and sat down.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, (That’s where He stopped and sat down.) and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” Now, goodness, if you have any knowledge of Scripture whatsoever, you know that the rest of that verse didn’t happen within the next few days after He spoke. In fact, it hasn’t happen yet, but it will someday, and we think we’re getting close.
But His was the progression of prophecy. After He had come at His first advent, and as we read so often from Romans chapter 15 verse 8, I won’t have you look at it, because I’ve used it so often most of you should know it as well as I do. “Now I say that Jesus Christ was (past tense. Now that’s Paul writing in about 60 AD, after the fact.) a minister of the circumcision (Who are the circumcision? Israel!) for the truth of God, (It wasn’t something Paul dreamed up. Then what does the rest of the verse say?) to confirm (fulfill) the promises made unto the fathers.”
Well, what’s He telling us? Christ came to fulfill all the prophetic promises that had been written up through the Old Testament time. This is why He calls it, “the acceptable year of the LORD.” Israel should have known who He was. How many times haven’t you heard me say that? Especially when I teach I Corinthians. Israel should have known. Israel could have known who He was. Why didn’t they know? Their unbelief. It was their acceptable time. He presented Himself with His valid credentials of miracles and signs and wonders. Israel should have been able to get it, but they refused.
It’s just like most of Christendom today. They’re not blind because they can’t help it. They’re blind because they don’t want to be any different. They don’t want to see the truth. “Just leave me alone. I’m comfortable.” Well, Israel was the same way. They were blinded in their unbelief.
All right, now in order to make my point, I’ve got my board set now for my timeline. I can come up here and just rehearse from the Old Testament view. I want you to just stay focused on our top timeline, coming out of the Old Testament and all these prophecies of Moses back in the Torah. Then, beginning with the Psalms and we’re going to look at that in just a moment. Psalms is full of prophecies. In fact, Psalms 2 is the outline of human history. Now, these Old Testament prophets couldn’t understand it. It was beyond them, and we’ll show you that in just a minute. As a result of all of these prophecies of a King and a Kingdom, Christ came and began His three years of earthly ministry, signs, wonders, and miracles. Then what happened? Israel rejected it all, and they demanded His death. Of course, you know here’s another thing that people just don’t realize – Christ had to be lifted up. Didn’t He? “As the serpent was in the wilderness, so Christ had to be lifted up.”
Now, what was the official means of executing the Jewish people? What was the official death? Stoning. Well, you see, if you stone someone you can’t lift him up like the serpent in the wilderness. So, you see, it couldn’t be left to the Jews to bring about His death. But the Romans, for a couple of hundred years, had been using this system of execution called crucifixion. So, this is according to God’s Divine purposes. Israel demanded it, but they couldn’t carry it out, because it wouldn’t be the right kind of death. So, Rome is brought into it and the Jews and Rome together bring about, not only His death, but also a death whereby He was lifted up and would draw all men unto Him.
All right, so you bring about the crucifixion, a supernatural act of God to fulfill His blueprint for the ages. All right, after He’s rejected there are forty days to prove, again, His resurrection life, and then He ascended back to glory. Now, according to all of our Old Testament, as we’re going to be seeing throughout the afternoon, the next event on the prophetic program was the Tribulation. The seven years of horror and God’s wrath and vexation to be followed by, as Isaiah has been showing over and over, after the judgment would always be what? The blessings. That’s been over and over. But now, this is the final one. So, after the horrors of God’s chastisement and His wrath, especially on the Nation of Israel, Christ would return and bring in the glory of the Kingdom.
Now, what’s missing? Well, we find it down on the second line, that contrary, or without any knowledge of the Old Testament prophecies, there is not one word of prophecy concerning the out-calling the Body of Christ, or what we call the Church Age, which is being completed as we speak. But, we’ll leave that for a later half-hour. Let’s stay on this top line which is all Israel. We did this when we started the little Book of James, but that’s a long time ago already.
Now, I’m going to do something that we haven’t done for a long time, to better understand what happened in Isaiah 61. I’m going to take you back to Psalms chapter 2. I can see already that we’re not going to get very far in this half-hour, but Psalms chapter 2 is what I call an almost perfect outline of this Old Testament prophetic program. That’s the best way I can put it. All of these Old Testament prophesies, looking forward to the crucifixion and the ascension; it’s all back there. Then would come the horrors of the Tribulation, then Christ returns and He would set up His glorious Kingdom. All right, Psalms chapter 2 puts it in a nutshell. It helps us understand other portions of Scripture that may not designate every aspect of this but only some of them. All right, Psalms chapter 2, we’ll read the whole first part of the chapter, starting at verse 1.
“Why do the heathen (the non-Jewish world) rage, and the people (That is the Nation of Israel.) imagine a vain thing?” Now, you’ve got the whole human race involved. You’ve got the non-Jewish world, the ‘heathen,’ and you’ve got Israel. As far as Scripture is concerned, those are the two major categories of the human race – Israel and the Gentiles.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, (in their pomp and their circumstance) and the rulers (Israel. Their religious leaders) take counsel (What’s the next word?) together, against the LORD,…” What do they call that now? Multilateralism? Well, anyhow, when they all get their heads together – you’ve already got it in Scripture. So, the Jewish leaders and the leaders of the Roman Empire decide together to put this innocent man to death. So they:
“…take counsel together, against the LORD, (Now, this is a prophecy concerning His rejection and His crucifixion, remember.) and against His anointed, (that is to be the Messiah of Israel) saying, 3. Let us break their bands asunder,…” Now, here’s the little tidbits of Scripture that I know most people miss. Why the pronoun “their” when it’s talking to God, or speaking of God, rather. Well, because you see, God is a plurality. God is a Triune God, so when we refer to Him honestly, it has to be in the plural pronoun. So, this is why it is. The world says, let us break God’s bands asunder, but God is plural, so the pronoun is “their.”
“…and cast away their cords from us.” What are they saying? We don’t want God ruling in our affairs. We don’t want Him in our business. You know what? It hasn’t changed a bit. Do you realize that the European Union’s new constitution, contrary to all the efforts of the Pope and various other Christian leaders in Europe, has not one word of reference to God or Christianity. They don’t want God in their business. Well, things haven’t changed a bit. It was no different back here with Rome and Israel. They wanted nothing to do with Him. Now, verse 4, and because of man’s foolishness:
“He (GOD) that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” That’s what it says. God will sit in the heavens laughing. It will not be a laugh of amusement. There’s nothing funny about all this, but it’s a laugh of what? Scorn. And ridicule. The foolishness of men!
Okay, so here’s the whole picture. As Rome and Israel come together and consort together to get rid of this representative of the Deity, they bring about the crucifixion. So, we can’t blame the Jew alone. We can’t blame Rome alone. It took both sides of the question to bring it all about. Well, we’ll pick it up in our next half-hour.
LESSON TWO * PART II
THE STAGE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY
ISAIAH 61:1 – 10
All right, again, we always like to thank our listening audience for all of your prayer support, your financial, everything. We couldn’t do it without you. Whether your gifts are one dollar or more doesn’t matter, the Lord uses the small as much as the great. It’s enough that we can pay the bills, and that’s all we’re concerned about. When the girls come in and tell me the bills are all paid and we’ve got a little left in the checking account, that’s all that matters. So, keep praying for the ministry, because the Lord is reaching a lot of hearts! My goodness, you ought to read our mail!
All right, let’s go right back where we left off in our last half-hour. We started off in Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus read from that portion in Luke 4:18-19, but He did something unusual by stopping in the middle of a verse. We’re picking up the meanings of all of these various verses and how we can split them when they end with His first advent and the rest of the verse is pushed out into the future. All right, so instead of starting in Isaiah 61, we’re going to go right back to Psalms 2, where we left off in our last half-hour. We’re showing how Psalms 2 is a beautiful outline of the whole Old Testament program. That’s the best word I can put on it. It’s just laid out in that chapter.
All right, we’re going to go back, and for just a little quick review we’ll start with verse 1 of chapter 2 of Psalms. Remembering what we just said a few moments ago, that here we have the bringing together of the Gentile and the Jewish authorities to bring about the crucifixion.
“Why do the heathen (the non-Jew) rage, and the people (Israel) imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth (in this case, Rome) set themselves, and the rulers (of Israel) take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying” You know how they did it, even as we reflect back on the movie “The Passion of the Christ.”
“Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Or God’s leadership. They didn’t want it. Then verse 4 is God’s response from Heaven. It was that He sat and laughed a laugh of derision.
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.” After they’ve rejected the Messiah and put Him to death, this is the next step in the Old Testament prophetic program.
“Then (the next event) shall he speak unto them (Jew and Gentile) in his (what?) wrath,…” Now, that’s the exact opposite from grace. So, what are we talking about? Well, we’re talking about those seven years of Tribulation that was to follow.
Now, we’ve got my timeline back up here and we’re going to stay on this top line. After His three years of ministry, He’s crucified. He ascends back to glory. Now, according to all these references that we’re going to look at, the next thing to happen was the Tribulation. They had no idea that there was going to be a two thousand-year interruption, which is coming to a close even as we speak. Nobody had any idea of that. They were just looking for the Tribulation to come, ending with the Second Coming, and then would come in the 1000 year Kingdom Age. All right, now look at it here. After He’s crucified then He would:
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” Which will be the Tribulation. But it doesn’t stop there. The next verse is the next segment of the prophetic program. What is it? The Kingdom.
“Yet I have set my king (When Christ will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s. That’s all according to prophecy.) upon my holy hill of Zion.” Now, isn’t that exactly what all of prophecy is talking about? When Christ would return and bring in a Kingdom that would cover the whole planet. You can just come on down through this little Psalms 2 and it makes reference to how God the Son will rule, like in verse 8.
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee (that is the Son, I will give you) the heathen for thine inheritance,…” So, He’s not going to be just the ruler of Israel. He’s going to rule the whole world.
Now, a verse is coming to mind, and I’ve got to turn to them when they come to mind. Keep your hand in Psalms and jump all the way up to Zechariah, chapter 14. We’ll be coming to it later, but I want this verse right now.
“Behold the day of the LORD cometh, (that’s the Tribulation, the seven years) and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. (Now, here’s Armageddon) 2. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;…” Then, verse 3:
“Then shall the LORD go forth, (His Second Coming) and fight against those nations,…” Now, verse 4 is in perfect accord with Acts chapter 1 when the angel told the eleven, “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner….” You know how I always put that. How did He leave the Mount of Olives? Head first. Like a rocket! He just went up. Now, what does Zechariah say? He’s going to come back the same way He left. What does that mean? He’s going to come back feet first! It’s simple! He’s going to return to the same place from which He left.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,…” Same Mount of Olives that’s there today. All right, now just for the sake of time, skip all the way over to verse 9. This is the verse that I want you to see.
“And the LORD (God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth) shall be (Now, this is prophecy. Future.) king over (how much) all the earth:” Not just Israel. It’s going to be an earthly kingdom that will encompass the whole planet. But, it’s going to rule from Jerusalem.
Okay, now back to Psalms chapter 2. Here comes the Old Testament program. The Messiah would come. He’d be rejected. Then would come God’s wrath, and vexation, the seven years of Tribulation. Now, we don’t pick up the seven-year timetable until you get to Daniel chapter 9. Then, it’s laid out very plain. Seven years divided in half, three-and-a-half and three-and-a-half. Then, you get to the Book of Revelation and it is the same thing, three-and-a-half. It is three-and-a-half and three-and-a-half, – over and over. That’s the compiled seven years of Tribulation. All right, now reading on, in verse 6 again, just like Zechariah said.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Verse 8, which we just looked at.
“Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen (the non-Jewish world) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” See that? His rule is going to encompass the whole planet.
“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Then, come down to verse 11.
“Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12. Kiss the Son,…” God the Son. Now, let’s look again at Isaiah 61; so that we can see without a shadow of doubt what He did. Then we’ll come back to Psalms and see how we can do the same thing. In fact, I like to use that portion in Luke to give me, this humble mortal, the authority to do what Jesus did. What did He do? He showed in the Scriptures that part of a verse was fulfilled at His first coming, the rest is still future. That’s what we’re going to do in these next few moments. So, Isaiah 61 again, verse 2. As all part of His first advent, He came:
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,…” What does that mean? Israel had every opportunity to believe who He was and accept Him as their King and His glorious Kingdom. It was their year of acceptance. But what’d they do? They rejected it in unbelief. But it was their opportunity. So, it’s called the “acceptable year of the Lord.” Remember in Luke chapter 4 where Jesus stopped reading when He was in the synagogue in Nazareth. Why did He stop? Because He knew that this part of the prophetic program was not going to be fulfilled according to what everybody thought.
This is why all of this period of time from His first advent until you might say the end of the Kingdom Age in Scripture is called what days? “The last days.” Because according to the Old Testament program, it was all to be wound up in a matter of a few years plus the thousand, with no hint of the two thousand-year interval we are now in. Later we’ll come to this 2000-year interval. All we’re looking at right now is – what did the Old Testament foretell. The crucifixion – His death, burial, and resurrection of course, but not with any salvation significance, which you and I must believe in our hearts today to have eternal life.
Then He would go back to the Father. Then would come the…, now how does Isaiah put it in the last part of verse 2?
“…and the day of vengeance of our God;…” See how plain that is? That is right in accordance with Psalms chapter 2.
Isaiah says the same thing. That after Christ is rejected then would come wrath and vexation (the seven years of Tribulation). All right, and then what would follow that?
“…to comfort all that mourn;” When is that going to happen? When the Kingdom is set up. When that glorious Kingdom comes on earth and there’ll be no poor folk. There’ll be no sorrow. There’ll be no suffering. There’ll be no death. It’s going to be a glorious earthly Kingdom. That’s why it’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom. It’s going to be Heaven on earth. All of the Old Testament talks about it. That’s why Israel was so remiss in rejecting it. All right, they rejected Him at His first coming. It was to be followed with the wrath and vengeance of God, and that in turn would be followed with His Second Coming and His glorious Kingdom. All right, now come back to Psalms again, and we’re going to jump up to Psalms 118. We can do this on every one of these portions. You can split what happened at His first coming and what is left to happen yet in the future.
