Shall we turn to Isaiah, chapter 11, for the beginning of our study this evening.
In the tenth chapter, the closing part of chapter 10 of Isaiah, and again, let me remind you that the chapter distinctions were made by men, not by the authors. But years later, in order that we might be able to ready reference Scriptures, in order that you might be able to find them easily, they divided the Bible into chapters and verses. And that is only for our benefit so that we can reference. And so in the dividing of the Bible into the chapters and verses, this is not the way the Bible was written, but is only divided that way for our benefit so that we can find a passage more easily. Rather than saying, “Well, it’s in Isaiah,” we can say, “Well, it’s in Isaiah the eleventh chapter in the first verse.” And that way we can find it and it makes it much easier for us. But in the dividing, they did their best to make the proper divisions of chapters, but unfortunately, many times they cut off a thought, more or less, in the middle. And because we are in a habit of reading a book a chapter at a time, sometimes we start the new chapter without reference to the previous chapter in reading the Bible. Or we start just in one area and we just quit at the end of the chapter, and many times the thought is carried over right on into the next chapter.
Now this is one of those areas where the thought in the end of chapter 10 is that God in His judgment is going to cut down the nations like the trees of Lebanon. Just going to hew them down and there’s just going to be stumps. God’s going to wipe out the nations and all, leaving just sort of stumps. And so with all of these stumps,
There shall come forth [a stem or] a rod [a branch] out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots (11:1):
So you have the picture now of the nations being leveled. Looking like just a forest that has been cut down; down to the stumps. But out of one, and that is out of Jesse, there is going to be a new life, a new branch coming forth, a stem. And, of course, this is a beautiful prophecy concerning Jesus Christ and the Kingdom Age. As the nations have been leveled as the result of the battle of Armageddon and out of the debris the new life will arise and Jesus the Branch out of the stem of Jesse.
And so this again is a prophecy concerning the Messiah, declaring that He shall come actually from the house of Jesse, which, of course, was the father of king David. And so it is a reaffirmation of God’s promise to David that God would build David a house. That out of David’s lineage the Messiah would come.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and (11:2)
Heroic actions would be a better translation of the Hebrew word that is translated might. Not only does He make the right decisions, but He has the power to work these decisions out, to put them into action. A lot of times we may know the right thing to do, but we haven’t the capacity to do it. His is not only the counsel, the knowledge of what to do, but the ability to carry it out. “The spirit of counsel and heroic actions.”
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD; And he shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (11:2-4).
Now this is a reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ. This branch that is growing out of the roots of the tribe of Judah, the house of Jesse, the lineage of David. When He arises, the anointing of God’s Spirit upon Him, and, more or less, is referred to as the sevenfold anointing of the Spirit.
In Revelation you read in the reference to the Holy Spirit there around the throne of God, and the seven spirits which are before the throne of God. A difficult verse to interpret. We know that there is one Holy Spirit. What is the reference to the seven spirits that are there before the throne of God? There have been many suggestions that have been offered as to the possible interpretation of the seven spirits. Some have declared that there are seven archangels such as Michael and Gabriel. And in one of the books of the Apocrypha, the book of Esdras, you have Sanskrit, and Uriel and Raphael, and you have the names of seven what they call archangels or chief angels. And some believe that the seven spirits refer to the seven chief angels or archangels that are before the throne of God. That is one possibility.
Another possibility is that the seven spirits before the throne of God are a reference to the sevenfold working of the Spirit in Jesus Christ. As we find here in the use, this eleventh chapter verses 2 and 3, as a reference for the interpretation of the sevenfold working of the Spirit in Jesus Christ: the spirit of wisdom, understanding, the spirit of counsel, and the spirit of might, or the heroic actions that we mentioned, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord, and of quick understanding--the sevenfold working of the Spirit. So which is the correct interpretation? Well, I just suggest you look into it and pray about it and find out what you’re comfortable with. No way you can be dogmatic in that. They are both possible that they are correct, and it’s possible that they’re both wrong and that there is something else that we’ll discover when we get to heaven. We’ll say, “Oh, that’s what they’re talking about seven spirits before the throne. All right, you know.”
