I would like you to turn in your Bibles tonight to the Book of Isaiah. Now, I want to began with a little story that is somehow a bit humorous and a little bit convicting. There was a preacher years ago named, Harry Ironside and some of you have heard of him and read some of his commentaries.
Well, he was meeting with a group of Pastors one morning and they were discussing what they did for their devotions that day and so one Pastor said, "I read Psalm whatever it was", another one said, "I read Proverbs whatever it was" and they came to Ironside and they said, "What did you read for your devotions this morning?" He said, "Isaiah" and they said, "great Isaiah, chapter what?" He goes, "No, Isaiah, the whole book. I read all 66 chapters to begin my day." Okay, well, like you beat us all now, you are like the most spiritual ever but that's -- I mean, it's quite a chunk. Even they do it from the Bible from 30,000 feet is a daunting task and we are only going to cover a portion of the book tonight, the first 39 chapters and 40 to 66 next week.
We have finished the historical books of the Bible. We have finished the poetical books of the Bible, now we are into the Prophets and we come to the Shakespeare of all Prophets, The Prophet Isaiah and this is a fascinating book and because it's so vast and I do hope that you have taken the time to at least read some of the key chapters if not but whole book in a week, I know that even seems like a lot for a week but we are just going to skim and cover some of the highlights so that you get the flow of the book and how it fits in the rest of the Bible.
But back in 1971, there was a mission to the moon called The Apollo 14 Mission, it was the third time they landed on the moon and one of the astronauts brought a Bible, the first time ever a Bible was brought to space. It was a King James miniature Bible on microfilm, two inches by two inches square. It had been reduced 62,000 times its original size, but all 66 books of the Bible were placed in this tiny little package and brought to the moon.
Some people believe that Isaiah is the literary version of that little analogy that I just gave you, that is, the whole Bible can be seen in one book, The Book of Isaiah. There are 66 books in the Bible and how many chapters are there in Isaiah? 66 Chapters. The Old Testament has 39 books, the New Testament has 27 books, that's interesting because Isaiah naturally breaks exactly the same way. The first 39 chapters have an emphasis, the last 27 chapters have an entirely different emphasis. So much so that some people believe two different authors wrote them. Will get more into that later.
The first 39 chapters which we want to cover tonight. The main focus is Condemnation and then the last part of the book, the last 27 chapters is about Consolation. So from Condemnation to Consolation, so once again, the first 39 chapters all denunciatory, the last 27 are all conciliatory. The first 39 chapters, the emphasis is on government and law, this should start ringing some bells and the last 27 the emphasis is upon love and upon grace.
Also, here is another interesting fact in line with that illustration. Isaiah chapter 40 which is -- what we would say is the New Testament portion of the book of Isaiah, opens up with a description that is given to John, the Baptist as you open up the Gospels. Comfort, yes comfort my people, the voice of one crying in the wilderness make straight the ways of the Lord, very many interesting parallels as we go through.
Now, The Book of Isaiah, the Prophet Isaiah is the most often quoted Prophet of anyone else that is quoted in the New Testament, 21 different times Isaiah the Prophet is mentioned and quoted in the New Testament. Jesus Himself begins His ministry in Nazareth with a quote out of the book of Isaiah chapter 61, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor", that's how he starts His ministry by quoting the Prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah is called the Messianic Prophet because there is so much emphasis on the Messiah, on Jesus because of chapters like, Chapter 7 of Isaiah, the Immanuel prophecy, Chapter 9, which speaks about the birth of Christ, Chapter 53, The Atonement etcetera. He is called the Messianic Prophet because so much of His prophecy centers around Jesus. By the way, the name Isaiah means God Salvation or Salvation of God. His Hebrew pronunciation would be Yeshayahu. So, you can say that when you go home, tonight we studied the book of Yeshayahu and that's the Book of Isaiah.
By the way, salvation will be mentioned 31 times in this book. This is the only book in the Bible to give Satan the name Lucifer or Bright One, Light Bearer Lucifer and it's one of two books in the Old Testament that describe the actual fall of Satan from times passed. Now, I did mentioned that some people say that there are two authors, let me just give you the rundown on this. There is a theory and I will bring it to your attention because some of you have heard of it and you have questioned it, called the Deutero-Isaiah theory, that not one but two authors wrote the book. Chapters 1 through 39 is one guy and then a whole different guy around 540 BC, after the captivity wrote chapters 40 through 66, that's one theory.
There is even another theory that called the Trito-Isaiah Theory. There are three different authors because of stylistic differences in the book. So chapters 1 through 39 is Isaiah One by one guy, Isaiah Two or Deutero-Isaiah is chapter 40 through 55 and then 56 through 66 is three Isaiah by three different people and yes, there are even more theories than that of several different authors adding to it.
