Bible Study of the Book of Isaiah
By Neville V. Stevens
The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible is used throughout unless otherwise specified.
This book begins with the vision of the prophet concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The whole book is about what was, what is, and what is to come in the last days. This is what Bible prophecy is all about – a detailed description of the last days and the climactic end of six thousand years of human rule.
The Book of Isaiah details the period when 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel were conquered and led away into captivity and what led to the horrific carnage that resulted.
ISA 1:1The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
The Prophet Isaiah lived through the reigns of four kings of Judah. During this entire period the 12 Tribes of Israel were divided into two nations with 10 nations to the north dominated and ruled by the Tribe of Ephraim. The southern nation consisted of two tribes - Judah and Levi. The House of Israel - sometimes called the House of Jacob, is generally a reference to the northern nation.
After the northern ten tribes were defeated and sent into captivity around 721BC they became known as the 'lost tribes of Israel' - also referred to as the 'lost sheep of Israel' which has a connotation of needing a shepherd to guide them. When the Lord Jesus used the phrase ‘lost sheep of Israel’ He was also confirming that He was the True Shepherd of the Flock. And further, He also stated that He had been sent only to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ – and no others. Generally speaking, the northern nation is called Israel, and sometimes Ephraim, while the southern nation is called Judah.
This may seem to be a poke-in-the-eye to the Gentiles but there is good reason why the Lord Christ affirmed that He was sent only to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. As we get into later chapters in this series, you will find that the door is open to all peoples, nations and languages – but subject to certain conditions. The next verse makes it very clear who God’s children are:
ISA 1:2Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.
ISA 1:3The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand." Here God confirms that His children are the House of Israel. V3 refers directly to the northern ten tribes with the reference to Israel. Certainly not without cause either! The northern ten tribes had become steeped in paganism under the auspices of Ephraim’s leadership, which Ephraim held for generations – right up to the day they went into captivity – a period of just over two hundred years. Jeroboam the Ephraimite, who lived in the days of Solomon, was the one who led the rebellion against God and the Holy City at the beginning of their nationhood.
ISA 1:4Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Well they certainly did this. They abandoned God and corrupted His teachings, developing their own pagan religion. When they abandoned Jerusalem, their national capital became Bethel – in the allotted territory of Ephraim.
It’s worth noting that God chose Jeroboam the Ephraimite and gave him the northern 10 tribes (1Kings 11:31). These tribes were taken from Solomon’s son Rehoboam, given to Jeroboam the Ephraimite, and they became a separate nation. While it may seem like a mistake on God’s part to do this, there are very good reasons why He did it. One of these relates back to a blessing given by Jacob on the two sons of Joseph. Hopefully, the reasons will become clearer as we progress through this study. You’ll notice however, that while God gave ten tribes to Jeroboam, He only gave one tribe to the king of Judah (V32). Ten tribes plus one tribe is eleven. What about the other tribe? Levi remained with Judah, but neither Israel nor Judah was given the Tribe of Levi. This tribe remains exclusively God’s. Long ago, God took the Tribe of Levi as His very own (Num 8:13-16). God took them in place of the firstborn (same verse), and the Tribe of Levi are now called the ‘firstborn’.
While God snatched the Ten Tribes of Israel away from Judah, God did, in fact, choose Judah to be the premier ruling Tribe. No only does the kingly line continue through Judah, but the mightiest King of all, Jesus, was born through this Tribe. In addition to this, it was the Jews to whom God entrusted the very Word of God – the Scriptures (Rom 3:1-2). The division of Israel into two nations occurred about 250 years before Isaiah came on the scene. Isaiah was born in the 700’s BC; and most probably lived from 740-680 BC.
Following the division into two nations, only Judah and Levi, the two southern Tribes, remained faithful to God and the Holy City. Although ruled by a harsh oppressor (Reboboam, King of Judah), the Jews refused to abandon their God and the Holy City Jerusalem. The ten northern tribes however, quickly followed the ways of the Gentiles and plunged into pagan customs and worship. The primary object of their worship was a golden calf.
After two hundred years as a separate nation, things were going very badly for the House of Israel and the outlook was looking bleak:
ISA 1:5Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted.
ISA 1:6From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness-- only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.
ISA 1:7Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
ISA 1:8The Daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a city under siege. The term ‘Daughter of Zion’ needs some further explanation. In the days of Ahaz and Hezekiah, the Kings of Judah, King Sennacherib of Assyria besieged the northern ten tribes and conquered them. In so doing, the southern kingdom of Judah was left fully exposed as the King of Assyria rumbled on to threaten their border. The prophet Isaiah gave King Hezekiah of Judah a message for the King of Assyria: 2Kings 19:20 "Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria. 21 This is the word that the LORD has spoken against him: "The Virgin Daughter of Zion despises you and mocks you. The Daughter of Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee." However, prior to this, King Hezekiah and all the people were frantic with fear knowing they couldn’t mount an effective defense. Hezekiah sought God’s help and God provided it. It came in the form of a report that Sennacherib heard from messengers (2Kings 19:7), who said that the Cushite King of Egypt was on his way to conquer him. ‘Cush’ is the region at the head of the Nile River, that is, Ethiopia. This king was then an ally of Judah. The report alarmed Sennacherib, but not as much as the event that happened that night. God sent His angel into Sennacherib camp, and he slaughtered 185,000 of their warriors (2Kings 19:35-36). Sennacherib fled and was later killed by his own sons (V37).
Meanwhile, the northern tribes of Israel were in their dying throes as a conquered nation with death and carnage everywhere. Israel had rebelled against God and turned their back on Him. They had suffered terribly for this.
It was in the lead-up to all this, that there was a final trigger that set it all in motion and this is a lesson for these last days. Israel decided they wanted to destroy Judah and Jerusalem and so they formed an alliance with Syria to strengthen their forces.2Kings 16:5 "Then Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem and besieged Ahaz, but they could not overpower him. 6 At that time, Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath for Aram by driving out the men of Judah. Edomites then moved into Elath and have lived there to this day."
In response to this, King Ahaz of Judah then sought an alliance with the Sennacherib, King of Assyria for protection against Israel and the Rezin King of Syria (Aram). Sennacherib sought tribute from King Ahaz, and Ahaz emptied the treasury to provide it. Then Sennacherib launched his forces against Israel and Syria, conquering them both and leading the Israelites away into captivity. Many Bibles have a map of the Assyrian Empire in the map section. At its height, Assyria was an empire almost identical to the later Babylonian Empire. In fact, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire and the later Medo-Persian Empire were virtually identical in terms of territory. In other words, they comprised the same people, and the only difference was the leadership. A succession of different kings from different nationalities ruled over the region.
After receiving tribute from Judah, and conquering Israel, Sennacherib was emboldened to conquer Judah also. Typically, it didn’t worry him that he had a tribute agreement with Judah but still didn’t hesitate to break it. He was at the very gates of Jerusalem when God sent His angel to strike down 185,000 of his warriors. From that moment on, the Assyrian Empire was vulnerable to another behemoth that would arise later – the Babylonian Empire.
Judah had exhausted themselves fighting Israel and Syria, and then suffered the ignominy of trying to stop the flood of refugees from Israel when Sennacherib conquered the northern tribes. Had Judah been conquered by Israel, the survivors would have been forced to become a part of their nation, and as God states, the nation of Israel was like Sodom and Gomorrah.
ISA 1:9Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. You’ll recall that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with fire from heaven (2Pet 2:6) and the destruction was so fierce there was no trace of these cities ever found again. Sennacherib had already begun to rake through the outlying cities of Judah and was now at the gates of Jerusalem preparing for conquest.
And now the Word of the LORD addresses Israel specifically as Sodom and Gomorrah.
ISA 1:10Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the Law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! In just over 200 years this is what they had become. We all know the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah with their rampant sexual promiscuity which became predominantly homosexual. Where are we seeing this trend today? Mostly among Western Christian nations! Most people are aware that homosexuality is rife among Muslims, but at least they teach that it’s unlawful. The Western nations on the other hand, find it to be an acceptable way of lifestyle and stress ‘there is nothing wrong with it’. The northern ten tribes degenerated into this condition very quickly after they abandoned God and turned away from Him. It became a liberalization process, where everyone had the right to do as they pleased. And it pleased these liberals to refute God’s Law and to develop practices that were against God’s instructions. In comparison, the Jews remained faithful to God and the Holy City for another 200+ years until they were finally conquered in 487BC.
Rampant homosexuality and promiscuousness is a sure sign that a nation is on the skids and facing destruction. God used Sodom and Gomorrah as the example. When a nation – and especially the children of God – goes down this path, you can be sure that destruction is near. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah anciently serves as a warning for any nation that chooses to emulate them. And here we see God referring to the House of Israel directly as Sodom and Gomorrah.
It’s worth noting how the northern ten tribes began their existence under Jeroboam the Ephraimite. He was a very smart and cunning man, and he knew how to manipulate the people and appeal to them by offering debauchery. He decided to simulate Temple worship but with different props. So what did he do? He offered them a golden calf for worship. He knew from the days of Moses when the people were in the wilderness, and while Moses was in the Holy Mountain writing the 10 Commandments, how quickly they reverted to paganism. And the object of their worship? A golden calf! Recall what Moses found when he returned. The people were dancing around this golden calf – naked!
So Jeroboam the Ephraimite built not one, but two golden calves and set them up in different locations. Their primary place of worship was in the premier city of Bethel in the territory of Ephraim.1Kings 12:26-33 Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the House of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam." 28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there. Now there’s a nice touch of deception! Jereboam tells them that these golden calves are the gods that brought them out of Egypt – and they believed him!
31Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings. God’s festival, the Feast of Tabernacles, falls on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, but Jeroboam chose his own month – the eighth month. And of course, he chose Bethel as his city of worship, which would have added an air of respectability to the abominations he was committing.
I don’t know how much the reader knows about Bethel, but it was indeed a very special place. On two occasions, Abraham camped there at Bethel and worshipped God, and even built an altar there. There are many things that could be said about Bethel; in fact, one could write a book about it. It was indeed a very special place! Just to put this into perspective, a couple of generations after Abraham, Jacob came along and used a rock as a pillow in this very place and something very special happened. This is the account:Gen 28:10-21 "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. What Jacob was viewing was a ziggurat – a symbol of God’s Might and Power. Naturally enough, Satan has used this type of structure to promote pagan worship of himself. It seems that every pagan on earth has used the symbol in one way or another. Notwithstanding, the New Jerusalem described in the Book of Revelation is a ziggurat – the True One. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." 17 He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."
This all happened on the way to Haran where Jacob was to wed his four wives and spend the next 20+ years. On his return journey with his wives, sons and livestock, God met him again.Gen 35:1-14 "Then God said to Jacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau." 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them. 6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed Himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. 8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under the oak below Bethel. So it was named Allon Bacuth. (Allon, Al’ah or Allah are Hebrew words for the oak tree – just a point of interest). 9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel. 11 And God said to him, "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation (Judah) and a community of nations (Israel) will come from you, and kings will come from your body. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you." 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him. 14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel. Bethel is in the allotted territory of Ephraim.
So it was in Bethel that Israel began to worship God under the rulership of Ephraim, but in their delusions, they imagined that a golden calf represented God. And so they engaged in sacrifices where they ate and drank in a carnival atmosphere, and of course, one thing led to another – just as it did in the days of Moses at Mount Sinai – when the people rose up to play – naked!
Just bear in mind that the Prophet Isaiah wrote all this after he had lived through the reign of four kings of Judah – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (seeIsa 1:1). So he had seen it all. All these kings reigned after Judah and Israel became two separate nations. The respective forms of worship between Judah and Israel were completely different. Three of these kings of Judah were righteous kings who served God and the people well. King Ahaz was less than perfect and ruled with his son Hezekiah in co-regency in the latter part of his reign. Against all the influence of his father, Hezekiah was one of the most righteous kings of Judah – ever! This is confirmed in 2Kings 18:5-8 "Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory. It was during the co-regency of Ahaz and his son Hezekiah that the House of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and carted off as slaves. So Hezekiah had seen the wickedness of the House of Israel all of his life and realized they had no standing with God. Captivity for the House of Israel was inevitable. His father Ahaz developed his evil tendencies when he decided to placate the King of Assyria by emulating his style of pagan worship and making many changes to Solomon’s Temple. This all changed in the reign of Hezekiah.
In the next verse, God continues to address Israel – whom He refers to as Sodom and Gomorrah:
ISA 1:11"The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
ISA 1:12When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?
ISA 1:13Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations-- I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
ISA 1:14Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
ISA 1:15When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; ISA 1:16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, ISA 1:17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
ISA 1:18"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
ISA 1:19If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; ISA 1:20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
ISA 1:21See how the faithful city (Bethel) has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her-- but now murderers!
ISA 1:22Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water.
ISA 1:23Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them.
ISA 1:24Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: "Ah, I will get relief from my foes and avenge myself on my enemies.
ISA 1:25I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.
In the crucible of war and destruction people tend to rethink their position. It’s a good purifier for the madness and excesses of humanity especially when they’re on the losing side. When the northern ten tribes went into captivity and were ‘lost’ from view and without a shepherd, they had plenty of time to reflect on their past. Believe me, God knows all about repentance and how to achieve it in His children, and He also knows that it rarely comes about through pleading.
Well, the House of Israel went into captivity in 721BC, and eventually came out the other side, emerging as nations in their own right. Their migrations took them to Europe and beyond, where, today, they are known as the Western World.
As a point of interest, there is a perception among Christianity today that the House of Israel was destroyed and abandoned by God to be ‘lost’ forever. Seven hundred years after they became ‘lost’, the Lord Christ came along and plainly stated that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel! (Matt 15:24). Obviously, they were not abandoned and lost forever! Since Jesus was sent only to them, it’s clear that God had plans to restore them and to redeem them as His people. After their destruction and enslavement in the 721 BC massacre, it was God’s intention to bring them back to the fold. Through the Prophet Isaiah, God confirms this:
ISA 1:26I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City."
ISA 1:27Zion will be redeemed with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness. And all Zion’s sons will be taught by God (Isa 54:13, John 6:45). They will be called the Sons of Jerusalem. This is when God calls His own Tribe of Levi to duty, and these are taught by God. We’ll learn much more about this later in this study when we get to later chapters.
We are now in the last days – a term that will have much more meaning when we get to Chapter two. This will bring great changes to the earth and especially all 12 Tribes of Israel. They will be cleansed and purified of all the rebels and sinners who are presently leading them to destruction. Afterwards, a remnant will return to their ancestral homeland and Jerusalem will be their Capital. What is more, the Tribes of Israel will be united to become one nation. This is clearly defined by the Prophet Ezekiel 150 years after the House of Israel went into captivity:Eze 37:15-28 "The word of the LORD came to me: 16 "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. 18 "When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won't you tell us what you mean by this?’ 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph – which is in Ephraim's hand – and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah's stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.' 20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on 21 and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
EZE 37:24"`My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my Laws and be careful to keep my Decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers (in other words, children will be born in God’s Kingdom), and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.' "
Ezekiel was a prophet of God, but he was also a captive slave in Babylon. He lived in the period following the destruction and captivity of Judah, some 135+ years after the House of Israel went into captivity.Well, that’s the good news from Ezekiel and a very clear account of what God intends for the ‘lost’ ten Tribes of Israel. Notice also that the House of Israel is also referred to as the ‘stick of Joseph’ which is in Ephraim’s hand.
How’s Ephraim performing today? Ephraim is the United States of America, the mightiest power on earth – at this present time of writing. America calls all the shots over the entire 12 Tribes of Israel today. This should be obvious to all! Bible prophecy is very clear that this would be the case today. All the Israelites are associated with America/Ephraim today – just as Ezekiel says. The problem is America is hell-bent on planting a ‘garden’ in the Holy Land in place of the Garden of God’s delight! There is no faster way to provoke God’s fury than this!
God has this judgment for them:
ISA 1:28But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish.
ISA 1:29"You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.
Sacred oaks, eh? I wonder what these refer to. Do you suppose it might refer to Allah the Oak – the object of Islam’s worship? Allah is not the Creator God but the devil – and this is who Islam worships! You’ll soon learn the identity of the Garden of God’s delight in Chapter 5, and the type of garden Israel has chosen to plant in these perilous last days, and the whole meaning will become clearer.
ISA 1:30You (Ephraim) will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.
ISA 1:31The mighty man (presumably Ephraim, but then it might also be the Muslim President of the United States, though he is only mighty in the power he wields to the detriment of his own constituents) will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire." There is certainly a hidden meaning in this! I’ll leave the readers to work it out for themselves. But there is a clue in Isaiah, chapter 28, and this will be discussed when we get to it in this Bible Study.
All this is the lead-in to what will happen in the last days, which is the beginning of Chapter 2.
ISA 2:1This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
ISA 2:2In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
ISA 2:3Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths." The Law will go out from Zion, the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
ISA 2:4He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Here we see in these few words concerning Judah and Jerusalem what will occur in the last days. Interestingly, Judah will be in the Holy Land with Jerusalem as its capital. God's Temple will be established and the Law of God will go out from Zion, and the instruction of God will go out from Jerusalem as disputes are settled among nations. Obviously, all those who harbour hatred for the Jews today, will soon find that they have been hostile to the very tribe who hold the key to their rescue.
Against all odds, and against all reasoning, the House of Israel are at the forefront of trying to force the Jews to divest of their Capital City Jerusalem. The present U.S. administration is determined to give the Holy City to God's enemies and to expose the Jews to slaughter. How long does it take to read the above four verses which so clearly delineate God's intentions?
During the Bush Administration, the present trend was unthinkable. Never would President Bush abandon the Jewish people to those (Muslims) whom he clearly observed as the very axis of evil. President Bush was quite willing to wage war against Islam, though political correctness forbade him from couching it in these terms. No honest person with even the most elementary historical knowledge of Islam could describe this religion as anything other than evil.
Right on cue, everything changed with the Presidential election, and now we have a Muslim in the White House who is dedicated (though with great subtlety) to the destruction of the Israeli nation.
In describing the last days, the Scripture shifts to the House of Israel with a very apt description of the trends that have occurred in recent years – trends that would have been unthinkable 100 years ago! People have become filled with oriental superstitions, relying on lucky charms and divination and clasping hands with pagans.
The last days concerning the House of Israel
The prophet begins by admonishing the House of Jacob (Israel) to walk in the light of the LORD. Obviously, this is something they are not doing in these last days.
ISA 2:5Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD. God knows from long experience that they turn away from Him when they prosper. They become arrogant and think they no longer need any instruction from Him. They begin to view the Bible as a primitive book that has no relevance in their ‘enlightened’ lives. With all their power and wealth they feel quite able to define virtue for themselves without recourse to the ‘primitive’ writings of the prophets. Interestingly enough, the prophets were inspired to make this very prediction about them in the last days: Hos 12:8-10 "Ephraim boasts, "I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin." God doesn’t agree! For all their wealth, from the greatest to the least of them, they will be forced to live in tents: 9 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of your appointed feasts. 10 I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them." Yes, there are the parables! And what a botch the religious leaders have made of understanding them. They love to quote the better known ones to make the congregation feel good, but they are oblivious to the true meaning of them. A parable is a statement with a hidden meaning. The whole Book of Job is a living parable about the descendants of a prophet. In fact, it’s a prophecy about the son of a prophet. That prophet was Joseph, and his son is Ephraim.
As a point of interest, Jesus never spoke to the people without a parable. Few people today understand that His parables revealed secrets hidden from the creation of the world:Matt 13:34-35 "Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world." Most people see these parables as cute little anecdotes about lifestyle issues, but in reality they are disguised secrets hidden from the creation of the world. As stated in these verses, Jesus was fulfilling what was written in the Prophets – and for the record, so are all the parables He uttered. These parables are a wealth of knowledge once the Prophets are understood.
Everything that is written is about the future of the House of Israel – all 12 Tribes of them. Jesus came only to the House of Israel and none other. He did, however, give hope to the Gentiles nations for a future time. As God has said, He will settle disputes among the nations and they will beat their swords into plough-shares, etc. They will learn about things other than war. But not before they learn some serious lessons about obedience to the Creator God.
There was a time when the Gentile nations took a keen interest in Christianity and abandoned their pagan ways. The very nations they sought to emulate – the Tribes of Israel – were suddenly at the forefront of discrediting the Bible with mindless theories about evolution. Then they ‘progressed’ to sanctifying homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle – except if it involved Catholic priests or politicians. It’s strange how they formulate such caveats of behaviour.
This type of hypocritical behaviour hasn’t gone unnoticed in the rest of the world. Christianity is now rapidly being replaced by Islam. Islam sees Christianity as hypocritical liars and they find it easy to make a case for killing them if they happen to live in the area. Of course, Muslims are the most hypocritical liars on earth, but then, God has no interest in their welfare, yet He does for the House of Israel.
Meanwhile, back in the States, Christianity is being flagellated while others are opening the doors to alternative ideologies including paganism. Freedom to practice religion – any religion, including paganism or Islamism is acceptable, as long as it isn’t Christianity. Christianity is the only religion that can be spoken against with impunity.
Isaiah, in speaking to God, records this:
ISA 2:6You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.
Do they really need to be consulting muttering spirits through divination?(Isa 8:19) Do they really need to seek wisdom from those who live like pigs as a result of worshipping false gods? Why would anyone want to listen to pagans?
There is enough glory to go around to all the inhabitants of the House of Israel. None are deprived of a comfortable lifestyle provided they are willing to contribute to the rest of society. This can be clearly demonstrated by the wealth of consumer goods that are available to everyone. In comparison to most of the world, the American people are rich beyond imagination, and their accumulated wealth today dwarfs the living standards of just fifty years ago. As a matter of fact, the wealth of America has grown 1800% in this period. With all their wealth, are the American people generally happy today? Are they content? Do they give thanks to their Creator God? Has their wealth made them righteous?
ISA 2:7Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots.
ISA 2:8Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.
Let’s be clear that anything that stands between a man and obedience to God can be considered an idol.
ISA 2:9So man will be brought low and mankind humbled-- do not forgive them.
From time to time a prophet feels that the conduct of those who oppose God should not be forgiven. Then on reflection, they think of those who have been innocently caught up in it all. Abraham faced a similar situation. He requested of God that Sodom and Gomorrah be spared if a certain number of innocents were found in them. Abraham was to learn that God views ‘innocence’ differently, and that even passive assent is an indictable offence. Evil prevails when good men do nothing.
ISA 2:10Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty! This is the first of three references to this in the second chapter of Isaiah.
There is a direct reference to this in the Book of Revelation (Rev 6:16). Almighty God wanted to make sure that there were plenty of references to the Scripture that Christ used during His time on earth. This is just one of many. Naturally enough, it is in the very same time setting that is referred to here in the Book of Isaiah – the last days! In addition to this, the Book of Revelation includes it in reference to the Seven Seals – the Seals that were locked from understanding until the precise moment in time when they would impact on the Tribes of Israel. Christianity in general, didn’t understand these Seals, and because the Lion of the Tribe of Judah was authorized to unseal them, the Jews didn’t understand either – because of their rejection of the Mighty One.
Christianity sought to create a façade of false humility and to deceive others that this was all God required of them. Their weekly Sunday pantomime absolved them of any form of obedience to God for the other six days of the week. Yet God has no interest in the proud and the haughty and He makes this very clear!
ISA 2:11The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
In the next verse you will notice that God speaks of a day when mountains, high hills, trees and lofty towers (buildings) will be brought low when the earth is severely shaken. There are literally dozens of references in the Bible to this day of catastrophic events that will see mountains levelled, and the landscape shattered. And we will come across these references again and again as we progress through the Book of Isaiah. Just remember that God plans to reshape the earth to what it once was. And this is where we begin to see the futility of promoting such lying deceptions as ‘man-made global warming’. The earth is about to undergo massive changes which will see most of the surface burned up, and cities and all infrastructures levelled.
Their so-called greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is used in hot-houses to enhance plant growth. Even a slight increase in this gas greatly stimulates of growth of plants. We should be welcoming any increase of this gas in our atmosphere. There is a total lack of any real scientific support for the mad theory of ‘global warming’ or as it’s called now, ‘climate change’. These lying deceivers had to change the term to ‘climate change’, because all evidence shows that the earth has been in a cooling cycle for the past eleven years and this in the period of the greatest industrialization in mankind’s history. As long as crops are planted there will never be an increase in carbon dioxide, because all plants – with the exception of old trees – continue to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. This includes all crops, gardens and weeds. So we see that all the tree-hugging loonies who like to prevent logging of old-growth forests and trees are completely on the wrong track. Old growth trees should be logged to make way for new growth. In fact, crops and weeds and gardens produce most of the oxygen from carbon dioxide because of their rapid growth – far in excess of trees!
There is a contemptuous trend going on today where the lunatic fringe has taken it upon themselves to deplete the power and wealth of the Western nations in favour of spreading the wealth around to poorer nations – undeserving nations I might add. There are nations of poor people and they will always be so. You don’t have to look too hard to see why. Their conduct is appalling and many of them don’t even possess a trace of humanity or decency. And of course, they have their origins in paganism, witchcraft and superstition. But principally, they don’t serve their Creator God and consequently, they get what their conduct deserves. If any observer were to look objectively at how they live, they would immediately see the problem. Because of this they don’t have the favour of the Creator God, and He has always been perfectly honest about this. God has made it clear from the very outset that the world is divided between Satan’s offspring and the House of Israel. God chose the House of Israel over all the other families of the earth, and nothing will change this.