So I’ve got a lot of things that are filed up here in a catalog that says, “Wait for further information.” And so I hesitate being dogmatic on some of these issues. Where the Bible doesn’t speak clearly on a subject it’s only sheer presumption for me to speak dogmatically. And I don’t like to do that unless there is a clear indication in the Scriptures. But those who say that it is the sevenfold or the complete working, seven being the number of completeness, complete working of the Spirit in the life of Christ that’s manifest in the life of Christ, use this passage as a reference to that idea.
Now, He is coming to judge the earth and His coming in the brightness of His coming is said that the antichrist, the beast, will be destroyed with the sharp sword that goes forth out of His mouth. Now the Word of the Lord is like a sharp, two-edged sword. And there is such power in the Word of God and God said, “Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). It’s known as divine fiat, the ability of God to speak something into existence. The tremendous power in God’s Word. God no sooner says it than it exists. It’s a reality. The moment God declares it, it comes into existence or into being.
So here is this antichrist, the man of sin, son of perdition, who has demonstrated such marvelous power that all the world is wondering after him. Doing all of these wonders and signs and miracles so that the whole world is enthralled by this man of sin. Creating such a powerful military force that they say, “Who is able to make war with the beast?” (Revelation 13:4) Seemingly to overcome everything that gets in his path. He starts moving down to conquer Africa. He passes through Egypt, gets to the borders of Libya and Ethiopia when the news comes that China is invading from the east. And so he takes his troops and returns from the invasion to Africa to meet this invasion from China. And they meet together there in the valley of Megiddo. And as these tremendous forces of man are in this horrible war there in these plains of Jezreel, the valley of Megiddo, Jesus comes again.
And this man who has deceived the world, this man who has caused the world to stand in awe and wonder at his power and all, this man who the world looks up to as the greatest leader the world has ever seen, the most powerful man who has ever lived, for Satan invests this man with all of his power and with all of his authority. Satan does for him what he volunteered to do for Jesus Christ if Jesus would bow down and worship him. When he took Jesus up into a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said, “All of these will I give unto thee if You will bow down and worship me. And the glory of them for they are mine. I can give them to whomever I will.” Jesus refused it, but this man accepts, and Satan gives to him his throne, his authority. And this man is ruling over the world with the powers of Satan behind him and the whole world stands in awe.
The two witnesses that God has sent that are anointed with power. Elijah and Moses or Enoch, whoever else is Elijah’s companion, this man has power to put them to death. And thus, he asserts his power over God. Greater than God. And the whole world is wondering after him and saying, “Who can make war with him?” And Jesus comes and says, “You’ve had it.” And the guy goes. And just the word that goes forth out of the mouth of Jesus Christ is all that’s necessary. He doesn’t get in a big conflict with him. Doesn’t get into battle with him. He just speaks the word and the guy is totally wiped out. Oh, the power of the word of Jesus Christ.
Now He is coming then, He begins to judge, He gathers the nations together for judgment when He returns, Matthew 25. Now when He judges, He doesn’t call for witnesses. He doesn’t need to. He doesn’t need for someone to come in and testify against anyone else. In fact, when Jesus was here, John tells us that, “He didn’t need that anybody should tell Him about any man, for He knew men, and He knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). That can be a rather frightening thing if you’re on the wrong side of the fence.
To know that here is a man and that’s what the woman at the well of Samaria when she went and told her friends. “Come and meet a man who told me everything I’ve ever done.” Oh man, that’s sort of heavy. Of course, that’s the thing that attracted Nathanael when he met Jesus. He said, “Wow, behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile.” He said, “How did you know me?” He said, “Well, when you were over there sitting under the fig tree I saw you.” “Oh, truly You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” He said, Jesus said, “You believe just ‘cause I tell you I saw you on a fig tree? Stick around, you’re going to see a lot more than that.” But he realized that Christ had this perception, the ability to see right into a man.
