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Isaiah

June 3, 2009

Background

I. Prophesies Concerning Israel and Judah Isaiah 1:1-10:4

  1. Israel’s Present                                Is. 1:1-31
    1. Israel’s Status                    Is 1:1-7
    2. Judah’s Status                    Is. 1:8-17
    3. Judah’s Choice                     Is. 1:18-20
    4. God’s Corrective Action   Is 1:21-31
  2. Israel’s Future                              Is. 2:1-22
    1. The Millennium                               Is. 2:1-5
    2. The Tribulation                               Is. 2:6-22
  3. Israel’s Tomorrow [Exiled]                       Is. 3:1-4:1
  4. Israel’s Hope [Messiah]                               Is 4:1-4:6
  5. Israel’s [Judah’s] Sin and Sentence        Is. 5:1-30
    1. Isaiah’s Song                                Is. 5:1-7
    2. Israel’s [Judah’s] Sin                 Is. 5:8-23
    3. Israel’s [Judah’s] Sentence     Is. 5:24-30
  6. Let’s Summarize                                    Is. 1:1-5:30
  7. Isaiah’s Commission                             Is. 6:1-13
    1. Isaiah’s Call                        Is. 6:1-8
    2. Isaiah’s Purpose              Is. 6:9-13
  8. Ahaz’s Wrong Choices                                      Is. 7:1-25
    1. Ahaz’s Arrogance                Is. 7:1-12
    2. God’s Grace                        Is. 7:13-16
    3. Judah’s Punishment Prophesied  Is. 7:17-25
  9. Let’s Consider Our Choices                      Is. 1:18-20; 7:1-25
  10. Specific Messages From God                  Is. 8:1-10:4
    1. Isaiah’s Authentication             Is. 8:1-4
    2. Israel’s Exile                                   Is. 8:5-10
    3. Isaiah’s Personal Instructions    Is. 8:11-22
    4. Another Message of Hope                    Is. 9:1-7
    5. A Message of Doom                           Is. 9:8-10:4

II. Prophesies Concerning Foreign Nations Isaiah 10:5-23:17

  1. Assyria’s Coming Judgment                                     Is. 10:5-19
  2. Judah’s Faithful Few                                                     Is. 10:20-36
  3. A King Worthy of Worship                                            Is. 11:1-12:6
  4. Prophecies Concerning Babylon                                    Is. 13:1-14:23
    1. Babylon’s Destruction                            Is. 13:1-22
    2. Israel’s Glory Returns                             Is 14:1-23
  5. Prophecies Concerning Assyria                                          Is. 14:24-27
  6. Prophecies Concerning Philistia                                           Is. 14:28-32
  7. Prophecies Concerning Moab                                                 Is. 15:1-16:13
  8. H. Prophecies Concerning Damascus                                 Is. 17:1-14
  9. Prophecies Concerning Cush and Egypt                               Is. 18:1-20:6
    1. Cush                                      Is. 18:1-7
    2. Egypt?                                     Is. 19:1-25
    3. Specifics Concerning Cush, Egypt, and Philistia Is. 20:1-6
  10. Prophecies Concerning Babylon                                           Is. 21:1-10
  11. Prophecies Concerning Edom                                                 Is. 21:11-12
  12. Prophecies Concerning Arabia                                              Is. 21:13-16

III. Prophecies Concerning Two Cities Isaiah 22:1-23:18

  1. Jerusalem                                               Is. 22:1-25
  2. Tyre                                                          Is. 23:1-18

IV. The Lord’s Purpose Isaiah 24:1-27:13

  1. The Lord Reigns                                             Is. 24:1-23
  2. The Lord Saves                                                  Is. 25:1-12
    1. Salvation Planned and Prepared    Is. 25:1-5
    2. Salvation Presented                              Is. 25:6-8
    3. Salvation Fulfilled                                  Is. 25:9-12
  3. The Lord Promises                                          Is. 26:1-27:13

V. Five Woes Pronounced Isaiah 28:1-33:24

  1. Woe to Ephraim                                                       Is. 28:1-29
  2. Three Woes for Jerusalem and Judah            Is. 29:1-32:20
    1. Woe #1                            Is. 29:1-24
    2. Woe #2                                     Is. 30:1-33
    3. Woe 3#                                    Is. 31:1-32:20
  3. Woe to Those Who Conquer                            Is. 33:1-24

VI. A Message to All Nations and Israel Isaiah 34:1-35:10

VII. God Proves He is Faithful Isaiah 36:1-39:8

III. God’s Promises Isaiah 40:1-45:25

  1. God’s Character Brings Comfort                           Is. 40:1-31
  2. God Will Not Forsake Israel                                        Is. 41:1-29
  3. God is Sending His Servant                                           Is. 42:1-25
  4. God’s Promise of Redemption for Israel                    Is. 43:1-21
  5. God’s Promise of Justice and Mercy                                   Is. 43:22-44:23
  6. God’s Promise Concerning Israel’s Future                            Is. 44:24-45:7
  7. God’s Promise of Redemption for All                            Is. 45:8-25

IX. God’s Warnings and Proclamations Isaiah 46:1-58:14

  1. Warning Against Idolatry                                                     Is. 46:1-13
  2. Warning Against Oppression                                                 Is. 47:1-15
  3. Warning Against Rebellious and Stubborn Hearts     Is. 48:1-22
  4. Proclamation for the Restoration of His Servant      Is. 49:1-26
  5. The Consequences of Sin and Obedience                            Is. 50:1-11
  6. The Lord Comforts His Righteous People                          Is. 51:1-8
  7. The Lord Disciplines and Delivers His people                          Is. 51:9-23
  8. The Lord Proclaims His Purpose for His People               Is. 52:1-12
  9. Proclaiming the Messiah as God’s Sacrificial Lamb                   Is. 52:13-53:12
  10. Proclaiming a New Jerusalem                                          Is. 54:1-17
  11. Seek the Lord                                                                               Is. 55:1-13
  12. Salvation is Available to All Men                                        Is. 56:1-8
  13. A Warning for Those Unrighteous                                        Is. 56:9-57:13
  14. The Lord Proclaims to Live in Humble Hearts                     Is. 57:14-21
  15. A Proclamation Defining Genuine Worship                      Is. 58:1-14
    1. Condemning Inconsistent Practices   Is. 58:1-5
    2. Right Worship Practice                         Is. 58:6-7
    3. The Blessings for Right Worship             Is. 58:8-14

X. In Conclusion Isaiah 59:1-66:24

  1. God’s Plan of Redemption                                                    Is. 59:1-20
    1. Acknowledge and Confess Your Sin           Is. 59:1-15
    2. God’s Mercy and Grace                               Is. 59:16-20
  2. God’s Glory is Revealed                                                           Is 60:1-22
    1. In His People “Israel”                                Is. 60:1-9
    2. In His Millennial Reign                              Is. 60:10-14
    3. In Heaven                                                      Is. 60:15-22
  3. God’s Plan for Israel’s Restoration                                          Is. 61:1-63:14
    1. Isaiah’s Commission                                Is. 61:1-3
    2. Israel’s Responsibility                                Is. 61:4-6
    3. The Lord’s Blessing                                    Is. 61:7-11
    4. Isaiah’s Commitment                                     Is. 62:1
    5. Israel’s Righteousness                                   Is. 62:2-3
    6. Israel’s Restoration                                     Is.  62:4-12
    7. The Lord’s Wrath                                      Is. 63:1-6
    8. Isaiah’s Commitment Restated              Is. 63:7
    9. The Lord’s Faithfulness                          Is. 63:8-14
  4. Isaiah’s Confessional Prayer                                                        Is. 63:15-64:12
  5. The Lord Answers Isaiah’s Prayer                                 Is. 65:1-25
    1. Picture of Israel                                                       Is. 65:1-12
    2. A Picture of His Church                                        Is. 65:13-16
    3. A Picture of Heaven                                         Is 65:17-25
  6. The Lord’s Final Proclamation through                                                Isaiah Is. 66:1-24
    1. The Kingdom of God                                           Is. 66:1-11
    2. God’s Millennial Kingdom                                 Is. 66:12-21
    3. God’s Heavenly Kingdom                                   Is. 66:22-24

Background

We know very little about Isaiah other than he was the son of Amoz and prophesied
during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Tradition claims he
was of noble birth, perhaps a cousin of King Uzziah, and was killed/martyred
when Manasseh became King after Hezekiah. If true, Isaiah would be one of the
prophets killed by Israel’s leaders as stated by Jesus in Luke 11:47.

Isaiah is a “major” prophet whose writings are lengthy and often
quoted in the New Testament. He was very clear in prophesying about the coming
Messiah, the Son of God, to offer redemption. He prophesied in Jerusalem but
his prophesies covered the present, the near future, and the far distant future.
His prophesies concerned Jerusalem, Judah, Israel, and foreign countries. In
other words, God’s visions and revelations to Isaiah were inclusive, significant,
revealing, encompassing, and proven true by history itself. Some are still in
the future.

One’s interpretation of Isaiah will depend on which school of theology you
lean toward, that of amillenialism or that of premillenialism. In other words,
do you take Isaiah’s words mostly as metaphors to be interpreted “spiritually”
or do you take his words literally. History proves much of his prophecy was
fulfilled literally but there are portions, as there is in all prophetic scripture,
where metaphors are used to illustrate a truth. Therefore, it is mandatory that
we seek the Holy Spirit’s help for discernment. Be careful. Go slow. And listen
carefully to God through the Holy Spirit within you. Avoid extreme positions.
Be objective. Be open minded. Contemplate the majesty and sovereignty of God.

Isaiah was the first prophet to Judah and a contemporary of Micah who also
prophesied to Judah. Amos and Hosea were also contemporaries but they were prophesying
to Israel, the northern kingdom. The prophets Elijah, Elisha, and Jonah preceded
Isaiah and prophesied to Israel and to Nineveh. During Isaiah’s tenure all Judah’s
kings were considered good except Ahaz. Uzziah and Jotham were good but failed
to eliminate the high place of pagan worship. Ahaz ruled like a pagan. Hezekiah
was a good king and actually removed pagan worship in the high places but the
damage had been done and the people’s hearts, in general, ignored the Lord God
and His statutes. God may have been pleased with the appointed king, his heart,
and his policies but the king doesn’t necessarily have the needed influence
over his people.

Isaiah’s heart obviously was with the Lord because God chose him as His servant.
Isaiah’s wife was also a prophetess [Is. 8:3]. He was commissioned while worshipping
in the temple courts [Is 6:1]. [Although tradition doesn’t support it, I wonder
if Isaiah was a Levite assigned to work in the temple aiding those who came
to worship.]

Isaiah is a long book and somewhat difficult to outline so I developed my
outline as I wrote in that Isaiah is probably made up of compilations of specific
and distinct prophesies and not necessarily assembled in any chronological sequence.
Many of Isaiah’s prophecies mention the coming Messiah and are inserted throughout
the book. Some are very clear and some are abstract. Servant-hood and Christ’s
Millennial Reign are two other repeating themes as Isaiah discusses the redemption
of Israel.

Isaiah is said to have prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. However,
Israel is mentioned. The nation is split into a northern kingdom [Israel] and
a southern kingdom [Judah] but I’m of the opinion that God still considers them
as one. Communication existed between the two kingdoms and the few prophets
of the north probably still came to Jerusalem to worship and to hear the Word
of the Lord from the lips of Isaiah. The northern kingdom was exiled first,
to Assyria, during the reign of Judah’s king Ahaz. Assyria then applied political
and military pressure on Judah during King Hezekiah’s reign laying siege and
controlling much of the northern portion of Judah. In spite of Josiah’s reforms
approximately 50 years later, King Ahaz’s reign marks the beginning of the end
for Judah and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom, Israel, was exiled
to Assyria in 722 BC. Isaiah prophesied approximately 760-689BC [70 years].
The southern kingdom, Judah, was exiled to Babylon in 539BC, about 80 years
after Isaiah’s death.

Prophesies Concerning Jerusalem and Judah                               Isaiah 1:1-7:25

I have chosen to look at the first five chapters of Isaiah as an abstract,
summary, and/ or overall view of Isaiah’s revelations from God. It concerns
itself mainly with Judah and Jerusalem but I believe it includes all of Israel
[God’s people], particularly in the first part of Chapter 1.

Israel’s Present                                  Isaiah. 1:1-31

Israel’s Status                                                           Is. 1:1-7

The Word speaks of a vision which I believe to be more of a revelation than
a dream. It is a revelation put in Isaiah’s heart after observing what is happening
in the northern kingdom, in Judah, in Jerusalem, and in the Temple courts. It
foretells what is to come should they continue their rebellious ways. This Prophesy
focuses on Judah but I believe it includes Israel to the north too [vs. 3].
God defines their rebellion as rejecting God’s leadership and being sinful,
evil, and corrupt. Verses 5-7 seem to imply that Israel to the north has already
been exiled and that Judah is also being attacked and under siege from Assyria
because of the bad decisions made by King Ahaz [possible historical perspective].

Judah’s Status                                                        Is. 1:8-17

Judah/Jerusalem is being saved at the moment [their exile is coming later].
A remnant is being preserved lest all of Israel perish. Judah is being challenged
to listen to God’s Word, to remember His statutes as given in Leviticus. They
come to the Temple to worship but their hearts are not right. They are going
through the motions and failing to truly repent in their hearts. Their observance
of sacrifices and feasts is worthless before God. They might as well not waste
their time because God is not accepting their acts of worship just like He did
not accept Cain’s offering. God has stopped listening to them because they have
stopped listening to God. They have resorted to doing evil, killing the innocent,
practicing injustice, and oppressing those in need. They do not love God and
they do not love their fellow man.

Judah’s Choice                                          Is. 1:18-20

God exhorts His people to sit down and listen, to look around and see what
is happening. They are not better off now than they were when they entered the
Promised Land. God is willing to forgive and forget their sin if they would
just humble themselves, repent of their sin, and listen to Him. Failure to do
so will bring dire consequences. They have a choice which will result in life
or death. History tells us they made the wrong choice. We have this same choice
today, as individuals and as a nation. It too is a choice of life or death;
eternal life or eternal death. God is merciful but He is also just and punishes
unrepentant sinful behavior.

God’s Corrective Action                                   Is. 1:21-31

Judah and Jerusalem, in particular, are failing. Righteousness has been replaced
by injustice. Their wealth and glory has disappeared. Their rulers chase after
bribes and gifts [King Ahaz and the religious leaders]. Oppression is the norm.
Therefore, God promised to punish them for their sins, cleansing them, purifying
them, returning them as they once were, making them what He wants them to be.
Once again they will be known for being Righteous and faithful to God. Israel
will be redeemed after they have been broken of their evil and rebellious ways.
But first they must be disgraced so they will understand the error of their
ways, repent, and turn back to God Almighty. God is patient and yet He is just.
God humbles the sinner and exalts the righteous. He is the true King.

In closing Chapter 1, consider the following chart. Specific verses are in
parenthesis.

God is: God has issues with Israel’s:
  • Speaking [2]
  • Rearing children [2]
  • Master and manager [3]
  • Forsaken and spurned [4]
  • Disciplining with/by: [5]
  • Desolating the country [7]
  • Bringing disaster on country and cities [7]
  • Overrunning the country with strangers [7]
  • Having their food stolen by foreigners [7]
  • Removing their people [8]
  • Leaving a few people behind [9]
  • Reasonable [18]
  • Forgiving [19]
  • Just [20]
  • Vengeful [25]
  • Cleansing them [26]
  • Their redeemer and restorer [27]
  • Breaking their bonds of sin [28]
  • Punishing evil [29-31]
  • Ability to listen [2]
  • Rebellion [2]
  • Knowledge and understanding [3]
  • Sin and guilt [4]
  • Evildoing [4]
  • Corruption [4]
  • Forsaking and spurning of God [4]
  • Willingness to ignore His Law [10]
  • Offerings [11]
  • Worship [12,14]
  • Prayers [15]
  • Killing [15]
  • Evil deeds [16]
  • Wrong doing [16]
  • Lack of justice [17,21]
  • Lack of compassion [17]
  • Lack of Righteousness [21]
  • Quality of life [22]
  • Rebellious rulers [23]
  • Thievery [23]
  • Bribes [23]
  • Treatment of fatherless and widows [23]

Israel’s Future                                                 Isaiah 2:1-22

The Millennium                                                                  Is. 2:1-5

These five verses say much with respect to the future importance of Judah
and Jerusalem. This chapter probably represents a summary of Isaiah’s prophesies
concerning the time when Israel will return to God and the Lord God will return
to earth as King of Kings [see Rev. 19:11-20:6] arriving from heaven and descending
in Judah and Jerusalem on the Mt. of Olives, ruling from Jerusalem’s Mt. Zion,
and residing on His throne in the Temple on Mt. Moriah also in Jerusalem and
adjacent to Mt. Zion.

Verse 1 refers to the “last days”. The Bible is consistent in defining
this period of time as that time beginning with Pentecost [see Acts2:17; John
7:37-39]. It is important to keep this interpretation consistent when interpreting
prophetic scripture. But only during Christ’s millennial reign do we read that
war ends and that people of all nations will seek His wisdom and bow before
Him as King of Kings. Up to that time, God is continually and constantly ignored
to a greater degree. In fact wars, real and cultural, increase up until God
intervenes with the return of Jesus Christ as King. Amillenialists, and perhaps postmillenialists, must interpret this passage as the Church era but such an interpretation does not jive with Matt. 24-25 or Rev. 20. It is true that God rules in the hearts of believers
and brings peace and joy into our lives but nowhere in scripture do we read
about man becoming more righteous the longer he is on earth. No, we read just
the opposite. Christ must come again as King of Kings to bring peace among the
people of the world. He alone is the Savior of the world, not the Church. The
Church is His light but not the Savior. We sow. He harvests.

This section closes with Isaiah’s exhortation to begin now to walk in the
Light of the Lord. Waiting for Him to return is the wrong choice. Death brings
destruction due to unforgiven sin in our lives. Now is the time to turn our
hearts toward God, repent of our sin, place our faith in Him, and let Him rule
in our hearts and lives. Now is the time of salvation [II Cor. 6:2].

The Tribulation                                                               Is. 2:6-22

God has abandoned His people because they are more interested in the religions
and philosophies of those who do not believe in the Creator God. They possess
great riches and have large armies. They can fund war and they have the ability
to defend themselves and to oppress others. They are industrious. All that they
possess is really an idol. God is no longer important and they have no time
for Him. They have abandoned God. This describes Judah in that day and it will
describe the world’s value system prior to His return. It describes the nation
of Israel today. But when God’s judgment on earth comes, they will run to the
mountains to hide. The world’s economy will be destroyed. What man has idolized
will be gone and man will be humbled. Now God, Jesus Christ reigns. The Lord
will be exalted.