There is a purpose to all this. Satan doesn’t care about his own brood of vipers – those for whom he’s responsible. His only desire is to thwart God by destroying His people Israel. This particular contest began eons ago when Satan challenged God over lifestyles and felt he would make a better ruler that the Great God. So he mounted a coup. Unfortunately for him, the coup failed, and he and his followers, which amounted to one third of the created angelic beings, soon found themselves marooned on planet earth to live in the squalor caused by his destruction of the landmass of the earth.
Eventually, God recreated the earth with the intent of producing a new ruling class of beings – the human kind and Adam became the son of God – created in His own image. And this is where the Bible begins. Neither Satan nor his treasonous angels had any idea what God had in mind, but they were nevertheless pleased with their new surroundings. They were reluctant to provoke God again and tolerated his son Adam and his offspring until one of his sons, Abel, began to serve God in accordance with that of his father Adam. The other son, Cain, developed the mindset of Satan and grew jealous of the favour God showed with Abel. Typically with the mindset of Satan the solution was to kill the opposition. Well everyone knows the story, and Cain was driven out as a fugitive of God to generate a nation of offspring hostile to God. From then on, violence began to fill the earth and God chose to provide the solution to it all through Noah. Noah and his sons survived the Great Flood, and were told to replenish the earth. Once again, Satan established his agents among the offspring of Noah’s sons. Just as he did in the case of Cain and Abel!
As a result, the righteous bloodline continued through Shem, and it was through this bloodline that God chose His people Israel. First through Abraham, then through Isaac and Jacob, and it continued through Jacob’s 12 sons.
Much later, Moses arrived on the scene. It was through Moses that God’s conditions for righteous living were publicized among the House of Israel. God’s Law would exist forever and only those who obeyed them would be considered the offspring of God and these, like Adam, and like Jesus – the last Adam, would be called the sons of God. All others would be merely fodder for the furnace of war and destruction. In fact, the time is coming when the angels will gather together into separate camps both the redeemed and the condemned. The fate of the condemned is a great furnace which God will prepare. Those who were given their chance at life – their one chance – and failed to obey their Creator God and live according to His prescribed Laws will find no place for themselves on earth among the living. Christians should be under no illusions concerning this, because the Lord Jesus specifically mentioned this, and told of the unquenchable fire that would consume the wicked. A short definition of the wicked are those who refuse to obey God – just like Satan the devil and his demons. Why would any human being want to emulate Satan and his demons? Yet most of Christianity today refuses to obey God’s Law! Satan has deluded them to believe that obedience to God is not necessary.
Nevertheless, Satan was given every opportunity to recant his hostility towards his Creator God, but chose to continue his campaign against all God’s offspring. And this continues to this very day.
Now we have a situation where Satan’s degenerates want to migrate to the West where they can avail themselves of the blessings of others. Muslims are flooding across the earth and availing themselves of the prosperity of the West without having to contribute anything to the prosperity of their host nations. Perhaps they should put their own houses in order first by raising the standard of living in their own countries. But then this would be asking too much of these greedy, Muslim pigs. They’ve always been lazy degenerates, and this is very evident in Muslim countries where they happily live in squalor while awaiting the benevolence of the Western nations, whom they hate, to raise their standards of living. The only prosperity they’ve seen in recent years has come from petro-dollars, where they’ve seen former camel-drivers become billionaires and the typical Muslim mindset doesn’t involve sharing with others among them who are less fortunate. It seems that God has foreseen this outcome:
ISA 2:12The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), ISA 2:13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, ISA 2:14 for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, ISA 2:15 for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, ISA 2:16 for every trading ship and every stately vessel.
There are certainly plenty of trading ships and stately vessels in America. I suppose it would be the ultimate of humility to see their own ships used for plundering their nation of wealth as well as slaves – and Islam has a penchant for enslaving Christians. For some years this piracy and plundering will go on under the auspices of Satan’s capital of Babylon. At the destruction of Babylon, all these merchants and pirates will mourn the loss of their city Babylon (Rev 18:11-13). Babylon is the city in Iraq today just as God describes it over and over again throughout Bible prophecy. And yet we still have people today who are determined to try to prove God wrong.
For years we’ve seen Christian churches loudly proclaiming that the Babylon of the Bible would never be built again. Then suddenly a powerful ruler of the heavenly realms, who was mentoring a man by the name of Saddam Hussein, instructed it to be rebuilt and Saddam complied. Today the ancient capital of all Babylonia is rebuilt, including Nebuchadnezzar’s throne-room. What is more, Satan himself plans to set up his throne there – just as he did anciently. From there, he will wield very great power over the world until Babylon is finally destroyed forevermore. Christianity would do well to stop spreading their fictitious ideas that contravene the evidence from the Bible. They’ll pay a huge price for refusing to believe God.
ISA 2:17The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, ISA 2:18 and the idols will totally disappear. Here again God speaks of that day. In the next verse we see that God plans to shake the earth, and this is when everything collapses. The arrogance and pride of mankind will be brought very low in that day.
Once again in the space of a few verses, God mentioned that arrogance will be brought low and that He alone will be exalted. In America today, you don’t see the type of arrogance displayed by the tyrants of the world such as the former Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Amadinejab of Persia. Instead, politicians in America today cloke their arrogance in feigned humility in order to deceive! The master of this type of deception today comes in the form of Barack Obama. How easily the people were fooled by this man. He’s the ultimate craftsman of deception! By their fruits you shall know them. This snake-like deception has become an art-form to those who want power over others. Those who know their God are not deceived by it.
ISA 2:19Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of His Majesty, when He rises to shake the earth."
This is yet more emphasis on the statement inRev 6:16 where God is making sure that the arrogance and exaltation of the House of Israel is brought very low. It’s no coincidence that this verse in the Book of Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Revelation and in exactly the same context, because both Books are speaking of the same event. This is yet more evidence that everything that is written is to have its final calamitous fulfilment in these last days. In fact, we learn from the very first verse of the Book of Revelation (1:1) that God the Father gave this revelation to Jesus to show His servants what must take place in the final days. As we all know, Isa 2:19 hasn’t yet been fulfilled because the inhabitants of the earth haven’t yet sought to hide from God’s wrath.
ISA 2:20"In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship." Wealth will have no real power in those days, and it will save no-one from the horror that is coming. Human beings today like to believe they are masters of their own destiny, and the concept of a Creator God is not something they seriously consider. It seems that the son-of-a-prophet Ephraim really does believe that all their wealth has made them sinless (Hos 12:8-10).
ISA 2:21"They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He rises to shake the earth." God emphasises this by repeating it in the space of two verses, so it’s certainly something to take notice of. The earth is a precision mechanism that faultlessly delivers the seasons and the climate, and God built perfection into this mechanism. Long ago, Satan and his demons sought to destroy this earth and brought it to a state of chaos. Almighty God re-created the surface of the earth to make it suitable for human habitation with a whole new life-form of creatures and animals. God has made it clear that He intends to restore the original form of the earth to what it once was. In short it will be a new earth – restored to its original form with the continents once more in their original form – and that form is in the shape of a pyramid – a triangular shape. To reverse the chaos that occurred anciently before the appearance of mankind, the earth will undergo a major reconstruction of its landmass. This will certainly require a major shaking of the earth and mountains will collapse. Further evidence for this is found elsewhere in the Prophets: Hab 3:6 "He stood, and shook the earth; He looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal." As a point of interest, the One being spoken of here as the One who shakes the earth is none other than the Mighty One – the Lord Christ. This is the One who puts down all rebellion and establishes the Kingdom of God before He hands it over to the Father (1Cor 15:24).
The intelligentsia of the scientific community are in for a few shocks. Their fanciful theories about ‘tectonic plates’ and other mad theories will quickly lose traction when they try to explain what their eyes will see. It’s strange how all these mad, impractical and unprovable theories all seemed to originate in the House of Israel. For forty years these glory-seeking theorists have been trying to measure their assumed 2-5cm per year movement of the continents according to their ‘tectonic plate’ theory. With all their precision global positioning systems, they have been unable to show a single example. Nothing, zilch! For something to be considered scientific, it must be provable! If after 40 years they can’t demonstrate their one to two inches per year movement of the continents, an accumulated 4 to 8 feet, then something is seriously wrong with their fanciful theories. They need to forget it because it’s not happening! The continents haven’t moved in many thousands of years. What is more, when they did move in a one-time spectacular event, the mechanism for it had nothing to do with non-existent ‘tectonic plates’.
ISA 2:22"Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?" Right on cue, the prophet gives some more good advice. Stop trusting in stupid people – foolish people who think they are intelligent – and always at the expense of the Creator God’s reputation. It seems that when theories abound, madness prevails. The truth is that there was nothing that was undiscoverable provided people were willing to learn from God. But people don’t want to learn from God; they want to refute God! They want to create the illusion that they are ‘enlightened’ and have no need of a Creator God. Life itself is a major obstacle confronting theorists today. They are at a loss to explain what life is or how it’s generated. So now they theorize that life came in bacterial form from another planet. Now they are really clutching at straws! Some of these idiots rush to a fallen meteorite and hope to find bacteria. They hope to find some validation for their theories. It’s been tried before with the hoax rock from Antarctica that even former President Clinton was duped by. They had claimed to have found bacterial tracks in the rock, which proved to be utter nonsense! Prior to this, there was the ‘primordial soup’ theory which has since died an ignominious death when the phenomena of life couldn’t be explained by it. So now they pin their hopes on finding bacterial life from another planet. Once they no longer have to explain how life came into existence on earth, they can theorize about ‘extraterrestrial life’ and build their evolution theories on that.
So now we have the illusion of a brave new world without the need of a Creator. The theorists who merely have breath in their nostrils are soon to learn how easily that can be taken away. Without it, they won’t have life at all. Neither will they have any hope of life in the afterlife – which they apparently don’t believe in anyway – except on their deathbed. Apparently, the well-documented resurrection of the Son of God is not enough evidence for them that there can be life after death – but not for everyone.
Their brave new world approach embraces the destruction of all that is sacred to God. The destruction of Judah and the Holy City Jerusalem seems to be a fair exchange for ‘peace in our time’ as the Muslim philosophy gains traction in the White House. Appease Islam and peace is assured – and this is the satanic deception that is presently being played out. Will this happen? Is this abominable sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem going to occur? It certainly will, but the outcome will be glorious. All the survivors will be called ‘holy’.
Yet in the interim, it’s going to be a bloodbath, and Judah won’t be entirely blameless! Ephraim has a habit of dictating to Judah (the Israelis) and always in favour of the Israelis’ enemies. Half the inhabitants of Jerusalem are Muslims, and about a quarter of the nation of Israel are also Muslims. These minorities are always favoured today by the US administration today. The policies of the Whitehouse have left the Israelis very vulnerable.
God is about to destroy Ephraim with an unprecedented destruction that has never been witnessed in the annals of human history. And the whole nation will go down with the full knowledge of the treachery they inflicted on their brother tribe, the Tribe of Judah.
God plans to provide the evidence of Ephraim’s treachery against the Israelis by allowing little Israel to be humiliated once again. Judgment will begin in the House of God, and God’s House is no longer in Bethel (as was once stated by Jacob, which we covered earlier), but now it’s in Jerusalem. There are Israelis who are firmly committed to Obama’s madness, and see Jerusalem as a multi-cultural city. People with this mindset are useless for the Kingdom of God. In short, God plans to eliminate them, and clear the way for the survivors to emerge as victors, and these victorious survivors will see the unfurling of a whole new era, with the establishment of a whole new banner. We’ll get to the unfurling of this banner a little later. But first the purifying process must occur in Judah.
ISA 3:1See now, the Lord,the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water,
ISA 3:2the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder,
ISA 3:3the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
ISA 3:4I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them.
ISA 3:5People will oppress each other-- man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable.
ISA 3:6A man will seize one of his brothers at his father's home, and say, "You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!"
ISA 3:7But in that day he will cry out, "I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people."
ISA 3:8Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.
ISA 3:9The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. And we all know from where this sin was transported! It was transported from Ephraim where so many Israelis have migrated from. American sodomites now shamelessly demonstrate in the streets of Judah and Jerusalem against the strenuous objections of religious Jews. Sure there are other people involved, but the spokesmen and women for these homosexual groups all speak with an American accent – and this is an unconcealed fact!
ISA 3:10Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. The great influx of migrants to little Israel has led to a secular society that scarcely knows their God anymore. But God has set aside for safe keeping those who still obey Him and honour Him. The rest of them will be purged for their arrogance, and for their defiance of God.
ISA 3:11Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. The Holy Land must be cleansed of the evil that permeates within its borders, and this must be done before the Kingdom of God is finally established. God has already allocated forceful men to take hold of it.
ISA 3:12Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. Of Judah, God says, ‘O my people’. When we get to chapter 40, you will see where God says of Jerusalem and Judah, Isa 40:1-5 "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins." Of course it wasn’t the City of Jerusalem that sinned, but the inhabitants. In other words, Judah! And just to touch on something covered earlier: 3 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." And the voice of one calling in the desert wilderness is a reference to John the Baptist.
And now the LORD God sits in judgment of His people – the House of Israel!
ISA 3:13The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.
This occurs at the time when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah unseals the Seven Seals (Rev 6:1). This is also the time when the inhabitants of the earth call to the mountains and rocks to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him who sits on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:16).
ISA 3:14The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: "It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. Judgment comes first, and God enters into judgment. He begins by saying, "It is you who have ruined my vineyard." Which vineyard is this, and who ruined it? It’s identified in Isa 5-7 "The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress." So who ruined God’s vineyard – the House of Israel? The House of Israel did it all by themselves! Who dictated to Ephraim? Rather, Ephraim has dictated to everyone else, and especially to little Israel, who began nationhood just 61 years ago as a God-fearing and downtrodden people who had just endured the holocaust. They worked hard and built their nation and made it like the Garden of Eden. What is more, they rejoiced for Jerusalem, and in their long banishment from the land they loved, they always longed to return.
ISA 3:15What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?" declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
Ephraim is presently presiding over their own destruction by the mindless and stupid decisions of the Obama administration, and in their haste to placate Islam, they have chosen to sacrifice Judah and Jerusalem.
Obviously, Judah and Jerusalem are not without fault, and a purge is called for to rid the land of rebels. But you have to notice that God’s criticism of them in the following verses is fairly modest. This criticism seems to center on the women adopting the trappings of the Western world and adorning themselves with glitz and glamour to be alluring.
ISA 3:16The LORD says, "The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
ISA 3:17Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald." Watch out for ringworms! The symptoms of this certainly match the description given here. Yet these are also the symptoms of something else. "The symptoms of radiation sickness are gastro-intestinal disturbances, a drop in blood count, loss of hair, skin damage, and sores." This is a direct quote from a science book. The following six verses would suggest something more than just ringworms.
ISA 3:18In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
ISA 3:24Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.
ISA 3:25Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.
So the women of Jerusalem are going to suffer a lot of humiliation, but their men are going to be killed.
ISA 3:26The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.
ISA 4:1In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!" This indicates a great slaughter of the men of the region and the humiliation and shame of the remaining women. There’s not a lot that can be said about this, but if this is what Judah and Jerusalem suffer just prior to the Kingdom of God being taken by force, one can only imagine the horror that Ephraim must face when the day of reckoning comes for them. So this is the real implication of this message!
The House of Israel is going to know that they caused this tragedy and they will know that God will require an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. In other words, absolute hell will descend on them and they will suffer the same fate, but without hope for a good outcome. In a reverse twist of fate, those whom they condemned to slaughter will become their saviours. How ironic that the House of Israel has no real concept of justice. Their concept of justice is to condemn the innocent in order to have peace for themselves.
ISA 4:2In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.
While hell is raining down on God’s Vineyard – the House of Israel, the inhabitants of the Holy City Jerusalem will be supernaturally protected and living securely.
And now we see a parable about God’s Vineyard:
ISA 5:1I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. ISA 5:2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
ISA 5:3"Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. Very appropriately, God asks the dwellers of Jerusalem and the men of Judah to judge between Him and His vineyard. These two groups are eminently qualified to judge, having seen the destruction and carnage of their own countrymen as a result of Ephraim’s policies. As we are about to find out, Ephraim is God’s vineyard!
ISA 5:4What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
ISA 5:5Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
ISA 5:6I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it." This is a parable, one of many in the Bible. And like all parables, it is not open to interpretation by humans. God Himself makes the meaning known! And here it is:
ISA 5:7The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. Here we see that God refers prophetically to the House of Israel as His vineyard. The vineyard is what produces wine. Wine is a symbol of knowledge – either good or bad. It can be either. Satan and his brood dispense evil information or knowledge to corrupt everyone from obedience and service to the Creator God.
The House of Israel was intended to act as a buffer against this type of knowledge. To this end, God provided them with His perfect Law that would hold them in good stead forever, but they chose not to obey Him – anciently, and now today. Since they didn’t want to serve God in the good times, and clearly God has blessed them beyond their wildest imagination, so now they will have to serve Him in want of all things. In their deprivation and terror they will seek Him early. This is why the House of Israel is the vineyard. They will eventually produce the right wine of knowledge – the knowledge of good, not evil. So whenever we see reference to vines or grapes in prophecy, it usually refers to the House of Israel and the type of knowledge that God intended.
InV5 above, God speaks of taking away the hedge that protects His vineyard from predators and free-loaders, and then He speaks of breaking down its wall to enable invaders to trample it down. It just so happens that God’s Vineyard is presently building a wall on its southern border to keep out these invaders who want to swarm in and trample down the Vineyard – the House of Israel.
I think it was made abundantly clear in earlier chapters that God is mainly concerned with Ephraim and the Ten Tribes over whom the Tribe of Ephraim ruled anciently. The United States of America has proven to be the gathering place of all Ten Tribes, made up of all the Western European nations. Today, all of these European nationals speak Ephraim’s native language and consider themselves to be Americans. Hence, Ephraim/America today, is referred to as the House of Israel.
It’s just as well that they all speak the same language because there is a very good reason for this. Firstly, the English language is the most widely spoken language on earth, notwithstanding that some claim that Mandarin is. There are more people who understand, read and speak English than Mandarin by a wide margin. Secondly, English is the language of prophets. How do we know this? Almighty God made it very clear in the Book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was both a slave and a prophet in the land of Babylon and lived about 130 years after the House of Israel went into captivity. God instructed him to take a message to the House of Israel. He never made it personally to all the House of Israel, but only to a small group living on the Kebar River near Tel Aviv/Abib to where he was transported in one of God’s ancilliary craft that accompanies the Glory Mothership where God dwells. The experience left Ezekiel dumbfounded which you’ll see in the verses below. Some Bible commentaries warn not to confuse Tel Aviv/Abib with the Tel Aviv in present-day Israel, but they fail to note that Babylonia included the entire Holy Land at that time. One Bible commentary (The New International Dictionary of the Bible) notes that the Kebar River cannot be identified in Iraq today. Regardless, Ezekiel was transported some considerable distance to where there were Israelites. A coastal seaport is an obvious place to find some travelling Israelites. Nevertheless, Ezekiel’s message has survived to be delivered in our day. So here’s the account of how Ezekiel was instructed to deliver this message in a language that the House of Israel would understand, rather than some obscure language that no-one could understand. So let’s be perfectly honest; if anyone went to the House of Israel today speaking Hebrew or Greek, which were the former languages of the Bible before being translated into English, how many would understand? Certainly not America or Europe!
Eze 3:4-9"He then said to me: "Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel-- 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house." And this about sums it up! The House of Israel is indeed a rebellious House who are well on their way to rebelling against their Creator God in favour of some fanciful theory of evolution, to name just one of their major flaws. God intends to sweep away their fanciful ideas and make His fame and presence known. They will certainly acknowledge their Creator God once He sweeps away everything they have and when they cling to a mere thread of life.
Just to give a comparison of what God has stated here, He says that if Ezekiel had been sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, they would have listened to him. As a matter of fact, this is what happened in the case of Jonah. He was sent to the Assyrians in the land of Media. The Medes are called the Kurds today. From the King of this region to the lowliest citizen, they repented and turned to God (see the Book of Jonah). This has considerable ramifications for these end days, but we cover this later in this study.
Continuing on in:Eze 3:10-17 "And he said to me, "Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says,' whether they listen or fail to listen." 12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound--May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place!-- 13 the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound. 14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me. 15 I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days--overwhelmed. 16 At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me: 17 "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me." So you can see why Ezekiel was overwhelmed by what he saw. He heard a loud rumbling sound and saw the dwelling-place of the LORD God Almighty. Like Elijah, Ezekiel was picked up by a smaller craft, one of a number that were flying around like birds in flight, and transported to meet with representatives of the House of Israel. In Ezekiel’s case, it was just a few Israelites, yet God states that he had been made a watchman for the House of Israel – the whole rebellious House!
So Ezekiel, through the words of the Book that bears his name, is a sign and a messenger for the House of Israel. His Book is a powerful fountain of knowledge for the House of Israel in our day. It concludes with the description of the New Temple to be built (Chapt 40-47), the allotments of all the Tribes of Israel when they return to the Promised Land (Chapt 48) – and even the River of Life (Chapt 47), which is also spoken of in the Book of Revelation. So you can see that it is a powerful and comprehensive Book for our day – this perilous end time! It’s quite laughable to see self-proclaimed preachers trying to convince their parishioners that the House of Israel is ‘lost’ forever and removed from history and Bible prophecy in favour of themselves. The truth is that the whole Bible is about the House of Israel and their final chapter as the premier nation of the earth forever and ever. Just remember that Jesus said He had been ‘sent only to the lost sheep of Israel’, and at that time had refused to even acknowledge a foreign woman (Matt 15:23-26).
ISA 5:8Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. This indicates that those with wealth and power tend to take the greatest portion for themselves, depriving others of the same privileges. In such cases, the privileged believe they need far greater acreage than the poor to fulfill their sumptuous lifestyle. They, that is, those who acquire wealth to the detriment of all others, feel that they alone should be the beneficiaries of these prime residential lands and all others excluded. They certainly don’t want their district turned into a slum, which could lead to a reduction in property values.
How well God understands the motivation of those who consider themselves to be the elite. It was necessary for the poor to always be with us, as Jesus stated (Matt 14:7), and as Moses stated: Deut 15:11 "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." To their credit, many wealthy people in America are philanthropists and are willing to help the needy, but there are others that don’t or who only choose to throw a few crumbs when necessary to preserve their public image while they go on living a sumptuous lifestyle oblivious to the needs of others. It’s this latter category that has polluted God’s vineyard and God wants to make sure that His target of the mindset of the self-proclaimed elite could be seen for what it is. And also to fulfill the prophecy that all will be humbled in the day when there will be no security for man or beast. This is made clear in this next verse:
ISA 5:9The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: "Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. When disaster comes, Homeland Security will protect no-one. The great houses and fine mansions will be stripped bare and left desolate. God has spoken. It should be noted that wholehearted and generous philanthropists will fare a whole lot better than the mean and greedy sector. The reason being, that God wants to populate the Kingdom of God with people who have a generous and empathetic spirit. Greedy, cunning, self-serving people are not the type of people who find God’s favour.
There is an interesting aside to all this. In the days of Moses, God set in place a system for numbering the true Israelites, and each who was numbered had to pay a ransom for their life:Ex 30:11-12 "Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 "When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them." It’s not clear how often the people were polled for the census, but Moses had to keep an accurate account of all God’s people including all the new-born. These polls were very important to God then, and still are today. Polling for this census will be mandatory in the coming Kingdom of God.
The odd thing about this is that King David told a parable and a riddle about this ransoming of life:Ps 49:4-13 "I will turn my ear to a proverb (parable); with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me – 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him – 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. 10 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings." Of course, we are speaking about both greed and wealth and the fate of such people. David couched this in terms of a parable and a riddle, and it concerns a time when a man’s life will be up for ransom or he will die. This is a parable about the time when wicked deceivers surround him as per his riddle. He says that no amount of money can ransom another by giving God a ransom for him. Today, ransoms are being paid everyday for others – take the Somalia pirate saga, for instance. Ransoms are paid nearly every day it seems, but not to God. God is not referring to the demands of pirates. He is speaking of how much a man would be prepared to pay to Him for his own life.
Just to put this into some sort of perspective, your ransom to God is to enlist His protection. He’s saying, don’t pay ransom to your enemies, because God Himself will deliver you and this is what your ransom to God will buy.Isa 50:2-5 "When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst. 3 I clothe the sky with darkness and make sackcloth its covering." Almighty God has a penchant for doing the unexpected and has the power to punish in unexpected ways. He has the power to turn whole nations into a dung pile by turning off their support systems – and this is the point He is making here. So, of course, God can ransom you and rescue you! And it concludes with advice about God’s prophet: V4 "The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. 5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back." If you can’t be taught by God then you are worthless for any purpose. And just to add one more point, all of God’s sons were taught by Him.
God, of course, doesn’t need money or gold because everything belongs to Him. Yet God surely knows that those who pay only lip-service and who refuse to pay Him his portion of their income are greedy, self-serving people who could never be trusted. In the Book of Hosea, called Ephraim’s Book, God calls on the House of Israel to return to Him:Hos 14:1 "Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall!" So how can the Israelites return to God? Almighty God repeats the call for the House of Israel to return to Him in Mal 3:7-10 "Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, `How are we to return?' 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, `How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." So all those who refuse to pay God’s tithe, be sure that God will require everything you have if you expect to be ransomed from the enemy – or you can be sure that you will fall into the hands of the enemy!
