The Prophecy of Isaiah The Prophecy of Isaiah        

A Bible Study

Introduction
Early Vision  11-20
In the Day of the Lord  124 - 222
     Judgement and Mercy for Judah and Jerusalem  31 - 530
     The Branch of the Lord  42-6
     The Vineyard of the Lord  51-7
     Wickedness in Jerusalem  58-30
Isaiah Commissioned by the Lord  61-13
Judah, Israel (Ephraim), Syria (Aram), Assyria   71 - 1019
The Branch from Jesse  1020 - 126
Judgement of All Nations  13 - 35
      Babylon  131 - 1423
      Assyria  1424-27
      Philistia  1428-32
      Moab  151 - 1614
      Damascus  171-14
      Cush  181-7
      Egypt  191 - 206, 31
      Babylon  211-17
      Jerusalem  221-25
      Tyre and Sidon  231-18
      The Whole Earth  241-23
      Death  25
      Peace During Trials  26
      For and Against Israel/Judah  27-32
      Prayer for Righteousness and Justice  33
      Judgement upon All Nations, especially Edom  34
      Judgement for the Redeemed  35
Sennacherib Attacks Hezekiah, and the Lord God  36, 37
Hezekiah Given an Extra 15 Years  38, 39
Comfort for God's People Israel  40-51
      Fear Not - Almighty God Controls Nations  41
      1st 'Servant Song'  421-9
      Israel Chosen by Their Only Saviour  43,44
      No Other God  448b-20
      Only the Lord Can Redeem  4421-18
      Cyrus - Anointed by God !  45
      Israel and the Idols of Babylon  46,47
God's Word to a Stubborn People   481 - 5212
Christ, Pierced for our Transgressions  5213 - 5312
God's Eternal Covenant with Israel  54
God's Invitation to All Who Are Thirsty  55,56
Current Wickedness and Idolatry   57-59
The Lord is Anointed to Rescue   60-62
God's Judgement and Mercy  63-66

 
Introduction       [Contents]

Isaiah prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah,
      kings of Judah in Jerusalem from 740 to approx 690 BC.
A contemporary of Jonah, Amos, Hosea in Israel, and of Micah in Judah.
Assyria, that brutal and powerful nation, was in the ascendancy;
      but the Lord Almighty is always the only 'super-power' in heaven and earth.
Judah chose to largely ignore God's word to them,
      but his revelation and warnings have clearly rung down through the centuries.
      They continue to inspire and encourage all who seek the Lord.
The whole book is the prophecy of a single author.
As a young man God showed Isaiah the situation in Judah as he saw it.
      And it was not a pretty sight.
      But in his grace he would reveal to them the consequences of their evil.

 
Early Vision  11-20       [Contents]

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken.  12

From the very beginning Almighty God wanted men to hear what he said.
      And he pleads with men to listen.
      This remains his gracious desire for men that they may be saved.
Men will usually admit their weakness and sin
      when not in the midst of pretending to be what they are not.
But few will acknowledge the just consequences of sin
      or of our inability to live a holy life, however hard we may try.
Isaiah reveals what the Sovereign Lord has to say to rebellious men,
      and to the repentant righteous.

Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity ... They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.
 14

How foolish of men to reject their Maker and think they know better.
      How arrogant, how utterly deluded.
This was the situation in Judah 2,700 years ago  - and in UK today.
Our leaders claim Britain is a Christian nation but
      they legalise abortion that murders 190,000 babies every year,
      they legalise the abandonment of the Sabbath,
      They lie and cheat and think it clever if they get away with it.
      They encourage coveting in the name of consumerism.
So God asks:  Why will you continue to rebel?  15
      What answer can we give?

Your country lies desolate ...
      in your very presence foreigners devour your land.  17
Can't we see what is happening and the affect of the evil EU?
      Why are we so blind to the cause of our downfall?

Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!  110
Our leaders have legalised same-sex marriage.
      Archbishop Welby (and most clergy) refuse to say homosexuality is a sin.
            (He endorses civil partnerships)
      Homosexuals have a far better chance of adoption than Christian couples.
God is right when he compared Judah and the UK with Sodom!
His gracious answer?  'Hear the word of the Lord'.
      Hear it, and obey it.  Repent!

At the time Judah still offered sacrifices at religious festivals.
We have a Christian service at the Cenotaph each year,
      church weddings and funerals, prayers before each session of parliament ...
But to us, as to Judah, the Lord says:
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? ...
      Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.  ...
      Even though you make many prayers, I will not listen.
 111,13,15

The young prophet makes the situation very plain and simple:
"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
 118-20

Our 'reasoning' must be honest and open,
      when before Almighty God men must be humble and contrite,
      there can be no excuses, no being 'economical with the truth'.
Let us see how gracious and merciful our God is who willingly speaks with us.
If we are willing to repent before God, his forgiveness is complete;
If we are unwilling, then we shall be consumed under God's just judgement.
The word of the Lord is unambiguously clear.
Sadly, in Isaiah's day Judah took little notice of this clear message,
      so God sent the Assyrians to destroy all Judah except Jerusalem.
Some 50 years later Jeremiah proclaimed the same gracious word of God,
      and again they took no notice - so God exiled them to Babylon.
700 years later Judah would reject even the Son of God himself.
      So they were exiled for nearly 2,000 years.
Now the Jews have returned to their land again;
      but so far only a few have returned to their God.

All that time ago Almighty God made it clear that alongside judgement
      would come a day when they would call upon the name of the Lord.

 
In the Day of the Lord  124 - 222       [Contents]

Therefore the Lord declares, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: ...>
I will remove all your alloy.
And I will restore your judges as at the first,
      and your counsellors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.
Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
      and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
 124-28

Same eternal, faithful God;  same message then and now.
The chosen people, whom the world hates, shall be restored in the last days.
      (See website 'Promise of Restoration')
They will be seen as forgiven, just, righteous, faithful, redeemed, repentant.
The hand of the Lord God will do all this and justify his choice.

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord
      shall be established as the highest of the mountains.  22a

God showed this truth to Nebuchadnezzar, that famous gentile king of Babylon,
      though it needed Daniel to reveal the truth of his dreams.  Dan 2

And all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say:
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."
For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
 22b,3

What a day that shall be when the Name of the Lord and the Kingdom of God
      shall be honoured not only by Israel but by all nations.
      A day when the Word of God will be taught and not ridiculed,
            when it will taught as the truth, and willingly obeyed.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
      and their spears into pruning hooks;
      nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
      neither shall they learn war anymore.
 24

In 2013 the world (mis)spent £1,060 billion on arms.
      Just think how much better that taxation could be used.
      In 'that day', during the Millennium, when the Lord will reign, it will be.

Today peace remains but a dream.
Dan 926b declares war will continue until the end and desolations are decreed.
Rev 61-8 reveals the Lord himself will command the 2nd horseman to
"Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.
Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.
To him was given a large sword.

With the other 3 horsemen they kill ¼ of the world!
Finally in Rev 1911-21 we are told that the Beast and the False Prophet
      lead an attack against God's chosen people in Jerusalem. Christ returns to save them.
Then, and only then, will there be peace on earth.
      And the dream will become a glorious reality that Almighty God will fulfill.
Isaiah reveals more about that great day:
The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled ...
      the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.  211,(17)
Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground
      from dread of the Lord  and the splendour of his majesty,
      when he rises to shake the earth.  219,(21)

 
Judgement and Mercy for Judah and Jerusalem  31 - 530       [Contents]

Behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
      support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water ...
And the people will oppress one another. ...
For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen,
      because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord.  31, 5, 8

If men turn their back upon Almighty God and reject him;
      God will remove both his protection and his provision.  
But before doing so, he will warn then through his prophets and his Word.

They proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it.
Woe to them!  For they have brought evil on themselves. ...
The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people:
"It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
"What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?"
declares the Lord God of hosts.
The daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks,
      glancing wantonly with their eyes, ...
Instead of perfume there will be rottenness.
Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle.  
39, 14-16, 24,25

A day would come when Almighty God would judge the world's wickedness
      and the enemies of his chosen Israel.
But first Israel had to suffer in order to bring them to a place of repentance,
      a time when they will earnestly call upon the name of the Lord.
Tel Aviv is the 'gay' centre of the ME.
      It is described on line as having a hedonistic vibe and a vibrant nightlife!
      Israel's abortion rate is very similar to all Europe and the US.
Bridges for Peace are doing much to relieve the grinding poverty in Israel.
      In 2013 they distributed nearly 1,000 tons of food!
Since 1948 they have had to fight 3 major wars and battle continuous terrorism
      from all her neighbours whose objective is Israel's total destruction.
      Between 1948 and 1997 20,093 soldiers were killed.
      Between 2000 and 2005 Palestinians killed 1,074 Israelis.
The UN has passed more resolutions vilifying Israel than any other country.
But there are now over 50,000 Jews in Israel who believe and serve Jesus Christ.
      They remain his chosen people.

In UK during the last 7 'austerity years' the gap between the rich and the poor
      has widened and sexuality is promoted at every opportunity in the media.
In 2015 our government hurriedly legalised same-sex marriage - like Sodom !
Clearly these words of Isaiah (and Ro 124-32) are ignored because God is rejected.
Therefore his judgement upon us is both certain and just.
      But very few even in the church realise the scale of our imminent disaster.
      In all probability the Lord Almighty will not listen to our plea for mercy.
      How can he deny his Word which prophesies judgement?

 
The Branch of the Lord  42-6       [Contents]

In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious,
and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honour of the survivors of Israel.
And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy,
everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem,
when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion
and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment
and by a spirit of burning.
 42-4

In his amazing grace the Lord God ensures that during prophetic judgement
      they are assured that at the end a day of restoration will come.
Almighty God is faithful to his Word and his unconditional eternal Covenant.
What a day it shall be when the world sees Israel as the glorious fruit hanging
      upon the Branch of the Lord; a people cleansed, forgiven, beautiful and holy.

 
The Vineyard of the Lord  51-7       [Contents]

Isaiah sings the Lord's love song to a reluctant, resistant people;
a nation that was determined to go on in its own wicked way.
But the song reveals the terrible price that such rejection of the Lord brings.
After 2,700 years the love song is still being sung in Israel; and in UK;
even if only a very few have ears to hear God's offer of salvation.
Like many a minstrel's song it does not yet have a happy ending.

Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
 51-4

Why indeed?
How can men be so deaf, so disinterested, so blind to our need to be born again?
Jesus tells the story of the sower - it is another variation of his love-song.
The seed fell upon hard, stubborn ground;  shallow, unbelieving ground;
weed-filled, distracted ground;  but some also fell on hungry, fertile ground.
Is Almighty God going to just ignore such rejection?  No!  The song continues:
And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste.
It shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
 55,6

The land, the people, that Lord God loved would suffer the consequences.
They did not just reject God, but they scorned and ridiculed him!
They invented the false teaching of evolution and denied creation.
They ridiculed the judgement of the flood in Noah's day.
They legalised same-sex marriage and the mass murder of unborn babies.
So Almighty God removes his protection and men honour homosexuality.
This is a terrible price.
Man's arrogant folly almost completely drowns out the Lord's love-song.
Who are these men upon whom this justice and hardship falls?  
The Lord tells us in the final verse of his song.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
      and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting;
He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;
      for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!
 57

Please do not think that this is restricted to the Jewish people.
In the last 400 years we in UK have been given the scriptures in English.
God's truth has been plain for all to read.
And it trumped the lies of the Roman Catholic tradition.
So we have no excuse for not hearing and being included in the Lord's song.
We have had 4 centuries of opportunity to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Having given us the truth, God rightly looks for justice and righteousness.
But what does he see?  Wickedness!
Without a new heart, a new birth, men will always be
blind to both the consequence of sin and the opportunity of forgiveness
deaf to the gracious invitation of God for salvation
stubborn, arrogant fools!