And Jesus exercised this perceptive ability, that of being able to see right into it. And so He does not judge by hearing testimony or witness, He knows. I mean, He judges by that thorough, total knowledge that He has of each of us. The Bible says that “everything is naked and revealed before Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). I mean, you can’t hide or cover a thing when you stand before the Lord. He looks right through you and He sees everything. His x-ray vision perceives all. I’m thankful that I have the shield of, it’s not a lead shield, but it’s a blood shield. The blood of Jesus Christ that just wipes out all of the past. And I’m so glad for that forgiveness and that cleansing of the past through the blood of Jesus Christ so that when He looks at me, He sees me pure, righteous and holy. And that’s the only way I want it. I want to stay in Christ. I want to abide in Him. I don’t want to have to stand before Him and have Him look through me and read me off and all. I like it living in Christ where “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
So He does not reprove after the hearing of the ears. He doesn’t have to have anybody give testimony. “But in righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and will smite the earth with the rod of His mouth.” The Bible tells us that in the Kingdom Age, He’ll rule with a rod of iron. “And with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.”
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (11:5).
Now the conditions that will exist when He reigns upon the earth:
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them (11:6).
We see not the world that God created. We see a world that is suffering the curse because of man’s sin. And the curse has spread out into the animal kingdom. It’s spread out into the areas, the whole area of the earth. The earth is cursed. “Thorns and thistles shall the ground produce” (Genesis 3:18). The animals at war with each other. That’s why nature does not give us a true picture of God. It can declare to us His glory, His power, His majesty, His might, but it doesn’t declare His love, because the earth is in rebellion against God. But when Jesus establishes His kingdom, even the animal kingdom will be at peace. And I can see a little child taking a lion by the mane and dragging it around, you know. What a tremendous pet that’s going to make. My little daughter…my little daughter, that’s been a while. My grown daughter, Cheryl, now a mother, as she was growing up always had a great fascination for lions. Loved to draw lions. She wanted a lion for a pet. Never got it, but the day will come when a little child will lead them about.
The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like an ox (11:7).
No longer carnivorous.
And a nursing child shall play on the hole of the asp [very poisonous snake], and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (11:8-9).
Now that’s what you’re praying for when you pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). As I say, you do not see the earth today as God created it, as God intended it. You see the earth as it is suffering as the result of man’s rebellion against God. And that is why it is manifestly wrong to blame God for all of the pain and the hurt and the bloodshed and the evil and the hatred that is in the earth today and demonstrated in all of these horrible things. It won’t be that way when Jesus comes to reign.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for a sign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious (11:10).
Now this is what the disciples were expecting Jesus to do when He came. And that is why they were so upset and disappointed when He was talking to them about the cross, about His death. “But Lord, when are You going to set up Your kingdom? When are You going to make this glorious ensign that all of the Gentiles will come flowing to Jerusalem and all to receive of the benefits and the glory?” But this remains with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left (11:11),
Now, God is gathering now, and has gathered now, the Jews back to Israel. In the process of gathering them back as the nation has been re-established, but not all are going back, not all are even interested in going back. There are many of them that are now leaving Israel because of the prohibitive taxes and inflation. And it’s just difficult to live over there right now, and some 22,000 people left Israel last year and moved to other parts of the world because of the difficulty of living there under these trying conditions. So God will gather them the second time. When? When Jesus Christ comes again. Then He’s going to gather together His elect from the four corners of the earth.
In verse 12:
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (11:12).
Now in Matthew’s gospel chapter 24, those people who take a post-Tribulation rapture position usually use Matthew 24 as one of their key texts for proving their point. Where Jesus in talking to His disciples about the signs of His coming and the end of the age declares, “Immediately after the tribulation [verse 29] of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four [corners of the earth or from the four] winds, from one end of heaven to another” (Matthew 24:29-31). And they say that that is when the rapture takes place as the Lord at that point gathers together His elect and His elect, they say, is the church.
Now they take that position because they are not thoroughly familiar with the Old Testament and God’s dealing with the nation Israel. For Isaiah tells us, and he is referring to this very same event that Jesus referred to, as the elect are gathered together that the elect are actually from the house of Judah and they are the outcasts of Israel. They are not the church. And, of course, also Isaiah further confirms that in the twenty-seventh chapter and in verses 12 and 13, which, of course, we’ll be getting to in a few weeks. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt” (Isaiah 27:12-13). So it’s speaking of the trumpet and the gathering of the people together.
