||Bible from 30,000 Feet, The
||Destination: Isaiah 40-66
Let's open our Bibles to Isaiah Chapter 40 tonight. Isaiah Chapter 40. Now is the time where your cellphone should be off. Your heart in the upright position and though we are glad that we were interactive and we are glad that we text it. Now we want to stay in one place. We want you to keep your seat. We know you don't want to be a distraction by getting up in the middle of the service and say, oh! I am bored, I am done. We want you to stay and focus in on what God might be saying through His word to you. So let's have a word of prayer.
Heavenly Father, we thank You, that You have allowed us to participate in a spiritual meal together, together and we are grateful that though we have computers and ways to access Bible study material that we can actually be together as You commanded and is as is important for us to do, where two or three are gathered in My name. And the need to continually be involved in gathering together for fellowship and encouragement. And so thank You Lord that here we are in this room and we can worship You and together read through these Chapters of Isaiah. We pray You bless, the reading and the teaching of Your word in Jesus name. Amen!
When you read through the Bible there is a couple of different reactions you can have. Have you ever read the Bible and sometimes you read it and you are very comforted by what you read, then at other times you read the Bible and you are very convicted because of what you read? And typically, you find that that's because of the condition of your heart. Sometime your heart is challenged because of what you have been living like or going through or thinking or involved in and at other times, there is a comfort because of where you are at.
You know it's been said that the same sun that melts wax hardens clay, depends on the condition of the substance and so it is, it depends on the condition of the heart. But sometimes, you can be reading through the Bible and the same book, the same author will go in two different directions. On one hand, the author will be very comforting and on the other hand he will be very convicting from one chapter to the next.
Well that's exactly what we have in the Book of Isaiah and that's why people have been thrown in reading Isaiah thinking that there probably wasn't one guy but maybe two or three guys that wrote the Book of Isaiah because here you have one guy going in one direction, Chapters 1 through 39 all condemnation, condemnation, conviction, and in Chapter 40 through 66 comfort, joy, consolation and people thought it's got to be two different people. Well, not necessarily. I remember for instance, getting a letter from the government saying I owed them money because of taxes. Then at other times, I get a check from the same government paying me money because I overpaid on taxes.
You say, how was that possible? That's so inconsistent. Well, no it's not. You can have the same source going in two different directions. You can have the same book of the Bible giving you one emphasis and then other emphasis. I'm bringing that up because I said that I would from last week. I came up with the theory that is a spouse today called the Deutero-Isaiah theory. That says, there wasn't one person who wrote the whole book. There was one guy who wrote Chapters 1 through 39, there was a second guy who wrote the rest of the book or the theory that Trito-Isaiah theory that there were three authors of the book and the last several chapters were written by a third guy. And there is even a four Isaiah theory and on and on it goes.
Well, I look at the Book of Psalms, same author. Not of all the Psalms but here is two Psalms. Psalm 2 and Psalm 22 were both written by David. Psalm 2 speaks about the glory and exultation of Messiah. Psalm 22 speaks about the crucification and degradation of the same Messiah. How could that be? He is describing two different events.
So how do we solve the problem once and for all as this whole Deutero, Trito Isaiah theory? Simply from the Bible itself. I am going to read you a section of scripture in the Book of John because I said that I would answer this question and this is out of Chapter 12. This is John writing and listen to what he says.
"But though Jesus had done so many signs before them, they did not believe Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
He is quoting Isaiah Chapter 53 in that little section of John. But go on.
"Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts, and turn so that I should heal them."
Now he is quoting Isaiah, Chapter six and he ends up by saying these things Isaiah said when he saw his glory and spoke of him. John quotes from what some modern higher critics, I would say is Isaiah 2 and then he quotes from Isaiah 1, Deutero-Isaiah and then the 1 Isaiah. But he says, it's one guy, Isaiah, Isaiah. Isaiah said this.
So I just want to share that with you because if you do more study than just coming to church, if you read a lot of books, you will find dissent among certain scholars. And they love to call themselves higher critics. They believe in higher criticism and sometimes you discover that the higher critics are really from the lower portions, spiritually speaking they are not necessarily sympathetic with your belief system and they try with a determined effort to overturn what you have been taught.
So actually it all fits beautifully. But there is an emphasis difference. The first 39 Chapters, the second 27 Chapters, one is condemnation, the other is comfort and conciliation. Those are the emphasies. Last time we met, we covered the first 39 chapters. Tonight, we will look at the last 27. Now I also mentioned something to you last week that bears repeating.
