Isaiah 28-66 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight ISA02
The Bible from 30,000 Feet-- Soaring Through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Turn in your bibles-- did you bring one of those? Love that you did. Turn in your Bible to the book of Isaiah, longest book in your Old Testament in terms of chapters, 66 chapters. It is the most often quoted of the Old Testament prophets in the New Testament. 21 times, New Testament authors quote the book of Isaiah.
Little bit of recap. Jesus started his ministry quoting the book of Isaiah. He went into this synagogue in Nazareth, and opened up the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and read from chapter 61, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor-- words right out of the prophet Jeremiah. John the Baptist began his ministry quoting from Isaiah chapter 40. The voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord-- make his path straight.
Where we left off last time, I didn't make it all the way through the 39th chapter. So we're going to begin at chapter 28 and quickly move in that direction. But where we left off was a series of woes, which is a proclamation of judgment. When you say woe to somebody, W-O-E, it means, look out. What is about to come isn't great.
Woe to you is a denunciation. Jesus used the term woe to you scribes, Pharisees, you hypocrites. But John the Baptist used the word woe. The prophet Isaiah, in a few chapters, pronounces a series of woes as the nations are in parade before him to receive their woe. But when you read a woe, it's like want to also think of it in terms of, whoa, slow down a minute. Whoa, horsey.
You may have heard about the preacher who bought a horse from somebody in his church. The guy said, well, preacher, the horse that you're buying is very different from any other horse you've ever had or ridden. I've trained this horse with biblical commands.
So don't think that you can say to this horse, giddy up. The horse won't go if you say giddy up. But if you say, praise the Lord, the horse will take off. When you want to stop this horse, you can't say, whoa. You have to say, amen. If you say amen, that horse will come to a stop.
Preacher said, I think I can manage that, thank you very much, put down his money, mounted the horse, started riding off by saying praise the Lord. The horse started taking off into a nice trot. He was having a good time. As he was going out across the landscape, a little jackrabbit jumped out of the bushes and spooked the horse. So it went now into a full gallop toward a ravine with a 200-foot drop.
The preacher panicked, forgot all those commands he was supposed to say, and said, whoa, whoa. Pulled back on the reins. Whoa, whoa. Horse did not stop or slow at all. As he was getting closer to the ravine, in the nick of time, he remembered the command and said, amen, and the horse screeched to a halt right on the precipice of that ravine. And the preacher wiped his brow and said, whew, praise the Lord.
Well, tonight, we're going to begin with some whoas, some amens, some slow it down, some denunciation of judgment. Again, quick recap. Chapters 1 through 39 is condemnation. Chapters 40 through 66 are about consolation. That helps you remember it-- condemnation and consolation.
So the first part of the book is the prophet confronting nations, condemning nations, getting in their face. The second part of the book is about hope and consolation, not getting in their face as much as lifting up their arms. Though both parts of the book have condemnation and hope, the second part of the book deals mostly in hope.
Now, let me, because I always like to do this, whether it's with adults or kids, but I always like to boil things down to its simplest term. The whole book of Isaiah, all of it, chapters 1 through 66, could be summed up in a nutshell. And here it is-- that God will purify and prepare Israel for the Messiah. That's all of it boiled down to its irreducible minimum.
God will purify true judgment and thus prepare Israel for its messiah for the First Coming of the Messiah when Jesus comes to deal with sin and for the Second Coming of the Messiah when Jesus comes to rule and reign with those who have been cleansed from sin. All of that is found in this book of Isaiah.
In chapter 28, the prophet wants to get the nation's attention so they don't go down the destructive path. And so he gives a series of warnings. Chapter 28, verse 1-- woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim. Notice that word Ephraim. Now, some of you I'm hoping by now will know what the word Ephraim refers to, not just a person, not just a tribe, but an entire nation. And it's speaking about the northern kingdom.
Do you remember how we have said a few times that Israel split north and south, 10 tribes up north, two tribes down south? The 10 northern tribes were called Israel. But sometimes, they were called by its biggest most principal tribe of the 10 Ephraim. So here, Ephraim doesn't mean a person, doesn't mean a tribe, means the northern kingdom of Israel called Ephraim.
Woe to them, it continues, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys. To those who are overcome with wine, behold the Lord has a mighty and strong one like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, who will bring them down to the Earth with His hand.
