94. Thoughts on Judgement of the Nations. Prologue to Isaiah 13 onwards.

END 5I have had several prolonged debates with people over the years concerning whether or not God judges the nations. I mean with “Fire and Brimstone” type of judgement with a “Pompeii” kind of destruction. I am talking of judgement that is predicted beforehand, and then seen and understood by all that “God’s prophets said exactly how this would happen before it even started to come to pass,” type of judgement. What do you think? A Judgement of doom does not necessarily require a Hiroshima or Nagasaki kind of end to life, but it does necessarily mean the end of a culture, society and or nation.

 

Does God deal with any nation like he dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah in the Genesis story? Is it with good a good understanding that we can even discuss sensibly and a biblical rationale, “The potentiality of God wiping entire nations off the face of the map in these days?” Is it ever correct to walk round with an A-board declaring, “The End is Nigh?” It sounds ridiculously farfetched to the atheist as well as to some modernistic Christians. It also seems like over the top melodrama to Reformed Cessationists who tremble at the thought of anything of any “divine interventionist” message.  There was one famous quote by an evangelist of a previous generation, I think it was William Branham in the nineteen fifties or sixties, who said “If God doesn’t soon judge Hollywood, He will have to raise up Sodom and Gomorrah and apologise to them.”  Wow! Where do we go with statements like that? I am honestly not sure whether or not Branham was in the Spirit when he made statements like that, but it makes a condemnatory theological point concerning Hollywood and its reputation that sounds expressive and emphatic to the point that many preachers have used it since it was first declared as a bench mark response to how some Christians see modern western culture. I do not condone the statement in anyway whatsoever, and that is not because I think it is biblically unsound, or because I think it sounds fanatical, but that it does not in any way catch the modern thinking man, except as a target for ridicule.

 

We must not, however, go too far in our negation of the “Doomed! Doomed! We are all doomed!” brigade. It was absolutely the correct message for Noah’s day, it was the message that was absolutely true in Jonah’s time. He was a perfect “hand in glove” fit for Nineveh.  A single line that stated “In Forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown.” It was proven to be a word from God and it was received by the Assyrians as such.  Jeremiah hit the nail on the head also with his tearful, heartfelt agonising “The End is Nigh” message. The truth was that the end was not just nigh, it came and went and left the Jews scattered around the globe and Jerusalem a huge stack of ruins in the wilderness. Ends do not get more final than 587 BC around Jerusalem. There are, therefore, from my perspective as a Bible believer, clearly, times when, “Repent! For the end is Nigh!” is a divinely inspired message.

 

The point to make as well, is to quote Jesus Christ who said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man” (Matthew 24:37. Luke 17:26) Ouch! That means that “Repent for the end is nigh!” has actually been an intensely relevant message ever since the day of Pentecost when New Testament preaching started! Chew on that one.

 

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To take the discussion just a little further: It may be a divinely inspired statement, but we need to look a little closer at the big picture concerning wicked nations and/or wicked national leaders. The judgement of groups of people, nations or ethnic tribal crowds is a difficult subject to get one’s head around. William Branham, by the way, was proven to be a prophet of some remarkable accuracy. The final story of Hollywood is not yet finished of course, leaving the present generation still in the process of assessing the strength of his words concerning Hollywood.

 

Where should we stand on such an important concept? If it is a rational, biblical message, we are fools if we play the issue down.  And if indeed the people of the nations of the world are to be judged as national groups, as well as human individuals it is an incredibly important matter for us to have an understanding on. I know I am to be judged as an individual. Keith Lannon will clearly stand before the judgement seat of Christ as an individual in the resurrection. But will I also be judged in the context of being a member of and a partaker with the nation state of England? Is that part of Christ’s brief when He makes assessments and a final judgement about me at the end?

 

I have heard several perspectives in my life time, perspectives that have fed my grey matter and sent me to the bible for answers.

 

In one extreme there are those that believe that because Christ carried the sins of the world on the cross, and no sin on the planet was left outside the net of his atoning blood, for that reason, say the adherents to this particular viewpoint, no national sin is to be brought to God’s judgement throne in the future on the grounds that it has already been dealt with.  Added to this, because none of the New Testament writers seem to have any particular perspective on judgement of the nations per se, it is assumed that it is “old hat.” I have encountered may Christians that maintain that, because we are “in a time of grace,” God simply no longer acts in the world as judge of unbelievers. Neither people groups, or governments or complete nations are judged. They hold that this is not the day of God’s judgement and this will only happen at the end of the age when Christ returns. They quote “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them one from another” (Mat 25.32). To this approach I answer that the atoning blood of Christ truly would remove the sins of the whole world if the whole world repented, whether they repented as six billion individuals, or whether they repented in unison as respective citizens of respective nations. The blood has the power and value to deal with the sins of every person that has ever lived and every nation that has ever existed, but without repentance the impact of redemption will not be felt or experienced by anybody anywhere. No repentance, no salvation – and that truth works for individuals and/or any group in God’s collectives, whether it be families, clans, tribes, races or nations.  So I discount this theory that claims that because of Calvary there will be no judgement of the nations. Final judgement of us all, of all nations, and of the whole of creation is a future fact of existence. I think many of us may joke, jest and be jolly about the reality of death, judgement, heaven and hell and end up – to put it very mildly – somewhat foolish, disappointed and lost.

 

There are also those who claim that the idea of nations coming under the guillotine of God’s judgement is nothing but an Old Testament concept that is irrelevant to New Testament times. They make this claim because the Old Testament is full of the idea of God’s judgement against godless nations, while the New Testament does not even mention the idea. “God is Love,” is the cry of many, and with the accompanying inability of many to see God’s judgement working in harmony with God’s love there is a residual huge swathe of Christians that say that judgement of any kind is not in the divine agenda. I feel sorry for such short sightedness. Pathetically pseudo academic exegesis of the bible has made shipwreck of the faith of many.

 

END 1So, how do we come to biblical conclusions on the subject? What were the reasons given in the Old Testament that warranted the destruction of the likes of Assyria, Babylon, Edom, Moab and the like, and then of course, generations earlier the infamous destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?  (And just to make sure that I am not missing anybody out, we have to include Israel in the list of those that have seen dissolution and national dissipation. The fact that Israel have been resurrected as a nation state leads us to another subject that we shall highlight another time)

 

God’s ultimate judgement is a final thing. God is the judge of all. He needs to be seen as the Almighty, All-knowing, All-powerful Judge. He judges like no other because He is similar to no other. He is God. His decisions are perfect. His actions are flawless. It is nothing but a sick joke when people play around with their eternal destinies simply because the divine eternal mind of God does not fit in with human beings and their temporary, temporal, parochial mind sets concerning the way things should be. God judges. His ultimate judgement on any issue is simply final and not to be trifled with. It is always wiser to listen to what God says. Reader, we get into heaven on His terms not ours. Turning Him down simply because the teaching of the Bible does not fit in for your friends, neighbours and dearly beloved family members cannot change the realities of the cosmos.

