Peace in Jerusalem

In Isaiah 46, God spoke to the house of Jacob saying, “Listen to Me.”  Chapter 47 was addressed to Babylon and now, once again, in Isaiah 48, God is addressing the house of Jacob.  This house or people group is also called by the name of Israel and God is specifically talking to Judah.

We should wonder why the prophet says, “Hear this, O house of Jacob.”  I suspect God is using the name Jacob instead of Israel because they were living “in the flesh” instead of walking “in the Spirit.”  Note the house of Jacob swore by the name of the Lord and made mention of the God of Israel but something was wrong.  They were not doing this in truth or in righteousness.  They were living lives of lawlessness.

Cascading Stream under Sunlight in ForestThe writer says they called themselves after the holy city and they leaned on the God of Israel whose name is YHVH of armies (hosts).  What does the phrase “calling themselves after the holy city” mean?  The holy city is Jerusalem.  Strong’s concordance says Jerusalem means “founded peaceful.”  The name comes from two Hebrew words: yarah and shalom.  Yarah means to flow as water; like rain.  It can also mean to lay or throw like an arrow; figuratively, it means to point out or teach.  Shalom means peace or friendly.  It’s as if Jerusalem is supposed to mean “the city that teaches others to be friendly or peaceful to one other.”  If people were living deceptive lives similar to Jacob’s example from his younger days, how could their living example ever be one of peace?  I believe this was God’s intended purpose; this could’ve been accomplished if they had been living according to the law the Lord had given them.

Although the Jews thought of themselves as friendly or peaceful and relied on YHVH of hosts, they didn’t recognize their true condition. YHVH knew their true condition and disciplined them in Babylon.

Today, many people believe they are in a right relationship with God.  They do not realize their mentality of tolerance has led them away from the One they say they love.  Yes, God is a god of love; but, according to His law, He does not tolerate abominations and neither should we.  Will YHVH, whom the Jews supposedly rely on, give them a sudden wake-up call?  Will YHVH allow invaders to take over the land?  What would it take to return the Jews to Torah observance?  For that matter, what will it take for Christians to read Romans 3:31 and return to Torah observance?

Since the beginning, the Lord has declared prophecy.  He wanted His people to know what to expect and thereby know that He was God.  Much prophecy has already come to pass while more is yet to be fulfilled. These were warnings of discipline that were designed to lead people to repent.  Although the Lord was patient, He caused other people to conquer the Jews because they had been obstinate or cruel.  Their necks were described as iron sinew and their brow as bronze; this indicates they were rebellious.  The writer repeats the idea that prophecy was declared in advance so the Jews couldn’t give credit to their idols for what took place.

The Jews were still in a state of denial.  They would not admit their sin.  The Lord chose to announce new things to them, things not declared from the past so they couldn’t say they already knew about them.  He did this because of their rebelliousness.

Here are people who deserved the anger of the Lord yet because God did not want to ruin His reputation, He deferred His anger.  He was patient for the sake of His praise even though in His anger, He could have simply cut them off.  Instead, He showed them mercy by purifying them – but NOT as silver (in the fire).  Did you catch that?  It was actually merciful to test them in the furnace of affliction!  He did this so His reputation wouldn’t be ruined.

Again, God tells the house of Jacob to listen to Him.  He says, “I am the beginning and the end.” Who is the alpha and omega; the aleph and tav; the first and the last; the beginning and the end?  Is it not the “Word of YHVH” mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament and in John 1:1? Is it not Yeshua (Jesus) who is mentioned in Revelation 1:17-18 and 22:13?

He foretold that YHVH’s friend would do His will against Babylon. It seems as if He is now referring to Cyrus –if you recall, history tells us of the fall of the Babylonians to the Medes and the Persians.

Our speaker then said, something unusual in Isaiah 48:16:  “Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there.  And now the Lord God and His Spirit Have sent Me.”   This has got to be pre-incarnate Yeshua (Jesus).  This same concept of being since the beginning and being sent is seen in the New Testament (Brit Hadashah):

  • John 1:1-2:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.”
  • Luke 4:18-19:  The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
  • John 5:24-25:  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

What does He have to say?