Now, Isaiah the prophet was a mouthpiece of God principally to the southern kingdom called? Anybody? Judah. Two tribes down south go under the name Judah, the 10 tribes under the name Israel or, in this case, Ephraim. So Isaiah is a prophet mostly in Jerusalem mostly to the southern kingdom of Judah. However, he is using the northern kingdom as an example of what not to do.
They were drunk. They were debauched. They were idolaters. They didn't listen to previous prophets. And they went into captivity of the Assyrians in 722 BC. It continues, verse 3-- the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, will be trampled under foot.
Now, with that in mind, go to the next chapter, chapter 29, verse 1. Here it says, woe to Ariel you go, well, who is Ariel? The word Ariel means lion of God, or hearth of God, or altar of God. It is a pseudonym like Ephraim that represents the north.
Ariel is a pseudonym to refer to Judah, the southern kingdom. Now, that becomes unmistakable. If you read through the chapter, by the time you get to verse 8, it's unmistakable that he is referring to Zion because he mentions the name. So he's speaking here about Jerusalem and Judah.
Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt. Now, we know that's Jerusalem. Add year to year. Let feasts come around. Yet, I will distress Ariel. There shall be heaviness and sorrow. And it shall be to me as Ariel. Again, the word means lion of God, or altar. So it's as if to say, this altar will become an altar of blood because of the destruction that is coming upon the southern kingdom.
I will encamp against you, verse 3, all around. I will lay siege against you with a mound. That is an army, a siege mound. And I will raise siege works against you. So we have two woes in two chapters. Go to chapter 30, verse 1.
Here's another one. Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, who take counsel, but not of me, and who devise plans, but not by my spirit, that they may add sin to sin, who walked down to Egypt and have not asked my advice to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh and to trust in the shadow of Egypt.
Let me tell you what's going on. That northern kingdom Ephraim knew that the Assyrians were strong and were about to take them captive. So they sought friendships, alliances with other nations. They bought them off. They looked for strength and help from Egypt, though that didn't work because they were taken captive in 722 BC.
And the king down south-- so that's the northern kingdom-- the king down south, Judah, the southern kingdom, is a king by the name of Hezekiah. He's going to be mentioned in the next coming chapters. Hezekiah's advisors told him to go get help from Egypt like the northern kingdom tried to do. Like, look, the Assyrians are now after us. They already took the northern kingdom. You need an ally, man. You need help. And so go pay them some money. And let them be your strength.
When Isaiah the prophet found that out, he said, bad move. Bad form. Don't do it Israel tried that, and they failed. The Assyrians took them over. Sennacherib, the ruler of Assyria, made Israel its vassal state. If you, like them, trust in the flesh, trust in the arm of the flesh, trust in Egypt, you too will fail.
Here's the principle. The southern kingdom of Judah was able to learn from somebody else's example. Now, they will learn from it. They will obey what Isaiah the prophet said, but only for a little while. It was George Santayana, who is an historian, who said, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to relive history. Judah was able to look at a historical example of what not to do. And so they said, OK, we won't do it only for a while. They will do it later on. And it will become their undoing.
Now, I'm following this because a verse we're about to read is going to make more sense. What is the antidote to trusting in the flesh? Trusting in God. Trusting in the Lord. Let me even go deeper. More than just trusting in the Lord, it's waiting on the Lord. You see, when the enemies surround you, and you don't know what to do, and you're tempted to go get help from worldly means, sometimes, you, though you're tempted to act and to react, you just need to stop and wait. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the Lord.
Look down at verse 15. For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, in returning-- that is, don't go to Egypt, come back, return to your land, and return to your Lord-- in returning and rest, you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. But you would not. You see, your hope doesn't lie in running toward Egypt and getting their help. It's being quiet. Here's God's children. They're so anxious. And God the Father's saying, shh, stop, rest, wait. Wait on the Lord.
Maybe that's a word from the Lord for you tonight. You're anxious. Something's coming up this week or next week, a surgery of somebody you love or your own, a possible interview that might end a job, or something in you. You are tempted to go out and act in the flesh and not wait on the Lord. Jesus said, come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden. I will give you rest. So he's telling them, stop. Just wait. Just rest.
Look at chapter 31, verse 1 again. Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots, because they are many, and in horseman, because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord. So they're tempted to look for earthly help to fix their problem.
Now, I want to fast forward using this principle. Remember how we've talked about a prophecy that is fulfilled immediately, but becomes a template to a greater fulfillment later on? In the end of days, things are going to get so bad in the world economically in terms of natural catastrophes that occur that the Bible predicts a ruler will come on the scene that will seem to have all the answers.