So, who really did write this Book of Isaiah? Glad you asked the question, that's a question I aim to answer next week as we finish out this book. We see, I got to bring you back some how. Isaiah the Prophet, ministered for 50 years, he had a good long season of ministry through five kings of Judah, all which are mentioned in Verse 1 of Chapter 1. Little bit of tradition, we don't know if it's true, but according to the best tradition, the last king Manasseh that he was ministering during his reign. Tradition says that Manasseh took Isaiah the Prophet and pushed him into a hollow log and have the log sawn in two and that's how he died, as a murder sawn in two while he was alive until dead, he bled out in that log. Because Isaiah dared to point the finger at this idolatress wicked king and indict him and the nation with idolatry. Or if that's the case, no doubt this is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind, when he writes:
"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted and they were slain with the sword".
Last night, I was reading through a book, it was the "Dead Sea Scrolls", it's a translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and I thought, you know I want to go through these again it's been a while and in studying about them and in reading some of the literature that comes from the Dead Sea Scrolls. It daunt on me that the greatest discovery perhaps was the 24 foot long scroll of Isaiah the Prophet, that can be seen today in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem and is taken out to different parts of the world on display in some museums. 24 foot long, one solid long scroll of Isaiah.
Now, why was this find so important? Here is why, get this, up until 1947, when the scrolls were discovered, the earliest manuscript we had of Isaiah in the Old Testament dated from 895 AD, AD but suddenly in 1947, this little Bedouin kid throws a rock in a cave, here is a breaking jar goes up find scrolls, it happens to be the Book of Isaiah that had been written around 200 BC.
So suddenly, we have a book of The Bible, that's 1100 years older then the oldest manuscript that we have, the Ben Asher Codex from Cairo, Egypt. We have a book it's 1100 years older than the oldest manuscript that we base our Old Testament on, the Masoretic text, but here what is the best part of it. The Dead Sea Scrolls the best part isn't what they found, it's what they didn't find and what they didn't find is they compared this 1100 year earlier manuscript with our, up to that date, earliest manuscript. They didn't find errors. They found no errors. They found 1100 years of perfect scholarship and copying 1100 years removed. In fact, only nine letters in the entire Book of Isaiah were different from one manuscript to another.
Now, you could say, well, that testifies to the brilliance in the scholastic abilities and the determination and commitment of the scribe, certainly, it does but also to the hand of God upon them, year after year after year after year as those documents were copied down. Well, tonight, we have time to only look at the first 39 chapters which is a chunk and we are going to fly over a lot of it but after all, we are at 30,000 feet.
So, we want to look at condemnation. I am going to give you a brief outline. You can write it down. Here is how this first part, chapters 1 through 39 breaks down. Number 1, the Condemnation of Judah, that's the Southern kingdom. The condemnation of Judah, that's chapters 1 through 12. Number 2, the condemnation of the other nations, that's chapters 13 through 23. Number 3, the Condemnation of Judah and Israel together, woes and warnings and that's chapters 28 through 35 and number 4, the Condemnation of Sennacherib. You are going, please don't make me write that word down. Okay, write Assyria then, Assyria, that's the nation that that king was in charge of. The condemnation of Assyria or its King Sennacherib and that's chapters 36 through 39.
Now, if you just listen carefully to the outline I gave you, you are going, wait a minute, you left some chapters out. You left out chapters 24, 25, 26 and 27 and you would have caught that if you were really listening. Well, I am writing that down, you can see that now in your notes. So, you are saying, what happened there? Here is what happened. There is little parenthesis that we call, here it is, Isaiah's little apocalypse, Isaiah's little apocalypse, where he takes a break and he speaks about a vague future series of judgments and glory that we have not yet seen but that is coming, that's his little apocalypse. So, that's a brief outline of where we are going tonight. Oh by the way, you should know this and we will see it in the next several weeks.
There is a noticeable feature about prophecy. I do not want you to miss it, otherwise it will be very confusing. Prophets, when they look to the future, often saw things that would happen very shortly. Let's call that the immediate fulfillment to the prophecy and they could see that what they are saying is going to happen very soon but what they see is a template or a model or a grid that they could put up to the distant future, because what happens here is going to happen again there in a greater scale.
So, you have a prediction of the abomination of desolation and that's in the Book of Daniel and they can see that that's going to happen in the future but that's going to be a template for a greater abomination of desolation that Jesus talks about that hasn't happened historically but that will happen in the future. So, prophets were like guys with bifocals. You know when you have bifocals. How many of you have bifocals? How many? Be honest. I do. I have a contact that goes there and one that goes here and if I take them and I have to wear these graduated lenses, I can focus on something up close and then as I look up, the lenses adjust in the top of the glass so I can see in the distance.
Prophecy sort of works like spiritual bifocals. You will see something up close but as you take what you are seeing and move it up into the horizon, it's a template for some greater fulfillment in the future. So, let's look at Chapter 1 of Isaiah. In chapters 1 through 12, remember, it's the condemnation on the nation of Judah, Verse 1, "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah". Thus begins a series of Sermons by Isaiah denouncing condemning Judah for it sins.