Isaiah 48:17-19:  “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. 18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19 Your descendants also would have been like the sand, And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; His name would not have been cut off Nor destroyed from before Me.”

We are brought back to the meaning of Jerusalem and how it is accomplished!  Look at verse 18.  If they had obeyed His commandments, their peace would have been like a river.  Their righteousness would have been like the waves of the sea rippling out to those around them.  The effects of their righteousness would have been felt by the surrounding nations.  Their descendants would be innumerable but unfortunately, many had been destroyed because of disobedience.

The Babylonian captivity was coming to an end.  The Lord would soon be sending His friend Cyrus to deliver them and send them back to Jerusalem singing.  The Lord told them to declare to the end of the earth that “the Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob!”  Verse 21 tells us “they did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them; He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.”  This shares similarities with the exodus from Egypt.

Over the centuries, there have been times of terrible captivity and awesome deliverance.  The kinds of things that have taken place in the past, will take place again in the future.

Verse 22 is also true of the past and future:  “there is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”  Fortunately, one day there will be peace for the righteous in Jerusalem.


There Is No Other God

Our time today overlaps some of the Scripture from my last post.  Between Isaiah 44 and 46, the prophet made several references to Yahweh being God and the fact that there isn’t any God besides Him.  In between each of these declarations is a message for Israel.  These will comprise the focus of my post today.

In Isaiah 44:8, Yahweh refers to Himself as “no other Rock” – no other “God besides me.”  He describes the process of how man goes through the motions of creating idols for worship.  He says that those who create idols eventually worship them and pray, “Save me…for you are my god!”  The creators of idols fail to see or understand that their creation is not a god.  The reason for this is because a deceived heart has led them astray.  They can’t seem to grasp the fact that what they hold in their hands is a fraud!  This is a painful thing for some people to come to grips with.

People should worship the Creator, not that which they have created!  The Creator is always greater and worthy of more honor than creation.  Yahweh compares Himself with the idols made by man and points out to them that He’s the real and only God.

Israel is encouraged to keep these matters in mind and to return to the Lord.  Yahweh pleads with His people not to forget Him and He reminds His people to come back to Him because it was Yahweh who redeemed them.  Before repeating the fact that the Lord has redeemed Jacob, Isaiah 44:23 says, “Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!  Shout, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it.”  The literary structure of these verses,  with verse 23 in the center, emphasizes the Lord should be praised because He redeemed His people.

By this time in history, the cities of Judah were in ruins but the Lord said they would be rebuilt; the prophet also said the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt.  These two statements are two bookends that point to the one who will make this happen—Cyrus, the Lord’s shepherd.  Isaiah 44:26 indicates that the Lord will make streams run dry.  This appears to be a reference to the method by which Cyrus diverted the water in the moats surrounding Babylon so his men could enter and takeover Babylon.

Note that the Lord called Cyrus, “My shepherd” and referred him as “His anointed.”  These are terms also used to describe Jesus.  The Lord leveled the paths to prepare the way for Cyrus.  In a similar fashion, John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus.  The Lord anointed Cyrus and Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit as He came up out of the waters of baptism.  The Lord said Cyrus would do everything He wanted.  The gospels tell us that Jesus always did what His Father wanted.  Yahweh called Cyrus by name and gave him a title even though Cyrus didn’t have a clue who the Lord was.  Jesus’ name is “the Word of God” and His title is “King of kings and Lord of lords.”[i]  Jesus was fully aware of who His heavenly Father was.  The Lord armed Cyrus so that even though he didn’t know the Lord, those from the east and west would know that there is no God besides Yahweh.  When Jesus returns, those all over the world will know that there is no God besides Him.