And in verse 31 of Matthew, “And they shall send His angels with a great sound of the trumpet” (Matthew 24:31). Again, a reference to the gathering together of the Jews after His return. As He sets up the ensign and gathers together the Jews from the four corners of the earth where they have been driven in the dispersion. So that gives you a scriptural, clear understanding of Matthew 24 and shows that the elect cannot be the church.
I do not know why some men persist in their teaching that the church is going to have to go through the Great Tribulation. It is something that it seems that Walter Martin gets on almost every broadcast. He’s like on a one-stringed guitar or something. It’s about the only thing he can get wound up in. And it’s really too bad because he has a very vast knowledge of the cults. Excellent knowledge of the cults. And he is a good teacher, but he seems to constantly be harping on this issue. But it’s a harp with only one string and it doesn’t make much music. I love Walter Martin. He’s a good friend of mine. But we just happen to disagree at this point. And the unfortunate thing is he always puts his programs right around mine and where we only bring up the subject occasionally as we are teaching the whole gospel and declaring to you the whole truth of God, and I’m not out on a bandwagon to defend the position. It’s just whenever we go through the Bible in declaring the whole counsel of God, we show you what the Bible teaches. But it seems that he has to harp every single broadcast on this particular issue. But I wish he’d get a few more strings in his harp. I’ll hear from him on this and we’ll have a good time. We really have a great love for each other. It’s just that we have a good time when we get together. It’s always exciting. I’m not through with it. We’re going to pick it up again when we get to chapter 13. But we’ve got other things between now and then to talk about. We’ve got a lot of things to talk about.
So God is gathering together His elect from Israel, from Judah, from the four corners of the earth, Matthew 24.
The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah (11:13),
Now, of course, there was great jealousies and envies. There were civil wars between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. Ephraim representing the Northern Kingdom, and Judah, of course, the Southern Kingdom. And there won’t be any more conflict between them. They’ll be one as in the prophecy of Ezekiel, God said, “When He gathers them back together into the land, they will no longer be two nations but one nation” (Ezekiel 37:22). This division between the northern and southern will be over and they will be one nation on the face of the earth. But rather than being on each other’s throat, they will be on those around them.
And they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them (11:14)
That’s the area of Gaza, the Gaza strip. And, of course, Israel did pounce upon them and destroyed them and took that territory.
They shall spoil them of the east together (11:14):
That would be those of Jordan and the West Bank that they have taken.
they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab (11:14);
Jordan is modern Moab.
and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be a highway for the remnant that will come from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came out of the land of Egypt (11:14-16).
And in that day (12:1).
This day of the Lord when He returns and establishes His kingdom.
thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me (12:1).
This is, of course, the declaration of Israel who had been dispersed in the anger of the Lord. And now as they are returning, they’re returning to God, they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and they shall weep over Him as one weeps over their only son that is lost and all. And this beautiful recognition by the nation Israel that Jesus is indeed the true Messiah. And so they will praise the Lord and they will say, “You were angry with us, but now Your anger is turned away and now You are our comfort.”
Behold, God is my salvation (12:2);
That’s the name Joshua or Jesus. The acknowledgment of Jesus. They’re acknowledging that, “God is my salvation.” Jehoshua, the name of Jesus.
I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation (12:2).
And the word “Jehovah is salvation” is the name Jesus. So it speaks here very clearly of the recognition of Jesus as the Savior, even as we are told, “Behold, He comes with the clouds; every eye shall see Him” (Revelation 1:7). They also which pierced Him shall mourn and all. The recognition that Jesus, Jehovah, is their salvation, is become my salvation; Jehovah Shua.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation (12:3).