He goes by a number of names. Most of us call him the Antichrist, though he goes by about 50 different names in total in the scripture. He is going to persuade people that he is the solution to their long-awaited questions and problems. He'll bring them out of suffering. He'll bring them relief. And the world will follow him.
Jesus put it this way. I come in my Father's name. And you do not receive me. Another will come in his own name. Him, you will receive. I think he's speaking about that coming ruler that the world, even Israel at the time, will gravitate toward, just like they were want to do in the ancient times with Egypt.
By the time we get down to chapter 35, Isaiah looks well beyond the current status of the nation of Assyria or Babylon, well into the future, past what the Bible refers to as the great tribulation period on the earth, past the tribulation to the coronation of the Messiah he has already mentioned, into the kingdom age.
Now, notice some of these predictions of drastic changes that will occur. Chapter 35, verse 1-- the wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them. And the desert-- our ears should perk up-- the desert shall rejoice and shall blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it the excellence of Carmel-- that is, Mount Carmel, when you go to Israel, will be there-- and share in the plain of Sharon. And they shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God. These are areas known for their agriculture and their prodigious, verdant production of crops and just beautiful landscape, the trees, the cedars of Lebanon, et cetera.
So there seems to be a prediction of some radical changes on the earth, a change in the hydrological cycle, that areas that are normally nonproductive and barren desert will be very, very productive, that there will be geographical and topographical transformation taking place.
Now, a huge portion of the American Southwest of which we are a part is desert. Imagine the stretch, say, from Barstow to Tucumcari looking like Kauai. Come on. Bring it on. Just the desert blossoming forth like a rose. Now, we're told that some of these desert areas are even growing. They're expanding.
Not only that, but the eastern part of California even up toward the north part of eastern Oregon, part of eastern Washington, these are arid areas. There's lots of deserts in the world. I think Isaiah wasn't thinking of Barstow or Tucumcari, though, do you? I'm thinking he's thinking of the Negev, of the Sinai desert, of the great American-- American, Arabian Peninsula.
Those sand dunes from Edom or modern day Jordan all the way to Iraq is-- I mean, it makes Rio Rancho look lush. [LAUGHTER] There's only stones. There's not even plants that grow, not even little shrubs that grow. I know because I took a 25-hour taxi from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad, ancient Babylon, 25-hours one way. And the only comforting thought was this passage. One day, this place ain't going to look like this place. This place will be transformed like the prophet said.
Then verse 5, it goes on. The eyes of the blind shall be opened. The ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. The lame shall leap like a deer. The tongue of the dumb shall sing for water shall burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. When Jesus came to this earth, what he essentially did is give to us a preview of coming attractions.
It was a trailer for the movie that's coming. He healed people, people who were deaf, people who were blind, people who were lame, people who had diseases. Even dead people, he raised up. All of what he did was a preview of what the kingdom age will be like, what we call the millennial kingdom, 1,000 years. And we'll get back to that at the end of this book of plenty and abundance upon the earth.
If you're God's child, the best is yet to come. We say that. But think about that. You know where you're going and what you're going to see? There's not going to be hospitals, or wheelchairs. There won't be funerals. There won't be broken homes. There won't be broken bodies. There won't be broken hearts. There won't be darkness. Blind people will see. And, and, the best and, no Hell. If you're a child of God, the best is yet to come.
Paul said in Romans 8, I consider the sufferings of this present age you can't even compare to the glories that will be revealed in us. Here is the prophet predicting what is going to come one day upon the earth in terms of restoration. So he weaves the bad news and the good news. By the time we get to chapter 36, 37, 38, and 39, it's sort of back to the bad news in a sense, but really good news for Israel.
The bad news is Assyria, the nation that took over the northern kingdom and is threatening the southern kingdom, is in the crosshairs, God's crosshairs, the crosshairs of judgment, especially the leader of that nation by the name of Sennacherib. Don't name your kid that. He'll never forgive you. Sennacherib is mentioned. And you should know that those four chapters that I mentioned, 36, 37, 38, and 39, are almost, but not quite, but almost word for word the same as Second Kings chapters 18 through 20.
Look at a few of these verses, chapter 36, verse 1. It came to pass in the 14th year of King Hezekiah that King Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. So they took the northern kingdom, the 10 tribes of Israel. Now, they're moving south. And they are threatening to take over the southern kingdom, those two tribes left called the nation of Judah and the city of Jerusalem.