Isaiah is like the Bible in miniature. There are 66 books in the Bible, 39 books in the Old Testament, 27 books in the New Testament. That's interesting. It's interesting because there is 39 chapters that deal with law and judgment. And then 27 chapters are beginning in Chapter 40 where we begin tonight that deal with love and grace. What's more is the Chapter 40 or what we would say is the New Testament portion of our analogy begins with the same beginning as the New Testament.
Comfort, yes, comfort my people. The voice of one crying in the wilderness makes straight the ways of the Lord, referring to John the Baptist. And the way Isaiah ends the last two chapters predicts the new heaven and the new earth which is the way incidentally the Old Testament or the New Testament ends as well predicting the new Jerusalem, a new heaven and new earth.
Let's begin tonight in Chapter 40, Verse 1 and you could divide this study tonight up into three sections. First of all, is Israel Salvation. That's what we are going to deal with first. Israel salvation, chapters 40 through 48.
Second Israel's savior. Chapter 49 through chapter 57 and then Israel's splendor is the last division of tonight's study and that's the rest of the book.
Isaiah 40, Verse 1,
"Comfort, comfort my people," says your God."
You see the difference for already in emphasis. The first 39 chapters where God is going to judge Babylon and Judah and Israel and Edom. It's all condemnation. This now is comfort and this Verse will set the tone for the rest of the book. Filled with not conviction as much as comfort. There was a word that we found a lot in the first 39 chapters. It was the word woe.
Remember that, woe unto Judah, wo unto Israel, woe unto Babylon, woe unto Tyre. That's not the emphasis here, it's not woe. It's wow. Wow! This is what God is going to do. Wow! This is what the savior is going to do. Wow! This is going to be all new. So it's not woe, it's now wow. That's the emphasis of these chapters.
"Speak comfort to Jerusalem and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all of her sins".
So whereas, Isaiah has spent all of those previous chapters speaking about the burdens that are on God's heart, now he emphasizes the blessings that come from God's heart.
By the way, I do see a pattern here that I think we as parents do well to follow. There is God's pattern of dealing with children. First comes discipline, then comes comfort. It's a mistake if you try to comfort your children without disciplining them and it's a mistake if you discipline them and then never come back to them to comfort once you have disciplined them. God knows how to mix these so beautifully. I have been given the first and now the second.
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert, a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted. Every mountain and hill brought low, the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth."
Now in all four Gospels in the new Testament, these words are recorded and repeated, all referring to John, the Baptist, who was the forerunner. Right? The forerunner. Not the Toyota forerunner, not the automobile. The ambassador for Christ. He is the one who went before Jesus and announced His coming and announced His path. He is the forerunner and he is predicted here in all four Gospels, we will quote this text of scripture.
Now in these verses, the immediate reference that Isaiah is speaking about was the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity back into the land. That God would be with him in that 900 mile track having been taken captive in Babylon, on their way back to the land of Judah to reestablish their land.
Now, if you are an astute Bible reader, you are going Babylon. What do you mean, Babylon? At this point in Isaiah's prophesying, Babylon was like not even a blip on the map. When Isaiah was prophesying in Jerusalem, Assyria was the big dog just captured in 722 BC, the northern kingdom, Babylon wasn't anything to speak up and yet Isaiah assumes that the children of Israel will have been in captivity and need comfort in their return back from captivity.
That's an important factor. Because here you have got Isaiah. If you remember last week study, all throughout the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom, he was down and Judah going, "Look guys, don't make the same mistake that your northern neighbors, these Israelites, the ten northern tribes made. You seek the Lord, you love the Lord, you obey the Lord, or else you will be taken captive. Even mention, not by the Assyrians but by the Babylonians".
But at the time, Babylon was like so far off, as far as being a world power. Yet he predicts now their return, and he assumes the captivity and the return.
The voice said, "Cry out!" And he said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is grass."
This point you might want to just feel your arm. Rub your face. All flesh. Yup, even yours, is grass.
"And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field, The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass."
Isaiah is stating a common, even physical law. Second law of Thermodynamics, Entropy. Everything is winding down, everything is degrading. It's not getting better. It's getting worse over time and every human being feels the power of entropy. We are wearing out. The older we get, the more we say Amen to that. We are feeling it.
Then look at Verse 8
"The grass withers, the flower fades but the word of our God stands forever."
Isaiah acknowledges mankind is weak, all flesh, even great kings and great rulers come and they go and they will eventually be off the map. But what is our greatest assurance, as time marches on, as the world around us crumbles? It's the Word of God. It's the only thing that lasts and the very reason we spend so much of our time, in fact, it's at the very center of what we do here at Calvary. Why do we study the Bible all the time? Why is every service focused on the Word of God and a Bible study and teaching the Word of God? Why the Bible, the Bible, the Bible? It's the only thing that will last. That's why. Everything else doesn't last. Everything else is fading away as Isaiah said, "But the word of our God stands forever."