Psalms 118 is a little different reference but it all ties in with the Messiah’s relationship with His earthly people. Psalms 118 and we’ll drop down for sake of time to verse 22. Now, some of you have done this with me before. Some of you may not have. It is the same way on television. I’m sure way, way back I did this once before, but it doesn’t hurt to do it again.
“The stone which the builders refused…” Now, all through Scripture, what’s that a reference to? Christ’s first coming and they rejected Him.
We like to use the analogy that as they were building the temple here comes the stone they wouldn’t be ready for until the temple was almost ready to be completed. So, what’d they do with it? They threw it out in the weeds. It was rejected. They didn’t know what to do with it. But, what did that stone become? A stone of stumbling. That’s what Christ has been to Israel ever since. He’s the Stone of stumbling. All right, back to verse 22.
“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” Well, He’s not the headstone of the corner for Israel today. But when will He be? When He returns and sets up the kingdom. Then that glorious Kingdom will be the finality of all of these promises. So, we can split that verse right after the word ‘refused.’ That’s His first advent, they rejected Him. The rest is still future. He’s going to be the Head of the corner, but He hasn’t been as yet.
All right, now let’s jump up to Isaiah chapter 9. We can do the same thing, and this is what makes Bible study interesting, how it all fits. Now, it may not all say the same things. Some may refer to part of the promise and some another part, but you tie them all together and it’s a complete picture.
“For unto us…” And again I’m always a stickler for pronouns. Who are the ‘us’? Israel. This isn’t talking to Gentiles. Isaiah writes to Israel. Now, we take benefit. Don’t tell me that I’m telling you to throw it out. No! No! We get all kinds of benefit from it, but it’s not written to us. It’s written to Israel.
“For unto us (the Nation of Israel) a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government (What government? This coming Kingdom) shall be upon his shoulder:…” Whose shoulder? The Babe that’s just been mentioned – Jesus of Bethlehem, later on of Nazareth. All right, it’s the same One. Now we have His name of Deity.
“…the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name (along with all the other names of Deity) shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The (What?) Mighty God, (The next one really throws a curve at people. God the Son is called what?) The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Now verse 7, this is all a reference to His coming earthly Kingdom.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,…” Now, where did David rule from? Jerusalem! Mount Zion. Next March we’re going to Jerusalem, if the Lord tarries and everything goes well, and we will be on Mount Zion. We’ll be at David’s tomb. Those of you going with us, it’s a thrilling experience. We’re going to be there, Lord willing. His government is going to rule from the place of David’s throne.
“…to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” All right, now where can we split it? Verse 6, right after, “Unto us a Son is given.” That’s His first advent. That’s when He was born in Bethlehem and grew up and began His earthly ministry. Now, the last part of this prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled, yet. It’s still future. These names don’t apply to Him today. Oh, He’s worthy of them, but that’s not His title today. He’s not being called the Counselor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, so far as His title is concerned. But this is all part and parcel of His return and the establishing of His Kingdom. So, if you want to put a dash in there and a parenthesis in there to indicate the first advent separated from the second advent, you just put it right after the word “given.” That’s the end of His first advent in this particular prophecy.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: (-) and the government shall be upon his shoulder:…”
All right, now let’s just go on to the one that we looked at earlier in Isaiah 61, for a brief review to see how all this fits. We’ve got the same thing. Everything in verse 1 was associated with His first coming. He proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord in verse 2 and then put a dash in there; the rest is still future. It hasn’t happened yet. We aren’t in the day of vengeance. It may seem like it to some people, but we’re not in the Tribulation by any stretch, so you can put a dash right after the “year of the Lord,” and the rest is still future.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, (-) and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;”
All right, let’s jump up to another one of the great prophets. Let’s go to Daniel chapter 9. Of course, Daniel speaks of this glorious coming Kingdom as well, when the stone cut out without hands will crush the ruling nations of the world and establish His own Kingdom. All right, now in Daniel chapter 9 this is a beautiful example. Daniel 9 and we’ll drop down to verse 24. This is one of the portions of Scripture that I’ve always called the foundation of end-time prophecy. If you can’t understand Daniel 9 verse 24-27, then you can’t understand prophecy.
“Seventy weeks (of years, that is 490 years) are determined upon thy people (Well, who were Daniel’s people? Israel. This had nothing to do with the Gentiles. So, a 490-year period of time is determined upon the Nation of Israel.) and upon thy holy city, (Which, of course, is Jerusalem. And what’s the whole end of it all?) to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity,…” Now, did that all happen? Well, of course. That was the work of the cross, to settle the sin problem. That’s why He died. So that happened at His first advent.
“…and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Did that part happen? Well, the world doesn’t look like it to me! No, it hasn’t happened yet. That’s still future when the King and His Kingdom come. Yes, that will be total righteousness. Satan will be gone. The curse is lifted and it’s going to be glorious. So, you can just put a little dash after the word “iniquity.” That happened at His first advent, the rest hasn’t happened yet. It’s still future.
Of course, in this particular prophecy is where we get the seven years delineated. Drop all the way down to verse 27. Four hundred and eighty three years were fulfilled at the cross. That left seven years of the 490. Here they come in verse 27.
“And he shall confirm (that is this anti-Christ, this prince that’s coming) the covenant (or a treaty) with many for one week;…” Now again, common sense tells us it will be a treaty between Israel and the Arab world. That’s obvious. This man is going to bring it about supernaturally. All of a sudden the world will be aghast that there’s peace in the Middle East. But it’s only a pseudo peace. It’s only temporary. It’s only going to be three and a half years. But the whole time period is seven years. Reading on:
“And he shall confirm the covenant (or a treaty) with many for one week: (seven years – Those are the last seven years of the 490 year prophecy.) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,….” Well, how can you stop something that hasn’t started? So, what does that tell you? The temple is going to be rebuilt. That’ll be part of the peace treaty, that Israel will have opportunity to rebuild their temple. They’re going to reestablish temple worship, the sacrifices, the whole nine yards. You know there is a group ready right now in Jerusalem. They’ve got everything on mannequins. They’ve got all the tools for the sacrificial fire. They’re ready and waiting, and we know that one day they’re going to have it.
But, at the end of three and a half years the anti-Christ will turn on Israel. As Jesus confirmed it in Matthew 24 again, the anti-Christ is going to defile the temple and turn on Israel, and, of course, the rest of the world is going to fall under that wrath and vexation. But here we have, then, the final seven years as we depicted on both lines. This was supposed to come shortly after His ascension in Acts chapter 1, according to prophecy. In would come these final seven years, and then Christ would return and bring in the Kingdom. You find this all the way through the Old Testament writings.
All right, let’s go a little further. We’ve got a couple of minutes left, yet. Go on past Daniel and go into Joel chapter 2. Here, again, is a beautiful picture of the whole prophetic program, and yet how easy it is to delineate where it stopped and where it’ll pick up again in the future.
“And it shall come to pass…” That’s what the Word of God says. How do these men have the gall, then, to say that it’s not going to? It’s beyond me. I have to go back to what the Apostle Paul says, “They’re doing it to their own (what?) destruction. To their own doom.” God said it’s going to happen. And it’s going to.
“It shall yet come to pass afterward, (That is after He’s been rejected and crucified.) that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; (Well, now wait a minute, when did that happen? Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came down) and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (Now this is a prophecy concerning Israel.) 29. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” Now, that all happened at Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost, when they had the little tongues of fire sitting on their heads and they prophesied. All right, so that was all associated with His first coming, or His first advent. Now verse 30. Just like Psalms 2. Just like Daniel 9. We go right on into the horrors of the Tribulation. Verse 30:
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,…” Has that ever happened? No, that hasn’t happened. Is it going to? Well, you’d better believe it! The world scoffs at it, but it’s coming. Judgment is coming, and all these things depicted are literally, physically going to happen.
All right now, verse 32 and unless you really know what the Kingdom’s going to be like you won’t catch it, but this is a reference to the Kingdom where all of a sudden God’s grace will be showered on the whole human race. Not just on Israel, it’s going to be on the whole human race. Verse 32:
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered:…” That’s when all the promises that Jesus spoke of, in the Gospel accounts especially, will become a reality. You remember in John’s Gospel when it said, “whatsoever you ask it shall be done unto you.” This is when it’s going to be – when the King and His Kingdom become a reality.
LESSON TWO * PART III
THE STAGE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY
ISAIAH 61:1 – 10
Okay, once again it’s good to have everybody back. You’ve all had your coffee and goodies. For you folks out in television that’s what you miss. You ought to be in here having a time of fellowship along with being fed from the Word. But again, we just appreciate so many of you writing words of encouragement. Every once in a while, I’ll have to tell somebody that calls, “You just made my day!” Because, well, we just never receive any bad phone calls. We don’t get any bad letters. I just praise the Lord for that because everybody is receiving all this with open hearts. It just thrills us that so many of you have had your lives changed.
Okay, for those of you in the studio as well as you in television, we’re in our trek through Isaiah. We are up to Isaiah 61, which, of course, has triggered these last couple of programs. We’re going to do the same thing with this one. But, for sake of anybody who may have just tuned in today for the first time, we are examining – why did Jesus stop in the middle of the verse when He read from Luke chapter 4 in the synagogue in Nazareth?
So, in Isaiah 61, for a quick reminder, this is what Jesus read. We also have it recorded in Luke 4.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2. To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,…” That’s where he stopped in Luke chapter 4 – right in the middle of the verse. And, of course, that’s why the Jews were aghast and stared Him down. Consequently, He stood up then and said, “This has been fulfilled in your ears.” He knew that the rest of those statements would not happen for another 2000 years or more. That’s why, with His knowledge of the Deity, He could do that.
Now, in a little bit we’re going to come to Peter doing the same thing, but he doesn’t have the wherewithal, the knowledge that Christ had, to stop where he should have stopped. Peter takes it all the way to the end of the prophecy, thinking, of course, that the timeline of the Old Testament prophecies was going to keep right on going. All right, so here’s the whole concept of these last couple of programs, how we can take prophetic Scriptures and show, graphically, how the first part was fulfilled at His first coming. The rest has been pushed out into the future. But, these people didn’t know that. They were expecting all this to happen in their lifetime.
Of course, we pointed that out specifically when we taught the little Jewish epistles of James and Peter and John. There’s not a word in those epistles of a long 2000-year period of time until Christ would return. They thought it was going to happen in their lifetime. So, this is where the Lord was unique in all the other revelations of Scripture. He knew these things could not be fulfilled until a 2000-year period went by, which we think is fast approaching the end.
All right, now in our last half-hour program, we were in Joel chapter 2. Let’s go back there a minute because this is the portion that Peter quotes in Acts chapter 2. I think it is. We’ll have to go look. But anyway, let’s start where we stopped in Joel chapter 2. Between verses 29 and 30 you can put your dash, or a break of some kind, because 28 and 29 were fulfilled at His first advent, especially on the day of Pentecost. Then verses 30, 31, and 32 are still future. They haven’t been fulfilled yet. All right, look at the graphic difference in verse 30.
“And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” It hasn’t happened yet, but it will, when the Tribulation comes in.
All right, now let’s jump all the way up to Zechariah, again, where we were a little bit ago, but now in chapter 9. Zechariah is a tremendous book of prophecy. It’s just loaded. Now this, again, is so easily dissected. My, you don’t have to be a rocket-scientist to see what it’s talking about. This was written and spoken years before it happened. But we know it happened.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; (Who’s he talking to? Jews. Not Gentiles. This is all prophecy concerning Israel.) shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy (What?) King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly,…” Or humble. See, that’s why it was said in the four gospel accounts – “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Why, because it was such a humble place. There weren’t any of the elite of Israel living in Nazareth. They had quartered in Jerusalem. So, He came from humble beginnings.
“…lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Or the foal of a donkey. This is as lowly as you can get. Did it happen? Of course it did! That was the day of His triumphal entry. It was more or less the end of His first advent. All right, read on into verse 10. Now we jump into the next event, which would be the Tribulation.
“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: (That speaks of war and killing. That’s the Tribulation. Then the rest of the verse, what’s next?) and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” You see what I’m talking about? Clearly Zechariah prophesies concerning His first advent, but he ties it right to the Tribulation and the Kingdom that would follow. There was no idea that there would be a long time frame in between.
All right, let’s jump into the New Testament, and let’s jump all the way up to Luke chapter 1. I use these verses quite often. Some of you may almost begin to say, “Why, goodness, can’t he remember that he’s already used these?” No, I don’t forget very easily, but these are so apropos for this very reason again of showing that Israel was looking for a King and a Kingdom.
All right, Luke chapter 1 and we’ll drop in at verse 64. You remember the backdrop. Zacharias, the priest, had been stricken and was unable to speak as soon as Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist. So, for nine months he has been unable to speak. As soon as he announced, by writing it on a tablet, that the baby’s name was John, they were all amazed. Look in verse 63. Now, in verse 64 this priest, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist:
“And his mouth was opened immediately, (supernaturally) and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came upon all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.” In other words, just like any other society, rumors started going, “Have you heard what happened to that priest up there at the temple? Man, he’s been unable to speak for nine months and as soon as the baby is born, he’s got his voice!” Boy, it was just topic for gossip, and it went all through the hill country of Judea.
“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. 67. And his father (this priest) Zacharias was (what?) filled with the Holy Spirit,…” This isn’t something waiting for Pentecost. He already had been filled with the Spirit and in that Spirit power this is what he reveals, and it’s not just wishful thinking Jews.
“…and prophesied, saying, (Now watch this.) 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, (All the Old Testament had been foretelling this.) which have been since the world began: 71. That we (the nation) should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” Now, that isn’t sin, but enemies. Well, who are Israel’s enemies? It is the same Arab world that is their enemies today. No different. That’s what the hope was – that when their King would come they would be able to withstand all the pressure from the Arab world.
