94. Five Key Revelations that Isaiah Brings in the 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.

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  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.

93. 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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92. 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.

91. 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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90. 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.

 

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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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89. Earthquakes? Upheavals?

00000006And Yahweh will make a path and destroy or dry up the tongue that is the gulf of the Egyptian sea (the Gulf of Suez). He has devoted it to destruction. With a scorching breath and terror of wind, and in the strength of His Spirit He will wave and sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams or channels and make it so that anyone can cross over in sandals on foot, dry shod. (Isaiah 11:15 My own translation)

 

Changes to the world map! Alterations to the best routes and ancient highways! We are, it seems, talking about geographical changes that will take place in and during Christ’s millennial reign, if not, in the very process of His return. The pathway, without airplane or boat from Egypt and Ethiopia will be a straight run. The land route from the geographical spots of ancient Babylon and Shinar, and all places north of the Euphrates will no longer be dictated by the Fertile Crescent. The world will indeed be a different place physically as well as enjoying the transformation of the second advent of the Prince of Peace.

 

There will surely be earthquakes and land mass moves at His return. How is this for starters:

 

And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)

 

The Mount of Olives may not be the largest mountain in the world, but it is still large enough to cause awe at the very thought of it being split into two halves. Christ’s feet shall land on the spot from which He left in Acts chapter 1. Zechariah continues:


And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal: yes, you shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with Him. (Zecharah 14:5)

 

If one reads the context of Ezekiel 38, it would clearly seem that Ezekiel is speaking of the same day that Zechaririah refers to when he states that :

 

For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.   (Ezekiel 38:19)

 

It may ormay not be the mother of all earthquakes in its size on the Richter scale. But it will change the face of concourse, dialogue, travel and business in the Middle East.

 

The ancient land of Canaan, and the land that was under the reign of Solomon and David is the region of the Middle East  which had borders that were generally and roughly speaking synonymous with what was the former British Mandate of Palestine prior to 1948. Israel, at the time of writing, around 78% of the former Mandate under internationally recognized legitimate authority. The two terms Canaan and Israel refer to different things, Canaan – a region, and Israel – a state in that region. God’s promise to Abraham was that the land would be his from the Euphrates to the Nile. That is an area that has never been fully owned by Israel despite David’s influence and vassal states that 1 Kings 4:24 refers to.

 

Isaiah then gives the very reason for this change in geography – and it is all for the blessing and cohesion of the state of Israel and the cohesion of all the Jewish people.

 

There will be a highway for the remnant of his people, the remnant that survive and are left in Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Mizraim, which is Egypt. (Isaiah 11:16   My own Translation)

 

So we gain the full picture. When Christ returns and assumes the throne of David in Jerusalem. The entire Jewish population of the world will be gathered together in a Jewish State that will be the most blessed ever know. Gentile nations shall make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of “the Great King.” The land will be freed from the restrictions of the Nile and the Euphrates, and…perhaps even the land east of the Jordan River will be a flourishing metropolis if Millennial Jewish life. 11:15-16 does not actually mention the earthquakes, but I see the depth of the upheaval  in Israel and the surrounding area to be such as will change river flows and water levels bringing to pass all that is in these last two verses of Isaiah’s eleventh chapter.

 

It will be an exodus on a larger scale that Moses and the Pentateuch. It will be an occupation of much greater righteousness and longevity in that righteousness that Joshua ever saw. Isaiah saw it all clearly. All is to come together and be seen in from the second advent of Messiah onwards.

88. A Blind Spot in My Understanding? Can Anybody help?

They shall join forces to swoop down and fly on the slopes of Philistia, on the shoulders of the Philistines towards the west. Together they will attack and plunder the sons and the people of the east. They will possess subdue and occupy Edom and Moab, extending their power and rule over them. And the sons of the Ammonites will be subject to them and obey them. (Isaiah 11:14 My own Translation)

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Confession time! Forgive me reader: I am a little unclear on Isaiah 11:14. I would like to say, “Oh yes! I know what it means! It’s all the translators who have got the meaning of the words wrong! And it just so happens that I know above everybody else on the planet exactly what this verse is saying.”  Then in a musical tone in the key of C Minor I would attempt to sing; “Tadaa!” However, the truth is that the more I research the Hebrew, the Aramaic, the Greek version of the Old Testament – and the more pastors I ask and discuss with, the more I have to hold my hands up in the air and say, “I simply have nothing but a vague clue as to what this verse signifies. I can only state that it must be the activities of the state of Israel in the immediate following days after Christ’s return to Olivet and thence to Jerusalem.