The king that is sitting on the throne is King Hezekiah. You probably know his name. He was one of the good kings. He was a great guy. A scroll of the law was found. This king, King Hezekiah, commanded that that scroll be read, that the word of God be obeyed. He commanded the temple be restored. He commanded the worship of God be restored.
But he did fail as a king. He did a lot of good things, mostly good. But he did fail. And that is he stripped the temple treasury. We're not told that here. But we are told that in Second Kings 18. He took the silver and gold from God's house, the temple, removed it, and tried to pay off Sennacherib, that Assyrian king, by giving him a huge amount of money saying, dude, we'll be your servants.
Please don't hurt us. Please don't take us captive. Please don't do to us what you did to the guys up north. Here's a bunch of money from our god's temple. It didn't work. He paid him the money. The king kept advancing, sent one of his field generals called the Rabshakeh down to threaten Judah, threaten Jerusalem, that God-- that he was going to-- that the Syrians were going to overturn them.
And so the terms are total surrender, or death. That takes us to chapter 37, verse 1. So it was when King Hezekiah heard it, then he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, went into the house of the Lord. Now, the first person he's looking for is the prophet Isaiah.
Let me tell you something about being a man or woman of God. Wherever you work or whoever your family is, however they don't like what your belief in Jesus is, however they might mock you or marginalize you, they'll do that until they're in trouble. When they're in trouble, they'll be looking for you. Where is she? Did she come to work today? I need her to pray for me. Man, I'm in trouble.
When you are singularly following God, people will mock you. You will stand alone. But when people are suffering, they will seek you out. This King is in trouble. And he's looking for that man who stood against the crowd, the prophet Isaiah.
Then he sent-- verse 2-- Eliakim, who was over the household with Shebna the scribe, the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said to him, thus says Hezekiah, this day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy for the children have come to birth. But there is no strength to bring them forth. In other words, we are in deep distress. We're in trouble. Help, uncle, what do we do?
I love verse 6. Isaiah said to them, thus, you shall say to your master, thus says the Lord, don't be afraid of the words which you have heard with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Surely, I will send a spirit upon them.
And he will hear a rumor and return to his own land. And I will cause him to fall by the sword of his own land. In other words, the king Sennacherib, who is flexing his muscles and threatening to kill you and overtake you, something's going to happen. He's going to hear of something. And he's going to go scampering back home to fix the problem.
That's exactly what happened. That's exactly what happened. He retreated. The army stayed in place. But watch this. Go down to verse 36. Then the angel of the Lord went out and killed in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000. With God, one is a majority. You might have a huge army. But when God is on your side, and you seek out the prophet.
And when the people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses all dead. Do any of you remember back in the 1990s that TV show called Touched by an Angel? Well, this is the Old Testament equivalent called punched by an angel. [LAUGHTER] This is what one angel can do. One angel can do this-- 185,000 people against one angel.
Now do you understand the power when Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter, put your sword away. Don't you know that I could call for 12 legions of angels? Can you imagine the devastation? One angel, 185,000. Now, historical secular records record a great decimation of the Assyrian army, though they don't give the exact amount. But they said it was a numerous amount. Here the scripture tells us 185,000.
So the sun rose the next day. They looked out on the fields and saw the corpses of their enemies that they feared. So ding dong, the witch is dead, right? It's all good at this point. Chapter 38, Hezekiah the king gets sick. He gets so bummed out that he's sick. And he begs for his life. So the prophet says, OK, your life is going to be extended.
It really wasn't the best thing that could happen because in chapter 39, Babylonians come, not Assyrians, a different enemy. The Babylonian Empire in the east is growing, and they send envoys to Jerusalem. And so King Hezekiah gives them a grand tour of the temple, the treasury, how much money, and gold, and silver he has, just gives him a grand tour of everything in Jerusalem.
Bad move. It would be like taking the Iranians, and the North Koreans, and the Russians to show them all of our bomb silos and all of our strategic air command sites in America and all the while, they're taking the notes and marking it on their map.
So the Babylonian envoys would be the ones who would come back and destroy that very temple. And so chapter 39, the first part of the book ends with the prediction of the fall of Jerusalem to King Hezekiah. You think King Hezekiah would say, oh, no. I'm so sorry. I did the wrong thing.
No, he says, well, at least it won't happen while I'm alive. Now, the prophet says, your kids and grandkids are going to suffer. And he goes, well, at least it won't happen while I'm around. I mean, just very self-centered. You kind of get a little insight into this godly king's heart.