 
Wickedness in Jerusalem  58-30       [Contents]

Isaiah tables the main areas of wickedness - and God's resulting action.
1. Greed, pride
Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field,
      until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone ...
 58

Not content with what they possessed, they always wanted more.
It is said that one of the Rothchild's was asked what it takes to bring happiness.
      He replied honestly, but sadly, "More, always a little bit more."
Advertising your prowess and achievement by a display of wealth,
      anything that is bigger and better than your neighbour. More 'stuff'.
The consequence is loneliness without any real satisfaction.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,
      for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
 Heb 133

If we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare,
into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
 1Tim 68,9

Give me neither poverty nor riches;  feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you ... or lest I be poor and steal
.  Prov 308,9

2. Drunkenness
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink,
      who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!  ...
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands. ...

Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge.  511,13 (22)

Excessive alcohol dulls the brain and is the cause of much sin.
      It always has and always will so long as men imbibe.
Often thought to be an escape from the drudgery of work or poor relationships,
      or a route to happiness / 'having a good time'.  
Neither achieve their goal.
Result:
      Poverty (e.g. 'Prodigal son')
      The Lord is marginalised
      'Exile!
Modern drugs are used for the same purpose and have same results - only more so.
The Lord God can deliver us from both alcohol and drugs;
but often the road is a tough one and some of the results remain permanent.

3. Deceit
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood.  518
Lies, pretence, intrigue. Nothing new here. It has always been used by leaders.
Politicians make promises they have no intention of keeping, and conversely
      they omit to reveal their real intentions.  Called 'economy of the truth'
But the Lord knows everything in their hearts and minds; and is not pleased.
Truth and honesty are always God's way.

4. Inversion of truth
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.  520
Similar to 'deceit', but this is not lying but actually believing evil is good!
No examples given by Isaiah here, but there are many in UK today.
      They say homosexuality is natural and good! God says it is an abomination.
      They say all religions are just different ways to the same god.
      But the Lord Almighty says,You shall have no other gods before me.  Exd 203

5. Proud
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!  521
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
-
      so how can the proud be wise?

6. Injustice
Woe to those ... who acquit the guilty for a bribe.  523
Such injustice may well bring personal gain,
      but the Lord, who sees all, will ensure the gain is only temporary.
      In eternity it will be seen as very foolish.

Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people.  525
This is the awful conclusion; the consequence of sin is God's judgement.
How will it be seen on earth?
He will raise a signal for nations far away,
      and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
      and behold, quickly, speedily they come! ...
Their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent,
Their horses' hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like the whirlwind.
Their roaring is like a lion.
 526-29
First the Assyrians came and devoured Israel and all Judah except Jerusalem.
      Then came the Babylonians, then Rome ... and now Muslim nations,
            and finally all the world!  
Take heed. God's warning is true, nor is it slow or hesitant.

 
Isaiah Commissioned by the Lord  61-13       [Contents]

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne.  61
Almighty God has met with many men throughout the Scriptures.
      Gen 38 522 69 173 182 2817 3226 Exd 36 Josh 514 ... Act 237
How did they react?  Many fell on their face, and like Isaiah, cried for mercy.

"Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips,
      and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
      for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!"
 65

Before the greatness of the Lord Almighty, they saw their own weakness and sin.
And God showed them his abundant grace and mercy.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal
that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said:
"Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."
 66,7

How kind of God to give Isaiah this personal assurance of forgiveness.
We all need this assurance; and God provides it in his Word.
      In believing him we are given assurance. Ps 130  Math 2628  Lu 168-79 33 2447
            Act 238 531 1043 1338 2618  Eph 17 Col 114
Joshua (the high priest) was given a similar assurance.  Zech 11-5
John Bunyan carried his burden of sin for a long time -
      until he believed God's Word.  Heb 725 2Co 129  James 213  Jn 637
      See his testimony in "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners".
It remains the ministry of the Holy Spirit
      to first convict us of sin, causing us to plead for mercy;
      and then to assure us of forgiveness because of the sacrifice of Christ.
Without this assurance of atonement Isaiah could never have become a prophet.

Hymns:  
Arise my soul, arise.  
Before the throne of God above.
I hear thy welcome voice.
He was pierced for our transgressions.

Almighty God then commissions Isaiah, but it is a strange commission.
      It seems to say, preach and prophesy so that the people do not hear!
"Go, and tell this people:
'Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.'
Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy,
and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart,
And return and be healed."
 69,10

Jesus quotes this when the disciple asked why he spoke in parables.  Math 1310-15
He told them that the secrets of the kingdom of heaven are given to some,
      but to others they are withheld .
      Whoever has will be given more, and he will have abundance.
      Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  Math 1311,12
Generally the people in Isaiah's day were wicked
      and did not have any real thirst for God and were heedless of his warnings.
      God's truth was thus taken from them.

Isaiah does not question this judgement of God; he only asks:
"Lord, how long?"
And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant,
      the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate ...
 611

With little relief the next 27 chapters (7-34) are God's Judgement
      upon wicked nations - both Israel and the surrounding countries.
So Isaiah's ministry begins with many years of prophesying desolation!
      Like Jeremiah a century later; it was not a pleasant prospect.
      But God knew his man; Isaiah was a faithful and obedient prophet.
            He did not complain because his message would be unpopular,
                  Nor that his country was destined to become 'utterly desolate'.
There was one consolation:
But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming,
      As a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down.
So the holy seed shall be its stump.
 613
So with Judah, it would not be completely extinguished,;
      though destroyed and exiled, they would return.
      The holy seed  that God had created would sprout again.
      In 536 BC the remnant of Judah returned to Jerusalem from Babylon.
      And again in 1947 Israel was recognised at the UN,
            2,000 years after being exiled by Rome.

 
Judah, Israel (Ephraim), Syria (Aram), Assyria   71 - 1019       [Contents]

The hand of Almighty God is seen in the complex politics of the day.
The story is told in 2Kgs 15-17 and 2Ch 27,28.
All the kings of Israel were evil.
      In 752 Zechariah took over from his father but only reigned for 6 months.
      He was murdered by Shallum who only lasted 1 month.
      He was murdered by Menahim, he lasted 9 years by bribing Tiglathpileser
            but Pekah, the army CO was the real power.  (of Assyria)
      In 743 Menahim's son was king for 2 years before being murdered by Pekah.
      During Pekah's reign, Assyria captures much of Israel.
            He defeats much of Judah and kills 120,000 men. God is angry.
      Pekah is murdered by Hoshea in 733, who became a vassal of Assyria.
      He after 8 years refused to pay tribute and sought help from Egypt.
      After 3 years siege of Samaria, Israel was defeated and exiled in 722.
In Judah, Azariah (Uzziah) reigned well and prospered till he became proud.
      Tried to burn incense on the altar so became a leper.
      Jotham, his son, governs for him. He did right in the eyes of the Lord,
            but the people did not.
      Ahaz became king in 735 but he was evil and made idols to Baal.
            He also burn his sons as an offering (? To Molech).
      He is defeated by Rezin (Aram) and Pekah (Israel) although their siege fails.
      Bribes Tiglathpileser (Assyria)  with Temple and palace treasures.
            Tiglath' captures Damascus (Aram) and kills Rezin.
      Ahaz copies altar of Damascus and replaces God's altar.  Very bad news!
In the midst of all this political and spiritual mess,
      Isaiah begins his prophetic ministry and tells us God's view - what matters.

The Lord said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, ...
and say to him: "Take heed, and be quiet;
do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands,
for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah.
Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying,
"Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, ... thus says the Lord God:
"It shall not stand, nor shall it come to pass. ...
If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established."
  73-9

Sadly Ahaz did not believe and refuses the offer of a sign. So ...

The land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.
      The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people.
      all the land will become briers and thorns.  716, 17, 24
And he did.
      In 701 BC Sennacherib destroyed all Judah except Jerusalem.
            Is 36  2Ch 32  2Kgs 19

This theme of Assyria's conquest of Israel and Judah is continued in Is 8. e.g.
The king of Assyria and all his glory ... He will pass through Judah,
      he will overflow and pass over, ...
      and will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.
"Be shattered, O you peoples, and be broken in pieces! ..."
 87-9

Some of the details /signs in Is 7 and 8 remain a mystery to me.

Is 9 brings hope of relief from the destruction by Assyria of both Israel and Judah.
A day will come when their darkness will be turned to light.

In Galilee of the Gentiles.
      The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
      Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
            Upon them a light has shined.
 91,2

How would this relief be achieved?
      For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.  96

But the child was to be no ordinary child,
      more special by far than Moses the deliverer from slavery.  Exd 22  Gen 1513
      This child would be the Son of God, born of the virgin.
            He would come to deliver man from sin and give them new life.

And even more than this -
      Isaiah is shown how he would establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called  Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
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.
 96,7a

This remains the glorious purpose of God for the future.
A day that Isaiah will continue to prophesy about for the rest of the book.
Note that it will be centred in Jerusalem, the throne of David.
But how will this come pass?  And when?

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.  97b

No man, no UN, no human power can achieve this,
      the turning of men from wickedness to righteousness.
      But Almighty God can, and will do so.  This is his firm promise.

The Lord sent a word against Jacob, ...
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria,
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
      "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones;
      The sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars."
Therefore the Lord shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him,
      And spur his enemies on, the Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
      And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.
For all this His anger is not turned away ...
For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them,
      nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
 98-13

Isaiah sends these words of the Lord to the proud, prosperous people of Israel.
      They were 'doing very nicely thank you', and saw no need for the Lord.
      But what a foolish way to live.  Ps 141-4
Some 500 years earlier before they entered Canaan Moses warned the people:
When the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers,
to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you ...
when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
It is the Lord your God you shall fear.
Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you
for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God
lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you,
and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
 Deut 610-15

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, ...
you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments ...
lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them,
and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied
and all that you have is multiplied,
then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery ...
Beware lest you say in your heart,
'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.'
You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth,
that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them,
I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish
.  Deut 87-19

So the repeated warning is clear.
The most gracious God also sent them 3 prophets - Isaiah, Amos and Micah.
The world longs for peace, family and work security, friendship, good health.
But in such days it is vital to bless the Lord, not forget him.

In the 70 years since WW2 'you've never had it so good Britain'
      has done exactly what Israel and Judah did -
      Almighty God is largely forgotten and discarded!
      His commandments are rejected as irrelevant in today's world.
      And we think it does not matter.
How can apparently sensible people be so stupid?
We don't have prophets today, but we do have the Scriptures in English.
      We do have a Christian heritage; we are not (yet) under Muslim domination.
      For over 450 years we have had a succession of godly ministers and preachers.
      We do have the historical work and witness of Jesus Christ himself
            as our Redeemer.
So we are also without excuse.

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
      and ... turn aside the needy from justice ...
What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth?
Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain.
101-4

The rich and powerful want more and are careless as to where it comes from.
Right from the beginning of Isaiah's ministry he was concerned about
      justice and righteousness; both were in short measure.
Thus he continues to warn the people about the day of punishment.
A day when the wicked would have no help
      and their gold could not buy any relief.
Almighty God declares that their future was to be either slavery or death.
But there are none so deaf as those that don't want to hear.
Neither Israel or Judah wanted to hear.

Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; ...
it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few; for he says:
"Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols as I have done to Samaria and her images?"
When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem,
he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria
and the boastful look in his eyes. For he says:
"By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom,
for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures;
like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones."
Therefore the Lord God of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors ...
the Lord will destroy, both soul and body.
 105-19

Assyria far exceeded God instruction to destroy Israel;
      so Almighty God would bring their pride and brutality to a swift end.
      It came some 30/40 years later when the Lord slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers
            in a single night in 701 BC. The story is told in Is 36,37.
The same judgement of God would come upon Babylon under Belshazzar
      for their arrogant blasphemy in a single night in 539 BC.  See Dan 5.
Never forget that pride and greed have their own tragic reward.