God has determined that those who have been the recipients of the treasures hidden from the foundation of the world – referenced as ‘a treasure hidden in a field’ or ‘a pearl of great value’ (Matt 13:44-46) will have a very great debt to Him. And He will demand it! And just to put into perspective what this treasure is, Jesus added this in V52 "He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." So these treasures are God’s Truth that He has kept in reserve for these last days in the run-up to the Kingdom of God. These treasures were reserved for those who were truly taught by God.
But God does offer a waiver concerning ransoms. For those who have nothing, they must actually forfeit their lives by laying it down for their friends. Then they will definitely return to God – in a resurrection. But if they run in the face of danger, then they will be dead forever. Did you notice this comment above inPs 49:9 "that he should live on forever and not see decay."? When people die, their bodies do decay. In fact they rot away to dust. Dust they are and to dust they return. Yet David is speaking of a time when they will come to life before they decay and transported to the Glory Mothership where God dwells, and where Jesus ministers at the Altar (this Altar had an exact copy on earth in the days of Moses). Within three days of their death the angels will gather them and they will assemble under the heavenly Altar, where they will be fed and clothed to await the killing of their fellow-servants and brothers on earth below. This is the account in the Book of Revelation: Rev 6:9-11 "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." Just as the Lord Jesus was raised bodily and His body never saw decay, so it will be with those who share His faith. This is the meaning of being a part of the Body of Christ. This, of course, is referring to true and Godly martyrs. So these are the choices that God makes for His people. Therefore, choose life – even if you must first experience death as a martyr in the defense of the innocent.
This subject needs one more clarification. As David says, not only will these people not decay, but they will live on forever as part of the God Family – just like Jesus Christ. So will everyone who lives in God’s Kingdom have eternal life? No, they won’t. When the House of Israel returns to their ancestral allotments in the Promised Land, they will be human and they will remain human. They’ll have many children and will live to a very great age – like the age of a tree, and if anyone dies at the early age of 100, he will be considered accursed.Isa 65: 19-25 "I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. 23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my Holy Mountain," says the LORD."
Concerning the subject of eternal life, there will be kings and priests in the Kingdom of God who will be of the ruling class – specifically chosen by God. These are being trained to take rulership from the present rulers, the real rulers who are not flesh and blood. God’s family will be the rulers in the Kingdom of God forevermore. These are the ones who distinguished themselves by refusing to compromise God’s Truth under the present rulership of Satan and his demons. It was to these that God revealed His treasures. The fact is that Jesus gave a description of these inLuke 13:28 "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last." The prophets are those who teach God’s unblemished truth – just as He has taught them, and this is why Jesus referred to a ‘prophet’s reward’ in Matt 10:41. The reference to ‘but you yourselves thrown out’ is a reference to those who opposed God’s Truth and refused to accept it. Therefore, God has refused to accept them! Such people have built a religious base for themselves in defiance of God and continue to deceive their followers with mindless dribble. What is more, they hold them captive to their nonsense.
So the inference is that those who took good care of themselves in this life will soon face the day when they will need to ransom their lives. The ransom for some people will never be enough – as David points out, and this of course depends on their past conduct.
Getting back to what King David wrote inPs 49:13 above, where he says: "those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve of their sayings". And this is where the riddle part comes in – David is speaking of the fate of the fools and the senseless alike who will perish and especially those who mislead people with lies about God, and also their followers. Firstly, such people have no right to appoint themselves as teachers when they don’t have God’s Holy Spirit (though they probably think they have). People who teach lies in God’s Name don’t, repeat, don’t have God’s Holy Spirit. So this is the warning in this riddle: Don’t approve the sayings of liars and deceivers because the fate of such people is to die and never live again. What we see today are thousands of churches who teach a lame doctrine that offers great rewards to all who approve of their sayings. These false teachers are lying to you! Soon this will be very evident.
ISA 5:10A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain." When a nation’s food-basket fails, there is no quicker way for the masses to turn to plundering. We’ve already seen that in times of disaster certain elements of society turn to plundering. A recent example was Hurricane Katrina. Shops were looted of anything that could be carried away. Even under the glare of news cameras these people had no conscience about what they were stealing. While others were providing assistance to the less fortunate, these looters were taking advantage of the disaster to avail themselves of luxury consumer goods.
ISA 5:11Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. This is a reference to those who chase after any substance for the purpose of descending into a mind-altering stupor. In the days of the prophet, this was accomplished by wine and strong drink, and they liked to ‘celebrate’ with music and frivolity as well as other acts that human beings are prone to devise. At such times, the last thing that would enter their minds is their obligation to their Creator God. Such people will soon find that wine and drugs are no substitute for food and sustenance.
ISA 5:12They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands. How well God knows these types of people! What is more, God knows how to humble them and get their attention. Today we have senseless fools who like to impugn God because they think it makes them look intelligent. They particularly like to ridicule the first chapter of Genesis as a myth, denying the existence of a Creator God. Why would God show such people mercy? Would they be fit to enter His Kingdom? Obviously, they won’t be there. In fact they will be dead forever.
So in these few short verses we see two examples at opposite ends of the pendulum – the exclusive rich and famous and, at the lower end, the dregs of society. Neither have any respect for the deeds of the LORD or the work of His hands. Situated somewhere in between these two groups are the decent, hard-working, family men and women, who do extol the greatness and generosity of the Almighty Creator God and have a form of worship of Him. While this is very commendable, the usual form of worship doesn’t meet the standard required by God. Almighty God is a God of Law, and the laws that God requires obedience to, are His Laws. In centuries past, we’ve seen the example of the House of Joseph being ruled over by kings, lords and nobles. Under these circumstances, the people didn’t fare too well. In fact, the poor tended to live under extreme poverty and in want of everything. America was built on the memory of the ruins of that failed system when, in fact, the people were motivated to emigrate to a new land away from the oppression that was constantly inflicted upon them. And so a new nation was born from hard-working, God-fearing men and women. In time, the charter for governance became a literary work-of-art for ‘We, the people’ – a system of ‘Government by the people and for the people’. This type of governance was virtually unheard of prior to this in that day and age. And yet the new nation prospered. Sure there were a few bumps along the way, but what emerged from the conduct and governance of the founding fathers was a nation that would become the envy of the whole world. Richer and more powerful than any other nation on earth! But the accolades don’t stop there. America’s generosity and benevolence to other nations has fulfilled the highest standards of examples of Christian living. The founding fathers were determined to model the nation as a Christian nation, and today, America is the largest Christian nation on earth. The wicked President, Obama, tried to imply that because 10 million Muslims live in America, America was one of the largest Muslim countries on earth. This illustrates the subtle, satanic, evil of this man. But then, what would you expect from a Muslim?
There is yet another thing that distinguishes the U.S. from all other nations. When America goes to war, it’s always in defence of the innocent. They never go to plunder other nations but only to liberate and restore peace. Time and again, America has been forced to beat the nations to the ends of the earth in order to restore peace, and it was always done with justice and fairness. What other nation could claim this? Did America ever colonize these defeated nations or plunder them or tax them? America never did! What other nation could claim this? History is rife with conquest and plundering, with the spoils always going to the victors. In America’s case, this never happened. In fact, most nations who were defeated by the U.S. later prospered and were restored to their rightful place in the world. After the conquest, America always treated their former enemy with kindness. This is indeed a notable feature and one which is highly praised by God. This quality just happens to coincide with that of a certain ruler of the heavenly realms to whom God gave power anciently. Although this ruler did join the rebellion against God in pre-Adamic times and was exiled to earth, he did retain certain qualities learned from God. This being will feature prominently in events in these latter days. More about this later in this study.
From the pages of history, we can clearly see that America has a laudable past. The mighty Ephraim has been successful in many conquests and the whole world benefited from their efforts, including, oddly enough, even the defeated. Yet something has radically changed in these last few years. The creeping diseases of political correctness and multiculturalism have swept across the nation like an epidemic. Every calamity that America faces is considered on the basis of these two diseases, both of which are a disease of the mind, and they will prove to be fatal.
When God speaks about His people and His chosen ones, who does the average person believe He is talking about? We’ve just read this inIsa 65:22 "…For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands." You can be sure He is not speaking about Muslims or any other nation of degenerates on this earth. He is speaking about His people Israel! We should also add that those who are obviously not of the House of Israel, but have assimilated into the nation and left their ‘culture’ behind, will be considered ‘native-born Israelites’ in God’s Kingdom: Eze 47:21-23 "You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance," declares the Sovereign LORD." This demonstrates just how fair God is! These aliens will be considered native-born Israelites once they adopt the way of God and His chosen people. There will be no multiculturalism in God’s Kingdom!
Why would anyone want to learn the way of the heathen when God specifically says not to? The KJV renders it best inJer 10:2 "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them." The heathen like to study astrology charts as if the stars can predict the future. This is just a minor example of the ways of the heathen nations, but it has certainly spread to the House of Israel. God’s Word is truth – not the alignment of the stars!
And now to get back to the next lot of verses in the Book of Isaiah.So we are left in no doubt about who this parable is speaking of, concerning breaking down the wall and having foreigners invade the land – as stated in V5 of this chapter. In V3 God asks the dwellers in Jerusalem and the men of Judah to judge between Him and His vineyard. So the victims of this vineyard, who have suffered humiliation and are heading for destruction because of the lack of understanding of this vineyard, are the ones who are asked to judge. As custodians of the Law of God, they are well-able to judge. God knows in advance what the judgment will be from those who are obedient to His Law, and goes on to confirm judgment:
ISA 5:13Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst.
ISA 5:14Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revellers.
ISA 5:15So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
ISA 5:16But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the Holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness. So here we see that God’s justice is righteousness. God’s vineyard presently disagrees. This vineyard seems to believe that justice is anything that brings them peace. If they believe that the sacrifice of hordes of innocents – the custodians of the Law of God; the very ones entrusted with the Word of God – that is the Jews in the Holy Land, deserves to be decimated by the Muslim hordes and have their land overrun, then the vineyard deserves every humiliation they get. God intends to turn it all back on the heads of His vineyard. All they have conspired to do to little Israel will befall them – only their punishment will be magnitudes greater! The Jews have suffered their holocausts, leaving an example of what to expect. As surely as day turns into night it’s coming. ISA 5:17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.
ISA 5:18Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
ISA 5:19to those who say, "Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the Plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it." Obviously, they don’t currently know it! In those days, the Plan of the Holy One of Israel will be a mystery to those who never sought understanding. Wickedness will prevail, but there will be some who will seek understanding even though they will be the extreme minority. At least it will be a start in the right direction.
ISA 5:20Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. We’re seeing plenty of this type of madness today! Political correctness has turned the whole nation on its head. Things that are by nature evil and detestable, are today, considered virtuous and honourable! And all this just to placate minority groups! God certainly knows how to pick them, and He has reserved them for special retribution. Entering God’s Kingdom will be a very great privilege, and those who don’t meet the standard will lose their lives forever.
ISA 5:21Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. How detestable such people are to God. Such people pride themselves on deceiving others while using every device to make themselves appear wise and clever to the unwary. Many of these gravitate to become Senators and Congressmen, though not all are like this – only about half of them. Others become university lecturers or community organizers, and they serve their master Satan well. Just when the masses were beginning to grasp what evil was, the advocates of political correctness decide that evil is good and good is evil, and so they begin to formulate ways of punishing those who disagree. To give Satan his dues, he certainly knows how to recruit.
ISA 5:22Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
ISA 5:23who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Well, what do you know! Here we have drunkards described who dispense justice (or claim to do so). Who could it possibly be talking about? Who might these drunken law-makers be? Well, the prophet makes it very clear later in the Book of Isaiah: Isa 28:1-3 "Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley – to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! 2 See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. 3 That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, will be trampled underfoot." So Ephraim’s city of lawmakers is about to be thrown forcefully to the ground. Just like the effects of a hailstorm and a destructive wind it will be left in ruins and battered to pieces. In this day and age of thermonuclear weapons, it should be obvious to everyone what this is speaking of. And especially since it’s speaking of the City (Washington) where all the law-makers gather to enact laws that seem like the ramblings of a drunkard! I’ll leave the reader to decide on where all this liberal legislation is leading.
As for those who acquit the guilty for a bribe, one of the most powerful lobby groups in America is the homosexual lobby group, and Senators, Congressmen and business leaders as well, all cave in to their demands. There are also plenty of other lobby groups who by one means or another are able to benefit from pork-barrel spending, and graft is an essential part of all this. Through crafty cunning, Senators and Congressmen are well able to hose down all accusations, and their success rate is very high. Two examples that spring to mind are Barney Frank and Al Gore. Both are masterful and cunning manipulators and liars.
Remember how Isaiah wrote of John the Baptist inIsa 40? The one who was crying out in the wilderness was told in V6 to ‘Cry out’. And he asked ‘What shall I cry out?’ He received this answer: "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
And back to the fifth chapter of Isaiah again, and we’ll be able to put into context what God is talking about.
ISA 5:24Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
ISA 5:25Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. When God raises His hand against a nation, destruction quickly follows.
After God burns against his people Ephraim, He raises His hand and they are struck down. Their city, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards is destroyed as with a mighty wind and all the beauty is blown away like dust. Gone in an instant – never to return! It will become pasture land for grazing animals, which seems to indicate that humans won’t go near it for fear of contamination.
God is not yet done, and His hand is still upraised against them. Now God calls in the distant nations – no nation in particular, but all nations to the ends of the earth. All nations will come to collect the spoils and ship off everything of value. We learn from the Book of Revelation that this includes slaves (Rev 18:13). Notice the enthusiasm for the plunder of their ‘friend’ America, whom they all hated with a vengeance:
ISA 5:26He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!
ISA 5:27Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal thong is broken.
ISA 5:28Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
ISA 5:29Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue.
ISA 5:30In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be darkened by the clouds. Just like wild beasts, they swoop in for the prey!
As a fading flower withers and dies and is blown away, so will Ephraim be carried away. Their epitaph could be, ‘They loved God’s enemies more than they loved God’s people.’ Since they traded God’s Holy City Jerusalem for peace with God’s enemies, so their prideful city of Washington will be forfeited in exchange. Immediately after this, the whole country will be stripped bare by all their lovers from countries near and far – even to the ends of the earth and their own people will be slaughtered or enslaved.
Many will seek to migrate to escape the slaughter, only to find themselves enslaved when they get there. Others will be shipped out as slaves and sold. It seems that God’s description of a fading flower dying and blowing away like dust is a very apt one.
What of all the plundering nations? Will they all cooperate? Can we expect to see organized plunderers operating side by side? Remember what our Lord Christ had to say about nations rising up against nations and kingdom against kingdom. Wars are usually caused by greed with one great exception in the annals of human history, and this exception is the United States of America. America has gone to war again and again, beating the nations to the ends of the earth in the interests of mercy and justice for the downtrodden and the vulnerable. Once they abandoned these principles of honour, they marked themselves for slaughter. Why? Because they have turned against their Creator God, and God makes this very plain!
Does anyone remember America’s greatest period of growth and prosperity when, as the Japanese General put it, the sleeping giant was awoken. And what an awakening it was! After the war, America became the richest and mightiest nation on earth. God blessed them for their war effort. When Ephraim spoke, men trembled. He was the exalted one in all the Tribes of Israel (Hos 13:1). The former Soviet Union wanted to play brinkmanship at one time, but went to ground rather than take on America in all-out war. They knew they were no match for the mighty Ephraim!
Satan decided he had to divide and conquer so he began to set strategies in place. It started in the ‘hippy era’ when ‘make love not war’ slogan began to destabilize and divide the nation. No longer would wars be fought as they were meant to be fought, but according to stringent rules of engagement. Most people would accept that the purpose of war is to kill the enemy, but today it seems, a soldier can only kill if he is attacked first. And if he shoots first and kills someone, he might very well be charged with murder. The enemy used to be a whole country, but today, it’s become an ideology called Muslim terrorism. Since the enemy today in places like Afghanistan are all armed civilian combatants a soldier may only shoot if the enemy combatant shoots first. Have you ever played Russian roulette? No, of course not! You’re not that stupid! US soldiers are forced to play a slightly different version of it every day! They know there could be an ambush around any corner, or a roadside bomb in any location. The official perception is that US soldiers are there to protect the Afghan people, but it’s the civilian population that is arming themselves and killing Americans. You can be sure the US soldiers don’t like this new ‘etiquette of war’ style of fighting.
Remember ‘Blackhawk Down’ – the saga that played out in Mogadishu, Somalia? Who were the combatants there? The truth is that the whole population turned on their benefactors and sought to gun them down in the streets. Remember British PM Tony Blair’s statement, ‘Islam is a peaceful religion’ immediately after 9/11? It would take a lobotomy for any sane person to believe that! I wonder if Tony Blair has ever read any history about Islam and its founder.
The prophet Isaiah continues with his narrative of prophecy and speaks of a special event in the last year of King Uzziah (also called Azariah). King Uzziah of Judah was a very righteous king and so was his son who succeeded him. Jotham, his son, followed in his father’s footsteps in obedience to God. He just happened to be married to the daughter of Zadok – the faithful Levite priest of God (2Kings 15:33).
This verse tells us a little about King Uzziah of Judah:2Chr 26:3-5 "Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother's name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah (the priest, not the prophet of the same name who lived centuries later), who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.
And this is the account of the special event which Isaiah the prophet saw:
ISA 6:1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
The significance of what the Prophet Isaiah saw is that this same scene was viewed by the Prophet John as recorded in the Book of Revelation. John’s viewing of this occurred when the Heavenly Council was seated for the unsealing of the Seven Seals. John’s vision is found inRev 4, so take particular note of V8 "Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Yes, it’s true that the Lord God Almighty, the Father, is to come and He will dwell among men, for this has been His intention all along. This will happen after the Lord Christ has destroyed the devil’s work and put down all rebellion. Then He will hand over the Kingdom to the Father (1Cor 15:24).
ISA 6:4"At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke." I could say a few words about the fiction that smoking causes cancer, but I’ll refrain. When people find themselves living with the smoke of ruined cities, they won’t be worried about getting cancer. The fact is they are unlikely to get cancer at that time, because they won’t have access to the medication that causes 99% of all cancers. They’ll be more worried about the reality of saving their lives than fiction! And they certainly won’t be worried about their cholesterol levels in that day either, which is just a bit more of the brain-washing fiction generated by the drug companies to sell statin-drugs to the gullible. Heart disease is equally common in people with low cholesterol as it is with those with high cholesterol. There is no relation to heart disease in either, yet drug-company researchers have exhausted themselves trying to find a link for this fiction to justify the sale of their drugs. It does demonstrate one principle: propaganda doesn’t need evidence if it’s stated often enough. Propaganda is rife today: ‘global warming’, ‘the sun causes cancer – use buckets of sun-screen lotion’, ‘smoking causes every disease known to man’, ‘Islam is a peaceful religion’, ‘Obama has a valid birth certificate’, ‘multiculturalism is good’. You’ve been drenched with all these lying distortions, and it’s all propaganda! Don’t believe it! The last one is insidious! Multiculturalism is not good. Every foreigner who comes to live among the Tribes of Israel must assimilate and become an Israelite. This means leaving their pagan culture behind. If you don’t believe me, then you will soon be forced to believe God, and it’s He that stipulates this. There’ll be no pagan ‘culture’ in the Kingdom of God!
Moving right along…. It seems that Isaiah was a rough, tough sort of guy and on his own admission he had a tendency to use rough language that was also propagated among those people with whom he lived. He felt totally unworthy to see what his eyes beheld in this vision.
ISA 6:5"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
We have to assume that this was a vision he saw, rather than that he was transported into the presence of God. Jesus plainly stated when he was on earth, that no man had seen the Father except Himself. There will come a time when human beings will see the Father, but that time is not yet. Mohammed’s little ‘white lie’ about ascending to heaven was just a typical lie as is everything in the teachings of Islam.
And just to confirm that no-one has seen the Father:1Tim 6:13-16 "In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen."
Just to digress and add a comment here. God the Father alone is immortal. I well remember a Church who claimed that Satan and all his demons were spirit-beings and were therefore immortal. They claimed that these beings could never die. Not only can they die, but they will die and cease to exist forever! I hope this clears up this little myth.
ISA 6:6Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
ISA 6:8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
ISA 6:9He said, "Go and tell this people: "Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Perhaps it’s assumed that God wants the prophet to tell the people their sins, so the whole nation will repent in sackcloth and ashes and turn back to God forevermore. The fact is that God knows the whole House of Israel is as obstinate as mules and He knows they have no intention of serving Him as their Creator. In short, they are too far gone to show any real repentance. So God gives the prophet some more instruction to make the people calloused, their ears unhearing and their eyes blind to the truth.
ISA 6:10Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." So what does it take to make the hearts of a people calloused? And what would the prophet have to do to fulfil this? In this day and age, and we are speaking about the last days, it takes no more than to simply tell God’s Truth. Feed the people lies to make them feel good and they’ll love you. Tell them the truth of God’s message and they’ll hate you! God rarely sends prophets to deliver good news. In ages past, prophets were almost routinely killed because of the message they were sent to deliver. So callousness is almost a routine reaction. Believe me, I know!
Another prophet, who was a contemporary with Isaiah, was the Prophet Hosea. The whole Book of Hosea is a very scathing indictment against Ephraim in these last days. He recorded these words of God:Hos 9:7-8 "The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. 8 The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God." Just a minor point here: the prophet, along with God is the watchman over Ephraim specifically, rather than Europe and Britain. It’s worth noting this point!
There’s certainly no ambiguity in this! This is the way it is, and God couldn’t be fairer in telling the House of Israel what to expect. However, it’s no surprise that they don’t want to hear it. They’d much rather listen to uninspired men who will tell them what they want to hear. And, of course, these uninspired men make up their own prophecy as they go along. Insomuch as they defy God by so doing, it’s hardly surprising that none of their predictions come true. It you ask them if their prophecies are Bible prophecies, they respond by saying something like, ‘Well they’re based on my ideas about Bible prophecy’. And that’s the problem! Their ideas about Bible prophecy are actually their own private interpretation – and this is forbidden by God!2Pet 1:20 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2PE 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping." It’s hardly surprising that these lying deceivers will meet with swift destruction! Do they really believe they are doing God a service by bringing the Truth into disrepute? As Peter says here, they are driven by greed and a desire to build their own reputations as teachers.
Naturally enough, the Truth is not going to be well-received by such people. Their natural reaction is to call the prophet a fool and a maniac. A true prophet of God is not interested in winning popularity stakes. A true prophet loves God’s Truth so much that it becomes his whole life. He has no interest in fanciful dreamers that pervert the Truth for their own gain. And why would he when such people have a death sentence hanging over their heads – just as Peter stated!
So the mere teaching of God’s Truth and what is to happen in these last days brings calloused hostility from those who don’t believe God. And the false prophets have certainly contributed to this with their false prophecies that never came true.
So now the prophet puts a question to God, and asked how long this punishment of the House of Israel will last:
ISA 6:11Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?" And he answered: "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,
ISA 6:12until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.
ISA 6:13And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."
God always reserves a few faithful people – a holy seed, who will remain like a stump when the tree is destroyed. So it’s the Holy Seed that God is interested in. The stump with its roots is what nourished the tree even though the branches never realized it. Without the Holy Seed, God would have no interest in the rest of the nation. The rest of the nation would be worthless for any purpose. With a Holy Seed present, however, to set the example of obedience to the Creator God, others have the opportunity to come to repentance. And God has actually made provision for this. There is a stump or Holy Seed in America, and there is also one in the Holy Land. All of which will be discussed as we progress through this Bible study.
At this point in the Book of Isaiah, the prophet begins to record the situation that existed in his day. The prophet records that the grandson of King Uzziah (Azariah), who now rules as King Ahaz over Judah, is facing a major threat. The northern Ten Tribes of Israel, whom Isaiah refers to as Ephraim, have allied themselves with King Rezin of Aram for the purpose of destroying Judah and the House of David. This is the account:
ISA 7:1When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
ISA 7:2Now the house of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
Here we see Ephraim allying themselves with Damascus (the Capital of Syria today) and the central territory of the Aramites. As a point of interest, Syria is a key player in the bloc of Shia nations developing in the north today. In fact, Syria is now allied with the Shiite Persians (Iran). The Obama administration is busily making strong overtures to the Syrians (Damascus), and has just announced that they intend to lift the trade embargo and other sanctions that were imposed on them. In other words, America is wooing them to ally with them, while at the same time, Ephraim has decided that the Jews living in the Holy Land are an obstruction to their plan for a united Muslim presence in the Holy Land.
Almighty God has reached across thousands of years to make us aware of what would happen in the last days. But if Ephraim thinks they can destroy the stump in the ground and destroy the House of David, then they are delusional. At that momentous time, they will find themselves fighting God.
God reassures the prophet on what to expect and to calm the House of David:
ISA 7:3Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz (King of Judah) at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. 4 Say to him, `Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood--because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it." 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "It will not take place, it will not happen,
ISA 7:8for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
ISA 7:9The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah's son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." These are all examples for our day. What happened then is a fair example of what will occur in these last days. Ephraim, the ruler over the Ten Tribes of Israel, is plotting against God, His people Judah, and the Holy City. It’s a fair warning against what is happening today, and it’s extremely provocative to God.