 

Of itself, sickness in this world is almost never His judgement. I simply do not believe God makes people ill or sick in order to teach people some great truth. I believe that on biblical grounds. Why do I take such a stand? Because He has promised to heal, he declares Himself to be “Yahweh The Healer” (Exodus 15:26), and Christ Himself healed all that came to Him. I cannot see how God could inflict sickness for any developmental or tuitional reason. I reject the thought totally. However, I do believe He occasionally strikes people down in final Judgement, and that may be via the gateway of sickness. In the book of Acts it was not the devil that struck Herod down, but God Himself. The book actually says so (Acts 12:23). That was the divinely actioned final judgement on Herod. His speech to the people and his inner response to the people declaring, “It is the voice of a God,” crossed a line in the eyes and response of the Almighty, and the king dropped on the spot.

 

Man with END IS NIGH sign: 'No I can't make it next Friday. How about a week Tuesday?'Judgement – meaning final judgement, is when God hands over the impenitent nation, nations or groups of nations, over to a hardening of their conglomerate mind, heart and attitude while still in this life and then He acts by bringing judgement upon that group. Final judgement comes upon individuals also, of course. Pharaoh in the book of Exodus was judged in that way, as was King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The Bible tells us, as well as extra biblical history, that God punishes nations in historical accounts, both gentile nations as well as historical Israel. It’s a hard pill to swallow and a huge philosophy to circumnavigate if one wishes to get hold of the truth concerning God’s judgement upon various nations and ultimately upon each individual soul. It is much easier to say that God has stopped dealing with Israel or the nations of the world in this manner. Easier yes, but totally untrue. The fact is that the vast majority of the Old Testament consists of divine intervention in judgement upon many nations – including Israel. We need to take the Old Testament template and hold it up to the kingdoms and states of the world as we read the relevant scriptures.

 

The overriding perspective of scripture concerning this issue has several key points of revelation to it.

 

  1. God is clearly stated to be the Almighty Sovereign over all nations – none excepted – and that He rules and guides them all for His own His purposes.
  2. His purposes past, present and future include the nation of Israel. In fact Israel is at the heart of the divine world programme.
  3. God tolerates sin in as much as the perpetrators of sin are allowed to continue in particular pathways in relation to all nations. As the rest of the unbelieving world sees things, many conclude that He seems to wink at it. However, He never winks at sin but adds up the account of the depth and volume of evil in a nation’s spiritual gut, right up to the point that God judges to be a sort of critical mass. At that point judgement becomes a necessity. When this divinely marked and noted saturation point is arrived at, He then directly acts and brings calamity and even national annihilation upon some. With some it may be a temporary removal from the scene of time waiting for a resurrection experience to take place. Israel, for instance, has been resurrected. Egypt shall be raised again into a gloriously righteous nation greater than it was in biblical days (we shall explain this in later pages) as well as others.
  4. The Bible lists the kinds of iniquity God has in mind when He mentions “the wickedness of the nations.”
  5. An essential truth that needs to be the wallpaper of all our thoughts on this subject and the oxygen of all our emotions in dissecting this issue is the fact that it is the love of God that is the solid foundation of all His actions whether we agree with them or not. He knows more than us, He sees more than us, He loves more than us, and for human beings to argue against His activities is as ridiculous as anything that can be conceived us. 18 ounces of us is brain. He owns the cosmos and is infinite in all knowledge and understanding, and many are damned and lost because they think they are cleverer than Him, and that He is wrong.

 

More to come in Isaiah 13.

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93. What the Prophet Sees is What the Prophet Knows. Yet at times he sees what he does not understand.

Isaiah 13

 

0001Prophecy is a wonderful mystery. I love it. I dearly love to plough through the writings of the Old Testament prophets for long “read-ins.” Such energy! Such insight! Such breadth of perception! Such glorious inspiration! Christ Himself referred to them and dwelt on them continually. We need to do the same. The New Testament message is fully contained in the Old.

 

I have learned a lot about the prophetic gift through the years, but I find that the more I learn, the more astounded I am by what I do not know.  Prophecy is so gloriously supernatural that the unlearned and cynics make comments that deride the entire presentation of scripture about the subject. Without prophecy we would have no idea where the world is going – and we only know where it is going because of the prophetic gift by the Spirit of God. I know very little about the whole subject of biblical prophecy, but a cringe with horror when I hear high flying academics make sweeping statements concerning the historical writing prophets that wreak to me of rottenness and untruths that arise simply because of their claims of academic excellence. Let me explain further.

 

Prophecy is so extreme to so many Christian believers that, like healing and or deliverance, many believers think that the entire issue of the miraculous wrought by God Himself finally died when the apostle John went home to his reward (It is widely accepted that the Apostle John was the last of the twelve apostles of Christ to die).  Other sections of the body of Christ seem to doubtfully teach that when the word “prophecy” is used in the New Testament, it often really means “inspired preaching.”  When prophecy is plainly used in the Old Testament, many academics make illogical statements about its parameters. For instance some feel the need to say that because Isaiah made statements concerning Babylon and its huge empire in its greatness being overthrown, and because we are well aware that Babylon was a second rate small nation in the days that we know Isaiah was alive, it is “obvious” that a mysterious “somebody else” must have written sections like Isaiah 13. “The prophet Isaiah obviously could not possibly have predicted the fall of the great empire of Babylon before the nation ever became an empire.” Really? What parameters of logic are the academics that say these things using? If Enoch, circa 5,000 BC could predict the second coming of Christ before the first advent had even taken place, and if Isaiah could have predicted the crucifixion of Christ circa 700 BC before the hideous idea of crucifiction had come to anybody, why should it even be questioned when Isaiah predicts the fall of the great power of Babylon a mere century or so before its rise to power.

 

 

In fact, the same principle holds when the academic authorities tell us that Isaiah could not have written the last twenty seven chapters of the prophetic book that bears his name because it is commonly held that those twenty seven chapters were homing in on the return of the exiled nation of Israel from the Babylonian exile before the ugly force of Babylon was big enough to defeat them and exile them. Methinks that those academics and so called “experts” that offer such explanations have allowed much learning to have made them not so much mad as a little slow and dull of heart.

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If prophecy is miraculous – and it is. If prophecy is the Spirit of Yahweh speaking through a submissive human being, and states what is going to happen in the future – and I believe it is; why should we be unbelieving when Isaiah predicts the name of a Medo-Persion king before the Medo Persian coalition was even thought of, never mind created, prior to Babylon’s rise.

 

Isaiah saw the future. He saw the collapse of Assyria and the rise of Babylon. He saw the fall of Babylon and the rise of the Medo-Persian Empire – as did Daniel. I offer no in depth analysis as to what, why, how or where. Frankly I find it academically easier to believe and grasp when I picture Isaiah sat in Jerusalem – possibly knowing all about the world’s current affairs in his day, or in principle also, conceivably knowing nothing at all beyond what the people on the street were gossiping about hearing the voice of God. I see from what the prophets write, and what Jesus and the apostles say about what the prophets wrote, that Isaiah saw Christ in heaven. I read that there was some content of what the prophets of God espoused that they simply did not understand the contents of their own discourse.

 

It also seems a little strange that the bookworms that doubt the possibility of Isaiah seeing a century or more into his future without some Jewish scribe having cheated and added some statements after things had taken place, do not attempt to compare the apostle John seeing things two millennia before they have taken place, and have not yet come to pass. Get out of that one you illogical faith destroyers.