 

Why am I so specific in saying that Isaiah 11:14 will be fulfilled in the opening days, if not hours after His return?  Simply because Christ’s reign is a reign of peace, and the old political scenario of

 

The language of the verse is quite plain in its meaning. The unification and oneness that will join all twelve tribes of Israel together will see them swooping down on the hills and slopes of Philistia, suggesting that they would move as one body down into Gaza and its environs. Then in that selfsame state of unity they would attack and plunder Edom, Moab and Ammon. No problem at all with the translation. The entire universe of Bible translators into English, and one or two of those into German that I know could not be more unanimous and joined together.

 

My issue is that this verse is in the midst of an entire chapter that is talking about Christ’s return to earth in power and His reign on earth in peace. In Christ’s thousand year reign there is peace and harmony amongst all the nations. So, I ask: “What is all this “flying down the slopes of Philistia,” which indirectly and vaguely infers an attack of aggression, or “attacking and plundering” Edom, Moab and Ammon on their eastern flanks? That last part of the verse could not be more explicit if one tried. One really needs help to misunderstand the text.

 

I am not fooled into stating that because Edom, Moab and Ammon do not exist in the twenty first century, therefore it must be talking historically of wars, attacks and plunders that took part earlier in history.  That, ridiculously, puts Isaiah talking in whole paragraphs of the future, with a single sentence out of sequence referring to a different time and scenario than the rest of the line. There are clearly portions of prophetic scripture whereby one sentence may start discussing Christ’s first advent and finish in the same breath with the second coming (eg: Isaiah 61 and those first 4 verses), but this is utterly different.

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Israel and Judah were split immediately after the death of Solomon. They were two distinct nations, sometimes friends and sometimes bitter enemies until Israel was exiled by Assyria and scattered to goodness knows where as the centuries passed. Judah existed as the lone Jewish nation until 587 BC. After the exile and the return of the Jews as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah the other ten lost tribes of Israel were left in the darkness of the diaspora. So Israel and Judah have never been together in the harmony that the prophet here discusses in Isaiah 11:14 since the days of King David. It is true that some of those Jews returning to Israel today have claimed to be descended from some of the other ten tribes, but the entire context of Isaiah 11 does not fit with the present scenario of the population demographic or geography of Israel as presented to us here by the prophet. Isaiah 11:14 simply has to be referring to what happens as a result of Messiah’s enthronement in Jerusalem, the full nation of the Hebrews coming together in national harmony – and then the activities of verse 14 are to follow thereafter.

 

But how can attacking and plundering be true under the peaceful reign of Christ? My answer is simply that in the opening days of the millennial reign there may be a few forays in a mopping up exercise.

 

I am the first to put my hand up and say that I think my explanation here is a bit shaky. If there are any authorities on eschatology out there who read this page, please contact me and let me no of any improvement to my insight …. or lack of it.

 

You may ask me as to why I do not simply restate my opinions concerning the millennium and reconstruct my understanding. My answer there is a clear one.

 

There is more prophetic scriptures explaining the millennial reign of Christ on earth, making plain its character and activities than any other single subject throughout the Old Testament writing prophets. I have never counted or measured the verses, the sentences or the words, but it does seem to me to be a truthful statement that there is much more material about the second advent of Jesus Christ to the earth and especially His millennial reign than there is prophetic material concerning the first advent and the Master’s passion (I am ready to be questioned on this by any of my readers).  Why is this so?