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; (What covenant?) 73. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, (Here’s what it was.) 74. That he would grant unto us, (the Jewish people) that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him (that is their Messiah) without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Well, you see, he had no idea that the Kingdom was going to be interrupted for 2000 years or more.
All right, I think I’m ready to go all the way over to the Book of Acts. I’ll show you how Peter was so ignorant of these things that he didn’t have the wherewithal to stop in the middle of the prophecy like he should have. He didn’t know any better. He was under the impression that this top line was going to keep unfolding. Christ had now been crucified. He’d gone back to glory. Now in would come the Tribulation. Christ would return, and they could have the Kingdom.
So, in Acts chapter 2 starting in verse 16, here is where Peter reveals the Old Testament program again. But he didn’t have the wherewithal that Jesus had to stop in the right place.
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Now, see how plain that is? What’s Peter saying? You have seen Joel’s prophecy fulfilled on this day of Pentecost.) 17. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:” See, Peter didn’t know, as Jesus did in Luke chapter 4 when He sat down, that verse 19 and following would not take place in the near future.
Now, remember what I told you in the last program? According to Scripture, the “last days” began with Christ’s first advent and carry all the way through to the Kingdom. Not as we look at them as the “latter days,” but the “last days” were according to the prophetic program. There was only going to be three years of His earthly ministry, probably a short time in between, then seven years of the Tribulation. That’s a total of ten to the Second Coming and then would come the Kingdom. That’s all they understood. You can tell that or Peter would have stopped after verse 18 that we just read.
Now, lest you think I’m belaboring that point. Keep your hand in Acts, but I always, at a time like this, go to I Peter. I Peter is the little epistle written probably about the same time that Paul is writing his church epistles. Probably around 60-61 AD. He’s writing to Jews, remember. He’s writing according to verse 1.
I Peter 1:1
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” So, those were Jews who had been scattered because of Saul of Tarsus’ persecution. All right, now verse 10, and this just says it all.
I Peter 1:10a
“Of which salvation the prophets (See, there again is a reference to the Old Testament writers.) have inquired (What does that mean? They asked questions that they couldn’t answer, so they…) and searched diligently,…” What were they searching? All those Old Testament prophets, trying to put this thing together. There were certain little tidbits that they could get a little bit, but nothing ever jelled.
I Peter 1:10b-11
“…who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them (that is in the prophets as they wrote) did signify, when it (or He, the Holy Spirit) testified beforehand (Now, here it is. The Holy Spirit was revealing in a veiled way all through the Old Testament.) the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Now, do you see that? All the Old Testament had been talking about the suffering Messiah.
But on the other hand, it was also talking about His ruling and reigning over a glorious Kingdom. They couldn’t put the fact together that it’d be one and the same Messiah. Some of the rabbis actually concocted the idea that there would have to be two Messiahs. They went back to the naming of little Benjamin when Rachael was dying. You remember that as she was breathing her last breath she said, “His name shall be Benoni,” which meant “the Son of my Suffering.” But Jacob overruled and said that no, his name will be Benjamin, which in the Hebrew meant the Son of Strength and Power.
So, the rabbis say there are two different names, there must evidently going to be two Messiahs, a suffering Messiah and a ruling Messiah. They couldn’t put the whole act together that He would be one and the same, that He would suffer and die, be resurrected, go back to glory, and come again. They couldn’t figure it out. All right, when we point these things out, don’t think they were especially short of brain power or anything like that. No, they weren’t supposed to understand. God veiled it for His own purposes.
All right, now I think we can pretty much go back now to Isaiah 61 and continue on. The prophecy of what will follow after the Tribulation has run its course and Christ will return and bring in this glorious earthly Kingdom, promised all the way up through the prophets. The suffering is past and now the next thing is the ruling and reigning Messiah. All right, back to Isaiah 61 and jump in again at verse 3.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes,…” Now, we use that term even in our English vernacular. What does it mean? To have something that is as unattractive as a pile of ashes suddenly become something as beautiful as a rose in full bloom. What’s the picture? When the world comes out of the horrors of the Tribulation, it’s going to be ashes, but it’s not going to stay that way.
Now, this is a good time to jump up with me to Jeremiah, chapter 25. We’ve used these verses at least in some of our Oklahoma classes. Now, if you’ve got a little imagination whatsoever, you can see that this is the ashes that’s going to be the result of those seven years of wrath and vexation coming on the planet.
Now, I read a lot. I think you all know that. I’m amazed at how many intellectual people, if they know anything of this at all, scorn it. They just ridicule it. There’s nothing bad ever going to happen. They talk in terms of what’s going to be going on in four, five, six hundred years from now. Well, I’ve got news for them. They may be intellectuals. They may have degrees. They may think they’re the elite. But this little old farmer knows a lot more than they do, because I can go according to the Book. This is what’s coming, because this is what your Bible says.
Turn to Jeremiah chapter 25 verse 30. Now, don’t scoff at this. Don’t just shrug this off and say this is just some disgruntled prophet. No, this is inspired by the Spirit of God and even though we’re not going to be here, and we don’t have to worry about it happening to us, yet it’s for us to know to warn people that it’s coming. All I have to say if they have any doubt is aren’t they listening to the news? Aren’t they reading the news? What is the uppermost thought in the nations of the world today? Weapons of mass destruction. That’s all they’re thinking about. That’s all they’re talking about.
Russia has now announced that they’re coming out with a greater nuclear weapon than anything else that’s in the world. Well, what do they hope to do with it? Iran. They want to produce nuclear weapons. What are they going to do with them? Just as soon as somebody drops one anywhere, somebody else is going to retaliate, and it’ll be a domino effect. God isn’t going to allow it to happen. He’s going to do it. But it’s coming. All the weapons of mass destruction are going to be used, but in God’s time. All of these diseases that the world is worried about, they’re coming. All of the extraterrestrial things, it’s all coming, because God is going to make this planet ashes out of which He can bring in the beauty of His Kingdom. All right, here are the ashes.
“Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD (Jehovah, Israel’s God) shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; (Second Coming. When He’s going to return.) He shall mightily roar upon his habitation; (That is this planet.) He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, (Now, I’ll come back to this when we get into the later chapters of Isaiah, probably next month’s taping.) against all the inhabitants of the earth.” Not just Israel, but every human being that’s still living will fall under this wrath of a righteous God.
“A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth;…” Now, I don’t know how you interpret that, but I think it’s real simple. Nuclear bombs exploding completely around the planet. Now, you talk about a domino effect. That’s what’s going to happen. As soon as somebody drops a nuclear bomb on one place, somebody else is going to retaliate. It’s going to be, well, like the Book of Revelation puts it, it’s just going to be like a domino effect. The cities of the world are going to disappear. That’s in Revelation 17 and 18. All right, but this is the Old Testament’s view.
“…for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, (Plural) he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. (In other words, their life is going to be taken.) 32. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from coasts (borders) of the earth.” Now, what’s one of the other effects of nuclear explosion? Tremendous wind.
Remember when they dropped the little atomic bombs in Japan? They were little compared to what we’ve got today. They were just firecrackers, and yet what did they experience? Tremendous winds that even blew existing buildings down. That’s all part of it, the heat and the fire and the wind. All right, so I think this is a perfect description of how it will finally come to its end.
“And the slain of the LORD…” Why? Because He is pouring out His wrath on Christ rejecting mankind. It isn’t that He’s unfair. He has given, now, over 2000 years of grace and mercy, and they still scorn it. My, even in this Age of Grace that we feel is coming to a close, He has made salvation so available. Just by believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4. But most walk that free gift under foot.
“And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” There’ll be no funeral services. They won’t even be gathered. The undertakers won’t have to grin one iota. There won’t be any to embalm. That’s going to be the final outpouring of God’s wrath on this planet.
All right, come back with me to Isaiah 61. So, the beauty will come out of the ashes. After God’s wrath and judgment and total destruction will come His beautiful, glorious, earthly Kingdom. All right, verse 3 again:
“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, (Now, you know Scripture refers to trees as something beautiful in God’s creation.) the planting of the LORD, that he (the Lord) might be glorified. 4. And they shall build up the old wastes, (From the destruction coming out of the Tribulation will come this glorious, new, restored planet earth.) they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. 5. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.” Now, what does that tell you? Israel has always been the downtrodden people of human history. They’ve always been the hated and the persecuted. Well, what’s going to happen here? It’s going to be totally reversed. Israel will be the apple of God’s eye. Israel is going to be the most blessed of any of the nations on earth.
Israel is finally going to inherit all those glorious promises coming up even since Moses. We’ll look at that in our next program. What did Moses prophesy? That Israel would never again be on the bottom of the totem pole. They’ll be where? They’ll be at the top. They will never again have to beg or borrow from other nations. They’re going to be the ones that will help other nations. And so all the glorious promises of Israel are still future and they’re coming.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
THE STAGE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY
ISAIAH 61:1 – 10
Okay, for those of you joining us on television, we’re just an informal Bible study. We like to teach verse by verse, most of the time comparing Scripture with Scripture. We appreciate so much that you let us know how much you’re learning. My, I’ve said it before and I guess I can say it again, the average letters say, “I’ve learned more in the last six months than in the previous forty years.” So, it is encouraging to us that the Lord is opening a lot of eyes to these things that have been hidden, for many, for a long time now.
All right, we’re going to pick up where we left off in Isaiah 61. We’re down to verse 6. This is an interesting situation now, where the prophet writes:
“But ye shall be named (shall be – Now, they aren’t yet, but they will be.) the Priests of the LORD:…” (or of Jehovah.) Priests. All right, where do you first get that? Well, come all the way back with me to Exodus chapter 19.
This is the beauty of Scripture. It all fits! Exodus 19 and just for sake of time lets go all the way back to verse 3. Now remember the setting. Israel has just come out of Egypt. They’ve come through the Red Sea, and they’re gathered at Mount Sinai. Moses has now gone up unto God.
“And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, thus shall you tell the children of Israel; (Now, here it comes.) 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, (That is, drowned them in the Red Sea.) and how I bare you (the Nation of Israel) on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself.” That is, out here into the Sinai desert.
“Now therefore, (here comes the opportunity) if (and it’s positional, it depends on what Israel does) ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, (This covenant of Law that will be coming in the next chapter. If Israel will be obedient to that.) then ye shall be a peculiar treasure (something of intrinsic value) unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” God is Sovereign. If He wants to make one nation superseding all the others, that’s His prerogative, and that’s what He’s done. He has made Israel, now, above all the other people of the world. Now verse 6:
“And ye (the Nation of Israel) shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,…” Now, those are the two key words. Israel is to be looking forward to a Kingdom in which every Jew would be a priest, or a go-between, between their God and the non-Jewish world.
Now, most people miss that, but that was Israel’s prospect. That’s why, of course, when you start immediately back there in the four gospel accounts, what does John the Baptist institute? Well, the water baptism. It has nothing to do with the church whatsoever. It’s a Jewish phenomenon. But what was the reason? To prepare every priestly Jew for his role as priest. How did every priest begin? Wash! Wash! So, it was an indication they were now a prepared priesthood of people. Not just Levi, but the whole nation was to become a kingdom of priests and a holy or set apart nation, just like Levi was in the nation of Israel. Every Jew was to become like a Levite to the nations of the world.
All right, now, if we can come back to Isaiah 61 verse 6 again. This is what the prophet is referring to, that the day will come when every Jew would become a priest of Jehovah. Reading on in verse 6.
“…men shall call you the (what?) Ministers of our God: (That’s the role of every Jew when they come into this glorious Kingdom.) ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory ye shall boast yourselves.” Now, has Israel ever been able to do that? Never! Never! My, they were the downtrodden. Their kids were kidnapped and sold for little or nothing. They’ve always been the hated and the despised people. But, oh, that’s going to turn when they finally have their Messiah ruling and reigning, “and in their glory (of the Gentiles) ye shall boast yourselves.”
Now, I guess I’ve been remiss. All afternoon we’ve had two timelines on the board, and I haven’t been referring to the second timeline, so good ol’ Jerry. You know, Jerry is the one that keeps me in line. He’s done that for the last fourteen years, I guess. Every once in a while he’ll come up and say, “Well, Les, you haven’t given the Gospel lately.” So after last program, he said, “Well now Les, you can’t let them hang on that second line without telling them what it’s for.” All right, good idea.
So, now, this is the prospect given to Israel, that they’re going to bring beauty out of the ashes of the destruction of the Tribulation, that they’re going to be priests of Jehovah when they are the favored nation and enjoying all of the promises. But, as we’ve been seeing all afternoon, we know from history this top timeline got interrupted. It didn’t keep going. The Tribulation followed by the Kingdom Age didn’t come in.
That’s what we’ve been showing by splitting these portions of Scripture, that everything is fulfilled up to a point in His first advent, and then the rest is pushed out into the future. Now, that’s the whole purpose of the bottom timeline. This bottom timeline is how the top timeline actually unfolded. After Christ ascended, instead of the Tribulation breaking out, God does just the opposite, He turns to the whole human race without Israel and opens up the windows of Heaven’s grace, for salvation, to the whole human family, as we’ll see a little later in this lesson.
All right, let’s go up into the New Testament and show how that came about. You see, all the way through the four gospels, as we’ve been showing all afternoon, God is dealing only with the nation of Israel. There is no hint of going to the Gentiles. But, Israel is rejecting and rejecting and rejecting, until finally we get to Acts chapter 7, about seven years after Pentecost. A nation-changing event takes place. The Jew, Stephen, who was part of that original group of believing Jews comprising the Jerusalem church and who now has his day in the sun proclaiming to the nation of Israel, especially the religious leaders, this whole sermon of chapter 7.
He does like the Apostle Paul did on occasion, he goes clear back into Israel’s history and revamps it and again reminds them of how God has been with the nation and how they have been constantly guilty of rejecting everything. All right, Acts, chapter 7 verse 51. I’m just recapping now to show how we funnel into this bottom timeline, and we have to let the top line go for the time being. Stephen is addressing the religious leaders of Israel.