 

Much learning doth certainly make some of the academics a little mad I think. Why on earth such a miraculous force as God given prophecy should confuse the great brains and send them into unbelieving free fall I know not. (Then again . . . perhaps we all know why)

 

I am saying all this as we start to swim in the waters of Isaiah 13. In this chapter Isaiah is predicting and expanding on the downfall of Babylon, an empire that was not in existence at the point of time that Isaiah uttered and/or wrote the words. It is amazing! But if we believe that prophecy is indeed a gift of God amongst people of His choosing, people who know God, trust God and say out loud and write on parchment all that the Spirit of God says to them, then insights that accurately portray centuries in the future are simply not to be trifled with.

 

To add to the impact of the writings of the prophets, they deliver prophecies that are for their own generations as well as for the future. The validation and ratification of things they have spoken into their own generations exponentially adds to the power, the truthfulness and the divine nature of those things predicted and seen. For example, if I lived in Isaiah’s day, and knew how he spoke to Ahaz in Isaiah 7 and predicted that neither Aram nor the Northern Kingdom of Israel would be able to remove him from being king, but would both be annihilated as nation states and would both be exiled – and then I heard how it had happened exactly as he had prophesied, I am absolutely sure his statements of a coming Messiah would be warmly accepted as a future fact because of Isaiah’s character and credibility  gained in the prophetic realm. How could anything be dull when one was hearing Isaiah predict and prophesy?

 

Added to that story, imagine Isaiah’s reputation, kudos and credibility score after Sennacharib surrounded Jerusalem with 200,000 soldiers (give or take a few) making disgusting threats and taunts about King Hezekiah, the lack of idols to worship, and the weak and insipid nature of Yahweh. Oh dear! To say that the Assyrians had crossed a line and had entered territory from which very few come back alive would be a huge understatement. They laughed in God’s face, and so Yahweh whispered in Isaiah’s ear. Does God do anything without informing his prophets? (Amos 3:7) Isaiah announced to Hezekiah that he could sleep easy in his bed that night and that Yahweh would do something on Jerusalem’s behalf that would close the issue. That night an angel of the Lord slew 180,000 assyrian soldiers that were camped around Jerusalem, and so the Assyrians left. One could be within the bonds of truth to say Assyria fled from the wrath of the Almighty. (See Isaiah chapters 35-39)

 

 

Who said the Old Testament prophets were boring?

 

 

The greatness of the contribution of the so called Major and Minor prophets to our understanding of God and His ways, His purpose for the future of both Jews and Gentiles, and the ongoing progress of the Kingdom of God is truly phenomenal. And of all the greatness of the writing prophets, Isaiah is generally accepted as the greatest of the greats in as far as his contribution to our understanding and doctrinal insights are concerned. Isaiah is quoted more in the New Testament than any other of the Old Testament prophets. Hail Isaiah!

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92. Five Key Revelations that Isaiah Brings in his First Twelve Chapters

OK! OK!  Five key points of Isaiah’s message that are seen clearly in the first twelve chapters of the book of Isaiah! This is important because these five aspects of God’s communications with Isaiah are added to, expanded upon and made clearer as we plough through the entire 66 chapters of his burden. The important thing to observe, I believe, is that the skeletal statements of this first dozen chapters are the seedlings of what the rest of Isaiah’s pages explain.

 

I differentiate these first twelve chapters from the next fourteen or so because of the remarkable change of focus and style that starts with Chapter 13 verse 1. But if we grasp these opening salvo’s, the rest of Isaiah will be easier to grasp as we read through.

 

The first six chapters zoom in on Jerusalem and Judah alone.  Chapters 7-12 zoom in on Judah being placed under the disciplining hand of God who utilizes Assyria as the instrument of His judgement.  Fascinating! And while these two major strands of thought are being spoken about and made major, Isaiah touches on so much more which, although are not minor, are simply the larger umbrella that requires other realities to be placed on the table. Although the, “so much more,” must have seemed like sub plots and trivia to the unbelieving population of Jerusalem contemporary with Isaiah, from our perspective looking back on the history of the Hebrews as well as the life of Christ and the overall “Big Picture” of prophecy, we can plainly see that none of it is a “subplot” to any other part of Isaiah’s message. The entire network of Isaiah’s thoughts and the strength of what he delivers is plainly demonstrated to be a sack full of heavy duty life changing spiritual goodies that look to the future, the past and what was the present of Isaiah’s life. It looks to heaven and hell and all that is between the two. He sees the righteous and the unrighteous and the need for faith.  His magnificence is his breadth of message and depth of insight.

 

Let us briefly observe five of the major truths that are seen already from chapters 1 through to 12, before we continue delving into the rest of his writings. I do not state these five statements in any particular order.

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  1. ISAIAH SAW AS CLEAR AS DAY THAT “MESSIAH” WAS COMING THOUGH HE KNEW NOT WHEN

(Isaiah 6:1-6 (in the context of John 12:40-41). Isaiah 7:14. Isaiah 9:1-7. Isaiah 11:1-5. Isaiah 11:10.)

 

Without doubt, whether Isaiah or the readers of the Old Testament knew it or not (and they obviously did not) the prophet saw a personage coming in the future that was to be the ultimate as the definition of  a man being anointed, empowered and motivated by God and His Spirit. This person’s anointing would change the world and one day rule the entire cosmos as we know it, and beyond what we know. The word for anointed in the Hebrew language is: Messiah. In Greek, the same meaning is embedded in the word: “Christ.” Messiah was coming and Isaiah had the most glorious flashes of what He would be doing, where He would be doing it and what His modus operandi would be.

 

From our privileged perspective of living subsequent to the resurrection of Christ as well as post the writing of the New Testament, we can see that the baby that was to be born of a virgin, and the light that was to shine in Galilee of the gentiles was the first advent when Messiah would walk as we now walk in what the letter to the Hebrews refers to as “the days of His flesh.” However in the most wonderful and glorious imagery, Isaiah also saw the Messiah in His all power and majestic reign in Jerusalem when the entire world would be all at peace, and the world’s population would be making pilgrimages to Jerusalem, hosted by the then much loved and appreciated Hebrew nation of Israel, in order to sit at the feet of Messiah and learn of His ways.

 

  1. ISAIAH SAW YAHWEH AS HOLY LOFTY AND TRANSCENDANT THOUGH IMMINENT AND INTIMATE

(Isaiah 6:1-7. Isaiah 8:13-17. Isaiah 11:1-5.)

 

Isaiah not only has a remarkable concept of God’s greatness, His holiness and all those characteristics that make God – God, but he has the language, the allegories and the descriptive adjectives to take us with him. Isaiah is absorbed with the uniqueness and the intrinsic purity of the Almighty, so much so that the reader needs help to misunderstand his exaltation of Yahweh and the Holy One of Israel. As well as declaring how the glory of God “fills the whole earth” of which we are participants. He also declares the transcendence of God, that is, that He is totally outside the world of Nature which He created and which He rules and sustains. Yet as well as being the invisible, unequalled immortal God, at the same time He is the God of History who is actively involved in the affairs of all mankind and of nations. He is personal to each human being, yet it is He that sustains the entire family of nations in the earth. How glorious is He!

 

It is because God is the God of the individual as well as the God of all the nations that it is clear that the ultimate value of true spirituality and relationship with God is in the quality of a man’s faith in Him. Total and unshaken faith will bring personal and national strength and security. Isaiah sees it, describes it graphically and takes us with him to commit our very being into His hands via Messiah.