Now, this prophet Isaiah did not just foretell the future. He was very socially active, this prophet. He was a reformer. We would call him a social reformer. So, when he writes, it's not all foretelling the future, it's sometimes a foretelling of the failure of the people of Judah. Saying things like, wait a minute, who are you guys trusting anyway? Why are you making foreign alliances with Assyria or Syria or Egypt? You need to trust God instead of some army, the arm of the flesh and a lot of his prophecy is about not trusting men, but trusting in the Lord.
Okay, Isaiah's primary ministry, as stated in Verse 1, is to the South, is to Judah, is to Jerusalem. He is living in Jerusalem. He is walking the streets of Jerusalem. He is giving his messages to the Jerusalemites and the people of Judah. However, he will include Israel and he will include other nations around the world and eventually he will include the earth, primary the South, Judah. I am going to refresh your memory. Most of you are now Biblically astute and aware and you know this because we have covered it.
By the time, he writes, the nation is divided. The nation is divided. There is not one United Kingdom. There is not 12 tribes that love each other and then one solid government. It's split in two. Jeroboam and Rehoboam, years earlier after Solomon, split the kingdom. Now, there is 10 northern tribes, we call the nation of Israel, two southern tribes under the nation of Judah. Yeah, Judah and Benjamin, that's the south, in and around the environment of Jerusalem, okay.
Here is the background, very important. 150 years before Isaiah was born, the Kingdom of Assyria was already gaining strength and taking over the world slowly and the northern kingdom, 150 years before Isaiah was born was already trying to work deals with Assyria to pay them off, so that they wouldn't attack Israel, the 10 northern tribes. It didn't work, it backfired. By the time Isaiah, the prophet had been born and was a young man, Assyria had already attacked the 10 northern tribes and taken some of them captive.
By the time Isaiah, the prophet entered the ministry and became a prophet, the 10 northern tribes had already fallen to Assyria in 722 BC and by the time, he is ministering in Jerusalem, in the full swing of the Book of Isaiah, the Assyrians are sweeping down into Judah conquering 46 of their cities and marching against Jerusalem. That's the background of the book that happens during these five kings and their reign. So, Assyria is this huge threat and it's very important specially in the first 39 chapters.
Verse 2, you are saying you are going to cover 39 chapters, boy? No way. Watch. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; the ox knows its owner, the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, My people do not consider". "Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with inequity; a brood of evil doers, children who are corruptors, they have forsaken the Lord; they have provoked to anger, the Holy One of Israel. They have turned away backward." Notice here is a guy who doesn't mind calling sin, Sin, not a mistake, not a product of your environment, not a mishap, it's sin. It can be dealt with. You will have a God who hates sin but who loves you and there is a remedy.
Verse 12, "When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The new moons, the sabbaths, the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure inequity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons, your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them". Now you might think wait a minute, God, You are the very one who instituted these festivals, feast, prayers, etcetera. It was your idea, it was your revelation, you know what, here is the principle, God never separates the worship that you bring from the worshiper who brings it. He looks at the life, not just the act of worship, not just the smooth golden tongued prayer or preaching or feast or festival, but He looks at the heart and He notices there is a discrepancy.
Verse 15, "When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood". So here they are merely going to Church, we would say in a New Testament context, going to worship in the Old Testament context, going through the ritual of the feast and the scarifies and the blood that are sacrificed in the prayers with the hands lifted up, oh we love you Lord.
All the while, all they are doing is rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, that's all they are doing. Every weekend they worship it is rearranging the decks on the deck or the chairs on the Titanic, it's going down, their nation is going down, eventually will be taken into Babylonian, not a Syrian captivity, and so he denounces them. Look at Verse 18, "Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
So the next several chapters are a series of these kinds of Sermons. Now I don't know if you have noticed this. So if you haven't, I want you to notice it. If have a modern translation, NIV, New King James, New American Standard, you notice that the structure so far of the Book of Isaiah is poetic, it's poetic, it's written in Hebrew parallels in stanzas, okay. Like the poetical books, the prophet writes and speaks in a very poetic fashion. Now that's important, keep that in mind because when we get to a historical interlude later on, it goes from poetry to prose because he is telling a story, it's historic not prophetic and then when he switches back to the prophetic, it's the same kind of rendition on the page of your Bible. It set out in stanzas in Hebrew parallelism.
So there is a series of these sermons in the first 12 chapters where God denounces the sins of the leaders, the sins of the people and I want you to look now at Chapter 5 in one of these sermons, one of most famous and this is one of the sermons on the fruitless vineyard. Verse 1, "Now let me sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved regarding his vineyard. My well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill". That must be mount Zion in Jerusalem. God gave every opportunity for the nation to bear fruit. He dug it up and cleared out its stones and planted it with the choices vine. He built a tower in its midst, he made a winepress in it, he expected it to bring good fruit or good grapes but it brought forth wild grapes. "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please between Me and My vineyard". In the rest of the chapter, chapter 5, the sins are listed that He is asking them to judge. Look, judge for yourselves and less immorality drunkenness, materialism, etcetera.