Now, the second part of the book we want to move through. And that is chapters 40 through 66. This is the consolation part. After afflicting the comfortable, chapter 1 through 39, Isaiah now comforts the afflicted, chapters 40 through 66. Verse 1 of chapter 40-- comfort is the first word. Comfort, yes, comfort my people, says your God.
The prophet just got through saying, woe, woe, woe. Now, he's going, wow, wow, wow. It's all good. Yes, there is judgment that is spoken about in the second part. But the overshadowing theme is this first verse. Comfort, yes, comfort my people. Speak-- verse 2-- speak comfort to Jerusalem and cry out to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness-- that sound familiar-- 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. In all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, John the Baptist is spoken of as saying these words quoting the prophet Isaiah.
John the Baptist, we call him the forerunner, not like the truck 4Runner, but the ambassador would be a better term. He is Christ's ambassador. He comes first and announces the coming of Messiah in the New Testament. He quotes this verse.
However-- and this is really a good example-- you know how we have near fulfillment and far fulfillment, right? You know that principle well by now. I hope you're looking for it in the book of Isaiah. Even though John the Baptist quotes this, the verse itself does not have the forerunner of the Messiah as its primary idea, or primary reference.
The primary reference here is that Israel that will be in captivity in Babylon will need to go through that long expanse of wilderness that I told you about. Remember, I said, I took that long taxi ride, 25 hours of that nothingness? They're going to take a 900-mile trek back from Babylon back to Jerusalem. And this is part of the hope. Comfort-- be comforted by the fact that God is going to make a way through the wilderness for you to return back from Babylon back to Jerusalem.
Secondary reference, John the Baptist. The near is the template for something else. The principle is there. But the primary reference is to the return of the Jews from captivity. Here's what's interesting. There is a prediction, not here, but a lot of other places, that they're going to return from Babylon. Babylon was just beginning to be the new kid on the block.
They weren't even a threat. But the prophet presupposes they will be a threat. They will grow. They will overshadow Assyria. They will take over Jerusalem. They will take Jerusalem captive. Thousands of people will go to Babylon and live and will one day return back to Jerusalem. That's part of the prophecy of Isaiah.
Now, God's plan-- this will set the stage for the rest of the book, as we close-- God's plan from the beginning is that Israel be a blessing to the world. I want you to understand that principle. Remember in Genesis 12? God spoke a promise to Abraham. You and your descendants are going to bless the world.
So God intended that Israel be a light to the Gentiles and spread God's message of salvation to the nations, be a beacon of light for the nations, share with the rest of the world the God, the true God, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That's what God wanted. He wanted Israel to be his servant.
They failed at that. Instead, they wallowed in complacency, hypocrisy, idolatry. And they even complained that God would be far from them. And God was far from them. You see, when they were to go into captivity, the Jews were so shaken by that at first that they thought, God's abandoned us. We're done. God has forgotten about us.
So in the next few chapters-- and we're not going to go through all of it, just going to highlight something-- the next few chapters, God responds to their accusations as if it's a courtroom setting. I want you to look at one, chapter 40, verse 27. Why do you say, oh, Jacob, and speak, oh, Israel, my way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God? 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 unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. And to those who have no might, he increases strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary. And the young man shall utterly fall. 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.
Isaiah is speaking this to an audience 150 years away from him. They're not even born yet. He is speaking to a nation that will go into captivity and who will, in captivity, need to read this word of comfort. And they will read it. And they will return. They will feel as if they're abandoned. They will feel powerless. So God's message to them is just wait. Just wait. Wait on the Lord. Renew your strength. Get the courage at that time. And you'll have it.
We love this verse. Do we not? We love it. We underline it. A lot of us have memorized. It is one of our favorite verses, if not in the Bible, certainly in this book of Isaiah. Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength, even if your strength is failing. Christian, you are like a rechargeable battery. You feel weak and worn out and depleted. OK. Who doesn't?
Now, plug in to the Holy Spirit. Now, get a recharge. As the scripture says, be being filled with the Holy Spirit. So that even if you're depleted, even if you're weak, even if you're at your wits end, you can be recharged, reenergized, plugged in, and get a new power surge. And the way to plug in is to wait on the Lord.
What does it mean to wait on the Lord? Well, you can look at it a couple of different ways. Oh, I'm just waiting on the Lord. So I do nothing all day. I just twiddle my thumbs and cock my head heavenward, hoping God will come down and do something. You could do that. Or think of waiting on the Lord-- how many of you have ever worked in a restaurant? I did. I was a dishwasher. Then I was-- I waited tables.