“You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit: (which they’d done down through their history) as your fathers did, so you do. 52. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them who showed (or prophesied) the coming of the Just One;” Which is another reference how they killed the prophets over and over. They didn’t like the message, you know.
“…of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: (by crucifying their Messiah) 53. Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, (In other words, it was a supernatural revelation of God’s mind for the nation.) and have not kept it. 54. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed (turned) on him with their teeth.”
“And cast him (Stephen) out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.” Now, that’s the first inkling you have of this next major player on the stage of Biblical history. Saul of Tarsus, who hated everything pertaining to Jesus of Nazareth. All right, now chapter 8 verse 1.
“And Saul was consenting unto his (Stephen’s) death. (In fact, he was leading the persecution.) And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (Jewish assembly) which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” All right, now you have to understand the Jewish mentality concerning the Gentiles.
They detested them. They were filthy morally. They couldn’t stand their diet compared to the kosher food of Israel. So, they detested Gentiles. They didn’t want a thing to do with them. Well, of course, that’s what God had taught them all the way up through the centuries. They were to have nothing to do with those unclean Gentiles, so that was their mindset.
Now, as a result of Israel rejecting and rejecting and rejecting everything connected to these Old Testament promises, God’s going to do something totally, totally different. It was never hinted at in the Old Testament. Jesus never hinted at it in His earthly ministry, but, here, out of the blue, God saves this tormentor of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. The best way to point to the very core of the thing is in Acts chapter 9 verse 15, and this is what I call the “fork in the road.” Israel is going to go down into her dispersion in about 70 AD, and her timeline is going to be stopped and pushed out into the future. On the other end of the fork in the road is God turning to the Gentile world without Israel. Israel is not going to be a go-between. Israel is not going to have the role of Priests of Jehovah to bring in the Gentiles. But God’s plan for the Gentiles will be accomplished through the teaching of one man, the Apostle Paul.
“But the Lord said unto him, (That is Ananias, this believing Jew in Damascus.) Go thy way: for he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the (what?) Gentiles,…” Unheard of! A Jew going to Gentiles?
The only other instance was Jonah, and you all know how much Jonah wanted to go to Ninevah. He’d rather drown any day as go to those pagans, the Gentiles. Now, this is the first time, again, that God has ever said something like that – “I want to send you far hence to the Gentiles.” That’s what you have to understand. After the nation of Israel kept rejecting, God turned to the Gentiles with Paul, and as a result has now pushed the seven years of Tribulation and the 1000-year kingdom out into the future by nearly 2000 years.
So, that’s how this second timeline has been opened up to the Gospel of the Grace of God for the whole human race, calling out men, women, boys, and girls, who become members, then, of the body of Christ, which is the true Church. Not the church on the corner, necessarily, but the true believer who is a member of the body of Christ. How do you become a true member of the body of Christ? We find those glorious instructions to heaven through the teachings of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, where he tells us to, “believe in our heart that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.” PLUS NOTHING ELSE!! In fact, Paul tells us in the book of Galatians, chapter 5, that if you try to add anything else, “Christ shall profit you nothing.”
All right, now we’ve come almost 2000 years and we maintain that before God can pick up where He left off in all the prophecies and bring in the Tribulation and 1000-year Kingdom Age, the Body of Christ has to be taken out. It will not mix with Israel. It’s an impossibility. Anybody that tries to teach the Church in the Tribulation will not look at the aspect that Paul never implies that the Body of Christ has anything to do with Israel’s prophetic program. We’re insulated from it. So, this is the whole idea, now, that when the body of Christ is complete and taken out, the prophetic program will kick back into gear. Then the world will go into the Tribulation, Christ will return, and the prophetic program will conclude.
All right, that should be sufficient for now at least. Let’s go back to Isaiah 61 and try to move ahead and hopefully, in the next four programs, we can finish the book of Isaiah and move on to something new. Okay, Isaiah 61 where we just left off that Israel is to be a nation of priests in verse 6, and they’re going to enjoy all of the good things of the Gentile world, now verse 7.
“For your shame (In other words, for all of the time of their past unbelief and their disobedience.) ye shall have double; (In other words, the glory of the Kingdom is going to more than compensate for all that Israel has suffered in their unbelief.) and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. (That is the nation of Israel.) 8. For I the LORD love judgment,…” Now, you remember, I explained that word a couple of programs or tapings back, that it means a benevolent government, something that is strictly for the good of the people. That’s what the Lord loves, He loves that kind of government.
“…I hate robbery for burnt-offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”
All right, now let’s look and see what that covenant is going to imply. Jump ahead now to Jeremiah, another portion we’ve looked at over and over, through the years, but let’s look at it again. Jeremiah 31:31. Again, as you read this, remind yourself that this has never happened before. This has never happened to Israel, but it’s going to. It’s coming. Now you see, a lot of theologians try to put us under this covenant. No way! This covenant is not for the Church Age. It is for Israel, and it will come to its fruition when the Kingdom becomes reality.
“Behold, the days come,…” Now, what does that mean? You can believe it! God has said it. It’s going to happen. Now, when you look at Israel tonight, you’d say this will never, never happen. They are so secular. They are so mixed up in their theology. Even their religious leaders. My, when you read some of the stuff they write, it just doesn’t make sense. They’ve been blinded to all these things, but it’s not always going to be that way. The day is coming when they’re going to enjoy the outpouring of God’s blessings, spiritual as well as material.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel,…” Now, here’s where these ‘replacement theologians’ have to throw all these things out and say that everything has been given to the Church. So, then they try to put the Church under the covenant promises. Listen, has the Church today come to this place spiritually? Have every one of you and I here in this room; have we come to this place? Well, if you have you’re a lot better than I am because I haven’t. But it’ll come one day, for Israel. So, we’re not under this covenant. Now, we enjoy all the things that God has done to make this covenant possible, of course, but we’re not a covenant people.
“…that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake,…” In other words, it’s not going to be a covenant of Law and sacrifices and feast days and so forth. It’s going to be something far beyond that.
“But this…” This is what’s coming in Israel’s future, spiritually. Now, we’ve already seen what’s coming materially and physically – the glorious earth, the glorious production, the glorious peace and prosperity – all these things in the physical and in the material. But here’s the spiritual. This will just put the whole thing together.
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward part, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” My, what a relationship Israel is finally going to have with their Creator God.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor,…” Why? Everybody will know all there is to know. They won’t have to teach people how to keep the Law. They won’t have to memorize and be able to understand that certain things are wrong. No, it’ll be written in their hearts. They will have a relationship with their Maker like they have never enjoyed before.
“…and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me,…” There won’t have to be any evangelism. They won’t have to be out trying to win the lost. They will all have that same relationship with their God.
“…for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, (Remember, Israel has been guilty of a lot of it.) and I will remember their sin no more.” That’s what God said. Israel is finally going to come to the place where God will not have one iota of fault against them. They will be as perfect as a human race can be perfect. All right, now then, verse 35. If these people think that God is all through with Israel, then, you see, they have to throw these verses away. They have to just totally reject them, because here it is.
“Thus saith the LORD, (the Creator God) who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the LORD of Hosts is his name:” Now, here’s the promise!
“If (conditional) those ordinances depart from before me, (In other words, if the sun falls out of its place, and if the moon would fall out of its orbit, the stars would simply start coming together in a conflagration. If that would happen…) saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.”
These people try to tell us that the Jew disappeared shortly after 70 AD. But the sun still shines. The moon is still in its orbit. Everything is according to His divine plan. Nothing catastrophic has happened. Well, that being the case, then Israel is still a valid entity. Don’t you ever be taken in by this stuff, because that’s all it is. Listen, they’re coming in like a flood. I’m reading more and more how people are falling for this whole idea that God is through with the Jew, and that there is no such thing as a Rapture. There’s no Tribulation coming. There are no great catastrophic events, because, after all, God is all through with Israel. But, my Bible says – No Way!
All right, let’s go back where we were in Isaiah 61.
“And their seed…” That is their children, their coming generations. They will be having children. Now, you want to remember when I talk about the Kingdom, that this is going to be a Kingdom of mortal human beings. Men and women having children, having families. But, Israel will be the apple of God’s eye. They will be the recipients of all of these promises given to them as a nation of people. So, yes, they will be having children and families.
“And their seed (and their children) shall be known among the Gentiles, and their off- spring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.” They’re going to be so uniquely blessed that all the Gentile nations present in the Kingdom will recognize them for who they are. All right, now verse 10, this is a verse that I’ve used in various ways, where Isaiah now writes:
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He (God) hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and (as a result of those garments of salvation) he hath covered me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Now, what’s Isaiah doing? Isaiah is giving a picture of his own spiritual relationship with his Creator God, which every Jew in the Kingdom economy will enjoy. His personal testimony is a picture of Israel’s future.
Now, I think I’ve got time. Come back with me quickly to Genesis chapter 3. Here we have Adam and Eve. They’ve sinned. They’ve been separated in their fellowship with God. But God takes the step, now, to restore them back to fellowship and, of course, extend their salvation to them. All right, now remember, they’re naked, and they’ve been wearing nothing but fig leaves, which God had nothing to do with. So, He’s going to clothe them in His own way.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins,…” Now, where would He get the skins from animals? Did He skin them alive? No. They became sacrificial animals. So, here we have the blood sacrifice introduced already with Adam and Eve with that which was provided by God. All right, so the coats of skins clothed their physical nakedness, but here’s the key. Along with that, having seen their faith, the blood has now been shed, what does God do with them
“…and clothed them.” That’s not talking about the animal skins, it’s talking about His righteousness. So, for Adam and Eve, by virtue of their faith and the blood sacrifice, God clothed them with righteousness.
But you know what? He’s doing the same thing with us today. Romans 3 says that the moment we believe The Gospel of Salvation found in I Corinthians 15:1-4, what does God do? God clothes us with His righteousness!
LESSON THREE * PART I
GOD IS NOT BEING UNFAIR
ISAIAH 62:1 – 64:6
For those of you out in television, we again want to welcome you to an informal Bible study. I emphasize the informality of it because that was one of the first stipulations I laid down when the folks asked me to make a television program. I’m not going to come up here in a three-piece suit and tie. They said, “That’s fine.” So, I’m going to maintain, just like I teach my weekly Bible classes, my short sleeves and a pair of slacks, and that’s going to be sufficient. We appreciate the fact that this is what most of you are noticing.
We’re laid back. We don’t try to put on a lot of ‘whatever.’ We just want to teach the Word. I don’t want to draw any attention to myself. I want folks to simply see what the Book says. I think we’re making some headway. We’re getting a lot of response from even clerical people who are beginning to realize – as one fellow put it, he said, “Les, will the Lord ever forgive me for teaching the wrong thing for forty years?” And I said, “Well, just pray that He’ll give you a few years to teach it right.” That’s all we can hope for.
So again, for all of you out there, we thank you for your prayers, your financial help, and your letters. My, how we appreciate your letters. That’s all the compensation we need, really. Okay, we’re going to go right in and pick up where we left off. We finished Isaiah 61 in our last taping, and we’re going into chapter 62 today. We’re going to start with verse 1. I want to read a few verses, and then we’ll come back and pick them apart, as we usually do.
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.” Now, here’s one place I’d better stop and remind you, because it’s been a long time since I’ve done this. When you see the word LORD, capitalized, as it is here, all four letters L-O-R-D in capitalization, that is in reality – Jehovah. So they, more or less, used the term LORD because the Jews have such awe for the name of Yahweh, or Jehovah. Always remember that Jehovah and Christ are one and the same in personality. So, it’s God the Son. Always remember that.
There’s only one exception to that and that would be back in Psalms 2. But, otherwise, whenever you see this term LORD, it’s Jehovah and Jehovah is God the Son. I always go back to John’s Gospel to prove that, because you see, the term Jehovah was actually, literally translated the “I AM.” When you get into John’s Gospel chapter 8:48-59, when Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees, and they said who are you? You’re a demon. He says, No. I come from my Father. Then they said, Abraham? Who do you claim to be? Then what did He say? “Before Abraham was, I AM.” So, He puts the same stipulation on Himself as the term Jehovah implies – the Great I AM. So, always remember that when we come to this term LORD capitalized, it’s Jehovah, it’s God the Son in His Old Testament character.
“Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Now remember, this is all directed to the Nation of Israel. We aren’t dealing with Gentiles per se except as Israel will be the vehicle. All right, then verse 4.
“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land (see the pronoun – Israel’s land) any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: (Here’s the translation of those two terms. Hephzibah means one in whom I delight and Beulah meant married.) for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” So here we have those two. All right, now if we can go back to verse 1:
Isaiah 62 1
“For Zion’s sake…” Now, again, you know I always sort of put the onus on hymn writers, how they have totally disturbed our thinking on a lot of things. You sing the old hymn “Marching to Zion,” and you get the idea that Zion is what? Heaven. Well, Zion is not Heaven. Zion is Jerusalem. David’s throne was on Mt. Zion. Hopefully, we’ll be there in a few weeks, and we’re going to be on Mt. Zion visiting David’s tomb and so forth. It was in Jerusalem – not Heaven. So, always remember that Jerusalem and Zion are synonymous.
“For Zion’s (Jerusalem) sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake (There it’s already identified, I didn’t have to.) I will not rest, until…” That’s a time word. There’s coming a time – now you’ve got to remember Isaiah is writing 700 years before Christ, yet he’s leaping the centuries to the Second Coming when Christ will return and set up His Kingdom, and His capital will be on Mt. Zion.
“…I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness,…” Speaking of his Second Coming. Of course, it wasn’t delineated that clearly in the Old Testament, so the prophets and the seers and so forth could never figure this out. They knew there were two identities. There was a suffering Messiah and there was a glorious ruling Messiah, but how to bring them together, they had no idea.