As we just mentioned, the Lord introduced Himself as Yahweh and said there is no other God besides Him.  Long before Cyrus was born, the Lord said “I am arming you, although you don’t know me, so that those from the east and those from the west will know that there is none besides me—I am the Lord; there is no other.”  It’s quite possible that even though these words were written long before Cyrus entered Babylon, the prophet Daniel may have shown this prophecy to Cyrus so he would know who enabled him to be so powerful.  Today, these verses point to the fact that Yahweh controls the rise and fall of nations.

As Isaiah 45 advances, the Lord continues to reveal Himself; He re-identifies Himself as Creator of light, darkness, well-being, and woe. The Lord sends justice as well as salvation.   In Isaiah 45:8, the Lord says, “Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together.  I, the Lord, have created it.”  Normally, righteousness is associated with that which is pure and holy—a result of obedience.  It’s associated with blessing but also associated with justice.  Since that is the case, it can also allude to the judgment of the seals, trumpets, and plagues mentioned in Revelation.  When the last plague comes, Israel will be saved by the Lord with eternal salvation.  Note, the Hebrew word for salvation here is yeshua. Jesus is the Greek name for Yeshua.  Surely, this is no coincidence; yeshua (salvation) is accomplished by Yeshua (Jesus).  When the end comes, righteousness (obedience to the law) which has been suppressed will be able to spring up and be practiced in the open.

Before He closes this section by identifying Himself as Creator/Maker, the Lord says “woe” to those who dare to question Him concerning His creation.  We aren’t supposed to argue with the Lord or tell Him what to do.  He chooses to do what He does.

The Lord chose to stir up Cyrus to righteousness (to cause him to do what’s right) and to make his paths smooth.   Note the change in the Lord’s title—Yahweh Tzva’ot.  The “Lord of heaven’s armies” chose Cyrus to rebuild the city, free the exiles in Babylon without taking a bribe or ransom.  Cyrus got the message.  Second Chronicles 36:23 says, “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:  All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!”  Cyrus gave orders and money for what was needed to carry out this task.  He also had the vessels that belonged in the temple of God to be brought out of the temple of his gods; he gave them to the captives who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem.  By doing these things, Cyrus did the opposite of what he had been doing—subduing nations, tearing down gates, and stripping kings of their robes. He did what pleased the Lord concerning Judah.

One day, Jesus will lead the armies of heaven to wage war on Israel’s enemies.  At that time, Israel will experience His salvation.  The next thing that will happen is the same as what took place when Cyrus allowed the captives in Babylon to assemble together to return to Israel– God’s people will be gathered from the four corners of the earth and will be brought to Israel.  Although many Jews are making aliyah now, the ultimate return to Israel is in the future.

The Lord said that every knee would bow and every tongue would swear about Him that only in the Lord are justice and strength.   This is reminiscent of Philippians 2:9-11 which says, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Isaiah 45:14 describes some events that may have future implication; we’ve seen this kind of prophetic shifting in the prophetic text before.   The Lord said, “The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush And of the Sabeans, men of stature, Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; They shall walk behind you, They shall come over in chains; And they shall bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, ‘Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God.”  Cyrus did not conquer Egypt or Ethiopia so this cannot be applied to him.  It must have future implications.

The Hebrew word, yitpallalu is often translated into the English phrase “they shall make supplication.”  What follows this phrase is not really a prayer.  It’s more of a judgment call or a conclusion; this is probably a better translation because the root word, palal means to entreat, judge, pray, or make supplication. The people will decide and declare, ‘Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God.” 

This is basically when Philippians 2:10-11 will be fulfilled.  It says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

bullThis is reminiscent of the battle of sacrifices on Mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal and Elijah in 1 Kings 18.  Both groups killed a bull.  The prophets of Baal called on their god, Baal, to consume their bull with fire but nothing happened because Baal is a false god.  When Elijah’s turn came, he called on the Lord and immediately fire came down and consumed Elijah’s bull.  When the people saw what happened, they responded by saying, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”

Think of this story in a different way to see what it represents. The bull that was in the possession of the prophets of Baal represents Jesus.  The religious leaders could kill Jesus’ physical body but since His body did not decay, He was not consumed.  The religious leaders (and their god of traditions) had no power over Jesus; His heavenly Father did.  The bull that was in the possession of Elijah represents Satan, the coming beast, and/or false prophet.  The beast, false prophet, and Satan (Adversary) will be killed and their bodies will be consumed in the lake of fire.[ii]  The people who remain will realize and declare that Jesus is Lord, He is God!