And when I was waiting tables and waiting on people, I was serving them. Can I help you? What can I do for you? Think of waiting on the Lord like that. Stay busy. Look for opportunities to serve the Lord, to wait on him like he's your favorite customer. Wait on the Lord. Serve the Lord with whatever capacity you have in that limited sphere. And he will renew your strength. You will mount up with wings as eagles.
OK, now, I want to introduce another thought. I just gave you a thought. And I want to piggyback on it. God wanted Israel to be his servant. Israel failed to be God's servant. But God is still on a mission to save the world. So God announces through the prophet Isaiah another servant, a better servant, servant 2.0, the servant that will not fail, the servant that will do what Israel failed to do.
Isaiah 43, God says, behold, I am doing a new thing. And part of the new thing he is doing is raising up a new servant, the Messiah. We know him as Jesus. Chapter 42 of Isaiah, God says he will empower him by the spirit. Many of the rest of the book, verses in the rest of the book, talk about that it will bring salvation to the world, or offer salvation, and then rule and reign from Jerusalem over the world.
When you put some of these predictions together of servant 2.0, it sounds very much like what Isaiah predicted the Messiah to be in chapter 9 and chapter 11 of Isaiah-- be on the throne of his father, David, rule the world, et cetera, bring peace, et cetera. Because it is. He's going back to that theme. But he's saying Israel, you've failed as my servant. But I got another servant coming.
So look at chapter 41, verse 8. And I'll tie a few threads together. But you, Israel, are my servant. Hold that thought. Jacob, whom I have chosen-- hold that thought-- the descendants of Abraham my friend, 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 I have not cast you away.
OK, in the book of Isaiah, there are three different servants. Primarily two, but there are three mentioned, actually four if you were to count a guy by the name of Cyrus mentioned in chapter 44 and 45. I'll get to him in a minute. David is called the servant of the Lord in chapter 37. Israel here is called the servant of the Lord. And then servant 2.0, a He, a singular person is mentioned. And that is Jesus, God's ideal servant.
Go down to chapter 42, verse 1. Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect one, one-- an individual will be spoken about-- in whom my soul delights. I have put my spirit upon Him. And He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. That's the whole world. 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. A 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 him. This is the ideal servant.
There are four Servant Songs in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 42, Isaiah chapter 49, Isaiah chapter 50, and Isaiah chapter end of 52 and all of chapter 53-- those are the four Servant Songs. Two main servants, Israel and Messiah, the servant that failed, the servant who will never fail.
Now, notice what it says. He will not cry out or raise his voice, cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he will not break. Smoking flax he will not quench. This speaks of the gentle manner of Jesus. Remember, the New Testament calls him meek and lowly. So it says a bruised reed he will not break.
What does that mean? Well, you know what a reed is, right? Those, in the marshlands, those kind of wispy things that are blown by the wind out in the marshlands. Those windblown, fragile, weak bulrushes that are unstable, he won't break. In other words, Jesus' personality will not be so type A that he just bowls people over. He won't break a bruised reed.
He won't put out a smoking flax. A flax is a wick, a dimly lit lamp wick that is about to go out. Jesus will supply oil for the lamp. Power-- that's the idea behind this metaphor. He will fan the weak person into the flame of strength. Remember when Jesus met the woman caught in adultery and how he treated her compared to how the leaders of Israel treated her?
Now, they were right, of course. Our law says she deserves to die, and they picked up stones. Jesus brought the woman to himself and says, hey, you guys, you who are without sin cast the first stone. Then he said to the woman, where are your accusers? Where are those who condemned you? And she said, sir, I have none. And he said, neither do I condemn you. That's not breaking that wispy little bulrush, or putting out her flame. That's fanning it. Neither do I condemn the sin no more. That's Jesus' personality.
OK, quickly, chapter 44 and 45 are predictions about the circumstances upon which the captives who will be in Babylon will eventually return to Jerusalem. So notice a couple things. Chapter 44, verse 28-- who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd. Cyrus won't be born for another couple hundred years when this is written. So his name is mentioned before he's born by a couple centuries. That should raise interest.
Who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd. He shall perform all my pleasure. Saying to Jerusalem, you shall be built. And to the temple, your foundation shall be laid. Why would this be good news? Because the Babylonians put pressure on Israel, brought them into captivity, made them slaves. But eventually, the Medo-Persian Empire would overtake the Babylonian Empire. Its ruler would be Cyrus. He will let the Jews go back home. So God says he's my servant. He's my ambassador. He's my shepherd.
