The New Heavens and Earth

In Isaiah 64, the prophet pleaded for YHVH to come down from the heavens to make His name known to His adversaries.  He said that since the world was made, men hadn’t heard or seen any God besides YHVH.  The prophet acknowledged that YHVH was angry because His people had sinned; in fact, they continued to sin and needed to be delivered.  He admitted their righteousness was worthless.  He said no one calls on YHVH’s name; He had hidden His face from them because of their iniquities.  They acknowledged YHVH is the potter and they are the clay, and the prophet asked YHVH not to be angry with them forever.

YHVH responded in Isaiah 65:  “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name.”  Who is YHVH referring to here?  Paul, in Romans 10:19-21, implies Isaiah was referring to the Gentiles, then, in verse 22, Paul said Isaiah began to address Israel.  YHVH said He had His arms out to the Jews but they were a rebellious people; they wouldn’t listen to Him.  They provoked YHVH to anger by committing idolatry and necromancy (contacting the dead).  They ate pork and drank broth from abominable things.  It is evident here that it is not just the meat of unclean animals that is offensive to YHVH.  They even considered themselves holier than YHVH.  Could it be they felt this way because of their self-righteousness?

YHVH intends to repay them for their evil in proportion to their iniquities but for His servant’s sake He didn’t intend to destroy all of them.  He indicated there would be a remnant from Judah; they are His elect and His servants. 

Many years later, Paul confirmed in Romans 11 that God had not cast His people away.  Paul points out how Elijah pled with God against Israel.  At that time, YHVH told Elijah there were 7000 men who had not bowed their knees to Baal.  Paul explained that even in Elijah’s day, there was a remnant according to the election of grace (favor).  This remnant seeks YHVH today.  This remnant keeps the commands of YHVH and trusts in Yeshua.

If we are part of this remnant, we must be careful not to quit seeking YHVH; we must not forsake Him for other gods.  In Isaiah’s day, there were people who worshiped Gad, a god of fortune; and Meni, a god of luck.  Today we don’t necessarily have physical idols by these names but we certainly see the worship of materialism, and many people hope for luck.  In Revelation, the worship of materialism is a component of the mystery religion, Babylon the Great.  We are told the merchants of the earth will become rich through the abundance of her luxury.  We are called to come out of her before it’s too late.  Is it possible there are non-physical idols in your life that you are worshiping?  If so, repent!

In Isaiah 65, YHVH said that those who were worshiping Gad and Meni would be slaughtered by the sword because they did not answer His call or hear Him speaking to them.  Instead, they did evil in His eyes.  They chose lawlessness instead of righteousness.  These are the same themes present in Revelation 19.  A sharp sword will go out of Yeshua’s mouth with which He will strike the nations.  Only those who keep the commandments and the faith of Yeshua will get to eat of the tree of life and enter through the gates of the new Jerusalem.

As Isaiah 65 continues, YHVH begins to compare His true servants to those who had been committing apostasy.  YHVH’s servants will not be hungry or thirsty; they will rejoice and sing for joy.  We are told YHVH’s servants will be called by another name.  There is mention of this in Revelation 2:17; a new name will be written on a stone and given to those who hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Those who commit apostasy will be hungry and thirsty; they will be ashamed. They will cry, for their hearts will be full of sorrow and their spirits will be full of grief. Their name will be a curse to YHVH’s chosen people; YHVH Elohim will slay them.  Don’t find yourself in the same situation; do not forsake YHVH and His commandments!

By Jschulman555 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jschulman555 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

At some point, the former troubles will be forgotten and hidden from YHVH’s eyes.  Obviously, YHVH will rejoice in Jerusalem and take joy in His people; there will be no crying.  This is what we can expect when YHVH creates new heavens and a new earth.  Second Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”  I long for that day to come.  However, I must be honest here; I find myself questioning what follows here in Isaiah 65.  Revelation 21:1 says a new heaven and new earth will be made after the first heaven and earth passed away.  This will take place after the judgment at the great white throne.  Heaven and earth will not be remade twice—just once.