God is not only our Savior but He is judge and sovereign over all things.
These verses tell of things to come in the last half of the tribulation period
outlined by Daniel and by John in describing the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments.
But after the millennial reign of Christ there is another judgment, The Great
White Throne of Rev. 20. Even the earth passes away in Rev. 21 making way for
a new earth and a new heaven to receive the Lord’s people. This judgment is
for those too proud to seek Him, to accept His grace, and to submit to Him.
That judgment includes the earth, all false religions, false faiths, and commerce.
It will be against nature, against false religions, against government, and
against commerce; all the things man would rather worship than the one true
God. These things are all temporary. They will fall and God will stand tall.
Worship the Lord God eternal now and remove all man-made idols. Choose God,
not man.

Once again, consider the following table.

God is: God has issues with Israel’s:
  • The ultimate ruler/King in the last days [1]
  • Established on Mt. Moriah [2]
  • Teaching those who seek Him [3]
  • Judge of all nations and peoples [4]
  • Establishing peace on earth [4]
  • Abandoning His people [6]
  • Judge of the proud and arrogant/ruler [12]
  • Judge of nations, false religions, the powerful, etc
  • [13-16]
  • Exalted in that day [17]
  • Destroys all idols [18]
  • A terror against sin [19]
  • Majestic [19]
  • Judge of all [22]
  • Being influenced from the east [6]
  • Practice of using soothsayers [6]
  • Foreign treaties [6]
  • Accumulation of wealth [7]
  • Armaments [7]
  • Idolatry/workaholic lifestyle [8]

Israel’s Tomorrow                                               Isaiah 3:1-4:1

Chapter 3 seems to relate back to Chapter 1 and speaks specifically to the
point that God is removing His support for Judah and Jerusalem. Perhaps the
northern kingdom has already been exiled when this prophecy was given. Regardless,
the Israelites will be short on food and their protection, statesmen, leaders,
prophets, and workers are gone. The best people were exiled to Babylon first.
Those who end up ruling are not qualified. Oppression of one to another exists.
We have chaos in place of justice. Family and cultural values are gone. Those
appointed to lead do not have the capability or the desire to lead. Read II
Chronicles 36 for information about the appointed kings just prior and during
the exiling of Judah to Babylonia.

Jerusalem and Judah are weak within. Sin is rampant. Disaster is nigh. Only
the righteous will experience any joy because their hope is in the Lord. Women
instead of men will rise up and control/influence the young men, leading them
astray. The Lord is judging them for their lack of leadership and their oppression
of the weak and needy. They have neglected their God-given responsibility. The
Lord’s judgment includes the women because they are part of the problem. They
are seen as harlots or adulterers. Material signs of prosperity are snatched
away. The women become slaves and men die in vain. The remaining women will
cling to the remaining men for survival. The future of Judah depends on new
born children. And women depend on men in that culture for survival. Taken literally,
women will outnumber men 7 to 1. The Hebrew words used for man and woman in
these verses are best interpreted literally.

I have chosen to close this section with Isaiah 4:1 as have most Bible scholars.
But I think it is reasonable to consider the verses from 3:17 to 4:6 as figurative.
Then the women represent Judah [Israel], the adulterous people of God who are
being punished by God for their disobedience. Isaiah 4:1 is figurative too and
represents repentance on Judah’s part. Using this interpretation leads naturally
into Isaiah 4:2 where every one agrees that the Branch is in reference to the
coming Messiah.

Either interpretation works and I believe both are correct. Scripture is interesting
in this way. The fact that it is divinely inspired by God makes both interpretations
possible and reasonable.

Before proceeding on with Chapter 4, refer to the following table once again.

God is: God has issues with Israel’s:
  • Removing His support and limiting food and water [1]
  • Removing Israel’s talented and skilled labor [2-4]
  • Allowing Israel to be ruled by immature and unqualified people [4]
  • Merciful to the righteous remnant [10]
  • Bringing judgment even upon the women [18]
  • Removing Jerusalem’s beauty and stature [26]
  • Speech and actions [8]
  • Sin and evil [9]
  • Wickedness [11]
  • Misguided leaders [12]
  • Destruction of His Kingdom [14]
  • Oppression of people [14]
  • Proud and adulterous women [16]

Israel’s Hope                                                                       Isaiah 4:1-6

The overlap in referencing Isaiah 4:1 is done on purpose. Consider the bold
print above as the lead in to verse 2. I may be out on a limb in considering
a figurative interpretation but verse 2 is very clear. These verses make it
very clear that God is glorified when Israel repents and returns to the Lord.
These verses could be considered fulfilled with the return of Judah to Israel
and the rebuilding of the Temple. It certainly will be fulfilled when Israel
repents and acknowledges that Christ Jesus is the Messiah and that He has returned
to rule over all the earth. Then we can say that Chapter 3 relates to Chapter
1 and that Chapter 4 relates to Chapter 2. Israel will be restored to the glory
God intended it to have when choosing Abraham. Jerusalem will be cleansed of
its sin as stated in Chapters 1 and 3. Justice and righteousness will reign.
That happens only in the millennial rule of Christ. God’s presence will be known
as it was in the Exodus providing comfort to those who enter His Tabernacle
to bow down in humble worship of the King of Kings.

So in Chapter 4 we see that God is:

  • Providing a Branch, the Messiah, to redeem Israel [2]
  • Making Jerusalem holy once again [3]
  • Forgiving and purifying Jerusalem [4]
  • Occupying Jerusalem and the Tabernacle once again [5]
  • Providing protection from the storms of life [6]

Israel’s Judah’s] Sin and Sentence                                                    Isaiah 5:1-30

Isaiah’s Song                                   Is. 5:1-7

It helps us to remember important things like events and names if we can associate
them with something familiar like a rhyme, an object, or a place etc. Isaiah
wrote a song about a vineyard. Vineyards were familiar and songs were an important
part of their culture so Isaiah used these to warn Judah of their impending
disaster. I have used Israel in this outline to represent the whole people of
God, not just Judah. Israel, the northern kingdom may or may not have been exiled
at the time of this writing. Judah was Isaiah’s main audience but their sins
and their sentence were the same. Verse 7 seems to include all of God’s people
Israel while singling out the men of Judah.

The Lord God owns a vineyard. He has prepared the soil and cleared the land
of stones [Canaanites] and planted it with choice vines [Judah and the other
11 tribes]. God watches over His vineyard from a watchtower [heaven] and built
a wine press to crush grapes and make wine [so that His goodness, glory, grace,
and spirit may influence Israel and other peoples]. But instead of good fruit,
God has reaped only bad fruit in spite of His meticulous preparation and care
[love]. Our Lord also told parables concerning a vineyard during His ministry
which have the same theme. Perhaps Isaiah’s song was a reminder to our Lord
when telling His own story of about a vineyard in Luke 20 and Mark 12.

The song seems to be in three stanzas; vs. 1-2, vs. 3-4, and vs. 5-6. Verses
1-4 concerns the past and present whereas verses 5-6 concern the tomorrow as
stated in my outline. God removes His protection [hedges and walls] and allows
His vineyard to be overrun with pagans [thorns and briars; Assyria and Babylon].
The vineyard becomes a wasteland. It no longer has any value for its owner,
The Lord God.

Verse 7 either stands alone as Isaiah’s interpretation of his song or it could
be a fourth verse when coupled with verse 8. Since versed 8 begins with a “woe”
it seems to fit better in the upcoming section. Nevertheless, God’s love for
Israel and Judah has resulted in bloodshed instead of justice; complaints instead
of righteous behavior; bad fruit instead of good fruit.

Israel’s [Judah’s] Sin                                               Is. 5:8-23

God has been pushed out from among His people [vs. 8] and, therefore, pronounces
judgment upon them by removing His hedge and wall of protection. God’s blessing
[rain] is removed and they can not produce enough food. Some are leaving of
their own accord. They have forgotten God. They have forgotten His covenants.
They have forgotten that God is sovereign, that He is their true King. The woes
pronounced against Israel and Judah are the result of their refusal to cultivate
the land [forgive and remove sin] and letting the weeds take over [pagan people
and practices]. God’s people are left to fend for themselves. Their own actions
are controlling their destiny. They are headed for disaster as a people. They
will no longer exist as a nation. They are going into exile. Their past glory
under David and Solomon has vanished.

What is the root causes behind the overall woes of desolation and devastation
in vs. 8-10? They are party people, drunkards, pleasure seekers, thinking only
about their own pleasure. They have forgotten who chose them in Abraham, who
redeemed them from Egypt, and who made them into a great nation under David
and Solomon. Therefore, they are to be humbled, hungry, thirsty, killed and
exiled. God will show Himself to be Holy and Just. Animals will graze God’s
land instead of Israel populating it. They practice deceit and tempt God, challenging
Him to show them how mighty and sovereign He is. They want a Savior but they
have no intention of worshiping Him. They have forgotten their past and believe
they deserve God’s mercy and blessing in spite of their sin. They can not discern
right from wrong. In fact, they interchange the two. They have their own standards
of wisdom. Wine has dulled their minds. Bribes are accepted in place of justice.
Greed has set in along with lies and false testimony. People are either oppressed
or oppressors. They have rejected God’s Laws and no longer obey His statutes
outlined in Exodus and Leviticus. They act like a spoiled child but God’s rod
of discipline is upon them.

Israel’s [Judah’s] Sentence                                     Is. 5:24-30

Israel/Judah has angered God and His patience has run out. He has yet to strike
them but the Lord’s hand will fall upon them. He is preparing other nations
for the attack. Those nations will descend swiftly, surprising an arrogant and
defiant people, and carrying them into exile. Darkness descends upon God’s chosen
people literally and figuratively. God’s judgment is swift and sure upon those
who willingly sin against Him and His statutes.

Using the same table as before, we have:

God is: God has issues with Israel’s:
  • Owner of a vineyard [1]
  • Preparing it to bear fruit [2]
  • Protecting it from predators [2]
  • Removing it’s protection [5]
  • Letting it deteriorate [6]
  • Removing inhabitants [9,13]
  • Reducing their harvest [10,13]
  • Punishing all Israel/Judah [14]
  • Exalted in justice and righteousness [15]
  • Leaving animals behind [17]
  • Destroying a sinful people [24]
  • Still showing mercy [25]
  • Using other nations to punish them [26-29]
  • Allowing darkness to spread [30]
  • Yielding bad fruit [4]
  • Bloodshed replacing righteousness [7]
  • Partying mentality [11]
  • Lack of respect for God [12]
  • Sin, deceit, wickedness [18,20]
  • Demand that God save them [19]
  • Believing that they are wise [21]
  • Drunkenness [22]
  • Injustice [23

Let’s Summarize Is. 1:1-5:30

So considering these 5 chapters as a whole, what can we conclude about God?

  1. God is holy, righteous, and just.
  2. God does not tolerate sinful behavior or a refusal to acknowledge His loving
    kindness.
  3. God disciplines those whom He loves, using it to restore His people.
  4. God’s chosen people are responsible to make Him known among all peoples
  5. God is the ultimate ruler over all peoples. He is Sovereign.
  6. God’s Word is to be obeyed, not forgotten or ignored.
  7. God is patient but He does have a limit.

Therefore:

  • Examine your heart/actions with respect to God’s Will.
  • Remember God’s righteous justice upon Israel.
  • Seek the Lord. Seek His forgiveness and mercy.
  • Commit to being a member of His Holy remnant.
  • Enter and work in God’s protective and fruitful vineyard.
  • Enjoy God’s bountiful blessings.

Isaiah’s Commission                                                     Isaiah 6:1-13

Isaiah’s Call                                              Is 6:1-8

Isaiah sees a vision similar to Ezekiel’s vision in Ez. 1 and John’s vision
in Rev. 4. This vision may have taken place while Isaiah was at the temple but
it could have taken place anywhere. No doubt Isaiah was in the Spirit [like
John] when he had this vision. This vision is of the throne room of God in heaven.
The seraphim are there singing praise to God. Isaiah sees the Lord and is afraid
because anyone who sees the face of God dies [Ex.33:20]. Therefore, this is
a true vision because Isaiah sees but doesn’t see. The majesty and holiness
of God humbles Isaiah and he realizes he is a sinner, unclean, and unworthy
to be in God’s presence. This is resolved by the seraphim placing a coal from
the altar on Isaiah’s lips and pronouncing him clean. This is symbolic for Isaiah
because in actuality, God has already declared him righteous by his faith just
as He did with Abraham. Isaiah would not have seen this vision had he not been
righteous in God’s sight. God uses this vision to humble Isaiah and dedicate
him to be a very powerful and influential prophet for God [similar to Paul’s
calling]. Isaiah’s calling and response is also very similar to Samuel’s calling
and response.

Those who seek God are called by God. Those who are called by God are made
clean, free of sin, sanctified for His purpose. Some of us who are called are
also called for a special purpose. Isaiah was one such individual. [See Rom. 8:29-31 and Ps. 62 comments]

Isaiah’s Purpose                                   Is. 6:9-13

Isaiah is told to tell the people that:

  • They will hear but not understand.
  • They will see but not accept.

In so doing, the hearts of Israel/Judah will become calloused [hardened just
like Pharaoh’s heart when dealing with Moses]. God tells Isaiah that his message
will not be accepted by the people as true or relevant. Their hearts are already
calloused. God does not condemn us. He wants to save us. God is full of love,
grace, and mercy. But we condemn ourselves by our unwillingness to hear and
see God’s loving-kindness. God’s will is that we be saved [II Peter 3:9] but
He also has given us a choice to accept or reject Him. Short of severe disciplinary
action on God’s part, Israel/Judah would rather reject than accept God and His
Statutes.

Isaiah asks God how long his calling is to last. God responds by telling him
it will last until the people are exiled. Israel, the northern kingdom, was
exiled in 722BC during Isaiah’s life near the end of King Ahaz’s reign over
Judah. The exile of Judah came approximately 80 years later after Isaiah’s death.
Perhaps verses 11-12 refer to Israel and verse 13 refers to Judah and Benjamin.
But Judah too will eventually be exiled. If so, we can say Isaiah’s prophecies
were to both Israel and Judah and not just Judah. Then it’s probable that the
prophecies concerning Israel and Judah came in the first half of Isaiah’s ministry
with subsequent prophecies coming later.

To dwell on these details takes away from God’s message through Isaiah. God
calls His people to proclaim His Word and glorify His Name. We are to humble
ourselves before His throne, receive His grace, and serve Him willingly. We
are given a task, a message to deliver. God determines our length of service.
Our service to God may or may not bring forth the expected results [fruit for
His Kingdom] but it will accomplish His Purpose. That is all God asks of us.

Hear God’s Call;

Come before His Throne;

Receive His Grace; and

Do His Will.

God called Isaiah and He calls you and me too. Praise His Holy Name!

Ahaz’s Wrong Choices                                                       Isaiah 7:1-25

Ahaz’s Arrogance                                                 Is. 7:1-12

Israel’s King Pekah aligns himself with Syria’s King Aram and attacks Judah.
They do this to gain Judah’s wealth and men to help them fight Assyria whose
strength is increasing and who is attacking their lands and cities. Israel’s
and Syria’s attacks on Judah were devastating [see II Chron. 28]. Many people
were taken prisoner along with much plunder only to be left to return at the
insistence of Oded, a prophet in Israel, and other leaders of Israel. Even Edom
and the Philistines began making incursions into Judah. Judah was indeed shaking
as trees shake in the wind. Ahaz, King of Judah, was a very wicked king [see
also II Kings 16] but God, in His mercy, sends Isaiah out to meet with him and
give him a message to stand firm in his faith because Israel and Syria will
soon be powerless. Not only will Israel be exiled but they will be so inbreed
by the conquering Assyrians that they become what we know as Samaritans in the
New Testament. They are “shattered”, a people without a distinctive
heritage or culture. If Ahaz can not stand firm now, Judah will not survive
either. God volunteers to give King Ahaz a sign to help him understand the sovereignty
of God, but Ahaz refuses to even ask. [see I Cor. 10:9-13, Ps. 78:17-19]. God
wants to show Ahaz His Power and assure Ahaz of His Protection. Ahaz says he
will not put God to the test. But he is doing just that. He turns his back on
what little faith he has in God and turns to Assyria for help. He turns his
back on God and practices the pagan religion of Assyria. He is testing God and
Judah’s eventual downfall begins.

God’s Grace                                                   Is. 7:13-16

Isaiah prophesies that God will give them a sign. Even though King Ahaz has
rejected God’s sign and the people will be poorer as a result, God will give
them a sign.
They have tested God’s patience, but God is merciful and will give
them a sign. A virgin will bear a son and his name will be called Immanuel,
God with us. But before this “sign” comes, Judah’s current enemies
[Israel and Syria] will be gone.

Judah’s Punishment Prophesied                    Is. 7:17-35

Because King Ahaz has refused God, the King of Assyria will be used to punish
Judah further. Their land will become desolate, failing to produce food. Ahaz
sacrificed the wealth of Judah to appease Assyria but it was in vain. Judah’s
weakness led to further attacks from Edom and the Philistines.

Let’s Consider Our Choices                                                       Isaiah 1:18-20; 7:1-25

We too have choices to make, as a nation and as individuals. God wants to
be our God. He wants us to depend on Him and not on man. God is good and merciful.
But are we willing to put our faith in Him? Are we willing to eliminate “In
God we Trust” from our money? Are we willing to eliminate “under God”
from our Pledge? Are we willing to scuttle our Christian heritage, depending
on other nations instead of God as our true allies?

When troubles come, and they will come, are we [as a nation and as individuals]
willing to seek God and His wisdom or will we turn to man? God gives us a choice
but there are consequences, good or bad, with the choices we make. In addition
to himself, Ahaz’z choices affected a nation. The same is true for the choices
we make. Choose God. He wants to give us a sign showing His power, His love,
His protection, and His mercy. We may suffer now but we will be victorious in
the end. He will be beside us and in us; encouraging us, strengthening our faith,
and giving us HOPE. Let us choose God and Praise His Name.

Specific Messages From God                                            Isaiah 8:1-10:4

Isaiah’s Authentication                                  Is. 8:1-4

Isaiah has been making some bold prophecies concerning Israel, Judah, and
the coming Messiah. So the question becomes whether or not Isaiah is a true
prophet. The Lord asks Isaiah to take a scroll, write the name of Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz
on it, and then take it to Uriah the priest and Zachariah as witnesses. This
name means “quick to plunder” and was given to the second son of Isaiah
conceived and born of the prophetess, Isaiah’s wife. Some scholars believe this
was the first born to Isaiah’s second wife and that this is a partial fulfillment
of Isaiah’s prophecy in Chapter 7. That may be but I prefer to keep it simple
and state that Isaiah has witnesses to his son’s name before he was conceived
and born, a 50/50 chance it would be a boy. Isaiah also prophecies that before
he speaks knowing who his father and mother is, Assyria will have plundered
Syria and Israel, Judah’s enemies. Therefore, God is authenticating Isaiah as
His Prophet. Since they hadn’t believed Isaiah before, they had better start
believing him now. Within a three year time period two specific prophecies will
have been verified [see Deut. 13:1-5; 18:21-22]. Isaiah is indeed the Lord’s
Prophet.