 

  1. ISAIAH SAW THAT THE FUTURE OF JERUSALEM ISRAEL AND THE JEWS WAS GLORIOUS

(Isaiah 1:26-27. Isaiah 2:19-21.Isaiah 4:2-6. Isaiah 10:20-34. Isaiah 11:6-9. Isaiah 12:1-3.)

 

The uniqueness of Israel in the future millennial world of multiple races and sustained national identity is plainly declared.  For those who believe the so called “Replacement Theology” that openly declares that God is “finished” with Israel and that all Christian reference to them is irrelevant, and has been so since Christ’s crucifixion, this point must be a painful “ear bending” that they would prefer to do without. The major point behind the philosophy that says “the Hebrews as a nation called Israel are irrelevant,” is the entire failure of the Law and Israel’s disobedience to the Sinai covenant.  It sounds a good point, but it misses one of the simplest and most profound revelations of the apostle Paul. The promises to Abraham were unconditional and were also 430 years before the law was even given. On top of that the Mosaic law was a conditional covenant. This writer believes passionately that no matter how deep and perverted was the fall of Israel and the continuous sin of the Hebrews throughout the days of the Judges, the Kings and even to the rejection of Christ and their call that, “His blood be upon our heads,” as they screamed for His crucifixion, the relevance of the Hebrews and the nation of Israel in this day and age has little – if anything – to do with what was said and done at Sinai, but everything to do with the unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham, repeated to both Isaac and Jacob. The land belongs to Israel by the very mouth and oath of the Almighty.  It is the end result of this promise that God gave to the three Patriarchs that leads Isaiah to describe what the Jews refer to as “the Messianic age,” and what Christians refer to as “the Millennial Reign if Christ.”

 

Isaiah paints the picture of a righteous Hebrew nation comprising of every Hebrew tribe (all twelve of them) dwelling in perfect peace in the full parameters of the Promised Land, playing the host to every nation of the world as they make pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to sit at the feet of Christ. Having sketched what that day will be like, the prophet uses the dream of the future to encourage the sinful Hebrews of his day to trust God to bring the day nearer.  Only righteousness will save the nation of Israel.  Only righteousness will save any and every nation. We refer to the righteousness that comes to mankind through faith in Christ. Conversely, evil will bring on destruction, whether it be temporary for some nations, or total annihilation for others. The Jews, however, are different, inasmuch as they will never be totally destroyed simply because of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God has stated it to be so. God has ordained it that there will always be a faithful remnant who will return to God’s law and save the future for Israel. The Messianic Age is still future and still a prophetically described reality. Therefore it is impossible for the Messianic Age to be installed in the earth without a unified and faith filled Israel. Amongst the other writing prophets of scripture, Isaiah says this as plainly as language allows. “The divine plan for Israel is wonderful, so repent now and hasten that day to come,” is the point of his message.

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ISAIAH SAW THAT THE CITY OF JERUSALEM WILL BE CENTRAL IN WORLD HISTORY DURING THE MESSIANIC AGE

(Isaiah 1:26-27. Isaiah 2:2-5. Isaiah 4:2-6. Isaiah 11:12-16. Isaiah 12:4-6)

 

Jerusalem has a very special place in the theology of Isaiah. It is indeed the city of the Great King, and that Great King is Christ. It is uniquely the City of God and the visible symbol of His living presence amid the Hebrew nation which is established for Israel and ultimately for all the nations to visit and be ministered to by the Great King, Messiah – Jesus Christ Himself. Jerusalem will become the meeting place for all peoples who will come there to recognise and experience the truth of the teaching of the only One God of all mankind. See Isaiah 4:2-6.

 

There is a wonderful mystery that is released even in these early twelve chapters of Isaiah that the Jewish insistence that “Messiah” has not yet been hides from their view. There are those lines in Isaiah chapters 7, 9 and 11, that tell us how Messiah will be born of a virgin, how His astounding grace will be seen in the areas of Naphtali and Zebulun, places situated in the district of Galilee of the Nations, and how He will be motivated by nothing but the fear of God the Father and the impulse of Yahweh’s Spirit.  We can see and understand how the fulfilment of some of those prophecies and Christ’s incredible ministry to the people of Galilee have clearly been fulfilled. However, there are also those verses that we know, have not yet been fulfilled that must refer to yet another time when Christ will be here on planet earth in Jerusalem. Thus Isaiah clearly sees what we understand as both the first and Second Advent of the Christ. But by ignoring His first advent, to the Jew, the very idea of two advents seems farfetched. For this reason, from a Christian’s perspective, it seems unlikely that Isaiah could have seen the two visitations of Messiah.

 

Or could he?

 

In Isaiah 4 Isaiah tells us that the Branch of the Lord, a euphemism for Messiah, will cleanse the hearts of those in Jerusalem and will install a cloud over Jerusalem that will be smoke in the day and fire in the night, and this will be part of a canopy over Jerusalem that will protect the city from inclement weather systems.

 

In chapter 2 in the opening five verses we have the temple of the Lord which, at Christ’s return will be the highest of mountains in Zion and, “all nations will stream to it.” The picture of the primary capital of Jerusalem for the entire globe is clearly envisaged. That primary profile of Jerusalem is, of course, solely because Messiah will physically be there.

 

The prophet enlarges on these concepts as he progresses.

 

This writer considers it to be of outstanding significance that each and every prophetic word from the writing prophets of the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Messiah’s first advent was fulfilled literally and actually, no matter how poetic and abstract some of those words seemed to be prior to their fulfilment. My rhetorical and pointedly loaded question concerning that fact is, therefore, this: If all the prophecies concerning Messiah’s first advent were historically, literally and actually fulfilled in this time space world, on what grounds can any bible expositor use a different criteria or set of interpretive rules for understanding the prophecies of His second advent? “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner to the way you have seen Him go.”  Can language be any plainer than some of these comments concerning Messiah’s return?

 

Isaiah lists a manifest- an itemized inventory- of the sins and the evils of the people of Judah, seen both as a multitude of individuals as well as a single culture. His message is interspersed with predictive prophecies of Messiah and the golden age to come, and he uses these revelations to exhort his contemporaries to seek the Lord “in the now.” As already noted, Jewish scholars refer to this future time of Messiah’s rule as “The Messianic Age.” Christians refer to it as “The Millennial Reign of Christ instituted at the Second Advent of Messiah” as opposed to His First Advent and “the days of His flesh.” Those two epithets concerning days that are yet future are so different, yet the meaning they carry is identical. This prophetic vision is seriously important for rightly dividing the scriptural teaching concerning the future of the planet and the “end of time” as we know it.

 

Again, to clarify the point; What Jewish people would refer to as “The future golden age of Judaism” is what Christians see as the state of the world after the second coming of Christ has taken place and He is enthroned in the City of the Great King, that is Jerusalem. The description of the glories of Israel and Jerusalem is clearly not found in the past that we know so much of, as in the future the Bible tells us to expect. Isaiah is given grace to see ahead in unknown and unmeasured future dates when Messiah will be born and then bring great light to Galilee, and then later on in a time and date utterly hidden from all of humanity still, a day when there will be no more war or any other evil, and when Israel will be redeemed as it becomes the veritable light to all the nations of the Earth.  Isaiah’s vision is clear, and as we read it gets ever clearer. It will be introduced by this unique Messianic personality working by the Spirit of God. We read the New Testament and see the man Jesus of Nazareth, risen from the dead, ascended and glorified and declared at first by a completely Jewish church that Jesus is the Messiah. Christians declare that Messiah is truly Jesus Christ the Lord. Today of course, there are more gentile Christians than Jewish.