You may be wondering why I’m emphasizing that.  Isaiah 65:20 says, “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.”  Why would a child die at one hundred years old?  Why would a sinner even exist much less be one hundred years old?  Has the prophet switched time periods?  Is this a reference to what can take place during Yeshua’s millennial reign and not a reference to the time following the judgment at the white throne?

I tend to believe these references point to the time of the millennial reign of Yeshua.  I’ve noticed that it’s not unusual to see a switching back and forth between time periods in Isaiah.  Sinners who do not die in the Battle of Armageddon will be on the earth during the millennial reign of Yeshua.  They could die during this time.  We can see that Isaiah 25:8 says, He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.”  Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Both of these verses show us there will be no more death after the new heaven and earth appear.  Revelation 21:27 says, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”  The sinners will have been thrown into the lake of fire by that time; this is the second death.

YHVH’s elect will build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  Since the curse of the law will no longer be in effect, their enemies will not take over and inhabit their dwellings or eat their food.  YHVH’s elect will enjoy the work of their hands for a very long time and their labor will not be in vain.  YHVH will hear and answer them quickly.  Perhaps this is because they heard and heeded His voice while those who committed apostasy did not.  The wild and domesticated animals will eat together and they will not cause hurt or destruction in YHVH’s holy mountain.  This sounds wonderful; it’s how I imagine the Garden of Eden.  

As previously mentioned, 2 Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”  Do you look forward to this promise?  I do.  In the meantime, as we wait for that time to come, don’t be too discouraged by what’s going on around you; keep obeying YHVH’s commandments and keep the faith of Yeshua. 

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The Winepress of YHVH’s Fury

In Isaiah 63:1, the prophet says, “Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength?”  The Messiah replies, “It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.”  The prophet asks, “Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress?”  Messiah answers, “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments; 4 for the day of vengeance that was in my heart and my year of redemption have come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was appalled that no one upheld me. Therefore my own arm brought me salvation, and my own fury upheld me. 6 In my anger I trod down the peoples, made them drunk with my fury, then poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

This passage leads us back to Isaiah 34:5-6:  “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, And on the people of My curse, for judgment. 6 The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, It is made overflowing with fatness, With the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom.”  Proverbs 3:33 tells us that YHVH’s curse or punishment is in the house of the wicked. The lambs and goats mentioned here represent the wicked people that will be in Bozrah in Edom.  The word botsrah can be H1224 which is defined as a place in Edom or H1223 which is defined as an enclosure or sheep fold.  I want to remain open to the idea that it is not a specific city per se but simply a place in Edom.  If that is the case, we can then look at the future destruction of Edom discussed in Obadiah.

In the vision of Obadiah, YHVH says that everyone on Mount Esau will be slaughtered.  YHVH says all the nations will drink (be punished) in turn.  Another place where the destruction of Edom is mentioned is in Jeremiah 25; it says kingdoms of the world including Edom will be killed by the sword. Obviously, there has to be people left living to reign over so I suspect that it is the warriors from these nations that will be slaughtered.  Based on Isaiah 63, it appears that Edom will be first.  The description of Isaiah 63:2-3 sounds very similar to Revelation 14:19-20 where the angel uses his sickle to throw the earth’s grapes into the great winepress of God’s fury.  Revelation 16:16 says that when the sixth bowl/plague is poured out by the sixth angel, the kings of the earth will gather at Har Megiddo (Armageddon).  Revelation 19:13 describes Yeshua coming with His robe already soaked in blood for the battle of Armageddon; therefore, by this point, the warriors on Mount Esau have been slain with the sword and their blood has stain Yeshua’s clothing.  Yeshua, the Angel of His Presence, comes to Har Megiddo to execute judgment over Israel’s enemies and bring salvation to His people.

According to Isaiah, YHVH intends to show loving kindness and mercy to His people.  He calls them His children and says they are not disloyal; this is the reason He became their Savior.  Right now, we might be shaking our heads and thinking Israel does not deserve a Savior because they are not loyal to Him.  We need to pray for them to repent and be loyal to Him because they are rebellious and are grieving His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).  Before all has been fulfilled, YHVH will be their enemy by bringing the nations against them as a rod in His hand.  They are in trouble and don’t seem to know the remedy for their trouble.  I do know that their condition is of great concern to YHVH.  He will do whatever it takes in order to bring them to Himself.  One day, in His love and pity, He will redeem them.