Now, keep in mind when this was written, Jerusalem hadn't fallen. Jerusalem was still standing. The temple was in place. But this presupposes Jerusalem will be destroyed. The temple will be destroyed. The people will be taken captive. And then they'll come back. And it'll be rebuilt. Go to chapter 45, verse 1. Thus says the Lord to his anointed. The word anointed in Hebrew is moshiach. We would translate it literally messiah.
Thus says the Lord to his messiah to Cyrus-- this is a pagan king he's writing about-- whose right hand I have held to subdue nations before him-- altogether. he conquered 46 different nations, don't have time to chase that down-- and loose the armor of the 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 bronze. And I will cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob, my servant's sake, and Israel, my elect, I have even called you by your name, Cyrus. I have named you, though you have not known me.
The walls of Babylon would be from Isaiah's prophetic perspective-- now, they're long gone-- but would be 311 feet tall, 87 feet thick, covering a circumference we are told in a couple of different accounts of 60 miles around the city, huge guard stations every so many feet, the Euphrates River running right through town, big bronze gate that would-- gates that would close, and a grate at the bottom that would let the river pass underneath.
We are told that King Cyrus took the city of Babylon by diverting the Euphrates River upstream so that it got lower and lower and lower up to the height of a man's thigh, enabling the Persian army to go underneath the gates and break them open. And Cyrus became the ruler of the known world prophesied in detail by Isaiah. And history says, Herodotus, the historian tells us, that's how it fell.
Chapter 46 to 48 is about the fall of Babylon. Now, I want to read an account to you. Here is God mentioning Cyrus, saying that he's going to let the Jews go back, telling them to rebuild their temple, which he will do. Josephus-- ever heard his name? Yes? Josephus, the Jewish historian, gives us this account.
Now, Cyrus learned this, that is, that he would command the building of the Jewish temple, by reading the book that Isaiah left of his own prophecies 210 years before. Somebody showed him the prophecy of Isaiah with his name in it. Josephus goes on. These things Isaiah foretold 140 years before the temple was destroyed when Cyrus therefore had read them and had admitted their divine character, in impulse and emulation, seized him to do what was written therein.
So according to Josephus, somebody showed him, hey, dude, your name's here. And it was written here before you were born. And he goes, wow. And he did what Isaiah predicted he would do. OK, servant 1.0-- fail. Servant 2.0 Messiah is predicted. The surprising thing is how God's perfect servant, servant 2.0, Jesus the Messiah, will bring salvation.
According to Isaiah chapter 52 and 53, he will be rejected. He will suffer. He'll be sentenced to death. On behalf of his own people, he will die in atoning death for their sin. And that is the fourth and most important, the last of those four Servant Songs, Isaiah chapter 52 beginning in verse 13 all the way down to chapter 53, verse 12.
This Servant Song is quoted by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, in the book of Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and 1 John. That's how important this song, chapter 53 of Isaiah, is. It has been called the torture chamber of the rabbis because it is so blatantly predictive about what Jesus would do.
Verse 13 of chapter 52-- behold my servant will deal prudently. He will be exalted, extolled, be very high. Just as many as were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men. Chapter 15-- so He will sprinkle many nations. Please notice the many nations. 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.
Sprinkling is a word used of priests in the temple or in the tabernacle who would atone for sin. Jesus Messiah, servant 2.0, will do the work, a priestly work of atonement, that will sprinkle not just Israel, but many nations God's desire to reach the world.
Chapter 53, verse 1-- who is believed our report to whom is the arm of the Lord been revealed, for He will grow before him like a tender plant, a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness when we see Him. There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from Him. He was despised. And we did not esteem him.
Surely, He has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows. Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded, literally pierced, for our transgressions. He was bruised, literally 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.
This summed up by Isaiah as if he were looking at the cross almost giving us a clearer, better perspective than any of the Gospel writers the suffering of the Messiah gives to us what theologians call-- you might want to write this down-- the vicarious atonement, one of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity, the vicarious atonement, or the substitutionary death of Jesus. He died in our place. The perfect sacrifice took our sin so that we could be the righteousness of God in Him, 2 Corinthians 5:21.
When I first heard the gospel, and I understood it as an 18-year-old young man, just turning 18, 17 turning 18, by Billy Graham on a television show, I remember what I thought. I thought, OK, God is going to give me His righteousness. And he is going to take on His Son my sin.
And my first thought is, God is getting a bad deal, [LAUGHTER] which he is. But I'm getting a killer deal, which I was. And all in all, that was sufficient for me to become his children. So God thought it was a good enough deal to do all that to make you his kid. That's love. That's vicarious atonement.