 
The Branch from Jesse 1020 - 126       [Contents]

In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob
will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return.
Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.
 1020-22

The first question was obviously when would In that day ... be fulfilled?
As with many prophecies, there is more than one fulfilment.
The first was in 701 BC when Almighty God destroyed Sennacherib's army.
      At that time Hezekiah and many of the people did call upon the Lord.
      Note that the return is essentially a return to the Lord, not from exile.
Then in 537 BC there was a return from Babylon and a return to the Lord,
      when they rebuilt the Temple under the leadership of Joshua and Zerubbabel.
      Completed in 516 exactly 70 years after its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar.
The final and greatest fulfilment will be in the last days.
      Today about half the world's ~10million Jews have returned to Israel,
            but not yet returned to the Lord - but God declares that they will!
Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: "O my people, who dwell in Zion,
be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod
and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did.
For in a very little while my fury will come to an end,
and my anger will be directed to their destruction."
 1024,25

As shown above, this was dramatically fulfilled in Isaiah's day. (See Is 36,37)

Then Almighty God reveals something of life under the rule of Christ.
      Life in the days of the 'Millennium'. Rev 204-6
We are shown the Jewish Jesus, the shoot from the stump of Jesse,
      The Branch, great David's greater Son.  Also seen in Zech 38,9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
      and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
      the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
      the Spirit of counsel and might,
      the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
      or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
      but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
      and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
      and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
      and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
      and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
      and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, ...
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain;

      for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord

What a wonderful day that will be!    And that's not all:

In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples
of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time ...
He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
 1110-12

Here we see that Almighty God will assemble the Jews from all over the world.
      Approx. 50% of the world's Jews currently live in the promised land, Israel.
In that day he will cause them to be honoured instead of hated by the world.
      They will see the falsehood of the people who call themselves 'Palestinians',
            and the Jews as 'illegal occupiers'.
      Before 1964 there were Jews and Arabs who lived in an area called Palestine;
            but there were no 'Palestinian' people. They are Arafat's ingenious lie.
We will see God's great creative power and faithfulness;
      his eternal, unconditional covenant with Abraham fulfilled.  
      See website 'Promise of Restoration'.

You will say in that day:
"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me,
      your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid;
      for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
      and he has become my salvation."
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:
Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name,
      make known his deeds among the peoples,
      proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
      let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
      for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."
 121-6

This is one of Scripture's most beautiful songs.
      It that day there will be so much joy and thanks to God.
      Almighty God will be honoured and obeyed.
      The world will see how great is the salvation he has wrought for men.
      We will know that our Creator and Saviour is the One we can wholly trust.
      Gone will be all hatred and deceit, all pride and greed.
      We will freely drink of the water he offers and never thirst again.  Jn 414
How will all this come about?
      It cannot be by the actions of men,
            but the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this. 97  3732
      And the world will no longer reject Israel because they reject the Almighty,
            but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be revered;
            for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
            Indeed so!

 
Judgement of All Nations  13 - 35       [Contents]

Babylon  131 - 1423       [Contents]

Isaiah was prophesying ~740-690 BC,
      Babylon did not come to power for over 100 years.
      Nabopolassar defeated Nineveh in 612 and Egypt+Assyria in 605 BC
      They remained a world power till 539 BC
Almighty God shows Isaiah events to be fulfilled some 2 centuries later.

The oracle concerning Babylon ...
The Lord of hosts is mustering a host for battle. They come from a distant land ...
Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;
      as destruction from the Almighty it will come! ...
Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
      to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light;
      the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.
I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity;
I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and ... the ruthless.
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
      and the earth will be shaken out of its place,
      at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger. ...
Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, ...
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendour and pomp of the Chaldeans,
      will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.
      It will never be inhabited or lived in for all generations
.  131-20

Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persians in 539 BC, but not destroyed.
Alexander the Great conquered it in 331 BC, he pulled down it's ziggurat (Babel),
      intending to rebuild it; but died.
Under Parthian rule in 141 BC  Babylon was deserted and forgotten.
During the Muslim conquest in 650 AD whatever was left was swept away
      and buried in the wind-blown sands.
Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of it's destruction.
But there is more to come!  See Rev 17, 18.
The woman on the beast, mystery Babylon the great,
the mother of prostitutes and the abominations of the earth.
I saw the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
 175,6
At the end 'Babylon' is destroyed by the Almighty God in a single hour!
What a great day of rejoicing!  Rev 191-10

In the middle of God's judgement upon Babylon, there is a word for Judah:

For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel,
and will set them in their own land,
and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
 141

God's promise to Abraham and his descendants is not forgotten; it is eternal.
      They remembered it during the exile to Babylon,
      And all through the 2,000 year exile after 70 AD.
      This is unique in world history - they even retained their Hebrew language.
In this verse there is a prophecy that some Gentiles will join the Jews
      and become part of God's chosen people. What grace.
      So different from the arrogant 'replacement theology' of some in the church.

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven;
      above the stars of God I will set my throne on high. ...
But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. ...
"I will rise up against them," declares the Lord of hosts,
"and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity," declares the Lord.
"And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water,
and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," declares the Lord of hosts.
 1412-23

'Day Star' is a title that truly belongs only to Christ,
      but Satan, the pretender, tried to snatch it - and failed!
Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world, would likewise be destroyed.
Today men have tried to restore part of the 'buried under the sand' old city.
In the last days we will see Babylon, Satan's throne, rise up
      and his vast wickedness spread throughout the world.
      But like the Babylon of old, it too will be destroyed by the Lord.  Rev 18.
Satan may be a prince for a moment, but he is never King - never!  Jn 1430 1611

 
Assyria>  1424-27[Contents]

As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,
      that I will break the Assyrian in my land,
      and on my mountains trample him underfoot ...
This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth,
      and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
 1424-26
In Isaiah's day the Assyrians were busy destroying Israel and most of Judah.
Their brutality became a legend.
      They enslaved/deported so many that they became 'the lost tribes of Israel'.
      They imported other ethnic groups, so the Samaritans became a mixed race,
            and were thus despised.
So Almighty God makes known his plan to Isaiah.
      Assyria, the superpower of his day, would be destroyed.

 
Philistia  1428-32       [Contents]

Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you, that the rod that struck you is broken.  1429
The Philistines were delighted to see Israel destroyed.
      Although Israel's destruction was God's just judgement for their wickedness,
            he was not glad, but deeply saddened.  Hos 118
Obadiah takes up this same theme in what the Sovereign Lord says to Edom:
But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune;
            do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin. ...
      For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.
      As you have done, it shall be done to you;
            your deeds shall return on your own head. ...
      And there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
            for the Lord has spoken.
 Obad 112,15,18

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
      when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him,
      until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me.  Mic 78,9

Today the Palestinians and many Muslims rejoice over any distress in Israel.
      How foolish. The Word of God will bring judgement to fall on all such.
      Ironic that they should wilfully take upon themselves the name of Philistia.
Amalek, Philistia (Gaza) and Edom have always sought Israel's destruction.
      The heart of the ongoing war between light and darkness, good and evil.
Almighty God declares that the day will come when Satan will be gone for ever,
      then there will be a new heaven, a new earth and war will be no more.
O God, I long with all my heart for that great day.
      When all God's plans will be completed,
            an all our dreams fulfilled according to your Word.
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!  Please!

 
Moab  151 - 1614       [Contents]

Moab is undone ... On every head is baldness; every beard is shorn;
      in the streets they wear sackcloth;
      on the housetops and in the squares everyone wails and melts in tears. ...
My heart cries out for Moab ...
The grass is withered, the vegetation fails, the greenery is no more. ...
We have heard of the pride of Moab how proud he is!
      of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence;
      in his idle boasting he is not right.
Therefore let Moab wail for Moab, let everyone wail.
The glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, ...
      and those who remain will be very few and feeble.
 151 - 1614

~100 years later Jeremiah prophesies against the pride of Moab.
And shortly afterwards Moab disappears from the historical record.
      It seems that its decline was gradual rather than a sudden military defeat.
      Edom (to the south) also declined because the trade route changed.
Extreme nationalism and pride are dangerous, and rarely last.

At the end of Jeremiah's prophecy comes the word:
"Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days," declares the Lord.
Jer 4847
Moab today is called Jordan (which also includes Ammon and Edom).
      What is the Lord's plan for Moab in the last days?

 
Damascus  171-14       [Contents]

Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins. 171

Clearly this has not yet been fulfilled.
But the current multi-sided civil war in Syria is far from over.
      Russia and the US are involved in the air and on the ground on opposite sides!

The fortress will disappear from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus;
      and the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel,
      declares the Lord of hosts. ...
At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more!
173, 14

Damascus and northern tribes of Israel will suffer the same judgement.

 
Cush  181-7       [Contents]

Cush is the area that today is southern Egypt, northern Sudan and Eritrea.
Ah, land of whirring wings that is beyond the rivers of Cush ...
For thus the Lord said to me: I will quietly look from my dwelling ...
      He cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks ...
      They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains ...
At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts
      from a people tall and smooth ...
      to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts.

Almighty God works out his ways sometimes with extreme events,
      and at other times 'quietly', slowly but surely.
Egypt used to have a thriving Coptic church but is now only ~12% of pop.
Eritrea is ~50% Christian, mostly Orthodox.
In 1984 Israel rescued ~8,000 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan in 'Operation Moses'.
      ~650 were flown to Israel in 1985 in 'Operation Joshua'.
      And a further 14,325 were flown to Israel in 1991 in 'Operation Solomon'.
      These 3 operations each had to be carried out secretly - 'quietly'.
      Are these people the precious 'tribute' rescued 'quietly' with 'whirring wings'
            and brought to 'Mount Zion' ?

 
Egypt  191 - 206, 31       [Contents]

I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight,
      each against another and each against his neighbour, ...
      and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, ...
      they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, ...
      and a fierce king will rule over them,
declares the Lord God of hosts. ...
The branches of Egypt's Nile will diminish and dry up, ...
      the fishermen will mourn and lament,
The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion.
 191-15

There was much infighting by local kings, not least by Nubians from the south.
In 671 Assyria defeated Egypt;
      followed in succession by Babylon, Persia Greece and finally Rome.
They would never be a major world force again.
Aswan dam completed 1970 was intended to prevent flooding and drought,
      and generates 15% of Egyptian electricity; but has many side affects.
The Suez Canal continues to be the country's main source of income.
Current Military and Muslin Brotherhood cause much national division.
The Christian Coptic church has a very rough time today.

But Isaiah's prophecy takes a sudden turn that has yet to be fulfilled.

In that day ... When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors,
he will send them a saviour and defender, and deliver them.
And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians,
and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering,
and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.
And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing,
and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt,
and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria,
a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying,
"Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."
 1916-24

Such a day seems so unlikely; how can Israel be one with Egypt  and Syria?
      And all one with the Lord?
      But God's Word is true; it will come to pass.
'In that day' x6 in this passage.
The Last Days will bring many surprises; both good and bad.
      Maybe the Church will come to understand and appreciate books like
            Revelation, Daniel and Zechariah, that currently lie dormant.
      And the world will witness the hand of Almighty God raising up Israel.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses,
      who trust in chariots because they are many
      and in horsemen because they are very strong,
      but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!
 301

The Lord of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem.
 304

The Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man;
      and a sword, not of man, shall devour him.  308

And the Lord did exactly that. In one night his angel slew 185,000!   3736
Egypt would not and could not help, but the Lord Almighty can and did.

 
Babylon  211-17       [Contents]

Fallen, fallen is Babylon;
      and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.  219b

Again Isaiah sees the future Babylon destroyed by the Lord.
      Both the literal Babylon surrounding the Euphrates,
      and the 'Mystery Babylon' of Revelation 18,19
      the Babel of man's extreme wickedness and pride,
      where Almighty God is ridiculed and all manner of evil is exalted:
One day the Sovereign Lord will destroy it all, fallen never to rise again,
      and coming down out of heaven will be a new Heaven and a new earth.

 
Jerusalem  221-25       [Contents]

Isaiah was shown that even Jerusalem would be destroyed;
      though it would not be until the Babylonians came to power.
It was 130 years later when Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.
      At the end of an 18 month siege, the leaders tried to escape.  2Kg 254-7

Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle.
All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured.
222,3

Almighty God would not rejoice at his necessary judgement of destruction.

Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labour to comfort me
      concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.
For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling
      and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls ...
He has taken away the covering of Judah. ...
You did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.
 224-11

God sent a succession of prophets to Jerusalem to save the city and people -
      Isaiah and Micah, then later Jeremiah, Zephhaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk.
      But they took no heed to the warnings of the Almighty.

In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning,
      for baldness and wearing sackcloth; and behold, joy and gladness,
      killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine.
      "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."
 2212,13

Such folly.  So costly.

Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. ...
In that day, declares the Lord of hosts,
      the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way,
      and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off,
      for the Lord has spoken.
 2217, 25

No massive defence expenditure will save Judah; nor will it save UK today!
      Our pride will soon be shattered by the Lord of Hosts.  It really will be!!
The waves of the sea are mighty and rage horribly,
      but the Lord who dwells on high is mightier.
 BCP Psalter 934

 
Tyre and Sidon  231-18       [Contents]

Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!  231

Is this your city of revelry, the old, old city?  237 (NIV)

The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory,
      to dishonour all the honoured of the earth.  239

In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king.
At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:
      "Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute!
      Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered."
At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages
and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.
 2315-17

The desolations of Tyre were not to be for ever. The Lord will visit Tyre in mercy.
But when set at liberty, she will use her old arts of temptation.
The love of worldly wealth is spiritual idolatry; and covetousness is spiritual idolatry.
This directs those that have wealth, to use it in the service of God.  (Matthew Henry)

Ezekiel (26-28) would prophesy against Tyre some 150 years after Isaiah.
Tyre would withstand a 13 year siege by Nebuchadnessar;
      but would eventually fall to Alexander and be destroyed in 332 BC.
Today it is a prosperous, but ungodly city.

 
The Whole Earth  241-23       [Contents]

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate. ...
The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants ...
      Therefore a curse devours the earth. ...
The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken.
On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven,
      and the kings of the earth, on the earth. ...
for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.


There will come a day when the whole earth will come under the judgement
      of the Lord God - and the judgement will be just.  See also Rev 2011-15

 
Death  25       [Contents]

On this mountain the Lord of hosts ... will swallow up death forever;
      and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
      and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
      for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
      "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
      We have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
 258,9

In the beginning God told Adam in the day that he sinned he would surely die.
      And he did. Not physically immediately, but spiritually.
      They were removed from Eden and from God's presence. That is death.
But in that day, the day that the Son of God died on the Cross,
      he bore our punishment and the judgement of death.
      This is what it cost to 'swallow up death'.
His gift to all who repent and believe is eternal life with him,
      and the end of all tears.
      Though for this we will have to wait a little longer!
This remains the sure Word of Almighty God, his promise given long ago.
'On this mountain',  Where?  When?
      God revealed the answer to Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 2.
      When the great kingdoms of the world are blown away like chaff,
            and the little rock becomes a great mountain, the glorious kingdom of God.
            The 'little rock' that was not hewn by human hand, but by the Lord God.
Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
      so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,
      will appear a second time, not to deal with sin
      but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
 Heb 927,28

 
Peace During Trials  26       [Contents]

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
      For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. ...
In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you;
      your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. ...
O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
      but your name alone we bring to remembrance. ...
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you;
      hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.
      For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
            to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.
 264-21

Our times may be difficult and we are surrounded by wickedness,
      but the Lord remains Sovereign, the Almighty.
It is a time to trust him, to be confident in his protection.
      So we may live in peace with God; even when the world is at war.

      O thou Almighty Lord,
      My Conqueror and my King!
      Thy sceptre and thy sword,
      Thy reign of grace, I sing:
      Thine is the power: behold I sit
      In willing bonds before thy feet.

      Should all the hosts of death,
      And powers of hell unknown,
      Put their most dreadful forms
      Of rage and malice on,
      I shall be safe; for Christ displays
      Superior power and guardian grace.

 
For and Against Israel/Judah  27-32       [Contents]

In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
      I, the Lord, am its keeper; every moment I water it. ...
In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom
      and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. ...
In that day a great trumpet will be blown,
      and those who were lost in the land of Assyria
      and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt
      will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
 272, 6, 13

When will this come to pass?
Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for,
      and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:
      when he makes all the stones of the altars
      like chalkstones crushed to pieces.
 279
Jacob will be redeemed when they cease worshipping idols.
In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
      and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people.
 285

It will only be to a remnant of his people;
      those who are willing to hear and repent.
Because they have rejected the words of God's prophets,
      Almighty God will first have to speak to them by foreign invading armies.

To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? ...
For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue
      the Lord will speak to this people, to whom he has said,
"This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose"; yet they would not hear.
And the word of the Lord will be to them
      precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
      line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,
      that they may go, and fall backward,
      and be broken, and snared, and taken.
 289,11-13

Truth will not be revealed suddenly, but gradually and surely.
Sometimes the start may come in a flash;
      and then God unfolds truth slowly, carefully, precept by precept.
      The Bible has 66 books divided into 1189 chapters (over 31,000 verses).

Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
      who rule this people in Jerusalem! ...
"Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
      a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
      'Whoever believes will not be in haste'." ...
For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him.
 2814,16, 26

Learn to be both zealous and patient with the Word of God.

Ariel (Jerusalem) ... in an instant, suddenly,
      you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
      with thunder and with earthquake and great noise.
 295,6

This is what the Lord planned and has planned for the future.
      But men will not hear the Word of the Lord;
            They are unwilling, deluded, hedonistic.
As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating
      and awakes with his hunger not satisfied.
 298

By rejecting Almighty God how can they find peace?
      Scoffing at his amazing creation and discarding his commands,
            why are they so surprised when family life falls apart.

And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed.
When men give it to one who can read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." ...
And the Lord said:
"Because this people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips,
      while their hearts are far from me,
      and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
      therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people,
            with wonder upon wonder;
      and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
      and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden."
 2911-14

Jesus made it clear to the religious leaders what he thought of them.  Math 23
Today he would probably say much the same about a supposedly Christian country
that legalises same sex marriage, murders 190,000 unborn babies/year,
supports a clearly blasphemous evil EU,
teaches lie of evolution as truth instead of Creation in schools,
leaders who use threat of 'terrorism' to advance their own power and dominion ... etc.

Where are the wise men?
Why are men so easily deceived?
Why is the Word of Almighty God ridiculed?

Isaiah gives us the answer - because their hearts are far from me.

Yet such is the grace of God that he has a plan to restore this evil world.
There will come a day when his kingdom will come on earth.

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book,
      and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
      and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease ...
2918-20

Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham,
      concerning the house of Jacob: "Jacob shall no more be ashamed ...
      And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding ..."
 2922,24
Meanwhile Judah was seeking help from Egypt for protection from Assyria.
      They should have sought help from Almighty God.
      Egypt would prove useless.

"Ah, stubborn children," declares the Lord, "who carry out a plan, but not mine,
      and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;
      who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction,
      to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
      and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame. ...
Egypt's help is worthless and empty.
 301-3.7

But the people did not want to hear God's warning.
      It would largely fall upon deaf ears. Like in Jeremiah's day; and today.
Isaiah was instructed to write it down.
      Historical proof of God's grace and man's stubbornness.

And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book,
      that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people, lying children,
      children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord;
      who say to the seers, "Do not see,"
      and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us what is right;
      speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,
 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
      let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel."
 308-11

How utterly foolish; to deliberately turn your back upon the Lord Almighty.
Of course there is a price to pay for such audacity.

Because you despise this word
      and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them,
      therefore this iniquity shall be to you
      like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,
            whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant. ...
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
      "In returning and rest you shall be saved;
      in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."
But you were unwilling.
 3012,13, 15

Even so, the Lord waits. He waits longing for the day when they would hear.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
      and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
 3018

Sometimes the Lord has to wait a long time
      for a man to realise the error of his ways and repent,
      or centuries for a nation to again turn to the Lord their God.
He knows and proclaims that the day will come ...

For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more.
He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.
As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it,"
when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Then you will defile your carved idols ...
in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people,
and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
 3019-22,26

Almighty God will surely bring judgement for their wickedness,
      but on that day he will also surely bring mercy and forgiveness.
In the story that Jesus told of the 'prodigal son';
      every day his father looked and longed for his son's return.
      Then the day came ...
God instructed Jonah to go and preach judgement upon wicked Nineveh.
      Eventually he obeyed.
      And when they repented, Almighty God was pleased to spare them
            even if Jonah wasn't!

In Isaiah's day we are told how Israel refused to listen to God's prophets,
      and were taken into permanent exile
As a nation Judah didn't listen either and were defeated by Assyria;
      all except Jerusalem, who under Hezekiah, pleaded and trusted God.
      So Almighty God slew 185,000 Assyrians in one night!
The history of the chosen people was a mix of wickedness leading to judgement,
      and repentance with God's immediate forgiveness and grace.
      See the book of Judges + Assyria, Babylon and Rome.
Today the Jews have been restored to their land,
      but as yet only a few to repentance. The day will come when
they will look on me, the one they have pierced and they will mourn. ...
On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David
and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness
.  Zech 1210 131

The day will come when all these gracious promises of God will be fulfilled:

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm,
      like streams of water in a dry place,
      like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
      and the ears of those who hear will give attention.
The heart of the hasty will understand and know,
      and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
The fool will no more be called noble,
      nor the scoundrel said to be honourable.
 321-5

We still look forward to such a good day.
All through the 2700 years since these words were prophesied
      there have been men and women whose eyes have been opened by the Lord,
      who have found living water and spoken noble words,
      but the day will surely come when all will do so!

Meanwhile:
Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones.  3211
Anyone who loses sight of the spiritual battle will soon become complacent
      and compromising of God's truth and righteousness.

Judah are therefor warned that:
      the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers.  3213

And so it will continue until the day of salvation comes.
Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
      and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
      and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
      and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
      and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
      in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
 3215-18

Isn't this what men long for, but cannot obtain because of the attraction of sin?
Isaiah continues to emphasise God's longing for righteousness, justice and truth.
Only then will men be able to live trusting in God and in peace with God.

 
Prayer for Righteousness and Justice  33       [Contents]

In the midst of judgement there is a cry for relief, for Almighty God.
This is always God's purpose in bringing judgement upon Israel and Judah.

O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.
 332

Such sincere prayer is rewarded with assurance that Almighty God also
      longs to fill the earth with righteousness and justice.
      And will do so in the day when he returns as King and Lord.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
      he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
      and he will be the stability of your times,
      abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
      the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure.
 335,6

Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty;
      they will see a land that stretches afar.
 3317

Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent,
      whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken.
But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams,
      where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass.
For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver ...
And no inhabitant will say, "I am sick";
      the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.
      the Lord is our king; he will save us.
 3320-22, 24

But such a day will only come for any individual or nation
when they first confess their sin and its consequence, their inability to change,
and the need to be born again; and above all receive the revelation that only Jesus can achieve this,
only his perfect sacrifice is sufficient for our forgiveness.
It will be on the day when
      they will look on me, the one they have pierced and they will mourn. ...
      On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David
            and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
      to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness
.  Zech 1210 131

 
Judgement upon All Nations, especially Edom  34       [Contents]

Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! ...
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host;

      he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.  341,2

Such a statement is rarely read from any pulpit today.
      Either they say God is love or he is irrelevant in today's world.
Very few, even in the church, see the end-time tribulation events
      as God's just judgement on an evil world.

For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
      upon the people I have devoted to destruction. ...
For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
      a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
      and her soil into sulphur; her land shall become burning pitch.
 345. 8,9

Why does Almighty God single out Edom?  Why does he hate Esau?  (Mal 12-5)
Esau (and his 'descendants' in every nation) are strong, 'macho' men.
      They are proud, humanist, self-sufficient.
      They see no need for God or his forgiveness.
      They deny his fantastic Creation and his judgement. 2Pe 33-7
      They think his commandments are worthless.
      They call evil good and good evil.  Is 520
      They have no idea that they are marching hand in hand with Satan,
            and thus are the enemies of God and all his kingdom.
Is it surprising therefor that Almighty God has devoted them to destruction ?
Note that we don't know when this will happen.
      And it is God who will judge them, not us.  Heb 1030

No one can or will escape the judgement of Almighty God.
      In the days of tribulation many will try; but all will fail.

 
Judgement for the Redeemed  35       [Contents]

All people will come under the Judgement of Almighty God.
It will be against the wicked,
      but for the redeemed whose names are in the Book of life.  Rev 2011-15
To some measure the redeemed shall see the kingdom of God in this world,
      but the complete fulfilment is not till later when Jesus returns. Then :
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
      the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
      it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. ...
They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
 352

Seeing the extent of wickedness today can lead to despair
      but the faithful Lord God guarantees the future, so we are encouraged now.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
      Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God.
      He will come and save you."
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
 355,6

In that day there will be no enemies of righteousness, no temptation!
No blindness, no deception, no lost hope; only the water of truth and life.