 

Judaism, however, not acknowledging, yet, that Jesus is the Messiah, sees Isaiah’s description clearly, and simply envisage one visitation which, to their Old Testament perspective is clearly still future.

12

  1. ISAIAH SAW THE DIVINE EVERLASTING IMPERATIVE FOR HIS PEOPLE TO LIVE HOLY LIVES

(Isaiah 1:6-20. )

 

While the religious ceremonial of the Temple ritual and its sacrifices are important, the ethical dimension of a person’s behaviour is infinitely more significant and takes extreme precedence over the ritualistic aspects of Judaism as introduced by Moses. “Ritual without character, ethics and integrity is an abominable hypocrisy,” is what the writing prophets thrust at their audience. Moses would clearly have agreed if he had lived in Isaiah’s day. Moses was a man of faith. The Law he instituted, however, is not of faith.

 

A call to the purity and holiness that was legislated for in the law was transcended by the prophets just calling for integrity in all aspects of life with a deep repentant heart towards God. Statements like those embedded in Isaiah 56:1. Micah 6:8, Jeremiah 22:3, Hosea 6:6, Amos 5:24, and Zechariah 7:9 amongst others shocked the hard line religionists because the prophets were calling for a purity of spirit and heart, not just an obedience to the Mosaic Law which could be submitted to whilst still living a godless life. The blind practice of the sacrificial system was never how Moses himself envisioned the Levitical sacrificial to be, but that was indeed what it became quite quickly after Moses’ death.

 

The word of God to every person and generation since the fall of man has always been, “Be holy because I am holy.” I say this with the full knowledge that Leviticus 16:16 was not written until many centuries and even the flood had passed, but the purpose of the word of God, and the fruit of faith in that word, has always been holiness.

91. The Psalm of Isaiah Part Four

Isaiah 12:4-6

 

123FVerse 1 stated, “In that day.” Read chapter 11:11-16. It is clearly referring to the Millennial day under Christ’s rule and reign on earth. It is this writer’s conviction that all will be literally fulfilled of chapters 11 and 12.  Having had brief looks at verses 1-3 we close in on the last three verses.

In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the Lord! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! 

 

  • Having given thanks for historical and experienced blessings in verses 1-3, the singer now proceeds to praise God and thank Him for the very glory of His name, the things He has done, and the very nature of who He is. The word translated as praise signifies a throwing, an outburst, an ejaculation of expressive exultation in God and an exaltation of Him. How great is He. This isn’t words of praise by rote or dictate, but free, spontaneous expressions of what the heart sees of God and what the mind understands of Him.
  • “In that wonderful day …” It will be a day to remember and enjoy forever after.
  • “…you will sing…” This is clearly not referring to a formal “Let us stand and sing Hymn number 43” scenario. This is a “I dare you to shut me up if you can!” moment. This is a day of such deep joy and thankfulness that one would sing or burst.
  • “Praise His Name.” Throw ejaculations of praise and exaltation to Yahweh, and be creative about it. There are some things in life, and some moments when one is drunk with joy; utterly inebriated with deep thanks and appreciation for where one is, or what one has, or the friends one knows. The entire thousand years of Christ’s reign will be an entire millennium of such days.
  • “Thank the Lord. Praise His Name.” The reality of the thankfulness and the spiritual uplift that people will have in the reign of Christ the Lord on earth will be greater than we can imagine at this present time. Some will be free from the presence and power of sin and living in their resurrection bodies. That kind of freedom cannot yet be experienced. But even those who are not in the resurrection will know of a profound freedom.
  • “Tell the nations what He has done.” So there will still be the need for evangelism. And because of the removal of the devil for a thousand years, and the removal of sin from the atmosphere and the curse from the ground and the spiritual cosmos, as well as the removal of the sinful flesh for those clothed in their resurrection bodies, there are many natural, and physical as well as spiritual hindrances that we encounter every day that shall simply NOT be there when He reigns on earth. Praising His name, and calling on the name of Yahweh, a name that reveals His full nature will not only be a joy for the masses to shout and sing.
  • Praise and evangelism of the globe are the high purposes of this exhortation. We are here referring to the worship of Hebrew people who will be converted to Christ, singing and praising the Lord in the very presence of the gentile people. The nations will need to know, still, how great God is in all His providence and goodness. So, even in the millennium the nations will need to be told.
  • One translation has it as, “Call to mind the good things God has done.”… that is, meditate on the greatness of God, like a cow chewing the cud. Let one’s mind just explore His divine goodness. Renew, refresh and increase one’s knowledge of God in the mind.
  • The song is intended to be sung in the very presence of the unconverted.

 

12WSing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. 

  • Because of the miraculous things He has done, sing and keep singing. Don’t just sing of Him. Sing to Him. Allow the masses to observe how the children of God enjoy Him.
  • He is the God of Israel, this cannot be doubted, especially on His return and when His government centre is in Jerusalem as King of the Jews on David’s throne as well as king of all of heaven and earth. This heavenly king with all power and authority is none other than the risen Christ that Christianity preaches about. And He is also, the God of the entire world. When the people praise Him, as a constituent oart of the lyrics that they sing they should list the acts He has done.
  • The lyrics of verse 5 presuppose worldwide convocations of praise to the Almighty.

 

Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”

  • The word used that is translated “Jerusalem” is actually Zion. The whole song is not so much about what man is doing to praise Him, but more about what Yahweh has done to give mankind cause for praise.
  • “Let all the people of Jerusalem shout His praise with joy!” Here’s the surprise for many. Jerusalem is still the epicentre of all that will take place in the reign of Christ. Jerusalem will be so beautifully attractive, and the presence of God so pronounced that the entire globe of gentile people’s will be making pilgrimages to the great city of the even greater King. They shall see His face – literally. Leupold insists that the phrase actually means to “raise shrill shouts.” The entire psalm is a gradation of ever increasing praise and adoration from the individual, to the whole Jewish nation and finishing with the entire globe singing, or at least spectating the worship and learning of the nature of the person of Yahweh.
  • The world will see the Jews in Israel Exulting and revelling in knowing Him.
  • “For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” The term, “The Holy One of Israel” is always referring to Christ when it is used in scripture. Some of the old Rabbis refer to Him as Yahweh’s Angel.” Here we have it plainly stated in the meaning of Isaiah’s song. Christ is enthroned in Jerusalem on David’s throne. He is the Holy One of Israel. The Holy One of Israel will literally, physically and manifestly live among them. The same Jesus that left the planet in Acts 1 shall return to the planet in exactly the same manner. His person, His presence and His Greatness will be clearly manifested in the midst of mankind.
  • Literal translation for verse 6 is “Shout and cry out you inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” Is there any greater reason required for people around the planet to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem with such a King abiding and dwelling in a renewed and restored “Time Space World?”
  • All the prophets were taken up to a weighty degree with the greatness and the character of God, much more than the minor achievements of mankind.