But nevertheless, as we look back at it now, we can see how the Holy Spirit was guiding the prophets to write concerning those things that we now can understand more fully. That is the Second Coming when He sets up His Kingdom and righteousness will rule supreme from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Then reading on:
“…and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” Now that tells us then, that the Jews of the Old Testament economy understood the concept of salvation. A lot of Jews have always had the idea that just to be of the blood and the tribe and the genealogy of Abraham they didn’t have to worry, their eternal destiny was secure.
That’s never been the case. Even in Israel’s history there was always a small percentage of Jewish people who were truly believers. You remember the one I always refer to is Elijah. Elijah thought he was the only one, but what did God say? “I have seven thousand that have not bowed their knee to Baal.” But again, I have to remind you, if the average population of Israel was seven to ten million, seven thousand is only one tenth of one percent. That’s all. The other 99.9% were in abject unbelief. Even in Israel. But, the idea of salvation has always been uppermost in the eyes of God.
All right, now verse 2. Here we have a reference to the Gentiles. God isn’t speaking to them, He’s speaking to Israel concerning the future of the Gentiles.
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness,…” Now, I’m going to stop a minute. I didn’t intend to do this, Again, we’re going to go all the way up to Ephesians, because a lot of folks will be kind of quizzical on this. Well, Les, you mean to tell me that Gentiles weren’t saved all during that Old Testament time? No, for the most part they weren’t. There were exceptions, yes. But, by and large, the Gentile world was in spiritual darkness.
In order to prove my point, I’m going to go to Ephesians chapter 2, verses 11 and 12. Now, the Apostle Paul is writing here in the Prison Epistles. That puts it in the 60’s doesn’t it – 64-65 AD? Look how he puts it by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, when you hear me constantly refer to the fact that this was only for the Jews and that it wasn’t for the Gentiles except as it related to Israel, here it is. Plain English.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh,…” Physically, genetically. So, whom is Paul writing to? You and I. He’s not writing to Israel now like the prophets did. Paul is writing to Gentiles.
“…who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;” In other words, the Jew would refer to the Gentile as the uncircumcised. Now, look at verse 12, here it is.
“That at that time…” While God was dealing with Israel. From Genesis 12 until you almost get to Acts chapter 9, it’s all dealing with Israel, with a few exceptions. Don’t forget that. But here was the lot of the average Gentile.
“That at that time ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, (or Messiah) being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, (You are not citizens of the nation of Israel.) and strangers from the covenants of promise, (In other words, Gentiles had no part of the covenants that God made with Israel. They were strangers to them. Consequently, they had what?) having no hope, and without God in the world:” Now, a lot of people have trouble with that, and they say, “Well, then God wasn’t fair.” Yes, He was!
God gave the whole human race how long? Two thousand years. All the way from Adam to Abraham. None excluded. Every human being on earth had the same opportunity for salvation as the next one, and what’d they do with it? They walked it underfoot, over and over. They, in so many words said, “We want nothing to do with it.” So, they had their opportunity. Then what did God do? He brought about the little nation of Israel, and for the next 2000 years He offered everything to the little nation of Israel, all the way up to the crucifixion. What does that tell you? Israel did just like the human race did for 2000 years, also.
So now we’ve evened the score. Two thousand years it went out to the whole human race. Two thousand years it went primarily to the nation of Israel. Now we’ve come another two thousand years where once again it’s gone out to the whole human race. By and large, what has humanity done with it, again? Walked it underfoot. It’s hard to understand, isn’t it? Now, here again, people ask the question, when they hear people like myself talk about the judgement of God that is going to fall, they ridicule and say, “Well, how can a loving, Holy God bring this kind of chastisement that you talk about on the human race? How can He?”
How can He not? For the past 2000 years He’s poured out His Grace on the human race. Now, we’ve just come through a tremendous tragedy, and our hearts go out to those people. That wasn’t God. God isn’t bringing in wrath and judgment today. He’s permitting it, of course, but we’re under the Age of Grace. But the day is coming when something like what has just happened in Asia will be multiplied thousands of times over, and it won’t just be a 150,000 losing their lives, it’s going to be billions.
We’ll be looking at that later this afternoon, hopefully. But that isn’t because God was unfair. God has now gone 2000 years offering salvation full and free to anyone and everyone, regardless of who they are or whatever their station in life. Then they turn around and say God’s unfair? No. It’s mankind who is unfair. They won’t accept His Grace. They won’t give Him credit for all their blessings. One day His patience is going to run out. We’re getting close.
I think this whole Tsunami thing is just a little warning. Just a little window of what’s coming, and it’s nothing compared to the wrath and vexation. Yes, then it will be God’s wrath. Today it’s not. He’s permitting it, but I think it’s the satanic powers that institute it. Because, never forget, that nothing thrills Satan more than to see the objects of God’s love suffer. That’s why he does it. He just knows that he tears at the heart of God by causing His created creatures to suffer. God, in His own wisdom, permits it, of course. But, don’t ever blame God for catastrophes until we get into the final years – yes, then it’s going to be the outpouring of His wrath and vexation in those 7 years of Tribulation.
All right, so remember, that when I say that Israel alone is being addressed and that the Gentiles had no part of it, here it is. The Gentiles were strangers to the nation of Israel. They were aliens. They had no part in the covenant promises. Consequently, they were “without hope and without God in the world.”
All right, now come back with me to Isaiah chapter 62, and we’ll move on. Verse 2 again:
“And the Gentiles…” Through Israel. Now remember, this is back in the Old Testament before there’s any hint that God is going to set Israel aside and turn to the Gentiles in Grace. There’s no hint of that back here. Not the slightest. Everything in your Old Testament is looking forward to the time when Israel would have her King and the Kingdom and they could be the priests of Jehovah and be the instruments that would bring salvation to the Gentile world. The Old Testament knows nothing of it. I think I’m just going to stop and take time. Come back with me to Exodus chapter 19, and this is the whole foundational concept of God dealing with Israel regarding the Gentiles.
Now, it hasn’t happened yet. They dropped the ball. I think it’s going to be 99% fulfilled by the 144,000 during the Tribulation, because they are going to fulfill the Great Commission. They’re going to go into every tongue and tribe and dialect in less than seven years of time. Israel has never done it before. The Church has never done it. But Israel will through the 144,000. But that wasn’t in the Old Testament. Wasn’t even hinted at. But, this is what God was looking for.
All right, Exodus 19 and we usually like to start at verse 5, where God is speaking to Israel through Moses.
“Now therefore, if ye will obey by voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then (If they’re an obedient nation of people.) ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: (Where does that put the Jew? Above every other nationality on earth. By God’s decree. By His Sovereign design, and why?) because all the earth is mine.” What does that tell you about His Sovereignty? It’s His earth. It’s His universe. He can do with it whatever He wants. So, in that Sovereign design, He’s going to lift Israel up as the favored nation, but for what purpose? Next verse:
“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,…” Not just the tribe of Levi. Every Jew from whatever tribe was to be a priest of Jehovah. A go-between. You see that? Now, let me show you the other verse that shows you how beautifully that can be put together. Still keep Isaiah, we’re coming back to it in a little bit, but jump all the way up to Zechariah. As Zechariah says it so specifically, that this is what Israel was offered.
Now they rejected it, remember. They never cashed in on it. Oh, let’s see, I want Zechariah chapter 8, verse 20. Now, keep all this in mind. Every Jew was to be what? A go-between, a priest. No matter what his tribe. When would it be? When they have the King and the Kingdom.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; (This is what Jehovah, God the Son, is telling Israel.) It shall yet come to pass, (You remember, I think I mentioned in the last taping, God doesn’t lie! It’s going to happen. It hasn’t yet. It’s still going to.) 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, (in Jerusalem) and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.” This Gentile says. Now, verse 22.
“Yea, many people and strong nations (Is that all Jew? No, this includes all the Gentile world now.) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts (where?) in Jerusalem, (That’s what your Bible says.) and to pray before the LORD.” That is before Jehovah or before God the Son or Jesus the Christ as we know Him. Now, look at verse 23, my, this is plain English again.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a (Priest of Levi? No. That’s not what your Bible says, but rather…) Jew, (Why? Because he’s a priest. He’s their go-between.) saying, We will go with you: (gladly follow you. Why?) for we have heard that God is with you.” Now, that’s just a couple out of many prophecies concerning Israel’s role in this coming glorious Kingdom, when their Messiah would rule and reign over all the nations.
All right, I think we can come back to chapter 62 of Isaiah. Remembering that the Gentiles of that day have nothing to do with the God of Israel. The Jews have nothing to do with those pagan Gentiles. It’s all promised for some future time. All right, but the day would come, verse 2 again:
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, (Remember how that fit with what we just read. They will say to that Jew, we will go with you, for we know that God is with you. All right, here it is) and all kings thy glory:…” Do people see glory in a Jew today? Hardly. Oh, they may recognize their wealth and their intelligence and all the other things that they’ve got going for them, but their righteous glory? Hardly. But the day is coming.
“…and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. 3. Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Now, do you see what God is saying? That’s Israel’s future. They’re going to be the pride and joy of the God of Abraham. How does another one put it? “The apple of His eye.” Everything of God’s blessings and glory will be focused on that little nation of Israel. Then people try to discredit all this and try to tell us that God is all through with the Jew – that they disappeared after 70 AD? Heavens no! Their glory is still yet out in front. It’s still coming, and it’s going to be beyond description.
Well, I could take you back to so many places that show that over and over. Now I’m going to take you a minute to Jeremiah 31. We may have looked at it in our last taping, but if we did, it certainly won’t hurt to look at it again. We’ve been looking a lot at Israel’s material blessings. After all, that is the way God has always blessed Israel, through earthly promises, because they are God’s earthly people. But, don’t ever forget that God is going to bless them just as much spiritually. They’re going to be the spiritual pride and joy of Jehovah God.
All right, Jeremiah 31:31. It’s what we call the new covenant. It has nothing to do with us Gentiles whatsoever. A lot of people try to put us under this covenant. If they can find me someone that is already practicing the results of this covenant, I’d like to meet them. It sure isn’t this person. I don’t think any of you can claim it. But one day Israel will.
“Behold, the days come, (That’s a promise, again.) saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant (a new covenant! Something that’s never been done before.) with the house of Israel, (Not with the Church. Not with the Gentiles. Who? Israel!) and with the house of Judah:” See how plain this is? “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel.” Not just the Levites, the whole nation of Israel.
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;…” Not the covenant of Law, with all of its burdens and restrictions. No, it’s not going to be that covenant. Now verse 33:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; (This is what’s going to happen, spiritually, to the Jew who comes into the Kingdom economy.) After those days, saith the LORD, (Now, watch what God’s going to do.) I will put my law in their inward parts, (In other words, it’s just going to consume them.) and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Now, can the Jew today claim to be God’s people? No. They are Benoni (son of my sorrow). They are not God’s people because of their unbelief. But the day is coming when every Jew will just exude the very presence of God. That’s why the Gentiles will immediately recognize it and they’ll say we’re going to go with you because we know God is with you. It hasn’t happened yet. But it’s going to. Then, when you read to the end of the chapter, there is the guarantee. I’m pretty sure we did this last taping. We read this to show people that God is not through with the nation of Israel.
LESSON THREE * PART II
GOD IS NOT BEING UNFAIR
ISAIAH 62:1 – 64:6
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in again. For those of you joining us on television, we always like to remind folks that we’re an informal Bible study. We have no denominational axe to grind. We’re not going to attack anybody, but we just hopefully will help people to see what The Book says. I think it’s accomplishing its purpose. I had someone call just this morning and that’s what they appreciate – that we aren’t sowing our opinionated ideas, but rather just simply showing what the Word of God says. That’s my whole concept of teaching; it is to make it so clear that there’s no real room for argument.
Again, we thank you for your financial help. We’re not underwritten by anyone, remember. We don’t have a large group of people underwriting us. We are totally dependent on what comes in the mail. It’s amazing how God always supplies just what we need, and even as we take on new responsibilities it immediately starts coming in. So, we thank you from the depths of our heart, and for your prayers and your concerns.
Well, today we’re privileged, again, to have my oldest son, Greg, and his wife, Janette, with us. He’s the one who ranches with me. Both of them are pretty active in the office, and they talk to a lot of you folks out there in television on the phone. So, we just want to give you a little glimpse of who you’re talking to when you call in and he says, “This is Les’ son.” Janette, his wife, has become totally involved in the office, as well. So, we’re proud of the kids. They’re all part and parcel of the ministry.
Okay, now we’re going to pick up where we left off. We’re going to read right from Isaiah 62 verse 1; we left off, I think, at the end of verse 3. We’re going to start our comments in verse 4, but I want to read from verse 1 to pick up the flow.
“For Zion’s sake (for the sake of Jerusalem) will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until (Now remember, we commented in our last taping that until is a time word. God is never content until the day comes that He will return and set up the Kingdom promised to Israel.) the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness,…”
You remember in the last program, we pointed it out, how when the Jew is under the influence of the new covenant, nobody will have to ask, “Is that a believing Jew?” They will all be filled with the knowledge of God and His righteousness.
“…and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, (a name which only God knows) which the mouth of the LORD shall name. (in the future) 3. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, (Just take this in its illustration, just like a jewel inlaid crown that royalty wears, so will be the nation of Israel in the eyes of God.) and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Now, that’s the promise to Israel.
“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate:…” Now, remember, those are capitalized, so what does that mean? That’s what it is being called. They’re called “Forsaken.” The land is being called “Desolate.” All right, now I’m going to stop right there, and I’m going to bring you back with me to Leviticus chapter 26. I guess while you’re doing that I’m going to put something back on the board that may help concerning our timeline with Isaiah and other prophets concerning the future.
Now, remember, the first desolation that was evident, a hundred years later of course, but nevertheless it was the one that was near term so far as Israel was concerned, was 606 BC. This is when the Babylonians came in and destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem and they went through 70 years of desolation. All right, the next great event was shortly after the crucifixion in 70 AD. Much the same thing happened with the Romans as happened back here with the Babylonians. So, in 70 AD the Romans destroy the city and destroy the Temple. The Jew was again uprooted out of the land. Now, in 606 BC they were out of the land for 70 years. But, then it happened again in 70 AD. It has now been 1900 years plus from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman General Titus, until the Jews started going back to the land and recovering it from its desolation.