So when your world is crumbling, it's always good to be immersed in the Word of God. It's interesting. Tyndale House Publishers did a little survey. They discovered that 90% of frequent Bible readers, usually who read the Bible daily, have peace in their life as an ongoing expression peace, most or all of the time. Whereas, same survey, that's compared to 58% of infrequent Bible readers, who say, "No, I don't really have peace all or most of the time".
Independent survey, people who read the Bible a lot, have a lot more peace than those who don't. The Word of our God stands forever. So none of this nonsense that would say what does a 2,000 or 3,000, for that matter, year-old book have to do with me and my contemporary culture. It's so far removed from what I am going through. That's where you are wrong. The Word of our God stands forever.
Jesus has said, "Till heaven and Earth pass away, not one jot, not one title will pass from the will pass from the law till all is fulfilled". He said of His own words, "My words will never pass away."
Now, every generation has Bible markers, who try to overturn the text, overturn the scripture, or even in Church have Christians not focus on the Bible, but all sorts of other experiences because they themselves are unsure about the veracity, trustworthiness of the Bible. But it all starts with worldly skeptics.
For instance, in 1778, a very famous European skeptic, a French guy named Voltaire said "My prediction is this, within 100 years Christianity will have been swept away from our cultural landscape." That was his prediction in 1778. A 100 years later he said, it would vanish.
Well the truth is within 50 years, Voltaire's own house was a point of distribution for the Geneva Bible Society, to take Bibles throughout France and the rest of Europe. So the Word of our God will outlast Voltaire and his house that was in France.
"What do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the Lord, my just claim is passed over by my God."
That's what they were claiming.
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall."
Again the immediate context is the reference to the children of Israel coming back 900 miles, that long track across the desert from Babylon into Judah. That's the salvation. The reclamation of the people back to their land.
"But those who wait on 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."
Amazing! Isaiah is speaking to an audience who won't be born for another 150 years and 150 years after he speaks this, they will be sitting in Babylon ready to go to Jerusalem, feeling so weak, so discouraged, needing the encouragement of, you are going to make it. You will go back. They were able to read what he wrote 150 years prior to make that long journey across the desert. They felt powerless and yet it says, those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. That's true for any believer. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.
You know what I think a Christian ought to be? A rechargeable battery, a rechargeable battery because you always have a power source you can plug back into the Holy Spirit. When you feel like, I am at the end of my strength, better get plugged in, get recharged. In fact, why even get unplugged? Right?
Didn't Paul say, "Be being filled with the Holy Spirit." So when you feel out of strength, out of wind, what do I do now? You have that power source and the way to plug in, according to the text, is to wait on the Lord. Now, understand what that means. What does it mean to wait on the Lord? Does it mean to just, sort of, sit around and, sort of, sure I am waiting on God.
Now, that's waiting for God, waiting on God is different. Have you been to a restaurant and there is a waiter there, the waiter is waiting on you. He is not sitting in the corner like waiting all day long, all night two hours to go by, I am just going to sit and wait. If they want something, they are going to ask me, I am just going to wait.
Now, to wait on someone means to attend to them. Can I help you? Would you like more water? What would you like? Would you like dessert with that? Would you like coffee? That's waiting on someone. If you want your strength to increase, get the focus off of the problem and start serving the Lord, get involved and wait on the Lord and as you wait on the Lord interestingly enough, your strength doesn't go down, it increases. You are staying plugged in, you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added indeed. Verse 8 of chapter 41.
Chapter 41, Verse 8.
"But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend."
I love that description.
"You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away."
I want you to be aware of something that poses one of the greatest interpretive challenges in this Book of Isaiah and it's the term "The Servant of the Lord" to whom does He refer. Well, if you ask one group of people, they would say, The Servant of the Lord refers to the nation of Israel and they would be right.
Another group would say, The Servant of the Lord refers to Jesus Christ and they would be right. Here is the deal, there are at least three different references to different Servants of the Lord in the Book of Isaiah. Two mainly, but three, actually four, if you count a God by the name of Cyrus, whom I will mention in a minute.
In Chapter 37, David is called God's servant. Here in Chapter 41, Israel is called God's servant, the national Israel, the nation of Israel God's servant. But in Chapter 42, in Chapter 49, in Chapter 51 and Chapter 52 and Chapter 53, the Messiah, the Christ is the ultimate servant of the Lord. So I bring that up because there's different servants. So every time the word servant comes up, it doesn't have to refer to one or the other, the context will make it plain to whom He is speaking. Jesus Christ is the ideal servant of the Lord, but look at Chapter 42, Verse 1.