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90. The Psalm of Isaiah. Part Three

Isaiah 12:3

 

We are running through Isaiah’s psalm of praise in what we refer to in our Bibles as “Isaiah chapter twelve.”  In strict context it is a song to be sung by the regathered people of Israel, for the first time in all of time, where they are safe, secure and at peace in the full extent of all the land that God has promised them – that is from the Euphrates down to the Nile and every square centimeter of all that is between those two borders. Having explained the full circumstances of their King and the Kingdom throughout Isaiah 11, the prophet declares that in His earthly reign with all the changes in the physical creation as well as the spiritual cosmos, the converted and Messiah loving Israeli’s will sing this song.

 

Such a song by all the parameters of its source its thought processes and its goal is absolutely appropriate for Christians to own as an anthem of praise for their Salvation in Christ. They have in the same Messiah, howbeit in His physical absence from this tangible world, yet with the sure and certain assurance of His being seated at the right hand of the majesty on High in the heavens, the same thankfulness to the same God as the Hebrew people will have when they sing this song in the fullness of Christ’s physical presence in His Millennial reign.

 

Having praised God for having turned his heart towards them from a previous stare of anger in verse 1, and having declared with joy and determination the ever deepening of Messiah’s relationship of Salvation towards them, as well as having adventured into a realm of trust, confrontation of fear, strength and music in their hearts, the would be person who would be singing Isaiah 12 now declares something that has become one of the most precious solid rocks of Holy Writ to millions. Verse 3 reads:

 

“Therefore, with joy you will draw water from the wells of Salvation.” (HC Leupold)

 

In the Hebrew language this sentence is five words. Mixing and mingling all the English translations of this verse and making a soup of all the different expressions of the four nouns and the one verb, I give you:

 

“Therefore, with joy you have drawn and will draw water and drink deeply from the wells and springs of salvation, deliverance and saving health – all from the Saviour’s fountains.”

 

If that doesn’t excite a person’s spiritual taste buds nothing will.

 

  • “Therefore…” On the grounds of all that has been experienced in the previous two verses. It is as if the writer is stating what will be the lifestyle of the entire Hebrew population of those enjoying the grace of Christ’s salvation in His millennial rule. On the basis of all that the prospective singer of Isaiah’s psalm has experienced, is experiencing and is expecting to experience in an ongoing state of freedom, the full and glorious goal of Isaiah’s song of praise is declared.

 

We shall progress through the line in the order of the Hebrew words in the statement.

 

  • “Therefore, you shall draw… “ Wells need drawing from. Wells or springs are sourced underground, i.e. unseen by those that live above. Fountains and the like do not always supply such a spring that comes to the surface, more often than not the surface of the water that emanates from the spring could be 60 feet below the level of the drawer.  All this is instructive when considering drawing the Living Water of the Almighty and drinking fully. The source is truly invisible. Traditionally, wells are sunk deep, and roped buckets are dropped in order to draw its life saving product. As with physical water, so it is with the Living Water of the Spirit of God that Jesus spoke of and of which Isaiah here refers to.

 

  • Drawing from a well needs preparation and effort. Drawing from God’s well of salvation requires the same.

 

  • The need to draw water suggests thirst for what is necessary to live. As with the physical, so with the spiritual.

 

  • Trust and a will to praise are essential parts of the rope and bucket to draw deeply from the fountains of God.

 

  • Yesterday’s water is never enough for today, nor todays for tomorrow. One never outgrows the need to draw water to drink. As with the physical, so with the spiritual.

 

  • “Therefore, you shall draw ..” The statement is referring to a daily routine that is necessary for life itself. The entire verse means to draw of the strength, trust, song and fearlessness that abound in God, and to draw such capacities and much more from the everlasting, never ending, and eternally refreshing water of life that is Christ Himself.

 

  • “Therefore you shall draw ..” God does not draw the water for us. We do the drawing ourselves.

 

 

  • “…from the wells of salvation.” In Jeremiah 2:13 Heavenly Father is referred to as “the fountain of living water.” In John 4:14 Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit’s supply as a “well of living water.” Canticles 4:15 allegorically refers to Christ as the “fountain of gardens and well of living water.” The picture Isaiah paints is a masterpiece of analogy, metaphor and suggestion.

 

  • “You shall draw water from the wells of salvation.” Application is made to God through faith and desire, and thereby Living Water is drawn from the wells of the Almighty Himself. It is God Himself who comprises the Living water.

 

 

  • “…wells…” Being in the plural, and having referred to the plurality of persons in the Godhead (simply because the psalm has already stated that God Himself is the personification of divine salvation, i.e. Salvation is what He is in Himself, and not only what He does, or what He offers), we may also safely refer to the multiplicity of tangible blessings that come from His hands as a veritable multiplicity of wells. The well of healing, the well of peace, the well of deliverance and so on. Whatever is staple to the needs of the human race, God Himself is the source of supply.

 

  • “… wells …” Salvation is a well, and a fountain, not a stagnant pond or a dead sea. Salvation is a well that always has and evermore will have fresh water for each individual day and requirement.

 

 

  • God’s immutability (unchangeableness), Omnipotence (All power), Omniscience (All knowledge), Omnipresence (His presence being throughout the universe and beyond) and His timelessness contacts us in our every weakness, whether it be in life or in death, it is a fountain of life in all those areas of His manifestation. In our trusting, thanking and choosing not to fear – in our receiving comfort, reveling in His Name and our increase in our knowledge of Him He reveals Himself to us and becomes the absolute rock of our salvation. Everything we know of in the universe will seem to change as the level of our knowledge increases. God will never change.

 

  • The person who shall sing this hymn has already drawn and tasted from the well. The line of verse 3 is not only a statement of what people will do in the earthly reign of Christ, but an encouragement to those who have not yet drawn from the well of salvation to commence to do so.

89. The Psalm of Isaiah. Part Two

122Isaiah 12:2

 

If I am not imagining something here, Isaiah is paralleling what happened in Exodus 15. He is equating the Egyptian Exodus with Moses with the Exodus from sin and into the millennial reign of Christ. Israel had left Egypt and were pursued to the Red Sea.  With the sea preventing progress forward and the Egyptians preventing a retreat from the sea shore, and there being no northerly or southerly escape, the miraculous opening of the Red Sea led the Israelis into deliverance and freedom from their former slave masters. Immediately following this miracle, Moses’ sister Miriam sang a prophetic song. This song pictures the entire Hebrew race being freed from the presence and power of sin in the reign of Christ on earth, and so their joy and elation in God births a song. The song is brief but powerful. The song of Isaiah 12 parallels Miriam’s lyrics to a great degree in its significance and direction. It’s comprehensive nature of exalting God through all aspects of life and history is rich in significance.
See! Yahweh is my Salvation. I will trust and not be afraid. Yah Yahweh is my strength and my song; he has become my Salvation.”

 

  • See! Yahweh is my Salvation.” The “see!” is an exclamation of realisation. Translated in other versions as: “Behold!” “Lo!” “Indeed!” or “Look!” the singer, clearly, has a revelation and wants us to see it also. Something has been unveiled to him by the Spirit of God. It is reference to the personal ownership of a certain saving intimacy with the Almighty. It dawns on the singer within the context of the dawn of a new life under the impetus and power of Christ the Messiah. It is a fervent cry of “Look what I have discovered!” “See what I have found!” “Behold in plain view the imminence of Yahweh!” Look and see my Saviour and my Salvation.