Jesus stood and cried saying to them, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink” (John 7:37). But they refused to come. And so in Revelation the last chapter, Jesus said, “Let him that is athirst come, and drink of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). In that day they will accept the offer and they will draw with joy the water out of the wells of salvation.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD (12:4),
Now that seems to bug a lot of people because it seems to be an indication the person’s getting sort of turned on, and some people object to people getting turned on to the Lord. I have a friend who was a pastor here in Santa Ana and he pastored the Northside Church of Christ. He started coming to some Bible studies that we were holding here in Costa Mesa and he really got turned on to the Lord. And because we were always going around, all the kids in the Bible study and all, were always going around just rejoicing in the Lord saying, “Oh, praise the Lord!” And as he began to see the work of God and as God began to work in a vital way in his life, he started saying, “Oh, praise the Lord!” Well, he finally was called before his church board, and one of the orders that the church board gave to him was don’t use the phrase “Praise the Lord” anymore. It’s undignified. And he was forbidden by his church board. Well, he didn’t last long, because when you see God working so much, it’s just awfully hard not to say, “Praise the Lord!” when you really see the work of God being accomplished.
There is a magazine, religious magazine that is filled with satire and sarcasm. It’s called the Wittenberg Door published down in San Diego area, El Cajon. And these guys are always panning some segment in the body of Christ, and I understand that the latest pan is against the Charismatics. And in one of the descriptions of them, it refers to them as these people are always going around saying, “Praise the Lord!” Trying to sort of put down the exuberance, the joy, the excitement that we experience when we see God really working. Oh, praise the Lord! In that day they’re going to say it, and so I don’t see any problem of saying it today. When you really…
They’re excited because God is working. They’re excited because they are taking now the wells of salvation. They’re excited because they have discovered that Jesus is the Messiah. Well, I’ve discovered that He’s the Messiah, so I should have the privilege of going ahead and saying it now. Praise the Lord for the glorious salvation that we have through Jesus Christ.
call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he has done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee (12:4-6).
And so this is the glorious acclamation and praise and all that comes when Jesus returns and sets Himself up as the King over the earth. And that whole recognition now as the Lord reigns finally over the earth. As His kingdom has now come and soon His will is to be done here on earth, even as it is in heaven. And we’re going to enter in to this glorious new age. Oh, who can’t say Praise the Lord to that? When we see the world as God wants it to be. When we dwell together in love. When we dwell together in peace. When we dwell together in just this full openness of love one to another. It’s going to be glorious!
Now as we move into chapter 13 and he speaks of the burden of Babylon which Isaiah saw, you remember that we mentioned when we started the prophecy of Isaiah that in many of the prophecies, there was what we called the near fulfillment and the far fulfillment. The prophecies were sort of like a two-edged sword in that they had an immediate connotation, but oftentimes there was also a future connotation. So in the seventh chapter when he said, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), and that had an immediate kind of a connotation, not of the virgin bearing a son, but a child born at that time before he is old enough to really know much the kings would be destroyed from Samaria and from Syria. But the far was a prophecy of Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary as was interpreted by Matthew in his gospel. So the near and the far of the prophetic fulfillment.
With Babylon in the book of Revelation chapter 17 and 18, we have details of the destruction of the ecclesiastical Babylon in chapter 17 and the commercial Babylon in chapter 18. Now this particular cry against Babylon is the same as Revelation 17 and 18. It is talking about the ecclesiastical commercial Babylon of the last days. So this prophecy is carrying us out to these end times.
Lift up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: for the LORD of hosts is mustering the host of the battle (13:2-4).
The kingdoms of nations. This, of course, Jesus said, “Kingdoms against kingdoms, nations shall rise against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms” (Matthew 24:7). This would be one of the signs of His second coming, the worldwide state of wars. And so the gathering of God of these nations, the kingdoms of nations. This great gathering which is spoken of in Psalm 2, “Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1) For they have gathered together, the kings of the earth have gathered together against Jehovah and against His anointed or His Messiah saying, “We will not let them to rule over us,” but God who dwells in the midst of heaven shall laugh, seeing that He has them in derision. And yet He will establish His kingdom upon the holy hill of Zion. So the whole Psalm 2 comes in to this picture here as we see now the kingdoms of nations gathered together in this last portion of the Great Tribulation period. And we’re dealing now with that final period of Great Tribulation prior to the return of Jesus Christ. As the nations have gathered together really in a sense to try to hinder the establishing of the Lord’s kingdom.