 

One of the major reasons why I understand this to have been a necessary thrust of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the writing prophets is the necessary fulfillment of the four major promises, commitments and covenants of God to and with the nation of Israel concerning their future and God’s interaction with them as a people. The thousand year reign of Christ, commonly referred to as “the Millennium” has to become a reality to plainly and visibly fulfill and manifest the full and glorious substance of these four planks of certain hope, promises that were given to Israel and by which the psyche of the Hebrew nation was held tightly in deep expectation – as it still is.

 

It is this writer’s deep conviction that :

  1. the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12,
  2. the words spoken by Moses in Deuteronomy 30,
  3. the promise of a king to sit on David’s throne forever in 2 Samuel 7, and
  4. the new covenant as expressed by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31 are the entire key to the Jewish Expectations of the Messiah and His soteriological activities towards Israel.

When these four aspects of prophecy are seen in conjunction with each other and the historical grammatical, literal principles of interpretation are consistently and soundly utilized one cannot help but arrive at certain conclusions.

 

Allow me to explain.

 

The four mountain peaks of this expectation are as follows:

 

  1. .

    .

    The Promises Given and the Covenant made with Abraham Demand the Reign of Christ for Fulfilment.

 

12:1Now, the LORD, Yahweh had said to Abram, “You are to depart for yourself and go forth out from your native land and country, your people, your kindred and relatives, your father’s family and household and go to the land I am going to show you. 12:2 I will make you into a great nation by your descendants, and I will bless you; I will magnify your name and make you famous and your reputation great, so that you will exemplify to all the divine blessing in the manner in which you will be blessed and you will be a blessing to others. 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, however, whoever curses you, dishonours you and treats you lightly or with contempt I will curse. All families and peoples on earth will bless one another by your name and be blessed in and through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 my own Translation)

 

The promises of God’s commitment to Abraham concerning the land and the ethnic physical seed of the Patriarch, and the circumstances that ultimately permeate that ownership of the land demand the reign of Christ on earth and the impact on all of creation as expressed in Isaiah (especially in his eleventh chapter) as well as some of the other prophetic writings.

 

The covenant promises are stated and then repeated in ever enlarging parameters made by God Himself as per Genesis 12:1-3 (immediately above) and then 12:6-7, followed by 13:14-17, expanded yet again by 15:1-21, pushed further in 17:1-14, and finalized in 22:15-18. It is extremely difficult to overstate the importance of these promises to Abraham. They are both the foundation and backbone of the entire prophetic infrastructure given to mankind by God Almighty. Most importantly the covenant thus made and given was and therefore still is an everlasting covenant.

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As for Abraham Himself there is the individual promise that his name shall be great in the earth (12:2). He himself would be a blessing so great that the entire universe of mankind would be blessed in him (12:3). God was to be a God to him and to His seed both physical and spiritual. His actions towards them would prove the glorious reality of that fact.  Whosoever (i.e. of whatever race and nation) blessed Abraham would also be blessed, and whoever cursed him would be cursed (12:3). In the seed of Abraham all the families and nations of the world would be blessed (12:3).  The entire globe has indeed been touched by this blessing that rested on Abraham, yet it can never be true that every single family on the planet has been blessed through him until Christ comes to reign on the planet. Abraham was to be the father of many nations. Kings would proceed from him. The promise stated at first here in Genesis 12:1-3 was that a great nation was to come from him. We have therefore a promise, or rather a series of promises and commitments made by God, unsolicited by Abraham, that impacts on Israel throughout history to such a degree that it is no overstatement to refer to Genesis 12:1-3 as the Hebrew raison d’etre (their reason for existence).

 

The multitude of Abraham’s physical seed were to be like the dust of the ground. The multitude of his spiritual seed who were to have the same faith were to be like the stars of the sky.

 

To Abraham personally, and to his seed would be given the land of Canaan (Israel) in perpetuity. When Abraham heard that he would have realized that the land could not be his until he had enjoyed the resurrection (i.e. the land was to be Abraham’s (Genesis 15:7) Yet he would die in a ripe old age not having possessed the land (Genesis 15:15); and because Jesus talks of people sitting down and eating with Abraham in the resurrection, we cannot but conclude that Abraham will be the inheritor of the land of Canaan in the resurrection. The land of Canaan was to be an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8). His seed were promised to possess the gates of His enemies (Genesis 22:17).