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
      the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
      even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
      they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
 358,9

In that day our joy will be complete - no more tears.

The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing;
      everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
      they shall obtain gladness and joy,
      and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
 3510

No one will croak or sing out of tune.
We will all rejoice together; even the style of singing will satisfy everyone!
Such will be our gratitude to Jesus.
All the dreams imparted by the Lord that have teased our imaginations,
      will on this day be fulfilled to a degree more than was thought possible.  Eph 320

 
Sennacherib Attacks Hezekiah, and the Lord God  36, 37       [Contents]

Assyria had destroyed and exiled Israel in 722 BC,
Now (701 BC) their king Sennacherib came against Judah and king Hezekiah.
      But he was no match against the mighty Assyrian army.
Hezekiah in Jerusalem had prepared well for a siege - walls, water and food.
      A long siege is frustrating and expensive, even for the Assyrians.
      So Sennacherib sought a 'political surrender', sent his deputy Rabshakeh.

Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria:
On what do you rest this trust of yours?
Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war?
In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?
Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff,
which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it.
Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.
But if you say to me, "We trust in the Lord our God,"
is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed,
saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, "You shall worship before this altar"?
Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria:
I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.
How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants,
when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it?
The Lord said to me, Go up against this land and destroy it.
[!]  364-10

Like many politicians - he lied and ridiculed Hezekiah's trust in Almighty God.
He pretended that God had told him to attack Jerusalem.
But there is only one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -
      the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      He is the Creator of all, the Great 'I AM', who always was and will be for ever.

After some disgusting threats the Rabshaketh continued his proud diatribe:

"Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.
Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord by saying,
"The Lord will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria:
Make your peace with me and come out to me.
Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree,
and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern,
until I come and take you away to a land like your own land,
a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, "The Lord will deliver us."
Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim?
Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand,
that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?"
 3614-20

Most foolish words - to compare tin-pot gods with the Lord Almighty.
And then proclaim that the Lord was no match to the king of Assyria!
      What audacity; what a stupid challenge.
      One he would later regret.
Hezekiah wisely had told his deputies not to answer him.
      (Kings speaks to kings, so he sent deputies to speak to deputies.)
      (This was excellent politics.)
Hezekiah then sent his sackcloth clothed ministers to Isaiah asking him to pray:
They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, 'This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace;
children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.
It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh,
whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God,
and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard;
therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left'."
 373,4

God had already told Isaiah his plan so he told them:

"Say to your master, 'Thus says the Lord:
Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard,
with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me.
Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land,
and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land'."
 376,7

And that is exactly what happened.
      Sennacherib heard that the king of Cush had come out to fight him,
            so he had to leave. But sent a final derogatory message to Hezekiah:

Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you
by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction.
And shall you be delivered?
 3710,11

Once again Hezekiah turn to the Lord in prayer.
      He spread out the letter before the Lord in the Temple and prayed:

"O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God,
you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see;
and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.
Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands,
and their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone.
Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord."
 3716-20

Hezekiah had done all he could, but it was nowhere near enough.
      It was now up the Lord Almighty to honour his own name
            and answer the very public challenge.

Isaiah reveals God's response:

1.  And this shall be the sign for you:
this year you shall eat what grows of itself,
and in the second year what springs from that.
Then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.
And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
 3730-32
Although the Assyrians had destroyed much of the land, Almighty God will care for his people.
They will not starve, but will survive, provided for by the Lord Almighty.

2.  "Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria:
He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there
or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it.
By the way that he came, by the same he shall return,
and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord.
For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David."
  3733-35

And this is exactly what the Lord Almighty did in one night.

The angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians.  3736

Sennacherib went home and two years later this great king was slain by his sons.
It is most unwise to challenge the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Hosts.
      God keeps his word and delights to save all who call upon him.
This incident is recorded in much greater detail than many others.

      None is like Jeshurun's God,
      So great, so strong, so high;
      Lo! he spreads his wings abroad,
      He rides upon the sky:
      Israel is his first-born son;
      God, the Almighty God, is thine;
      See him to thy help come down,
      The excellence divine.

      Thee the great Jehovah deigns
      To succour and defend;
      Thee the eternal God sustains,
      Thy Maker and thy Friend:
      Israel, what hast thou to dread?
      Safe from all impending harms,
      Round thee and beneath are spread
      The everlasting arms.
      (hymn from Deut 3326-29)

 
Hezekiah Given an Extra 15 Years  38, 39       [Contents]

Isaiah tells Hezekiah some unwelcome news: "Thus says the Lord:
      Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover."  381

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said,
"Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart,
and have done what is good in your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
 382,3

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: "Go and say to Hezekiah,
Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer;
I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.
This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised:
Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps."
So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.
 384-9

This sign is one of God's amazing events and without any physical explanation.
But Hezekiah did live for another 15 years.
How did he use these extra years of his life?
He showed visiting Babylonian envoys the wealth of the king and the Temple.
      Isaiah told him that it would all be taken to Babylon,
            but not in his lifetime.  391-8  2 Kgs 2012-21
Selfishly, Hezekiah was glad - 'pull up the ladder, Jack!'
His heart became proud. But he did repent when the Lord's wrath was on him.  2Ch 3225,26
Let us be sure to always use the time given us to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

 
Comfort for God's People Israel  40-45       [Contents]

After 23 chapters (13-35) of Judgement with only one not against Judah,
      God now brings his comforting word to his people.
      This word would apply to the faithful in Isaiah's day and in every age.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended,
      that her iniquity is pardoned,
      that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
 401,2

The people of Israel and Judah had generally been very wicked,
      but there were a few who were made righteous by the Lord.
All had suffered God's just judgement from Assyria,
      a century later they would do so from Babylon,
      and again 800 years later would do so from Rome.
As God's chosen people their punishment would be greater (double);
      traditionally the eldest son always received a double inheritance.
      Almighty God is revealing that they are still his chosen people.
How was their iniquity pardoned?
      Not by the people's resolution to try to be righteous.  Always fail.
      Not by the multitude of animal sacrifices.
      But only by the sacrifice of the coming Redeemer,
            The One to whom the animal sacrifices pointed.
The day would come when Christ would be crucified and cry 'It is finished!'
      And their pardon had been earned, the punishment completed.
      Then all warfare would be ended, and true peace with God achieved.
      Not like the uncertain treaties of men
            that are 'founded on fear, and honoured when convenient'.
      This covenant of the Lord Almighty is complete and eternal.
      Such words of truth really are a comfort.
            ('Comfort' is from Latin 'cum fortes' - i.e. like a strong fortress)

      Not all the blood of beasts
      On Jewish altars slain
      Could give the guilty conscience peace
      Or wash away the stain.

      But Christ, the heav'nly Lamb,
      Takes all our sins away;
      A sacrifice of nobler name
      And richer blood than they.

Isaiah again sees and cries the distant completion of God's plan:

A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."  403-5

The day is coming when the Lord God will return;
      not as a 'Suffering Servant', but as 'King of Kings'
Note it is 'every' valley and 'every' mountain, and 'all' flesh.

Today (as then) we need to see what endures, what lasts for ever.

A voice says, "Cry!"
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
      surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades,
      but the word of our God will stand forever.
 406-8

All of God's Word will stand for ever.   Every word of God is flawless.  Prov 305
It is vital that the church should not just emphasise the parts they like,
      and ignore, if not reject, what is publicly unpopular.
            e.g. Judgement, homosexuality, Sabbath, multi-faith, why the Cross ...

Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; ...
Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
      Behold, the Lord God comes with might. ...
      He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
            he will gather the lambs in his arms.
 409-11

The coming of the mighty Lord God is 'good news' indeed,
      especially when his coming is to shelter the poor and the weak.
2,000 years ago he came bringing salvation for his people;
      Soon he will return as our glorious King.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
      and marked off the heavens with a span ...
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
      or what man shows him his counsel? ...
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
      and are accounted as the dust on the scales.
 4012-15

Let us try to have a right perspective and see the true greatness of our God.
All the super-powers that have strutted the earth are like a drop of water!
The mighty Himalayan mountains are like a little bit of dust to him!
The extraordinary distant galaxies seen in Hubble pictures are a hand's width!
Isaiah did not have an electron microscope to see the structure of atoms,
      or the detailed construction of each tiny cell in the human body.
      But this too Almighty God designed and made from nothing.
All molecules (both organic and inorganic) are made from varying numbers
      of just 118 atoms (elements).
He did not discover gravity, magnetism, electricity, nuclear energy (the Sun),
      water, temperature, light, colour, life ... he devised it all and he created it.
Such simplicity and complexity, such beauty and variety.
He knows and cares about every one of the 7 billion people now on earth.
He knows everyone who ever lived, and all those as yet unborn!
He knows every thought and every act of man.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?
He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
 4026

He determines the destiny of us all. No one is overlooked or discounted.
Some thought that Almighty God either did not see, or didn't notice them.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"?
 4027

The prophet answers this complaint:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
      but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
      they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
      they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
 4028-31

Almighty God is pleased to strengthen the weak, sick, feeble and tired.
Therefor let us wait upon the Lord with patience, confidence and gratitude.

 
Fear Not - Almighty God Controls Nations  41       [Contents]

Listen to me in silence, O coastlands ...
Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step? ...
I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.
 411-4

The people of Isaiah's day may well have asked why the Lord, the God of Israel,
      allowed Assyria to destroy so much of his chosen Israel and Judah.
The simple answer is that they had largely abandoned the Lord God,
      and this was his just judgement.
But this was not the end of the story.
      His covenant with Abraham is unconditional and eternal.

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off";
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 418-10

Hezekiah and Isaiah in Jerusalem led the people to trust in the Lord their God.

Behold, ... those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. ...
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."
Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. ...
And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
 4111-16

The Lord God of Israel has not, and never will, abandon his people.
Again and again in Israel's history they have survived with the help of the Lord.
See the book of Judges, Six Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Assyria, Babylon and Rome did not completely destroy the Jewish people.
Neither will the Muslims do so today.

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together,
that they may see and know, may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.
 4117-20

This remains the promise of Almighty God,
      faithful and full of practical compassion.

      O let me hear thee speaking in accents clear and still,
      Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will;
      O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control;
      And speak to make me listen, thou Guardian of my soul.

      O Jesus, thou hast promised to all who follow thee
      That where thou art in glory there shall thy servant be;
      And, Jesus, I have promised to serve thee to the end;
      O give me grace to follow my Master and my Friend.

 
1st 'Servant Song'  421-9       [Contents]

Each of these sing about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
How he had to 'stoop to conquer' to achieve the victory over man's sin.  Phil 28
      Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man.
Man had to be redeemed, his sin had to be punished by death,
      and the blood had to be perfect.
Thus, only Christ could bring forgiveness and a new birth for men.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. ...
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
      till he has established justice in the earth. ...
Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
"I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
 421, 4-6

Jesus declared, "I am the light of the world."  Jn 812 95
He brought truth, righteousness and justice to this dark world.
His work was effective; the blind did see, and prisoners were released.
      Such is his continuing mercy and grace.
There is therefor good reason to give thanks to the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth ...
Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
      let them shout from the top of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands.
The Lord goes out like a mighty man, ...
      he shows himself mighty against his foes.
 4210-13

Our enemy is stronger than we are, but much weaker than the Lord our God.
It is the Lord Almighty who fights for us.

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
 4216

Our glorious God is both compassionate and faithful.
But there was a problem in Isaiah's day; just as there is today -
Men are often deaf and have no interest in hearing the offer of the Lord,
or of seeing our great need for him.

Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see! ...
Who among you will give ear to this,
      will attend and listen for the time to come?
 4218,22

So the Lord had to punish his people.
Though even this did not turn many back to the Lord. (See also Amos 46-13)

Who gave up Jacob to the looter, and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
      in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey?
So he poured on him the heat of his anger and the might of battle;
      it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
      it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.
 4224,25

Why are men so stubborn, so blind to the eternal consequence of sin,
      so complacent and arrogant to ignore the words of the Almighty?
Our Creator and Redeemer only wants to save us!