They come from far countries, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty (13:5-6).
The day of God’s vengeance and wrath, the day of God’s judgment that is to be poured out in the Great Tribulation.
Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: and they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travails: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened (13:7-10)
We are told this in Matthew 24. Definitely we’re in the Great Tribulation period.
the sun will be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (13:10).
Now upon whom is this coming? God’s people, the church? Those servants that have been faithful unto Him? God forbid! We’ve not been appointed unto wrath, Paul tells us in both Romans and in Thessalonians, in case you didn’t get it the first time. But God says,
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity (13:11);
It is a punishment against the evil world and against the iniquity of the world. But “God has not appointed us unto wrath” (I Thessalonians 5:9). Our iniquity has been forgiven through Jesus Christ. He bore God’s wrath for my sin. And therefore, I will not have to face God’s wrath when it is poured out upon the world. It is to be poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world. But I haven’t rejected Christ. And that is why when Jesus talks about these very things, in Luke 21, He says in talking of these things, “Pray ye always, that you’ll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things, and to be standing before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36). So when these things begin to take place, don’t look for me down here; I’ll be up around the throne of God saying, “Worthy is the Lamb to receive glory and honor and might and dominion and power.”
and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold (13:11-12);
There will be a tremendous slaughter.
even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore [God said] I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place (13:12-13),
Now this is interesting because more than one place God has made reference to the earth being shaken out of its place. In fact, God speaks about the “earth staggering to and fro like a drunken man” (Isaiah 24:20). We’ll get that as we move on in Isaiah. Isaiah tells us that. And will be moved out of her place. It would seem that the earth has gone through changes in its past.
It would appear that at one time the earth’s orbit was a 360-day orbit, rather than the 365 and a quarter. It would seem that at one time the earth was not tilted at twenty-three and a third degrees on its axis. Because we know that at one time, there were tropical jungles around the North Pole. There were forests in the South Pole area. So the earth has gone through some tremendous upheavals. They believe that there has actually been a polar shift. In the book, Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggests that the earth actually has changed its rotation from the present; that before, the earth actually rotated from west to east instead of east to west. And he gives you his reasons. You want to read the book, Worlds in Collisions; he gives quite a bit of argument in that vein.
Now the interesting thing is that we do know that in the Kingdom Age, God is going to restore the earth like it was during the time of Adam and Eve, back to the Garden of Eden where the deserts will disappear. The Bible speaks of that age where there will be streams in the deserts, rivers in dry places and all. And “the deserts will blossom and bud as a rose” (Isaiah 35:1), and the desert areas being removed. The whole earth once again being like a giant garden.
Now, it is possible that in this earth being moved out of her place is a reference to another flip or a change of the polar axis, and rather than being tilted at twenty-three and a third degrees, which gives us our seasons, that the earth will be on pretty much a straight axis as far as its relationship to the sun, which would have quite a dramatic effect upon the earth. One, the ice caps of the polar regions would be melted. And the polar regions would again become very lush places as far as warmer climate. With this greater mass of water, there would be more evaporation now, as the sun would draw more water into the atmosphere and it could be that once again the earth would be covered with the water canopy. As the temperatures would be equalized with the equator and the poles, you would no longer have these tremendous cold-hot areas where the winds would be formed and created coming down from the poles from the cold areas, coming into these warmer areas where the heat rises and the cold air comes flowing in to fill it. And you could get rid of the violent storms. Again, you’d have only very gentle breezes and a very lush kind of an atmosphere around the whole earth. And I may not even have to go to Hawaii. You could go to Death Valley and the thing is going to be like a glorious garden with rivers and waterfalls and beautiful ferns and everything else, you know.
The whole earth, the Scripture said, will be filled with His glory. And so God is going to restore it, and it could very well be that in this very shaking of the earth and removing it out of its place, it could be a reference to that.