 

The entire vista of the fulfillment of all these covenanted prophetic words to Abraham have clearly never been fulfilled. The concept of the reign of Christ on earth lasting for a thousand years, and thereafter continuing His reign in the new heaven and the new earth IS the fulfillment of the unconditional Abrahamic covenant. All Israel’s covenants are unconditional except the Mosaic. The Millennium is demanded by the contents of such a covenant for its fulfillment. The everlasting nature of Israel, their possession of the land, and their inheritance of the blessings are seen quite literally in the biblical description of the earthly rule of Messiah.  Until Christ rules on earth these promises remain unfulfilled. Christ and His physical presence in Israel completes them all.

 

 

 

  1. The Promises made in Deuteronomy 30 concerning Diaspora and Regathering of Israel Demand Christ’s Reign for their Fulfilment.

 

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30:1So it will be that In the future, when all these blessings and curses which I have listed and set before you come on you, taking them to heart when you call them to mind and come to your senses wherever Yahweh your God has dispersed and exiled you, driving you among the nations, 30:2 and when you and your children and descendants return to Yahweh your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul in all the commands I have given you today, 30:3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes turn your captivity and have pity, mercy and compassion on you and gather you back again from all the peoples and nations of the world where Yahweh your God had scattered you before. 30:4 Even if you have been banished exiles to the most distant land under the heavens, driven as far as the ends of the earth or to the poles of heaven as outcasts, from there Yahweh your God will gather you and fetch you, and bring you back again. 30:5 Yahweh your God will bring you to the land that your ancestors inherited and owned, and you will take possession of it. He will do you good and make you more prosperous and numerous, multiplying you more than your ancestors. 30:6 Yahweh your God will circumcise, cleanse and change your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and so you may live.  30:7 Yahweh your God will inflict all these oaths and curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. 30:8 Then you will again turn back and obey Yahweh and hear, keep, follow and observe all his commands that I am giving you today. 30:9 Then Yahweh your God will make you most prosperous and successful, abounding in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your fields and land. Yahweh will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 30:10 if and when you listen to and obey the voice of Yahweh your God and keep his commands, his statutes, ceremonies and decrees that are written in this scroll, this Book of Teachings and His Law and turn to Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 30:1-10. My own Translation)

In this passage there are several features to be understood in the light of the explicit nature of biblical Eschatology. These words are spoken at a crucial moment of transition from the tried and tested and manifestly divinely ordained leadership of Moses into the untried, untested general that was Joshua.

 

The promises of Genesis 12:7, and 13:15 would be the battle cry of all the twelve tribes. Yet here they are, in Moses’ last days and about to depart to his eternal reward with the “novice” of a leader (not the Joshua was a young man – he was at least 83) and Canaan was crawling with at least seven nations of godless and violent heathens, and some of them were giants, that is the sons of Anak who were commonly a yard or so taller than the rest of the planet.

 

The thought of returning to Egypt was clearly never going to be on the table for discussion. Moses nailed the issue firmly into the hearts and minds of the people.  Was Canaan really and truly theirs by divine promise? What impact did the Mosaic covenant have on the promises God had already made to Abraham? The Mosaic covenant was conditional. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional.  Could the single nation of Israel challenge the settled and huge nations that occupied the land?

 

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It was to settle the Israeli philosophy and mindset that God instructed Moses to restate the whole scenario and the divine promise to the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:1-10 is the embodiment of God’s statement to His people.

 

This is hugely important to the formulation of a biblical eschatology because it makes a clear statement concerning Israel’s relationship to the land of Canaan as promised to Abraham.