You can see by the language here that Almighty God is scoffing at both Damascus and Ephraim. While Syria has heaps of ambition to be the central player in that northern bloc of nations, stretching from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea, Damascus’ ambition will remain unfulfilled. Their efforts to build nuclear weapons were thwarted when the Israelis bombed their nuclear facility recently. Bible prophecy makes it clear that it’s the Persian Empire that will dominate the region in these last days until they too are crushed. So it’s not too hard to believe that the Persians are developing a large sword and it now seems that the Obama administration has no intentions of stopping them. Obama’s avowed secret agenda is to destroy the Israelis, and he believes that Iran will make good their threat.
Anciently it was the Assyrians who conquered the northern Ten Tribes of Israel. Regardless of which king had dominance in the region at that time, the conquerors were all the same people who continue to live in that region today. It’s important to understand this because two major power blocs, one in the north and one in the south, are destined to develop very soon in Bible prophecy. Today they could be identified by their Muslim origins – either Shia or Sunni. The Shiites are about to steal a march on the Sunni. These two groups have been enemies for 1400 years. The very same players who troubled both Houses of Israel long ago, are the very ones who are emerging today as the troublesome enemies of all Israel. In the same manner as they did anciently, Ephraim has allied with God’s enemies of old to bring the destruction of Judah and the conquest of the Holy Land.
With all the plotting and scheming of evil men, the truth is that a stump, a Holy Seed will remain. And that Holy Seed will strike terror into the hearts of all Muslims everywhere until these enemies of God are merely ashes under the feet of the righteous (Mal 4:1-3). The fact remains that a lot will happen in the interim. The prophets of old, who lived in a period similar to what we are facing today, give us a lot of insight about how it will all unfold. Their experience is all part of Bible prophecy.
We live in perilous and dangerous times because these are the prophesied last days. All the prophets, and even the Apostles spoke of these days. The prophesied six millennial days allotted to Satan are at an end, and he doesn’t plan to go quietly. He knows he has a thousand-year prison sentence hanging over his head and he intends to go out with a furious onslaught. The whole purpose of mankind was to create a ruling class in God’s Family of sons and daughters who will replace the present rulers of this earth. The present rulers are Satan and his rulers of the Spirit world, or, as the Bible refers to them, the rulers of the heavenly realms (Eph 6:12). It’s no good anyone trying to kid themselves. These are very real and very dangerous. They’re very numerous and they’re everywhere, but since they live in the spirit world, they’re rarely seen by humans. Strange phenomena in haunted houses have led people to call them ‘entities’ for want of a better description. Those who have encountered the most dangerous ones have no illusions about the degree of their evil.
In this study of the Book of Isaiah, we are progressing towards a description of Satan and his rulers of the heavenly realms as they are plunged into dark dungeons to serve their appointed sentences and to be further judged for their ongoing hostility to God and His servants.
The problem today is that the House of Israel is beginning to ally themselves with Satan and his satanic brood. And although they go to great lengths to disguise it, all with great subtlety, God is not fooled.
Now we come to a momentous time in the ministry of Isaiah. With the constant drum-beating of the King of Israel and the King of Aram (Damascus), and war imminent, King Ahaz of Judah was becoming alarmed. The LORD sought to put Ahaz at ease that these combined forces would not prevail over him.
ISA 7:10Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."
ISA 7:12But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."
ISA 7:13Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you House of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah--he will bring the king of Assyria."
Just to reiterate about whom the Assyrians were, these people occupied the same ground, and comprised the same people who later became the Babylonian Empire. The only difference is that different rulers emerged, but the successive empires remained the same with only minor differences. Bible prophecy, from beginning to end, refers to these very same hordes of people, who are collectively known today as Muslims. So forget all the fanciful theories by people who repudiate Bible Prophecy in favour of their own ideas, and who like to like to teach that Babylon is Rome or the US, or any other fanciful nonsense that emanates from them. God is right and they’re wrong!
Through Isaiah, God informs King Ahaz of Judah that a child would be born to a virgin, and she would call his name Immanuel – meaning ‘God with us’. Before the child knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings (Israel and Damascus) will be conquered and their land laid waste. This sign was given around 734 BC. Some 12 years later, around 722 BC, the King of Assyria arrived on the scene and began carrying out the destruction.
It shouldn’t go unnoticed that another ‘Immanuel’ was born to a virgin some 700 years later, and the Apostle Matthew (a Levite) cited this very event as a prophecy for the birth of Jesus who was also born of a virgin (Matt 1:23). The virgin who conceived in Isaiah’s time was later referred to as a prophetess in Isa 8:3, indicating that this was a prophecy for a future time. Just as Joseph was Mary’s husband, so Isaiah was the husband of his virgin. Hopefully, before this study of the Book of Isaiah finishes, we’ll get a clearer view of the importance of these two sons born to virgins. It’s worth noting however, that at the age of 12, Jesus knew enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, and He astounded Jewish scholars with His knowledge of Scripture (Luke 2:46-47).
ISA 7:18In that day the LORD will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria (flies are a nuisance, but bees sting). 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River (that is the Euphrates River) --the king of Assyria--to shave your head and the hair of your legs, and to take off your beards also. 21 In that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.
ISA 8:1The LORD said to me, "Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 2 And I will call in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me."
ISA 8:3Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Before the boy knows how to say `My father' or `My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria (Israel) will be carried off by the king of Assyria." This is the third named son of Isaiah. The first is Shear-Jashub (Isa 7:3), the second Immanuel (Isa 7:14), and now Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. It’s generally thought that Isaiah’s first wife died after the birth of Shear-Jashub, and he married his second wife – the virgin, who was also a prophetess.
ISA 8:5The LORD spoke to me again:
ISA 8:6"Because this people (Israel) has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,
ISA 8:7therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River-- the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks
ISA 8:8and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck (that is, the Gates of Jerusalem). Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel!" Here we see where God describes these conquerors as being like mighty floodwaters sweeping on and running over the banks. This is in contrast to the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, which they rejected! This is retribution against Israel and Damascus for attempting to unite for the purpose of destroying Judah and the House of David. In the end, it was only Jerusalem that was holding out in the siege. Jerusalem was the last bastion and stronghold.
This is a lesson that should have been learned today, that when any nation plots the destruction of God’s Holy Land, retribution will follow. And here and now we are witnessing this very act of treachery from Ephraim – the prince over all his brothers. Ephraim, the United States of America today, is actively plotting the destruction of Judah and the Holy Land in order to buy peace with their enemies – all of Islam! In a treacherous act of betrayal against Judah, and the mindless placation of Islam, America has bought themselves a fight that they cannot win! Because now God is fighting against them Himself!
God has reiterated over and over, that the Book of Isaiah is a prophecy about the last days. If prophecy tends to repeat itself, this is because it was designed to do just that. It’s so designed in order that people will learn from the past and prevent making the same mistakes. Yet, it’s only those who know their God who observe these things. As Jesus said, many centuries later, few people will understand what is happening until the flood comes and sweeps them away (Matt 24:38-39). Like the Book of Isaiah, Jesus was referring to the flood of war, though He likened it to the flood of Noah, where destruction was virtually complete except for eight human beings. So in these last days, we either heed God’s warnings or prepare to die:
ISA 8:9Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands! Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
ISA 8:10Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us. God is with us, that is, Judah and Jerusalem, against all the plotters and schemers who attempt to destroy God’s Land and His people. Immanuel means ‘God is with us’.
ISA 8:11The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:
ISA 8:12"Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. Ephraim has a long history of conspiring to get their own way. Up until now, little Israel has been an important democracy in the Middle East, but now things have dramatically changed as America moves to shore up their relationship with the Arabs and the Muslim hordes of old. They have chosen God’s enemies over God’s City!
ISA 8:13The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, (Fear? Dread? Does anyone fear God today? Most Christians today believe they are already ‘saved’ – yet they have no idea what salvation is! They seem oblivious to the fact that the definition of ‘salvation’ means to be rescued from the hands of their enemies.)
ISA 8:14and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a Rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap and a snare. God Himself will be a trap and a snare to catch the unwary predators. The Rock spoken of here is Jesus: 1Cor 10:3-4 "They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Christ." Yes, Jesus is the God of the Old Testament, though modern-day Christianity can’t seem to accept this plain teaching from the Bible. The House of Israel today has rejected the real Jesus in favour of a weak, insipid, emotional Jesus, who is rarely even depicted as the Mighty Warrior and Conqueror, which is the real meaning of ‘Christ’ or ‘Messiah’. He’s been empowered or anointed by God to put down all rebellion (1Cor 15:24) and to destroy the devil’s work (1John 3:8)! Judah, on the other hand, rejected Jesus as the Messiah, because He failed to live up to their expectations of conquest over their enemies at that time. All this will change at a very dramatic time (Zech 12:10). So both the House of Israel and the House of Judah are equally guilty of the same rejection of the Rock. The difference is that Judah will be reprieved early, but the House of Israel will not. Ephraim has suffered very little adversity in comparison to the Jews, who have suffered for thousands of years, yet have never abandoned God or the Holy City. During all this time, they always had an overriding desire to return to the Holy Land and the Holy City. Ephraim, however, sees an opportunity to placate their enemies by giving them both the Holy Land and the Holy City even though it will mean the slaughter of millions of Israelis.
It won’t happen! Sure there will be another slaughter, as Isaiah has pointed out, but the survivors will be called holy, and together with the Sons of Jerusalem, will strike against the surrounding countries like a flaming torch among sheaves (Zech 12:6).
While all this is going on, Ephraim will be in their dying throes as a nation. Swiftly and decisively they will come to their end in a bloodbath of destruction that will shock the world.
ISA 8:15Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured."
ISA 8:16Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.
ISA 8:17I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.
ISA 8:18Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. So much for the signs and symbols that the House of Israel refuses to listen to! Ephraim prefers to put their trust in their power and wealth with little regard for their brother Israelites. All the good things Ephraim has done will no longer be remembered and they are about to pay for their treachery towards God’s people Judah and the Holy City Jerusalem. All those who voted a Muslim into the White House will now pay with their lives – never to live again! Unless, of course, they repent of their madness but this seems unlikely on present trends.
ISA 8:19When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. Utter darkness is a symbolic description of death. How many people today speak to the Law and the Testimony? Most speak against them – especially the Law of God! Such people certainly don’t have any light of dawn. In fact, they will never see the prophesied dawning of a new day. Because of their own stupidity, they will blame everyone else, including their king and their God. Because they rejected the light of God, they will be thrust into utter darkness.
With the beginning of this next chapter of Isaiah, we see a whole new changing scenario. And it begins with Scripture quoted by Jesus hundreds of years later:
ISA 9:1Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan--
ISA 9:2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. This is a passage quoted by the Lord Christ in Matt 4:12-17. This is the most northern region of the House of Israel that bordered right on the behemoth to the north – the Assyrian Empire then, which later became successively the Babylonian Empire and the Medo-Persian Empire. In the time of Isaiah, this land was about to be conquered and destroyed and the inhabitants led away into captivity. So it seems a little surprising that the prophet should be speaking about good news for the region. It’s also worth mentioning that this is an area adjacent to the land of the shadow of Death – a term used by King David in Psalm 23.
So just to put this into some sort of perspective, this is what the Apostle Matthew wrote:Matt 4:12-17 "When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali-- 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." So it’s fairly obvious that Isaiah was pointing the way to the appearance of Jesus as he was with the episode of the virgin birth. He then goes on to elaborate on the virgin birth in V6 below.
You’ll notice that Jesus lived in Galilee prior to appearing at the Temple. In fact, His disciples were all called Galileans, which prompted the religious elite of that day to say, ‘No prophet has ever come from Galilee’. They were obviously unfamiliar with Isaiah’s writings. What did they think was meant by honouring Galilee and seeing a great light?
With the dawning of this new light as spoken of by the prophet and confirmed by the Lord Jesus, this will be the beginnings of the Kingdom of God. What happens in this land of the shadow of death will result in the Holy Land nation being enlarged together with great joy for the peace that will come from the conquest of their enemies.
ISA 9:3You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. Plunder from all the surrounding nations will surely be divided in that day of conquest. These nations will be mowed down in a succession of massive slaughters as described in Zech 12:6.
ISA 9:4For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. It’s obvious who the surrounding nations are and who live adjacent to Holy Land. It’s Islam – the brood of vipers.
ISA 9:5Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. Well this seems like a good idea.
ISA 9:6For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. It was the virgin birth that seemed to get up the noses of the Scribes and Pharisees much later when Jesus was born, which was a little surprising, since Isaiah foreshadowed it.
ISA 9:7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Both the reader and I know that this has not yet been fulfilled. The Kingdom of God has not yet been established, and justice and righteousness have not been established forever. All of this has yet to be fulfilled; just as the prophecy about Zebulun and Naphtali in Galilee have a final fulfilment. As evidence of this, Isaiah goes back to his own day at this point, and begins to speak against Ephraim and their land of Samaria – all the land north of Judah. This is in contrast to the previous two verses that could not possibly relate to Isaiah’s time.
ISA 9:8The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel.
ISA 9:9All the people will know it-- Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria-- who say with pride and arrogance of heart,
ISA 9:10"The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars."
ISA 9:11But the LORD has strengthened Rezin's foes against them and has spurred their enemies on.
ISA 9:12Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
ISA 9:13But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the LORD Almighty.
ISA 9:14So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day;
ISA 9:15the elders and prominent men are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.
ISA 9:16Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.
So what has changed from that day to this present day? It’s important to understand that Isaiah is also speaking of these last days and giving us examples to learn from. Everything he has written has ramifications for this present time. Ephraim is today the mightiest power on earth and still rules over all the Tribes of Israel to one extent or another. Neither Britain nor any of the other Western European nations provoke Ephraim too much because they have too much to lose economically and strategically. It was the power of Ephraim that rescued them in the last two world wars and brought peace to the region. This is something that Britain and Europe tend to forget. So, of course, America is greater than Britain and Europe combined and they’ve proven this again and again. Nor should we forget the Pacific war, when Britain was defeated and lost their base in Singapore and had to surrender. Ephraim moved in and shattered the Japanese conqueror and restored peace. It’s mind-boggling that some of these false prophets try to make out that Britain – who they think is Ephraim – is greater than America! Such people need to get a grip on themselves and start thinking logically.
The real point is that America comprises all the Tribes of Israel; every tribe is represented in American society. And for the purpose of prophecy, Ephraim is the ruler just as he was anciently. This is why God refers to the 10 Tribes of Israel as Ephraim.
What was, what is, and what is to come is all closely related. What had happened back then is that the House of Israel had sought an alliance with King Rezin of Damascus to destroy Judah and the Holy City. When they failed in their quest, Rezin’s foes from his own Aramean clans in the east as well as the Philistines from the west began to snipe at Israel from all sides. Philistines are typically those from the region of Gaza on the sea coast. These marauding clans quickly move in when the see the opportunity to seize the spoils of war. Killing and plundering is the nature of the beast – this treacherous viper that remains a thorn in the side of the Israelis.
As it was then, so it is today. Ephraim is actively engaging with God’s ancient enemies in the hope of earning their favour. Now Ephraim’s wicked Muslim President Obama has decided that the ultimate placation of Islam would be to plot the destruction of Judah and to hand over the City of Jerusalem. Does any Christian or Jew on the face of the earth today believe that this would find favour with God? For such an act of treachery, God will show no mercy to the House of Israel! Inverse 14 above, God makes it clear that he will destroy the US administration in a single day! This didn’t happen in Isaiah’s day; in fact it took many years before the House of Israel was finally destroyed and led away.
This prophecy is about shattering the power of Ephraim in a single day, and this prophecy of a single day still stands. It’s coming and you will see it with your own eyes! Nothing will save the US administration now. Who voted this Muslim clown into office? Just for the record, it was the Democrats – the bleeding heart liberals who will stop at nothing to seize power. Lies and deceit typifies them all! There is something satanically evil about the Democrats. To them, evil is good and good is evil – just as God observed earlier. They have certainly demonstrated that they have questionable morals.
Notwithstanding, Almighty God makes it clear what will happen in the immediate aftermath of this single day of destruction:
ISA 9:17Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks vileness. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. As we’ve already observed, God sets the standard for righteousness; His Law is righteousness! Brick by brick the Democrats have demolished righteousness throughout the land, and as a clear sign to all, they have forced the removal of God’s Law, the Ten Commandments, from all public buildings – most notably, court houses. This one sign alone illustrates their evil intentions, and it also illustrates their state of mind. As the Lord Christ observed in a parable for these last days, out of the ten ‘virgins’, five were wise and five were foolish. God wanted everyone to know where the blame would lie for the demise of the Ten Tribes of Israel. This doesn’t necessarily relate to any particular five tribes but to an equal division among the Ten Tribes. And sure enough, the whole nation is divided roughly equally into two groups: Republicans and Democrats.
ISA 9:18Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
ISA 9:19By the wrath of the LORD Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; no one will spare his brother.
ISA 9:20On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring:
ISA 9:21Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. And there it is! The Tribes of Joseph, both Ephraim and Manasseh, will turn against Judah. When we get to Chapter 28, we’ll learn the identity of Ephraim in Bible prophecy and the reasons for this identification, as well as his elder brother nation Manasseh. So for purpose of understanding the above verse, just accept that Manasseh (the brother of Ephraim), in Bible prophecy, is Britain. Don’t listen to the false prophets that lead you astray with their fanciful and false prophecies to the contrary. These ‘prophets’ who teach lies are the tail – as God has clearly stated. They will pay with their lives! Just remember, Ephraim is infinitely more powerful than Britain in these last days. Ephraim was the younger son of Joseph, but as Jacob observed, he would be greater. The nation of America is certainly younger than old Britain!
ISA 10:1Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, 2 to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
ISA 10:3What will you do on the Day of Reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? What could Ephraim possibly do in the Day of Reckoning? Who do they have to turn to once their power and influence is gone. This disaster will come from afar, but Ephraim will be too stupid to realize it until it’s too late. Well, I can personally tell you what they will do, and its something that America does well. They’ll look for a scapegoat to blame for it all. So who can they blame? Well, not themselves! Ephraim boasts, ‘With all my wealth you won’t find in me any iniquity or sin’ (Hos 12:8), so there must be someone else to blame. V21 above gives the answer! Judah is to blame! Judah, who slavishly followed America’s stupid directives to their own destruction, is now to blame for America’s destruction. Only Satan himself could be the author of this type of mad reasoning.
As for the Day of Reckoning, the Prophet Hosea gives us some more insight as to the meaning:Hos 5:9 "Ephraim will be laid waste on the Day of Reckoning. Among the tribes of Israel I proclaim what is certain." And here we see clearly that God is referring to the nation of Ephraim who lives with the Tribes of Israel – a conglomerate of all Ten Tribes just as it was anciently.
ISA 10:4Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. And it will get much worse! Their fortunes will not change until they acknowledge their sins, and foremost in God’s consideration is Ephraim’s vile treachery towards His favoured and faithful people of Judah and the Holy City of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is Judah’s Capital City – not Tel Aviv as Obama and his cronies continue to state. On the 23rd August, 2009, Obama released some details of his plan for the ‘Holy Land solution’. This was one headline: Obama Plan: Temple Mount Under Arab-Muslim Sovereignty. This plan then goes on to describe Jerusalem as the future capital of the ‘Palestinians’. Under his plan, Tel Aviv will be the Israelis’ capital. Obama’s plan is in complete defiance of God, and where the safety of God’s people Judah is concerned, this is a death sentence for Ephraim and it will surely be carried out.
So it’s very easy to see that the Obama Administration is determined to sacrifice Judah in the interests of placating Islam. Every honest observer would freely admit that the enemy of the American people, and the West in general, is Islam. All terrorism and all hostility comes from Islam – the very same players whom God detested anciently! What is more, it’s the religion of these degenerates that ignite them against the House of Israel. Unfortunately, there are very few honest observers, and there are none in the Obama Administration.
The very same people that troubled the House of Israel anciently have now gained strength and they all live in the region from Lebanon to Afghanistan. Anciently, in Israel’s day, there was the emerging Assyrian Empire. Later this became the Babylonian Empire. Afterwards, power shifted again, and the Medo-Persian Empire arose. This was followed by the Greco-Macedonian Empire led by Alexander the Great. All of these empires ruled over the same territory and the same people. They all had two things in common. Firstly, they were all ruled by Satan and his rulers of the heavenly realms. And secondly, they all had an abiding hatred of God’s people Israel.
In days of old, these rulers of the heavenly realms cooperated with God when He sought to punish His own people. They’re extremely reluctant to provoke the Almighty God, knowing the catastrophic consequences that would follow. Their power would be stripped away, and they would find themselves as wild animals filled with madness. Today, they all know what happened to Nebuchadnezzar, whose glory soon turned to humiliation.
Human beings think they wield power and control the world. Whenever God addresses these mighty pagan kings, God wasn’t addressing the man but the spirit being behind him. Satan controls and rules all the nations of the earth through his spirit proxies, who are called the rulers (plural) of the heavenly realms, and they are not flesh and blood! (Eph 6:12). Satan rules over the entire world, but with the exception of the 12 Tribes of Israel. God rules over these tribes! He blesses them and He punishes them as any good father would do. He knows what is good for them and what is bad for them. He gave them His Laws and He gave them options. He told them He had set before them life or death, and counselled them to choose life. God Himself set their rulers over them, and anciently, they were anointed into office by God’s priestly tribe. God gave them good leaders when they behaved themselves and bad ones when they didn’t. The truth of this is being borne out today.
The problem is that whenever the House of Israel became full, fat and prosperous, they turned against God believing they didn’t need His instruction anymore. They wanted to be masters of their own destiny and make their own decisions on how they would live. God knows that prosperity emboldens them, but He also knows that calamity humbles them. At least one poet got it right:
"They say that man is mighty, he governs land and sea
He wields a mighty sceptre over lesser powers that be
But a mightier power and stronger has from its place unfurled
For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."
It’s God’s hand that rocks the cradle, and it’s God’s hand that brought prosperity to the House of Israel. It’s also God’s hand that will signal disaster from afar, and as long as His hand is upraised, the disaster will continue. It can’t be any other way because the Day of Reckoning has come – the day God visits you.
Long ago, God set a timescale for Satan’s rule. It was six millennial days, that is, six thousand years of human existence on earth, beginning with Adam and Eve. As the population increased and spread out over the earth, Satan had carte-blanch to do as he pleased with all but a thread of humanity. This thread culminated with Noah, who alone was judged worthy of survival in a wicked, violent and destructive world. From that point on, God began to direct that thread of humanity towards the ultimate goal of populating His Kingdom and that thread emerged through Abraham, then Isaac, and then Jacob. Through Jacob, twelve sons were born, and these became the 12 Tribes of Israel. From that point on, the future of the House of Israel – all Twelve Tribes was cast in stone. And the Head of that stone was the Rock that led them out of Egypt and onward to their final destination – and destiny. The pedigree of Israel was selected by God Himself, when He selected the best of humanity as their forefathers. This is what made them so different from the rest of humanity.
As we progress through this Bible study, you will notice that some sections of Satan’s brood begin to find favour with God. Notably, some Egyptians, Ethiopians, and some Moabites (descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew), are specified. It’s not beyond the capability of the human mind to come to right conclusions occasionally. Rational minds will begin to realize they had embarked on a course of fighting God and will divest of this madness and turn to Him. In the case of the Ethiopians, God will send swift messengers to fight for them and to burn back the satanic hordes confronting them. These things will emerge further into this study.
ISA 10:5"Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! This Assyrian king was empowered by God to destroy a godless nation – a nation that had turned to paganism. Retribution was called for and this Assyrian king demolished both the northern Ten Tribes of Israel and their ally – King Rezin of Damascus, king of Syria.
ISA 10:6I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
ISA 10:7But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations. God sent the King of Assyria against ‘a godless nation’ – the House of Israel. But this arrogant king wasn’t about to stop there! In all his pomposity, he began to eye the House of Judah for conquest:
ISA 10:8‘Are not my commanders all kings?’ he says.
ISA 10:9`Has not Calno fared like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad, and Samaria like Damascus?
ISA 10:10As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols, kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria--
ISA 10:11shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?" This pagan King of Assyria knew why God had empowered him to destroy ‘a godless nation’ and plainly says so! He boasts of destroying kingdoms of idols, kingdoms whose images excelled those of both Jerusalem and Samaria (Israel). This ruler was well-aware that paganism offended God, but in order to rule, he had to prove that his pagan gods were stronger than the nations he conquered. Always the most powerful pagan religion gained ascendancy among pagans, and since Satan demands worship, as well as opposition to God, all his rulers comply with Satan’s pagan ideals. When it comes to the destruction of God’s people, these rulers of the heavenly realms are very eager to comply.
Still, there were issues in Judah, and particularly along their northern border with Israel. Paganism had flowed over the border as some Judeans sought to placate the advancing enemy with submissions to their gods. But it was the conduct of King Ahaz of Judah that explains the Lord’s comments in the next verse about being against Mount Zion and Jerusalem. This is the account of king Ahaz’ misconduct:2Kings 16:7-17 "Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, "I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me." 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death. V10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction. 11 So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus and finished it before King Ahaz returned. 12 When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it. 13 He offered up his burnt offering and grain offering, poured out his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. 14 The bronze altar that stood before the LORD he brought from the front of the temple--from between the new altar and the temple of the LORD--and put it on the north side of the new altar. V15 King Ahaz then gave these orders to Uriah the priest: "On the large new altar, offer the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king's burnt offering and his grain offering, and the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offerings and sacrifices. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance." 16 And Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz had ordered. So his fake, pagan altar was to be used for all the worship proceedings in the Temple, but the Bronze Altar that stood before the LORD, he would still use for seeking guidance – from God! He downgraded the Bronze Altar in favour of a pagan one, but he still knew that guidance from God could only be sought through God’s Altar. It’s amazing what fear and cowardice will do – even to a king! V17 King Ahaz took away the side panels and removed the basins from the movable stands. He removed the Sea from the bronze bulls that supported it and set it on a stone base. 18 He took away the Sabbath canopy that had been built at the temple and removed the royal entryway outside the temple of the LORD, in deference to the king of Assyria. The Sea was a half-hemisphere casting which was supported by 12 bulls. These 12 bulls represent the 12 Tribes of Israel, so King Ahaz removed them, as well as the Sabbath canopy – in deference to the King of Assyria!