For now, His people need to read the Scriptures and remember the days of old, the days of Moses.  They need to remember the Exodus from Egypt and how He led them across the Red Sea and through the wilderness like a shepherd who leads his flocks.  They need to remember how the Ruach was on Moses and the 70 elders and how YHVH gave them rest.

256px-Mustard_Blue_SunsetYHVH, please hear my prayer!  Look on all of us from your glorious dwelling in heaven. Don’t hold back your zeal, mighty deeds, inner concern, and compassion for your people.  You are our Redeemer of Old!  YHVH, don’t let us wander from your ways and harden our hearts; we need to fear you.  YHVH, we are just like the nations around us who don’t know your name.  Please return to the tribes of Jacob who are your possession!  Please come down from heaven and make the mountains shake at your presence! Make your enemies know your name and make the nations would tremble before you!  YHVH, please hear my plea!

YHVH, help us to do works in keeping with repentance and put sin far from us.  Help us to keep your ancient ways so we can be saved.  YHVH, we are unclean and our righteous deeds are gross; we are dying in this condition. Our perversity blows us away like the wind. It separates us from you and is destroying us.

YHVH, you are the Potter and we are merely the clay in your hands. Please take us, forgive us for provoking you, and refashion us according to your will. Please don’t give us more than we can bear.  Help us to put our old natures to death and to walk by the power of the Ruach.  Help us to see and separate ourselves from the unholy mixture that we’ve been raised in.  Help us to know how to not offer something unholy to you.  Help us to be clean and holy, unstained by the world.  YHVH, our food supply is highly processed and we don’t know what’s in it; help us to know what we can and can’t eat.  Help us not to become puffed up thinking we are holier than others, especially You.  Don’t cast us aside; please find some good within us.  Please, do not destroy us but bring us into the Promised Land.  Amen.

Righteousness Instead of Wickedness

Today, we will look at Isaiah 59.  The Companion Bible shows us that Isaiah 59 corresponds to Isaiah 50:1-11 which is a part of a larger concentric structure in Scripture.  Ultimately, iniquity (avon; H5771) is the cause of separation between God and His people.  The Complete Word Study Dictionary indicates that avon means iniquity, evil, guilt, and punishment.  It conveys the idea of deliberate perversion.

Despite the condition of His people, YHVH is capable of saving them.  YHVH is omnipresent but His face is hidden from His people because of their sin.

What else does Scripture say about YHVH’s people?

  • Their hands are stained with blood and their fingers with crime ;
  • They speak lies and wicked things;
  • They sue without just cause and aren’t honest in court;
  • They trust in empty words;
  • They say worthless things;
  • They conceive trouble;
  • They give birth to evil;
  • They hatch viper eggs and those whoever eats these eggs dies;
  • They spin spider-webs which are useless as clothing;
  • Their deeds are wicked (H 205; aven) and useless for wearing;
  • Their hands produce violence;
  • Their feet run to evil and murder;
  • They think only of wickedness (H 205; aven).

What is the problem here?  YHVH’s people are living lawless lives; they don’t obey YHVH’s laws which results in shalom (peace).  In fact, they will never know shalom if they don’t repent.

??????Think of what is happening in the world today.  We know the vast majority of people in the world today are wicked.  There’s no work ethic; people want something for nothing.  Rape, murder, adultery, drug abuse, and theft abound.  Violence is so bad that gangs of young people roam the streets or lie in wait (like spiders in webs) for their victims so they can beat and/or kill them just for fun.  Evil seems to have existed from the beginning but seems worse now more than ever before.

Is the condition of YHVH’s people any better today?  Look at the list above.  Ask yourself if anything here describes you.

Is justice far from us?  Where is righteousness?  Do YHVH’s people simply not know what the definition of righteousness is?  Righteousness is fulfilling the law of YHVH—walking it out in our daily lives.  We’ve got to stop walking in darkness so we’re not stumbling about like those who are blind.  We need to throw off the useless clothing of wicked deeds and clothe ourselves in righteousness.