Before that day comes, people will continue to sin because they are in bondage to the desires of their flesh.  They must decide what is true concerning the Bible and what it reveals concerning the Messiah.  They need to return to Torah and declare Jesus is Lord of their life.  They can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.  At the time of the end, the Lord’s people will be those who obey God’s commands and bear witness to Jesus.

Many will not do this; they prefer to reject truth.  They are angry with those who believe but they are also angry with the Lord.  They just don’t know it.  Isaiah continues; the Lord said that all who rage against Him will come to Him ashamed and disgraced.  The descendants of Israel will find justice and glory in the Lord; they will never be ashamed or disgraced.  Who will rage against the Lord?  They are idolaters; they worship the gods of this world who come in various forms, and they give in to their fleshly desires.  They are Israel’s enemies.

The Lord tells them to come together.  He calls them refugees from the nations and ignorant idolaters.  Refugees are people who are fleeing from some kind of danger or persecution.  They are fleeing from the Lord who wants them to come to Him and to take counsel together; He’s willing to give them a chance to present their case.  Again, He reminds them that He is God and there is no other God besides Him.  Before repeating this yet again, He emphasizes what’s most important, “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth!”  Whether they did so in the past or not, the Lord said one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that justice and strength are only found in the Lord.

The Babylonians worshipped Bel and Nebo.  These idols had to be carried by animals and people.  Opposite of this is the way Yahweh carries His people.  He will never have difficulty doing this.  He will carry His people forever.  He will not only carry them but save them.  Idolatry is completely opposite; idols must be carried and they have no power to save anyone.  Obviously, Yahweh is nothing like idols or false gods.  Yahweh is God, there is no other.  No one and nothing is like Him.

As we look to the future, we must remember the past.  From beginning to end, Yahweh is God.  There is no other.

[i] Revelation 19:13-16.

[ii] Revelation 19:20; 20:10.

There Is No Other God Part I

Even though the Lord disciplines His people, He is ready to console them when the time of judgment is over.  As Isaiah 43 begins, the Lord tells His servant Jacob to listen to Him, and Israel whom He has chosen.

Why does the Lord use both of these names for His people?  It could it be that His people often display the fleshly characteristics of Jacob as a supplanter or deceiver who is in bondage to sin.  At the same time, the meaning of Israel is how the Lord sees His people in the future.  It means “he will rule as God.”  This seems to foreshadow Revelation 20:6 which says, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

The name Israel parallels with Jeshurun which is used in verse 2.  This means “the upright one.”  This is what the Lord creates all of His people to be.

Most important part within the first two verses of this chapter is the Lord’s command, “Do not fear.”  The reason why is because the Lord helps them.  He can do more than any mortal man.

What is the Lord going to do?  He said, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring.” Surely the physical needs of water are important.  In previous chapters, we read about the desolation of the land and the promise of restoration.  At the same time, I think we can understand this on a spiritual level as well.  When a person has been living a life of sin and comes/returns to the Lord, they are usually very thirsty for God’s word.  For some people, they can’t get enough of it.  They’ve been so spiritually dry that they literally soak up the Word of God.  The Lord pours His Spirit on them and blesses them and their families.

Unfortunately, some who have sat in churches for years are extremely dry without realizing it.  Why is that?  Do they think they know everything they need to know?  Do they think they are living the way God wants them to?  It’s hard to say for sure. They certainly need a new challenge in their spiritual life.  Perhaps they are accustomed to a tiny devotion each day or none at all.  We can’t live on nothing or just a few verses a day.  That’s a spiritual diet that has no substance.  It can’t possibly bring any sort of satisfaction.