Just to paint a black picture until we get to chapter 6. Here comes the change because God is sending Isaiah, this time a young man as the prophet to make a difference. This is His calling. Now when God calls him, He gives him a vision and people that they need a real vision of God through the word of God. Why are we studying the Bible? To get nothing less than a pure holy true vision of God because nothing will prepare us for service than seeing who God really is. Verse 1, In the year the king Uzziah died, that 739 BC by the way, after 52 good years of reign as a king. "In the year king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train his robe filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings".
So this is very interesting, there is no king on the throne. The people are panicking. Isaiah is really bombed out because Uzziah was great and he brought spiritual reform and he was a spiritual catalyst and so he must be thinking there is no king on the throne, we are doomed and God wants Isaiah to know that there might not be a king on the throne but it really didn't matter who is in office politically, let Me tell you who is on the throne ultimately and that is God and that's good to remember in a electioneer. Because some of you are going to vote and I hope all of you vote but some of you are going to vote and after the election, you are going to be bombed out. Some of you will, because not all of you are probably going to vote the same and I am not going to tell you exactly who to vote for but what I want you to know is no matter who gets elected, God is on the throne.
So if you are tempted to think, oh, no we are doomed, my candidate didn't get in, boy are you needing this vision. He need the big picture, it's not all about us. It's not all about America. In fact, one of the most disturbing things to me is the absence of America in prophetic literature, that's another Bible study.
Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face. So he wouldn't look directly at God. With two he covered his feet to acknowledge his loneliness, with two he flew that service and one cry to another and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory".
Theologians call as the Trisagion on, the thrice-Holy God. Could it imply the trinity, perhaps. It certainly emphasis the character that God is Holy. And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out. And so if you think our PA system is loud, you wouldn't like heaven in this vision because it was, it shook the post and the house was filled with smoke. So God had His own smoke machine, I will quite assure.
So I said, I said. "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts". Then one of the seraphim means burning ones, this angelic being flew to me having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. The altars were sacrifices were made were sin it was dealt with. And he touched my mouth with it. Ouch! No fun. I didn't bank on this in my worship service, I come to worship and I get a coal in my mouth, it's burning. Why? Because he said, "Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips".
So God deals with the very area where Isaiah needs to be worked on cleanse repented of, behold this has touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away, your sins is purged, special cleansing is needed before special service can begin. Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Interesting to unravel that. Then I said, Here I am; send him. No, no, no, that's what some of us say today. Who will go? Lord, I am out over here and I am praying for that guy and he is going to go and I am going to support that guy. It's another thing to go, I will be the guy. Here I am Lord, send me.
So he begins his ministry. Now Chapter 7 and Chapter 9, are some of the most beautiful prophecies of the coming Messiah, Immanuel, a son is born, son is given. They predict Messiah's birth and reign and know that these prophecies all they speak about the Messiah are couch in local predictions that Isaiah was dealing within his time.
Chapter 7:14, "The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son", that such a familiar prophecy we will skip over that because we have dealt with it on a number of occasions. In Chapter 8, is the birth of Isaiah's second son and I bringing it up because it's the longest name of any body in the Bible, the name of Isaiah's second son is Mahershalalhashbaz.
So once again, parents if you are looking for unusual Bible names for your children, this would be your ticket, Mahershalalhashbaz was his name and it meant to hasten the spoil, speed up the booty or taking of the spoil of war that would happen to -- in other words, judgment is coming soon and they are going to wipe you guys out.
Chapter 9:6 is that famous, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, the government will be upon his shoulder", etcetera, etcetera. Again, we have covered that. Now I am selecting a few of these examples and I want to sum it up by this statement, listen to it, it's by John Phillips, one moment Isaiah's book is black with thunder and darkness of the storm and the next, the rainbow shines through and he sweeps readers on to the golden age that lies ahead. I think he does a beautiful job explaining what seems like Mr. Toad's wild ride in the Book of Isaiah.
Messiah is going to be born, I am going to have a son with a weird name. Then Jesus is going to come and then and he just goes all over the place. And He is giving you that variety. Chapter 11:1, is another beautiful prediction, in the midst of all of the summons of judgment and sin that is given in these 12 chapters, "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots". Ooh! How picturesque. The tree of David almost totally chopped off, the kings of Judah will come to an end with the captivity. God promises the blood line is even cursed, some of you will remember and just when it looks like that tree will never spring back, a little bud will pop up out of that trunk, out of that chalked off stump, a root and that is Christ, The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, personal pronoun, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Again, Isaiah's name means salvation of God and Isaiah likes to point to God, salvation all throughout this book. Chapters 13 through 23 is the second condemnation and this is condemnation of the nations that are around Israel, nine nations are mentioned. And I have covered these chapters in depth, it took me weeks and months to do so. But all of them know this, all of these nations are somehow connected with Israel and usually they are condemned because of how they treated Israel, if they treated Israel poorly, you are going to get punished, you treat Israel well, you will be blessed, that's all scriptural principle.