 

  • Yahweh is my Salvation.” Did you know that the ancient divine Jerome translated this line as “Jehovah is my Jesus?” Now that makes me smile with pleasure.

 

  • Yahweh is my Salvation.” Note that Yahweh is not seen as the singer’s “Saviour,” but the very embodiment of the “Salvation” itself. I mean by this that “Yahweh is my Salvation” refers to the very person of God being the Salvation rather than an act or action that God has performed. It is intrinsically stating that the singer is intimately acquainted with Yahweh and that it is that acquaintance that communicates His saving grace.

 

  • 12X“Yahweh is My Salvation,” is an echo of Jonah’s, “Salvation is of the Lord.” The essence of the meaning of both statements is that Yahweh is the instigator of the whole salvation process from beginning to the end. Man has no hand in the process whatsoever, apart from activating the grace He has received that facilitates faith and trust.

 

  • “I will trust and not be afraid.” Notice that the trusting and the fearlessness is a determined act of the singer who has just declared his saving intimacy with God. Yahweh’s covering, protection and blessing is so dominant in the whole issue of life and living that the singer realises that there is more substance to knowing God than he has yet tested or pulled on – and he wilfully ventures out into the vast ocean of Yahweh’s grace and mercy.

 

  • “I will trust and not be afraid.” Notice that trust and fearlessness are not euphemisms for the same thing. The singer is trusting the person of Yahweh to fulfil those aspects of His eternal promises and presence in his every day negotiations of life. But the trust cannot properly be exhibited without determining to fight fear. “I will … not be afraid,” suggests that he may be facing issues and predicaments that previously made him or her fearful, but now, on the grounds of the fact that Yahweh is his Salvation he chooses not to fear. And even if he does fear, he fights that fear by stepping out and acting in a way that manifests the banishing of that fear. To trust and not to fear is an act of the will. It is a personal choice to be followed up by appropriate action.

 

  • “Yah Yahweh…” This “double take” of the name of God is only repeated once more in scripture in Isaiah 26:4. It is to stress the impact and sense of awe of the Tetragrammaton, the name of the Almighty YHWH. The Holman Bible has it as “Yah the LORD.” Yah the Lord, by His tangible presence communicates strength that is physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional. There is such exultation on that communication from God that it conceives and gives birth to song.

 

  • “Yah Yahweh is my strength and my song…” If the determination of the words to trust and not be afraid express a desire to experience the tangible and manifest grace of God, to immediately declare afterwards that the same Yahweh is “my strength and song” leads us to see the expression and reality of a personal experience. The grace of God, though invisible and doubted by cynical onlookers is the most concrete of tangible evidences, to those that believe, of the love and grace of God. The strength and character that filled the singer to trust and to not be afraid fills him with the honest conclusion that such trust and fearlessness were characteristics that were beyond his normal practice and capability. The strength it took to trust, and maintain a fearless stare into the unknown was clearly understood as a work of God himself in the heart of the singer. Isaiah declares that “In that day..”(12:1) the joy and reality of knowing and experiencing God will be so material and palpable that people will simply declare as a truth, “He is my strength.” This does not mean that strength and the song of the heart will be placed in the spirit of the singer without further effort to trust and not fear. Trust is a flowing river, not a stone to receive and pocket. Trust is a river to swim in and not a mere gate to walk through and then forget its geographical location.

 

  • Yahweh … is my song.” God’s people will never be short of music, be it in the heart, in the mouth, in the solitary moments or in the midst of the congregation. And what is the song? Why, the song is Him! As he is the intrinsic personification of all that saves and keeps and blesses, so He is the substance of all that inspires songs of praise, adoration and worship. Messiah is all in all.

 

  • “…my strength and my song.” Strength is power to stand and to do. The song indicates authority over any negative circumstance in one’s life. The song and the singing of praises to Messiah indicates the satisfaction of the Divine reign in the human heart and the circumstances of life.

 

  • “He has become my salvation.” The Trusting and the loosing of fearfulness, the strength as well as the song are all roots, fruits and growth sap of the process of Yahweh becoming one’s salvation.

 

 

  • 12V“… become…” God is to be discovered. Relationship has to be nurtured. The unchangeable Messiah can only change in our insipid apprehension of His majesty and eternal glory. We grow in such grasp of who He is and thus the God we praise today is greater than the same God we worshipped yesterday – but in Him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning. It is us that are filled with variables and shadows in our turnings and “to-ings and froeings.” He becomes something to us in our linear experience something that He was not before. He tolerates our ever opening eyes, and ever opening ears and hearts… but He Himself is ever changeless. We are changed from one degree of glory to another, and we declare that He is greater today than we believed Him to be yesterday. But He is so glorious and rich in all His attributes that it is impossible for Him to change in His eternal Person. Yet we are changed by the very apprehension of his goodness. That is how great Yahweh is!

 

  • “ ..become my salvation.” The statement presupposes the universal need of all men to have this “Salvation.” The statement in the Hebrew declares a personal ownership of such a state, personal possession of Yahweh as in a relationship, and as God is invisible and Spirit, it indicates of a human stepping into the realm of the Spirit.” Faith grasps that for which God apprehended us. The entire life of faith and relationship with God is an ever growing concept of He “becoming” more and more to us. It is the change within us that reveals to us the process of His “becoming our Salvation.”

 

  • “..my strength…” suggests activities and undertakings beyond the normal strength of man. Divine tasks demand divine strength.

 

  • Justification by faith is an absolute. There are no degrees in justification. The weakest believer is as much justified as the mightiest apostle of the faith. But there is an ever increasing understanding of that justification as the believer grows in God. Christ becomes something more, and then more, and then even more. After progress throughout life, justification is declared by the same believer at a later date, yet with a hold on the sacred truth that, internal to that believer, makes his earlier understanding look like a weak and inferior position in God. The mighty Oak tree (as with all trees) grow a little bit deeper with its roots every year, a little bit higher with its bows and branches, a little bit thicker with its inner rings, and a little bit more expansive on the outside. That inward, outward, upward, downward growth is something that no Christian ever grows beyond requiring.

 

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88. The Psalm of Isaiah. Part One

Isaiah 12:1

 

124Just to let you know that I know. In the strictest of contexts, for all the purists out there, this writer is fully aware that this song, written by Isaiah himself, is a song to be sung by the Hebrews after Messiah comes to earth and reigns, and the State of Israel becomes the host nation for when the entire planet start making pilgrimages to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of King Jesus. I know it. I see it. I believe it. Goodness knows that if one takes Isaiah 11 literally, which I do, one cannot conclude anything else when one arrives at Isaiah 12. This is exactly the context and the revealing of the meaning of, “In that day…”  After having made all the prophetic remarks of Isaiah 11 concerning the character of Messiah and the impact of His future presence on the planet, the removal of the curse and the geographical changes on the planet, “In that day…” cannot refer to anything but in the context of the scenario laid out for us in the previous chapter.