All right, now the next great desolation will come just seven years leading up to the return of Christ at His Second Coming. This seven years is also going to be a time of tremendous wrath, not desolation per se, like you have in 606 BC and 70 AD, but it’s going to be the outpouring of God’s wrath and judgment and the return of Christ; then finally, the glorious King and His Kingdom. Then all these good things will finally become a reality.
So, maybe that will help. We’re talking about two great desolations. The 70 years following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, the seventy years of captivity. Then the next great event was 70 AD when the Romans came in and did the same thing, and we had 1900 + years of total desolation, again. Then finally, we come to the seven years of the Tribulation and the Second Coming.
All right, now let’s read Leviticus 26 verse 32, and you’ll see what he’s talking about. This, too, is written by Moses, long before the Babylonians were even heard of. God says:
“And I will bring the land (See how specific it is?) into desolation: (What land? The Promised Land. The Holy Land. The Land of Israel) and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.” The few survivors that stick around, the Arab in particular, the Bedouins and so forth, would look around them and marvel at the desolation – how nothing grows. Nothing prospers and the first time when Israel was out of the land it was that way for 70 years.
I’ll show you, in a minute, how desolate it was at the end of the 70 years. But we’ll read on first that the enemies that are staying behind “will be astonished at it.”
“And I will scatter you (Israel) among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: (They would be hated and persecuted and murdered.) and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” Now, that was the promise of what God was going to do to Israel because of their unbelief, their idolatry, and their rejection of all the blessings of Jehovah. All right, I’m going to emphasize over and over that this wasn’t just a one-time thing. The seventy years of desolation would be followed by the same kind of desolation after the Roman destruction, only this one goes for 1900 + years, where the first one was 70.
All right, I’ve done this before in some of my seminars and some of my classes in Oklahoma, but if those of you out in television will bear with me, I want you to listen to me as I read just a few words from a book written by Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens, the guy who wrote Huckleberry Finn. He was traveling in the Holy Land in the 1860’s. Now, don’t forget that date, 1860’s, about the time of our Civil War. This is from a book he wrote, and I want to give credit to it. Here it is. Now watch the words that Mark Twain uses, and he wasn’t knowledgeable of Scripture, I’m sure of that, but it’s the same kind of language.
The Innocents Abroad
“The soil is rich enough, but it is given completely to weeds, a desolation. There’s a desolation here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We never saw a human being on the whole route. We pressed toward Jerusalem. The further we went the hotter the sun got, the more rocky and bare and repulsive and dreary the landscape became. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. Jerusalem is lifeless. It is a heartbroken land. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its field and fetters its energies. It is desolate and unlovely and can the curse of a Deity beautify a land? Palestine (or what we call the Holy Land) is no more of this work-a-day world.”
[Editor’s note: These statements by Mark Twain from The Innocents Abroad are found in chapters 47, 49, 52, 53, and 56 of his book. They are not written as a continuous paragraph.]
Now, do you hear that? That’s from the pen of a man like Mark Twain, picturing the Holy Land in its desolation. It stayed that way from 70 AD all the way up until the late 1800’s, when the Jews, a sprinkling of them, started going back because of the persecution and programs that were taking place in other areas of the world. They began to clear the land of the rocks and the rubbish. They began to plant trees. Now, the last number I read was that Israel has planted 300 and some million trees since they have come back to the land. Out of that abject desolation, we see the land is once again, even as it will be far more so during the Kingdom, becoming a rose in the desert. It’s coming into full production. I want you to understand that when God speaks of the Promised Land of Israel as a desolation, it’s not just a play on words, it means what it says.
Now, the first inkling we had of it was the first time Iris and I went over there was in 1975. I’ll never forget how we were driving along the Jordan Valley and there was nothing but desolation on both sides of the road. I even commented to her, I said, “Honey, how in the world can the Bible call this place the land of Promise! Who would want it? I mean there’s just nothing here.” Well, when we went back in the early 90’s then, it was a great transformation. Irrigation. There were large wheat fields. There were all kinds of citrus groves and almond groves and everything. You could just see that the land was starting to blossom, like I said, like a rose. What a difference! But it came out of abject desolation. This is what I want people to understand. Then when old Arafat used to say, “a verdant, or green, land.” No, it wasn’t, it was total desolation.
All right, now just to show you how desolate it was, even at the end of the 70 years, come up with me, we may have done this not too long ago. Come up with me to Nehemiah, and I want to jump in at chapter 2. I thought I was going to finish Isaiah today, but there is no way, so there’s no use even trying. We might as well take what time we need for some of these other things. Nehemiah chapter 2, let’s just jump in at verse 11.
Now, this is shortly after the 70 years that they were out of the land in the Babylonian captivity. In fact, it’s more than a year later, it’s almost 70-80 years later that Nehemiah comes, but now look at the language so that you can see that it wasn’t a temporary thing. When the Jews left, the Arabs didn’t come in and build it up and put it into production. No, it just stays desolate. Then when the Jews come back and begin to produce and hire help, then the Arabs come back. I mean, that’s the way it’s always been.
“So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. (That is from way back out in the Euphrates Valley.) 12. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem:…” Now remember, what were God’s instructions to Nehemiah? “Rebuild the city wall and the gates.”
Ezra had come almost a hundred years earlier to build the Temple, but now Nehemiah comes by God’s instruction and with the decrees from Artaxerxes the King to rebuild the city wall and the gates. Now, what’s the purpose? Well, you can’t have an entity of any worth without defense. You know, we were just talking about it last night. It’d be nice if we could dispense with all of our military. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t worry about our borders, and we could just live in peace and tranquility? It doesn’t work that way.
You have to maintain the defense of what you have. Israel was no different. So God instructed Nehemiah to go back and build the city wall and the gates. Why? For defense. You can’t sit out there on the open hills; the enemy will come and run you over. So, that was the first instruction. “Go and rebuild the wall and the gates.”
“And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, (Those were all various gates in the city wall, previously.) and viewed (or overlooked) the walls of Jerusalem, which were (what?) broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.” Seventy and hundred years later, they’re still just laying there in disarray, broken down. Which meant what? There was nothing but charred wood laying at what should be a gateway
“Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.” (He was probably riding on a donkey. There wasn’t any place for the beast to go.) In other words, if there was a pool of water or a creek or something, the beast had no bridge to cross it.
“Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned. 16. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, (Who, remember now, have been there for about a hundred years, building and rebuilding the Temple.) nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.” Did they know he had been out surveying what needed to be done? No. All right, verse 17, I’m doing all this so that you’ll get a vivid picture of how desolate Jerusalem was, even though they’d been there a hundred years working on the Temple. But, so far as the secular end of the city, it was a shambles.
“Then I said unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, (It wasn’t a thriving city.) and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.” What does that mean? Why, you don’t even have a wall to defend your cities. You can’t sleep at night. Your enemies can just walk in and take you over. That’s a reproach.
Well, listen, it means the same thing today. You cannot be a pacifist and survive, because it’s just normal human behavior to take what the next man has if it’s better than your own. It works with nations as it does with individuals. That’s why we have to have law and order. That’s why we have to have a defense system. You cannot be a pacifist in this world under the curse. It won’t work.
“Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me….” Now, we didn’t take the time to read the earlier verses, but what did King Artaxerxes tell him when Nehemiah said, I want to go back and rebuild the city wall? Old Artaxerxes, the king, says to make out a list of requirements. Tell us what you need and we’ll supply. So, this is what Nehemiah is going on.
“…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. The Jews he is addressing said what? Let’s build! Let’s get with it.
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, (Now, what’s an Ammonite? Well, he’s an Arab. Read on.) and Geshem the Arabian, heard it,…” So, what have you got? The opposition from the Arab world just like it is today, and this is back here in about 450 BC.
“…and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? Will ye rebel against the king? (Well, people didn’t know that the king was the one sponsoring it. But attitudes haven’t changed one iota.) 20. Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: (Now, take note of the last part.) but ye (Now, who’s he talking to? The Arabians) have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
Now, isn’t that plain? There isn’t an Arab on this earth that has any claim to one square foot of Jerusalem. It’s the Promised Land. It was promised to God’s covenant people, Israel. All right, now we’ve got the same scenario coming back today. They’ve been in desolation for over 1800 years. I say 1800 because 70 AD is almost the end of the first century, and it wasn’t until the late 1800’s or about 1900 that the Jew started sprinkling back into what we call Palestine, or the area of Israel. Now, since 1900 they’ve been clearing the land and increasing the irrigation. It’s blooming like a rose in the desert, and Israel has come as far as she has come by God’s grace. It is getting ready. That’s what I want folks to see. Everything that you’re seeing in the Middle East, whether it’s Israel or the Arab world or the oil or whatever else, it’s all getting ready for the end time events that are staring us in the face.
Okay, now let’s see, I think that’s enough of that for the time being. We’ll go back up to Isaiah chapter 62, where, remember, the LORD has promised that they will no longer be called forsaken, because He will have returned, He will now be their King, He’s bringing in this glorious Kingdom. They will no longer be called desolate because now the land is going to flow, literally, with “milk and honey” is the expression. I think I’ve explained it before. You know what it means to flow with milk and honey? It doesn’t mean that milk is going to come down the rivers. Honey isn’t going to come down off the mountains.
So, where does the term come from? Well, everything that an environment needs to supply an abundance of milk, an abundance of honey, means you have to have what? You have to have grass and water for the cows to produce the milk, and if you’re going to have to have an abundance of honey, you have to have an abundance of blossoms. Fruit blossoms and flower blossoms, so the two concepts together mean the land is just going to be productive beyond comprehension. It’s going to be literally flowing with milk and honey. Not sticky honey, as such, but all the flowering trees and flowers and so forth. Not necessarily white milk coming down the river, but all the abundance of what it will take to produce it. That’s Israel’s future, it’s coming.
All right, I’ve only got a couple or three minutes left. So, it’ll no longer be called desolate, but – flipside! Now, we’re going to make a series someday on all the ‘buts’ in Scripture. You know, it’s amazing how the Lord intervenes. I’ve been kind of dreading looking up all of the ‘buts’ in Scripture. The B-U-T’s. You know what came in the mail the other day? A guy did it for me! He sent a sheath, that thick, with all the ‘buts’ from Genesis to Revelation, so all I’m going to have to do is go through and pick out the ones that I can put on the program. I just said, “Thank you, Lord!” He probably saved me about ten hours of intense study trying to find them all.
“…but thou shalt be call Hephzi-bah,…” Which means the one in whom is my delight. It’s actually the queen’s name of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah termed her ‘the one in whom I delight.’ Well, that’s what God is going to use to call Israel.
“…and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” God is once again going to be so involved with the physical, earthly aspect of Israel’s lifestyle. All right, now then, verse 5.
“For as a young man marrieth his virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: (This is going to be a relationship, now, between God and the nation of Israel.) and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” But it’s all future. This hasn’t ever happened yet. Israel has never been in that kind of a place of obedience, but it’s coming. It’s coming.
You know, there’s something that has really got my attention and I want all of you, even out there in television, to be aware of it. There is, seemingly, a spiritual awakening taking place in the land of Israel and a lot of the Israelis are actually turning to Christ. Now again, I’m in no place to judge the authenticity of their salvation, but it’s kind of exciting when you get the reports of how many Israelis are now becoming open to the Gospel. So, I just can’t help but share it, that this is all telling us one thing. The end is coming close. It can’t be very much longer. Now, I’m not sensational. I don’t say next year or five years, but in terms of time, no, it’s not going to be very much longer.
LESSON THREE * PART III
GOD IS NOT BEING UNFAIR
ISAIAH 62:1 – 64:6
We always have a good time all afternoon as we tape these programs. We’ve got folks visiting us from Joliet, Chicago, Illinois area, and I’ve got my son and his wife with us today. For those of you out in television we’re thrilled to have you with us, and that we can come into your living room or den or wherever it is and open the Scriptures. We trust the Holy Spirit can lead and direct you to understand what we read, because, after all, it really isn’t that difficult. It’s usually pretty self-explanatory.
Okay, Isaiah 63 verse 1 and the reason I’m jumping over those final verses of 62 is because they are just a continuation of the glories that are awaiting Israel when the Kingdom comes in and they have the King. I wanted to be able to start chapter 63 with a separate program, because now we’re going to jump from the Kingdom back to the horrors of the wrath and vexation that are going to precede it and for which all the world is being primed today.
You know, I can’t help but think when I see these movies advertised, I don’t attend them but we can see them advertised, of all the disasters and the calamities of one sort or another and you know what I think? I think that’s just God’s way of preparing the world’s population for what’s coming. Because it’s not going to be just physical suffering, there’s going to be so much mental. It’s going to be beyond our human comprehension. So, anyway, we’re dropping now, into that period of time just before the return of Christ, or what we call the Tribulation.
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him who treadeth in the winefat?” Now, this is symbolic language of course, but what’s the picture? One commentary I read, believe it or not, said that this is just a picture of Christ in His first advent. Unbelievable, how they can miss it so far! This is Christ at His coming in wrath and vexation and judgment in the closing days of the Tribulation. Now, of course, most of you are acquainted with Armageddon, that last great battle. I’m sure that that’s involved here, but what we’ve really got is a symbolic picture of Christ as He’s ready to return and finalize the wrath and vexation.
Now, the reason I use those two terms and I use them quite extensively. Come back with me, again, to a place that we’ve looked at over and over, so you’ll see where I get my language. Come back to Psalms chapter 2 verse 5. I want you to get just as acquainted with these verses and the terminology as I am. Be able to show people, hey, this is what’s coming! Today we’re not in the wrath and vexation. We’re in the Grace of God. God is permitting these things, but his Grace is still abundant. But Grace will be withdrawn when the Body of Christ is raptured, and then it’s only going to be the wrath and vexation for the next 7 years.