Well, that is the suffering and dying servant. But then suddenly, in verse 11 of this chapter, the servant is alive, again, just sort of out of nowhere. Verse 11 says, He will see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. This is after He died. So it implies Resurrection. Chapters 54 and 55 is a joyful song, a song of salvation. Chapter 56 and 57 is a rebuke to those who don't accept the servant's salvation.
Now, the last two chapters-- see how we're going to finish the whole book of Isaiah? The last two chapters is the blessing of a new creation, that is, a new heaven and a new earth, and the birth of a brand new nation. Chapter 65, verse 17-- for behold I create new heavens and a new earth. Not just a new earth, new heavens and earth. Heaven has been polluted by Satan. God is going to recreate Heaven and Earth. Peter also announced this.
I create new heavens and a new earth. The former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind. Go down to verse 25. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together. The lion shall eat straw like the ox, a herbivorous behavior. The dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.
This is the kingdom age again. The kingdom age, according to Revelation chapter 20, the millennial kingdom. Revelation 20 says several times it will last for 1,000 years. According to the Gallup organization, one of the most searching questions people have of almost any generation in recent times is this question-- will there ever be lasting world peace? Because by looking around, it sure seems the answer is no.
But the answer we know is yes. But it will not happen anytime soon. It will happen only when servant 2.0 returns 2.0, comes back again, to rule and reign with those who have been cleansed with sin. When he does, then Isaiah chapter 2, verse 4 will be fulfilled.
They will beat their swords, implements of war, into plowshares, implements of farming and health and longevity, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore. Those words are over the United Nations. But it has never yet been fulfilled. It is a longing for a Messiah to come and establish his messianic kingdom.
OK, chapter 66, verse 22-- eight seconds left. For the new heavens and the new earth which I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your descendants in your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another month by month from one Sabbath to another week by week, all flesh, all flesh, people from all over the world, will come to worship before me, says the Lord.
So that nutshell view once, again, through servant 2.0, through the suffering servant, God creates a covenant family from all nations. He will rule over an earthly kingdom for 1,000 years, followed by an eternal kingdom forever and ever. There will have a capital city called New Jerusalem.
If you're ever wondering, because some people ask this question, I know you talk about a millennium. I don't if I believe in an actual 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth. I think it's all a metaphor for something else. OK, you can believe whatever you want.
Just prepare to be surprised when you actually enjoy the 1,000-year millennial kingdom on the earth because I can't wait. I'm going to have fun. I can't wait for Tucumcari and Albuquerque to look like Kauai. I'll sign up for that. In fact, I'd like to be just, like, over Hawaii during the millennial kingdom if it's OK.
But anyway, here's why we need a millennium. The earth has been cursed ever since the fall. To redeem creation from the curse that has fallen by sin and will fall in spades during the Great tribulation period, the millennium will answer the prayer we have always prayed, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We're still praying that. It's not happening. It will happen then. God will answer that prayer in totality.
Number two, to fulfill God's promise to Israel. Remember, God made a twofold promise to the nation of Israel. They will rule over a literal physical kingdom with Messiah in charge, Israel at the top of the heap, and over an eternal kingdom. The millennium is part A. The eternal state, revelation 21 and 22, is part B. Make sense? That's the book of Isaiah.
Father, thank you for this incredible prophecy, this man who was able to see what was going on around him at the time, was able to see the kingdom of Assyria coming toward him and Babylon, who wouldn't even be around for years from his vantage point, but he predicted it, who predicted the Messiah is coming, his suffering, death, burial, Resurrection, and His coming again.
We long for the day when our Messiah will rule and reign for 1,000 years on a restored earth. And then this will be destroyed completely. And you will make a new heaven and new earth wherein dwells righteousness.
Lord, we who are living in this generation are always hearing the drumbeat of war close at hand. We long for the beating of swords into plowshares and nations not learning to make war, but a peace that lasts upon our land, upon our world, when Messiah rules and reigns. Thank you for Jesus, Lord. Thank you for this perfect servant. I pray if anyone doesn't know Him tonight, Lord, reveal yourself to them.
If you don't know Him, if you're not following Him, why don't you just breathe a simple prayer? Lord Jesus, save me. As I turn from my sin and turn to you, be my Savior. Be my Lord. Be my Master. That simple breath of prayer of faith is enough to save you right where you are if you mean it, if you're sincere. In Jesus' name, Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 Feet.