Israel’s Exile                                             Is. 8:5-10

Israel has rejected their God and His blessings. They have rejected God and
they have rejected worshiping Him in Jerusalem. Instead, they are worshiping
their relationship with Syria’s king Resin and their king Pekah. Therefore,
God is raising up Assyria to quickly conquer Israel and Syria. In fact, Assyria
is even going to encroach on Judah’s territory all the way to Jerusalem [Sennacherib’s
invasion during King Hezekiah’s reign]. Assyria is about to become the dominant
power other than Egypt. They will rule over many nations and peoples but Judah
will remain because God is still with them.

Isaiah’s Personal Instructions                                           Is. 8:11-22

Isaiah is warned not to develop any close relationships with the kings and
rulers of his people. Isaiah is to be independent, set apart, and without bias
concerning national and religious politics. His instructions come from God alone.
Isaiah’s message is not to be subjected to questioning. His message must be
known to be The Truth. It is not to be influenced in any manner by those with
whom he comes in contact. God will direct Isaiah and God will protect Isaiah.
The prophecies of God spoken by Isaiah to all of Israel are going to cause people
to accept them or reject them. Most people will reject them [see Is. 6:9-10].
Isaiah is to write his prophecies and seal them up. They must be saved because
many have to do with historical events in the future. God will continue to authenticate
His Word through Isaiah. Isaiah is to be patient and trust God. Isaiah is not
to fear. He is to be faithful.

Isaiah is to be a testimony to the Lord God for all Judah to see. Verse 18
verifies my interpretation of Isaiah 8:1-3. Isaiah’s words and life is God’s
testimony of His loving-kindness. But judgment will come to those who ignore
God, who ignore His Word, who ignore His Testimony and instead seek advice from
mediums and spiritists. God will remove His blessing from these people and they
will be left in darkness, literally and figuratively. They will be left without
food, without a home, and without hope. That too will happen in both a physical
and spiritual setting.

God has authorized His Word through Isaiah and all His Word in Holy Scripture.
It comes from God. It is pure truth without the bias or influence of man. We
are to believe it and put our trust in it. God’s promises have come true and
will come true. We see that in history and we see them in His Son, Jesus Christ.
We see the truth of His promises in the lives and families of those who put
their trust in God. As Christians, we have the same awesome responsibility to
our society as God gave to Isaiah. Recognize this responsibility. Let us acknowledge
our acceptance and commitment before God. Let us look to the Lord for His help.
May we live and act according to His calling. Let us continuously praise His
Name in worship. May God be glorified in and through us for all to see. May
we be authentic Christians.

Another Message of Hope                  Is. 9:1-7

In amongst the pronouncements of God’s judgments against Israel is another
message of hope. This prophecy appears to have been given after the Assyrians
ran over the northern kingdom, Israel. God is going to honor the Galilean region
even though it is controlled by gentiles. God has His people inhabiting the
land once again. Even though they walked in darkness, God has blessed their
repentance by returning them to His Promised Land. These people of God are more
than likely from Judah because we never read of the northern tribes repenting
and returning. These inhabitants are those who came out from under the oppressive
Babylonians. They are back in their land and are hearing the light of God’s
Word read to them by Ezra. The believing remnant has returned to their roots.
They are ruled by gentiles [Medo-Persians, Greece, and Rome] but no longer experience
the oppression caused by Assyria and Babylonia.

Another light is coming, the Light of the World, the Son of God, Messiah.
He will come as a child and will be their King. He will be known as the Wonderful
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. He will
rule forever and over all nations from David’s throne. His government will be
righteous and just. Such righteous rule can only be accomplished by God Himself.

A Message of Doom                                                    Is. 9:8-10:4

Israel, the northern kingdom, will fall because of their arrogance and pride.
Their arrogance and pride is portrayed in their attitude. Even though God has
punished them [fallen bricks and fig trees], they expect to rebuild themselves
to be greater than ever [finished stone and cedars]. They are being attacked
from the east [Syria] and the west [Philistines] but God has even more punishment
planned because they continue refusing to call upon God. God will remove all
the elders [leaders] and prophets who call upon Him and will leave Israel with
ungodly, immature, and wicked leaders. God has no compassion or mercy for such
people. But more is planned in the name of God’s wrath. There will not be enough
food and the people will fight among themselves and with each other. Even cannibalism
has crept into their culture. They are now proud, arrogant, and selfish.

They feed on the poor. Unjust laws and oppressive decrees assist the nobles
and oppress the poor, widows, and the fatherless [orphans]. God is ready to
deliver even more punishment if they continue to ignore Him, which they do.
Consequently, there is more to come.

God disciplines those whom He loves [see Heb. 12:5-6]. God loves Israel but
He can no longer tolerate their pride and arrogance. They no longer act like
God’s people. They act like the godless nations around them. God’s discipline
is actually merciful, giving out a little more each time. He is giving them
every opportunity to repent and return to Him. God has promised us hope through
His Son. Let us not be too proud to bow to Him in worship. When the Lord applies
His discipline to our lives, let us turn back to Him before He has no choice
but to destroy us. Let’s remember God’s dealings with Israel and make sure we
learn from them. Let us not test God but, instead, trust God with all our heart,
soul, mind, and strength. This must be our directive as individuals and as a
nation. Remember, God is patient but He has a limit. God is just and His hand
is raised in righteous judgment. God is love and abounding in mercy to all who
repent of their sin and place their trust in Him. God says all that through
His prophet Isaiah.

Prophecies Concerning Foreign Nations                            Isaiah 10:5-23:17

Assyria’s Coming Judgment                                                          Isaiah 10:5-19

One must read these verses carefully to know when the pronoun “he”
refers to Assyria and when it refers to the Lord. The Lord is angry with Assyria.
He has used them to punish Israel, Syria, and Judah for their wickedness and
idolatry but they became bloodthirsty in doing so. God dispatched them to plunder
these peoples and to rule over them but not to destroy them and eliminate them.
The Assyrians exploited their power and their mission against Israel, Syria,
and especially Judah. God’s objective was to destroy idolatry and bring repentance.
Assyria, in their wickedness, went further.

This brings up the question of God’s sovereignty and His permissive will.
Did God not realize what might happen? The answer is yes, absolutely. But He
allowed it to happen because God’s justness was greater than God’s mercy. God
had been merciful. Now God was employing His justness. God was also testing
the heart of Assyria to determine the extent of their own wickedness. God’s
goodness to them in raising them up to power results in pride and a heart bent
on destroying others , like Judah. Therefore, God’s justness rises again and
He promises to destroy Assyria. Assyria’s pride is defined beautifully in verses
13-14. At least six times the pronoun “I” is used in those two verses.

God is sovereign and He will bring His justice to bear on Assyria. A disease
will attack their army. God will use their uncontrolled pride to destroy them
internally. It will happen quickly, in a single day. Their destruction will
be so quick and so complete that only a few people will remain. Another, the
Babylonians, will do to them the same as they did to others. The wickedness
of Assyria will be the wickedness that destroys them.

Judah’s Faithful Few                                                               Isaiah 10:20-36

The Lord’s judgment against Assyria has been given. Assyria was given a mission
over Syria and Israel but they continued to march against Judah. Assyria, with
whom Judah was wrongfully allied, is now marching toward Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s
leaders tremble and recognize their only hope lies in the intervention of God.
The leaders humble themselves before God and express their dependence on Him.
Destruction still faces Judah because of their idolatry but God will spare them
from the Assyrian conquest. They are spared because there is a remnant who still
place their faith in God.

Because of these “faithful few”, Jerusalem is told not to fear [II
Kings 19:5]. God’s anger against Judah is subsiding [Hezekiah is a good king]
and He will soon turn His attention against Assyria. God is going to exercise
His power [as He demonstrated against Midian and against Egypt ] against Assyria.
Judah’s faith in God is growing. They are becoming fat and God is honoring their
growth.

Verses 28-33 seem to describe Sennacherib’s advance across Judah to Jerusalem.
But God miraculously ends their journey [II Chron. 33:20-33; II Kings 19:35].
See also Isaiah’s prophecy in II Kings 19:20-34. It closely resembles this passage.
It may be the same prophecy recorded by someone else or, I believe, it is one
of many such prophecies made by Isaiah at this critical time in Judah’s history.

Two things are obvious.

  1. God is just and judges sin, destroying those who refuse to repent and trust
    Him.
  2. God is merciful and spares those who are willing to place their trust in
    Him, even if they are few in number.

We as God’s people, have an awesome responsibility in preserving our country.
Our faithfulness has a direct bearing on our nation’s future. Our faithfulness
has a direct bearing on God’s blessing. Failure to accept this responsibility
will result in destruction. May we continue to place our faith in God, our Creator,
who is sovereign over all the nations, who is Holy and Righteous, and who judges
sin. Praise God for He is both Merciful and Just.

A King Worthy of Worship                                         Isaiah 11:1-12:6

Read Isaiah 2:1-5 and Isaiah 4:2-6 with this portion of scripture. They compliment
one another speaking of the millennium rule of Jesus Christ.

The branch once again refers to the Messiah who is of the lineage of David
and on the throne of Israel. He is the bearer of “fruit”; a blessing;
the people of God who acknowledge his Son as Savior, the redeemed Israel and the
Church, the whole Kingdom of God. The Spirit of the Lord rests on Him. He has
been given authority by God the Father to rule, to be the King of Kings. Verse
2 is often referred to as the seven fold Spirit of God, the third person of
the Triune God. The Spirit rests on Him, indwells Him and gives Him wisdom,
understanding, counsel, power, knowledge of the Lord, and fear of the Lord.
The Son rules through the Spirit being subject to the Father. Consider the example
of water as a solid, a liquid, and as a gas. Ice melts [Father] and becomes
water. The water [Son] has power to drive turbines, to satisfy our thirst and
to cleanse us. When heated, it becomes steam and free to flow where ever it
desires, cleaning our pores and sanctifying us, making us pure, ministering
to the multitudes. Yet all these blessings are bestowed upon us by the Father
[ice] through His authority. The melting of ice brings us knowledge and understanding.
Therefore, the Son delights in the fear of the Lord and so do we. [See Rev.
22:16-17]

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

This King, Jesus Christ, does not judge by what He sees or hears. He judges
by knowing our hearts [I Sam. 16:7]. His judgment is founded in righteousness,
just, with large doses of mercy and compassion. He not only determines right
from wrong, He administers punishment to those who are not righteous. His Word
says it all and does it all. He has complete and full authority because He is
Righteous and He is Trustworthy and Faithful [see Rev. 19].

As a result of His rule, unusual things happen. The survival of the fittest
among nature stops. There is peace among the animals [the earlier passages speak
of peace among men too] and there is peace between men and animals. Perhaps
another interpretation of verse 8 refers to the chaining of Satan [cobra] in
the Abyss while the child [Christ] rules. While this is an interesting thought,
such is not necessary and leads to an inconsistent interpretation of the whole
passage. It seems most appropriate to interpret this complete passage literally.
Regardless, when Christ rules on earth, Satan has no influence. The Knowledge
of God rules and there is peace. [See Rev. 20:1-6]

Christ has returned to reign as the King of Kings. All people will see Him
return. This is His second advent. People will mourn and/or praise God upon
His return. [Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:23; Is. 45:23] Israel will be redeemed. Those
Israelites who have not yet returned to their Promised Land will return. All
Israel will be reunited as they were under King David. The physical features
of earth will be altered to accommodate their return. Perhaps the earth returns
to its state before the great flood.

Such a day requires that we praise God. The angels did [see Rev. 19] and so
will we [Phil. 2:10-11]. All who repented of their sin and acknowledge Christ
as Savior and Lord will praise His Holy Name. They place complete trust in Him.
They express joy, thanksgiving, and praise to God because His Spirit fills their
being. Joy abounds because Christ has returned, redeeming His people, bringing
forth their salvation, and destroying those who followed Satan, the anti-Christ,
and the false prophet. Great is the Lord God. He has died for our sin, conquered
death, lives again, and returns to be our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Praise
be to God. He truly is a King worthy of our Worship.

Prophecies Concerning Babylon                               Isaiah 13:1-14:23

Babylon’s Destruction                                          Is. 13:1-22

First, one can look at verses 1-16 in two ways. One way is to consider the
first 16 verses to be prophesying about God’s judgment of the nations at Armageddon
prior to Christ’s Second Advent. [See Rev. 15:10-18:24; 19:11-18] Verse 17 then
begins the prophecy of the Medes’ capture of Babylon. Verses 3-4 represent the
Lord’s angelic army rising against the massing of the nations at Armageddon.
Verse 10 would be the 5th Bowl judgment of God. Verses 11-16 would represent
the 6th and 7th Bowl judgments leading up to the Lord’s army descending and
destroying Babylon, the center of the anti-Christ’s world power.

The second interpretive approach considers all 22 verses to be prophesying
the fall of Babylon in 536 BC. Regardless of which of these two interpretations
one favors, verse 2 depicts the extensive pride and arrogance on the part of
Babylon. Verse 3 and 4 then becomes the Medo-Persian army sent against Babylon
by God. The remaining verses in the section describe the quick and complete
devastation of Babylon.

I personally prefer the first interpretation when reading the NIV translation
and the second interpretation if reading the NASB translation. But, once again
I believe there is space for both interpretations of God’s inspired Word. I
am comfortable with both interpretations and I believe there can be a dual meaning
i.e. both are true. After all, history repeats itself and God’s ways are very
consistent. Also, when a prophet sees the future, it’s as if he looks at the
mountains from a distance. He sees the peaks but not the valleys. Two mountain
peaks may be very close together or actually far apart. So I am taking a minority
viewpoint [perhaps even a lonely one] and say both scenarios are true. The majority
viewpoint is that all 22 verses prophecy of Babylon’s fall to the Medes. For
sure that is true concerning verses 17-22. God will and did destroy Babylon
in 536 BC. See Daniel 5:1-30.

Israel’s Glory Returns                                                Is. 14:1-23

Once again two interpretations are possible. Many believe these verses represent
Israel’s return to their land under Cyrus, ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire
[535 BC]. I am of the mind that this prophecy represents Israel’s rise to glory
after Armageddon and during Christ’s millennial reign. Israel will be the Lord’s
right hand in ruling a peaceful world and thereby, ruling over those who oppressed
God’s people, Jew and Gentile alike. The “aliens” of verse 1 are Christians,
raptured saints in resurrection bodies, at the time of Christ’s return. Verses
3-8 describe the peaceful reign of Christ in the millennium. The leaders of
nations under anti-Christ have been stripped of their power and are dead [vs.
18]. Verses 12-17 describe the roles of Satan, anti-Christ, and the false prophet
of Revelation 19. Satan is proud and wants to be God, even above God. But during
the millennium Satan is in the Abyss and his cohorts, the anti-Christ and the
false prophet, are in the lake of fire [hell]. Instead of ruling, Satan has
caused the destruction of all those who followed after him [vs. 20]. God is
the victor, Satan has been removed, and Babylon destroyed, never to rise again.

Prophecies Concerning Assyria                                           Isaiah 14:24-27

This prophecy simple states that God will destroy Assyria for their wickedness.
God’s people will be freed from the Assyrian yoke of bondage. What happens to
Assyria is planned for the whole world because God’s purpose is to remove all
wickedness and sin from the world. Whatever man plans or does, he can not thwart
God. God is Sovereign.

Prophecies Concerning Philistia                                        Isaiah 14:28-32

Philistia thinks they are too small a thorn in the side of God’s people to
warrant attention. But God thinks otherwise. God is going to destroy them with
a famine but in His mercy God will save the poor and the oppressed. Their famine
begins with a cloud of smoke from the north. This could mean the famine begins
with their crops being destroyed by locusts such as happened to Egypt during
there 9th plague. Others believe the cloud of smoke to be the Assyrian army.
God’s people will show forth His love and mercy by providing a refuge for the
poor and oppressed. This prophecy is thought to have been fulfilled after the
death of Tilgath-pileser [Assyria] and Ahaz [Judah] and near the beginning of
Hezekiah’s reign [Judah] but the exact dates are unknown.

Prophecies Concerning Moab                                                             Isaiah 15:1-16:13

Verses 1-4 describe the destruction of Moab. Once again it happens quickly
and is probably caused by the Assyrian King Sargon. Also see my comments on
Jeremiah 48. Perhaps some of Moab’s ruin was caused 100 years earlier when Ahab’s
son, Joram, was king of Israel and Jehoshaphat was king of Judea. Moab turns
to its’ gods to no avail. They are in a state of panic and mourning.

Isaiah mourns over Moab too [in verse 5] as he describes them trying to flee.
Their wealth is gone, drought has come, and their fighting men have been killed.
They have little water, much spilled blood, and no hope.

Isaiah recommends that Judah accept Moab’s livestock [lambs] as tribute and
offer their refugees help, hiding them and sheltering them. Moab’s pride is
the source of their downfall. But Ruth, the grandmother of David, was a Moabite.
Oppressions will cease and in this case Assyria will be destroyed too. One day
a King [Jesus] will rule them with justice and righteousness. In the meantime,
Moab is being destroyed. Moab’s downfall, mourning, desolation, and destruction
will last three years. Her survivors, probably those that sought refuge in Judah
and/or Edom, are few and feeble. Again, the majority are women.

When God unleashes His wrath against sin, it is complete. This is especially
true for those who refuse to accept His love and goodness and continue to follow
their man-made gods. When times become tough and strained for us, will we be
stubborn in worshipping our gods or will we become submissive to God? Will we
remain proud or will we humble ourselves before His throne, seeking His love,
mercy, and protection? God gives us choices and He graciously explains the results
of those choices. We can choose to follow our own wisdom or we can choose to
follow Him. Let us never be too proud to choose God. History tells us “pride
comes before the fall”. History also tells us that “God’s blessings
come to those who seek Him”. The right choice is obvious but we have difficulty
in choosing it because of pride. Choose God. Choose Christ, the Messiah. Choose
Life. Receive His peace, His protection, His love, His righteousness, His way,
His purpose and His Kingdom.

Prophecies Concerning Damascus                                                       Isaiah 17:1-14

Damascus was the capital of Aram or Syria and they had allied themselves with
the northern kingdom Israel against Assyria during the reign of King Ahaz of
Judah. In fact, Israel and Syria attacked northern Judah hoping to convince
King Ahaz to join them.

This prophecy begins by declaring the destruction of Damascus and Syria along
with the northern kingdom, Israel. Verse 3 is ironic in that there is no glory
in Israel at this time. In fact, whatever glory they may have is fading fast.
Food will be scarce even in the fertile areas of the Rephraim valley west of
Jerusalem. The food shortage can be the result of raiding armies or natural
famine. But lack of food causes a nation to be weak and easy pickings for invaders.

The prophecy shifts at verse 7 and discusses the reaction of Assyria’s conquering
of Syria and Israel. Judah will abandon their practice of worshipping idols
and return to the worship of God. This perhaps refers to the continuing siege
of Assyria into Judah and to Jerusalem’s gates by Sennacherib during King Hezekiah’s
reign. King Hezekiah, together with Isaiah, led Judah to depend on God. Judah
was also trembling and shaken due to Assyria’s push south. Israel and now Assyria
had taken away many of the fortified cities north of Jerusalem and many of Judah’s
citizens were uprooted and forced to move south. Their salvation was with the
Lord God and they made the right choice, returning to Him as their one and only
God.

Verses 12 and 13 describe the effect Assyria has on the people of Damascus,
Israel, and Judah. There was no stopping the Assyrians until they reached Jerusalem.
Verse 14 tells of the miraculous spareing of Jerusalem by God recorded in II
Chron. 32:20 and II Kings 19:35-36.

The lesson is clear. Put your trust in God now before it is too late. God
is loving and merciful but He is also just and punishes sinful behavior. Read
Leviticus 26-27 as background.

Repentance guarantees God’s favor;
Unrepentance guarantees God’s punishment.
Repentance guarantees life;
Unrepentance guarantees death.
Repentance leads to glory;
Unrepentance leads to destruction.

Such was true in the past, is true in the present, and continues to be true
in the future. You can count on it because God keeps His promises.

Prophecies Concerning Cush and Egypt                                         Isaiah 18:1-20:6

Cush                                                     Is. 18:1-7

Cush refers to modern day Ethiopia south and west of Egypt between the Nile
River and the Red Sea. It is a low land known for its’ flying insects and/or
mobile warriors. Their contact with other nations happens via papyrus ships.
Envoys are critical to their survival because they have no mountains or lookouts
from which to warn their people of approaching armies. The people of Cush are
described as tall and smooth skinned. They are aggressive and, therefore, feared.
Communication with them is difficult because their language is foreign to much
of the civilized world.

God expresses His patience with them. They are being ignored by Assyria and
Egypt for the moment. They are subject to God’s permissive will and not His
divine judgment. But judgment will come eventually. They are a young nation
who will experience the Lord’s judgment before they mature. They see God’s judgment
upon other nations and realize that the God of Judah is greater than their gods.
Instead of turning away from the Lord in stubbornness and pride, Cush will turn
to the Lord and bring gifts to Jerusalem in honor of the Lord God Almighty.
In fact, Cush may have had envoys in Jerusalem when Sennacherib was attempting
to siege Jerusalem and learned first hand about the power of God and His protection
of Jerusalem and Judah. The gifts brought in worship of God are thought to have
occurred during the peak of King Hezekiah’s reign [see II Chron. 32:23]. God,
in His mercy, probably is using Isaiah to instruct and warn Cush. The actual
conquering of Cush and Egypt took place in about 671 BC [see Is. 20].

Once again we are given insight into God’s sovereignty and patience. He knew
the stubbornness, pride, and rejection of Israel, Syria, and Assyria. Because
of their ultimate rejection of God, He destroyed them. In the case of Cush,
God realized their hearts were softened toward Him. They were willing to consider
the facts and act accordingly. We, as individuals, are no different. Jesus has
come. He died for our sin and God raised Him up to live again. God, Jesus Christ,
has promised to save all who put their trust in Him. He has also promised to
return again that we might live with Him eternally in peace and joy and in loving
worship of Him. The choice is ours. Will we be stubborn and consider only our
instincts or will we accept the facts and trust in His promises? God has blessed
us with an abundance of information. Let us make a wise choice, place our trust
in Him, and serve Him faithfully.

Egypt?                                                         Is. 19:1-25

This is a very difficult passage to interpret clearly, especially if one takes
the position that it has been fulfilled. After writing this section, I consulted
several commentaries and I did not find one that answered all the questions
with any clarity. Many use this chapter to claim there were two Isaiah’s, a
view I refuse to accept.

It can be interpreted as one single prophecy or as two different prophecies.
If we look at it as one prophecy with respect to time, there are two possibilities.
The first possibility is that these verses foretell the punishment of Egypt
at the hand of Assyria and is linked to Isaiah Chapter 20. This would happen
sometime during the years 670 to 713 BC and makes the reasonable assumption
that Assyria’s actual rule over Egypt happened at a later date than their conquering
of Egypt, particularly when considering the specific times mentioned in Chapter
20. The second way of interpreting is as a single event would be to consider
“Egypt” as representing all gentile nations supporting Israel, the
Lord’s people, and “Assyria” representing all nations against Israel,
the Lord’s people. Then this passage represents the Tribulation Period or Daniel’s
70th week. Verse 2 is very similar to Christ’s words in Matthew 24-25. Verse
4 would represent the rise of anti-Christ to power. The lack of water, food,
and the ability to conduct business are found in the Bowl Judgments of Rev.
16 and perhaps the Trumpet Judgments of Rev. 8-9. God is is control; not man.
Judah’s God is bringing terror to the earth [Bowl Judgments]. Because of this
great tribulation, many will turn to the Lord and worship Him [Is. 19:18-21].
Even though they turn to the Lord, they are still subject to the outpouring
of God’s wrath on earth [and we have another argument based on Scripture for
a pre-wrath rapture of the Saints]. Some people who were against Israel and
their God [Assyria] will turn to God because of “Egypt’s” influence
and testimony [vs. 23-25] and there will be eventual unity between Israel and
her enemies [Millennium].

If we consider this prophecy to be two distinct prophecies, we say the first
15 verses represent the Assyrian invasion against Egypt and verses 16-25 represents
events during the Tribulation or the Babylonian invasion around 600 BC after
Judah was exiled. But then verses 24-25 become ambiguous.

I don’t’ know which interpretation is correct and perhaps none are. Most scholars
favor one interpretation for the whole chapter and that it represents events
surrounding the Assyrian invasion and conquering of Egypt. It certainly is the
least controversial position and gives continuity to Chapter 20. Personally,
I’m leaning toward one prophecy surrounding the End Times, the Tribulation period.
This prophecy, then, is filled with metaphors. Verses 1-15 could be literally
true during the Assyrian and/or Babylonian invasion and also be true figuratively
during the Tribulation. A compromise? Rationalization? Yes. But I can’t put
my hands on enough solid historical evidence to think differently. This passage
is just too similar to Matthew 24-25 and to Revelation in its’ content.

Specifics Concerning Cush, Egypt, and Philistia                             Is. 20:1-6

The previous two prophecies concerning Cush and Egypt were specific too but
this prophecy is specific with respect to history. Sargon II, the king of Asyria
sent his commander [Sennacherib?] to begin conquering Philistia, and, in this
case, the city of Ashdod. Isaiah is commanded to remove his sackcloth and sandals
by the Lord. Isaiah is now walking Jerusalem barefoot and wearing only a loincloth.
He evidently did this for three years while Assyria was attacking Egypt and
Cush. This affected the attitude of the remaining cities of Philistia who were,
no doubt, observing these exiles being taken back to Assyria via the road along
the coast. Thus, Assyria gained control of Philistia by winning their minds.
Philistia had relied on Egypt to come to their aid against Assyria and Judah
was being pressured to do likewise. Now they observe first hand the defeat of
those they considered allies or potential allies. Egypt is unable to rescue
anyone including themselves.

Prophecies Concerning Babylon                                   Isaiah 21:1-10

This prophecy foretells the fall of Babylon by the Medes and Elamites under
Cyrus before Babylon has even risen to power. The invasion and takeover happens
quickly. Evidently traitors in Babylon helped the cause of the Medes. [According to Daniel 5, Daniel did not respect Belshazzar and most likely there were many others.] Isaiah’s
vision caused him great pain and fear. The people were going about their business
as normal, eating and drinking, and suddenly everything changes.

Isaiah is told to post a lookout and wait to receive word on what this vision
means. The message arrives; Babylon has fallen together with all their idols.
This not only affects the Babylonians but also the Israelites [Judah] who were
living in Babylon during the exile. Isaiah’s pain and fear is probably due to
the fact that he realizes Judah will be subject to the Babylonians in the future.

God is a jealous God. He dislikes false religions and idolatry. He uses godless
nations to punish nations whose worship of Him in waning. But sooner or later
He judges and destroys the godless. God is patient, kind, loving and merciful
but He is also just. We must learn from the deeds and misdeeds of Israel and
make sure we, as a nation and as individuals, do not fall into the same traps.
As Christians, we have an awesome responsibility as citizens to encourage others
with God’s love and to warn others of God’s justice. Our survival as a nation
is in His hand.

Prophecies Concerning Edom                                     Isaiah 21:11-12

Seir is a synonym for Edom, a people who are descendents of Esau. They have
never had a strong influence with the nations around them but from time to time
have been a thorn in Judah’s side. More often than not, they have been subject
to others. Here the watchman proclaims that morning is near [freedom] but that
night [subjection to another] is also near. Their life continues to have ups
and downs.

Prophecies Concerning Arabia                                        Isaiah 21:13-16

This simple prophecy foretells the destruction of those tribes in Arabia.
The Assyrians did attack in 732 BC and so did the Babylonians at a later date.
God’s pattern seems to be that of raising up a powerful nation for the purposes
of:

  1. Destroying a wicked and stubborn people.
  2. Punishing those who place their faith in idols and/or oppress the poor and
    needy.
  3. Warning others to repent and seek Him.

God’s justice always begins with love and mercy, advancing to punishment/discipline,
and finally destruction. That was true in Isaiah’s time and it is true today.
It begs the question of what the role of the United States is to be at this
time in history. It will be made clear only when we bow humbly in prayer before
His Throne to seek His Divine Wisdom and Purpose. Are we willing to do that
or do we prefer to seek the advice of others? We need to make a choice, the
right choice.

Prophecies Concerning Two Cities                             Isaiah 22:1-23:18

Jerusalem                                                                            Isaiah 22:1-25

There are many different views expressed by scholars with respect to this
chapter. Most believe this chapter can be divided into two parts; verses1-14
and verses 15-25. Some believe the first section has to do with Sennacherib’s
siege during the reign of King Hezekiah pointing out verses 1-2 and the preparations
made inverses 9-12. Others believe it represents a vision of the Babylonian
siege pointing out verse 3, the escape of King Zedekiah, and verse 6, the allies
of Babylonia. Certainly the first fourteen verses are less than clear. Personally,
I favor verses 1-14 as representing both Assyrian and Babylonian sieges for
all the reasons listed above. When a city is under siege, many of the same attitudes
and preparations are the same. Jerusalem takes pride in their preparations,
so much so that they party instead of humbling themselves and calling on God.
God is no longer their God and, therefore, there is no possible atoning for
their sin. Destruction is eminent.

Most believe verses 15-25 represent more of a forth-telling than a fore-telling
prophecy. There is no question about the specifics of verse 15-25 when comparing
that section to Isaiah 36. It represents a present situation in King Hezekiah’s
reign. One of the king’s stewards [some believe he is an Egyptian] is building
his own tomb in preparation of dying. By doing so, he is expressing no faith
in the king or in the King of Kings. He is found out, exposed. According to
Isaiah 36:3, Shebna was demoted before being tossed out completely. Eliakim
reestablishes order, discipline, and trust. Security in the palace is reestablished.
He is honest and not subject to bribes. But such integrity will not last forever.
His successors revert back to dishonest activities and Judah/Jerusalem will
be destroyed shortly thereafter.

Their destruction comes internally before it comes externally. This is an important
point to remember. The same is true for individuals and for nations. When we
no longer revere God and His Word to guide our behavior, we revert to dishonesty,
deceit, and lies. Destruction comes to our soul before it comes to our bodies.
Therefore, we must guard our hearts [individually and corporately] to remain
faithful to the Lord God and His Purpose. Pride, not humility, breeds evil.
God destroys the proud and exalts the humble. Let us choose to humble ourselves
before God and see His Wisdom.

Tyre                                                                               Isaiah 23:1-18

This prophecy foretells the destruction of Tyre. All its’ houses and, most
important, its’ harbor will be destroyed. Tyre was the shipping and commerce
capital of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a shipping hub and supply center. There
is great anguish because commerce is stilled. The hub of all trade and transactions
is gone. The rich merchants of Tyre are no more. Kingdoms tremble and are confused
as how to reestablish commerce among the nations. The city itself is under siege
and being looted by Assyria [most likely Sennacherib around 700 BC].

It will be 70 years before Tyre is rebuilt and ready for business [approximately
630 BC]. When it is reestablished, business will be done fairly and honestly
for the benefit of all. Prior to their destruction, they had a monopoly and
were taking advantage of other nations.

The Lord’s Purpose                                                              Isaiah 24:1-27:13

The Lord Reigns                                                                   Isaiah 24:1-23

Regardless of what you think or in whom you believe, God has the final say
in all matters concerning His creation. His plan is to destroy all creation
as we know and understand it. Why create it and then destroy it? Because…..
the glory of His creation, man, has turned his back on God, his Creator [vs.
5]. The characteristic of man during the 7th century BC will end up dominating
the whole earth except for a remnant of His People [vs. 6]. It won’t make any
difference as to your position, power, or your wealth, God has promised to destroy
the earth and sin. His earth is in ruins, the people are suffering, water and
food are scarce, global warming happens, mountains disappear, the landscape
changes, commerce dies, and THE LORD IS COMING. When His People see Him they
shout Halleluiah and praise His Name [vs. 14-16]. Verses 1-20 seem to describe
generally the Bowl Judgments of Rev. 15-16. The Lord returns to rule in verses14-16
[Rev. 19]. The binding of Satan and his followers happens in verses 21-22 [Rev.
20:1-3]. The Lord reigns in verse 23 [Rev. 20:4-6]. After the Lord reigns on
earth, the earth is cast away [vs. 18-19] and the Lord Reigns forever more in
a new heaven and a new earth [Rev. 21:1-22:6]. The curse of sin and Satan on
God’s Creation has been destroyed forever. We who trust God, the Lord Jesus
Christ as our Savior and Lord, reign with Him forever. Praise His Holy Name.

The Lord’s first purpose then is to destroy sin and all associated with it
and reign as King of Kings. In Isaiah’s time, God raised up Assyria as His “instrument
of cleansing”. In that day [the last day], God will accomplish His cleansing
with His Word and His army of saints and angels.

The Lord Saves                                                      Isaiah 25:1-12

This is a song of praise in three stanzas emphasizing the Lord’s salvation.
It is general, not specific, and filled with metaphors. The first stanza is
from verses 1-5, the second stanza from verses 6-8, and the third stanza is
from verses 9-12. It appears that Isaiah was reviewing what he had prophesied
and breaks out in praise to God.

Salvation Planned and Prepared                                          Is. 25:1-5

God is praised by Isaiah because He is faithful and has done marvelous things
which were planned long ago.
These marvelous things include our salvation [Gen.
3:15], saving Noah, God’s Covenant with Abraham, Israel’s exodus, Israel as
God’s people, and the judgment of the wicked nations prophesied by Isaiah. God’s
judgment on the nations/cities will cause many to seek the Lord. God’s salvation
is a refuge to the poor [humble] and needy, those who acknowledge their need
for a Savior. They are protected from the ruthless, the wicked and the ungodly.

Salvation Presented                                         Is. 25:6-8

This stanza reminds one of the wedding banquet in heaven or the sacrifice
of Jesus on the cross for our sin [my preference]. The banquet in Jerusalem
[mountain] is Christ’ body [bread] and Christ’s blood [wine] for our sin. His
sacrifice is for all sin and victory over death. Faith in God, in Jesus Christ,
removes our sin. Salvation is presented on the cross for all to accept or reject.

Salvation Fulfilled                                                    Is. 25:9-12

Now that Christ has been presented as our Savior and we have trusted in Him,
we are filled with joy and gladness. Christ is with us protecting us from evil
[Moab]. The proud will be destroyed. We are saved from our sin and we are saved
from sinners.
Therefore, let us praise God for His faithfulness and marvelous
works.

The Lord Promises                                                                                Isaiah 26:1-27:13

I look at chapters 26 and 27 as being one song of praise containing God’s
promises to those who put their trust in Him. Isaiah exhorts the believing Israelites
to praise God for all He provides and all He promises; HOPE for today and HOPE
for tomorrow. Consider the following list given in this portion of Scripture.

From Chapter 26:

  • Salvation [vs. 1]
  • Safe haven [vs. 2]
  • Peace [vs. 3, 12]
  • Stability [vs. 4]
  • Justice [vs. 5, 6]
  • Reduced stress [vs. 7]
  • One worthy of worship [vs. 8, 13]
  • Righteous judgment [vs. 9]
  • Grace [vs. 10]
  • Zeal for His people [vs. 11]
  • Glory for Israel [vs. 15]
  • Discipline [vs. 16]
  • Resurrection power [vs.19]
  • Protection from His wrath [vs. 20]
  • Punishment for sin [vs. 21]

From Chapter 27:

  • Slaying of Satan [vs.1-2]
  • Protection for God’s people [vs. 3]
  • An environment to glorify God’s Name [vs. 4-6]
  • Forgiveness of sin [vs. 8-9]
  • A call to worship [vs.12-13]

In summary, The Lord’s Purpose is to assure all who place their trust in Him
that The Lord Reigns, that The Lord Saves, and that the Lord Promises to provide
for us and to give us HOPE.

Praise His Holy Name.

Five Woes Pronounced                                       Isaiah 28:1-35:13

Woe to Ephraim                             Isaiah 28:1-29

This “woe” is actually only verses 1-13. The remaining verses are
directed toward those residing in Judah and Jerusalem advising them that if
they don’t change, the Lord will punish them in the same manner as He will punish
Israel, the northern kingdom. Verses 16-19 tells of “the way of salvation”.
So in this chapter we have the pronouncement of judgment against Ephraim, a
warning to Judah, and the means to God’s grace and mercy.

This chapter begins by focusing on Samaria, the capital of Israel [“wreath”].
It has the potential of greatness and prosperity but it is dying. In fact, a
storm [Assyria] is brewing that will destroy it. Restoration will come but not
until the day of the Lord [vs. 5-6] when they accept God as their Lord and King.
Ephraim’s rulers and leaders are a disgrace, drunk with wine and drunk with
their own power. They are making bad decisions and enacting unacceptable rules
and regulations. [This sounds much like the United States today.] Therefore,
God will bring foreign people into their life who will impose upon them their
own rules and regulations. In other words, since Israel is going to ignore My
[God’s] laws and set up their own laws, I [God] will put foreigners over you
with their laws. If Israel believes they are suffering now, just wait and you
will really know what suffering is like.

Verse 14 is a warning to Judah. Judah’s leaders are arrogant. They believe
they are in God’s favor more than Israel and, therefore, will be protected because
of the treaties they have made with rising powers [Assyria]. They are depending
on treaties and not on God. There is little difference between Israel and Judah
in the eyes of God.

Verses 16-19 talk about the key to their salvation. It is in the form of a
cornerstone. This is the Temple wherein the Lord resides. This is God’s Law
which shows their need for a Savior. This is none other than their Messiah,
Jesus Christ. God’s Laws tells of His justice and righteousness. God’s Son reveals
God’s justice and righteousness to them and to us. Judah’s dependence on treaties
and their own wisdom will not prevent God’s “storms”. Their salvation
rests in trusting God and His righteousness. Those who place their trust in
God will be spared as individuals but are still subject to God’s punishment
as a nation. We, as Christians, will be saved because we have placed our trust
in Jesus Christ but that does not mean we will be spared from God’s disciplinary
acts aimed at redeeming His people. Therefore, we have an awesome responsibility,
just as Isaiah did, to tell others the way to eternal life.

Isaiah picks up his warning theme again in verse 22. Unless they stop mocking,
Judah will receive the same punishment as Israel. God’s purpose for all Israel
is clear. He prepared their land and planted them in it. God has instructed
them through His law and prophets on how to live such that they are fruitful
and bring glory to His Name. Through His wisdom and counsel, God will bring
a bountiful harvest. But allowing sin to enter [the thorns and briars] God is
forced to discipline us so He can start over with a remnant of faith. That too
is God’s wisdom and counsel.

Three Woes for Jerusalem and Judah                                       Isaiah 29:1-31:9

Woe #1                                                      Is. 29:1-24

Isaiah prophecies that those in Jerusalem may continue with their religious
festivals but it will not change the Lord’s decision to place the city under
siege. Jerusalem is to be quieted which means no people and no more influence.
The first “woe” covers only verses 1-4 and Isaiah continues on with
a message of hope beginning with verse 5.

Jerusalem’s [Judah’s] enemies will suddenly disappear because the Lord has
come to their rescue. This can refer to Sennacherib’s quick disposal from trying
to capture Jerusalem but it also seems very obvious that this “woe”
and ultimate salvation refers to Armageddon and the Lord’s Second Advent [Rev.
16:16-19:21]. Prior to this great event, Jerusalem will be more or less oblivious
as to what is happening. Many will have fled to the mountains. They do not understand
or comprehend the evil against them nor the salvation that awaits them. In fact,
even though Israel’s prophets speak of these great events, they are more of
less sealed from them [vs. 10-12]. This is very similar to Daniels visions.

Verse 13 seems to revert back to present day Judah where the Lord says to
them through Isaiah that Judah is going through the motions of worship but their
hearts are not in it. They are following their own rules of worship and ignoring
God’s ordinances for true worship. Obedient and humble hearts are required for
true worship. God has shown them wonders yet they can’t see God in their wisdom
and intellect [vs. 14]. The concept of a sovereign God is foreign to them. They
refuse to acknowledge God as the Creator [vs. 16].

Verse 17 is a metaphor of transition. The forests of Lebanon become fields
but they return to being a forest. So it will be with Judah. They will become
barren [Babylonian exile] but will return and rebuild. Upon returning, they
will hear God’s Word [Ezra], humbling themselves, and rejoicing in true worship
to their Lord God. Their captors, Babylonia, will also disappear. A holy humble
remnant will return from captivity to worship God in truth once again [vs. 22-24].

Stop and consider your own worship of the Lord. Is it habit? Is its’ content
based on your comfort level? Or is your worship from the heart; humbling, honoring,
and in tune with His Spirit and His Word. Access your personal worship against
God’s Word verifying that it is pleasing to Him. Ask His forgiveness and Praise
Him.

Woe #2                                                              Is. 30:1-33

This second “woe” is discussed in verses 1-12. The Lord calls Judah
obstinate because they have sent envoys down to Egypt [vs. 2] with some of their
wealth [vs. 6] to seek help against the Assyrian attacks. But the Lord through
Isaiah is telling them that Egypt is useless and is not capable of helping them
[so does Sennacherib in Is. 36-37]. God not only calls them obstinate but also
rebellious, deceitful, and unwilling to listen to Him. In fact, they openly
campaign against Isaiah and other of God’s prophets to the extent that they
are confronting God. This, no doubt, happened early in Hezekiah’s reign and
these advisors were most likely appointed by King Ahaz. I say this because Ahaz
was known as an evil king and Hezekiah was a king who followed God. Perhaps
they even went down to Egypt in defiance of Hezekiah’s wishes. In other words,
perhaps they deceived Hezekiah by saying they would go down on an exploratory
mission [speculation].

This sin of depending on other nations instead of depending on the Lord will
be Judah’s downfall. Their defenses and security will be weakened and eventually
collapse [vs. 12-14]. This came about with the Babylonian invasion and exile
of Judah.

God, in His mercy, explains how they can avoid destruction in verse 15-18.
Their salvation then and in the future lies in their willingness to repent and
trust God. He is a God of grace and compassion. But He is also a God of justice.
God desires to bless His people even though they say “no”.

Verses 19-33 reflect the vision God has for His people. It was partially fulfilled
when God destroyed the Assyrian army outside Jerusalem and it will be completely
fulfilled when the Lord returns [Second Advent]. When people cry out to God
for help, their cry of unhappiness will change to a cry of joy. When one listens
to God’s voice, obeys Him, and destroys one’s idols, the Lord blesses His people
with rain, food, peace, sunshine, and with physical and spiritual healing. Obedience
to God’s voice guarantees us an abundant life filled with love, fellowship,
contentment, security, assurance, and hope.

God blesses those who call on Him and sends His wrath on those who reject
Him [vs. 27-33]. These verses can represent the destruction of the Assyrian
army [vs. 31] but more so the destruction of the armies poised against Israel
at Armageddon. God is telling us and promising us that He is sovereign and will
ultimately be victorious over and destroy all those who oppose Him. His message
is clear. Listen to God. Obey His statutes. Repent of your sin. Depend on Him.
God honors those who honor Him and destroys those who refuse Him. He is God.
He is righteous and holy. God is just. Judah has a choice at this time in their
history. We have a choice today too. Choose to follow the Lord God. Repent,
destroy your idols, and receive His blessing which He so graciously wants to
give us.

Woe #3                                                                    Is. 31:1-32:20

This is either a continuation of Woe #2 or it represents another speech made
by Isaiah regarding the same problem, traveling to Egypt to seek the help of
their army to drive Assyria out of Judah. Judah is trusting in a large army
and failing to consult God, let alone trusting in God. God is ready and willing
to help [vs. 2] but He must be consulted. Judah needs more help than Egypt can
give. In fact, God warns Judah that if they depend on Egypt, both Egypt and
Judah will perish.

As in the previous two “woes”, God promises Judah to solve their
problems with Assyria if they will just depend on Him. God is not frightened
by Assyria [vs. 4] and He promises to shield and protect Jerusalem [vs. 5].
God continues to exhort Judah to reject their idols and return to Him as their
God, their protector, and their salvation. Assyria will fall too, by Babylonia
who will be authorized by God to destroy Assyria. The Lord resides in Jerusalem
in His Temple which is being purified and consecrated for worshiping the Lord.

Verses 6-9 could also refer to Armageddon if one assumes Assyria is a metaphor
for the army of many nations. However, Babylon would be a better metaphor so
it is more likely referring to Babylon conquering Assyria in 614-605 BC.

I have chosen to continue on and consider all of Chapter 32 as being a Message
of Hope
associated with “woe #3”. Messages of Hope are important when
presenting bad news or warnings for people and Isaiah includes them quite often.
Verse 1 tells about a king who rules in righteousness and justice. Now King
Hezekiah was a righteous king and just the opposite of King Ahaz but this King
is Jesus Christ ruling during the Millennium. There will be rulers under Christ
who are just, providing shelter and protection for the people. It will be as
if these people live in an oasis in the desert. Israel’s eyes and ears are currently
closed to God but they will be open to hearing and seeing then. The tables are
reversed in the Millennium culture. Instead of fools believing in Christ, now
believers will be noble and unbelievers will be fools. Those who used to be
nobles will be labeled scoundrels for their wickedness and evil schemes. Righteousness
and justice reign and the poor and needy are no longer oppressed.

Verse 9 focuses on women. Again, I believe the women are a metaphor for the
Israelites [Judah]. In a year they will tremble and fear probably because of
Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah and challenge to Jerusalem. Their solution is
to humble themselves before God and repent. They are to turn from ignoring God
to depending on God.

Israel will not become what God intended it to be until they repent and God’s
Spirit is poured out on the people. Only then will God bless them with abundance.
Only then will they live under righteousness, justice, and peace. Only in the
Millennial Reign of Christ will Israel experience God’s Divine Plan for them.

Yes, there is HOPE for us for today and tomorrow. And it begins by humbly
repenting of our sin, placing our faith in Jesus Christ, depending on God, and
following Him by His Spirit.

Woe to Those Who Conquer                                                Isaiah 33:1-24

This “woe” references nations who destroy others and enter into
deceitful treaties. They are people who set out to conquer and oppress others
using the strength of their war machine and their political machinery. Their
purpose is to conquer and control using any and all means possible. They do
not practice honesty or have any integrity. Lies and deceit are considered available
weapons together with armaments. At the time of this writing, Isaiah was probably
focusing on Assyria. But such is true of all the great powers of the world.
[In fact this may be specific to the rule of Anti-Christ in Revelation 17.]
Once they have conquered all, their external sins become internal sins and they
fall from within. Sin is a habit and will destroy us if we do not address it.
That is true for nations and individuals. Once we are on top and achieved success
[however one defines it], pride and complacency sets in, we let down our guard,
and our practices come back to haunt us. So it is absolutely necessary that
we access all that we say and do to make sure we are acting according to the
will of our sovereign God. We must never ignore Him and ignore His Word but
continually humble ourselves and seek His forgiveness for our sin. Doing so
is a matter of life or death.

After stating this “woe” in verses 1-4, Isaiah goes onto explain
what I have said above. Verse 5 begins his prayer asking God to be gracious
to them and to be their strength. Isaiah longs for God and seeks His salvation.
He acknowledges God is sovereign over the nations [vs. 3-4]. God is the only
one capable of ruling with righteousness and justice. God is the cornerstone
of all truth, granting salvation, wisdom, and knowledge to all who seek Him
[vs. 6].

Verses 7-9 tell of existing conditions. People have fled, commerce has halted,
treaties have been broken [deceit], confidence has been lost, and occupied lands
are not longer fruitful. In modern day terms, the economy is in a recession
and the people are in a deep depression. Consider the similarity of this to
the first five Bowl Judgments of Revelation 15. This depicts existing conditions
and it depicts future conditions. The further we go into this chapter and the
next, the more similarities we see with the Lord’s Day of Wrath.

God has the solution because He is in control and has the power to change
things. People are fearful and are suffering greatly but God promises to bless
those who walk in righteousness, who do not practice deceit or extortion for
personal gain, and who hate evil.. God will protect them and provide for their
needs [vs. 16]. When people turn to God and practice His statutes, good things
happen [vs. 17-19]. Terror ceases, peace reigns, and the proud disappear [consider
the Millennium reign of Rev. 19].

Jerusalem will stand and be God’s abode. God will rule in might and power.
Verses 20-24 describe the conditions which exist when God is on the throne.
This is another glimpse of Christ’s millennial reign. The Lord is judge, the
Lord’s Law is followed, the Lord is King, all are healed, and Israel’s sins
are forgiven. Man, with his fallen sinful nature, is incapable of governing
in this manner. As individuals and as nations, we must place God on the throne
of our lives, in our minds, and in our hearts. In the end, the Lord will return
to fulfill His Promise and reign as King of Kings. Pray that the Day of the
Lord will come soon.

A Message to All Nations and Israel                                                   Isaiah 34:1-35:10

In many ways this section is a continuation of the previous section but I
have chosen to separate it because of its importance. Isaiah exhorts the nations
to listen closely because God is angry and is ready to pour out His wrath against
their armies. This is in direct reference to the Day of the Lord [see Rev. 14:14-20]
and Armageddon.

The stars and heavens will also disappear [Seal #6 of Rev. 6 and Trumpets
#1-4 of Rev. 8; Bowl Judgment #7 of Rev. 15:17-21; also Rev. 21:1].

Beginning with verse 5, Isaiah provides graphic details of the Lord’s vengeance
and His slaughter of those nations who oppose Israel, God’s Chosen People. Edom
is singled out as an example of the specific destruction. Basically, the land
will be valueless except as a resting place for animals and birds. All this
happens because the Lord’s Spirit rules. This is another of Isaiah’s descriptions
of Armageddon in Rev. 19:11-21.

The good news is that the Lord’s vengeance on the Nations [Chapter 35] brings
joy to Israel and those who trust God. The earth is no longer cursed [Gen 3:17]
but now is blessed [Gen 2:8-13] as it was in the beginning. The earth will contain
the glory of God. The hope of the redeemed is fulfilled in the Lord’s vengeance
upon sin and His coming again. God’s people will see and hear God for who He
is and raise their voices in praise to Him. Notice man’s healing that happens
in verse 6 and the earth’s healing that happens in verse 7 [compare to Rev.
21 concerning the new heaven and the new Jerusalem]. During Christ’s Millennial
Reign the “redeemed and ransomed of the Lord” will experience a little
bit of what heaven will be like. Peace and joy are abundant as is praise and
worship to God, the King of Kings.

God Proves He is Faithful                                              Isaiah 36:1-39:8

We are now halfway through Isaiah’s prophetic writings and speeches. Theses
four chapters represent a pause in prophecy for the purpose of recording history.
Theses four chapters are nearly identical word for word that written in I Kings
18:1-20:20 leading me to believe that Isaiah was the one who contributed first
hand this recorded history of King Hezekiah’s reign. This historical perspective
is also recorded in II Chronicles 32 but it is edited down. However, II Chronicles
31 tells of King Hezekiah’s purification and re-consecrating of the Lord’s Temple
in preparation for worshiping the Lord following King Ahaz’s wicked rule over
Judah. This gives support to the premise that II and II Kings was recorded by
God’s prophets whereas I and II Chronicles was recorded by the priesthood supposedly
after the exile. Nevertheless, this particular history of Judah is recorded
nearly word for word in three books of the Bible and is, therefore, very important.

So what makes it so important? True, it gives us a rare historical detail of
King Hezekiah’s reign. But more importantly, it proves God’s Faithfulness to
His Word.

God’s message through His prophet Isaiah in Chapters 1-35 can be summarized
as follows:

  1. God is disappointed in the rebellious and adulterous nature of Israel and
    Judah. Therefore, God will discipline His Children by raising up other nations
    to rule over them.
  2. God is focused on redeeming His people by leading them to repent of their
    sin and learning to depend on Him.
  3. God is asking Israel and Judah to make a choice between ignoring Him or worshipping
    Him. Ignoring Him leads to destruction. Worshipping Him leads to redemption
    and victory over their enemies.
  4. Ultimately God will destroy all people and nations who refuse to worship
    Him because He is the Creator God, the one and only Sovereign King of Kings.
    He is the only One capable of ruling in righteousness and with justice.
  5. God has promised to give them a sign, the Messiah, to make His Will known.
  6. God’s mercy will be greater than God’s discipline to those who place their
    trust in Him.
  7. God is a God of righteousness, justice, mercy, patience, love, redemption, and hope to all who seek Him and place their faith in Him.

These are not new truths. God has shown all this to Israel before during their
Exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land. The problem is Israel’s forgetfulness
during the period of the Exodus, the period of the Judges, and since Solomon’s
reign. The northern kingdom, Israel, has not only forgotten God but has totally
rejected Him. Therefore they have been destroyed by Assyria and exiled at this
point in history. Judah, the southern kingdom, is headed in the same direction
under King Ahaz. But there is hope because King Hezekiah is a godly King and
is listening to and being influenced by God’s prophet Isaiah.

This is a summary of Chapters 36-39 but you should read the detail written
in scripture.

  1. Sennacherib. The Assyrian king, has captured many of the fortified cities
    of Judah and threatening to take Jerusalem. [Chapter 36] This is God’s discipline
    for ignoring Him.
  2. King Hezekiah humbles himself realizing Judah has no power on their own
    to resist Sennacherib’s attacks [even with Egypt’s help] so he consults Isaiah
    for direction. [Is. 37:1-13] King Hezekiah and his leaders humble themselves
    before God and repent.
  3. King Hezekiah seeks God’s help and deliverance. [Is. 37:14-20] King Hezekiah
    place complete dependence and trust in God for their deliverance.
  4. God sends His message to the king through Isaiah promising redemption and
    providing it. [Is. 37:21-38] God redeems those who humble themselves before
    Him and depend on Him.
  5. God, through Isaiah, pronounces King Hezekiah’s death but also extends his
    life at Hezekiah’s request and gives him a special sign. [Is. 38:1-8] God gives
    hope to those who love Him and do His Will, sealing it with a sign.
  6. King Hezekiah offers a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God. [Is. 38:9-11]
    God is pleases with those who remember Him and place their trust in Him. Always
    remember to praise and worship God.
  7. King Hezekiah shows forth Judah’s wealth instead of Judah’s God to the Babylonian envoys. [Is. 39:1-8] Pride can and will always eventually overcome all the good we have done. Beware lest you fall too.

During the 1960’s many an article was published in newspapers citing the sign
that God gave Hezekiah of the sun retreating ten steps together with the sign
God gave Joshua of having the sun stand still for a whole day as having a significant
bearing on NASA’s calculations confirming orbits for space travel. I have a
cope of one of these articles in my New Bible Commentary. I do not doubt the
validity of these claims but neither have I ever seen the article validated
by NASA or other scientific journals. However, that would not be unusual knowing
that the majority of scientists refuse to accept the existence of God. Man’s
pride in his accomplishments is his greatest barrier to seeing and accepting
God. We easily succumb to the same sin as did Hezekiah.

Remember, God is Faithful and He proves it. He proved it to King Hezekiah;
He proved it to Isaiah; and He proves it to all who repent of their sin, seek
Him, and place their trust in Him. In so doing, God gives us a sign, the indwelling
of His Holy Spirit in our hearts, giving us the Hope of eternal life.

God’s Promises                                                              Isaiah 40:1-48:22

God’s Character Brings Comfort                                               Isaiah 40:1-31

God exhorts Isaiah and us to comfort one another. The question is “how
do we accomplish that task?” We accomplish it be remembering who God is;
remembering His Character. When Jesus was ready to die, He prepared His disciples
for His leaving by promising to send them the Comforter, His Holy Spirit [see
John 14:15-18]. Jesus was comforting His disciples in John 14 by reminding them
of who He was, that He would remain with them through he indwelling of the Holy
Spirit, and that He would return again. As Christ’s disciples, we are to do
the same as God’s directive to Isaiah. We are to bring comfort to others by
tenderly proclaiming who God is; proclaiming His Character. Note the following
characteristics presented in this chapter.

  1. God is the forgiver of sin. [vs.2] In granting forgiveness, God is merciful
    and full of grace.
  2. God will reveal Himself to us in person. [vs. 3-5] This is a prophetic proclamation.
    According to verses 4-5, this is fulfilled at Christ’s Second Advent. According
    to verse 3, this foretells the ministry of John the Baptist. Considering verse
    3-5 from a spiritual perspective, God is preparing to reveal Himself to us when
    we are in the “desert”, that is during the most difficult times of
    our life. He is able to lighten our burdens and smooth the way such that we
    see His Glory.
  3. God’s Word is eternal. [vs. 6-8] It is eternal and it is true. Man is mortal
    but God and His Word is immortal. What God says is true and will never change.
    One can stand on His Word with assurance.
  4. God is both a King and a Shepherd. [vs. 9-11] God is sovereign and has power
    over all things. This is another picture of His Millennial reign but it is also
    true today because He rules from heaven.
  5. God is Omniscient. [vs. 12-20] God has complete understanding of the universe.
    He is wise. No one has more knowledge than He. He is above all. He knows all
    and is all. He is the One and Only God. There are no other gods.
  6. God is Omnipotent. [vs. 21-24] God rules the heavens and the earth. He rules
    those who rule over us. He is in control over all things.
  7. God is Our Holy and Creator God. [vs. 25-27] No one but God has the power to create.

Verses 27-31 offer a summary of verses 1-26. They re-emphasize God’s eternal,
creative, ever-present [omnipresence], and wise character. God proclaims to
be our Encourager when we tire, become frustrated and discouraged, are weary
of life, or are ready to give up. God proclaims to be our Hope, renewing our
strength and giving us meaning and purpose in life. God is willing and wants
to recreate us
[born again] to be like Him and with Him. Yes, God is our Comforter!
Let’s not resist Him but:

Let God be our Comfort!

God Will Not Forsake Israel                                                                 Isaiah 41:1-29

According to the notes in the NIV Study Bible, much of this chapter relates
to Babylonia and Cyrus, the Medo-Persian King. This is also true for the next
few chapters. But again, the ultimate fulfillment lies in the future, the Day
of the Lord.

This chapter can be divided into four sections as follows:

  1. God is sovereign over all nations, including the rise of the Medes and Persians.
    [vs. 1-7]
  2. God’s chosen servant is Israel. [vs. 7-16]
  3. God blesses those who seek Him. [vs. 17-20]
  4. Only God knows the future. [vs. 21-29]

In verses 1-7 God calls the nations before Him to pronounce judgment against
them. God exercises judgment by handing over nations to one from the east [Medes
and Persians]. Even though those nations have bonded together to call on their
gods and to help one another, they can not stand against the nation God has
called into service for His purpose.

The subject of verses 8-16 is Israel. Israel is God’s special servant, chosen
by God. God promises to strengthen them, to make them an example of God’s power
and sovereignty, and to reveal God to others. They are not to fear but look
forward to their redemption. In their redemption, they will judge other nations
and rejoice in the glory of their God. Israel is under duress now [and in the
future exile too] but they will rise again with the Lord’s help.

The third section, verses 17-20, reveals the attitude required to be exalted.
It is an attitude of humility and seeking God. God will not forsake those who
seek Him. That’s His promise. In fact, God promises to bless those who seek
Him. His blessing is a testimony that He is God and is helping His people. It
is easy to take a section of scripture like this and think that if we humble
ourselves before the Lord that we will have all our wants and desires met, that
we will have no more enemies, and that we will possess health and great wealth.
Will we be blessed? Absolutely! But we also live in a “fallen world”
of sinful and ungodly people. They will always remain our enemy until the Lord
intervenes and reigns over all the earth while Satan and his followers are in
the abyss. God’s blessings are greater than health and wealth. They are joy,
hope, assurance, justice, righteousness, knowledge, understanding, and redemption.
Our blessing comes from our freedom and desire to proclaim God as our King without
fear. Our blessing comes from knowing Him, growing in Him, and glorifying Him.
Our blessing comes from serving Him.

This last section, verses 21-29, is a challenge to the nations to consult
their gods and tell the future. Idols can’t tell the future but God can and
does. God tells them of the Medo-Persian conquests by Cyrus who returned the
Israelites to their Promised Land and Jerusalem. We may suffer now as His children
but God is available and willing to help us and to redeem us to the New Jerusalem.
Unlike the exiled Israelites returning to Jerusalem having no one to greet them,
we will be received by the multitude of saints who preceded us. Our faith, like
theirs, is strengthened and matured by His hand of discipline such that we can be a
greater blessing to others.

God will not forsake Israel and God will not forsake those who place their
trust in Jesus Christ, His Son. Let us not forsake Him. Instead, let us humble
ourselves and call upon Him, rejoicing in our God and King because of His loving-kindness.

God is Sending His Servant                                                        Isaiah 42:1-25

Throughout this section on God’s Promises is the theme “servant”.
Israel is to be God’s servant in Chapter 41:8. Chapter 42 speaks of God’s servant,
His Son, the Messiah. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first part,
verses 1-9, foretells the servants’ work or purpose. The second part, verses
10-17, tells us how we should respond to His Servant. The third part, verses
18-25, acts as a warning for failing to respond correctly.

God announces His Servant, His chosen one, who will be sent with His Spirit
to proclaim justice. He comes as a servant, quietly going about the business
God has given Him. He will not come with a shout or to condemn [see John 3]
but He will come to show and encourage others to hear and see the Lord God,
His Father. The Servant is faithful to His Master, even to His own death on the
cross [justice] to pay the penalty for our sin. Nations and people are to recognize
and acknowledge God’s Servant and put their hope in Him. The Lord God declares
His Servant to be the Creator God who gives life and who gives eternal life.
His Servant is known as the Righteous One, guided according to God’s Will to
be a New Covenant to Israel and to all people. God’s Servant, His Son, will
open eyes so they and we can see God and be free of sin’s control over their
lives. The Lord glories in the work of His Servant and His New Covenant. The
Lord God is pleased to proclaim His acts of grace and mercy now.

The second part begins with an exhortation [much like we see in the Psalms]
to praise the Lord. This praise is all inclusive of animals, sea creatures,
nations, and all people, especially those living in close proximity to Judah.
Beginning with verse 13, Isaiah encourages praise to God for what He will do
in the future. God’s Servant comes quietly in verses 1-9. Now God arrives on
the scene in power as a warrior who triumphs over His enemies. This happens
at Christ’s Second Advent. God has been taking a low profile since the Exodus
but now He is going to take a more active part and noticeable part. He will
exercise His right to judge and lead His people in a different direction; from
darkness to light, from law into grace, from slavery into freedom, and from
sin into righteousness. God is not forsaking them. He promised not to forsake
them in Chapter 41. But those who refuse to follow God and His New Covenant
revealed through His Servant and Son, Jesus Christ, will no longer be considered
as His people.

This second section is followed up by a warning to Israel/Judah to wake up
from being blind and deaf to see and hear. God has been active in their lives
but they don’t recognize it or acknowledge and honor it. God had given Israel/Judah
His Law defining His righteousness but they have ignored it and they have ignored
God. In times of trouble, Israel/Judah refuse to even consult God. God wonders
if any of His people will ever listen or see. Their current situation of war
and violence against them is a result of God’s intervention and wrath. Israel
has been exiled and Judah will soon face the same discipline from God if they
don’t repent and learn to depend on Him.

The application of this chapter is personal. Our Savior, God’s Servant, has
come and died for our sin. We have knowledge of God’s New Covenant which is “believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive eternal life”. We are to praise Him
for this great gift and become God’s servants. We are to open our eyes and ears
to His Promises and depend on Him. God is disappointed with all who refuse to
hear and see like Israel and Judah are doing at this time in their history.
As a nation and as individuals we must not follow in the footsteps of Israel
and Judah. God wants all to be servants of His Servant and Son, the Lord Jesus
Christ. Praise God for the gift of His Servant to pay our debt for sin and lead
us into the path of his Righteousness and salvation.

God’s Promise of Redemption for Israel                                               Isaiah 43:1-20

“This is what the Lord says” is a common phrase used to introduce
a variety of subjects from Isaiah 42-45. In another sense, these Chapters contain
one interwoven subject. I have chosen to separate them only because there is
so much to cover.

The Lord is telling Israel/Judah that He created them, He has called them,
He has redeemed them, and He will redeem them. In one sense the Lord has been
involved in their past, is involved in their present, and plans are in place
to be directly involved in their future. Therefore, they need not fear even
when faced with upcoming trials and tribulations because the Lord is their God
and Savior.

Israel/Judah is to take note. God is going to allow other nations to be weakened
or conquered enabling God’s children to come from earth’s corners and gather
in their Promised Land. God is promising them Divine protection because they
are precious and honored in His sight. Those who come are called by His Name
for His glory. Israel has a Divine purpose. Others who have yet to acknowledge
the Lord will also come. Israel’s coming together will be a miracle that no
one foresees. The coming together of Israel, Israel’s redemption, will prove
to all people that the Lord God of Israel is the one true God and Savior. God
is sovereign over His children.

More specifically beginning with verse 14, the Lord declares that the Babylonians
will be toppled. This is still 100-170 years in the future, a future that only
God can see. God redeemed them from Egypt in the past and will redeem them from
Babylon in the future. God’s plan is in place to humble them and then redeem
them so that they may fulfill His purpose for them, to Praise His Holy Name.

The Lord God is the Savior of all men. He is directly involved in our lives
and in nations to make men sit up and take notice that HE is GOD, He is in control,
and that He wants us to acknowledge Him before others. God’s purpose is to bring
good and bad things into our [Israel’s] lives such that we will glorify His
Name. Do not fear; do not be disheartened; and do not be bitter. They/we are
to trust, have hope, humble ourselves before God, and place our faith in His
redemptive power. God alone is able to save. God alone is Savior. What He is
promising Israel is available to all who call upon Him.

God’s Promise of Justice and Mercy                                        Isaiah 43:22-44:23

Israel has a problem. They have refused to call upon God and worship Him.
Instead they disobey God’s statutes and continually sin against God. Perhaps
these charges were laid upon Judah at the beginning of Manasseh’s reign, an
evil king, King Hezekiah’s son. Since God is unable to get Israel’s attention
or reason with them, He is promising to destroy them.

But there is hope [Is. 44:1]. God will help them. God will send His Spirit
upon their descendents and bless them. Their descendents will call upon the
Lord [perhaps this may even be a prophetic statement concerning the Church].
Thus, God promises His justice and mercy to His people.

The Lord begins proclaiming in verse 6 that He is King, Redeemer, and Lord
Almighty.
He is the eternal God and the only God. He controls the future. All
idolaters will be shamed and brought down. Israel is challenged to remember
this along with God’s previous promises of redemption. God’s justice will come.
But God’s mercy is also coming. Praise God for His Plan of Redemption.

God’s Promise Concerning Israel’s Future                                      Isaiah 44:24-45:7

The Creator God, our Redeemer, will disrupt and make fools of the false prophets
and those who claim to know the future. God’s Word through His prophets is true.
God predicts that Jerusalem will be uninhabited and Judah’s cities torn down.
He also predicts that they will be restored. God is also sovereign over nature
and He is sovereign over Cyrus who will give the word to rebuild Jerusalem and
the temple. God is sovereign over the right hand of Cyrus and, therefore, in
complete control of his throne and goes before him in the conquering of
nations. All this happens for a single purpose. It is God’s Will that Cyrus
knows that the God of Israel is the true God, the one and only God. In fact
Cyrus’ name is given now as proof to Israel, God’s servant, that the Lord is
the one and only God. God is to be known though-out the world of the Medes and
Persians as the Creator and as God over the blessings and curses of nature.

God’s Promise of Redemption to All                                                             Isaiah 45:8-25

There is a spiritual side/purpose of the Creator God too beginning with Isaiah
45:8. God wants to bring forth righteousness on the earth in a similar manner
to rain falling and grain materializing. The grain is salvation and it doesn’t
exist except for righteousness. The righteous acts of Cyrus will cause grain
[Israel] to grow, to be redeemed, such that all men will know Israel’s God is
the true God. [A Savior, Jesus Christ, will come to earth through His people
Israel.]

It is important that we not question God. We are to trust God and place our
faith in Him. God created the heavens and the earth. Surely God is able to raise
up Cyrus to accomplish His Will to rebuild Jerusalem and to free Israel in exile.
Surely He is able to redeem those who call Him Lord.

In the distant future, Israel’s enemies will bow down to them and acknowledge
the God of Israel. All idolaters will be shamed but Israel will be saved forever
[Is. 45:15-17]. This has not yet been fulfilled but will be during the Millennial
Reign of Christ. The Lord does not speak in vain but in truth. As a Righteous
Lord and Savior God, idolaters will be destroyed and those who call upon Him
[His servant Israel and His Church] will have everlasting life.
That is the
promise of the Lord God; the Righteous One; the God Who Redeems.

Isaiah 45:22-25 summarizes God’s message to Israel and all people. We are
to turn to the Lord for our salvation and eternal life.
Failure to do so leads
to shame and destruction. One day every knee will bow to the Creator God who
redeems His Children, whether we have placed our faith in God or follow idols.
God is patient. God is just. God is righteous. God is sovereign over all creation
including man. We must turn to God for our salvation today and worship Him in
truth.

God’s Warnings and Proclamations                                     Isaiah 46:1-58:14

Warning Against Idolatry                                                               Isaiah 46:1-13

Verses 1 and 2 could probably go with the previous section in that they reference
large Babylonian idols carried off into captivity. Most likely it is a picture
caused by Cyrus, the Medo-Persian ruler, who was to return Israel back to their
land. It also serves as a reminder of an idol’s ineffectiveness to protect and
care for those people who worship them. The size of the idol has no bearing
on its’ power. No power is “no power” regardless of size.

Israel/Judah is brought into the picture beginning with verse 3. Israel’s
God is fully responsible for caring and sustaining His people. God challenges
Israel to compare Him to other man-made gods and determine who the real God
is. The idols man makes [and those the Israelite’s make] can not move and can
not speak. They have less power and influence than the persons who made them.
God goes on to proclaim He knows the future and has told Israel what to expect.
His Word is true. God has not withheld anything from Israel. They just need
to listen and take heed instead of being stubborn.

God closes this chapter by telling Israel that His righteousness is close
by and with it comes salvation. This is a direct reference to the coming Messiah,
God’s Son, Jesus Christ who died for our sin that we might have life everlasting.

God through Isaiah is speaking to Israel regarding the first two of the Tem
Commandments given to Moses in Exodus 20. He is warning them because they are
placing their faith in man-made idols instead of the Creator God and Redeemer
who chose them as His special people. This same warning applies to us today.
We too should examine our hearts and determine the object of our faith. Is it
wealth, possessions, position, education, government, job, children, spouse
etc.? These are all good but are of this earth. Our faith must be directed to
the one true God who created all things and is sovereign over all things. Our
faith must be directed to the God who controls the future, who controls our
destiny, and who has the ability to bestow His righteousness on us and save
us. We are to trust God and not our man-made idols.

Warning Against Oppressors                                                            Isaiah 47:1-15

The Babylonians were great idolaters and the Lord’s vengeance will destroy
them. In so doing, their exploits will be exposed and they will be shamed. It
is Israel’s God, Our Redeemer, and Lord Almighty who is at the source of their
downfall because of the oppression they will be imposing upon the exiles of
Judah. Remember this is being written as prophecy and not history. The Babylonians
were proud people, believing their kingdom would last forever. They did not
think that Israel’s God would be aware of their mistreatment of His people and
turn His wrath upon Babylonia. But God foretells their destruction will take
but a single day [vs. 9]. Babylon is trusting in their wicked oppressive ways
and in their wisdom and knowledge. Therefore, God is sending them a disaster,
a calamity, a catastrophe of great magnitude. Although they consult their astrologers,
magic, and sorcerers, they have no power or prophetic ability to save Babylon.
They mislead and are powerless against the Lord God Almighty.

Warning Against Rebellious and Stubborn Hearts                        Isaiah 48:1-22

Judah is proud of who they are, God’s special tribe of God’s chosen people.
They worship God and call on Him by going through the motions but without involving
their hearts.

The Lord God foretold things concerning His people long ago [consider the
Abrahamic Covenant] and He has caused them to happen through His intervention
and actions. God knows the mind of His people, stubborn, so He foretells the
future for them so they can focus on His work and not on idols.

Now the Lord is going to reveal new things [vs. 6]. Even though they are rebels
and disobey God, He has decided to withhold His wrath and His praise. God does
this to accomplish His Will, that He will be acknowledged instead of defamed
and so that people will praise Him and give Him glory instead of worshipping
a false god[s].

God is eternal and God is the Creator. God has chosen an ally [Medes and Persians]
to discipline and punish Babylon. Isaiah has been chosen as God’s servant to
deliver this prophecy to Judah [vs. 16]. God proclaims his sovereignty over
His people. Their destiny could have been different [peace and righteousness]
if they had not been stubborn and rebellious against their Lord God. Their descendents
would have been greater instead of fewer [due to their forcasted exile to Babylon].

But in spite of their discipline, God promises to free them from Babylon and
return them to the Promised Land. Provisions have been made for their thirst
and their redemption; for their physical and spiritual needs. God will care
for His people and discipline His people in the same manner as He did during
their exodus from Egypt. Peace is not available to the wicked; only to the righteous.
Peace is available to those who call upon the Lord and love Him with all their
heart, soul, strength, and mind. That is the true worship for our worthy Lord
God Almighty, for our Redeemer and Creator God.

Proclamation for the Restoration of His Servant                                   Isaiah 49:1-26

Isaiah’s audience is the nations, all peoples, and not just Israel. The first
seven verses are intimate in tone and refer to Israel’s Messiah, God’s Son,
whose purpose will be to restore Israel to the glory of God. The Messiah is
in hiding but will be speaking the truth and judging the nations [vs. 2]. The
Messiah is God’s Servant, as is Israel, to reveal God to all people [vs. 3].
Verse 4 indicates Messiah’s failure to restore Israel, His death, and His resurrection
and return to the Father’s right hand. Verse 5 indicates that the Messiah will
be born naturally and will honor God the Father with His obedience. God is His
strength all the way to the cross. His ministry is to the Jews, Israel, but
He will also proclaim His truth to the gentiles [Roman Empire] so that all may
hear and understand God’s plan of salvation. Messiah is the Redeemer but He
will be ignored by Israel and later rule and be worshipped by all. Thus, we
have a glimpse of Christ’s first and second advents in Verses1-7.

The subject shifts in verse 8 from Messiah to Israel. Israel will again achieve
favor with their God. God will help them in the Day of Salvation [Messiah’s
Second advent] and Israel will be a witness of the Lord’s redemption to those
in darkness and captive to sin. God will provide for the people during the Millennium.
The Messiah will lead the people with His compassion. People will come from
all directions to worship Him. There will no longer be any physical or spiritual
obstacles hindering the worship of God.

With such a promise of Hope there is every reason to be joyful [vs. 13] for
this is a promise by the Lord God giving comfort and showing compassion. But
Israel fails to comprehend or understand what God is telling and promising them.
Israel believes God has forsaken them. They do not believe God’s Word through
Isaiah. God relates to Israel using the illustration of a mother to a child,
showing compassion to them, remembering them, protecting them, and displaying
them. Even though Israel will be desolated and their numbers become smaller
[vs. 19-20], their enemies will be removed and they will grow as a nation once
more. Gentile nations will come to Israel’s aid, protecting them, caring for
them, and enabling Israel’s descendents to multiply [vs. 22-23]. The nations
will eventually bow down to Israel [when Christ comes back to rule] and will
know that He is God.

The Lord continues in verses 24-26 to reinforce His commitment to redeem Israel.
Those last verses seem to foretell the destruction of Babylon and the release
of Israel by Cyrus [see Daniel 5].

The redemption and restoration of Israel as God’s servant will not be easy
nor will it happen quickly. God is directly involved through the sending of
His Son to die for our sin and then to reign over the earth. Israel will be
restored as God’s servant through the sending of God’s Servant and though the
gentiles executing God’s discipline and protection plans toward Israel. Remember,
what God is promising to Israel He promises to us as individuals. Let us not
be like Israel, refusing to listen to God’s promise and plan of redemption and
thinking God has forsaken us. God has not forsaken us. He has told us of His
Plan of Redemption. God is anxious for us to receive it and acknowledge that
He is the one and only Almighty God. Let us not be stubborn but receive His
Grace with humble hearts.

The Consequences of Sin and Obedience                                  Isaiah 50:1-11

Verses 1-3 are ironic in nature, tongue-in-cheek so to speak. God is speaking
to Judah and asking for information concerning divorce papers and/or creditors.
The meaning of “mother” is not clear. It could mean Israel, the northern
kingdom, who has already been exiled because of their sin. It could mean all
of Israel because God still sees them as one or it could mean Judah in anticipation
of what God has planned. All three are possible. I currently favor the later
interpretation and then consider the last half of verse 1 as a very personal
message to Judah’s leadership [kings and priests]. God knows their hearts and
knows the direction they are headed. God has already prepared and filed the
necessary papers. All He needs to do is execute them. According to verse 2,
God was available but no one even bothered to contact Him. It wasn’t a question
of God’s strength because He is sovereign over the universe. Judah is refusing
to acknowledge that God is interested in them and willing to help them. Judah
is ignoring God and His power.

Verses 4-11 seem to be a personal testimony from Isaiah. God is his instructor.
Isaiah has obeyed God and suffered for His sake because he spoke on God’s behalf.
Isaiah’s help is from the Lord and he knows God will vindicate him. His accusers
will soon disappear. Isaiah exhorts his accusers to follow him and trust in
God. Failure to heed this advice will result in torment.

Everyone has a crucial decision to make concerning life. We can choose to
live our way or we can choose to live in obedience to God. Placing our faith
in “self” results in everlasting torment. Placing our faith in God
enables us to live without fear of condemnation. “Self” may be a popular
position with the masses and faith in God usually results in some form of ridicule
or harassment. But one choice ends in torment and the other choice ends in heaven.
Choose to be like Isaiah and place your trust in God. He will help us today
and shower us with blessings in the tomorrow. The consequences of sin are eternal.
The consequences of obedience are temporary. The blessings of sin are temporary.
The blessings of obedience are eternal.
Remember God’s dealings with His people,
Israel, and choose wisely.

The Lord Comforts His Righteous People                                                         Isaiah 51:1-8

God recognizes that His people are adulterous and, as a nation, ignore Him.
Therefore, He has plans to discipline them to turn their hearts back toward
Him. God also recognizes that many of His people are righteous and in need of
comfort and assurance. That is what these first eight verses of Chapter 51 are
all about, comforting the righteous.

God first draws attention to himself. He is the one who chose them and made
them. He called Abraham and the righteous are his descendents. Because Abraham
believed God, trusted and obeyed God, he was counted as righteous [Gen. 15:6].
As a result, Abraham was blessed and became Israel. God continued to have compassion
on Israel and blessed her. Within Israel is joy, gladness, and thanksgiving
in the hearts of those who know God’s Law and proclaim His justice. God’s righteousness
and salvation are coming as is His justice. This [verse 5] refers to the coming
of Messiah, God’s Son. In the end, all things created will disappear but His
Righteousness does not fail to save and salvation is eternal. Therefore, those
who are righteous and trust in God are assured of eternal life. God created
Israel but His real people are those who are called righteous.

The Lord Disciplines and Delivers His People                                     Isaiah 51:9-23

God exhorts His people to wake-up and clothe themselves with strength; that
is a faith in God as they possessed in the past. God guided them out of Egypt
and He will guide them out of exile [His planned discipline]. He will give them
a song of joy and gladness and bring comfort to them. They are not to fear their
oppressors because God, The Creator God, will deal with them according to His
justice. God’s Words will be in their mouths because God is protecting His people.

Israel’s descendents/leaders have failed to pursue righteousness and, therefore,
brought ruin, destruction, famine, and war upon them. God has brought His wrath
and rebuke upon them and also removed His blessing. But God promises to remove
His cup of wrath from Israel and give it to the tormentors [Babylon].

The Lord Proclaims His Purpose for His people                                          Isaiah 52:1-12

The Lord exhorts those in Jerusalem to wake-up and clothe themselves in strength,
in beautiful garments of righteousness and justice. No longer will the unrighteous
people go in and out of Jerusalem. Israel [Church} will be free of oppression,
free of sin, and free of enemies. Israel has been exiled and experienced the
Lord’s discipline. They will experience redemption by the hand of God. Those
that ruled over them were ungodly. God used the ungodly nations to exercise
justice over the ungodly nations. God uses the Godly [His Son] to exercise His
justice over all men. This proclamation was partially fulfilled when Israel
returned to Jerusalem from Babylon but it is ultimately fulfilled when Jesus
Christ returns to reign. At that time Israel will know who Jesus is; who their
God is. Verse 7 can refer to Christ’s First or Second Advent or both. Since
mountains are mentioned, the reference focuses on Christ’s Second Advent, arriving
on the Mount of Olives announcing He has come to reign. Jerusalem will be fully
restored and the righteous awaiting His return will be comforted. Jesus Christ
will rule justly. All will see His arrival and know that He is God. Israel will
go out to the nations proclaiming God’s peace and salvation. They will go out
freely, protected by the Lord and proclaiming His Name above all names. Israel
will be restored to proclaim God’s purpose to all. The Lord is God. He is the
author of salvation. He created all things and is sovereign over all things.

The Lord’s redemption is for all men, Jew and gentile alike. We, who are clothed
in His Righteousness, are to wake-up and tell the good news of peace and salvation
through Christ Jesus and, thus, fulfill the purpose for which He created us.
He promises to protect us as we go out proclaiming Him, robed in His righteousness.
God says “Here I am” Indicating He goes with us. This exhortation
is similar to Jesus’ last commission in Matt. 28:18-20 where we go with His
authority and power proclaiming the good news knowing He is always with us.

Proclaiming the Messiah as God’s Sacrificial Lamb                                 Isaiah 52:13-53:12

This begins one of Isaiah’s most familiar and important proclamations concerning
the coming Messiah. Isaiah’s major theme seems to be the restoration and redemption
of Israel. One of God’s key milestones in their [and ours] redemption is His
plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son.

God’s Servant, His Son the Messiah, will act wisely in obedience to His Father’s
Will. As a result, Jesus will be raised up from the dead to heaven to occupy
His original place at the right hand of the Father. The suffering Jesus will
endure while on earth is unprecedented. He will be so disfigured from beatings
that He will not be recognizable. Because of His death and resurrection, the
nations and their leaders will not be the same. They will have to grapple to
understand how and why the death of one man could so influence and change the
world because of His resurrection and the Holy Spirit entering the hearts of
those who placed their faith in Him.

Chapter 52:13-15 describes the end of Jesus’ life on earth. Chapter 53 begins
with His arrival on earth. He was born and grew up as a young boy [“shoot”]
rooted in who He was, the Son of God, born of a nation spiritually dead. He
has no special distinction to separate Him from others. He was not necessarily
handsome nor did He possess a special charisma. He did have a message that caused
Him to be rejected and despised, eventually causing Him to suffer greatly. Many
even thought God despised Him because of the unfair and unjust treatment He
received from Israel’s spiritual leaders. But all this was part of God’s plan;
that He would die for our sin. We have peace because He paid the debt for our
sin, for all the sin of man, past, present, and future. Jesus was the ultimate,
final, and complete sacrifice atoning for all our sins. He became our sacrificial
Lamb of His own obedient will to God the Father. He suffered and died for us
because He was righteous and holy. He will also be resurrected and thereby,
justify those who believe on Him. [See my notes on John 17] Because of Christ’s
obedience unto death and His victory over death, God rewards Him with the right
to rule and judge over all creation. Therefore, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ,
is our assurance of redemption and salvation. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
and be saved. {Read Romans 10]

Proclaiming a New Jerusalem                               Isaiah 54:1-17

The introduction to this proclamation is difficult to comprehend. Paul quotes
it in Galatians 4:26-27. When considering the context, verse 1 seems to say
that there is reason for joy and singing because the Children of Promise are
many more than one would expect, just as the prophets of God were many more
than Elijah realized. These so called Children of Promise are the result of
the Messiah giving His life as a sacrifice for the sin of all men [Is. 53].

Beginning with verse 2, the people of God will continue to grow and expand.
This applies to Israel and the Church. The Lord God is the Almighty, the Holy
One, the Redeemer, and God over all the earth. These attributes are expressed
over and over in the last several chapters. We are not to forget who God is,
what He has done, and what He has promised. There will come a time when Israel
will not remember their enslavement in Egypt or their exile in Babylon. They
will not be focused on the past but on the present and future because the Lord
is their Redeemer. The Lord has compassion on them and watches over them. The
same is true with us as Christians, as His Church. We will no longer be slaves
of sin but servants of His love. God’s peace will be upon us.

Verses 9-11 raise questions because it promises that God will not rebuke Israel
again. What about the holocaust? Is God’s promise to all of Israel or only to
the redeemed of Israel? Was the holocaust from the hand of God or permitted
by God? If we are to be true to scripture, the holocaust was the result of sinful
men, not God. It does not reflect a change in God’s love, compassion, or peace
for His people. Whether one was a Jew or gentile believer, God showed His love,
compassion, and peace during this time of trial. We may not understand of comprehend
it but we believe it because God’s Word is Truth.

Verses 11-17 reveal a different era in the life of Jerusalem. It seems to
meld together the Millennial Jerusalem with the New Jerusalem of Revelation
21. Jerusalem has and will continue to have conflicts over who controls it.
But God is going to change that. He will protect it, beautify it, and make it
great. It will become a city of peace instead of a city of conflict. The Lord
will teach from His Holy City. Tyranny and terror will be a thing of the past.
Jerusalem will rule. Such is true during Christ’s Millennial Reign and in heaven
above [the New Jerusalem].

We who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and are counted as His righteous
servants will be saved and have “Jerusalem” as our heritage. It was
in Jerusalem where God the Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sin and was resurrected
to life. It is in Jerusalem where Christ will live and rule the earth. It is
in the New Jerusalem where the full glory of God will dwell. In Jerusalem, the
Lord first poured out His Holy Spirit on His disciples. As Christians, “Jerusalem”
lives in our hearts. What happened in Jerusalem is foundational to our faith.
What will happen in Jerusalem raises our hearts and voices in praise to God,
the Almighty One, the Holy One, our Redeemer. Praise God for loving us, for
having compassion on us, and for giving us peace. The God who redeems us promises
us a rich heritage and a life of peace. Praise His Holy Name!

Seek the Lord                                                                    Isaiah 55:1-13

In this passage I see Isaiah in Jerusalem standing on the south side of the
Temple steps offering free water and wine to pilgrims who have come to worship.
They are thirsty and have limited funds. Isaiah offers them free water and wine
so they can save their money for bread. He not only offers them drink for their
thirst but food for their souls [vs. 2-3] if they will listen to what he has
to say. Isaiah continues to proclaim their everlasting covenant made to David
that his descendents would remain on the throne. This is in reference to The
Messiah, the King of Kings, who will be a descendent of David. The Messiah will
be a loving King, a prophet and a king, who will attract people from all nations.
He, the Christ, has the ability and authority to change hearts and bring joy
and peace [“splendor”].

The heart of Isaiah’s message is to Seek the Lord. Acknowledge Him today.
Worship Him today. Allow the Lord to give you His mercy and pardon you from
sin. Do not be like the wicked and turn away. Instead come and worship the Lord,
the Holy One; God Almighty. Again, we are presented with a choice and are encouraged
to make the right choice. Seek the Lord and receive His mercy. He will satisfy
your thirst and feed your soul.

Isaiah goes on to explain the differences between God and man beginning with
verse 8. God’s thoughts are different than man’s thoughts. God’s ways are different
than man’s ways. God’s words are different than man’s words. God’s power is
different than man’s power.

The results of seeking the Lord and receiving His mercy and pardon are joy
and peace. As you leave the Temple after worshipping God you will sense all
creation singing and clapping in joyous praise to God.

  1. Instead of sadness, you will have joy.
  2. Instead of troubles, you will have opportunities.
  3. Instead of conflicts, you will have peace.
  4. Instead of hatred, you will be filled with love.
  5. Instead of feeling like a slave, you will be free.
  6. Instead of leaving condemned, you will be redeemed.
  7. Instead of facing destruction, you will be saved.
  8. Instead of dying, you will have eternal life.
  9. Instead of the unknown, you will be filled with faith and hope.

You will be God’s witness, filled with His “Splendor” praising God
to all who will listen. So Seek the Lord while He may be Found, worship Him
as Savior and Lord, receive His mercy and pardon, and go into the world rejoicing
and proclaiming His riches.

Salvation is Available to All Men                                                   Isaiah 56:1-8

As a body of believers, one of the most important things we must do is what
is right and just. If theses actions are not evident and true, what we say is
of no value. The Lord’s salvation and righteousness is soon to be revealed,
referencing the coming of God’s Son Jesus Christ. In the meantime, God’s people
are to practice what they preach, keeping the Sabbath and avoiding evil. They
are to love God and hate evil.

Foreigners are to be welcomed in the Lord. Salvation is not just for Israel.
Israel is special only because they have been chosen to do a special work for
God. All men are created equal and are to have equal access to God; to know
Him intimately and to serve Him faithfully. All gentiles, eunuchs, and foreigners,
regardless of their status and who seek the Lord, are welcome. They will be
given an everlasting name, their prayers and worship will be accepted, and their
service of love will be valued.

God’s will is that all may come to know Him and be saved [II Peter 3:9]. We
have no right to ignore or judge anyone to be unworthy. We have all sinned and
fallen short of God’s righteousness [Romans 3:9-12]. Isaiah’s words are the
Lord’s advice to all who claim to be His disciples. Do what is right and just.
Obey God’s Word and serve Him. Remove any and all barriers that prevent someone
from seeking the Lord and accepting His gift of salvation. All we say and do
is to be measured against the Lord’s benchmark of what is right and just.

A Warning for Those Unrighteous                                              Isaiah 56:9-57:13

God wishes to save all men but He can not and will not save those who refuse
to seek Him. God’s righteousness and justice can not and does not allow it.
Instead, the unrighteous will be destroyed [vs. 9].

First the Lord singles out Israel’s watchmen. The watchmen are the Scribes,
Pharisees, and Levites whose responsibility is to lead Israel in worshipping
God and instructing the nation according to God’s Word. According to verses
10-12, these watchmen do not even care about God and thus, are shirking their
responsibility. They are lazy and only think of themselves. They are selfish
individuals who do not take God’s Word seriously.

Sorcery, adultery, and prostitution are common practices among the people.
The righteous are forgotten, ignored, and not even missed. Those who are rebelling
against God are filled with lust, lie with their tongues, worship idols, and
even sacrifice their children to idols. They give of their wealth to Molech
instead of God. Whatever problems they face, they don’t feel the need to ask
God to help them. They don’t even fear God. They have forfeited their inheritance
from God. They may be born of a tribe of Israel but God does not consider them
His people. If and when they do cry out for help, God will not come to their
aid. They have made their choice, a wrong choice, and God refuses to hear an
unrepentant heart.

So beware. God is patient and God is merciful. But God’s people are those
who seek Him, humble themselves before Him, ask His forgiveness, worship only
Him, and who serve Him in love. God’s people are “white” not “black”,
righteous not unrighteous, holy, and pure. There is no “gray” in God’s
justice. Make the right choice and worship the Lord God with all your heart,
soul, mind, and strength having assurance of salvation and hope for the future.

The Lord Proclaims to Live in Humble Hearts                                    Isaiah 57:14-21

The Lord has just proclaimed His displeasure with the wicked and those who
are ignorant of Him. The Lord wants to move them [obstacles] out of the way
so people are free to seek Him without getting side-tracked by their false practices.
Our Lord begins by describing Himself as one who is eternal, who dwells in the
heavens, and who is holy. But our Lord also reveals He lives in the hearts and
minds of those who have humble and repentant hearts. Such a humble spirit turns
away God’s wrath and just punishment for sin and turns on God’s power to heal,
to instill wisdom, to provide comfort, and to grant them peace of mind and peace
in their souls. As a result, the person who humbles themselves before God sings
praise to God. The wicked have no peace whereas the righteous have much peace.
Once again, the choice is ours and it is clear. Humble yourself before God’s
throne and receive His blessing of PEACE forever.

A Proclamation Defining Genuine Worship                                        Isaiah 58:1-14

Condemning Inconsistent Practices                                    Is. 58:1-5

The Lord exhorts Isaiah to boldly point out Israel’s rebellious nature and
sin toward God. Israel is a people who practice what is acceptable to God and
even seem eager to know and please God on the Sabbath. But as soon as the Sabbath
is over [6PM] they question the value of worshipping God and begin exploiting
others and to quarrel and fight with one another. God sets aside one day for
resting in Him and worshipping Him. God also expects His people to act with
love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, patience, etc. every
day of the week. Failure to do so negates any value and blessing of worship.
Therefore, the Lord condemns this inconsistent and unfaithful practice of His
Law, His Word, His Way, and His Will.

This is directly applicable to each of us. Are we faithful on Sunday and unfaithful
Monday through Saturday? Would the people who know us on Sunday know us the
rest of the week? Do we adhere to a different standard Monday-Saturday than
what we profess on Sunday? God honors consistency and faithfulness. We must
ask God to search our hearts and our minds such that we become what He desires;
consistent and faithful to His Word and His Ways every day.

Right Worship Practice                                                     Is. 58:6-7

True and genuine worship is not what one does on the Sabbath or Sunday but
what one does in daily life which is consistent with what one proclaims on the
Sabbath or Sunday. We are to help the oppressed, do what is right and just,
share with those in need, and love our brothers. True and genuine worship is
to be practiced every day of the week. The testimony of our day of worship is
to be the same every day. We are to have a consistent and faithful testimony
that proclaims God’s love. Anything else is considered hypocritical and, therefore,
worthless to God. Seek the Lord, humble yourself before His throne, ask for
His forgiveness, and ask His help to be like Him. These steps are necessary
if one is to practice true, meaningful, and genuine worship to the Lord God
Almighty.

The Blessings of Right Worship                            Is. 58:8-14

The blessings of worshiping right are many.

  1. You will bring joy and hope to others. [vs.8, 10]
  2. Others will see your righteousness and the glory of the Lord. [vs. 8, 10]
  3. God will hear and answer your prayers. [vs. 9]
  4. God will guide you in wisdom and satisfy your needs. [vs. 11]
  5. You will be a blessing and help to others. [vs. 11]
  6. Teamwork will break forth through common goals for the common good. [vs.
    12]
  7. Your joy will be in the Lord and will be everlasting. [vs. 14]

Therefore, take heed and practice faithfulness in true and genuine worship
of the Lord God. You will be blessed and you will be a blessing to others. Praise
God!