 
Israel Chosen by Their Only Saviour  43,44       [Contents]

In spite of their sinfulness, God reminds them of his eternal covenant with them.

But now thus says the Lord,
      he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
      and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
      when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
      and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
 431-3

Almighty God tells Israel not to afraid;
      even when they have to pass through water and fire.
He guarantees that in the just punishment for their sin, it would not be the end.
He will also be their Saviour!
Why should he bother?
He tells them the simple reason.

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you.  434

Though God would even send them into exile currently under Assyria,
      and later under Babylon and then Rome, he would bring them home again.
Today he is doing exactly that; much to the chagrin of the world powers.
      The Jews are returning to their own homeland, Biblical Israel.

Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
 435-7

But the world is blind to the actions of Almighty God
      because they despise and reject their Creator and Lord.

Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!
All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble.
 438,9

Yet there in the middle of the hostile Arab ME is Israel, God's ancient people,
and even speaking Hebrew - their ancient language.
Israel today is his witness to a wicked world
      and proof of his indestructible prophetic written Word.

"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no saviour. ...
Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?
 4310,11, 13

Men who today try to divide the land will pay a high price.  Joel 32

Isaiah lived a century before Nebuchadnessar became a super-power
and took the sinful people of Judah captive to Babylon. (605, 596 and 587 BC)
But God even then gave them assurance that they would return.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"For your sake I send to Babylon and bring them all down as fugitives, ...
I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. ...
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ...
for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.
 4319-21

In 536 BC God did bring them home, they did rebuild the Temple,
      and they did praise their good and faithful God.
Today they have returned again, but as yet only a few praise God.
But the day will come when they will do so and fulfill this prophetic word.

Although surrounded by evidence of the gracious kindness of God,
      they did not, and still do not cling to the Lord God of Israel.

Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
      but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, ...
      or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
      you have wearied me with your iniquities.
 4322-24

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
      and I will not remember your sins.
Put me in remembrance; let us argue together;
      set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
Your first father sinned, and your mediators transgressed against me.
Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary,
      and deliver Jacob to utter destruction and Israel to reviling.
4325-28

How could God forgive sin if there was no repentance?
So in 586 BC God destroyed the Temple and sent the Jews into exile.
That generation never returned.
Without Jesus Christ there is no redemption, not even for the 'chosen people'.
But the love song of the Lord for Israel continues - it never ends!

"But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
      who formed you from the womb and will help you:
Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, 'I am the Lord's,' another will call on the name of Jacob,
and another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,'
and name himself by the name of Israel."
441-5

Jeshurun is a special name for Israel, only used by God here
      and in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy. (Deut 3326)
      The Hebrew for 'upright one', 'beloved one'.
The tender love and compassion of the Lord is amazing.
We find the same song is repeated throughout the Old and New Testaments.

There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.
The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, 'Destroy.'
So Israel lived in safety, Jacob lived alone,
in a land of grain and wine, whose heavens drop down dew.
Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord.
 Deut 3326-29

My people are bent on turning away from me, ...
But in the next verse
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel? ...
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
 Hosea 117,8

"In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen ...
I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,"
says the Lord your God.
Amos 911,15

Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
 Is 51,2

When Almighty God makes a covenant, he keeps it - for ever.
And he again declares that Israel is a witness for the Sovereign Lord
      and his faithfulness and power to redeem.

Thus says the Lord, 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.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
446-8a

 
No Other God  448b-20       [Contents]

Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any."
All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit.
The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. ...
He cuts down cedars, ... he takes a part of it and warms himself; ...
He makes it an idol and falls down before it. ...
Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"
He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray,
and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"
 448b-20

The Lord makes clear the futility and the delusion of idols.
They are not just iron or wood.
Today they are wealth, sportsmen, sex icons, TV, even yachts and motorcars!

 
Only the Lord Can Redeem 4421-28       [Contents]

Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it ...
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.
 4421-23

What does the Lord want us to remember?
Jacob was chosen by the Lord to be his people, his witnesses on earth.
Even when they fail (and like all of us, they have) they will never be forgotten.
Jesus Christ has already come as Redeemer to blot out all sin.
'It is finished' was his cry on the Cross. His work was completed.
This does not mean that every Jew is 'born again' and saved.
Like Gentiles, we all need to believe in Jesus.
But the day will come when all Israel will 'look upon him whom they pierced'.
They will be 'cleansed from all sin and impurity'.  Zech 1210 131
And their weeping will be turned to gratitude and joy.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb:
"I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens ...
who confirms the word of his servant ...
who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited,' ...
who says to the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers';
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'.
saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,'
and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'
 4424-28

1½ centuries later Cyrus defeated Babylon by diverting the Euphrates river.
      He then sent the Jews back home to Jerusalem.
      There they rebuilt the Temple; completed in 536BC exactly 70 years
            after it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar - as Jeremiah prophesied.
When Isaiah wrote this, Babylon had not even risen to power.
The Lord knows exactly what happened 1,000 years ago,
      and exactly what will happen 1,000 years from now!
All time is known to the great 'I AM', and every detail of life he created.

 
Cyrus - Anointed by God !  45       [Contents]

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
      whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations ...
I will give you the treasures of darkness ...
      that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
      the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
 451,3

It may seem strange that Almighty God should chose a Persian king, Cyrus.
But he is not the first such man to be called to do his bidding:
      'My servant Nebuchadnezzar ...'  Jer 259
Although not specifically recorded, it is highly probable that Daniel would have
      shown this scroll of Isaiah to Cyrus and pointed to his name. Why?
      Because God wanted Cyrus to know that he had called him by name!

For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
 454-6

The Sovereign Lord wanted Cyrus to know:
1.      There is no other God.
2.      That Israel are God's chosen people.
Cyrus wisely submitted to the revealed plan of the God of Israel;
      he released the Jews from slavery in Babylon and sent them home.

Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: ...
I have stirred him (Cyrus) up in righteousness, and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward," says the Lord of hosts.
 4511,13

The Sovereign Lord is king over all the earth.
His decisions are final. No one can stop them. See also Prov 1921
'Pastors Wife' to camp commander ...

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens ...
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, Seek me in vain.'
I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right. ...
Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other. ...
Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him.
In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.
 4518-25

This has always been the purpose of the Lord - to save men for his kingdom.
The day will come when all Israel shall be saved.  Ro 1126,27  Is 5920

 
Israel and the Idols of Babylon  46, 47       [Contents]

Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; ...
They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden,
      but themselves go into captivity.
 461

Isaiah prophesies that the idols of Babylon will not save their mighty empire.
And they didn't. Babylon lasted just 66 years - from 605 to 539.
It would end on the night that Belshazzar ridiculed Almighty God,
      when he drank wine from the cups from the Jewish Temple. Dan 5

When Isaiah was writing it was Assyria that was destroying Israel.
But Almighty God was revealing to him about events to happen a century later.
At a time when another nation, Babylon, would rise and defeat Assyria (605 BC)
It was mighty Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, who worshipped these gods;
      and he would also make a huge gold statue to worship. Dan 3
Isaiah was warning his own people of the futility of worshipping idols.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel,
      who have been borne by me from before your birth,
      carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he,
      and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. ...
Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales,
      hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
      they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble.
Remember ... I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
      declaring the end from the beginning.
      saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.
 463-10

Idols can do nothing.
They are demonic superstition; and thus trouble!
But Israel would not listen to the prophet of God.

Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.
4612,13

In the plan of God, salvation would come right on time, 600 years later !
But now, 2600 years later, Israel awaits to be seen as the glory of God.
This promise from the Almighty will also be fulfilled.
Babylon was destroyed; its gods were utterly useless.
      And they had treated God's chosen people badly.

O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. ...
I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one. ...
I was angry with my people; I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand; you showed them no mercy;
      on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
You said, "I shall be mistress forever,"
      so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end.
Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely,
      who say in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children":
These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day;
      the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure,
      in spite of your many sorceries.
 465-9

And it did. Babylon was overthrown in a single night!  Dan 530
All their boasting and false confidence vaporised.
In the last days this would be repeated when the harlot of Babylon,
      who makes the same boast, would be destroyed in a single hour,
      judged by Almighty God and never to be seen again. Rev 18.

It was a most relevant warning then; and it remains so today.
The Word of God never loses its vital thrust and message.

You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, "No one sees me";
      your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
      and you said in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me."
But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away;
      disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone;
      and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.
 4610,11

There is no one to save you.  4615     7 words of horrific truth!

 
God's Word to a Stubborn People  48-51       [Contents]

Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, ...
      who swear by the name of the Lord and confess the God of Israel,
      but not in truth or right. ...
From of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
      and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
 481,8

How does Almighty God deal with such a people;
      they are still his chosen people with whom he has a covenant?

Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.
My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
      and my right hand spread out the heavens; ...
Assemble, all of you, and listen!
 4812-14

Israel first needed to hear what the Lord, the great Creator has to say.
To hear with a purpose of responding, not arrogantly opposing it.

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 in the way you should go.
Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
      and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. ...
"There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked."
 4817,18,22

No peace with God and no peace with the world - only continuous war.
For almost 70 years the UK has been spared all-out war;
      but across the globe it has been a very different story.
In 2014 the world spent (mis-spent) just over £ 1,100 billion on arms!
      Just imagine what could be achieved if we could live in peace.
Even though Israel had largely turned their backs upon the Lord,
this is what he said to them:

Listen to me, O coastlands, ...
"You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified. ...
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
491,3,6b

Why?

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, ...
"because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
497

      O the love that drew salvation's plan,
      O the grace that brought it down to man,
      O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
      Mercy there was great and grace was free,
      Pardon there was multiplied for me
      There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

In the 1st century Paul and the 11 Apostles took the Gospel to the Gentiles.
This was always God's plan.
And at the end the Jews will turn to the Lord and be honoured by the world.
The faithful, gracious God will be seen to fulfill his plan for the chosen people,
      and for all those who believe in Jesus who have joined them.
The hand that drew salvation's plan is so skilled, powerful and tender.
Almighty God's plan for Israel includes the promised land.

Thus says the Lord:
"In a time of favour I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages.
 498

This inclusion of land in God's plan may come as a surprise to many.
Especially to those who do not yet even see the reality of God restoring the Jews.
Ezekiel would be shown the vision of the valley of dry bones.
He was told to prophesy to the bones which came rattling together.
Then he was told to prophesy to the breath, and the bones came to life.
But the next final part is too often neglected or misunderstood:

Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord."  Ezek 3711-14

Why do we so readily neglect such amazing prophecy?
Why do so few Gentile Christians rejoice in this truth?
Many claim all the repeated promises of restoration of Israel for themselves.
Although God's covenant with Abraham is an eternal covenant,
      they dismiss it and say it terminated in AD 33, (Gen 127 1315)
      and all that remains is "ethnic Israel".
But this portion of Isaiah emphasises the faithfulness of God. 497

Almighty God really is going to fulfill this -
      the restoration of Israel, his chosen people.

At the time of writing the 10 northern tribes of Israel had been exiled by Assyria.
And most of the cities of Judah had also been destroyed. Jerusalem was spared.
The people had largely turned to other gods and were paying the price.
Although Almighty God was punishing them he was still faithful to his covenant.
So the prophet declared his compassion:

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
      break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
      and will have compassion on his afflicted.
 4913

But to the people it seemed a different story:

But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me."  4914

The Lord replied:
Can a woman forget her nursing child,
      that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. ...
Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land -
surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants,
      and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
 4915,16,19

And more - in the day when you are taken away, you will return:
Thus says the Lord God:
"Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples;
      and they shall bring your sons in their arms,
      and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. ...
      for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.
Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Saviour, and your Redeemer,
      the Mighty One of Jacob.
 4922,25,26

The time of just punishment was not a time to reject the Lord God,
      but to return to him in repentance.

God's prophets were proclaiming the same message in Israel:
Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
      and bring her into the wilderness,
      and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
      and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth.
 Hosea 214,15

"I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," declares the Lord. ...
In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen ...
I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, ...
I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted
      out of the land that I have given them," says the Lord your God.
 Amos 98,11,14,15

Such is the grace and kindness of Almighty God.
He delights to forgive and restore fallen men and give us new life in Jesus.
However, the Lord makes it clear that sin must be punished,
      and continued wickedness always has a price - even exile.

Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
      and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
Why, when I came, was there no man;
why, when I called, was there no one to answer?  501,2

But there were, and still are, some who daily seek the Lord and hear his call.
The Lord turns our rebellion into longing for him and a desire to serve.

Morning by morning he awakens;
      he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
      and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.  504,5

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord:
      look to the rock from which you were hewn ...  511

The Rock is Jesus and his kingdom, his life freely given to us.
It is hand forged by him, not by the hand of any man. See Dan 244,45

For the Lord comforts Zion;
he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, ...
joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.  513

Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law;
      fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
      and the worm will eat them like wool;
      but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations. ...
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing;
      everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
      they shall obtain gladness and joy,
      and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ...
I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar --
      the Lord of hosts is his name.
And I have put my words in your mouth
      and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
      establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth,
      and saying to Zion, 'You are my people.'  513-16

Again and again the Lord comforts his people and turns their sorrow into joy,
their despair into hope, their doubt into trust because the Lord is faithful.
The Creator and Saviour of the world assures us we are his people.

      Jesus, the name high over all,
      In hell, or earth, or sky;
      Angels and men before it fall,
      And devils fear and fly.

      Jesus! the name to sinners dear,
      The name to sinners given;
      It scatters all their guilty fear,
      It turns their hell to heaven.

 
Christ, Pierced for our Transgressions  52,53       [Contents]

Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city;
for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. ...
For thus says the Lord:
"You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money." ...
Therefore my people shall know my name.
Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am."
 521,3,6

In that glorious day when the Lord shall return to his people,
      what will be the result?
All the war-weary, Tribulation-suffering world crying under the rule of the Beast,
      will hear and see the good news;
      that the glorious, faithful God of Israel has restored his people,
      and has established his righteous kingdom on earth.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,
      who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
      who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
The voice of your watchmen -- they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy;
      for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem,
      for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations,
      and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ...
For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
  527-10,12

The repentant, cleansed Jews will not be the only people rejoicing.
Gentile believers will rejoice with them that the Lord God has returned
      and has established his kingdom of righteousness and truth over all the earth.
They will also rejoice for the people of Israel;
      that Almighty God has fulfilled his covenant with them,
      and has restored them and is enthroned in Jerusalem.

      They all were looking for a king
      To slay their foes and lift them high.
      Thou camíst a little baby thing
      That made a woman cry.

It is wonderful, even easy, to see the glorious Messiah coming as King.
But to come as a servant, despised, wounded and devoid of all majesty -
      that is quite a different matter, and unexpected.
Though it should not have been.  Lu 2425,26

Isaiah is here shown what God had planned from the beginning -
      How could sinful men stand before a holy God?
      There had to be a punishment, a perfect sacrifice for sin to be forgiven.
Abel realised that even his best was not good enough.
Abraham was shown that God would provide a better sacrifice than Isaac.
All the Temple best sheep, goat, bull, pigeon sacrifices had to be repeated.
All the men of faith died seeing what was promised only in the distance.  Heb 11
They all pointed to Christ:
      'the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world'.
For 4,000 years they had to await the day when John Baptist would announce:
      "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  Jn 129
But the Passover 'Lamb of God' had to be sacrificed - crucified.
Almighty God reveals this truth so clearly to Isaiah.

Behold, my servant ... his appearance was so marred ...
      he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
      and no beauty that we should desire him.
 5213,14,  532

"Behold !"   God puts Jesus on centre stage; top of the list, first priority.
Stop what you are doing and listen. Nothing is more important.
He is about to reveal that the Messiah was coming to deal with sin.
And it would be in a manner totally unexpected.
The Messiah would be despised, rejected, tearful -
      but it would not stop him completing the work he came to do.
Indeed, it would the very means by which he could fulfill it.

He was despised and rejected by men;
      a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
      and as one from whom men hide their faces
      he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 533

Why would he have to endure such humiliation?
One very simple reason - he did it for us, on our behalf;
      because no sinful man can make a perfect sacrifice.
For God has declared that:
      Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  Heb 922
Justice demands that sin must be punished.
God makes the rules and God himself bears the punishment.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
      yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
      upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
      and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned -- every one -- to his own way;
      and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
 534-6

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
      like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
      and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
      so he opened not his mouth
.  537

Jesus, the Lamb of God, never complained at the task he was given.
He cried out in the garden in case there might be another way;
      but he knew there wasn't and submitted to the will of his Father.
Hanging on the Cross he laid down his life for us and cried out:
      'It is finished'.  Jn 1930   His amazing work was complete.

And they made his grave with the wicked
      and with a rich man in his death,
      although he had done no violence,
      and there was no deceit in his mouth.
 539

Every detail was fulfilled 600 years after this was prophesied.
Jesus was crucified with 2 criminals.
Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea's sepulchre.
Jesus always spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
      The emblem of suffering and shame;
      And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
      For a world of lost sinners was slain.

      O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
      Has a wondrous attraction for me;
      For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
      To bear it to dark Calvary.

      In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
      A wondrous beauty I see,
      For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
      To pardon and sanctify me.

When his soul makes an offering for guilt,
      he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
      the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
      by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
      make many to be accounted righteous,
      and he shall bear their iniquities.
 5310,11

The will of the Lord did indeed prosper
      and Jesus does even today see many offspring accounted righteous.
He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;
      yet he bore the sin of many,
      and makes intercession for the transgressors.  5312

His offering was not half-hearted, but 'poured out' unsparingly.
And his work continues today.
Although his sacrifice is complete, he now intercedes for us.
'He pours effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me'.

      Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
      The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
      Before the throne my surety stands,
      My name is written on His hands.

      He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
      His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
      His blood atoned for all our race,
      And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

      Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
      They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
      "Forgive him, O forgive," they cry,
      "Nor let that ransomed sinner die!"

      The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
      He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
      His Spirit answers to the blood,
      And tells me I am born of God.

Our Attorney in heaven does not try to plead our innocence; we aren't.
He admits our guilt, but has volunteered to take the punishment we deserve.
      It is 'paid in full'. Justice is thereby satisfied.
      The guilty prisoner is thus set free.
      Our sins are blotted out, never to be seen again.
On the day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest prepares two goats.
      One he kills as the sin offering.
      The other has all the sins laid on his head and is taken out into the desert.
This instruction for the annual feast given in Lev 16
      accurately prophesies the gracious atoning work of Christ on our behalf.

 
God's Eternal Covenant with Israel  54       [Contents]

Isaiah reminds Israel that Almighty God will keep his covenant.
Their just punishment is temporary; the covenant is eternal.

"Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
      break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labour!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
      than the children of her who is married," says the Lord. ...
Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; ...
      and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name;
      and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
      the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
      like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you,
      but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,"
      says the Lord, your Redeemer.  541,4-8

God views marriage as a permanent relationship.
      And he declares: 'Your Maker is your husband.'

"The mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
      but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
      and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,"
      says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  5410

"O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold ...
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
      and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
      you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear ...
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed ...
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
      and their vindication from me, declares the Lord."  5411-17

Peace and righteousness will characterise his kingdom and reign;
Meanwhile we are assured that in persecution God will protect our souls.
In today's affliction he will give us fortitude, faith and his presence.

      Peace, perfect peace, in this dark word of sin?
      The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

      Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
      To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

      Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
      On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.

      Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
      In Jesus' keeping we are safe and they.

      Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
      Jesus we know, and he is on the throne.

      Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
      Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.

      It is enough; earth's struggles soon shall cease,
      And Jesus calls us to heaven's perfect peace.

 
God's Invitation to All Who Are Thirsty  55,56       [Contents]

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
 551

The Lord's invitation is to all -- Jew and Gentile.
The only criteria is thirst, a longing for God.
      To be like Jacob, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.'  Gen 3226
The invitation is to buy without money.
      There is nothing I can do or give to deserve God's forgiveness
            or his gifts of new birth, righteousness or eternal life.
The woman who anointed Jesus was expressing her gratitude for the forgiveness
      she had already received; it was never an attempt to buy it!
But the rich ruler who refused to sell all and follow Jesus went away sad.  Lu 1823
Jesus taught about the cost of being a disciple:
      any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.  Lu 1433
So the invitation is priceless! It costs us nothing and yet costs us everything.

            Nothing in my hand I bring,
            Simply to thy cross I cling;
            Naked come to thee for dress;
            Helpless look to thee for grace:
            Foul, I to the fountain fly;
            Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

Our salvation is entirely by faith in what Jesus has done for us on the Cross.
Many people seek fulfilment with wealth and without God;
      but they will not find it.

Jesus tells two parables about the kingdom of heaven where a man found treasure
      or a fine pearl and sold everything to buy it.  Math 1344,45
This is not about being able to buy our way into the Kingdom of heaven,
      but about seeking God more than anything else, an over-riding priority.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
      and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, ... incline your ear, and come to me;
      hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant.
 552,3

The Lord is so gracious, so willing to pour out his mercy upon us.
All he asks is that we come to the end of ourselves, our self sufficiency.

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
      let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
      let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
      and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 556,7

And Almighty God tells us to seek him now, not tomorrow,
      not some day when I have more time, but now.
Not 'let me first go and bury my father or say goodbye to my family'.  Lu 957-62
Jesus told a parable about a man who invited guests to a banquet.
      Three made clearly ridiculous excuses. What is our invitation reply?
It can be too late.
Our gracious God earnestly desires to 'abundantly pardon' us.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
      knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds,
      and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
 Lu 119,10
The invitation is to 'everyone', not just a favoured few.

Almighty God also instructs the wicked to forsake his old way.
      This is not another 'new year resolution' doomed to fail.
      But he will give the repentant man new birth and enable a transformation.
And it is not only what we do, but what we think.  e.g. Math 522,28
We need to learn a completely new way of life and motivation.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 558,9

Indeed they are. After more than 50 years as a Christian
      I still struggle to transform my thoughts and my deeds.
Paul tells us: Do not be conformed to this world,
      but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
      that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
      what is good and acceptable and perfect.
 Ro 122
Our God has promised to complete the work he has begun in us.  Phil 16
As he told Isaiah:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
      and do not return there but water the earth,
      making it bring forth and sprout,
      giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
      so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
      it shall not return to me empty,
      but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
      and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
 5510,11

It is by the Word of God, the scriptures, that he has chosen to bring forth fruit in us.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
      instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
      an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
 5513

Instead of wicked thoughts, revenge, greed, envy ...
Almighty God will slowly and patiently exchange the thorn for the cypress.
A tall, beautiful, fragrant, strong tree that will glorify his name on earth.
Our God is so kind and generous in his gifts.

The Lord God Also Gathers Foreigners

Thus says the Lord: "Keep justice, and do righteousness,
      for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed. ..."
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
      "The Lord will surely separate me from his people ..."
"I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. ...
And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
      to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants,
      everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
      and holds fast my covenant --
These I will bring to my holy mountain,
      and make them joyful in my house of prayer. ...
For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
"I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered."  561-8

 
Current Wickedness and Idolatry  57-59       [Contents]

Isaiah now focuses on the present situation in Judah -- and it is bad.
What will Almighty God do about it?

The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
      they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all.
"Come," they say, "let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink." ...
The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart.  5611,12 571

Men have not changed much in the 2,600 years since this was written.
One hugely rich man was asked "What would it take to make you happy?"
      He replied honestly, "More, always a little bit more."
Many UK leaders in both Church and state don't understand righteousness.
      They support civil partnerships and gladly legalise 'gay marriage' (2015).
      Evolution theory is taught as truth in schools and Creation ridiculed.
      Abortion and Sabbath trading are encouraged.
      Evil EU is supported. etc

. Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit,
      you who burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree,
      who slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
...       you have loved their bed, you have looked on nakedness. ...
Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied,
      and did not remember me, did not lay it to heart?
Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and you do not fear me? ...
When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!  574-13

Almighty God saw all their sins.
They did not fear God or even remember him; not in good times or bad.
He sent them prophets, but few took any notice of them.