So Chapter 13:1, the burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. Did you know that next to the city of Jerusalem, the city of Babylon is mentioned more in the Bible than any other city. First mentioned, Jerusalem, highest number of hits, second Babylon. Second highest number of hits. Chapter 14, Judgment against the Syria and Philistia, where the Philistines lived on the coast of Israel.
Chapter 16, to the east Moab, Chapter 17 to the North Damascus, Chapter 18, way to the South and to the East or West Ethiopia. Chapter 19, the Prophecy or burden against Egypt. Chapter 21, Babylon again is highlighted to be doomed along with Edom. Chapter 23, Tyre, the city of Tyre, up in Lebanon. You know Solomon did say there is nothing new under the Sun, right? All these nations around Israel that hassle them, guess what, that they are still doing it.
You know I read about Lebanon here, Tyre and all these judgments because of the way they treated Israel, just two years ago, they lob missile after missile after missile after missile over the border to provoke Israel to war. Nothing new under the Sun. So here is a question. Why does God allow Isaiah to write all of these chapters against the enemies of Israel? You think, what's the point? Because you and I, when we start reading we go, I am tired, I am done.
I get it, because if you were Jewish, specially if you were in captivity and you thought, it's over you would read these chapters and they would give you assurance that your God is in charge and your God is a plan for your nation that he established. That would be very important to you to read these kind of denunciations. Zechariah, minor prophet, he writes whoever touches Israel, touches the apple of God's eye.
Now I want to bring some up, because if you are an astute reader, especially if you have appension for fairness, you are going to ask a very natural question. You are going to go hold on now, why would God judge these nations when God predicts himself that God will use these nations to spank his people, Israel. Israel's sin God said, I am going to bring these nations against you then as soon as they come, they go, Oh! Man you shouldn't have come against, now I am going to get you. You go, oh, I don't get that part.
Well, let me give you an example, let's say, I break into your house, don't worry it's not in me, I won't do it. But let's say I break into your house, you see me breaking into your house, you call the police to arrest me and to protect you, while the police are there protecting you by arresting me, they notice that you are growing marijuana in your backyard, and you happen to have The Mona Lisa above your fireplace in your living room that you stole from the Lourve.
Well, what's going to happen? Now you are under arrest, now you are in trouble, because though what I did is wrong, what you did is also wrong and there is a level of justice that will be meted out to both parties. That sort of how all this is working out. If you will forgive the, sort of lame illustration, I hope it helps.
Chapter 23, would you go to Chapter 23:1, the burden against Tyre, now again, Tyre is a little coastal city. Now at that time it was quite large, in modern day Lebanon, "Wail, you ships of Tarshish!". That's out in the Western Mediterranean and Portugal, the Phoenicians would go back and forth to Tyre. For it is laid waste, So that there is no house, no harbor; From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them. Be still, you inhabitants of the coast land, you merchants of Sidon, whom those who cross the sea have filled.
Chapter 23 goes on to predict the fall of Tyre. Guess what, what happened to Tyre? Okay, it was predicted that it would fall, right? Guess what happened to Tyre, it fell. It fell not once, it fell not twice, it fell five times after this was predicted. But it's that fifth time that I just want to tickle your historical imagination with. Because here it predicts, it's going to fall, the prophet Ezekiel also predicts it will fall but listen to this. Listen to this, this is Ezekiel, Chapter 26:4, God says, "I will also scrape her dust from her and make her like the top of a rock". Okay, so Isaiah says, Tyre you are going down, God says, not only are you going down through Ezekiel the prophet, I am going to scrape you like the dust so you have a like the clean making the type of a rock clean.
Okay, the fifth time it was taken, it was taken by a very aggressive ruler named, Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great's dad was Philip of Macedon. Philip of Macedon had a son that he was worried about, named Alexander, because you know he thought, he is not going to really become much, he didn't look like he has much promise. So Philip of Macedon hired a personal tutor by the name of Aristotle to train young Alexander. Alexander was a bookworm, a visionary, not a fighter, until his dad was murdered by the Meads and the Persians, this did something and he snapped inside and he decided after that, I am going to take up my father's cause. He moves with an army, westward very rapidly towards middle Persia to avenge his father's death.
On the way he stops at Tyre, he attacks the city of Tyre. He attacks them because he wants supplies from them to continue his journey, they won't give him the supplies. Alexander the Great knows that he can't attack them with a navy because the people who are inhabiting the city of Tyre were Phoenicians and they were known for their military conquests at sea. Okay, I mentioned it was taken five times, right. I am dealing with the fifth time, right, Alexander the Great.