Getting back again to the pomposity and arrogance of the King of Assyria, who took the offerings of gold and silver from King Ahaz to fund the destruction and capture of Damascus and the Syrians as well as the House of Israel; he had no intention of stopping there. He planned to roll on through and take the Kingdom of Judah as well. King Ahaz was silly enough to believe God’s Temple gold and silver would save him. In effect, this is what destroyed him. He died shortly afterward, and his son Hezekiah reigned in Jerusalem.
God plans to move against the King of Assyria:
ISA 10:12When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, He will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 13 For he (the king of Assyria) says: " `By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding. I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings. This is not the type of behaviour that engenders favour with God! Arrogant pontificating about one’s own worth can quickly draw God’s retribution. Human beings have a hard time understanding this, but then, so do the rulers of the heavenly realms! They seem to forget that God sets up kings, and He also destroys them. Kings rule at the pleasure of God – or not! A century or so later, Daniel reminded King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon of this very principle, that God, and He alone, is the God of Kings and sets up rulers as He wishes. It alarmed Nebuchadnezzar so much that he began to behave himself (for a while), and fell prostrated before Daniel (Dan 2:46).
The problem with most of Christianity today is that they see only human rulers, and have no concept of the invisible rulers of the heavenly realms. They have certainly not followed God’s intent:Eph 3:10 "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Church has not only failed to follow God’s intent, but they still don’t realize that these rulers of the heavenly realms – including Satan – have no idea what God’s eternal purpose is. At the present rate of knowledge – or lack thereof – the Church has a long way to go. Perhaps they should stop listening to the pontificating arrogance of their leaders and start believing God. Since Jesus was sent only to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’, perhaps the Church should begin pondering what their real purpose is, and stop all the vainglorious behaviour about their own importance. So perhaps they can ponder for a while what God’s intent is, but the Church will soon learn the answer to this question. The first clue is found in the fact that God requires some service! Remember Jesus’ words, Luke 17:9-10 "Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’" Leaving aside the fact that most Christians haven’t even done their duty and obeyed God, and even if they have been obedient, there is still a service God requires of them. Was Jesus obedient to God, obeying all His Laws faithfully? Obviously! Did God the Father demand more service from Him beyond that? We all know that He did! So it is with all who claim to be followers of Christ.
Back to the ruler of the heavenly realm – the king of Assyria and his arrogance:
ISA 10:14As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as men gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.'" So, Sennacherib, King of Assyria was in full bloom as he boasted of his accomplishments. It didn’t go unnoticed by God!
ISA 10:15Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it? As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood!
ISA 10:16Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. In 701 BC, at the very gates of Jerusalem, 185,000 of his sturdy warriors were struck dead by and angel of God. Who knows what the wasting disease was – and who can say? But they dropped dead on the spot, and Sennacherib fled for his life, later to be killed by his own sons. There was no blood or gore or dismemberment – they were all simply dead! The death of 185,000 warriors seems like a huge number of dead bodies, but it pales in comparison to the deaths in Egypt of the firstborn when God sent Moses to rescue His people. On the night of that Passover in 1446 BC, every household in Egypt had at least one dead body, and every one of them was a first-born. So this was an even greater miracle that such selective deaths were carried out.
Sennacherib, King of Assyria, lost all his warriors and Judah was once again secure and free from the threat of conquest. Though, it must be said, that the towns and cities between Jerusalem and northern Judean border had been ravaged immediately prior to this slaughter of the Assyrian warriors.
In this peace interval, Isaiah goes on to speak of a future event, when, in the aftermath of war, peace will prevail. He speaks of a Champion of Justice, an Invincible Warrior who will come to restore law and order and usher in a new era. This Mighty Being will command the destruction of the wicked by the rod of His mouth and the breath of His lips. This is much the same as God’s upraised hand, which He uses to command the destruction of His enemies. In the case of the Mighty One, the rod (cudgel, hammer, sword or whatever) will be administered by command of His mouth – and His army will carry it out. We’ll see a description of God’s army in just a few verses when we get to Chapter 13.
ISA 10:17The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. Here we see another mention of the Light of Israel who came from Galilee as a prophet. But now we see Him as a consuming fire. We find this in Heb 12:28 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our "God is a consuming fire." This is a direct quote from Deut 4:23-24 "Be careful not to forget the Covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."
I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but as long as God’s hand is still upraised, the power of the enemy will progress and the slaughter continue. Through many phases of Ephraim’s punishment God’s hand remains upraised. Yet there is something that needs to be emphasized, and that is that God is not punishing Ephraim because they are the worst country, but because they are the best in an increasingly sick and depraved world, but still they have failed to meet God’s standards for righteousness, and like silver and gold, they must be refined, and until this occurs there will be no place for them in God’s Kingdom.
Concerning God’s upraised hand allowing the enemy to prevail, a similar situation arose in Moses’ day. During one of the Israelite battles against the enemy, Moses noticed that when both his hands were raised, the battle turned in favour of the Israelites. When he lowered them, the battle turned in favour of the enemy. This is the account:Ex 17:9-15 "Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands." 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." 15 Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. 16 He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." So this was something that had to be remembered, and God insisted that Joshua hear it. Now Joshua was the one who led the House of Israel into the Holy Land and clear it of the enemy. (Moses died on Mount Nebo across the Jordan River just prior to this). I won’t expand on this any further except to say, that as long as God’s servant Moses had his hands upraised, the battle went in favour of the Israelites – and this is something to be remembered. It had to be Moses’ hands that were upraised and no other.
ISA 10:18The splendor of his (the King of Assyria) forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away. Remember that it was the King of Assyria that conquered the House of Israel anciently, and now we have a description of God’s retribution against him.
ISA 10:19And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down. To have their fertile fields and crops wiped out as well as their forests, would be a sobering situation for the Assyrians. It would certainly cause them to have a re-think.
ISA 10:20In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him (the King of Assyria) who struck them down (in 721 BC) but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. As we mentioned before, the Assyrians lived in the land of Media and were later called the Medes. The Medes were allied with the Persians (Iran today) and the Medes actually took over power from the Persian kings by seizing the throne and it became the Medo-Persian Empire anciently. The real power behind the throne was a being called Cyrus, and he showed favour towards God’s Holy City and its people, the Tribe of Judah. Judah was permitted to return to God and the Holy City.
In this instance though, the prophet is speaking of the House of Israel (Jacob) who have grown to a population numbering like the stars of the sky.
ISA 10:21A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. This is speaking about a small number, a remnant, in contrast to the great number that presently exists.
ISA 10:22Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous. The population of the Tribes of Israel truly is like the sand by the sea for numbers, with about 500 million in total. This, of course, discounts those who are not true Israelites by birth. How do we know this? Well, God reveals it in the Song of Moses (which incidentally, will be sung in God’s Kingdom – see Rev 15:2). The Song of Moses is found in Deut 32 and the reference to the number of Israelites is found in Deut 32:7-9 "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. 8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. 9 For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance." So Almighty God set up 12 boundaries for all the nations on the earth in accordance with the number of the tribes of Israel. It’s not too hard to figure out where those boundaries are. So God’s elders are telling you now that Israel’s population portion is one/twelfth of the population of the earth. With a world population of 6 billion people approximately, Israel’s population stands at 500 million approximately.
So how many of these will return to God and the Promised Land? Not many! Just a few, a remnant, a very small number! In fact, only those who come to their senses and acknowledge their Creator God and who detest themselves for their past sins and senseless conduct. It will require a series of miracles to get even this remnant back to their ancestral homeland. Firstly, it will be necessary to expand the present land holdings in the Holy Land and to save the dwellings for future inhabitants.
ISA 10:23The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land. The whole land of present-day Israel, that is, that land of Ephraim, the United States of America, is facing destruction – total destruction. Well may the people be concerned today with the present erosion of their standard of living under the present Obama Administration – this is merely a forewarning, a sign from God of the evil portent that is presently being master-minded.
What was happening in Isaiah’s day was that the House of Israel was advancing into total destruction, and the very same people from the very same boundaries appointed them by God anciently, were threatening the southern Kingdom of Judah. They were streaking through the borders of Judah and heading for Jerusalem. This was to be the ultimate conquest of these rulers. They wanted to destroy God’s Holy City – just as these very same nations of people want to do today.
ISA 10:24Therefore, this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: "O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
ISA 10:25Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction."
ISA 10:26The LORD Almighty will lash them with a whip, as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb; and he will raise his staff over the waters, as he did in Egypt.
ISA 10:27In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat. No-one is too sure of this last phrase or its translation. It probably relates to complacency and acceptance of what seemed their inevitable fate. Perhaps they thought, ‘Let’s eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die’.
ISA 10:28They enter Aiath (a city of Benjamin, east of Bethel, and which was formerly called Ai in the days of Abraham.); they pass through Migron (also in the territory of Benjamin); they store supplies at Micmash (and another city in Benjamin’s tribal allotment, about 13Km from Jerusalem). Aiath is actually the feminine version of Ai, indicating it to be the daughter or rebuilt city of Ai after Joshua conquered it and destroyed it some 700 years before. It was the second Canaanite city destroyed by Joshua, the first being Jericho.
ISA 10:29They go over the pass (this pass is between Bethel and Micmash and in parts bounded by two cliffs), and say, "We will camp overnight at Geba." Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul flees. As a point of interest, General Allenby in WW1 used the strategic position of this Pass to defeat the Turks.
The Assyrians, having stored supplies and plunder at Micmash, moved on to camp overnight in Geba in preparation for the conquest of Jerusalem.
ISA 10:30Cry out, O Daughter of Gallim! Listen, O Laishah! Poor Anathoth! (Where Jeremiah lived 130 years later. Anathoth was a Levite city for the Priesthood in the territory of Benjamin). Gallim and Laishah are also settlements in Benjamin’s territory.
ISA 10:31Madmenah (another town in the territory of Benjamin) is in flight; the people of Gebim (in Benjamin’s territory near Anathoth) take cover.
ISA 10:32This day they will halt at Nob; they will shake their fist at the mount of the Daughter of Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem. And now they are right outside the City of Jerusalem and threatening their destruction. I would imagine by this time, the king Hezekiah of Judah would be regretting the action of his father King Ahaz for stripping the Temple gold and silver to pay-off the Assyrian king. Jerusalem became the only hold-out City in all of Judah.
When we get to chapters 36 and 37 of this study, we’ll see the outcome of this stand-off. Nevertheless, Almighty God foreshadows the outcome:
ISA 10:33See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low.
ISA 10:34He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One. And here we see that Lebanon was allied with those who wanted to attack and destroy the Holy City Jerusalem.
And now we come to a major digression in the Book of Isaiah. We leave aside the woes of King Hezekiah and Judah, and turn to much later prophecy. You’ll notice that at the time when Jerusalem faces certain disaster, the prophet speaks of good news with good outcomes. He begins by speaking about the Source of that good outcome.
ISA 11:1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
ISA 11:2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--
ISA 11:3and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
ISA 11:4but with righteousness he will judge the needy; with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
ISA 11:5Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The Source of hope comes from the Mighty One Himself. While the vast majority of Christianity is still speaking of ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild’, here He is revealed as the Mighty Warrior that He is. Jesus is not coming back to plead with the nations to behave themselves, He is coming to slay the wicked because there is no place for them in God’s Kingdom. As one of His parables indicates, He intends to put new wine into new wineskins. The new wine represents truth, justice and righteousness – and a total absence of the type of propaganda that has destroyed His people Israel. No longer will they be drunk on the wine of the arch-enemy of God – Satan! Instead, they will drink the pure wine of truth and enjoy the peace that comes with it.
It may surprise some readers to know that the power to rule the nations with a rod of iron will also be extended to the Church:Rev 2:26-27 "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-- 27 `He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery' -- just as I have received authority from my Father." The only condition is that they must overcome and do God’s will to the end!
Human beings have to realize that there are times when justice and righteousness calls for death for evil-doers. Peace cannot prevail while such people continue to live. They oppress the needy and poor of the earth, and decisions must be taken against them. God makes it clear that those who are worthy of death must suffer death and be wiped from the face of the earth. All of Israel will come to understand this, but only after their Day of Reckoning has come. They will learn that other cultures are not ‘basically good’ but thoroughly evil and this will be forcefully driven home by the torment they suffer at their hands. Just remember that there is nothing good to look forward to in these last days, unless you happen to have developed the faith to be a part of God’s army. Then you will be in the position to administer justice – the way God intended, and in the way that the Mighty One, the Lord Christ will direct by the word of His mouth.
God wants all of humanity to know that there will be good outcomes when all rebellion is put down and the earth cleansed of evil-doers:
ISA 11:6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
ISA 11:7The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
ISA 11:8The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
ISA 11:9They will neither harm nor destroy on all my Holy Mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
ISA 11:10In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 11 In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea (Greek Isles). So at that time, there will still be a remnant of God’s people Israel scattered among the nations. Interestingly enough, God’s description of where the bulk of this remnant will be is in very region of the people that the House of Israel is today fighting – the Islamic hordes. ‘What was’ has become ‘what is’ – today!
ISA 11:12He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
This will all occur following the time when Ephraim was the most prominent and mightiest of all the Tribes of Israel. And so the House of Israel is specifically referring to Ephraim. Even from this point of view, it’s a no-brainer that America is Ephraim. The next verse adds more insight to this:
ISA 11:13Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.When Ephraim is soundly defeated in war and humiliated, there is going to be some profound jealousy towards Judah who will take up the cudgel and beat America’s enemies, that is, Islam, to death. Something America should have done while they had the chance! So here we see where the rift between Ephraim and Judah begins to be healed. Presently, we are still seeing this rift develop under the auspices of a mad, Muslim President and his cronies in the administration. Have you noticed that there are a couple of Jews in Obama’s administration who are helping to steer this rift against Judah in Israel. It just shows how easily some people fall into the trap of drinking the wine of deception.
There is another prophecy that describes how this rift developed and this is found in the Book of Zechariah:Zech 11:14 "Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the brotherhood between Judah and Israel." This time, it’s a parable enacted by the prophet himself. At the time this was written, there were obvious reasons for this breaking of the brotherhood of these two nations. About 200 years prior to this, Ephraim, in alliance with foreigners, had attacked Judah with the object of slaughtering, plundering and selling them into slavery. So, as far as Judah and Israel were concerned, there was no brotherhood left. This might have been the end of the matter, except for one thing. This was prophesied to occur sometime after Jesus Christ was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver – yet hundreds of years in the future.
But we need to back up here toV7 in order to understand the lead-in to this rather strange series of parables that span all the generations to our day. The time setting for the next few verses is clearly the time of Jesus Christ when He was sold for thirty pieces of silver, which we’ll see in V12-13. But first we have to understood which ‘flock is marked for slaughter’.
Zech 11:7-9"So I pastured the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I pastured the flock. 8 In one month I got rid of the three shepherds. The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them 9 and said, "I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another's flesh." Who were the three shepherds of God’s flock (Judah) that detested Him? You don’t have to read far into the New Testament to understand the answer to this. It was the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. These were the three branches of shepherds in that day who held power over all the people. God fired all three of them, and they all lost their jobs in the same month. And which month was that? It was the first month and the 14th day of that month to be precise. It was the Day of the Passover, the traditional time of the slaughter of the firstborn. So that momentous day was Wednesday, 14th Nisan, 30 AD.
There was an obvious change of leadership when Jesus chose 12 Apostles to lead His flock. Technically speaking though, it was Peter who was specifically instructed to feed Christ’s flock (John 21:15-19). It’s certain that Peter was appointed to feed Christ’s flock of Judah in Jerusalem, but the fact that Jesus chose 12 Apostles, strongly indicates that these were each allocated one of the 12 Tribes of Israel, while a later addition, Paul of Tarsus, was appointed to shepherd the Gentiles. With the exception of Cornelius and his family, and the Ethiopian eunuch encountered by Philip, there was very little Gentile contact until Paul came along some years later. Both these Gentile contacts have great significance, and especially that of the Ethiopian eunuch. This is what is said of him: Acts 8:27-28 "So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet." These few verses go part way to understanding why God has special favour towards the Ethiopians which we discuss at length later in this study of the Book of Isaiah.
Nevertheless, Jesus got rid of the three worthless shepherds and replaced them with men of His own choosing.
Back again toZech 11:10-11 "Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 It was revoked on that day, and so the afflicted of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the LORD." The afflicted of the flock of Judah were the ones who were detested – just as their Master was. Just remember, these Christians were also of the Tribe of Judah, but they no longer listened to the bad advice of these three mad shepherds. So the covenant God had made with all nations to favour the Jews as the blessed tribe that gave birth to the Messiah, was revoked. Their loss of favour with the nations of the world continued for centuries and even to this present day. Christianity, on the other hand, gained favour and became powerful, though for the first couple of centuries, they were horribly afflicted by pagans until Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion, ensuring their peace and survival.
And now we come to a very famous verse that confirms Christ’s divinity by the very nature of its fulfillment. In this parable, Zechariah plays the part of the betrayer, who we know as Judas Iscariot. All Bible students should know that it was Satan who entered into Judas (John 13:27) and led him away to make the betrayal of Jesus. Satan had no intentions of trusting anyone else to do this job. He had groomed Judas for this very day, and Satan realized he had just one shot in the locker. Judas loved money and was a greedy thief and the Scripture makes this clear, but this next verse would indicate he didn’t do it for money. And this is why Zechariah was acting as the proxy in this parable. In the first part Zechariah is clearly acting the part of Satan: Zech 11:12 "I told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it." So they paid me thirty pieces of silver." Satan certainly didn’t care about the thirty pieces of silver and couldn’t care less if it was paid to Judas or not. As it turned out, the Scribes and Pharisees paid him. So with all parties to the agreement happy, Judas went out to fulfill his contract with the ‘kiss of death’. After this, the betrayal was complete, and the Lord Christ was crucified. The plotters felt that to have one of Jesus’ own Apostles betray Him was worth the 30 pieces of silver.
And now we get to the conclusion of this prophecy that was fulfilled many centuries after it was written:V13 "And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"--the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter. So it was the potter who was the beneficiary of this blood money. It was his field that was bought with it. But let’s not blame the potter, since the real scoundrels are those who paid the blood money in the first place.
Later the Apostles came together to elect a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:15-22). This replacement had to be someone who had been present continually from the beginning of John’s ministry of baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up into the clouds (V22). There were just two men, and the lot fell to Matthias. The Apostles explained the reasons why this replacement was necessary by quoting from David’s writings in the Psalms. It’s in these two Psalms (69 & 109) that we learn much more about the meaning of the next verse in the Book of Zechariah: Zech 11:14 "Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the brotherhood between Judah and Israel."
At the time of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and the Scribes and Pharisees, there had to be a change of administration. These evil rabbis had to go. They had used their self-righteousness to bilk the people and deceive them. A new administration was needed and this administration would be a full compliment of 12 men following the replacement for Judas. The rabbis would have to suffer the penalty their treachery deserved. These are the verses quoted by the Eleven from the Book of Psalms:Ps 69:23-28 "May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. 24 Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. 25 May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt. 27 Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. 28 May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous." As we can plainly see, this passage of Scripture was against all (plural) that were guilty of the betrayal of Jesus. I don’t want to complicate things any further, but this Psalm proceeds right on to follow the theme of the next chapter of the Book of Zechariah – chapter 12. I’ll quote what the Psalm says so we can refer back to it later: Ps 69:33-36 "The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. 34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, 35 for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; 36 the children of His servants will inherit it, and those who love His Name will dwell there."
Just remember this was all about ‘getting rid of three shepherds in one month’. It had nothing to do with getting rid of the flock. In fact, it was the flock of the Tribe of Judah that took Christianity into all the world. About 40 years later, around 69-70 AD a bloodbath occurred in Jerusalem, and the leaders of Judah, along with the people, were defeated and slaughtered and the Temple destroyed. This further ties in to the fact that Jesus spoke of the destruction of Herod’s Temple (Matt 24:2).
As we all know, Jesus came only to the lost sheep of Israel. Christianity would gain prominence among the Tribes of Israel rather than the Tribe of Judah. Judah was to be sidelined for a couple of thousand years. During this time, shepherds would proliferate everywhere and in every manner while trying to generate flocks of believers. There are as many different doctrines today as there are churches. At least Judaism knew what they believed and stuck to it over the many centuries. Christianity, on the other hand, is all over the map and can’t agree on anything. Christianity has made clear divisions between themselves and other churches over issues of doctrine. They’re just as intractable today as they ever were. Each is convinced that all the others are wrong and they alone are right in their teachings. In other words, each believes themselves to be the true shepherd of the flock. The amusing part of all this is that they don’t even know who the ‘flock’ is. They think they’re all Gentiles. You’d think this would be causing some heartburn among the parish leaders, since they should know that Jesus was sent only to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’, and here they are shepherding only Gentiles – or so they think!
And just to summarize. We spoke about the rift that developed between Ephraim and Judah anciently, where Judah faced defeat and destruction at the hands of Ephraim. Instead, God brought the King of Assyria against Ephraim who shattered the Ephraimites and carted them off as slaves. This is when they became known as the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. 750 years later, when Jesus confirmed that He was sent only to the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ (Matt 15:24), everyone understood it clearly. 2,000 years after this, in this present-day, almost no-one believes a word of it. Instead, most church pastors are content to believe that the Ten Tribes of Israel are lost forever, and that all prophecy concerning them has failed. Almighty God backs His reputation on the unfailing prophecy of the Bible, and says that not the smallest letter or the least stroke of the pen will disappear until all that is written in the Law and the Prophets is fulfilled (Matt 5:18, Luke 16:17).
So now we’ve seen the appointment of the 12 Apostles or shepherds; we’ve seen the removal of three others who despised the True Shepherd and refused to accept Him, and we’ve seen the 30 pieces of silver change hands and the betrayal of the Lord Christ. And this concludes Chapt. 11 of Zechariah, except for the last three verses, and this is about yet another shepherd – and a strange one indeed! This is the description:Zech 11:15-17 "Then the LORD said to me, "Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hoofs. 17 "Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!"
Here God tells Zechariah to act out a parable and to take the part of a foolish shepherd. Zechariah has the character role explained to him as that of a callous, uncompassionate man who doesn’t care about the lost, injured or the young – as a shepherd of a flock of sheep is required to do. His only concern is to eat the meat of the choice sheep. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand the parable so far. At the first sign of danger, this shepherd deserts the flock and takes good care of himself. At face value, this doesn’t seem to be a good choice of a shepherd. Well, of course, it’s not. The whole purpose was to choose a foolish man to be the shepherd so the flock can observe as he turns worthless. Yet no-one would observe anything unless this shepherd could be identified with certainty. As for the time-frame of this shepherd’s arrival, it was some time after the betrayal of Jesus with the 30 pieces of silver, and some time before the events beginning with the next verse:Zech 12:1 – which describes the beginning of the battle for the Kingdom of God. So this pretty much spans the entire Christian era. There are two things that are necessary for this parable to be included in the Scriptures in the first place. Firstly, there had to be a specific reason for the appearance of this shepherd, and secondly, he had to be identifiable, otherwise neither has any logical purpose.
So let’s first deal with identity. God gives the clues, and all that’s required to understand is a little Godly wisdom. One clue speaks of his arm becoming withered, which implies that his arm is strong and becomes weak or withered. I suppose plenty of shepherds have a strong arm, so should we have a contest to see who has the strongest arm? No, we only have to look for someone who has the name of arm-strong (godly wisdom, remember?) So in order to meet these conditions, we need to find a shepherd with the name of Armstrong. But not just any shepherd! This man must be a true shepherd with the right kind of knowledge to sustain the sheep according to the teachings of God, and this requires obedience to the Laws of God, the Holy Days, and the preaching of the Kingdom of God. So how many men with the name ‘Armstrong’ might there be over this period, who met these conditions? Not too many, so now we have a much smaller sample. Yet there is still one more condition that must be met. This particular ‘Armstrong’ had to go blind in his right eye – and this was to be the final identifier. So who was the shepherd who taught God’s core truths in a Christian Church, whose name was Armstrong and who went blind in his right eye, and had an extravagant view of his own self-worth and liked to lord it over everyone else. In 2,000 years, there was only one! His name was Herbert W. Armstrong.
So what was the purpose of this worthless shepherd? Well, he started off with quite a flourish actually, and showed great promise as a shepherd. Together with his [first] wife they uncovered many truths that were taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. And for this early work he deserves full credit. God’s description of him, however, leaves much to be desired. He didn’t really care about the flock or their welfare; it was all a brazen act of deception. His personal self-interest overrode everything else. He wanted the finest of everything, including cars, private jets, his own private concert hall for meeting ‘important’ people, honour, prestige, and an overpowering desire to be seen on the world stage. There was nothing humble about this man! If you want a description of the type of people God detests, then this is it!