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him;" not upon them, not upon the nation, this is singular not plural. "He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles."
Now, this is the ideal servant of the Lord, this is Jesus Christ and in Isaiah, there are four, we call them Servant Songs. Four Servant Songs, songs that describe the ideal servant of the Lord or the coming Christ, this is the first one. "My Elect One is in whom My soul delights!"
"He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law."
Now, these Verses speak of the manner and the mission. His manner will be soft spoken, gentle, encouraging. His mission will be to the ends of the earth, the whole world, He has the whole world in view as far as His work is concerned till He establish justice in the earth and the coastlands will wait for His law.
Okay, go back and look at that description. Verse 3, "A bruised reed He will not break." These are the windblown marshes that are by the river sides. The unstable reeds that go back and forth. Jesus in other words isn't going to come and blow people away and pull them over, His manner will be soft and gentle.
Next description, smoking flax he will not quench. A flax is a wick in an oil lamp that's about to go out and starting to smoke. So that little wick in the oil lamp is smoldering now, it's a way of saying, He won't put your fire out, He will ignite your fire, He will get you going, He will encourage you.
It's a beautiful description of what Jesus Christ would be and so in the New Testament, there was a woman caught in adultery and they were going to stone her. Remember the story and after Jesus wrote on the sand and all the accusers ran away, the Lord said, "Woman where are your accusers?" "Sir, I have none." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you go sin no more." Or the story of the man who was sick, he was a lupron, Jesus wanted to heal him, and the man said, "Lord, if You are willing, You could heal me." Jesus said, "I am willing, be healed." It's that manner, was that approach.
Go now to Chapter 43, where I take you to Verse 9, because here God summons the earth and Israel, as well as her neighbors to court.
"Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring out their witness, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth."
"I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses," says the Lord, "that I am God. Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?""
I love this because it's a courtroom scene, as I said. It's as if God is challenging all of the nations. Hey, you know what, bring out your Gods. Let's kind of have a little battle of the Gods right now, because I can predict the future, I know things before they happen. Do your Gods, can any of your Gods predict what's going to happen?
That's an interesting challenge because of the 25 books that are out there in the world roughly that all claim to be scripture, they are all lacking something, prophecy except the Bible. Prophecy happens to be God's calling card. As if to say, watch this, I am going to predict something before it happens, so that when it happens you will go, wow. Not woe, but wow, and that would naturally make you think, well, who made that prediction? Well, who is this being and how can I know him. It is His calling card and that is prophecy.
Several years ago that very famous incredible magazine, The National Enquirer. Yeah, you were meant to laugh at that. It gave out its own little challenge. They asked people to make predictions of what would happen in the next six months. In the next six months, we want you to make your predications and even some pretty famous prognosticators were included. Make a predication about what will happen in the sports world, the political world, among movie stars, etcetera and then they compile them all to show how much of that was accurate. Of all that they predicated, what do you think, maybe, a third, may be, a fourth, zero. Not a single prediction that anybody made happened and that was just six months.
God speaks about things hundreds, even thousands of years in advance and sometimes writes about them in advance with great detail, and I now show you Chapter 44 and 45 to bear that out. These are prophecies now, predictions. Again, it's all under that first component, the first division of this second half of Isaiah that deals with Israel's salvation or deliverance. These are prophecies that deal with the circumstance of their return back to the land.
Chapter 44, Verse 28
"Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," and to the temple, "Your foundations shall be laid.""
Woe, stop right there. First of all, at the time of this writing there was a temple standing in Jerusalem, it was there. It wasn't destroyed.
First of all, at the time of this writing, there was a temple standing in Jerusalem. It was there. It wasn't destroyed but because it says, you are going to rebuilt the foundation, it has to, before it's rebuilt that has to be destroyed. So, the implication is it is going to be rebuilt, it has to be, there is a need for it. It will be destroyed. That happened in 586 BC. Okay, and there was a guy named Josephus. Ever heard that name? Anybody here who have heard of Josephus, okay, four of you have. Okay, Josephus was a historian.
Since most of you haven't, let me explain. Josephus was a Jewish historian hired by the Roman government to give a compilation of the history of the Jews, the wars, et cetera. He was pretty knowledgeable about what happened in Israel's past when he wrote this, right around the first century. This is what he said, Josephus writes, 'Now, Cyrus learned this as to the building of the temple by reading the book that Isaiah had left of his own prophecies, 210 years before. These things Isaiah told 140 years before the temple was destroyed, when Cyrus therefore read them and had admitted their divine character, an impulse and emulation ceased him to do what was written therein.'