Go back in time, just a moment, keep this, follow me. Go back in time, when the Babylonians years before conquered the city of Tyre on the sea coast, the people of Tyre after the conquest decided to rebuild their city not on the coast but move their entire city to a little island that was there, one half a mile out to sea. So now they are living on a little island with walls around it, protected by their ships, by their fleets. Alexander the Great comes, sees where the city used to be, sees where the people are now living, decides I am not going to attack them on this island with ships.
Alexander the Great comes, sees where the city is to be, sees where the people are now living, decides I am not going to attack them on this island with ships. So what he does, is he takes all of the previously laid ruins, and basically literally scrapes the city for land filled material, and builds a causeway, a jetty a half a mile out to sea, so he can walk with his army after scraping the old ruins clean for land fill and marches out and takes the city.
That's how literally that was filled. Now I am bringing that up, because when you start dealing with prophecy, this is why it's good, this is why it encourages us, because if anybody with half a brain reads it, they go, you know what, if God said something was going to happen, and it's been fulfilled that accurately, that many times with the odds stacked like that against it. if that happen, so accurately, then all of the things God said would yet happen in the future, I don't need to worry about them.
I don't need to think, well, maybe that won't come true, maybe it's not literal. Now maybe you can just like rest, and relax, and hang out, and trust that God is really in charge. And what He said is going to come to pass, but know this, God Himself uses prophecy as His calling card to separate Himself between all the other Gods of the world, and Himself, the unique and only true God.
Isaiah 46 reveals this beautiful prophecy or word from the Lord.
"I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done."
Now this takes us to chapters 24 through 27, which if you remember when I gave you the outline, I said it was parenthetical, and we call it Isaiah's little Apocalypse. Isaiah now does this, he has been writing kind of like this, okay, very local and then, sort of, widening out the scope of his prophecies to other nations. Now he goes like this. He goes way, way out and he predicts something on a global scale, and he speaks about global destruction, the earth, all of the earth being involved, and then after a period of judgment on the earth, a great kingdom age in chapters that follow, chapter 25, 26 etcetera.
So this fits I believe in my theology, in my eschatology, it fits right in there, in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 6 through 20, The Day of The Lord, the Tribulation period followed by the Millennial Kingdom.
"Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants. The earth mourns and fades away. The world languishes and fades away. The haughty people of the earth languish."
I hope I don't offend anybody by what I am about to say. But for a while now, the last several years, environmentalist have chosen to speak very definitely about the planet earth, by words like, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, failing to thank God who is the creator. Remember what Paul says in Romans, "they worship and serve the creature rather than the creator who is blessed for ever more." There is a type of environmental atheism that says, God is in everything, and God is everything, and don't hurt Mother Earth because it's really where we are all from, and it's this -- it's an alternate worship system.
There is even Earth Day where people convene all over their earth to worship their God, the Earth, their Mother, the progenitor of their life. Well, know this, in the tribulation period, God will destroy their God. All of that to say this, if you think we have trashed the earth, and I'll admit. I think we have not been great caretakers of it. But if you think we have ruined it, where do you see what God does with us. When you read the tribulation period, how God utterly trashes and decimates the earth He made, in very drastic, and it causes people to wean and mourn, because their only hope is taken away. We start understanding the whole reason for that kind of judgment.
"The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is split open, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and be removed like a cottage; the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again."
One of the things we have learned over the last century is that our solar system is not a peaceful place, it's very violent. You look at the surface of the moon, the lunar surface is tagged and it's beat up because of the meteorite activity upon it. You can't -- if you though say, if you look at the moon, you can't, because it's a waning crescent tonight, but when it gets bigger, it gets to be like a waxing gibbous in a couple weeks, and you can look through a high power telescope or a pair of binoculars, and you can see those huge craters.
And you don't have to even go to the moon, you can just go west, out to the Barringer crater in Arizona, and it shows a violent past on the earth. How that relatively small meteorite hit planet earth and created this large hole, one mile wide, 4570 feet deep.
What happens when in the tribulation period God starts pelting the earth, what that would be like? In Revelation it says, "Great hail fell from heaven, and fell upon men, and each hailstone weighed one talent, 125 pound blocks of ice, that's a hailstone. Have you ever gone through an old icehouse? Remember those 25-pound blocks of ice? Imagine if one fell on you. Now imagine a 125 pounds falling, the kind of devastation? You said, why would God stone the world? You know your Bibles, what's the punishment that God gave for blasphemy in the Old Testament?
Stoning, these worshipers, these harden people who worship false Gods, God Himself, in the tribulation period has highlighted here, just highlighted only, by Isaiah, will be destroyed. Chapter 25-27 is a welcome shift. It's the kingdom age. Songs of praise that I believe fit perfectly after the tribulation period,
Chapter 6:20, I am just going to highlight a couple of verses. "Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past."