Well, Herbert Armstrong was the prophesied foolish shepherd, but what was his purpose? Why is there a specific prophecy about this man, and an unflattering one at that? Was he just another ‘wanna-be’ in the passing parade of life? The truth is he performed a very important function – that of preparing a flock for God. Not just any flock either! These are the volunteers in ‘the flock marked for slaughter’. These are the ones who overcame the treacherous madness that overwhelmed the Churches of God about escaping all adversity and deserting the flock to save their lives. Instead, these are the ones who will go willingly like sheep to the slaughter out of a desire to follow their Saviour Jesus. They will know and believe that God will raise them from the dead. These people are the real Church and their leader will be the True Shepherd Himself – Jesus Christ. They won’t be relying on some dope who thinks he ranks over them in importance. Anyone who has an inflated view of their own importance let him be the first to lay down his life for another! This is the big test!Rom 8:31-36 "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." (Ps 44:22).
The point here is that Paul knew all about it. He was beaten up, whipped, persecuted, imprisoned and finally martyred. Paul knew that God required more than mere lip-service. Paul also wanted to set the record straight that those who suffered persecution were not always the evil ones. The righteous suffer persecution, and they also suffer hardship. At the present time this is not very noticeable because persecution mainly comes as mere words today. The day is fast approaching, however, when there will be slaughter everywhere, and that day is very close now.
The Prophet Jeremiah made some observations concerning those who liked to give lip-service to God in order to build a reputation for themselves among the people, but God was far from their hearts and any real service to God was unthinkable.Jer 12:1-3 "You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? 2 You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. 3 Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!"
All the prophets were aware that God requires sacrifice of His people. Lip-service just doesn’t cut it, and especially with those who lack the heart to fulfill their stated convictions. So Jeremiah proposes the solution for who are not genuine, when he says ‘Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter!’
There is going to be a day of slaughter, a time when those whose hearts and lips are attuned to service to God will go willingly to perform that service after the manner of their Lord and Saviour Jesus. Others will be taken kicking and screaming when it becomes evident that they don’t have the heart for obedience to God. And Jeremiah adds this:Jer 12:6 "Your brothers, your own family-- even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you." Talk about speaking with a forked tongue, this is the type of deceit that true Christians will be up against – lying, cunning, treachery!
So in this concept of a ‘flock marked for slaughter’, we find that the Lord Jesus spoke of this very time inMatt 10:32-39 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." The reader might be interested to know that Jesus was quoting here from the Prophets. The passage is found in the Book of Micah, but Micah gives much more detail and identifies the time-frame as the time that ‘God visits you’. All of which coincides with family and group betrayals, and it also reveals the location as God’s ‘vineyard’.
This is Micah’s account:Mic 7:1-7 "What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. 2 The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. (I could tell you why all the godly have been swept from the land, but you wouldn’t believe me – yet!) All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net. 3 Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire-- they all conspire together. 4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion. 5 Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. 6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- a man's enemies are the members of his own household. 7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me."
So this is what Jesus meant when He said He had not come to bring peace but a sword. A sword will certainly stalk God’s vineyard, and betrayers will be everywhere. I don’t want to waste time stating the obvious, but both Jesus and Micah were referring to the same future event. Jesus said, ‘Don’t think I have come to bring peace to the earth’. He then confirmed He had come to bring a sword. He also confirmed that anyone who was not willing to give up his life for His sake would lose it anyway. So here we are talking about serious persecution. And just to add one further observation, the forces of evil will be against Christians, and as Jesus pointed out, deny Him and you forfeit the right to life! So these evil forces are the antichrist. They are not only anti-Christian they are also anti-Jew. Only a fool could fail to notice their emergence across the world landscape.
What we have described here is massive persecution on an unprecedented scale. It’s also the time of the ‘watchmen’ and the day God visits you. The watchmen have been watching and reporting as it all unfolds. So who is this talking about? The Prophet Hosea explains:Hos 9:7-8 "The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. (Well, now you know this, and it’s much closer than you could imagine.) Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. 8 The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God." The Prophet is God’s servant, and along with God, is the watchman over Ephraim – the vineyard of God.
Naturally enough, God’s prophet is considered a fool and a maniac by those who continue to deceive others with failed prophecies of their own. Nothing they ever say comes true, but they remain unfazed by this. When their silly prophecies fail, they just go off in a different direction. So when the day comes, whatever you do, don’t trust these evil creatures! They will betray you! They not only lack godly character, but they also lack God’s Holy Spirit.
So what has all this to do with the foolish and worthless shepherd? Strangely enough, very little! He was of no importance at all – but the flock was! Armstrong’s only importance was to identify the flock that would enter God’s service as the ‘flock marked for slaughter’. This flock will show the world the type of godly character that God requires for His future Family. Lying deceivers and cunning manipulators will never make it! Nevertheless, this small flock of people should take heart from the fact that another ‘flock’ was marked for slaughter just a few decades ago. The Jews were slaughtered in their millions even though they did nothing wrong. They were innocent and blameless of all the accusations made against them, but still they finished up in the gas chambers and furnaces. So their service is nearing completion, and now it’s the turn of the Church of God to prove their faithfulness and go as sheep to the slaughter. God requires it of you, just as He did from His Son Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus proves you will live again if you die in faith. Why would you not be prepared to die in martyrdom for your Creator God? Surely you’ll not be outdone by the Muslims who readily lay down their lives for their god – Satan the devil!
Remember Jesus’ words above?Matt 10: 38-39 "and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." What does ‘take up his cross’ mean? Does it mean taking a leisurely stroll around the block carrying a cross as Christians like to do from time to time? V39 explains it! It means laying down your life just as Jesus did – and it means doing it for Jesus! Those who do lose their life for Jesus sake will certainly find it – in the resurrection.
If you want my advice, when the day of slaughter begins, go early! Don’t hide away or try to escape. Step out in faith and believe God will raise you from the dead; try to be like the faithful Lord Jesus Christ. As true and faithful disciples of Jesus, the forces of evil will want to kill you – it’s a part of their nature. God, however, has pledged to give you the words to speak as you go to your demise. At least you will have the words for a parting shot at these murderous creatures.
It was these whom God was preparing for the role they have yet to play. Out of a potential pool of hundreds of thousands of members of the flock, God only requires about 100 to 120 to set the example for the House of Israel. While there will be a lot of wastage, God wants only the best of the flock for the embryonic beginnings of His Family. There was a time when Jesus had an additional 120 disciples in addition to the 12 Apostles. A situation arose when Jesus explained details about the New Passover that would be observed by Christianity. The 120 disciples became alarmed by a misunderstanding and left. Only the 12 remained with Christ. So the 120 missed out on that first, all important, New Testament Passover. They were back again some 50 days later for the Feast of Pentecost, but like the bird with a broken pinion, they never rose as high again. As a matter of fact, many scholars have wondered what role they really played in the establishment of the Church. From the limited information we have about these 120 disciples, we would only be guessing. Nevertheless, I’m sure they served God well.
Today, we do know their purpose, and we also know what they must face. They will need to be men of very high character and dedication to God. They will indeed be courageous men and totally dedicated to God. They won’t be the weak, cowardly type of person that flees in the face of danger and deserts the flock like their founder, the foolish and worthless shepherd. And the reward they will receive will be of the highest possible value, in fact, it will be a prophet’s reward (Matt 10:41).
It may seem logical to some people that God would expect Jesus to lay down His life in obedience, but these same people can’t seem to understand that in order to please God as Jesus did, each and every one of us must be prepared to follow Jesus’ example. If you are not prepared to lay down your life for your friends, then why would God have any expectation that you would lay down your life for Him?
Now back to the study of Isaiah, chapter 11. This is where we left off:
ISA 11:13Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
Still there is more to it than this. Judah’s power and prowess in war has been emasculated by the stupidity prevailing in America in believing they can befriend the Muslim hordes and convert them to democracy and normal, decent behaviour. This, America has now sought to do by a great sacrifice of Judah and the Holy City of God. AsV13 above states, Judah has plenty of reason to be hostile towards Ephraim, but the Jews are very forgiving of their enemies, and will have compassion towards the suffering of the American people in the holocaust they now face. Having suffered more than any other Tribe of Israel, the Jews have developed qualities of mercy that the rest of Israel can only dream about.
Still the faithful Jews are not out of the woods yet. Their emasculation by Ephraim and the treachery they’ve inflicted has to be healed and Ephraim has to be made aware of the enormity of their crime against Judah. The mental instability of the Obama Administration concerning the identity of their enemy is beyond belief. With every passing day, the Obama administration becomes more mired down in mindless propaganda trying to justify the murderous actions of Islam. It seems perfectly logical to Obama that Muslims would want to be killing Christians and Jews in the Holy Land because Israelis are building houses on their own land. It seems that these filthy, Muslim degenerates want to control everyone’s life – and they have much in common with Obama!
It’s a tragedy of life that people, it seems, must learn everything the hard way. People tend to focus on their own self-interest and fail to see the broader picture of the consequences of decisions made through government self-interest. The Obama administration is determined to change the whole landscape of the West to simulate something akin to the African state in which he was born. In other words, he wants the American people to adopt the mind-freak mentality of the Muslim hordes in the country of his birth. Obama’s playing on the benevolence and generosity of the American people to give aid and comfort to less fortunate nations and he wants to spread the wealth around to the harbinger nations of his Muslim faith. Half the American people seem to agree, but these people are so entrenched in liberalism that they’ve failed to see the upcoming consequences.
Getting back toIsa 11:13 again, we see that Judah’s enemies will be cut off. Anyone with half a brain will understand that Judah’s enemies are the Muslim hordes that surround the Holy Land and are now trying to seize land that doesn’t belong to them. As the Kingdom of God is taken by force – by forceful men, and the Holy City Jerusalem established, Islam is going to be cut off.
This will occur with an awesome display of power – power that was once in Ephraim’s hand, but they failed to utilize it even in defence of their own nation. This power will be demonstrated by God’s army against Judah’s enemies, and these enemies will be cut off (a better description would be vaporized and turned to ashes) – just as God has foretold (Mal 4:1-3).
Does God reveal how this is going to happen? He surely does! And this revelation comes immediately after the era when the foolish shepherd has come and gone, in fact in the very next verse after the details of the worthless shepherd concludes.
God has been preparing His army, who await the signal from the Mighty One Jesus to go into battle. They will be called to duty, but not with the worthless weapons of mankind, but with the weapons of God – the same city-destroying weapons that turned Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes. This army is called the Sons of Jerusalem and they’re mentioned inZech 12:2 "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the LORD. "I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, `The PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.' The leaders of Judah will quickly learn the meaning of being strong, and especially when they realize that the Sons and Daughters of Jerusalem are the children of Almighty God! On that day, the leaders of Judah will take up the cudgel against the hordes that surround the Holy Land: 6 "On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
7 "The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the House of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem."
So all the nations who have attacked Jerusalem, and the present custodians of that Great City, are going to have the tables turned on them! Not only will these Muslim hordes be driven out of the City and the Holy Land, God will instruct their destruction beyond the borders of Israel.
Believe it or not, this is how the Kingdom of God will begin. This is something that the average reader would not understand; largely because they have never really known God. The reason is that they’ve been beguiled by worthless shepherds and false prophets, who virtually ignored the Scripture that Jesus Christ used when He was on earth – and the same Scriptures that the Book of Revelation is based on. You’ll notice that the inhabitants of Jerusalem – the House of David will be like God and have the power of the Angel of the Lord that God sent to destroy 185,000 warriors (remember?), or whatever, whenever necessary.
So Judah will share equal honour with the Sons of Jerusalem, and will become ‘like a flaming torch among sheaves of grain’ as they consume all the surrounding nations. And consume them they will! The evil creatures that surround the Holy Land will be ashes under the feet of the righteous. And we all know who these lying, murderous, evil creatures are! The Prophet Habakkuk called them ‘Babylonians’ and all competent Bible students know the extent of the Babylonian Empire. Habakkuk spoke of the time of the end when these Babylonians would sweep across the earth seizing dwellings they don’t own (that is, live in the regions of the House of Israel where they have no right to live) and they would be a law unto themselves (that is, impose their Shariah law on everyone else). To their eternal shame, Britain and Europe are presently falling over themselves trying to placate them by introducing Shariah law.Hab 1:5-7 "Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor." We’ll discuss more of what Habakkuk prophesied about later in this study. He speaks of the return of the Mighty Christ and how the earth will shake with His arrival. Habakkuk also speaks of the demise of all the Babylonians in his concluding chapter.
Ephraim’s jealousy for Judah will vanish as some Ephraimites are recruited into the army of God. They’ll serve Judah and her cause, and rise again to greatness, but they will never again have dominion over Judah. From Judah will come the Cornerstone, and every ruler, and from Judah will come the battle-bow (command of armies). Judah will forever be the ruling Tribe. All those who have a penchant for hostility towards Jews are going to be in trouble. As for me, I’ll personally see these trouble-makers are shipped right back to the enemy – where they deserve to be! Just for the record, I’m not a Jew but a Levite. Though, most people generally associate Jews with Levites since both remained faithful to God anciently. The House of David comprises both the Tribe of Judah and the Tribe of Levi. Remember back in chapter seven how Ephraim was allied against the House of David?ISA 7:2 Now the House of David was told, "Aram has allied itself with Ephraim"; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
Every Christian and every Ephraimite must become Jews in order to gain God’s favour. They must possess the faithfulness and obedience of the Jewish people. This is why God chose Judah as the Tribe of His Son Jesus. God knew the Ten Tribes wouldn’t remain faithful to Him! God has something to say about this in the Book of Revelation, when He speaks of their slanderous claim that they’re Jews when they are not!Rev 2:9 "I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." Such people are self-righteous idiots, who pose as Jews using ‘sacred names’ and other deceitful practices but lack any of the qualities of the Jews. God calls them ‘a synagogue of Satan’. And just for emphasis, we see it again in Rev 3:8-9 "I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."
These self-righteous dopes point toV8 about ‘not denying God’s Name’. They seem oblivious to the fact that Jesus, while on the cross, spoke in Aramaic when He said: Matt 27:46 "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And this is why the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t understand Him – they thought He was calling to Elijah. This is why most people don’t understand those who speak in ‘sacred names’. They claim they’re Jews but they’re liars. They lack any of the qualities of the Jews that God so loves. What is more, their deception and lies makes them ‘Satan’s synagogue’. There are enough ‘Satan’s synagogues’’ already! They’re called Mosques, and for centuries the Muslims have been trying to emulate Jews in the hope of replacing them. Such is Satan’s subtly! This seems to be the objective of ‘Satan’s synogogue’ among the Churches to replace the real Jews and hope God doesn’t notice. You have to wonder what these people are trying to prove!
We’ve already seen the sort of power that God will give to the real Jews when His Kingdom is established. So those who keep their feet permanently planted in Satan’s synagogue will never make the grade. God hates lying deceivers!
Judah, and Ephraim eventually, will become a combined force against the Islamic hordes that surround the Holy Land. Together they’ll conquer and plunder all the surrounding nations.
ISA 11:14They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they (Judah and Ephraim) will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. East of Jerusalem dwells Moab and Ammon, the descendants of Lot. To the south of them lives Edom or Esau, the brother of Jacob, and their territory extends deep into Saudi Arabian sub-continent. God hates Esau (Mal 1:2-3), and forced him to live among the desert jackals. When we get to Chapter 16 in this study, we’ll see that the survivors of Moab and Ammon will pay tribute to the children of Jerusalem in the form of lambs. Many nations will pay tribute at that time if they hope to survive, but we’ll get to all this later.
ISA 11:15The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. Obviously, there will be survivors in Egypt and in Babylonia, or more precisely, in Media, where the Kurds live today as they did anciently.
ISA 11:16There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt. Bear in mind that Isaiah was describing the people in the Euphrates River region, and in his day this Empire was ruled by Assyrians. The Assyrians are not Syria, and as we have learned, the Assyrians conquered the Syrians and their city Damascus. The Assyrian people are native to the region of Media – whom we know as the Kurds today. For many centuries there have been a strong community of Christians living there. Today, the Kurds are generally aligned with the Shia nation of Iran, whom they formerly allied with in the Medo-Persian Empire. Oddly enough, it was a Mede who seized power over the whole Babylonian Empire with the death of Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, and he took over the kingdom. From that single slaying the Babylonian Empire would become the Medo-Persian Empire – and a new ruler of the heavenly realm would emerge.
We’ve just read that God plans a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people to return to their ancestral allotments. God intends to free the slaves and bring them back. This will be a time of great rejoicing for Judah and for Ephraim, after they acknowledge their sins.
ISA 12:1In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
ISA 12:2Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."
ISA 12:3With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
ISA 12:4In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.
ISA 12:5Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. We’ll soon get to a song that does just that. It’s already recorded in the Bible and it will be sung in that day.
ISA 12:6Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." The meaning of Zionism is to establish the Holy Land and restore righteousness and obedience to the Creator God. Naturally enough, it also implies the ejection of all who don’t fit this category. So where will the dwelling-place of the Mighty One be? Among the people of Zion! In fact, the Prophet Ezekiel relates how the Christ told him that He planned to live in the New Temple that Ezekiel describes: Eze 43:7-12 "He said: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile my holy name--neither they nor their kings--by their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings at their high places. 8 When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices. So I destroyed them in my anger. 9 Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings, and I will live among them forever. 10 "Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, 11 and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple--its arrangement, its exits and entrances--its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations. 12 "This is the law of the temple: All the surrounding area on top of the mountain will be most holy. Such is the law of the temple."
Notice these last two verses. The whole surrounding area of the Temple will be most holy. As we progress through this study, in the very next chapter, we’ll learn that a banner will be placed on a barren mountain-top – a very special banner, and a very special mountain – which will be barren of any sort of building. As the reader will have noticed, the Holy Mountain is not barren at this present time. It has a satanic building on it, and this building is covering the Most Holy Place! It has to go! But the privilege of removing it will not be given to humanity. Almighty God will arrange this in a very spectacular way. It will occur when a certain Prince of the House of Judah arrives on the scene.Zech 4:7 "What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then He will bring out the Capstone to shouts of `God bless it! God bless it!'" The Holy Temple of God will be built over the top of the Capstone or Cornerstone – the peak of the Rock over which the Muslim mosque stands today.
And now we come to an oracle about Babylon – the same Babylon on the Euphrates River – for all those who have fanciful views on the identity of Babylon. Do they really believe that God doesn’t know who the Babylonians are? Perhaps they think that God became confused when He wrote the Book of Revelation and didn’t know where Babylon was. Why don’t people consult the Scripture that Christ used, then they would know where and what Babylon is.
ISA 13:1An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:
ISA 13:2Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.
ISA 13:3I have commanded my holy ones; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath-- those who rejoice in my triumph. Remember how Jesus triumphed over Satan and his demons? Col 2:15 "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (See also 1Pet 3:19).
ISA 13:4Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war. Yes, this will cause an uproar all right. When God musters an army the pagan nations are going to do the same, but what they don’t know is that God’s weapons will make theirs look like toys.
ISA 13:5They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens-- the LORD and the weapons of his wrath-- to destroy the whole country (of Babylon).
ISA 13:6Wail, for the Day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty." God’s army will pound on them, but they will certainly know that the destruction comes from the Almighty.
ISA 13:7Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt.
ISA 13:8Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.
ISA 13:9See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
The Day of the LORD is very near, and it is very real. When it comes, and when God punishes the world for its evil, the world will see plenty of signs that will get their attention:
ISA 13:10The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.
ISA 13:11I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. You’ll recall that God describes the Babylonians specifically as ‘ruthless’ in Hab 1:6. Most people today would have to agree! A bloodbath of unprecedented death and horror will descend on the earth and human beings will be decimated almost to the point of rarity.
ISA 13:12I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. I certainly won’t go into it now, but it was the gold of Ophir that funded the building of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. The builder was the greatest man of the East and a servant of Almighty God. It’s no coincidence that the Great Pyramid is depicted on the money, and the Great Seal, of the nation of Ephraim, together with a reference to the chief cornerstone that the builders rejected. That Cornerstone or Rock was, and is, Jesus Christ.
And now we come to one of the many verses that describe huge changes to the structure of the earth’s landmass – and it is speaking of the terra firma, the ground where we walk, rather than the planet itself.
ISA 13:13Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the Day of his burning anger. I know that most people can’t conceive of the landmass being shaken from its place, but there are whole sections of the landmass that are in the wrong place. The original landmass was in the shape of the same pyramid depicted on American money. As a point of interest, Jerusalem is in the exact dead-centre of the original landmass. All this has been covered in other articles at our website.
ISA 13:14Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, each will return to his own people, each will flee to his native land. This is a fair indication that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and everyone will be fleeing to reach the familiar ground of their homeland and their own people. Those who fail to reach there will be those who are killed on the way. Virtually everyone will be against his neighbour – this is Satan’s mindset.
ISA 13:15Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword.
ISA 13:16Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.
And just to illustrate the location of this madhouse round of events, the principle domination will come from the Medes. They’ll be hacking on everyone around them, everyone who is trying to escape to their own homelands.
ISA 13:17See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. The Medes are not the sort of people who are swayed by riches and bribes. And neither do they have any sympathy today for Sunni Muslims. The Medes are the Kurds today, and they have long memories for what Saddam Hussein did to them, slaughtering whole Kurdish villages. Don’t be too surprised by what they give them in return!
ISA 13:18Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. So I guess this could be called justice in action! If there is one group in all the Middle East capable of gaining God’s favour, it’s the Medes/Kurds. They are brave and capable fighters, and they always seem to keep themselves at arm’s length from the other degenerates in the region. You may be surprised to know that they will gain God’s favour! This will become apparent later in this study. The Kurds have endured a lot of hostility from their neighbours. There have been numerous clashes with the Iraqis, they have ongoing skirmishes with Turkey, and they even have border conflicts with Iran, who still periodically bombs their towns. So it should surprise no-one that at a time of global conflict the Kurds will have little tolerance for any foreigner trying to flee to his native land – especially if the foreigners happen to be Sunni Muslims.
As for Babylon, there will be no favour from God! God detests Babylon, and plans destruction for this city that has never been equalled in the annals of human history.
ISA 13:19Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.
ISA 13:20She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there.
ISA 13:21But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about.
ISA 13:22Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged. Observations about this must be made! There are a lot of crackpot religions who claim that Rome is Babylon. Of course they didn’t get this from the Bible, but from their own fertile imaginations. Read the above description again. Does it say that no Italian will pitch his tent there? No, it says no Arab will. How many jackals and hyenas are there in Italy? Is Italy a desert region where desert creatures live? It just goes to show how eager these false prophets are to promote their stupidity while posing as ‘angels of light’. In so doing, they’ve proven themselves to be angels/demons of darkness. Satan wanted everyone to believe that Babylon is Rome so they wouldn’t baulk when the real Babylon came to prominence. How easily Satan’s agents comply in their deceptive quest.
ISA 14:1The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. Here we see that some aliens will join the House of Israel and unite with them – and against their own people. These will be a breed apart from the evil nations from which they came. Bible students will recall that Jesus Christ said that He harvests where He has not sown any seed (Matt 25:26), and here we have aliens who repudiate their own people to align with God’s people – and God accepts them. The reasons for this will become evident as we progress in this study, but the reader will recall what happened in WW2 in Germany, when many German families protected Jews from the Nazis at great risk of their own lives. These German people realized that the Jews were guilty of nothing and that it was all satanic propaganda. They refused to be a part of it, even though the penalty was death in so doing. One of the standout heroes of this era was Oscar Schindler.
Even in the Middle East, there will be some like these decent, honourable German people who risked their lives to save God’s people Judah. These will have great favour with God! They will see the power and might given to the Sons of Jerusalem and will realize that these are God’s true representatives – people who have been taught by God Himself. These aliens will realize that their own respective nations are fighting against God – and losing! What is more, they will see that satanic forces are killing God’s people and they will step up to do something about it. So the Lord Christ will harvest where He has not sown seed.
When God sets out to punish the world, He will also extend to the world the choice of life or death. Those who choose life will enter into God’s service to protect His people. Its God’s intention that they, who by reason of birth were Satan’s brood, will be examples to many others.
God gives two examples of these selfless acts in two separate nations. The two nations where these selfless qualities emerge are Egypt and Assyria (Medes or Kurds).Isa 19:23-25 "In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance." You’ll notice that God refers to Assyria as His handiwork. God is speaking of a change of heart in these people, who once fought, in Isaiah’s day, against God’s own people. But just bear in mind that God brought them forth to punish His people for turning against Him, His Holy City, and His most favoured people – the Tribe of Judah. God’s handiwork involves making His presence known through His mighty army and making it clear whose side He is on. When people realize they are fighting against God they will have a change of heart. This change of heart will result in many protecting God’s refugees. And in these two nations, Egypt and Assyria (Kurds/Medes) there will be many Israelites. God Himself declared that the children of Israel will return to Egypt in the last days and many of these will find themselves enslaved. While it presently seems unthinkable that Americans would go to live in Egypt, circumstances are about to change very quickly.