He read the Book of Isaiah and said, whoa, my name was written in that book 200 years before I was born and he saw about the rebuilding of the temple and according to Josephus, that is what prompted him to hey, I am going to do it then, to let the Jews go back and rebuild. Chapter 45, verse 1 continues this thought of Cyrus. Thus says the Lord to his anointed, interesting word.
In Hebrew, Mashiakh, right. Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to his Messiah. Here, God in Isaiah called Cyrus his Messiah. Okay, we had your text and questions a few minute ago, remember that and we got A, B or c and here is the text message results. We are going to throw them up there, okay. Whom does the Book of Isaiah refer to as Messiah? 10% said Isaiah, 17% said Cyrus, 73% said Jesus. The correct answer happens to be B. That is the term Messiah is used specifically in Isaiah for Cyrus. So, you say, well, that is a trick question and I am offended. But don't worry you will have several times in the next few weeks to re-text some more answers but let me explain this to you, let's go on.
He is my anointed, my Messiah to Cyrus whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him. Altogether, he subdued 46 nations and loosed the armor of kings to open before him, the double doors so that the gates will not be shut. I will go before you and make the crooked places straight. I will break in pieces the gates of iron or bronze, excuse me and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches in secret places that you may know that I am the Lord who called you by your name and the God of Israel.
For Jacob, my servant sake and Israel, my elect, I have even called you by your name, I have named you though you have not known me. Now, why does God call him my anointed, my Messiah? Because what anointed means, selected or specifically chosen to perform a task. He was the deliverer of Israel from their captivity and because he was the deliverer from their captivity, he was their temporal Messiah to let them go back into the land, okay.
It is an illustration of Jesus Christ who would be the eternal, spiritual forgiver of sins and the one who restores from the captivity of sin in the future. Now, let me tell you how this happened because this prophecy is amazing. The City of Babylon had walls that were 310 feet high, 87 feet thick. You could raise 11 chariots abreast on the City of Babylon's wall. 311 feet in the air. Watch tower is every 45 feet, the walls of the city made a circumference around 60 square miles and the Euphrates river ran right through the City of Babylon. Herodotus, the Greek historian said, it was one of the seven wonders of the world, the hanging gardens of Nebuchadnezzar.
So, the river ran right through the center of the city and under the walls by these two huge bronze gates. In September of 539 BC, Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian empire and the uniter of the Medes and the Persians brought his armies against Babylon. By October, he had done something no one had ever done. He had diverted the Euphrates river, remember it ran right through the city. He took the waters of the Euphrates upstream and diverted the water into another canal so the Euphrates river lowered in its level.
According to again Herodotus, the Greek historian to the height of a man's phi so they could wait through it. So, if the water level drops so dramatically that one evening under the leadership of General Ugabaru, Ugabaru, the Medo-Persian General, he massed his troops and walked into the Euphrates river under the bronze gates, opened them for the rest of the armies and overtook the kingdom in a single night. According to this prophecy, it is so amazing and you recall the night because in Daniel Chapter 5, there was a guy sitting on the throne named Belshazzar and he saw something on the wall, the writing of a man's hand and Daniel said, the word say, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting and your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians and since that night, the kingdom was overthrown, and given to Darius, the Mede who was that supervisory king for Cyrus, the Great. Amazing prophecy, of course this is written couple of hundred years before the event and the second division of this book is in chapters 49 through 57. This is Israel's savior, that is the focus there is that servant of the Lord Jesus is in predictive prophecy.
Verse 1, begins the second of the four servant songs that predicts his birth, 'Listen o coast lands to me and take heed you people's from afar. The Lord has called me from the womb, from the matrix of my mother'. He has made mention of my name and you know the story in the New Testament, how the angels spoke to Mary and then to Joseph and then to the shepherds that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and just like he, Isaiah well or already has explained in Chapter 7 and Chapter 9, the Emmanuel prophecy and to us a child is born, a son is given, this prophecy goes hand in hand with that.
Chapter 50 describes Christ as the submissive servant. Chapter 51 and part of Chapter 52 up to verse 12 describes Christ as the sovereign servant or the one who will lead and rule eventually but here is what is really important because this is the Mount Everest of Messianic Prophecy. Beginning in verse 13 of Chapter 52 on in the Chapter 53 is Christ as the suffering servant. One of the most famous prophecies ever and it describes in detail his substitutionary death, his burial, his intersection on the Cross, et cetera. In fact, what is interesting about Isaiah 53 is there is far more detail about the suffering of Christ on the Cross than in any of the four gospels. It is quite astonishing.