 

However …

 

Let me phrase it slightly differently in order to make it plain how this psalm of Isaiah’s is intensely relevant for Christians. The song is to be sung, according to Isaiah, in the days of the attained freedom, liberty and blessing that Christ will bring to the nation of Israel. The language and the points of reference of the Hebrew experience highlighted in the Psalm, are absolutely parallel to the Christian’s experience. God was also angry with us when we were outside of Christ, as He was angry with Israel in their diaspora because of their unbelief. Yet once the Christian repents and believes, that anger is turned because that anger was absorbed in the substitution of Christ for our sins. These are exactly the same responses by Israel immediately prior to the return of Christ to earth. God’s deliverance for Israel in the removing of fear, becoming their strength and song is exactly mirrored in the experience of the Christian. I am sure there is no need to explain that point further. This song, as well as being a bespoke lyric for Christ’s millennial reign and to be sung by the entire Hebrew race, is an equally bespoke hymn for Christian people.

 

I am stating the obvious, in as much as preachers have been using Isaiah 12 as hooks from which to hang gospel truth for two thousand years. Isaiah 12:3 is famous for the encouragement and inspiration it has brought to believing millions through the double millennia since the Holy Spirit was first poured out at Pentecost.

 

So, as a spiritual meditation and profound devotion, let’s dig into these six verses of a song that is meant to be ultimately song by people who are living in the land of Israel in the earthly reign of Christ.

 

12

Today, the first verse!

 

1 In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O Lord! You were angry with me, but not anymore. Now you comfort me.

 

  • “In that day…” There are certain days for certain kinds of praise. These days – referring to the days where the reign of Christ is impacting submissive and faithful human hearts – are comprehensive in their scope of exaltation of God, and exultation in the relationship that the future redeemed Hebrew nation has with Him. This is not a military like “order” to sing. It is a song that will spontaneously and naturally burst forth from those who are resting in the total and absolute deliverance from evil that Messiah’s reign will bring.

 

  • “I will praise You.” Praise needs to be specifically directed and voiced to God Himself..

 

  • I will praise you.” At this point of the song, praise is personal and in isolation. Each individual heart is bursting with the exaltation of Messiah because they have seen Him as He is.

 

  • “I will praise you.” True praise that blesses God consists of those expressions that are freely, happily and wilfully given to God. It is a wilful thing to praise Him for every blessing of life. To praise Him is a choice. We love Him because He first loved us. The most important attribute of love is that it is a choice to act. Love is a choice to act selflessly towards God and/or another human being. In that future day for the Hebrew nation, and in our day for the believing Christian, the heart happily and humanly will choose to act in praise to Yahweh.

 

  • “I will praise” In the Hebrew the word “Yadah” is a primary root and means to cast, or throw one’s praises to God. Abandonment in the praise offered is clearly there in the etymology of the word used. The word self-evidently presupposes noise, singing, saying and shouting with abandonment the praise of God. But it is not abandonment that is out of control. It is abandonment that is a controlled, deliberate and wilful choice to express one’s praise to the full. “Holiness to the Lord!”

 

  • “I will praise you.” Praise like this comes after the valley experience that the Hebrews will have gone through for so many centuries prior to their welcoming expressed to Messiah at His Second Advent. They praise Him with care-free hearts after so many of the “near death experiences” of the Hebrew race in the disciplining Hand of God. (Not forgetting, of course that it is also always necessary to praise Him whilst we are in the valley). Outward circumstances are irrelevant to the heart of praise, whether the song be sung within or without the darkness of the valley. However, out of the valley, the joy is uncontained.

 

 

  • Note that in verse 1 it is “I will praise you.” In verse 4 it is, “In that wonderful day you will sing.” In verse 6 it is “Let all the people …” It is good to praise the Lord when we are alone with God. It is wonderful to inspire others to praise Him freely and adoringly. It is heavenly to worship with like minds and hearts and to exalt God together as a congregation of God’s people. All biblical descriptions of worship in heaven are in community.

 

  • People should congregate on earth as they do in heaven to praise and give thanks.

 

  • “You were angry with me, but not anymore. Now you comfort me.” It is good and healthy for faith and the human spirit to understand the times and seasons of life and perceive the heart and mind of God towards us as we progress. These people, referred to in Isaiah’s psalm now know, that they had experienced centuries of discipline from God. They acknowledge their responsibility for the corporate sin of the race, that is the sin that precipitated that discipline, and now, “in that day,” that blessed day that Isaiah refers to, they rejoice in their freedom, acceptance and pleasure that they give to the Almighty. They are aware by their inward spiritual experience, as well as being confirmed by their outward circumstances that they are in a time of blessing where the Almighty is set to bless them, enrich them and keep them. They know He had been angry with them. They know they are now being comforted. Faith in God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit brings wisdom and discernment.

 

  • You were angry,” … but not anymore. Now you comfort me.” It is a facet of inner discernment that we need to pursue in the Christian’s spiritual life, that is to know God’s frame of mind towards us in any situation.

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  • The first verse of Isaiah 12 indicates

 

  • Resolve – “I will praise you.” There is determination in the lyric when sung or spoken with emphasis on the “will.”
  • Repentance – “You were angry, but…”The acknowledgement of God being angry with them in the context of the whole song of praise lets us know that the singer acknowledges the correctness of God’s anger. That shows humility and a repentant spirit that thanks God for the blessings after the correctly expressed anger.
  • Revelation – “Now you comfort me.” They know exactly where and how God has changed His attitude to them. That’s revelation of the dearest sort.
  • “Now you comfort me.” There is relief in their hearts. The blessing of God makes rich and adds no sorrow with it.
  • Jumping slightly ahead to verse 2: There is progression in their Reception of Yahweh. “You have become my Salvation.” There is a Continueing reception and openness to God while He becomes the very salvation of the singer. This is completely a subjective experience. God does not change and become anything other than what He has always been. It is our perception of Him that receives Him into our hearts facilitating Him to become something to us that He was not previously. The “becoming” is totally our internal change, not His. To us, as we behold His face, we are changed from one degree of glory. Accordingly every degree of change within us accords us with a bigger and broader view of His glory. Something has changed. It is not He that changes, but us in our grasp of His love.

 

  • This song is a song of certainties. One can know for certain that He was justly angry, and then know with equal certainty that He is not. The Council of Trent may have considered the assurance of salvation to be an “abominable lie,” but scripture makes it an abomination to deny the prospect of owning that God desired assurance of Salvation in the hearts and minds of all believers. We are justified by faith as was Abraham. Moses, Samuel and every other hero of faith in the Old Testament. It is absurd to even consider that God would justify the believer, yet desire to keep that justification as His secret so that the believer has not any assured certainty of the relationship with the Almighty that Christ died to give us. To imagine that God withholds that assurance is a monstrous and scandalous slander of His character.

 

  • The whole song is filled with assurance and optimism. People that know God have a future. The path of the righteous gets ever brighter until the perfect day. The Bible gives us the hope and expectancy to the person of faith that tomorrow will always be better than today.

 

  • It was Spurgeon, I think, that referred to this song as the “diapason” song of the Christian’s heart. The word diapason in this context means that it is the fullest, richest outpouring of a soul in complete harmony in all facets and aspects of life. The word can refer to the entire range of an instrument, not only in the steps of several octaves, but in its variation of tone and expression. Isaiah 12 is a complete communication of the human experience that is buried in the salvation of God.

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