We need the Spirit and the cleansing Word of God to cause us to spring up like “willows by the watercourses.”  We need to recognize who we are and who we belong to!

Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus says the Lord [YHWH], the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:  ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God [Elohim].”  

Recently, I was following a discussion concerning the trinity.  Years ago, when I began my quest for my Hebraic roots, I examined many church doctrines to determine their validity except this one.  You can imagine this was quite an interesting discussion.  Who is Christ?  Is He really equal with God the Father or a separate person?  Dare I ask these questions?  Don’t be afraid to question your beliefs.  We have to know if what we’ve been taught is correct or not—no matter how painful it is. You may find what you’ve been taught is correct and you can simply move on.

Over the past several years, I have rarely wondered about the concept of the trinity so I’ve not bothered to map all of it out in Scripture for myself although much as become apparent to me.  I have lots of topics under scrutiny at the same time so adding another one to my plate can prove difficult if not impossible.

As a result of this discussion, I quickly read a recommended series of articles on the subject.  It was interesting to read a bit of the history of the early church as the doctrine of the trinity came into being.  Not everyone in those days was in agreement with it.  The writer reached some interesting conclusions by reading the early historians and by comparing the Hebrew and Greek texts to the Targums where numerous references to “the Word” are found.  Needless to say, I will have to spend some time on this topic to do my own study as time allows so I can re-check his conclusions and see if other conclusions can be made.  In the meantime, research the Scriptures and connect the dots for yourself.  Here’s a nugget for today…

In verse 6, Yahweh, King of Israel and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Hosts said “I am the first and I am the last and besides me there is no other [god; elohim].”  Here, Yahweh is the King of Israel, the Redeemer of Israel, and Commander of the heavenly army.  Being the first and the last seems to indicate that He was all of these things in the past as well as the future.  Further down, in verse 8, the Lord says, “Indeed, there is no other Rock; I know not one.’

Jesus (Yeshua, which means salvation) fits the description of these titles.

  • He is the King of kings mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14 and 19:16.
  • The Redeemer who came out of Zion in Romans 11:26 and which was prophesied in Isaiah 59:20-21.
  • The Captain of the heavenly army in Revelation 17:14.
  • The Spirit-sent Rock that provided drink for the people in the wilderness was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).  He is the same Rock or cornerstone that the Pharisees rejected in Matthew 21:42-44.  This Rock was beaten, killed on a cross, and pierced with a spear so that blood and water flowed out. This took place so people could drink Living Water and have eternal life.

If Jesus is the first and the last, Jesus must be the:

  • The rock in Horeb which was struck; water came out of it so the people could drink and not die (Exodus 17:6).
  • Captain of the Lord’s army in Joshua 5:14.
  • The one who promised to redeem the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt in Exodus 6:6.  Isaiah 44:24 refers to Yahweh being Israel’s Redeemer.
  • The one the people rejected as king in 1 Samuel 8:7.

He is actually these things and much more.

Next, the prophet switches to a topic discussed in previous chapters–idols and the ones who make and/or worship them.  Making idols is not profitable.  In the end, those who create idols will be gathered together.  The Scriptures says, “Let them stand up; yet they shall fear; they shall be ashamed together.”  This must happen at the final judgment.

It makes no sense for someone to make an idol out of wood.  Some of the wood is used to fashion the idol, some to burn for heat, and some to burn to cook with.  Some was burned but a portion was set aside for worship.  This is foolish. 

Many years ago, a person of another religion asked me why God was so made that the people made the golden calf in the wilderness.  My reply was, “Why would someone who creates something worship what he created?  Isn’t the creator higher than his creation?  Doesn’t it make more sense to worship that which is greater?  That which is created can’t deliver ones’ soul in the Day of Judgment.  Only the Creator can do that.”  It certainly gave him something to think about.

We, like Jacob/Israel must remember that by trusting in Jesus’ atonement, the Lord will blot out our transgressions.  Yahweh has redeemed us.  The Scripture says the Lord has done it.