If you read just the account of the crucification in the Gospel of Mark, it gives it a total of four words, "And He was crucified." You go, that is it? I came all the way to Mark to find that? Describe more, what He felt like and what it was like. Now, you got to go back to Sam 22 and Isaiah 53 to get that. You say, why such detail in the Old Testament and not much detail in some of the gospels. It is pretty simple actually. By the time Isaiah wrote and David wrote in Sam 22, crucification wasn't even invented yet. By the time if the New Testament, crucification was so common that by the time of Jesus Christ, get this over 30,000 Jews had already been crucified.
No need to elaborate. All you got to say is "And He was crucified." Everybody in that era, that time frame ago, I know what means. We see it all the time. The Romans have been doing it for a long time. So, it is like trying to get an ambulance driver to talk about somebody they pick up who has a hard condition. We would go into great detail, to them it is one of many patients that they see and it might seem terse and unfair and even heartless to you but that is what they all the time. This is what they had seen all the time. Hence the real detail comes in predicted prophecy.
Okay, go head to Verse 13, "Behold, my servant shall deal prudently. This is Chapter 52. He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high, just as many as were astonished at you; his visage or his facial construct was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. Now allow me to read that to you in the Living Bible. 'They shall see my servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know if it was a person standing there'. He would be so beat up in this trial just before His crucification that when people look at him, they will go, is that a man, is that a human, look how distorted is that figure. No wonder Punchis Pilot, when he saw Jesus said in that familiar Roman Latin tongue, "ecce homo, behold, the man. This is the same man that was just before me." That's what experienced at His trial.
Verse 15, and so He will sprinkle, the word means sprinkle for cleansing and atonement many nations; understand that many nations, the suffering that this servant will perform won't just be for the nation of the Israel but for many nations. Whosoever call upon His name will be saved. Kings will shut their mouths at Him, for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.
Verse 1 of Chapter 53, familiar territory, who has believed our report, to whom is the arm of the Lord been revealed? He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. A root out of dry ground parched hardened earth, must refer to the nation of Israel.
Remember what God said in Isaiah Chapter 5, my vineyard, look what's happened to my vineyard, I did everything I could to make my vineyard fruitful but it gave wild grapes not a good harvest. It was hardened hearts, parched earth. Verse 3, "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and yet we did not esteem Him". Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows and we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded literally pierced for our transgressions. He was bruised literally better word, crushed for our iniquities: the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to His own way; and the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Now theologians have a term for this. They call this, ready for the term, vicarious atonement. This is the vicarious atonement that is somebody else did something for someone else. He took your place, you should have gotten the punishment, He said I will take it, that's vicarious atonement. I remember when I first started understanding this. I was listening to the gospel for the first time Billy Graham was preaching is the night I got saved, and as he was describing all that Jesus did and what he was going to offer me in here we are sinners and that's what we did to deserve it and God gave it to Jesus and He wants you to give your life to Jesus.
This is honestly what I thought I thought. Okay God, I guess I got to tell you right now this doesn't make sense. It sounds like you are getting a really bummer deal. You want our sinful lives and in exchange you are going to give us pure holy righteous life. You are getting the raw end of the deal. You are getting a bad deal but then I kept processing that. Yeah but that means I am getting like the deal of a lifetime. It's an exchange and for me it's a great deal. Here I am giving you my old beat up rotten sinful life and you are going to wash it all away and give me my name written in heaven, peace, purpose in your presence for us. That's a good deal. That's vicarious atonement.
Paul will explain this very thing in Isaiah in much greater detail. The family get to the Book of Romans, Book of 1st Corinthians and second Corinthians. In fact, in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 5:21, one of the most important scriptures in the Bible. It says, "For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him". That's this truth articulated in the new Testament.
In other words, God treated Jesus Christ get this, as if Jesus committed every single sin ever committed by everyone, or put in another way. God, the father treated Jesus Christ like you and I deserve to be treated, so that God could treat you and I like Jesus, his only son deserves to be treated. That's the exchange, that's the atonement.
In Chapter 54 and 55, goes from that sad suffering servant to a joyful song, songs of salvation as a result in Chapter 54 and 55. Chapter 56 and 57 is a note of rebuke to anybody who would refuse that salvation, who would refuse that savior. And in the last section of the book, Chapters 58 through 66. again, the first week was condemnation. This is the comfort, this is the conciliation. The third part of that is Israel's splendor. So let's look at Chapter 59.
Let's go ahead at Chapter 59:19, "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and the glory from the rising of the sun, that is from the East. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard or a banner that's an ensign of war, raise up a banner against him. The redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn away from transgression in Jacob".