 

  1. The overriding steamroller to crack the nut of the issue is that Moses unequivocally states that Canaan belongs to Israel. No matter how sinful, evil, Godless and unfaithfulness to the God of their fathers, the covenant of the land being given to Abraham was never rescinded, retracted, repealed or abrogated. The Land was theirs in the mind of God. That is a self-evident presupposition of the moment of Deuteronomy 30 in the divine perspective.
  2. The conditional promise of the Mosaic covenant under which Israel was now existing did not set aside the original promise made to Abraham in the book of Genesis. This was Paul’s reasoning when he penned the context as well as the words of Galatians 3:17.
  3. If we are going to be pedantic about the issue, these ten verses are an actual expansion of the parameters of the promises made to Abraham. And all this was stated in the face of their idolatry, their sin and their constant murmuring against God Himself.
  4. In Moses’ speech there is the initial shocking pronouncement made before Joshua had even assumed leadership and prior to them even entering the land that they were to be exiled from it because of their idolatry and sin (Deuteronomy 28:63-68. 30:1-3). No matter how things looked, at the very moment they were foreseen by Yahweh and his prophet Moses as turning their backs on Yahweh and being dispersed around the globe because of it. This is a phenomenal insight of the prophetic leader.
  5. The next feature after that startling statement is that there would be a future repentance of Israel while they are scattered in a global diaspora (Deuteronomy 28:63-68. 30:1-3).
  6. Then Messiah shall come (Deuteronomy 30:3-6). In the straight forward reading the advent and physical presence of Messiah does not seem to be necessary to fulfil the prediction. Hebrew diaspora’s have before known a regathering by the divine hand, but never in the terms and parameters that are here described. The prosperity, the increase in numbers, the divine favour that will be even greater than what was seen by any of their forefathers – including David and Solomon’s contemporaries – has never been seen. For this to happen it means that Yahweh fetching the children of Israel and bringing them to their promised land is still future. This means that from our present perspective this can only take place with the present Messiah. Read Deuteronomy 30:3-6 in as many translations as are available and it becomes clear.
  7. Israel thereafter would be returned to the land (Deuteronomy 30:5), and they will be converted to Messiah – that is the whole nation will be turned to God (Deuteronomy 30:4-8. See also Romans 11:26-27).
  8. After all that, Israel’s enemies will be judged (30:7) and Israel will step into their full blessing (30:9).

 

Yet again I assert that none of this this can come to pass without the circumstances as described by the prophets during Christ’s millennial reign. These promises require Christ to be reigning on the earth in order to be fulfilled.

 

 

 

  1. The Promises Given and the Covenant Made with David Demand the Reign of Christ for Their Fulfillment.

 

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7:9 Furthermore, I am and I have been remaining with you wherever you have walked and gone, and I have slain, defeated, cut off, annihilated and destroyed all your enemies in front of you from before your eyes and taken them out of your sight. Now I will make your name great and famous with reputations, as famous as, and like the names of the greatest men that have ever been in the earth. 7:10 And I will establish and provide a place as a homeland for my people Israel and will plant them in a secure location where they can tabernacle and dwell, having a home of their own, moving no more and being no longer disturbed. Violent men, children of wickedness and evil nations will not oppress or afflict them anymore, as they did formerly at the beginning and throughout their history, 7:11 and have been doing starting from the time I appointed and ordered judges to administer and rule over my people Israel. I will also give you rest and relief from all your enemies. Furthermore ‘Yahweh announces and declares to you that He himself will establish a dynastic house for you – a dynasty of kings! 7:12  When your days are over, complete and fulfilled, and you lie down, being buried with your ancestors, I will send to you, and raise and set up in place of you one of your offspring and descendants to succeed you – your own flesh and blood, and I will establish and fortify his kingdom and make his kingdom strong. 7:13 He is the one who will build a house – a temple even – dedicated to and for my Name, and I will establish and secure his royal throne, his dynasty and his kingdom forever.  7:14 I will be to him a father, and he will be to me a son. When he sins or does wrong, committing iniquity, I will punish, correct and discipline him, chastening him with a rod and the stripes wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands – by the sons of Adam, like any father would do. 7:15 But my steadfast gracious loving kindness, mercy and favour will never be taken away from him. I will never stop showing him my Chesed, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 7:16 Your house, your dynasty, your throne and your kingdom will continue and endure, being made secure and steadfast forever before me and you, in my presence; your throne will be securely established forever.'”   (2 Samuel 7:9-16 my own translation)

 

 

Here in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 God made certain promises to King David.  The first statement was that David was to have a son that would succeed him on the throne, and his kingdom would be solidly and firmly established. There was to be no revolutions or coups to steal his throne as there was with David himself.  This part of the promise has a double fulfilment in the reign of Solomon, as well in the thousand year reign of Christ. The reference to sins being dealt with , of course, refer solely to Solomon.