“Then (in other words at that point in time) shall he (God) speak unto them (Who? The population of the world) in his wrath, (Not mercy, not love, not Grace, that has ended. Now He’s speaking in…) and (Will do what?) vex them in his sore displeasure.” That’s where I get the term vexation. In His wrath and vexation He’s going to pour out torment and death and destruction and misery like the world has never known.
Again, like I said in the last program, “is God being unfair?” NO! He’s given the human race 2000 years of Grace. All of these people that will be involved in these final years of judgment will have lived during all this time of preaching and proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God and have walked it underfoot. Why are they there for judgment? Because they rejected it! It’s that simple. So, don’t blame God.
He’s been warning since the dawn of human history that this period of time is coming. But, you take the rank and file person, even right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the buckle on the Bible belt, you show them and tell them these things and they look at you as though you’re out of your cage. They think this is never going to happen, because God won’t ever permit this. Oh, when the day comes of His wrath and vexation, He won’t just permit it; He’s going to direct it. Today He permits. He’s not directing anything that awful, but He’s permitting it. But in “this” day and time, it’s going to be the outpouring of His wrath and His vexation. All right, back to Isaiah 63, I just wanted you to see where I pick up the language. Verse 2:
“Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat.” Now, as you take verse 1 and verse 2 in its symbolic context, what you have is an indication of Christ like some great Roman-clad soldier with all of this armor and his apparel and the sword, which is the Word of God, and He’s coming, seemingly, from the southern part, which was Edom, down there south of the Dead Sea. He’s just like – you know I probably shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to, because I think my audience understands where I’m coming from.
As I was studying over the last several days, I couldn’t help but constantly, and it came again now, so evidently I was supposed to use it. Those of you who are acquainted with northern Minnesota all know the legend of whom? Paul Bunyan. What’s the legend of Paul Bunyan? This humongous woodsman who stepped from place to place across Minnesota and every place he stepped was left a what? A lake. That’s the legend of Paul Bunyan. You go up through Bemidji and you’ll see a likeness of him.
Well, you know, as I look at this I couldn’t help but think, this is a supernatural Paul Bunyan. As He makes each step in His stride, it is not peace and tranquility, it is what? It is death and destruction, His wrath! He’s not coming like the lowly lamb. He’s coming in the power of His wrath and vexation like a great humongous Roman-clad soldier spreading death and destruction. Consequently, in verse 2, what has happened to His apparel? It’s splashed with blood.
Now, we don’t like to think in terms of that with God, but this isn’t the God that we’re dealing with today. I’ve got to repeat that. God today is the God of love, mercy, and Grace, absolutely! But when this day comes, it’s going to be the God of wrath and judgment. All the Old Testament has been foretelling it. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, warned Israel of it. Paul speaks of it in just one place. I’ve always emphasized that Paul doesn’t write much prophecy, but he does for just a few verses in II Thessalonians 2. This terrible time is coming, Beloved! Now, as believers, we’re not going to be here!
But the scorning, unbelieving world is going to finally come under that wrath and vexation of God at His Second Coming. He comes looking like someone who has been stomping the grapes in the wine vat. Now, you can imagine what that person would look like – all splattered with grape juice and whatever the color of his clothes, they would be matted with that residue of the grapes. But this isn’t grape juice, Beloved; it’s the blood of mankind.
“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: (In other words, He’s not going to have multitudes of people helping him. This wrath is going to be poured out from God and God alone.) for I will tread them in mine (Love and mercy and Grace? No, but rather in His…) anger, and trample them in my fury;” Now, this isn’t pretty language. I know it isn’t. On the other hand, it tells us what the world is getting ready for. Their whole mentality is of absolute absence of morality. We see it on every hand. There is no integrity. There is nothing with reference to God’s Word. They are in total rebellion.
Now, I will say it again. I thanked the Lord myself the other morning. When you look at the world in general, spiritually and morally speaking, we Americans are still head and shoulders above the rest of the world. As bad as we are, we are still head and shoulders above the Orient or above the Middle East or above Europe. Now, that will give you a little indication of what it’s like.
You see, you take Thailand, right in the middle of all this disaster. You know what Thailand is really most known for, especially across Europe? It’s the prostitution capital of the world. We think it’s bad here, no; it’s not even close. So, when we speak of these things, don’t think that God is being unfair. He’s been warning the world for centuries of this wrath that’s coming, and it’s going to be like someone who is treading in the wine vat. Then reading on, let’s finish verse 3.
“…and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” Now, this is the coming Christ alone who is pouring out wrath and judgment.
Now, just to show you how all of Scripture fits, come back with me to Revelation chapter 14. John is writing after Christ’s first advent, and it’s in perfect accord with what Isaiah wrote 700 years before. We haven’t taught this on the program since our Revelation series, have we? Way, way, way back. You know, I wish we had never put our copyright year on our program, because then people wouldn’t have been so aware of when we made these. But see, when that copyright is on there, 1996, they’ll call and say, “Les are you still making programs? The program this morning you made way back in 1996.” Well, I wouldn’t teach it one bit different today than I did then. Now, again, it’s symbolism. It’s coming back to the same literal fact that we’ve got in Isaiah 63.
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto (who?) the Son of man,” (The word Son is capitalized. It’s Christ.) having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” Now, in whatever culture you may live or have lived in the past, what did they use the sickle for? To harvest.
Believe it or not, we were in Amman, Jordan, not too many years ago and looked out the bus window, and there they were, like a bunch of ants, out in a wheat field. They were all harvesting that wheat with that little hand held scythe. That’s just a few years ago, but it was always indicative of harvesting. Now, here they’re not going to use the scythe to cut wheat, they’re going to use it to cut the grapes off the vine. Okay, this is the symbolism. So, the Son of Man, Christ Himself, is pictured like someone harvesting grapes.
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: (or harvest) for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” What does he mean by that? It is ripe for judgment.
God has now put up with their rejection for 6000 years, culminating in the ungodliness of our present day. Now again, I always have to explain some of these things. Why does God pour out such horrible judgment on one generation of people? How can He ignore all those that go clear back to Adam? Well, I’ve always stressed it with one word. Numbers. See, there are more people living on the planet today, almost, I don’t think I’ll miss it very far, there are almost as many people living on the planet today as have lived all the way back through human history. Now, we can’t picture that.
In fact, I was just reading something again the other night. Do you realize that most of the present day world was totally unknown and uninhabited until about 1000 to 1200 AD? Think about that. The whole Western Hemisphere was pretty well uninhabited and unknown until after 1000 AD, the same way with much of the South Sea Islands and so forth. So, you see, the world’s population was relatively small. I think I read one time that at the time of Christ the total population was only like 500,000,000.
That’s one half of one billion. That’s a lot of people, but nothing compared to the seven plus billion that we are today. So, when God’s wrath and judgment are poured out on this final generation, He is literally dealing with almost as many people as have lived down through the centuries. Now, that should answer the question then, why should this generation suffer so? Because they are symbolically representative of all who’ve gone before.
“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather (or bring together) the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.” Now, naturally, in all of antiquity and in fact, many places of the world today, what was the staple drink? Well, the grape juice or the wine. So, here was the indication, then, that when they gathered the ripe grapes where did they go? They went into the wine vat. They didn’t go to the supermarket! They went into the wine vat.
“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress, of the wrath of God.” Now, again, this is symbolic language. What was a wine vat? It was an enclosure. It was not all that big, and at the bottom was the drain where they could crush the grapes. So, if we’re dealing symbolically with the human race, what will be God’s wine vat into which He will put the masses? The valleys, especially of Israel. The Valley of Megiddo. The Valley of Sharon. The Jericho Valley. Little Israel is divided into all these separate valleys. They’re going to be packed full of the armies of the world that are still left, two hundred million coming from the Orient.
When I taught the Revelation series, you remember, I made the illustration that this is under a supernatural set of circumstances. Those generals are going to do things that would ordinarily be considered absolutely stupid. Why pack all your troops into those valleys? They’re going to do it. They’re going to pack them in like sardines in a can. You have no idea how many million men you can put in just a square mile. It’s unbelievable when you read figures on it. So, millions are going to be packed into these valleys of Israel and waiting for the “Treader of the Grapes.” Who will that be? Christ at His Second Coming.
Now, I think he’s going to use the physical elements. He isn’t actually going to walk in them. That is a symbolic term. But, you see, it’s amazing that the last great plague that is listed in the book of Revelation is which one? You remember? The hundred pound hail stones! That’s the final plague. Now, I do take the liberty here, the Bible doesn’t explicitly say this, but I feel that once these armies of the world are packed into the valleys of Israel, the hundred pound hail stones will be God’s treader of the grapes. All right, read on. You’ll get the picture. Verse 20:
“And the winepress was trodden without the city,…” In other words, we know that all these valleys of Israel are beyond Jerusalem. You’ve got the Hula Valley up north of Galilee. Then you’ve got the Valley of Megiddo just running off the north end of Galilee. I’ve already mentioned the Valley of Sharon along the Mediterranean Sea. You’ve got the Jordan Valley coming down from Galilee to the Dead Sea – all those valleys, packed full of the world’s troops.
“And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, (Not grape juice, blood. So, who are the grapes? Mankind) even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” That’s about 180 miles. Well, if you know your geography, that’s about the distance from the Hula Valley down to the Red Sea. It’s going to be a literal river of blood, mixed with water from those hail stones.
Now, let’s see if I can find the verse that I want – the final plague. I think that’s in chapter 16. Yeah, chapter 16 verse 21. This is the final plague. I don’t think it takes a lot of imagination. The only thing that I’m showing that is really supernatural is how the armies of the world will pack into the valleys of Israel. For that, of course, I’m using my own – whatever. The Bible doesn’t just say that, but it certainly is indicative. If God is putting His wrath upon a grape vat, then that means it has to be within an enclosure. What better way to picture an enclosure than a valley? So, that’s where I get my thinking. All right, now look at the final plague.
“And there fell upon men (not grapes) a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent:…” Now, if you’ve got a marginal help in your Bible most of them say the same thing. How much was a talent? Hundred pounds. Hundred pound hail stones. Now, it’s amazing that not too long ago I read, I think it was in our Daily Oklahoman, that there have been miraculous phenomena the last couple of years in various places around the earth; where on a clear day great chunks of ice will just simply fall out of the air. Up to a hundred pounds in weight. So, we’re not stretching anything here. This is already happening in isolated places. All right, one hundred pound hailstones will fall upon these multitudes of men gathered, now, in the valley of Israel, but does it change their thinking? No.
“…and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” Well, now earlier in the Tribulation you have the same thing. Back up with me to chapter 9, and this is, again, after listing some of the trumpet judgments, which will be shortly after, I think, the middle of the Tribulation. But see, men don’t change their attitudes toward God. Even after all the severe physical judgments that have come upon the planet, this is the result. Is it a great revival? No.
“Neither repented they of their murders, nor their sorceries, (Pharmacia – Which means drugs. So, it will be a drug culture.) nor of their fornication, (the gross immorality) nor of their thefts.” So, all of this judgment from God doesn’t change their thinking or their lifestyle one iota.
All right, I think I’ve got time to show this. Out of that will come a remnant who will become believers. Now, come back with me to chapter 7 and verse 9. This is where I call the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 for the nation of Israel. In the midst of all of this wrath and outpouring, God’s 144,000 Jews are going to be proclaiming salvation. Now watch where it goes.
“After this (after the sealing of the 144,000) I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, (Now watch where they come from, and that’s why I call this the fulfilling of the Great Commission. They’re going to come from…) of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, (But, see, they’ve already been martyred. They’re already pictured before the throne. They’re no longer on the planet.) stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” So, what’s the picture? That as these 144,000 Jews circumvent the globe preaching the Gospel – not of the Grace of God, but the Gospel of the Kingdom, there are going to multitudes saved, but they’ll be martyred immediately.
The powers that be will know who they are, and they will be able to isolate them. But, they’ll only be a small percentage, as always. Now, that may be a great number. You know, Tim LaHaye, in one of his books, claims that he feels the 144,000 will have more converts in those 3 and ½ years than the church has had in 1900. Well, I’m not going to argue the point, but I think it’s a stretch. But there are still going to be a lot of them. But compared to the whole, it is just a small percentage. That’s the way it’s always been. So, they will be martyred just as fast as they profess their faith. But, you see, they can’t kill the 144,000, because they’re sealed with the mark of God.
Nevertheless, this is all indicative of what the world is getting ready for. The more you watch the news, the more you can see that it’s coming, because God’s grace isn’t going to last forever. His patience is going to run out. If I haven’t made any other point today, I hope I make this – don’t blame God. It’s not His fault. It’s because of their constant rejection of His glorious Gospel of the Grace of God, which in a nutshell is, “Believe in your heart for salvation that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again” as we see so plainly in I Corinthians 15:1-4, plus nothing else.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
GOD IS NOT BEING UNFAIR
ISAIAH 62:1 – 64:6
Again, we’d like to welcome you to an informal Bible study. We just search the Scriptures and compare Scripture with Scripture and let the Scripture do its own work. We do like to thank our television audience for your response. My, our letters are just unbelievable. The hearts and lives that God is transforming from every walk of life imaginable. A gentleman called, he hoped to be here this afternoon and evidently the weather didn’t cooperate. When he first came up and told me how our program had been instrumental in changing his life, he was telling me how bad he was.
I said, “Well, now what do you mean how bad you were?” He said, “Les, I was in prison more than I was out, but now my life has just totally been transformed.” He has become a real instrument. He’s touching a lot of lives himself. So, that’s what keeps us going. That’s the best compensation a person could ever get.