So here is the context. Though, Israel has blown it in the sin, God's going to raise up a banner in ensign. He is going to step in and save the day from the path that they were walking on it. Again, Verse 20, The redeemer will come to Zion. The redeemer is the familiar word, we remember it from a few months back. If you were with us in the Book of Ruth that goel. Remember that word, goel, the kinsman redeemer and the redeemer came to Zion the first time and the first time he came the Children of Israel were accountable to know that time that the redeemer came to Zion.
Jesus said, "If only you would have known the things today that make for your peace but now they are hidden from your eyes." You must have been referring to Daniel 9:25, just keep that either on paper, I would just say, keep that in your mind, write that down, because we will get to it later on.
Now the second time, the redeemer comes to Zion will be at His second coming Revelation 19 and Zechariah the prophecies when Jesus comes the second time, He will place his foot on the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Olives will split in two, just as Jesus the redeemer after the first visit went from the Mount of Olives to heaven. He will come from heaven back to the Mount of Olives.
Verse 1 of Chapter 60, Arise, Shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Have you ever wondered about verses like this? That it's written about in past tense even though it hadn't happened yet. Just like what we read in Isaiah 53, "He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for, wait, wait, wait, wait, when that was written he wouldn't even born. How could you do that. Well that's an interesting feature about Bible prophecy. It's called the prophetic tense. The author moves way into the future and speaks about the event as if it's already done. Why does He do that. He does it to demonstrate one of the great attributes of the God that you serve. It's called precognition. It's a big word, precognition. God knows stuff in advance precognition. Before it happens He knows it. Because He knows it, He can predict it.
So His precognition is part of that huge attribute called the omnitions of God. God knows everything. God so much knows everything that He knows it before it happens. So it can be stated as though it has already happened. Even though, it was written, it was yet future. That's how sure God is that it's going to be fulfilled. It's done, done. We even do that sometime. Hey, would you do me a favor. It's done. Even though you didn't do yet, you are so sure you are going to do it; you say it's done, right? Now you got to really do it. God really does it.
Chapter 60 is a song of the Messianic age, the kingdom age. Chapter 61, I refer to in Verse 1, the spirit of the Lord, God is upon me, Because the Lord had anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison to those who are bound to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance to our God or of our God to comfort all those more.
Now what's noteworthy about this? The reason I drew you here is because we know the refers to whom, any guesses? Jesus Christ, why because this is the very text Jesus preached on, when he started His ministry in Israel. One day in Synagogue, Synagogue always opens with the prayer inviting God's blessing in those days and they would recite the, Shama here in Israel, the Lord of God, the Lord is one.
Then they would have readings and they happen to be in every Synagogue across Israel that day, reading Isaiah 61. Probably Jesus volunteered or he was appointed to come and read this text to the congregation. So he read it and he stopped and he said, today in your hearing, this scripture has been fulfilled. That's why they took Him out to kill Him because they knew who He was claiming to be.
Today this scripture is fulfilled but He stopped in the middle of the verse, he stopped to the comma. Jesus quoted verse 2, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and then he closed the book, he closed the scroll and handed it back to the attendant and said, Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. He didn't finish the verse which says, after the comma, and the day of vengeance of our God. Why did He do that?
Because all that he read describes what He would do at His first coming after the comma, is what He will do at His second coming. First time He came as a like a lamb to take away sin. The next time he comes will be like a Lion to execute wrath on his enemies Revelation 19.
In fact, there is a famous Sermon out there by I think it's William Blackwell who preached on the comma, of Isaiah chapter 61 verse 2, that comma has already lasted 2000 years. First part is already been fulfilled, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, the Messiah came the first time, the day of vengeance of our God still awaits fulfillment. So you and I are living in the comma right now until we wait for for His second coming.
Isaiah 63, we just have a few minutes to pass this, I will go through this. It describes sort of a departure from the positive. Now we have been on the wrath of God and look at verse 3, I have trodden the winepress alone; and from the people no one was with me: for I have trodden them in my anger, and trampled them in my fury; their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained my robes.
Following up on the difference between the first and the second coming. When Jesus comes, again, what we read in chapter 61, the day of vengeance of our God. Now in chapter 63, this servant is executing vengeance of God and I have drawn your attention to this verse because and I have mentioned it three or four times and Revelation chapter 19. Remember what John sees in that chapter, he saw a rider on a white horse, it says, he was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and how some people will miss interpret that is, it's the blood of the Cross, He is coming with the sign of His atonement, no he is not. When He comes the second time in Revelation 19 to put an end to the battle of Armageddon and to defeat His enemies, it's not His own blood that His robe is dipped in, it's the blood of His enemies.