 

This son shall build “the temple”.  In Solomon’s case this refers to the very first temple known as “Solomon’s” built in his reign.  But there is also a centre of worship, many believe to be the one we refer to as “Ezekiel’s temple” that will be present in the reign of Christ Himself. It is this writer’s conviction that in this manner the promise of a son of David who builds the temple refers to both Solomon and Christ.

 

The throne of the latter “Son of David” will be established forever. Because the word “forever” is here included we understand it to mean that Christ Himself will reign eternally, as well as the single dynasty that included both temple building sons.  This could mean, of course, that the Davidic dynasty would have a king to sit on David’s throne not only for the rest of time, but if and when time ceases in the new heavens and the new earth, the ultimate Son of David will still be reigning. There was a son of David sat on the throne until 586 BC.  A Davidic son will reign again in Jerusalem in this time space world after the second advent of Christ – and that king will be Christ Himself. Although the reign of Christ on this earth is for a thousand years, it is in actuality forever as His reign continues in the new earth and the new heavens beyond the thousand years as mentioned six times in Revelation twenty, and on and on forever.

 

The main thrust of the promise that utterly humbled and staggered David was the fact that his house and dynasty, the very throne of David and the kingdom of Israel would be established forever.  This is the warp and woof of what the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7 is all about.

 

It is self-evident that the promises made to David in 2 Samuel require the return of Christ as well as the circumstances as pronounced by Isaiah and other of the prophets, to be in existence during the Millennium.

 

 

  1. The promises of Jeremiah’s new covenant require the millennial blessings to fulfill all the covenanted promises.

 

31:31 “Look the days are coming,” this is Yahweh’s declaration, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 31:32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they violated my covenant, though I had married them and loved them as a husband loves his wife,” declares Yahweh. 31:33 “This is the new covenant I will make with the people and house of Israel after those days and that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law and instructions within them in their inward parts, in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 31:34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or teach their relatives, ‘You need to know the LORD,’ because they will all know me already, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34. My own translation)

OXYGEN VOLUME 13This covenant declared by Jeremiah actually states that a single minded conversion of the soul of the nation of Israel towards Yahweh and His Messiah is the rock sure foundation of all their hope and blessings. No forgiveness or conversion is possible without the shedding of blood. The offering of Christ for the sins of the whole world, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the whole world, makes Christ’s offering of Himself the ground of Israel’s future conversion and faith. It has to be centred on Christ and faith in Him.

 

Note the following facts that jump at us from the above text:

 

  1. The new covenant of Jeremiah 31 promises a renewed mind and heart to Israel. The promise is specifically made to Israel pointing to a day when the church is not alive on the planet.
  2. The new covenant as explained by Jeremiah is unconditional and everlasting. The immovable “I will’s” of God in the surrounding context of Jeremiah 31:31-34 settle that issue clearly.
  3. The new covenant promises restoration of Israel to the blessing of God and the nation’s full restoration to His favour.
  4. Forgiveness of sin, fullness and indwelling of the Holy Spirit will be the norm for all of Israel.
  5. Although geographical location is not mentioned in the statements of the new covenant by Jeremiah, the entire scenario of all twelve tribes being in unity and becoming the united people of God is impossible before the return of Christ as the rest of the prophetic scriptures tell us.

 

It is plainly a fact that none of these prophetic promises have yet been fulfilled, and biblically they have no hope of being fulfilled without the physical return and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ on planet earth. The Millennium is the full and glorious completion and manifestation of all that God promised Israel in the Old Testament.

 

So there we have it:  What I see and clearly understand, and why what I understand leads me to say that I am not sure where to put Isaiah 11:14 in the midst of it all.

 

Let me know if you have greater light on it.

Christ in the Desert

Christ in the Desert