Okay, we’re going to do something a little different. I’m going to start with Isaiah. I told the studio audience, if I’ve got a different Scripture up there than Isaiah, they’re going to call and ask, “Well, I thought we were in Isaiah this program?” So, we’re going to start with Isaiah, because this is where I really thought we’d be by this time, but we didn’t make it that far. So, I’m going to jump ahead and next taping we’ll back up and pick up what I’ve skipped. But I want you to look down at chapter 64 verses 5 and 6, and then I think you’ll see what word I’m heading for. The last word in the verse – “saved”
“Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; (or angry) for we have sinned: (See, that’s the problem.) in those is continuance, and we shall be (what?) saved. (All right, now read on.) 6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” All right, now let’s jump up to the New Testament and pick up this same concept. You’ve heard me say it more than once on the program over the years, you can’t be saved until you know that you’re what? Lost.
Now, what did this verse just tell us? That Israel realized they had sinned. Their iniquities were just compounded. All their so-called self-righteousness was like what? Filthy rags. Now, that’s even filthier than what we normally think of. The filthy rags here were really the cast-off rags of a leper with all of its filth. That’s what self-righteousness is in God’s eyes.
All right, so we’re going to use this half-hour, since I’ve been talking so much about the wrath of God that’s coming upon Christ-rejecting mankind, and so that no one who hears my voice will be able to say, if they find themselves in that kind of wrath and vexation, “Well, God, you’re unfair. I never had a chance.”
Well, after this half-hour, anybody who hears my voice cannot say that. We’re going to make it as plain as I think the English language can make it. How can you escape the wrath of God? Whether it’s the Tribulation or whether it’s the eternal doom that goes beyond. Now, I’m going to have you jump up with me to Luke’s Gospel chapter 15. This, of course, is from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself, and it is probably a parable. But it speaks volumes with regard to what I just said. You can’t get saved until you know you’re lost!
See, that’s the problem with the vast majority of Christendom. How many times have you heard people say, “Well, I’ve always been saved. I’ve always believed.” Now, wait a minute. You never came to the place that you knew you were lost? Well, they look at you with a blank stare. They don’t know what you’re talking about. You can’t be saved until you know that you’re lost.
All right, this is a perfect example from the lips of the Lord Himself. Luke 15 and we’ll start at verse 3. Oh, by the way, I was going to announce once more before the day was over, I’ve got my eldest son and his wife with us today. Of course, we work cattle together. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten mad at each other, so I guess we’re both getting used to each other. But we’ve done a lot of cattle work together over the years, and we’ve gotten along pretty well as father and son goes. He’s also been part and parcel of answering the phone. So, a lot of you have heard him say, “This is Les’ son.” Well, there he is on the picture and his wife, Janette. She’s been more and more involved in the ministry, and they exemplify the fact that we are a family ministry. We thank the Lord for it. I guess it wouldn’t hurt for me to mention our daughter, Laura. Many of you out in television have understood that she’s had a tragic accident and is presently paralyzed. We trust that the day will come when she will be restored. But, we don’t know that as yet. But, anyway, we’re family. We just praise the Lord for that.
All right, back to Luke 15 and verse 3, and Jesus is speaking a parable to the Jew. Now, remember, Jesus never addressed the Gentile world. Everything He spoke was to Israel and under the system of the Law, but we can still draw tremendous lessons.
“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose (There’s the key word.) one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine (Not in the fold. Where?) in the wilderness,…” Now, in Middle Eastern language, what’s the wilderness? The desert!
You know, whenever I used to think of wilderness when I was a kid, I always thought of trees and forest and no man’s land. No, in the Middle East the wilderness is the barren, open desert, with a clump of something here and a clump there and a lot of sand in between. All right, so one of these hundred is lost, and the rest are out in the wilderness. Now, remember, this is dealing with Israel. We’re merely going to draw an application. Okay, so He says:
“…and go after that which is lost, until he find it? (The one out of the hundred; He’s going to search until He finds it.) 5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was (Past tense – what?) lost.” Now, the one is saved by virtue of the shepherd’s love and determination to find him. Who are the other 99 indicative of? Well, the rank and file of unbelieving Israel who were lost and didn’t know it. But the one that was bleating off in a canyon someplace was lost and knew it, and so that’s the one the shepherd went to seek.
Now, again, I don’t want to leave this parable without fully describing the situation. When the ninety and nine were left out there on that barren desert, and the shepherd leaves to find the one that is lost, what happens to the ninety and nine? They become more and more lost. Sheep without a shepherd are hopeless. That was the rank and file of Israel. The more they rejected their offering of the Messiah and the King, the more lost they became. Consequently, when the time arrived, they were ready to say what? “Away with him. Crucify him. We’ll not have this man to rule over us.” The picture is that the one that was lost and knew it, the shepherd could save. All right, now let’s come all the way up and see how Paul puts it in his epistles. Romans chapter 3 and this has to be, in my understanding, the first step toward salvation. The understanding that we’re sinners, and that we’re lost and we need salvation.
“For all (That means exactly what it says. Not one human being can escape that word all) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Isn’t that exactly what Isaiah said? We’ve sinned. We’ve got nothing going for us. They were all falling short of the glory of God. Well, it’s no different now from the pen of the Apostle Paul. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
All right, back up a page or two to Romans chapter 1, and that’s the verse I had Sharon put on the board, because I want our television audience to understand that we’re jumping from Isaiah and going up to the New Testament this half-hour to just simply make plain – how to be saved. I hope I can make it plain enough that no one can complain that I was confusing the issue, Romans chapter 1 verse 16. Now, this is from the pen of the Apostle Paul. He’s writing to a Gentile congregation in Rome, so he’s writing to you and I. He says:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (The Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that (what?) believeth;…” Plus Nothing! That’s it.
It’s not believeth and is baptized. It isn’t and believes and repents. It isn’t believes and this or that or some other thing. The power of the Gospel falls on that lost person who realizes he’s lost and that’s he’s a sinner. He needs salvation, but he can believe the Gospel, and God immediately does everything that needs to be done.
All right, so what’s the Gospel that we’re to believe? We find that in I Corinthians chapter 15 verse 1 through 4. This is the Gospel. There is no other. Now remember, Paul, over and over makes it so plain that he is the Apostle of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:13) Consequently, it’s from his writings that we gain our doctrine for salvation, for the Christian walk, and also the hope for the end.
I Corinthians 15: 1
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (There’s only one.) which I preached unto you, (Not Jesus. Not Peter. Not John. But Paul!) which also ye have received, (Paul is writing to believers remember?) and wherein ye stand;” Not moveable with every wind of doctrine. Now verse 2:
I Corinthians 15:2a
“By which also ye are saved,…” What’s he talking about? The Gospel – by which you are saved. See? The same word that Isaiah used.
I Corinthians 15:2b
“…by which you are saved, if you keep in memory (or if you understand. You can’t just take something like this blindly. You have to know what you believe) what I preached unto you, lest you have believed in vain.” In other words, you have to know what you believe in order to latch on to it by your faith. Now here comes the Gospel you must believe.
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;” Now, when Paul speaks of receiving something, from whom and from where? Well, from the ascended Lord in glory. This is the point I’m constantly trying to make to people when they spend all of their time in what Christ said in His earthly ministry. That was before the cross. As I’ve mentioned on this program not too long ago, for us today, everything that accounts for our salvation at least, begins at the cross.
Now, naturally I love to teach the Old Testament. It’s all background. Of course it is. But that’s not where you gain salvation. Salvation begins at the cross. All right, reading on:
I Corinthians 15:3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (From the ascended Lord in glory, He’s the One that told the Apostle Paul – this is the message for the Gentile world.) how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” You know what? I just explained that to someone on the phone the other morning. How many times do you hear an invitation for salvation or you may read it in tracts. I watch every tract now that comes across my desk to be sure. How many times do they talk about the fact that Christ died for you, but they never mention the resurrection?
Listen, they’re dropping the most powerful half of the Gospel. Of course, Christ had to die. Of course, His blood had to be shed. The Christ in the tomb couldn’t save anybody. What did it take? The power of resurrection! Again, Christendom glibly speaks of the resurrection, and I maintain that’s wrong! The resurrection was the total power of the Sovereign God to overcome death and sin and the curse and raised Him from the dead. Without that power, we’re just as lost as a goose. You can believe in His death all you want to, but until you couple it up and bring in the power of resurrection – you’re still lost. Because the Gospel is not a half a Gospel, it’s a total.
So, now, that’s why we use these whole two verses here. Let’s look at it again!
I Corinthians 15:3b-4
“…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (Absolutely He did. But it didn’t stop there.) 4. And that He was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: (After He was buried those three days and three nights.)” That was God’s plan for the human race. Not only would He be lifted up and die the death of crucifixion, but He would be dead and in the tomb for three days to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Then, He broke out in power and victory and glory, not just for Himself, but that He might impart that eternal life to every human being who will what? Believe it!
I think I’ve shared, maybe at least with my Oklahoma classes, if not on the program, I had a lady from South Carolina who was in such doubt. She didn’t know whether she was saved or lost. She’d gone through all the right format and everything, but still no assurance. I finally said, “Lady, have you ever flown on an airliner?” Some of you have heard me give this. So forgive me. “Have you ever flown on an airliner?” She said, “Well, yeah, several times.” I said, “Well, tell me, did you go back and find your seat, buckle your seatbelt, maybe start reading a magazine. Then all of a sudden get that pang of maybe they’re not going where I’m supposed to go? And you unbuckle the seat belt. You throw aside your magazine and you run to the front of the plane, and say, “Are you sure this plane is going to where I’m going? Have you ever done that?” She said, “Well, of course not.” I said, “Then, you tell me that you have more faith in a manmade airplane, an airline, than you do in the Word of God?” She said, “I never thought of it that way before.” I said, “Well, look, the Book says that when you believe for your salvation that Christ died for you and He arose from the dead and you trust it to the point that you can just sit down and relax, then God says, “You’re saved.” It’s up to you to believe it.”
Now, that’s how simple it is. But see, they don’t like the simplicity. You know what 99 out of 100 people would rather do? They would rather work. They’d rather go to mass every week. They’d rather take communion every week. They’d rather give 20% of their income every week. Yeah, some of them think they have to give 20%. They think they have to repent and get baptized. See, they complicate it. God says, “You believe it.” There’s nothing left to do. You just believe and trust that God has done everything that needs to be done. That’s the simplicity of the Gospel. Forget the “works”. That’ll come later when you’re gaining your rewards. Works are the result of salvation, not the precursor of it.
All right, now in the few minutes we have left; let’s look at some more Scriptures. Let’s come back to Romans, once again, Chapter 3. This, if you’re talking to friends or loved ones or co-workers or neighbors, this is what you have to emphasize – it’s not by what you “do,” it’s by recognizing the need. You’re lost and you need to be saved. What will save you? Believing the work of the cross – plus nothing.
“Being justified…” Now that’s a tremendous term and when God declares us as justified there is nothing left against us. We are scot-free.
“Being justified freely by his grace (Not because of what you’ve done, but by His Grace.) through the redemption (Or, the process of buying us back out of the slave-market of Satan. He bought us with His blood.) that is in Christ Jesus:”
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (In other words, all that was required.) through faith in his blood, (Where was the blood aspect? At the cross! That’s where His blood was shed – at the cross. Not in His earthly ministry – at the cross.) to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance (or the patience) of God; 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness:… Now, you remember what the righteousness of mankind was compared to in Isaiah? Filthy rags. It’s no different in our day than it was back then. Self-righteousness is nothing but filthy rags in God’s sight. Oh, what a great disappointment that’s going to bring to multitudes of people. Well, I did this and I did that. I gave this and I gave that. It’s all like filthy rags.
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that (Now, that’s the point I want to make.) he might be (what?) just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” God will never cut corners for anybody. He will never be anything but totally fair. He’s going to be just and be the justifier of him that believes. Now, you know, that’s just like the legal terms of a lessee and a lessor. Here we have the justifier who has justified the “justifiee”. Got them? The justifier and the sinner, and He’s going to declare the sinner justified when he does what? Believes!
You know what that means? There are going to be a lot of people in heaven that a lot of the other people that went the other way are going to think shouldn’t have been there. Did I lose you? How many people who are working, working, working, and they’re so busy and they’re so self-righteous go to hell, and that poor, old, degraded sinner is going to go to Glory because he has simply believed. But it’s the way it’s going to be.
Now, even in Christ’s earthly ministry what did those pompous Pharisees say when the prostitute poured the oil upon the head of the Lord Jesus? “Well, that’s a sinner! What’s the matter with that foolish woman, she’s throwing good, aromatic oil away!” What was Jesus’ answer, do you remember, in so many words, “Hey, she’s going to be where you would like to be.” Why? Because in her faith she knew whom Jesus was. Well, it’s going to be the same way with the vast multitudes of humanity. All right, so we’re justified by the justifier, because we’ve believed the Gospel.
All right, let’s turn over to Romans chapter 5. I’m going to take a few of these verses until the clock says we have to stop, and it’s just about there, believe it or not, Romans chapter 5 verse 1.
“Therefore…” Because of all that we’ve seen in chapter 3 and then in chapter 4, Paul emphasizes that Abraham did nothing but believe and that’s what we have to do.
“Therefore being justified by faith, (faith + nothing) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Okay, now let’s come on over to Romans chapter 8 verse 1. I guess if I would be put on the spot and asked immediately one verse in Scripture, this would be it. This would be the first one I would come up with, Romans 8 verse 1, what a promise after salvation.
“There is therefore (Because of all that Paul has been laying out in these first seven chapters. Because of all that there is…) no condemnation…” Not one word will God bring against the believer – ever. Even though we may disappoint Him. We may lose rewards, but God will never point the accusing finger at the believer. We are justified. We’re forgiven. We are all these good things that anyone could ever hope to be. Consequently:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…” Well, how do we get “in Christ?” You know, I had a fellow in Indianapolis who said, “Les, I’m always hearing preachers talk about being in Christ, but they don’t tell you how to get there.” Well, I think maybe a lot of times that’s true. How do you get “in Christ?” By believing the Gospel. Now, I think we’ve got time if we do it real fast. I Corinthians chapter 12, this is how we get in Christ the moment we believe!
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,…” So, the moment we believe, the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ!