The Harbinger

Today, we’ll look at Isaiah 8-12.  In Isaiah 8, the Lord told Isaiah to write “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” on a large scroll; it was to be witnessed by Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah.  Later, Isaiah’s wife, the prophetess conceived and gave birth to a son.  The Lord told Isaiah to name him “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz” which means “make haste to plunder! Hurry to the spoil!”  The Lord also said that before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria would be carried off by the king of Assyria.  This prophecy was fulfilled in 732 by Tiglath-pileser III. 

Because the people rejoiced in Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) and Pekah, the king of Israel and rejected the waters of Shiloah, the Lord used the imagery of the rising Euphrates River to describe how the army of Assyria would sweep into the southern kingdom and cover the whole land of Judah.  According to 2 Kings 18:13, this was accomplished by Sennacherib in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah. 

What could be so special about the waters of Shiloah?  Shiloah was a fountain or pool in Jerusalem that shares similarities in spelling to Shiloh which is an epithet of the Messiah.  How interesting that Revelation 21:6 refers to Jesus as the Fountain of Life!  Jeremiah 2:13 agrees with Isaiah by saying, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

Why would people in Judah rejoice in their enemies, Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) and Pekah, the king of Israel in addition to rejecting the Lord?  Obviously, they practiced idolatry.  Were these people foreigners or terrorists in the land and/or ordinary citizens’ whose thoughts and behavior were at war with their own people or government?  Could there be a parallel here to address what’s happening in America today?    

The Lord promised to bring the army of Assyria on these people.  As Isaiah speaks of Assyria filling the land of Judah, he says, “Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces! Give ear, all you from far countries. Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces; Gird yourselves, but be broken in pieces. 10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us.”

The Lord said to all those from distant lands to arm themselves and devise a plan.  No matter what they said, it would not come to pass because “Immanu El (God is with us).”  This must be a message not only for the past but the near future—perhaps it’s a message not only for Israel but America as well.

Just like Isaiah, we should not be afraid of those around us.  We are to fear the Lord of armies and consecrate Him!  He will be our sanctuary!  Lord, please be selective in judgment!

Both Israel and Judah have stumbled against the Rock of their salvation.  In other words, they rejected the Lord during the Old Testament period and rejected Jesus when He came to visit them as Immanu El.  They were greatly offended by Him.  By the time Jesus came, the religious leaders had added numerous and complicated teachings and traditions to the law that often nullified the law of God.  Their teachings and traditions were preventing the common people from entering the kingdom of heaven.  It was obvious to Jesus that the light of the Lord was not within them.  Jesus did not abide by their traditions but taught the Torah by His own authority. He drove out demons by the finger of God, healed the sick, and raised the dead to show He was the Living Water but they couldn’t see what He was showing them or hear what He was saying.  Apparently, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were more interested in their power and position, and their traditions and interpretations of the law than in living out the written law given to them by the Lord through Moses.  Aren’t we the same today?

The meaning of the precepts of the written law was to be bound and hidden but revealed only to those the Lord intended.  Jesus made it clear to His disciples that this was His reason for telling parables—so that only those God intended to see, ear, and understand could do so.  When Jesus came the first time from Galilee, He broke the burden of the oral law which had become so overwhelming and laid the easier yoke of the original written law on the people.

In Isaiah, prophecy is bound up by the way it was written.  It’s clearly a mixture of the past and the future.  It’s often hard to separate and some of it likely applies to both the past and the future.  It’s written in such a way that it can only be seen dimly.  In a similar way, Isaiah’s children were for signs and wonders in Israel because their names foretold the future.

God’s people were not to participate in the occult to know what would happen in the future.  The Lord has revealed the future from the beginning through His word.  He said there would be those who walk in the way of the Lord and others who won’t, and some who would bless Him while others cursed Him.

The first time Jesus came as Immanu El, He came from Galilee but the next time He comes as Immanu El, the government will be upon His shoulders and there will be peace forever.  Obviously, much prophecy must be fulfilled before that happens.

Isaiah 9:8-10 says, “The Lord sent a word against Jacob, And it has fallen on Israel. 9 All the people will know — Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria — Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: 10 ‘The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.”

Since Israel said this, the Lord raised up Retzin’s enemies against him; Rezin, the king of Aram (Syria) could no longer help Israel because he was killed by Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:9).  Assyria carried the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity but the Lord said Syria and the Philistines would devour Israel with an open mouth.  Since Syria was an ally of the northern kingdom of Israel, this has to happen in the future.  Even now they are salivating at the chance while nipping here and there.

America is much like the house of Israel.  In Jonathan Cahn’s book, The Harbinger, he gives a detailed description of America as seen in Isaiah 9:8-10.  Even though it is in a fictional format, it is true down to the last detail.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It shows how America is under judgment, how leaders in America declared the words of Isaiah 9:9-10 in response to 9/11, and how the harbinger was fulfilled in amazing detail.  Woe to America, my homeland!  Oh, how you have fallen!  I can only grieve for my country because I know based on Isaiah that a horrible tragedy is coming.  Please repent, America!  Have mercy, Lord!  Please protect Your faithful!  Please be selective in judgment!  Praise the Lord, Immanu El!

Let us stand with fear and trembling because the Lord’s hand is still raised against us.  It should be clear that God is using the Syrians and Philistines to get our attention.  The northern kingdom didn’t get it in the past, we’re not getting it now, and I doubt Israel will get it in the future.  God wants people to repent and turn to Him.  He has His hand stretched out waiting for people to take it.

Look at this warning: Isaiah 9:15-16 says, “The elder and honorable, he is the head; The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail. 16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed.”  Surely this is true of America as much as it was/is of Israel.

Who will we follow after?  Who will we listen to?  Our political and spiritual leaders are causing us to error!  We must individually repent of our pride and arrogance and turn to the Lord evening if our churches and nation won’t join us corporately.  Pray for the Lord to have mercy on us and on Israel (Judah).  Don’t join those who stand against Israel.   Reject the teachings of men and embrace the commands of God before it’s too late!

Isaiah said woe to those who make unrighteous decrees.  This is a warning to leaders who take what belongs to the people and deny people of justice.  They will not escape punishment for what they are doing.

The Lord used Assyria as a rod in His hand against His people.  Assyria moved their boundaries, plundered their treasuries, and moved captives far away from home.  Isn’t this the goal of Israel’s enemies today?  Even though the Lord used Israel’s enemies to judge and turn His people back to Himself, His people ignored Him.  Wake up! Repent!

Eventually, the Lord judged and punished Assyria too.  In the future, Israel’s enemies won’t get away either.  Jesus, the Lord of heaven’s armies, will cut down those who are haughty and this rod (Israel’s enemies) will be burned with a consuming fire.  The people of the east will be plundered.  The remnant of Israel will return.  Jesus, the rod from the stem of Jesse will rise up and rule in righteousness.  That which was once wild will dwell in peace with that which is domesticated.  The Gentiles will seek the Lord.  The Lord will be praised in all the earth.

Isaiah 9:6-7 makes it clear:  “And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor [Pele-Yo’etz], Mighty God [El Gibbor], Everlasting Father [Avi –‘Ad], Prince of Peace [Sar- Shalom].  7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

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