It's the day of the vengeance of our God. That's why the battle of the Armageddon is a misnomer, it's not a battle; really it is no fight, it's a total wipe out as these nations summon themselves against the nation of Israel to destroy it and even against the Lords of Messiah according to Sam 2, Jesus Christ will put an end to it. So interesting the Prince of Peace comes now making war, it says in Revelation and righteousnesses he judges and makes war.
Here is the difference, first time Jesus came, wicked men judged him. The second time Jesus comes he will judge wicked men. Hence this text. The last two chapters, like, I only say it really fast and passing, is the blessing of the new creation and the birth of a new nation. Verse 17, For, behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, or come into mind. That described in detail in this chapter verse 25, The wolf will lie down and the lamb shall feed together and the lion shall eat straw like the ox and the dust shall be the serpent's food, they shall nor hurt, nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.
This period will last for a thousand years, we call it the millennium, why do we call it that? Why do we say it? It's a thousand year because Revelation 20 says it's a thousand years and you can refer to the first two, three verses of chapter 20 of Revelation.
Now chapter 66 verse 22 and 23 we will close. For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me, says the Lord, so shall your decedents in your name remain and it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, from one Sabbath to another all flesh will come to worship before Me, says the Lord.
So we have hinted at and partially described by Isaiah, the prophet a renewed earth here, this earth which Revelation calls a thousand year period, the millennium, followed by a new heaven and a new earth which brings up a question, I am want to close with this question because I don't want to belabor.
Why do we need a millennium? If you know theological positions Postmillennialism, Amillennialism, we happen to be Premillennialist. People say, why do you need a millennium, why don't you just go right away to the eternal state; the new heaven and the new earth? Why do you need like -- you know what's the whole point? Why do you need to stop off every thousand years, okay that's done. Now let's do new heaven and new earth. Two reasons:
Number one, to redeem creation from the curse because of the fall and from the judgment of God. After the fall of man, the earth was cursed, God said, still on this earth. After the tribulation period, God will so have trashed this earth, it's going to be pretty beat up and instead of dispensing of it, He is going to reverse the curse. He will answer your prayer, Your Kingdom Come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, it will be answered in the millennium.
Reason number two; to fulfill God's promises to Israel that in part have never been fulfilled. God promised David a spiritual and a material physical kingdom from mount Zion from which Messiah would rule and reign, that has never happened yet so Amillennists tried to spiritualize, well, it will never will happen, it was only the spiritual thing and they blew it, all made sure that we understood, yeah, they blew it but God doesn't mess with his promises, God will fulfill his promise to the nation of Israel.
So the millennium is the first installment in that promise, it's phase one; the kingdom to David and to his offsprings, okay.
What if you got a letter from the future? And you knew what was going to happen in the future. How would that alter the way you live today? Example, what if Walt Disney would have known that this 160 acres that he bought in Orange County California for $17 million. People said, you are nuts buying that land in the middle of nowhere for $17 million. But what if you would have known that it would become Disney Land and that the most recent ride in Disney Land, the Tower of Terror, just that ride cost $70 million. He paid $17 million for all those acres.
What if you would have know in advance what that was going to be that you could invest or what if you would have known that Manhattan at the time it was purchased, it was purchased for $24 worth of trinkets from the native Americans and you had a chance to invest in the future. You see, it would alter the way you live your life now if you knew what the future is going to be.
My point is you do have a letter from the future that describes what is coming on this earth and in the New Testament, in the book of Revelation and it's added to by Isaiah and some of the other Prophets, it's laid out. So what persons ought we to be asked Peter, seeing all of these things are going to be dissolved. Certainly the way we live today ought to be changed, channeled by the information we have from God's revelation.
Let's pray together; heavenly father, heaven and earth will be pass away, your word will never pass away. Our flesh is like grass and the grass withers and the flower fades but the word of our God stands for ever. 100 years ago and 200 years ago and 800 years ago, that which we red deny was being challenged and here we are still a remnant of faithful ones believing what you said and living by it.
Help us to do that, put these things into practice and to live with all of the things that we know that come to us about our future and what if you predicted about Cyrus 200 years before, he was born came to pass then what you predicted about the Messiah, who will rule and reign will also come to pass.
Same author same book, same source, same spirit. Lord I pray for those who are weary tonight and downtrodden, discouraged and they have run out of power and they feel like the children of Israel are in captivity, I pray that they would be encouraged by reading that a man named Isaiah through the spirit of God knew that a 150 years after the day He was speaking that, would be reading that. I need that encouragement to come back. I pray that we would be encouraged by these principles. I pray that we would take heart tonight and live by every word that precedes from your mouth in Jesus name. Amen!