In Conclusion                                                      Isaiah 59:1-66:24

God’s Plan of Redemption                                                    Isaiah 59:1-20

Acknowledge and Confess Your Sin                  Is. 59:1-15

The Lord is very willing to hear us and to save us but our sin has created
a large canyon between us and God. This canyon is so large that we can not see
His face nor can He hear us. The reason this canyon is so large is because we
have killed the innocent and the helpless. We have declared ourselves innocent
of theses crimes through rationalization and outright lies. Our actions are
neither just nor honest. Our thoughts are mischievous, deceptive, and wicked.
We have no concept of love, peace, or justice. Our paths are crooked instead
of straight. We spin everything to acknowledge what we do and say is right and
good. But it is opposite of and foreign to God’s Word and, therefore, sin against
God. In God’s sight we are dead, without life, and have no value in our present
state.

We desire justice and salvation but it is impossible for us to achieve such.
We desire to walk in the light and fellowship with Him [see I John 1] but don’t
know how. Instead we continue to sin against God, denying Him, turning away
from Him, and continue oppressing the needy and speaking lies. We are neither
truthful nor upright.

Therefore, the first step toward justice, righteousness, and salvation is
to step up to the edge of the canyon acknowledging and confessing our sin. God
didn’t create the canyon; we did by our sin. He didn’t move; we did. But it
is important to realize that we have neither the power nor the capability to
make that canyon smaller or disappear. It is there to stay. That canyon is the
result of man’s natural choice from the beginning; SIN.

God’s Mercy and Grace                              Is. 59:16-20

God realizes that only He has the power and the authority to intercede and
make salvation available to man by bridging the canyon of sin. God authorized
salvation with His right arm, The Messiah, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He is our
Redeemer. He alone is the only one who is righteous, who had the authority,
and who can bridge the canyon. He has the authority to grant salvation. He has
the obedient will to pay for our sin. He is coming to bring salvation to mankind.
He is the Redeemer who enters Jerusalem to die on the cross for our sin. We
who acknowledge the Lord God, Jesus Christ, as Savior receive His Spirit, His
Words, and His righteousness. We become His Children, the Children of God [Israel],
clothed in His righteousness, now and forever. We then pass from death unto
life, from darkness into light, from disobedience to obedience, and from hate
to love. [See I John 1:1-2:29]

God’s Glory is Revealed                                                             Isaiah 60:1-22

In His People “Israel”                             Is. 60:1-9

The Lord dwells with His people Israel. Sin and wickedness may be present
over the earth but God’s glory among His people are a witness and an attraction
calling others to come and see God at work in His people. [See my chart associated
with II Cor. 3:12-4:6] Nations and kings come. Believers come. The Lord’s people,
Israel, will receive wealth from other nations because they come giving honor
and praise to God.

God is in His temple, receiving believers who come to worship Him. The splendor
of Israel is a reality.

One can look at this passage metaphorically as the honor bestowed upon believers
when Christ returns. And that is true but Isaiah has prophesied much about the
redemption of Israel to God and for God referring to the Lord’s Millennial Reign
after defeating the nations who are bent on destroying Israel because they resisted
the leadership of the anti-Christ. Therefore, both interpretations are true
and valid. This chapter again focuses on Christ’s Millennial Reign upon His
return and Israel’s return to seeking the Lord, depending on Him, and worshiping
Him as Lord and King. It ends with heavenly glory.

Verse 8 is interesting. What does it mean? I am of the opinion it refers to
those saints who were “dead in Christ” and raised up to occupy their
“resurrection bodies” at the return of Christ to reign. These are
saints who have the ability to move about as Christ did after His resurrection.

In His Millennial Reign                          Is. 60:10-14

Jerusalem becomes the focal point for Israel [believers] and foreigners [unbelievers]
because the King of Kings is ruling the whole earth from His temple. All nations
are subject to Him. The leaders of other nations contribute labor and wealth
to rebuild Jerusalem and make it the true Capital of the World. Israel and other
believers will have positions of authority in the Lord’s earthy kingdom. Those
nations and people who refuse to honor the Lord will perish. But whether people
truly believe or not, all people will realize and acknowledge that the Lord
God is the Holy One, the King of Kings, and sovereign over all.

In Heaven                                                   Is. 60:15-22

When all is said and done, the people of God are His pride and joy. They become
His Bride and dwell with Him eternally. The people of God are special, knowing
that the Lord God is their Savior and Redeemer. They will inherit the riches
of God [see Eph. 1] and receive His righteousness and peace. Their dwelling
place is with God [see John 14 and Rev. 21]. The Lord provides the Light through
His Presence. The splendor of the Lord is fully revealed when we dwell with
Him in heaven in the New Jerusalem [Rev. 21:1-22:6].

God’s Plan for Israel’s Restoration                                               Isaiah 61:1-63:14

I found this section difficult to outline in that similar themes come and
go. This section, however, seems to be more specific to Israel as a nation chosen
in Abraham than the previous section on Redemption. I think the theme is more
about Restoration than Redemption but the two are very closely related.

Isaiah’s Commission                                        Is. 61:1-3

Theses verses define Isaiah’s commission by the Lord from a different perspective
than that of Isaiah 6. In Isaiah 6 he was to declare the Word of the Lord but
not to expect any miraculous change of heart in Israel. The Word of the Lord
is defined in more detail in Chapter 61. His commission still begins with the
Lord’s Spirit and anointing as in Chapter 6 but now specifically states to preach
the good new to the poor, care for the oppressed [brokenhearted], offer hope
to the hopeless [captives and prisoners], comfort those who mourn, provide for
those grieving, lift up the humble, and give Israel a reason to rejoice and
praise God instead of despairing.

Only one person can do all this and that is Israel’s Redeemer. Isaiah is to
proclaim the good news that God is preparing them to receive their Redeemer,
the Messiah, their Savior, Jesus Christ the Son of God. God is preparing us
to receive His Redeemer too. Seek the Lord God and rejoice in your hearts for
His revelation. The Children of God need not despair but Praise God for His
good news. Our Savior has come. Our Savior is coming again.

Israel’s Responsibility                             Is. 61:4-6

Israel is given responsibilities or tasks to aid in their restoration. First
they are to concentrate on rebuilding what has been lost or destroyed. Foreigners
will shepherd their flocks and tend their fields so they can concentrate on
rebuilding the Lord’s temple and Jerusalem’s walls. In other words, attention
to spiritual possessions is more important than material possessions. Priorities
toward spiritual matters will enable them to grow and become the priests and
ministers of the Lord as originally intended by God when He chose them.

The Lord’s Blessing                                                  Is. 61:7-11

Restoration as God’s children enables Israel to receive an inheritance from
God, their Father, to the same extent as a first born son. Israel will be honored
instead of despised; loved instead of cast out. They will possess joy in their
hearts and act justly. Therefore, the Lord rewards them with an everlasting
covenant and makes them a witness of the Lord’s goodness, mercy, love, grace,
and blessing.

This blessing is personal as well as national. Isaiah gives his personal testimony
in verses 10-11 describing the Lord’s blessing. Isaiah has received salvation
and righteousness from the Lord and his heart is bursting with joy and thanksgiving.
What God has done for Isaiah, God is waiting to do for others and for Israel.
The Lord brings joy to His children in the most difficult and troubled times.
What a blessing we have in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah’s Commitment                                                   Is. 62:1

Isaiah has been commissioned to preach the good news [Chapter 61] and now he commits to being bold and faithful in doing so. He is not quitting until he sees results. Retiring is not an option. The same is true for us as Christians. We do not and can not retire from preaching the good news. The life we live today goes on even after we die. It’s not so much “what we do” but “who we are” that lives on ministering in the Name of the Lord. Our legacy is important to God. We are to make sure our legacy preaches the good news to those who follow on.

Israel’s Righteousness                             Is. 62:2-3

One day the nations will look up to Israel and acknowledge their righteousness.
She will no longer be despised but called by a new name. What happens to Israel
upon her restoration also happens to us as individuals upon our restoration
with the Lord through believing in His Name [see Rev. 2:17].

This prophecy concerning Israel is yet to be fulfilled. I believe this is
fulfilled just prior to the 7th Trumpet and the Bowl judgments [God’s wrath]
of Revelation 15-16. The redemption of Israel prophesied by Isaiah is really
triggered by the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 and the 144,000 elders of Revelation
7 and 14.

Israel’s Restoration                               Is. 62:4-12

Israel is once again betrothed to God. Today Israel has broken off their engagement
by refusing to accept the Lord as their prophesied Messiah and Savior. But God
has not given up on Israel and looks forward anticipating the day they will
once again turn their hearts toward Him seeking forgiveness for their sin and
begin acknowledging His Son as their Lord and Savior. Only then can Israel be
redeemed and restored to their right relationship with God. This has taken place
in verses 4-12 and gives us another picture of Israel during Christ’s Millennial
Reign. It also gives us a picture of the Church [Israeli and Gentile believers]
anticipating heavens marriage feast [Rev. 19:9]. Scripture continually and consistently
use earthly examples to describe heavenly events so we can better understand
and comprehend the Lord’s work.

Jerusalem rises to prominence once again. Israel and Jerusalem are protected
by the Lord. He has come again to rule with His Holy People, to redeem them,
and to fellowship with them for all eternity. He is the bridegroom and we believers
are His bride. Never again will our sin separate us from Him. Hallelujah! Praise
His Name!

The Lord’s Wrath                                         Is. 63:1-6

One must read Revelation 19:11-21 together with this passage because they
are similar. The Isaiah passage is poetic. The Revelation passage is prose.
Both tell of God’s intervention at Armageddon upon destroying the anti-Christ’s
system of government in order to fully restore Israel and set up His own righteous
and just government. There is no need to elaborate further. Just read and know
that the Lord God is victorious and sovereign over all things. He is the King
of Kings.

Isaiah’s Commitment Restated                   Is. 63:7

Isaiah simply takes this opportunity to restate his commitment to which God
appointed and anointed him to do.

The Lord is good.
The Lord is kind.
The Lord is to be praised.
And
The Lord is compassionate.

The Lord’s Faithfulness                                      Is. 63:8-14

Above all, the Lord is love. He became our Savior, dying for our sin. He is
grieved by our disobedience. But He graciously loves us, is merciful to us,
and redeems us. What God has done in the past for Israel, He does for each one
of us. As we seek God and ask His forgiveness, He forgives our sin, cleanses
us from unrighteousness, indwells us with His Holy Spirit, gives us the power
to resist temptation and to sustain us, and welcomes us in to rest with Him.
Glory to God for His Faithfulness.

Isaiah’s Confessional Prayer                                                             Isaiah 63:15-64:12

Different Bibles divide Chapters 63 and 64 differently but all use “prayer”
as a theme for Chapter 64. I think Isaiah’s prayer starts at Chapter 63:15 in
that it reminds me of the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer ‘Our Father who art
in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth
as it is in heaven.” In verse 15, Isaiah acknowledges that God is in heaven
on His throne in holiness and glory. Isaiah requests that God’s kingdom come
because right now he is not aware of God revealing Himself with zeal, power,
love, and compassion. Such is happening in heaven but not on earth because Israel
has abandoned the ways of Abraham and Jacob. In fact, Israel is wandering away
from God just as Israel did in the desert during the time of Moses and their
Exodus from Egypt. Verse 18, according to some scholars, is prophetic of the
Babylonian capture of Jerusalem. I prefer to think of it in the present referring
to King Ahaz and King Hezekiah taking gold from the temple to make treaties
with the Assyrians. The tribute paid to Assyria essentially trampled the temple
and its’ treasures. Israel has been the Lord’s chosen people for many hundreds
of years but the years Israel has called God their Lord, sought Him, and obeyed
Him are clearly in the minority instead of the majority. Verses 15-19 of Chapter
63 are in many ways a confession of Isaiah’s heart for the sin of Israel.

Isaiah continues in Chapter 64 to ask for God’s Kingdom to come to earth.
This call for the Kingdom can be either to enter the hearts of Israel or a call
to come as King [Second Advent]. Isaiah is asking God to intervene in the same
miraculous way He intervened at Mt. Sinai in giving His Law [vs. 3]. Verses
4-5 seem to recall the reflected glory of God in Moses face after He talked
with God on Mt. Sinai. Israel’s sin is no different than when the Israelites
made the golden calf [vs. 6]. Their present sin shows just as it did at Kadesh
Barnea when Israel was left to wander in the desert because they did not have
faith in God to let them enter their Promised Land [vs. 7]. But even then, God
was the potter and they were the clay while they wandered in the desert. Their
desert experience was not pleasant but it was purifying and sanctifying. God
is angry with Israel and will turn them over in exile to the Babylonians. Isaiah
prays [vs. 9] that their punishment, which is just, will not be greater than
they can bear but serve the purpose of purifying them and sanctifying them to
become God’s people again. Once again Isaiah refers to the desolation of the
one edifice reminding them of God, the temple [vs. 11]. Perhaps verses 10-12
look more to the future Babylonian invasion than the present. Isaiah asks God
to deliver His people just as Christ prayed that we should be “delivered
from evil for thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory; Amen!” Isaiah’s
prayer is one that acknowledges who God is, confesses their sin, asks God to
intervene and grant them mercy, and asks God to become their God once again.
This should be the heart of all our prayers to God too. It is one prayer He
definitely hears and will answer.

The Lord Answers Isaiah’s Prayer                                                              Isaiah 65:1-25

A Picture of Israel                                              Is. 65:1-12

God acknowledges Isaiah’s prayer outlining His reasons for His righteous judgment
against Israel. God has revealed Himself to Israel and called out to them but
they have ignored Him to the point of being obstinate toward Him. They much
prefer to do as they please; pursuing evil instead of good, worshipping idols,
disobeying His Laws, and believing they are better than God. Therefore, they
deserve what is coming to them, the full punishment of God. And it began with
the Assyrian exile of the northern kingdom, Israel, and will continue with the
exile of the southern kingdom, Judah, to Babylon.

But God, in His mercy, will preserve a remnant who will return to inhabit
Jerusalem and Judah [vs. 8-10]. Those who continue to reject God and continue
to disobey Him and follow their own evil ways will be destroyed. God is just
in destroying all who refuse to seek Him, who refuse to acknowledge their sin
and ask His forgiveness, and who refuse to obey His Word.

A Picture of His Church                                     Is. 65:13-16

This passage describes the differences between the Lord’s servants and those
who refuse or ignore Him. His true servants mentioned here could and does refer
to the “remnant” promised in verses 8-10 but I believe it goes beyond
that to include all true servants, namely those who believe in His Name, Jesus,
God Incarnate. This is His Church, made up of both Jew and Gentile believers.
This interpretation makes even more sense when we look at the next picture describing
Heaven. Note the comparisons:

True Servants will: False Servants will:
EatDrinkBe joyfulSing

Have a new name

Be Blessed and Forgiven

Be hungryBe thirstyBe shamedCry

Be cursed and die

Go back and read Isaiah 41, 42, 42, 49, and 53. Note my comments concerning
true servants and the True Servant. True servants are a common term used by
Isaiah to define God’s people.

A Picture of Heaven                                           Is. 65:17-25

This same theme was proclaimed in Isaiah 54 following Isaiah 53 concerning
the True Servant of God. There is no doubt about it, a New Heaven and a New
Earth is coming to replace our present heaven and earth. In it will be a New
Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is greater than the current Jerusalem because joy
abounds. It is an eternal Kingdom where mourning has vanished and blessings
are many and everywhere. Fellowship with God is intimate [vs. 24] and peace
is the norm [vs. 25]. What a wonderful place God is preparing for those who
place their trust in Him.

The Lord’s Final Proclamation through Isaiah                                          Isaiah 66:1-24

In many ways this summarizes the message God gave Isaiah to preach to Judah.
It summarizes the last 8 Chapters and it summarizes all of Isaiah. This is what
is important to remember.

The Kingdom of God                                            Is. 66:1-11

First it is important to understand that God is sovereign over all things.
He created all things and He rules over all things. His throne is in Heaven.
From His throne He asks:

  1. Is anyone interested in being a member of My Kingdom?
  2. Is anyone interested in helping Me build My Kingdom?

If so, here are the qualifications:

  1. You must be humble and have a contrite spirit.
  2. You must revere My Word.

In other words, you must acknowledge and confess your sin before God and you
must be genuinely committed to worship and serve the Lord God, faithfully obeying
His Word.

Membership in God’s Kingdom does not include those who:

  1. Worship in an insincere manner.
  2. Do only what they want to do.
  3. Refuse to answer the call of God.
  4. Mock the Lord and those who follow Him.

Destruction awaits those who refuse God’s call to become a member of His Kingdom.

God’s Kingdom will not come into being without a struggle. It’s like the birth
of a child, starting small and growing over time to maturity. God’s Kingdom
is growing in Israel like a pregnant mother and eventually gives birth to the
Savior, our Redeemer, who announces “The Kingdom of God is near”.
The birth happens quickly because Satan stands ready to kill it [Rev. 12]. We
who love the Lord rejoice at the birth of our Savior and we mourn His death.
But we rejoice again in His resurrection and the coming of His Holy Spirit who
comforts us and satisfies all our needs.

The Kingdom of God is alive, vibrant, and real. It is filled with the Presence
of God in people glorifying His Name because they love Him with all their heart,
soul, mind, and strength. Praise be to God sitting on His heavenly throne.

God’s Millennial Kingdom                                      Is. 66:12-21

Israel will be at peace and the wealth of nations will be flowing into her
coffers. God is now the God of Israel, the Comforter of Israel, and the King
of Kings. Israel rejoices at this change of events and grows. The Lord rules
and comes to execute swift judgment upon His foes. This describes the quick
change of events and of governments when Christ comes again [Second Advent].
Those who continue worshipping according to their own practices will die [vs.
17]. This probably refers to the end of the Millennium [see Rev. 20:7-10]. Therefore,
be careful whom you follow and to whom you bow in worship.

Christ comes for all to see. Christ’s servants [Kingdom workers, true Israel,
the Church] will proclaim His “goodness” to all nations. Those who
accept their testimony of “good news” will come and worship the Lord
God in Jerusalem. They come to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Some will be
given special jobs in service to the Lord. Thus, God is always loving, full
of grace and mercy.

God’s Heavenly Kingdom                                   Is. 66:22-24

God’s Heavenly Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom. The new heavens and the new
earth and its’ inhabitants are eternal. Worshipping the Lord God will be continuous
and eternal too. The people of God will also be able to observe the torment
of those who failed to place their faith in God. This adds credibility to the
parable Jesus told recorded in Luke 16:19-31. That parable was more than dialog.

In closing, God defines our choices as He did in the first five Chapters of
Isaiah. We can choose to follow Him and live forever as Children of His Heavenly
Kingdom OR we can choose to follow another and live in an everlasting hell.
The decision seems simple but choosing is difficult. The Lord God challenges
us and encourages us to make the right choice. The Lord’s question before all
men is:

Will you chose Christ, the Lord God or will you choose Satan and the anti-Christ?

Christ leads to life eternal. Satan leads to an eternal death. The right choice
is obvious. What choice have you made?

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