Yahweh made us while we were still in the womb.  He makes everything from the parts of the tiny atom to the enormous galaxies in the sky.  He frustrates those who practice abominations and makes the knowledge of the wise as foolishness.  He is obviously in control of all things whether they are our thoughts or things in the physical or spiritual realms.  Because He does this, we can put our trust in Him.

At this point in time, Yahweh’s people were in Babylon for a total of 70 years.  They didn’t know how they would be delivered but Yahweh did. He told them about Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”

Surely this prophecy gave the people hope.   Knowing God is in control of all things and knowing the prophecies still to be fulfilled gives us hope today.  Since there are designs for the future temple in Ezekiel, the Jews have hope that the Messiah will come.  Not only will He deliver them but they will worship Him in the future temple.  Cyrus was only a picture of their deliverer. Just think how much more the true Messiah will be their Yeshua (Salvation).

The Lord Assures His People

In Isaiah 41, the Lord is calling the nations to come near to Him for judgment.   In the past, He raised up the Persian conqueror, Cyrus from the east to replace the Babylonians and conquer many nations.  It is the Lord who is and always has been in control of the rise and fall of the nations.  Each change in power appears to be a result of the Lord’s judgment. 

The Lord has known and planned the rise and fall of the nations.  He revealed His plan to the prophets and laid out most of this plan in the book of Daniel.  He was able to do this because He is the Aleph and Tav, the Alpha and Omega, the A and Z, and the Beginning and the End.

The coasts or islands in verse 1 are a reference to Europe.  The nations saw and trembled in fear as Cyrus came to conquer them.  The prophet is describing a vision.  This is not just a vision of something referring to the coming judgment carried out by Cyrus.  No, there is something more here to see.  This is a glimpse of the judgment which is to come when Jesus returns.

Why do I say that?  Look at what the prophet said.  The people from the ends of the earth are afraid as they come to the Lord for judgment.  People who created idols for worship are encouraging another to be strong as they come to stand before the Creator of the world. 

The Lord explains that Israel is His servant, Jacob is His elected; the seed of His friend Abraham.  In other studies we have seen that Israel was not just a single person.  The Lord has elected many people and because of their faith or trust in Jesus, they are the true sons of Abraham.  The Lord has not rejected them. 

The Lord has a message for them:

Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. 12 You shall seek them and not find them — Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. 13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ 14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”

Often, Jesus’ disciples are encouraged by these words as they deal with the struggles of daily living.  That’s good but these encouraging words are really meant for something in the far future.  Much must happen between now and the fulfillment of this passage.  In the meantime, the purpose of Israel’s persecution and tribulation is to bring His people to repentance.  Ultimately, this passage will be fulfilled when the Messiah returns.  At that time, Israel will be encouraged when they see Faithful and True on His white horse.  Israel’s enemies will be humiliated.  They will die and birds of prey will feast on their dead bodies.  In their time of greatest need, the Lord will be there to help them—but not until all hope is lost.  At that time, they will become a formidable foe.

Although this passage has an ultimate fulfillment, that doesn’t mean the Lord won’t help them until the end comes.  The Lord didn’t stop helping Israel when the Bible canon was closed.  He has helped them over the years in miraculous ways as they have battled against their enemies.  It may not have seemed like it during the Holocaust of World War II because the Lord wanted the Jews to repent.  Although that time has passed, I’m sure it will happen again.  At that time, when all hope is lost, the Messiah will come.

The prophet then said the poor and needy were thirsty.  This is a picture of a coming famine in the land.  The Lord promised not to forsake them but to provide water in a variety of forms.  He will plant trees that were previously absent not only to make the land beautiful but so the people would realize that the Lord has done this. 

Today, people point out that every time the Jews have control of the land, it produces an abundance of produce and when they don’t have control over the land, it is dry and unproductive.  They know the Lord is causing the abundance.  While this may be true, a famine is coming in the future.[i]  After Messiah comes, rivers will flow, fountains will bring forth water, springs will appear where dry land previous existed, and the wilderness will be a pool of water.  This water will make it possible for trees and bushes that could not have previously grown there to flourish.