There are only two possible results:
1.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
      and shall inherit my holy mountain.
I dwell in the high and holy place,
      and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
      to revive the spirit of the lowly,
      and to revive the heart of the contrite.  5713,15
2.
But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet,
      and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
"There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."  5720,21

      Saviour, Prince of Israel's race,
      See me from thy lofty throne;
      Give the sweet relenting grace,
      Soften this obdurate stone;
      Stone to flesh, O God convert;
      Cast a look, and break my heart.

      O remember me for good,
      Passing through this mortal vale;
      Show me the atoning blood,
      When my strength and spirit fail;
      Give my gasping soul to see
      Jesus crucified for me!

Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet;
      declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
 581

Isaiah is instructed to tell Judah their sins; what God finds offensive.
What was it?

They seek me daily and delight to know my ways,
      as if they were a nation that did righteousness.
Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
 582,3a

The people fasted, and expected God to answer their prayers.
But their fasting was not real;
      it was not God they sought but only for him to give them what they wanted.

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
      and oppress all your workers.
Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
 583b,4

There is no longing for God in this, only their happiness and wealth.
So Almighty God tells them the real purpose of fasting.

Is not this the fast that I choose:
      to loose the bonds of wickedness,
      to undo the straps of the yoke,
      to let the oppressed go free,
      and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
      and bring the homeless poor into your house.
 586,7

This was so different from what the people practised.
God wanted to make them a holy people, kind and compassionate;
      to set them free from selfish sin.
He wanted the Sabbath to be a special day to remember his glorious creation.

If you turn back ... from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
      and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable;
      if you honour it, not going your own ways,
      or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
      and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth.
 5813,14

Then and now we need to ask how we keep the Sabbath (or Sunday).
      Is it a day to enjoy honouring the Lord, seeking him and his plans?
      Is it a day to be different from the pleasure seeking world?
      Is it an opportunity to help others and share Gods providence?
How can we make every day pleasing to the Lord, righteous and holy?
Are we hungry for God's Word, eager to hear it and obey?
This is the fast, and the life that the Lord God desires for us.

It is important, even vital, that we understand the basic consequence of sin.
Separation from Almighty God.

Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
      or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
      but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
      and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
 591,2

The people were questioning why God did not answer their prayers.
The answer Isaiah gave was simple. Their sinfulness separated them from him.
He then tells the people what their sins were.

For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity;
      your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly;
      they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
      they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. ...
Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away;
      for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking.
 593,4, 14,15

How could this impasse, this separation, be broken?

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him ...
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
      and a helmet of salvation on his head. ...
He will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.
"And a Redeemer will come to Zion,
      to those in Jacob who turn from transgression," declares the Lord.
"And as for me, this is my covenant with them," says the Lord:
"My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth,
shall not depart out of your mouth ..." says the Lord,
"from this time forth and forevermore."
 5919-21

Once again the Lord makes it clear that he will never break his Covenant.
      He himself would come and redeem Israel.
      His word of truth would never die or be revoked.
The initiative for our salvation always remains with the Lord.
He comes and reveals the truth to our stony, rebellious hearts.

The grass withers, and the flower fades,
      but the word of the Lord remains forever.
 1Pe124,25  Is 408

 
The Lord is Anointed to Rescue   60-62       [Contents]

Isaiah looks forward to this great day when the Lord will bring his salvation.
For him it would be ~ 700 years in the future that Jesus came as Redeemer.
Yet he sees it as in the present tense.

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
      and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
      but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
... They shall bring gold and frankincense,
      and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.
 601-3, 6b

The magi did come at precisely the right time and presented the baby King
      with gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Math 211
The Gentile world has come to the light of Christ;
      but sadly much of today's Church has no inclination to honour Israel.
      e.g. the popular U.S. Willow Creek and the Saddleback Churches.

Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you;
      for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favour I have had mercy on you.
Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut,
      that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations.
 6010,11

Indeed the gates to eternal life are still open to Gentiles.
We can still come and be joined to God's chosen people; such is his grace.
For those nations who will not honour Israel there is a problem:

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish;
      those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
 6012

The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you,
      and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet;
      they shall call you the City of the Lord,
      the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
 6014

Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, ...
      you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour
      and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
 6015,16

These 3 prophecies have yet to be fulfilled; but they will be.
UK was once called Great Britain; but we renegued on the Balfour Declaration,
      preferring Arab oil, we turned our backs on the Jews before and after WW2;
      and so are no longer 'great'.
God's promise to Israel still stands. But we need to be patient and faithful.

Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver;
      instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron.
I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness.
Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
      devastation or destruction within your borders;
      you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.
The sun shall be no more your light by day,
      nor for brightness shall the moon give you light;
      but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself;
      for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
      and your days of mourning shall be ended.
Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever,
      the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.
The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it.
 6017-22

Can you imagine Israel where there is no more Arab, Muslim, Gentile hatred?
A nation that needs no IDF to defend it;
      its walls Salvation and Almighty God its light,
      where righteousness will adorn all its people.
This is God's promise, the glorious covenant that he will hasten to complete.
No one can thwart the declared plan of the Sovereign Lord.
Only the return of Jesus Christ can achieve this; no man or Church can
      though some have tried to apply this passage to a triumphant church.
      'Replacement Theology' is a demonic delusion.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
      because the Lord has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor;
      he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
      to proclaim liberty to the captives,
      and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
      to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour,
      and the day of vengeance of our God;
      to comfort all who mourn;
      to grant to those who mourn in Zion --
      to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
      the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
      the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
      that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
      the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
 611-3

Jesus quoted this when he read the scroll in the Nazareth synagogue.
      But he stopped at to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.
The day of vengeance of our God was not for that time;
      we still await the day of the great tribulation.
Isaiahís prophecy often joins the events pertaining to the 1st and 2nd Coming.
We Gentile Christians can rightly often rejoice in these words of the Lord;
      but we should note that they are primarily delivered to the Jews of Judea.
      This is made clear in the verse that follows (which Gentiles usually omit).

They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
      the devastations of many generations.
 614

This refers to 'real estate' in Israel, to Judea and Samaria, in the 'promised land'.
Sadly many Christians, who support the devious Palestinian Arab claims,
      find such verses as this 'inconvenient', and therefore disregard them.
However they remain the Word of God;
      truth which the Sovereign Lord will fulfill, whether they like it or not!
See 'Promise of Restoration' on website www.dickworth.uk

You shall be called the priests of the Lord ...
you shall eat the wealth of the nations ...
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion ...
Therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
      they shall have everlasting joy.
 616,7

I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
      and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
      all who see them shall acknowledge them,
      that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.
 618b,9

The Lord's plan for Israel is clearly markedly different from that of the world.
Israel is not perfect; but then neither is the US or UK or EU.
The successive UN condemnations of Israel is usually based on PA lies.
Evil men just hate anything that Almighty God has chosen or commanded.
      But they will not be victorious in the end.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up
      and a garden causes seeds to grow,       so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise       spring up before all nations.
 6111   (NIV)

The Lord God will fight for his people Israel -- and Win!!
      Joel 31,2,12-17  Zech 121-9 141-9  Rev 1911-21

God's plan for Israel to be a righteous nation is repeated.
Whatever the evil world thinks - Almighty God will fulfill all his plans.
Many in the Church try to 'steal' God's promises that clearly refer specifically
      to the nation of Israel, the Jewish people and their land.
Only some apply also to Gentile Christians in that we are joined to Israel.

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
      until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
      and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory,
      and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
      and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
      and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
      but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married;
      for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you,
      and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
      so shall your God rejoice over you.
 621-5

Almighty God has even invited watchmen, prayer warriors, to plead for Israel.

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen;
      all the day and all the night they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest,
      and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem
      and makes it a praise in the earth.
 626,7

So let us with confidence declare in unison with the Almighty God:

Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
      "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him,
      and his recompense before him."
And they shall be called
      The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called
      Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
6211,12

 
God's Judgement and Mercy   63-66       [Contents]

Currently the world has no interest in what Almighty God has proclaimed.
But the day will come when that will change.
A day when both Israel and the Lord God will be honoured.
A day when the power and faithfulness of God will be seen by all.
Some will rejoice; but most will cringe and mourn. See Rev 18.

Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
      he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength?
"It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save."
Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? ...
I trampled down the peoples in my anger;
I made them drunk in my wrath,
and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.
 631,2,6

The earth will see the mighty hand of God.
Justice will be poured out upon the wicked.
      Those who denied Creation by God and substituted evolution.
      Those who murdered millions of unborn babies by abortion.
      Those who commended homosexuality that God declared an abomination.
      Those who ridiculed the flood in Noah's day as being God's judgement.
      Those who honoured false gods/idols Islam, Buddha, Hindu ...
For many in that day it will be too late.
But Isaiah is also shown that as God rescued Israel from the Egyptians,
      so he will cause them in the last days to turn to him and be saved.  637-19

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
      a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me,
      on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him,
      as one mourns for an only child.
On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David
      and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
      to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
 Zech 1210 131

This promise of God is secure.
It will be fulfilled when they cry to the Lord and call upon his Name.

Isaiah turns to prayer.

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
      that the mountains might quake at your presence ...
      to make your name known to your adversaries,
      and that the nations might tremble at your presence! ...
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned ...
We have all become like one who is unclean ...
There is no one who calls upon your name,
      who rouses himself to take hold of you;
      for you have hidden your face from us,
      and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. ...
But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
      we are the clay, and you are our potter;
      we are all the work of your hand.
Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
 641-9

The Lord God gives Isaiah his answer.

I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be 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.
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people,
      who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;
      a people who provoke me to my face continually ...
I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
      and from Judah possessors of my mountains;
      my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there.
But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, ...
      I will destine you to the sword, ...
      because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen,
      but you did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in.
Therefore thus says the Lord God:
"Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry;
behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty;
behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame;
behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
      but you shall cry out for pain of heart.
 651-16

Even though God's chosen people had rejected him,
      the grace and mercy of God is such that all day he spreads out his hands,
      ready to welcome their return.
This is so like the story Jesus told of the prodigal son.  Lu 1511-32
Every day, all day, Almighty God is pleading for the lost to return.
      But there is one thing even he cannot do;
      He cannot save those who refuse to repent and believe in Jesus!
      (He also cannot lie or break his covenant).

"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
      and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
      for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people;
      no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
They shall not labour in vain or bear children for calamity,
      for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
      and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
      and dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain," says the Lord.
 6517-25

John gives us more details of this glorious new creation in Rev 21 and 22.

Thus says the Lord:
"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool;
      what is the house that you would build for me,
      and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be,
      declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
      he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
 661,2

The Lord Almighty is the designer and creator of all things;
      from the microscopic sub-atomic particles to the distant galaxies,
      and life -- all life !
As such, how can mere created man do anything but bow down before the Lord?
      How can he ignore or reject what the Almighty has written?
But The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."  Ps 141
      So the fool thus has no time for the Scriptures or the writer of them.
      And so are arrogant churchmen who mangle the Word of God,
      adding and subtracting to make it say whatever they want.
      They fear men and unpopularity far more than Almighty God.
Isaiah then reveals the Lord's attitude to such fools:

These have chosen their own ways,
      and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
      and bring their fears upon them,
      because when I called, no one answered,
      when I spoke, they did not listen;
      but they did what was evil in my eyes
      and chose that in which I did not delight.
 663b,4

But for Jerusalem and all who love her,
      Almighty God has planned a very different story, a different ending.

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her;
For thus says the Lord:
"Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
      and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
      and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
      and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
      you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. ...
The hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
      and he shall show his indignation against his enemies."
 6610-14

The love of God will be revealed with great power and might;
      he will utterly destroy all that is evil, all who mock and reject him.
      The end will be a huge surprise to the wicked world.

For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind,
      to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh;
      and those slain by the Lord shall be many.
 6615,16

This is confirmed in Rev 1911-21
When Jesus came 2,000 years ago he came as a Lamb
      to take away the sin of the world;
      so there was much that was 'meek and mild'.
But at the end he is seen angry and with a sharp sword.
      A sword that will be not be left in its scabbard!

When that battle is over we are shown a new world:

"For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make
      shall remain before me, says the Lord,
      so shall your offspring and your name remain.
From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
      all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.

ďAnd they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh."  6622-24

So Isaiah ends with the music of victory
      and also with the awe at the mighty power of God.

Notice that in these 3 verses 6622,23 is in poetry and 6624 is in prose.
The contrast is significant!

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