For years now, this Brotherhood has been warning of the penalty for treachery against Judah and the Holy City. And now that day has come! The maniacal and evil prince of Israel, Barack Hussein Obama has embodied all of Satan’s treachery to expose Judah to slaughter.Eze 21:25 "O profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, 26 this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. 27 A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! It (rulership over the House of Israel) will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it." God speaks of ‘a ruin, a ruin, I will make it a ruin’ and says this relates to the exalted ruling body. He says it will not be restored until the rightful ruler comes along. From this it can be inferred that the premier city of Washington is to become a ruin. And of this we will find plenty more evidence relating to this catastrophe later in this study. Power will not be restored to Israel until the one to whom it belongs comes. King David will once again be king and shepherd over Israel. Take note of the mention of a turban in the verse above. Muslim Sultans wear turbans! The definition of ‘profane’ is to ‘violate the sacred character of a place or language’.
And the rightful ruler is clearly identified! It just so happens that this ruler spent his whole life fighting the very people who, today, surround the Holy Land. And this is the much-loved servant of God – King David.Eze 37:24 "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd (see also Eze 34:23-24). They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.' "
So God’s handiwork with the Kurds will start to pay dividends when the other nations begin to follow suite:
ISA 14:2Nations will take them (the Israelites – see V1) and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the LORD's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors.
ISA 14:3On the day the LORD gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! The real king of Babylon is Satan himself, and Babylon is the place where Satan plans to set up his throne in these last days. We’ll examine the parable about this a little later.
ISA 14:5The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers, 6 which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression. Here God is speaking of the real rulers – rulers who are not flesh and blood. These are the spirit rulers of the heavenly realms.
ISA 14:7All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing. As a point of interest, did you know that a certain song is referred to in the Book of Revelation that will be sung by all the saints? And contrary to all those who hate the Laws that God gave to His servant Moses, the song they will sing is called the Song of Moses (which is also the Song of the Lamb). Rev 15:3 "And they sang the Song of Moses the servant of God and the Song of the Lamb."
For those interested, you will find the Song of Moses inDeut 31:30, 32:1-47. The song is virtually a brief synopsis of everything we have covered in this study. It may not be pleasant reading to those who like to sneer at Moses and who hate the Law of God. Nevertheless, you should read it. Promise? The point is that on the other side of the worldwide holocaust, that is about to descend on the whole earth, the Song of Moses will remind everyone why it all happened. At the present time, the Song of Moses is a reminder of what to expect.
ISA 14:8Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon exult over you and say, "Now that you have been laid low, no woodsman comes to cut us down." In many ways, Lebanon has been the fall guy for all the excesses of their neighbours. Damascus in Syria has dominated them, and in one instance assassinated their leader. Now they have Hezbollah, the militant wing of Shiite Persia (Iran) dominating politics. The Lebanese have certainly had no peace in these last few years. As a point of interest, Lebanon is still a reasonably safe place, but only in the north, for Christians – unlike other Muslim countries.
Now we come to another prophecy that deals with Satan’s 1,000 year prison sentence, which he will serve in the Abyss. If you think that’s a long prison sentence, consider those demon rulers who went on a rampage when Noah was building the ark (1Pet 3:19, 2Pet 2:4-5). They are still in the Abyss and it’s not a happy place to be. Demons fear being sent there (Luke 8:31)! One of the long-term inmates of the Abyss is a tyrannical ruler with a horrific reputation. He is scheduled to be released at a certain time in the near future (Rev 9:1, 11). He intends to do what his name indicates. For all those who have never believed that these evil, spirit rulers exist, they will soon have full-in-the-face evidence of them.
ISA 14:9The grave (Abyss) below is all astir to meet you (Satan) at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed (‘departed spirits’ is a better term and it means the former demon-rulers who were imprisoned) to greet you-- all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones-- all those who were kings over the nations. It is certainly not speaking of dead human beings. When human beings die they return to dust. Dust we are, and to dust we return. There is, however, a resurrection of saints in the future, just as David will be resurrected. The resurrection to eternal life is only for those who had God’s Holy Spirit when they died.
So all these inmates of the Abyss are going to see the new arrival, who has a thousand-year prison sentence hanging over his head, and who is none other than Satan himself:
ISA 14:10They will all respond, they will say to you, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us." In the Abyss, all their spirit powers are taken away, and they are powerless – just like an ordinary human being.
ISA 14:11All your pomp has been brought down to the grave (Abyss), along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. For all intents and purposes, it’s like a grave for dead bodies. For many of his brood of vipers it will be a grave where their dead bodies will be thrown, along with all the maggots. All the pomp and arrogance will disappear there!
ISA 14:12How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! Jesus told His disciples that He saw Satan cast down from heaven a long, long time ago: Luke 10:18-20 "He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
ISA 14:13You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. Satan always had plenty of ambition, and never liked to go unnoticed. His pomp and arrogance led to him believing that He was more worthy to rule than his Creator. As the old saying goes, power certainly does corrupt.
ISA 14:14I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." This was the time long ago, when the Logos Jesus saw him crashing to the earth. His plot failed! From that moment on, he had a suspended sentence of 1,000 years hanging over his head. Because of his pomp and arrogance, Satan is incapable of moderating his behaviour. His ruthless, murderous behaviour led to him trying to thwart everything God did, and his main focus was on destroying God’s people. The whole population of the world is Satan’s – but with the exception of the House of Israel. Still Satan is not happy, he wants God’s portion as well (You’ll notice a reference to God’s portion in the Song of Moses – Deut 32:9). As long as he is on earth, he won’t back off! So now he’s earned a place under the earth – in the depths of the pit!
ISA 14:15But you are brought down to the grave (Abyss), to the depths of the pit.
ISA 14:16Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,
ISA 14:17the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?" So now he’s being derogatively called a ‘man’ by those who are just as powerless. When an army general or pompous ruler loses a battle and is captured, people stare in disbelief that the feared entity is standing in front of them looking so pathetic with all their pomp and arrogance crushed. Remember Mussolini and what became of his body? This tyrant was really humbled, and by his own people! Il Duce, the magnificent, was dragged through the streets like garbage. With Mussolini arrested and killed, the Italian people swapped sides from the Axis to the Allied forces. It’s amazing how frequently it happens that when a mad dictator dies or is killed, suddenly the people come to their senses and start acting rationally again. There are numerous examples in history, but importantly, when Satan and all his demon lieutenants are locked away, people are going to be more willing to give peace a chance, rather than sacrificing their lives for some worthless cause. Just think what might have happened if the American people had been rational when they went to the polls to vote for President of the US! They may have voted in a Christian, rather than a Muslim President.
When the inmates of the Abyss see Satan, smothered with maggots and looking dishevelled, of course they’re going to stare at him and ponder his fate.
ISA 14:18All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb. This is the normal procedure for heads of state and things are generally done with great dignity. Now the inmates of the Abyss are confronted by someone who has no dignity left. He has become an object of derision and ridicule – a failed pretender! These demons will see him as a false prophet, a liar and a murderer, whose conduct had destroyed them all and reduced them to prisoners in a hell hole.
ISA 14:19But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit. Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
ISA 14:20you will not join them in burial, for you have destroyed your land and killed your people. The offspring of the wicked will never be mentioned again.
ISA 14:21Prepare a place to slaughter his sons for the sins of their forefathers; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities. Who then are Satan’s sons? These are those who yielded to him and obeyed him – and especially the Babylonians, who will bring such misery to this earth. These will all be slaughtered and thrown into the pit along with Satan – never to be mentioned again.
This brings to mind one Church that claimed that everyone who had ever lived would be resurrected and given a chance at ‘salvation’. O Boy, did they ever get that wrong! What sort of corrupt mind would even formulate this type of madness? They also claimed that Satan and his demons were immortal and could never die. Why would God put the world through what is just ahead if these two things were true? Their stupid deception must have given Satan some reassurance that this Church were well on the way to corruption by a very foolish shepherd. The whole Bible from start to finish is about the worse sinner of all – Satan the devil. God says, ‘The soul that sins shall die!’, but in their minds, Satan is to live forever – and that’s just plain lunacy. Satan and all his demons will be dead forever! Though, at the end of his sentence, Satan will be given a short season on earth – as a human being – just as his brother Jesus was, but with a totally different outcome. He’ll get himself killed, but he won’t be resurrected as Jesus was. Almighty God is a sensible and practical God and not the idiot some people seem to think He is!
ISA 14:22"I will rise up against them," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her offspring and descendants," declares the LORD.
ISA 14:23"I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD Almighty.
ISA 14:24The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.
ISA 14:25I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders." As we saw in the earlier chapters, this is what happened in the days of Hezekiah, King of Judah. The same people who ruled in the Assyrian Empire will come again to breach the security of Judah and they will die right where they stand – the whole army of them. God wants everyone to know that it’s not going to be a ‘Queensbury rules’ fair fight with casualties on both sides. The soul that sins shall die, and in this case, it’s the armies that intrude onto God’s Land. It’s called justice – God’s justice!
So the Assyrian army will be destroyed again – right in God’s Holy Land, and their people back home will have a change of heart. They’ll suddenly become accommodating to their captives – the remnant of Israel, and give them a pathway back to their own ancestral lands. God knows how to deal with His enemies and He knows how to knock the arrogance out of nations. It should be noted that the Assyrian Empire comprised the same people that today occupy most of the Middle East. These same national groups were also ruled by successive empires, and only difference was that the leadership changed. The Babylonian and Persian empires had not yet come to prominence when Isaiah wrote his book
ISA 14:26This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. And this is how it will be throughout the world. Added to the efforts of God’s army to clear the Holy Land, there will be mass destruction of whole nations when God begins to restore the earth. Earthquakes, landslide, fires, flooding, mountains collapsing, unstoppable waves swallowing whole coastlines – these are some of the things God has planned for the whole world. It will be a cleansing, reorganization, and a new order of things. Sure there will be few people left, but surely no-one would expect God to keep alive all those who served Satan to the exclusion of their Creator all their lives.
God intends to populate the earth with His people Israel, and they will become like the sand of the sea and like the stars of the sky. There will be survivors of the Gentile nations and they’ll continue to live and breed. But they will be closely monitored, and if they get out of line, they’ll be shattered like pottery. The whole earth will be filled with righteousness when God lives and reigns with us on earth.
ISA 14:27For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers. This is a description of the land of Cush. And dare I say it – the rightful rulers of Egypt! Get ready, Ethiopia, you are soon to be called to service. Remember when the Muslim Egyptians killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat? He was a rightful ruler of Egypt, but his own armies (members of the Muslim Brotherhood) turned on him when he sought to make peace with little Israel (Judah). Well the tables are about to be turned in Egypt, and Muslims will learn that there is no place for them. The Cushite Ethiopians will become the Egyptians of the Millennium.
ISA 14:28This oracle came in the year King Ahaz died:
ISA 14:29Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken; from the root of that snake will spring up a viper, its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent. What can be said about these evil creatures? The Philistines are the inhabitants of Gaza today. They call themselves ‘Palestinians’.
ISA 14:30The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety. But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors.
ISA 14:31Wail, O gate! Howl, O city! Melt away, all you Philistines! A cloud of smoke comes from the north, and there is not a straggler in its ranks.
ISA 14:32What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation? "The LORD has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge." We can only hope that the Philistines in Gaza clean up their filth and squalor before they’re slaughtered. There will be genuine refugees needing accommodation there. Perhaps the only solution will be to enslave the remaining Gazans and make them clean up their filth. What pigs these people are!
And now we get to the oracle about Moab. Jordan, known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is the homeland of Moab and Ammon – the decendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The ‘Hashemite’ connection is a claim by the Jordanian royal family to be directly descended from Hashim, the grandfather of Mohammed. The ruse is of course that whereas most of Islam claim descent from Mohammed, Jordan goes one better, claiming descent from his grandfather. By using this strategy, they’re able to straddle the lineages of both Sunni and Shia, who both claim descent from Mohammed through obscure family ties. Not so with the Jordanians. They claim lineage directly through the bloodline – falsely! Since Jordan is sandwiched between both the emerging blocs to the north (Shia) and the south (Sunni), Jordan would like to appear neutral, based on religious background. You’ve got to hand it to the Muslims, they’re cunning, crafty manipulators.
Jordan also has a large number of Philistines (who call themselves ‘Palestinians’) living there who are renowned for their treachery. The nation of Jordan borders on Syria, Iraq, Arabia, and of course Israel, which is just on the other side of the Jordan River. To the immediate south of Jordan live the detestable Edomites. Edom is Esau the brother of Jacob.
Jordan is a natural obstruction to the empire arising to the north, which seeks dominion over the southern Sunni Muslim states, and of course, their demented obsession with the conquest of Judah (Israelis).
ISA 15:1An oracle concerning Moab: Ar in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! Kir in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night!
ISA 15:2Dibon goes up to its temple, to its high places to weep; Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba. Every head is shaved and every beard cut off.
ISA 15:3In the streets they wear sackcloth; on the roofs and in the public squares they all wail, prostrate with weeping.
ISA 15:4Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz. Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out, and their hearts are faint.
ISA 15:5My heart cries out over Moab; her fugitives flee as far as Zoar, as far as Eglath Shelishiyah. They go up the way to Luhith, weeping as they go; on the road to Horonaim they lament their destruction.
ISA 15:6The waters of Nimrim are dried up and the grass is withered; the vegetation is gone and nothing green is left.
ISA 15:7So the wealth they have acquired and stored up they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars.
ISA 15:8Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab; their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim, their lamentation as far as Beer Elim.
ISA 15:9Dimon's waters are full of blood, but I will bring still more upon Dimon – a lion upon the fugitives of Moab and upon those who remain in the land. Their fleeing is to the south towards the region of Edom. The location names are not too important here, but the thrust of this passage is that Moab is going to be attacked and the people decimated. Apparently, a lot of livestock will survive and the women of Moab will be tending them. In the days of Solomon, the Moabites paid tribute to Israel of 100,000 lambs per year. And now they’ll be required to do so again.
ISA 16:1Send lambs as tribute to the ruler of the land, from Sela, across the desert, to the mount of the Daughter of Zion.
ISA 16:2Like fluttering birds pushed from the nest, so are the women of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. ‘Pushed from the nest’ means they’re on their own and their men have been slaughtered – usually the case in warfare. We have a saying today where we call older women who have lost their husbands, empty-nesters.
ISA 16:3"Give us counsel, render a decision. Make your shadow like night-- at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees.
ISA 16:4Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer." The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land.
This next verse gives us the time setting:
ISA 16:5In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it-- one from the House of David-- one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness. Just to point out a subtle difference here. The House of David, following the breakup into two nations of the House of Israel, became two tribes – Judah and Levi. It was the House of David that gave birth to the ‘male-child’ Jesus as specified in the 12th chapter of the Book of
Revelation. Jesus was from the Tribe of Judah and his cousin John the Baptist was of the Tribe of Levi. This just happens to have enormous relevance for today. A Levite, just like Moses, and just like John the Baptist, must precede the True Messenger – Jesus Christ (Mal 3:1). This Levite must prepare the way for Him. This messenger is not the pope or an archbishop or the local elder of the church down the road – it’s a Levite like Moses and John. Moses led God’s people to safety and fought their enemies along the way. So there are quite a few subtle differences in the thinking of people today – and especially among those who have never made any attempt to understand what God is trying to teach and the importance of it. All that remains now is to learn the lessons the hard way.
ISA 16:6We have heard of Moab's pride-- her overweening pride and conceit, her pride and her insolence-- but her boasts are empty. Yeah, like the one about their ‘grandfather of Mohammed’ ancestor – is this all they have to be proud about? Their insults to God’s people will knock the arrogance out of them when retribution comes. After thousands of years of living in the same region, their population is only six million. They haven’t exactly prospered have they? This puts them on a par with Arabia, who has only about 20 million for the same period. Of course the Arabians could blame Mohammed who killed most of his own people there while gaining power. No wonder these maniacs are jealous of the Western nations of Israel.
Well now they’re grieving and lamenting:
ISA 16:7Therefore the Moabites wail, they wail together for Moab. Lament and grieve for the men of Kir Hareseth.
They should have thought about all this when they fought three wars against the Jews and lost! The funny part about all this is that in the 1967 war, Nasser of Egypt had virtually lost the battle, so he got on the phone and told King Hussein of Jordan that he was winning. Hussein didn’t want to miss out on the spoils of war, so he launched an attack on Israel. If America hadn’t intervened for him, he would have lost his country and his life. His forces were beaten to a pulp – as were the Egyptians. These Muslim lunatics never learn.
ISA 16:8The fields of Heshbon wither, the vines of Sibmah also. The rulers of the nations have trampled down the choicest vines, which once reached Jazer and spread toward the desert. Their shoots spread out and went as far as the sea.
ISA 16:9So I weep, as Jazer weeps, for the vines of Sibmah. O Heshbon, O Elealeh, I drench you with tears! The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit and over your harvests have been stilled.
ISA 16:10Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards; no one sings or shouts in the vineyards; no one treads out wine at the presses, for I have put an end to the shouting.
ISA 16:11My heart laments for Moab like a harp, my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.
ISA 16:12When Moab appears at her high place, she only wears herself out; when she goes to her shrine to pray, it is to no avail.
The theatrics above (‘I weep’, ‘I drench you with tears’, ‘my heart laments’, etc) seem a little strange until one realizes that it’s cynicism, because the next verse is a complete departure from it, and reveals God’s true intentions.
ISA 16:13This is the word the LORD has already spoken concerning Moab. 14 But now the LORD says: "Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab's splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble."
Zephaniah the prophet adds something to this:Zeph 2:8-9 "I have heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites, who insulted my people and made threats against their land. 9 Therefore, as surely as I live," declares the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, "surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah-- a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land." So this makes it pretty plain and straightforward concerning Moab! Moab backed the wrong horse and lost – everything! And very soon, their country also - and they deserve what they get! Good riddance to the ugly parasites.
ISA 17:1An oracle concerning Damascus: "See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.
Ah, Damascus! The capital of Syria. Those treacherous swine, who sought to build nuclear bombs, and lied about it – mumbling something about peaceful nuclear energy. The Israelis had to defend themselves by bombing their nuclear plants a year or two ago, while America sat on their hands. Later examination of the site revealed traces of plutonium, even weeks after the Syrians tried to clean it up. Damascus and the Syrians have a long history of treachery and deceit.
Syria or Aram was once allied with Ephraim to destroy the House of David and to seize the Holy City Jerusalem anciently. When we get to Chapter 36, we’ll be going into all this at length.
Suffice to say at this point, that Ephraim is presently making overtures to Syria and offering them inducements to join their club. Obama had Secretary of State Hilary Clinton over there on numerous occasions as well as other department heads, all for the purpose of promoting their grand scheme for the Middle East. This scheme involves, of course, the Palestinian solution, and the covert details of this have opened the door for wider negotiations. Every Muslim nation wants to be involved in any scheme that will destroy the Israelis, so they are quite willing to do a few backflips if this is what it takes. Obama has interpreted their willingness to negotiate as a sign that they are starting to like him. Obama hasn’t yet woken up to the fact that when he acts like a Muslim, they like him. When he acts like an American, they don’t. But if he acts against the Israelis, then everyone is prepared to compromise their love/hate relationship.
So concerning the oracle about Damascus, we’ll just tumble through the next few verses and deal with it in later chapters. It refers to the period when the House of Israel, namely Ephraim, was allied with Damascus for the specific purpose of destroying Judah. You’ll notice that the beginning of God’s retribution here is the destruction of Ephraim’s fortified city. This is worth noting, because history is about to repeat itself – in our day!
ISA 17:2The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid.
ISA 17:3The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites," declares the LORD Almighty. The remnant of Aram will be part of a massive power-bloc in the northern regions of the Middle East, and this Empire will be responsible for the destruction of Ephraim’s city – at the time when Ephraim’s glory fades.
ISA 17:4"In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away.
ISA 17:5It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain and harvests the grain with his arm-- as when a man gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim.
ISA 17:6Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs," declares the LORD, the God of Israel. This indicates that a remnant will survive – a very small remnant.
ISA 17:7In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. This hasn’t happened yet! In fact, quite the reverse! People today are repudiating their Maker in favour of evolution and now the teaching of this is being enforced in the schools. The Creator God, their Maker, is no longer considered such. In a little while all this will change. Empty bellies and extreme humiliation are a very good remedy for bringing people to their senses, and God expects them to acknowledge Him at that time.
ISA 17:8They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made.
ISA 17:9In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.
ISA 17:10You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines,
ISA 17:11though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain.
ISA 17:12Oh, the raging of many nations-- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples-- they roar like the roaring of great waters!
ISA 17:13Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale.
ISA 17:14In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us. One thing is certain; the Bible speaks of all the same players of old. The very same peoples who caused Israel trouble in the past, have been called to the forefront once more, and we’re dealing with them all over again. Amazingly, no-one seems to notice. They seem to believe that their Muslim President Obama has a handle on everything.
ISA 18:1Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush,
ISA 18:2which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water. Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.
The ‘swift messengers’ are the messengers of the LORD. They are approached by an envoy arriving in papyrus boats – in other words, not in good financial condition and rather primitive. But they need help, and God is prepared to send His army. A great number of these Cushites (Ethiopians) have migrated to Israel in recent years. They’re called Falashas. They claim a close affinity with Judah, and many practice Judaism, while others of them are Christians. Israel has noticed they seem a bit work-shy, preferring the women to do all the manual work. But they are fierce, courageous fighters. They continually hold their own against the Somalis and the Sudanese in the many skirmishes they’ve had. The fact that they hate this Muslim scum is probably another reason why God favours them. And not without cause either. Cushites are also scattered around the neighbouring countries near Ethiopia. In Rwanda, they’re called Tutsis and are the same tall and smooth-skinned tribal Cushites. In 1995, the President of Rwanda set the Hutus majority against the Tutsis in a bloodbath across the country. Thousands of Tutsis were slaughtered, and their favourite ploy was to herd them into Churches and burn them alive. Some may remember the slaughter as Tutsi men, women and children were cut down with machetes – while UN ‘peacekeepers’ stood by and watched. The Tutsis were targeted because of their Christian faith. Their murderers were Muslims. So we begin to see why God favours these people. They’ve literally given their lives for their faith and set the example of faithfulness for many others. When you understand what God requires of the Churches, you’ll understand why God is prepared to reward them.
You’ll notice inV7 they’re mentioned again.
And now we get to another time-frame example:
ISA 18:3All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it. This is the same banner described elsewhere as the banner on a barren hill which we mentioned before. The Trumpet blast is a signal for war. So the arrival of the Ethiopians envoy is impeccable in timing.
ISA 18:4This is what the LORD says to me: "I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." At the time of the Trumpet blast, God will remain quiet and just look on. The Messengers will know what to do, having spent some time in the desert being trained by the True Messenger. This will be a training run, though a real battle with many casualties on one side. The Ethiopians will be strengthened and equipped to challenge the rulership of Egypt, and seize power from the Arabs. You might remember Anwar Sadat, the only President of Egypt who tried to make peace with the Israelis. You might also note that he was a Cushite. He was a decent man, and a rare example in the Middle East. So naturally, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood assassinated him. Most importantly, God remembers!
ISA 18:5For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. There is some real meaning in this for God’s Vineyard – the House of Israel.
ISA 18:6They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.
ISA 18:7At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers-- the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty. Now this is something to behold. Here’s a poor nation that is bringing gifts to the LORD Almighty. What a contrast to the religious hopefuls in this world today. They claim to serve God – but only their way! And only as long as it doesn’t cost them any money! Well the day is coming when it will cost them everything they have and then some, before they ever gain God’s favour. As a point of interest, God gives the conditions for returning to Him in the Book of Malachi. He makes it very clear He’s not interested in lip-service! In contrast, God is telling them to put their money where their mouth is. Mal 3:7-10 "Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, `How are we to return?' 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, `How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house."
God’s House is the House of David! God’s storehouse is administered by the Levites as it always was. People seem to believe that by the use of flowery phrases and feigned humility that they have somehow gained God’s attention and respect. All this silliness is about to pass away as the reality of the times becomes evident. God says, that at that time, you will throw your gold and silver to the rodents and bats. Remember we covered this earlier:Isa 2:19-21 "Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. 20 In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship. 21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth." In that day, gold and silver will be worthless for any purpose. The reader should be able to understand the point God is making here. Forget all your fanciful ideas about good outcomes; reality is fast approaching. As long as God’s tithe is not paid, and as long as God continues to be robbed, that person has no favour with God. And they will certainly not be numbered among God’s servants. So there’s a little bit more reality for them.
Following right on from the previous verses about the Ethiopians and their call to duty, Egypt will come under fire. A softening-up process will precede a whole new era for the Egyptians.
ISA 19:1An oracle concerning Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud (well, God’s dwelling-place looks like a cloud, but a very sophisticated ‘cloud’, and it can move very rapidly) and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.
ISA 19:2"I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian-- brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has already decimated Christians living in various cities and towns. President Mubarak of Egypt knows the danger of this Muslim group and has an army of security around him, as well as his heir-apparent son, at all times. Mubarak thinks he’s a pharaoh and able to transfer right of ascension to his son. God has a long memory about the conduct of Egypt, and especially their treachery against the Israelis and the Holy Land. Not surprisingly, God intends to arrange a change of leadership. Once this occurs, the Egyptians will be a very different people, and a people well-favoured by God. The Egyptians specifically, will be invited to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (rather than the Muslim Haj, which they presently observe) in Jerusalem after all this overdue ethnic cleansing occurs (Zech 14:16-19).
ISA 19:3The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists.