Stop rebelling and denying YHVH; repent.  Be honest even if it makes you a target for the wicked.  Intercede for those who need justice; pray for their salvation and for righteousness to sustain them.

The Day of the Lord will come soon; it is not far off.  When that time comes, the wicked will be taken by surprise but YHVH’s people will be earnestly looking for it and will not be surprised when it comes.

Isaiah 59:17-18 says, “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay.”

I think is descriptive of Yeshua, Faithful and True, returning on a white horse in Revelation 19:11-16.  He will come to rescue His people in Jacob who have turned from their transgressions and to strike down the nations.   At that time, the enemy will come in like a flood but the Spirit of YHVH will lift up a standard against him.  This means it will be time for war!

Isaiah 59:21 says, “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

YHVH’s covenant is forever.  While we wait for Faithful and True to come, we must be faithful to this covenant and trust in Yeshua.  As we wait, be zealous on behalf of YHVH and His covenant.

Lift Your Voice Like A Trumpet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIsaiah 58 begins:  “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.”

Many years ago, YHVH told the prophets to cry out and tell the people their sins.  This message was not to the world, it was to YHVH’s people. Today, that same message is to be proclaimed to the churches by His prophets.

Isaiah 58:2 continues:  “Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

Something was obviously wrong.  The people in Isaiah’s time thought they were doing right but YHVH found fault with them.  Today, God’s people read His word because they want to seek Him and know His ways.  They try to do what Yeshua taught but they still live like the world.  Some fast to afflict their souls when they choose and others don’t.  I’m convinced that God is not pleased with all of those who claim to be Yeshua’s disciples.  This is because they are not only tolerant of lawlessness, they practice it.  They are like swine which are counterfeits of what is truly clean.

What was the problem with those who were fasting in Isaiah’s day?

Isaiah 58:3b-5 explains:  “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high.”

Even though they were fasting, they practiced lawlessness and fasted for all the wrong things.  They fasted for things that were in opposition to what YHVH desires.  We need to examine ourselves to see if we are doing the same kind of things.

Isaiah 58:5 continues:  “Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?”

YHVH did choose a day for man to afflict his soul. Leviticus 23:26-29 says:  “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.”

This is a day of fasting for YHVH’s people yet many are ignorant of this day and live it like any other.  We must not ignore this day.  To do so is to risk being cut off from YHVH’s people.  Surely to fast and repent is acceptable to YHVH as long as it is accompanied by behavior that demonstrates genuine fasting and repentance.

Isaiah 58:6-7 demonstrates this idea:  “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; ––––When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

What happen when we live lawfully and afflict our souls?  Isaiah 58:8-12 says, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’  “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

Are you sick?  Do you need healing?  Do you accuse others or speak wickedness?  Do you feed the poor?  Repent and live righteously!

Leviticus 23:30-32 continues the commandment for the Day of Atonement:  And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

You see, this day of fasting or afflicting your soul is a Sabbath. Isaiah 58:13 gives us more information we should be aware of:  “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Just like YHVH spoke to His people long ago, He is speaking to us today.  The fall appointed times (moedim) are upon us.  Yom Teruah (day of blowing, Day of Trumpets) is this coming Thursday on Tishrei 1 (September 6, 2013).  Yom HaKippurim (Day of the Atonements) will be Tishrei 10 (September 14, 2013).  The feast (chag) of Sukkot (Tabernacles) plus the Shemeni Atzeret (the 8th day) will be Tishrei 15-22 (September 19-26).  These moedim begin sundown the previous day.  Each year their dates on the Gregorian calendar are different.  This requires us to pay attention to when the proper time to celebrate the times of the moedim are.

Will you observe the moedim of YHVH?  They are not just the appointed times of the Jews; these times are for all of YHVH’s children.  They reveal the redemptive plan of YHVH for mankind.  They are rehearsals for the fulfillment of prophecy.

Repent — put away lawlessness!!!  Practice lawfulness and trust in Yeshua our Savior and Kinsman Redeemer!!

Come To The Water!

Isaiah 55 begins with an invitation for those who are thirsty to come to the waters and for those who have no money to come, buy, and eat.