For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, the earth will also disclose her blood and will no more cover her slain."
Go down to Isaiah 27:6
"Those who come -- I believe this is going to be the Kingdom age. "Those who come, He shall cause to take root in Jacob, it's the land of Israel. Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit". Now today Israel amazingly is doing this in part, but just in part. They have taken since 1948, 408,000 cultivatable acres and now there is over one million acres that are productive. It's the fourth largest producer in the world for citrus fruit. That little tiny spec culmination of Israel. In the millennium it will be fruitful, and perhaps He is speaking about the fruit of righteousness and peace, or it could be literal as well.
Now third, Chapters 28 through 35, and we'll move quickly, is the condemnation, remember that's the theme of the first 39 chapters. So condemnation on both Judah and Israel, north and south, woes and warnings are given, and there are six specific woes that are given to these two nations. Now whenever you read woe, well, if you are on a horse, what does woe mean? Means stop, and that's the way I like to look whenever I read woe in the Bible, I go woe! Stop, consider this, and Israel is going down a path, and God says, woe, w-o-e, but it should be like wow, stop! Don't go down that path, turn around, stop, because if you don't woe, and you keep going down, it will be a really woe. And in the Hebrew by the way woe is oye. So God sees and goes, oye.
"Woe oye to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim." That's the euphemism for the ten northern tribes all into that large tribe Ephraim. Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower. Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine!" Now he warns them no to go down to Egypt to make an alliance with them. In the next several chapters, he goes, look, don't go down and make an alliance with Egypt, thinking that me and Egypt will be best buds, because when the Syrians come, me and Egypt will beat them up. God says, not smart. Why would you trust them, and not just trust Me?
So Isaiah 30:1,
"Woe to the rebellious children," says the Lord, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit that they may add sin, to sin, who walk to go 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".
Okay, here is the short story. Isaiah warns Judah not to mess with Egypt, don't make an alliance with them. They go okay, we are going to listen to Isaiah. They stop doing it. They repent, they trust the Lord. The northern tribes of Israel don't listen to Isaiah's woes against them. They make an alliance with Egypt. They are taken captive, 722 B.C. by Syria. Judah is left alone for a period of time until their sins stack up, and in 586 BC the Babylonians will take them captive.
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest you shall be saved; and quietness and confidence shall be your strength". But you would not. He says to the ten northern tribes. In other words, look, your real hope is in a frenzied move, and making an alliance with Egypt. That's not your answer. The real answer is to trust and wait on the Lord for His strength, and I love that verse.
I love that verse, because as soon as you hear bad news, you are tempted to get really busy, really frenzied, really reactive, and sometimes God would say to you, shh-h-h, stop, stop, don't think that I make four phone calls will solve the problem. Just wait, wait, trust, and quietness and confidence shall be your strength, and maybe tonight, that's what you need to hear. Come in to Me, Jesus said, all you who labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. Trust in Him.
Isaiah Chapter 31:1, here it is again.
"Ye, Woe to those who go down the Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord". So you get the picture here. The warnings and woes to the north and the south, okay. I want to sort of connect two dots. What Israel did in the past, they will again do in the future, unfortunately. Though this is looking at something they are doing now, and immediate predictions will come to pass, because they are going to captivity.
In the future, and in the future from now, Jesus predicted something very interesting. He said to the Jews, "I have come in My Father's name, and you did not receive Me! Another will come in His own name, Him you will receive!" and the Bible predicts that there will come a person named, we call him, will affectionately, the anti-Christ or the Man of Sin, who will make a covenant with the Jews, and then break it. And they will trust in this Man of Sin, who will come in his own name and exalt himself above all that is called God, Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians.
What they did in the past, unfortunately they will do in the future. Chapter 35 is the Kingdom Age, and most conservative scholars will tell you that. This isn't just a skipped idea or a Calvary Chapel idea. Conservative scholars, Dallas Seminary, John MacArthur, all say that these are changes that will take place in the Millennium.
"The wilderness and the waste land shall be glad for them; and the deserts shall rejoice, and blossom like a rose". Just think for a minute looking out here in the great desert of Southwest, I am seeing flowers and greenery. You know, when you land, just imagine, just rolling hills of thick green verdant water driven areas. Sounds pretty good? It's going to happen.
You know, when you land just imagine, just rolling hills of thick green, verdant, water-riven areas, sounds pretty good? It's going to happen. Now, if you think it's desolate here, you go to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, that's the desert around Isaiah at the time. It makes the moon look lush over there. I mean one time I took a taxi, cab ride from Amman, Jordan to Baghdad. It was 25-hour one way trip, 25-hour back, taxi ride. The guy, the taxi driver was a chain smoker and played Madonna tapes the whole trip, okay. So imagine me in a taxi with an Arab driver smoking, listening to Madonna 25 hours, going through this desert, there was nothing to look at. The only thing that kept me sane on that trip was thinking of the future of that desert desolate region.