ISA 19:4I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. This particular king is one after the manner of Alexander the Great who comes and pounds the whole Middle East into shape, with the object of conquering the Holy Land and the Holy City Jerusalem. Egypt will engage in skirmishes with him over a period of years before the final conquest. Egypt will become just one of his victims and becomes very vulnerable after this storm from the north, then Egypt will face a storm from the south. Towards the end this will occur with breath-taking speed. The spirit beast of the north is an opportunist par excellence. Cunning, crafty and opportunistic! He will appear like an angel of light, but will do astounding damage, but he will come to an ignominious end. One thing is certain – the Arabs will no longer rule Egypt. Instead, the Ethiopians will. What happens to the present Arab inhabitants of Egypt is obvious, and it’s called justice for the many Christians who have been slaughtered at their hands and which still goes on today. And let’s not forget that Egypt has been involved as a principle player in every attempt to destroy the Israelis in the past 50+ years.
Later, we’ll discuss Solomon’s paramour – the Queen of Sheba, who came from Seba in Ethiopia to visit the House of David, while Solomon reigned. At some stage we’ll also mention the eunuch from the court of Queen Candace of Ethiopia who travelled to Jerusalem to study in the 1st Century of this era (Acts 8:26-40). Coincidentally, he was interested in the Book of Isaiah the prophet. I would imagine that the question of the nation of Ethiopia came up in the discussion with Phillip at some stage, though the Eunuch’s primary question centred around Isa 53:7-8.
More punishment for the Muslim Egyptians:
ISA 19:5The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry.
ISA 19:6The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither,
ISA 19:7also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more.
ISA 19:8The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away.
ISA 19:9Those who work with combed flax will despair, the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
ISA 19:10The workers in cloth will be dejected, and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.
ISA 19:11The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings"?
ISA 19:12Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the LORD Almighty has planned against Egypt.
ISA 19:13The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray.
ISA 19:14The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
ISA 19:15There is nothing Egypt can do-- head or tail, palm branch or reed.
ISA 19:16In that day the Egyptians will be like women (and mainly women – following the slaughter of the men). They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them. Well, this tells us in advance who will win the mother of all wars. Judah will be a force to behold! When God unleashes Judah, they will be like a blazing torch in a field of grain; they will consume all the surrounding nations and these nations will be terrified! This is what the LORD Almighty is planning against them. At the present time, Egypt is too stupid to understand.
The reader might wonder why God goes into so much detail about Egypt, which is basically an Arabic, Muslim country who seems to hate Jews and Christians. They routinely murder Christians in towns and cities in Egypt. Well, now you can understand that God plans a change of rulership there.
ISA 19:18In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of Destruction. Soon the wise will understand which cities these are.
ISA 19:19In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. 22 The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. The plague will pick off all those whom God has no interest in: treacherous, evil creatures who don’t deserve to live! As we’ve learned, God can be very selective in whom He wants to eliminate, whether firstborn or evil-born. The Egyptians would be well-advised to review their history and learn from it.
ISA 19:23In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel (the House of Israel) will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance." This confirms what we have already said though we’ll see further references to it later in this study.
Now we revert to some history as detailed by Isaiah. In the high stakes of war, it becomes necessary to learn from the history of war.
ISA 20:1In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it-- 2 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, "Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet." And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.
ISA 20:3Then the LORD said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared--to Egypt's shame. 5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, `See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?' "
In the days when the King of Assyria was in the process of conquering the House of Israel, the Israelites had an alliance with Egypt and the Cushites. The Israelites confidently believed that this alliance would head off the conquest by the King of Assyria. But their confidence proved to be misplaced. Not only did the Assyrians prevail, but they also led away the Egyptians and the Cushites as slaves. That was how ‘plan A’ played out, and ‘plan B’ meant the Israelites were on their own to fight their own battle. They could hardly seek help from Judah, whom they’d been fighting for decades. And anyway, it was Judah who called on the King of Assyria for protection from them – the Israelites. Well, ‘plan B’ failed and the Israelites were taken away captive as slaves.
And this brings us to something that happened in our day. After the first Gulf War, when America defeated Saddam Hussein, and then turned the battle back at the gate and retreated, they assumed that the people of Iraq would depose him. The Assyrian Kurds rose up on a promise of assistance from America, but at the last minute America backed out leaving them vulnerable. Saddam responded by gassing thousands of them and then sent in his forces to mop up their poorly equipped army. It was an atrocity that the Kurds have never forgotten. As a result, they are drawn to alliances with Iran rather than America. It was beyond belief to see the chicken-hearted and treacherous behaviour of the U.S. in regard to this. It was the Joint Chief of Staff Colin Powell who masterminded this betrayal. And where is Colin Powell today? He’s lock-step behind the Muslim Obama, and even sponsored him in the lead-up to the Presidential election. ‘Birds of a feather’ they say! I saw it as a colossal mistake when President Bush made him Secretary of State. What could President Bush have been thinking?
ISA 21:1An oracle concerning the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror. Here we see a prophecy concerning Babylon (see V9). This ruler surges southward and begins to invade and loot. This perfectly describes what Saddam Hussein did to Kuwait. The ruler of Iraq was certainly bent on conquest. He tried to convince the world that Kuwait belonged to him. So history has a way of repeating itself. How ironic that this was the opening gambit by a nation of terrorists more than 2,500 years ago. It’s no coincidence that this exact scenario has played out in our time. It’s important for understanding Bible Prophecy that we understand where it all begins – in this case, Babylon. Saddam Hussein rode into the southlands of Kuwait with his heart set on conquest. He had no intention of stopping until he had control of all the oil-fields in the region. Well we all know that this resulted in two major wars being fought by the Western nations against the Babylonians – or more correctly, against their religion – Islam, though political correctness forbids the House of Israel from using such honesty. The Babylonians have never had a religion that enabled logical, intelligent reasoning. Hence their existence for thousands of years has been that of under-achievers – which is the kindest way to put it! In practical terms and considering the historic record, they could only be described as primitive degenerates!
In this one verse, we see the beginnings of terrorist invaders called Babylonians. In the very next verse, Elam and Media are called upon to lay siege and attack them.
ISA 21:2A dire vision has been shown to me: The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot. Elam, attack! Media, lay siege! I will bring to an end all the groaning she (Babylon) caused. Elam (Iran) and Media (Medes or Kurds) are called on to attack.
ISA 21:3At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see.
ISA 21:4My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me.
ISA 21:5They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields!
ISA 21:6This is what the Lord says to me: "Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees.
ISA 21:7When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert."
ISA 21:8And the lookout shouted, "Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post.
ISA 21:9Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: `Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!'" Just to make a point here. This tells us that the city of Babylon has fallen to the Elamites and the Medes. This is by no means the events that occur more than a century later. Isaiah is speaking of an event around 700 BC. Babylon was the principle city in those regions, and even bigger than Damascus at the time. It was the main thoroughfare for traders and a city of great importance to the whole region. So it was a shock to everyone to see it fall to invaders. It fell to Elam and Media, the people who became the Medo-Persian Empire a century of so later. There were captive Israelites slaves there when the conquest took place.
ISA 21:10O my people, crushed on the threshing floor, I tell you what I have heard from the LORD Almighty, from the God of Israel.
ISA 21:11An oracle concerning Dumah: Someone calls to me from Seir, "Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?" Seir is the principle city of the Edomites, the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau, whom God hates.
ISA 21:12The watchman replies, "Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again." The watchman gives a very cryptic answer, but adds, ‘Come back yet again’ – suggesting this was not the end of the matter.
ISA 21:13An oracle concerning Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
ISA 21:14bring water for the thirsty; you who live in Tema, bring food for the fugitives. This is a similar situation to Seir. We all know who the Arabians are, and the Dedanites and the Temanites live with them. Teman is a son of Esau.
ISA 21:15They flee from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and from the heat of battle. So Elam and Media are sending shock-waves through the southern regions, all the way to Arabia and Edom (Seir). It doesn’t tell us much except that Elam and Media are feared nations of people for those living in the desert by the sea (Persian Gulf). It probably means more to us today than it did then. We now know there is an entrenched religious difference between the Persian Shiites and the Arabic Sunni Muslims, and this conflict will play out in a major way. The Medo-Persian Empire will press for dominion over the southern states, and begin to dominate and bring them to subjection.
ISA 21:16This is what the Lord says to me: "Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the pomp of Kedar will come to an end. 17 The survivors of the bowmen, the warriors of Kedar, will be few." The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken. Kedar is the son of Ishmael, the father of the Arabs.
At this present time, the southern states of Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the minor states are trembling at the emerging power of Shiite Persian Iran. By virtue of their differing religious sects (Sunni versus Shia), there has always been great suspicion between them. Neither trusts the other. But now Persia is developing a big sword and the mechanisms to deliver it. The Muslims never really feared that the Israelis have nuclear bombs, because they knew they wouldn’t use them. The Sunni Muslims to the south know that Persia will. Some people might suggest that a ballistic missile looks like a large sword screaming through the sky on its way to its destination – and they wouldn’t be far off the mark. The larger the payload, the larger the missile!
All the prophets spoke of the enemy in their day. Most notably Daniel, who spoke of successive Kingdoms arising, beginning with Babylon and the Babylonian Empire. This would progress to the Medo-Persian Empire followed by the Greek-Macedonian Empire. This empire would conquer all the former ones and extend to other nations as well. What is more, Daniel wrote that all these kingdoms, represented by the vision of the giant statue, would exist together and be destroyed together. The Greek-Macedonian Empire is described for this end-time as two legs of iron which stand over two feet of clay and iron. The first kingdom, described as the head of gold on the great statue, was Babylon – the Empire of Nebuchadnezzar. His kingdom ended when Darius the Mede took over the kingdom from Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson. Then the Persians arose as a regional power and represents the chest and arms of silver. The third part of the statue was bronze and represented an amalgamation of all three, with the Medes the dominant power. This horseman ruler is very different from the others, and enjoys special favour from God. God specifically mentions him by name - even long before he appears – and his name is Cyrus. God knows him from old, and he is a very powerful ruler of the spirit world. In days of old, Cyrus installed a human king by the name of Darius the Mede. Together, they set about conquering the whole Middle East.
In the case of the Book of Daniel, God used the events of that day to describe the future and to show how history would repeat itself.
This chapter deals with the impending fate of Judah and especially the City of Jerusalem that is facing an enemy at their gates.
At this point we need to go way back to the time of Moses to understand certain principles and to grasp how the priesthood was set up. Not least of which is to understand the relevance of the Song of Moses that is destined to play out in our time. Moses was a Levite who was chosen by God from birth for deliverance of the House of Israel. Moses was miraculously saved from Pharoah’s slaughter of all the male babies among the Israelites when his mother floated him in an ark and into the arms of Pharoah’s daughter. And so began Moses journey towards the deliverance of the Tribes of Israel. Without going into all the details of how it happened, Moses eventually led Israel out of Egypt. Beside him during all this was Aaron, Moses’ brother, but the power of God was with Moses. Aaron was a good man, but occasionally prone to making mistakes. One of these mistakes had nasty consequences when he decided to make a golden calf as an idol for the people because he thought Moses had disappeared somewhere up on Mount Sinai. Leaving that aside, Aaron was appointed as priest of the Levite Priesthood and his sons served with him. So it was Aaron rather than Moses who administered in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Moses was the servant of God and a Prophet and was somewhat elevated over the Priesthood. Moses was definitively God’s man on the ground. I think the reader will understand the ramifications of this. Nevertheless, Moses was diligent to ensure that the Priesthood did everything in accordance with God’s instructions.
Eventually, Moses died and was buried by God in Mount Nebo, East of the Jordan River. Before he died though, he told of another who would arise just like him from among his own brothers – the Tribe of Levi. Moses was in the process of instructing the Levites as to their duties.Deut 18:14-15 "The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him."
Now we are approaching a time when the pagan hordes (Islam to be precise) must be dispossessed from the Holy Land just as it was in Moses’ day. At this time, a prophet just like Moses must arise. This must be a Levite who was called from birth, and he must be a prophet of God. Well most Bible students would know that such a prophet did arise about 2,000 years ago. But this particular prophet was not Jesus Christ! I know some people believe that the Apostle Peter said He was that prophet, but you’ll find that Matthew didn’t say this.Acts 3:19-23 "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, `The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people." So this prophet would arise while Jesus is still in heaven awaiting the time to restore everything according to the written word of the Prophets. The Prophets spoke of this man as the messenger who would precede the appearance of the True Messenger (Mal 3:1).
Another prophet like Moses did arise and actually preceded the arrival of the Christ. It was his testimony that alerted the people that the Christ had arrived, and it was this prophet that identified the Holy One of God. This was John the Baptist. John was of the Levite priestly line and was also a prophet, and as Jesus said, a prophet and more than a prophet. Jesus said this concerning John:Matt 11:9-10 "Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: "`I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'"
At the time when Moses spoke of this prophet arising from the Tribe of Levi – from among his own brothers – he was actually with the Mighty One at Mount Sinai. This is confirmed further inActs 7:37-38 "This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us." Moses was with the One who later became the Christ after which he told of the prophet who would arise just like himself. Now Moses wasn’t suggesting that he was equal in any way to the Angel (Jesus) who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. I would hasten to add that Moses had the Spirit of Jesus – as all prophets do, but Moses, like John the Baptist, would be the first to admit he was unworthy to untie Jesus’ shoelaces.
So was John the Baptist like Moses? Well there are some important similarities. Firstly, John never served at the altar in the Temple or Tabernacle, and neither did Moses. In Moses’ time, Aaron and his sons did. This was the case with most of the prophets whether Levite or not. John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins, yet one was of the Tribe of Levi and the other from the Tribe of Judah. There is evidence that Mary’s father was of the Tribe of Judah. He apparently married a Levite wife and this wife’s brother married Zechariah’s mother (Zechariah being John’s father). The offspring of these two unions were the Blessed Mary and Elisabeth the mother of John. Elisabeth was married to a Levite Priest – Zechariah. As far as the statement that most prophets didn’t serve at the altar, one notable exception was Zechariah, the father of John. He was both priest and prophet. Famously, he prophesied about his son John, and this is found inLuke 1:66-80.
Another similarity between Moses and John concerns this prophecy of Zechariah – John’s father. John was appointed to save the House of Israel and to rescue them from the hands of their enemies (Luke 1:69-74) and to guide them to the path of peace (V79). Lamentably, both Moses and John died before this was accomplished. Moses died on Mount Nebo within sight of the Holy Land, and John was executed by Herod. So another prophet like Moses – and like John the Baptist had to arise to fulfill all that is written at this appointed end time. This is how things stand at this present time. Has God raised up a prophet just like Moses and John the Baptist to complete all that is written? Well, God expects you to make that judgment for yourself. The problem is that it’s become a life or death issue whether you make the right judgment.
With this said, we now read of an oracle concerning Judah. Here’s one definition of an ‘oracle’: ‘A prophecy (usually obscure or allegorical) revealed by a priest or priestess; believed to be infallible.’ An oracle could also be thought of as a parable, which is slightly different from a prophecy. In this chapter, the oracle given is about what is happening at that time when written, but with portent for the future. It’s called an oracle for the Valley of Vision – suggesting a faint hope for future outcomes – which was not looking very promising at the time.
ISA 22:1An oracle concerning the Valley of Vision: What troubles you now, that you have all gone up on the roofs,
ISA 22:2O town full of commotion, O city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle.
Obviously, there wasn’t much fighting going on in defense of their cities in Judah. There appears to be slain people everywhere, but they didn’t die in battle. And all this is happening in an atmosphere of revelry. At the time of writing this, Isaiah was speaking of the hopelessness felt by the people with the enemy at their gate. Anyone captured was slaughtered, so they decided to enjoy themselves with revelry until the end came. All except the leaders who took care of themselves:
ISA 22:3All your leaders have fled together; they have been captured without using the bow. All you who were caught were taken prisoner together, having fled while the enemy was still far away. That’s about what you would expect. The leaders decided to leave the fighting and slaughter to others while they made their getaway. The only place they could escape to at that time was Egypt, but obviously they never made it.
ISA 22:4Therefore I said, "Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people." Isaiah was inconsolable about the fate of his people Judah and the situation seemed hopeless.
ISA 22:5The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror in the Valley of Vision, a day of battering down walls and of crying out to the mountains.
ISA 22:6Elam takes up the quiver, with her charioteers and horses; Kir uncovers the shield.
ISA 22:7Your choicest valleys are full of chariots, and horsemen are posted at the city gates;
ISA 22:8the defenses of Judah are stripped away. And you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest;
ISA 22:9you saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses; you stored up water in the Lower Pool.
ISA 22:10You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
ISA 22:11You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.
ISA 22:12The Lord, the LORD Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth. Not much chance of this! The people of Judah had other things in mind:
ISA 22:13But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! "Let us eat and drink," you say, "for tomorrow we die!" So the solution to these people was to slaughter the animals for a big feast and drink all the wine and do whatever comes to mind in the spirit of revelry (and I’m sure they thought of a few things). In their drunken stupor they must have dreaded the ‘morning after’ with the enemy besieging them. Anyway, God was certainly not pleased with them:
ISA 22:14The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: "Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for," says the Lord, the LORD Almighty. This is pretty serious stuff! Their mad revelry when the enemy was at their gates was unforgivable in God’s eyes and I’m sure these people would have realized this when they sobered up. Sometimes though, it’s all too late to regain God’s favour, and yet, Christianity would have a hard time believing this today. Generally, they expect God to forgive them for everything even when they openly defy God. Instead of wailing and lamenting, putting on sackcloth and showing deep repentance for bringing this upon themselves, they chose revelry and debauchery. In other words, a final fling in defiance of God! This is surely a lesson that can be learned today.
Then we have a situation that develops and comes under God’s notice. A certain man, a steward (also described as a ‘scribe’ or ‘secretary’ inIsa 36:3), who was seeking everlasting glory for himself. He decided to chisel a tomb for himself in the Holy Mountain so that when the slaughter came he might to laid to rest in a holy area, rather than being cast out as refuse like the rest of his fellow Jews.
ISA 22:15This is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: "Go, say to this steward, to Shebna, who is in charge of the palace:
ISA 22:16What are you doing here and who gave you permission to cut out a grave for yourself here, hewing your grave on the height and chiseling your resting place in the rock? Here is a man who felt so much more superior to his fellow Jews and believed himself more worthy than any other.
ISA 22:17"Beware, the LORD is about to take firm hold of you and hurl you away, O you mighty man.
ISA 22:18He will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country.
There you will die and there your splendid chariots will remain-- you disgrace to your master's house!Apparently this man had accumulated quite a bit of wealth with all his splendid chariots and other items of wealth. At such a time as this, his craven lunacy did not go unnoticed by God.
ISA 22:19I will depose you from your office, and you will be ousted from your position. Shebna was answerable to the palace administrator – Eliakim, for whom God had high regard. We don’t know what happened to Shebna, but we must assume that his thieving ways and his high regard for his own importance led to him losing his position.
The power of the Administrator of the Palace Eliakim son of Hilkiah continued and he became a father to those who lived in Jerusalem.
ISA 22:20"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 23 I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. 24 All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots--all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars. So this speaks of Eliakim’s linage. Eliakim was the son of Hilkiah, who was a Levite and high priest (2Kings 22:4).
ISA 22:25"In that day," declares the LORD Almighty, "the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down." The LORD has spoken. A bit over a hundred years later, Hilkiah’s descendants and all of Judah were cut down when they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Still we can note that the key to the House of David was, at that time, on the shoulders of the Levites.
At this point it may seem like a bit of a stretch, but this does have portent for a future time when two other men arrive on the scene called Zerubbabel and Joshua the priest. And these two men will have portent for two others like them who will arise in the last days. Two men will arise like both of these men and will be appointed by God as His prophets in the last days. Zerubbabel and Joshua are mentioned in Zechariah, chapters 3 and 4. They both arrived in Jerusalem from Babylon after their national captivity, and their purpose was to rebuild the Temple. Despite their best efforts, they never accomplished this during their lifetimes. In fact, the Second Temple was built centuries later – just prior to the appearance of the Messiah Jesus.
The Book of Zechariah is full of allegories and parables and is hard to understand unless the history of the 12 Tribes of Israel is thoroughly understood. This is the definition of allegory: ‘A visible symbol representing an abstract idea or an expressive style that uses fictional or abstract characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances; an extended metaphor.’ And this is the style used widely in the Book of Zechariah. For example, the prophet is told to take the equipment of a foolish shepherd and to act out his part (Zech 11:15), but this was a prophecy of a man who was destined to appear in the end-time, which we spoke of earlier in this study. Since the Book of Zechariah is an important book for these end-times, Almighty God chose to give the keys to its understanding at this appointed time. Zerubbabel and Joshua will not be resurrected prior to the building of the Third Temple, but they are certainly stereo-types of two that will arise, who will be actively involved in the construction and the priesthood of the Temple. Zerubbabel was a prince of Judah of the kingly line of rulers (Matt 1:13, Luke 3:27). So Zerubbabel is a type of one who is to come from the kingly line of Judah. In other words, a prince of Judah.
Joshua was the high priest at that time and was symbolic of men who were to come:Zech 3:8 "`Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, `and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. 10 "`In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,' declares the LORD Almighty." So as we have already said, Joshua and the men seated before him are symbolic of others who would come at a future time, and one of them would be called the Branch.
The fact is that two Branches will appear in Jerusalem. Neither will be Zerubbabel or Joshua, but both these men are symbolic of the Two Branches. These two Branches are also called the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation. InRev 11:4 they are called two olive trees and in the Book of Zechariah they are called both olive trees and olive branches: Zech 4:11-14 "Then I asked the angel, "What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?" 12 Again I asked him, "What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?" 13 He replied, "Do you not know what these are?" "No, my lord," I said. 14 So he said, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth."
Zerubbabel laid the foundations of the Temple by repairing the walls in readiness for the building of the Temple. But he never built it and it remained un-built for centuries.
Getting back toIsa 22:20, concerning Eliakim, he too is a type of one who is to come. As the administrator of the palace – the central government of Judah at that time, he was appointed to make major decisions concerning the well-being of the nation. Today his title would be that of a prime minister.
For years now I’ve kept my eyes on Bibi Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel. I’ve watched his flagging fortunes over the years when it seemed impossible for him to rise to PM again. I have strong reasons to believe that Bibi is at least part-Levite, but he may also be part-Jewish – just as John the Baptist was (John’s mother Elisabeth, and Mary, the mother of Jesus were cousins). It’s quite extraordinary that Bibi is now Prime Minister of Israel, while at the same time the Muslim Barrack Obama is President of the USA especially in this critical time of the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy. I don’t know who the Prince of Judah is – at least until he comes to the fore – but I do know there is something about Bibi that bears watching. At this point in time, I don’t know what that is but time will resolve this one way or the other. All I know is that there is no-one else like him in the Israeli Knesset.
There are Christians who believe that Bible Prophecy has no relevance for today, yet the Book of Isaiah speaks again and again of the conditions that would exist in the end-time. Even the writers of the New Testament quoted the Book of Isaiah many times as evidence of future events. This was after the Lord Christ ascended to heaven to sit with the Father on His Throne. This is something that the ‘no-prophecy’ advocates fail to realize. If anyone believes that peace can prevail as long as Satan’s brood continue to exist, then they are delusional! As we have seen earlier in this study, the vast majority of human beings belong to Satan and he rules over them. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (1John 3:8), and just to confirm that Satan’s children are a target for elimination, V10 confirms that his children are a part of his work. 1John 3:10 "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." And now we find that those who are disobedient to God are the work of the spirit of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, that is, Satan. Eph 2:1-2 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." It may be comforting to some to believe they are ‘born again’, but the truth is that if they don’t obey God and believe Him, then they are the work of the devil.
God’s Kingdom will not be democracy where people are at liberty to do as they please! God’s Law will be applied and strictly enforced in the same manner as the ‘laws of the land’ are enforced today. Most people realize these laws are in place to prevent anarchy, and they also know that disobedience to them carries a penalty. Why wouldn’t God’s Law have the same provisions?
It should be pointed out that God gave His Law to His servant Moses – for all Israel! (Mal 4:4). The children of the devil don’t qualify, except if they become Israelites by obeying God’s Law. If they do then they are considered to be native-born Israelites. All others are considered to be the children of disobedience and are relegated to the camp of Satan’s children.
At the present time, God’s only interest is in those who obey Him. For all others, and most assuredly the devil’s children, there is no place for them. We’ve shown from the Scriptures that wars will continue to the end, and Satan’s brood has provoked it all in these last days. While God plans to punish the House of Israel for their disobedience to Him, He plans to wipe Satan’s brood off the face of the earth and start with a clean slate. It makes sense to me; I hope it does to you.
It seems to me that people have no idea what God’s Plan is all about. The prophets knew and taught that the bigger picture involves bringing peace to the earth by eliminating the founding father of all evil – Satan! He’s a liar and a murderer from the very beginning. Satan just happens to be the one who thought that he was better qualified to rule the universe in place of the Almighty God, and this led to a rebellion that caused Satan to be cast to earth in exile, together will all his rebellious angels. And this is what triggered God’s Plan to replace these rulers of the heavenly realms with beings who were better qualified to judge the outcome of sin and disobedience. These proposed new rulers would be human beings who have experienced all aspects of life with the upsides and the downsides. These proposed rulers have made the choice that obedience to God should override everything else. The Lord Jesus set this example, and these proposed rulers must to likewise.
And this concludes the first lesson for the Book of Isaiah, which covers Chapters 1 to 22. The next lesson will cover Chapters 23 to 44. And the last lesson will cover Chapters 45 to 66.
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