It’s as if it’s an invitation to return to the time when YHVH’s people had entered the wilderness but without all of the negative aspects of the wilderness.  When they were thirsty, Moses struck the rock and water poured out.  Can you imagine enough water to quench the thirst of a multitude?  They had been grumbling and testing YHVH.  They said, “Give us water to drink” because they were afraid they were going to die.  They were also hungry and YHVH gave them manna to eat.  It was a time of learning to depend on YHVH for their every need.  This is the place YHVH wants us to be.

Waterfalls on RocksThe water and manna met their human physical needs but they had a spiritual hunger that needed to be satisfied so they would live and not die.  This need could not have been met by the plethora of Egyptian gods. First Corinthians 10:4 says they drank from a Spirit-sent Rock and that Rock was the Messiah.  The manna that came down from heaven was Yeshua. In John 6:33, He said, “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  The goal here for water and bread is to give spiritual life.

So, in addition to physical water, wine, and milk, spiritual life is what they were truly being invited to come and partake of.

Isaiah 55:2 asks, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy?”  This is a good question, not just for the people living at this time but also for our time.  Think about how much money you spend each month on non-essential items.  What about the wide variety of entertainment related purchases you make each month?  Do they really satisfy your soul?

YHVH says, “Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me.  Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — The sure mercies of David.”

What is good to eat?  Is it what is clean?  Is it spiritual food as opposed to physical food?   YHVH is telling His people to draw near to the Word of God, listen to it, and do what it says so they will live.  Like David, the Messiah was given as a witness to the people and as a leader and commander for the people.  The everlasting covenant is with Him.

What Gentile nation will Israel call upon?  We aren’t told. All we know is that it is one they did not know.  In addition, other nations will run to Israel because of YHVH, the Holy One of Israel.  It seems as if people from other nations will come to Israel because of their relationship with YHVH.  At first glance, we may think that has been fulfilled in the form of tourism.  Somehow I don’t think that is exactly what YHVH had in mind.  I think it is more in terms of coming to live in Israel in unity and to serve YHVH together.  The believing Jews and Gentiles will want to build relationships with each other.  Even when we love Messiah with our whole hearts, we are still made for relationship with others.   Relationships need to be built with others who share a common love for YHVH and desire to obey His word.  It is a painful thing to serve the Lord in isolation.  Great joy comes to us when we worship YHVH together in our assemblies.

Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.”  In Matthew 6:31-33, Yeshua said, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”  YHVH knows we have physical needs but seeking YHVH should take first place in our lives.  Let’s seek YHVH first and trust Him to provide for our physical needs while He is near and while He can still be found.

Part of seeking YHVH requires us to forsake lawless behavior and our unrighteous thoughts because they hinder the seeking process. If we truly want to seek and find YHVH, we can’t keep practicing the ways of the world.  That is not evidence of our desire to love Him and know Him intimately.  YHVH desires for everyone to return to Him and His ways. He will have mercy on those who come to Him and pardon them.

Since we’ve been raised in the world, we tend to think like the world.  I’ve been amazed over the past several years how politicians, special interest groups, schools, and the media have molded and shaped the thoughts of people.   These thoughts are not the same as YHVH’s thoughts.  Our ways are not His ways.   They are far from it.  We are accused of hate crimes when we speak for righteousness.  We can’t even stand in silence in the face of immorality because our silence is understood by the world to be against the ways of the world.  Therefore even our thoughts are crimes.  What are we going to do?  Personally, I feel helpless just thinking about it but I know that YHVH is still on His throne and that I must stand united with Him and unite my thoughts with His.   I know that despite what the world thinks, YHVH’s plans will take place.

Isaiah 55:10 mentions the results of the water cycle.  We understand how it impacts the growth of vegetation on the earth and how we benefit from that.  In the same manner, YHVH’s speaks words that do not return void.  They go through a cycle and eventually accomplish their purposes.  Creation took place by the word of God.  But YHVH’s word didn’t just accomplish creation; it also carries out YHVH’s desires in the lives of men, women, and children so they prosper.  In addition, everything YHVH spoke through the prophets will come to pass at the appointed time.  We just don’t know the exact timing of it all.

YHVH has promised, “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the Lord for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

This will be a beautiful thing that will surely come to pass at the appointed time.

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.