One day, this is going to blossom like a rose. There won't be chain smokers, there won't be Madonna tapes, it's going to be the kingdom age. Verse 5, let's move quickly, "The eyes of the blind shall be open, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. The lame shall leap like the deer, the tongue, the dumb shall sing. The water shall burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert". Jesus Christ came for three and a half years and heal people.
They were blind, they were deaf, some were dead, they were resurrected when Jesus -- three and a half years, ministry of Jesus on earth, we call it the trailer to the movie. It was the preview of coming attractions. It won't just take place in gallery for three and a half years, it will take place worldwide during a kingdom age. It was coming a day. There is going to be no broken homes, no broken hearts, no diseases, no hospitals, no wheel chairs, no funerals, no sadness and no hell. It will all be eradicated and the kingdom age will be that on earth.
And now in the minute and a half we have remaining, we take the fourth leg of this 39 chapter block and that is the condemnation on, what's his name, Sennacherib or you wrote Assyria or you could write Aram, A-r-a-m, that's another ancient name for Assyria, Aram. Sennacherib was the big boy on the block who flexed his muscles and took over the world at that time.
Now, you will notice something. Chapter 36 through 39, just look at your pages, just look at the difference between the Hebrew parallelism in the first 35 chapters and the way it's written in chapter 36, 37, it's written just like a regular prose, isn't it? Not poetry, it's prose because we are dealing with history now and really briefly, look at Verse 1 of Chapter 36. "It came to pass in the 14th year of King Hezekiah, that Sennacherib, King of Assyria came against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them". Okay, so Sennacherib comes, sends his Field General, the Rabshakeh, who comes with a letter and big mouls (ph) and an army to Jerusalem and basically says this, don't trust God. Your God won't save you. All these other 46 cities that we have overcome, they trusted their Gods, we wiped them out, don't thing your Yahweh is going to help you at all. Give up.
Chapter 37, Verse 1
So it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, I would too, covered himself with sackcloth, I would too, went into the house of the Lord, good move and the first person he call for, call in reverent, call in Isaiah. Verse 2, he sent Eliakim who was over his household, Shebna the scribe, the elders of the priest covered with sackcloth to Isaiah, the prophet, the son Amoz and Isaiah said to them, "Thus you shall say to your master, thus says the Lord God, do not 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, they will hear a rumor and return to his own land and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. That will be fulfilled literally. He will turn back, he will be killed, but the army remains in Jerusalem.
Verse 36, Verse 36, then the angel of the Lord went out, this is one angel now, don't mess with angels and killed in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 and when the people arose early in the morning, there were corpses all dead. So, can you picture it? That threat comes against them. Isaiah says, don't worry about it. They messed with God, God will get them, an angel comes, destroys 185,000. Ding Dong! The witch is dead, that you know it is, they look out the walls of Jerusalem. There is 185,000 dead.
So that brings a little more color into the words of Jesus when he said to Peter, Peter, in the garden of 1:00:17 put away your sword. Don't you know I could call for 12 legions of angels? Now, 12 legions if one call pull this off, 12 legions is like, "Wow!" Okay, you have heard of the show, Touched by an Angel, this is punched by an angel. That's what I would call this, but they were prideful. They were prideful and pride goes before destruction. A haughty spirit before a fall, okay.
Chapter 38, Hezekiah gets sick. He recovers. Chapter 39, he is dumb. That's how he end, he is dumb. Could you skip? I know we are done. Now could you explained what you just said by he is dumb? Yeah, it's what he does. King Hezekiah, there are some guys from Babylon coming, just to visit and so, he brings them in and says, hey, let me show you how blessed we are and he shows them all of the treasuries of the temple, all of the treasuries of the Kings of Judah, all of the treasuries of Jerusalem which makes them go back and in a few years when they get power, they will be back, destroy the city and take all of those treasuries to Babylon.
So, condemnation of Judah, condemnation of Judah and Israel, of other nations around them, of Assyria and interlude with prophecy and eschatology in it and now next week, Isaiah will go from condemnation to consolation, from denunciatory literature to conciliatory literature, from Old Testament to New Testament.
Let's pray. "Heavenly Father, we thank you for this amazing prophet and we have only read just a few words of these burdens that he gave, these sermons that he gave but it does help us, even in skimming over them and noticing them from a rapid pace and getting an overall view of how and why these prophets ministered and purpose for which they were sent and what they have to tell us and how we can understand what was originally said so that we can then practically apply it in the modern way to our own lives. Lord, continue to give your people a hunger and thirst after your word and as you reveal yourself to us, high and lifted up, in charge, in control, on the throne, I pray that we would read the newspaper knowing you are on the throne. We listen to the news, television, knowing you are on the throne. We listen to reports of men and women knowing you are on the throne and nothing is too hard for you. We want to honor you and your glory in Jesus name, Amen."