The prophet shifts back to a time of judgment; the people are asked to state their case.  Can people prove they or their idols are gods?  No; people will see their human frailty and understand that their idols and their work are nothing.  The prophet said these people have been chosen by Satan who is an abomination.

Did you get that?  Satan has chosen people for himself just as the Lord has chosen people for Himself.  I don’t fully know the details of that but I can accept it.

The prophet continued by saying the Lord had raised up one from the north and east.  Various commentaries tell us this was Cyrus of the Medes and Persians.  Cyrus was a picture of Jesus.

Jesus was and is “My Servant.”  The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him.  He will bring justice when He reigns in Jerusalem.   The nations will wait for His Torah.  This is the same Torah that was given to Moses.  This is the same Torah Jesus taught His disciples.  Yahweh gave Jesus to His people for a covenant.  He was the Light to the nations.  Jesus opened blind eyes.  He led those in bondage to sin out of bondage–out of darkness and into light.

The Lord is not going to tolerate glory and praise being given to idols.  Glory and praise belong to the Lord alone.  Sing praise to the Lord!

Yahweh is a mighty warrior.  He has been very patient but a time will come when His patience will be  gone.  At that time, His righteous anger will come forth like the labor of childbirth.  You do not want to be in His path as He destroys what is in His way as He comes to deal with idolaters.

prayingDo not be deaf and blind!  Open your eyes and ears to truth as the Lord magnifies the Torah and makes it honorable.  Repent! In other words, return to Torah for the time grows short!  Saying “I repent” is not true repentance.  Trying to obey the New Testament and ignoring what’s in the Old Testament is not repentance.  Returning to Torah and obeying it is repentance.  Please, do not behave in a manner that will cause the curses of the law to fall on you and our nation.  Since not everyone will heed my plea, for the sake of God’s people, pray for mercy and selective judgment because judgment is coming!

In Isaiah 43, the Lord re-emphasized the same theme as before.  Isaiah 43:1-3 say, “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel:”Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

The Lord reminds Israel of what took place in Egypt and how He loved them and ransomed them.  Note what He says in the latter half of verse 4.  I never noticed this before now: “Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.”  This must be how all of Israel will be saved.  What happened in the past when the mixed multitude came out of Egypt will happen again in the future.  This doesn’t negate the redemptive work of Jesus, it simply repeats the pattern of redemption.

The Lord will gather His people from the west and bring their descendants from the east.  Everyone who is called by the name of the Lord will be brought together from the north, south, east, and west—from the ends of the earth.  They, who were created for His glory, will be brought to Jerusalem.

Much later, court will come to order.  Witnesses will not be able to justify the guilty.  They will have to accept the truth of their guilt; no excuses will be accepted for their guilt.  Sin is sin.  No reasons can justify lawlessness.  Today, human courts have done a disservice to criminals who stand before the judges; when sin is excused, the guilty go free.  It seems as if no one has to accept the consequences of their sin.  This makes people think there is no need for repentance.  This won’t happen at the Great White Throne Judgment.  It’s better to learn to repent now while there’s still time.

Know this!  The Lord is the only God!  There is no other.  He is the only Savior and Redeemer!  Praise His holy Name!

The Lord brought down the Chaldeans (Babylonians), the Medo-Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Islamic Caliphate.  The Islamic Caliphate is trying to rise again.  In the near future, all the nations will stand against Israel.  The Jews must realize who their Redeemer and Savior really is before it’s too late. 

All of the Lord’s people must return to Torah.  We must all offer ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to the Lord instead of committing lawlessness.   We must state our case before the Lord and trust in the blood atonement of the Passover Lamb so we can be acquitted.  The Lord does not want to remember our sins anymore.  Please, avoid lawlessness because it brings curses down on the Lord’s people!

[i] Revelation 6:5.