Now the physicists who talk about the shifting of the polar axis refer to the earth’s wobble. That the earth before the flip of the polar axis or the shift of the polar axis goes into a wobble state and then it shifts. When you read where Isaiah said, “The earth will stagger to and fro like a drunken man,” it would be describing the wobble and then it said, “And shall be moved out of her place.” So it is very possible that the Scriptures are actually prophesying a polar axis shift that could bring a whole new climate around the whole world and setting it up for the Kingdom Age where God restores it back like it once was, where there were no burning deserts, where there, you know, where the whole earth was able to produce and all.
And really, if you fly from… You hear of the population explosion and all of this and the earth is getting too crowded, but all you have to do is get in a jet and fly all over the United States and you’ll see all of that vast territory that is not inhabited. It’s not fit for habitation because of the deserts and everything else. But if God would restore all of that, make all that area habitable, there’s plenty of room for every child of God.
So interesting reference here. Just what it all indicates, we are free to guess, but we really don’t know. But again he refers to
the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger (13:13).
So this is in the period of the judgment where God shakes the thing and turns it. But this all is a preface to His return, the day of God’s wrath. You remember that Revelation chapter 6 tells us that the people of the earth will be crying unto the rocks and the mountains saying, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of the Lamb: for His day of wrath has come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17)
Now does it really make sense to you that God would place His church in the middle of all of this when He specifically told us that He has not appointed us unto wrath? What kind of a mentality would try to insist and encourage everyone to gear up for it that you’re going to have to be here? Calling us escapisms or escapists or whatever. I just can’t understand.
And so he speaks about
And it shall be as the chased roe (13:14),
And this is referring to the Jews.
They will be a sheep that no man takes up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land. Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword (13:14-15).
The fierce anger.
Their children also shall be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished (13:16).
Now I told you Isaiah’s prophecy jumped from far to near, near to far. This would seem to be a near reference to the Babylonian invasion as we get to verse 14, because in Psalm 137:8,9, the psalmist opens that Psalm 137 by declaring, “When we were in Babylon, we hanged our harps on the willow tree and we cried. They said unto us, ‘Sing us one of your songs of Zion.’ But how can we sing of Zion when we are in captivity?” (Psalm 137:1-4), and so forth. And then he takes out against Babylon and he said, “Happy will be they who dash your children in the street, even as you dashed our children.” So Psalm 137:8,9 comes into play here and it was a reference to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem.
But then Babylon itself will be destroyed. Verse 17:
Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (13:17-19).
Now here is an interesting thing. Isaiah is predicting that the Medes will be destroying the Babylonian kingdom, and at this point, the Assyrian empire was really the predominant empire. Babylonian empire had not yet taken Assyria. And, of course, the Medes were just a small insignificant tribe when he actually prophesied that they will be the destroyers of the great Babylonian kingdom.
Only God could have known that, and thus, God proves that He is God and the author of the book by writing of these things, showing that He is outside of our time domain. Knowing the end from the beginning.
And speaking of the destruction of Babylonian:
It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs [or demons] shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged (13:20-22).
So the destruction of Babylon by the Medes.
For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob (14:1).
Again, now he moves out to the end of the Kingdom Age where Israel is restored and exalted among the world.
The people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over the oppressors. And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou was made to serve. That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers (14:2-5).
Now you remember that in Revelation, the angel in the fourteenth chapter flies through the midst of the heaven saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city” (Revelation 14:8), and so forth, and declares the fall of this Babylonian system. “The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers.”
He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us (14:6-8).
The trees have an opportunity to grow.
Now we are getting into the area of the beast, the man of sin, the son of perdition, the one who is anointed with Satan’s power as he makes reference to
Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee (14:9-11).
This man that the whole world marvels at, his reception in hell will be an interesting thing. As the kings rise up and say, “Hey, you…”
Now the prophecy lapses from the beast to the power behind the beast, or the antichrist to Satan who gave him the power.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High (14:12-14).
These five “I wills” of Satan. This was the beginning of sin in the universe. This was the beginning of the rebellion against God’s government and God’s kingdom, and they came with Satan’s willing against the will of God.
In Ezekiel we are told concerning Satan that he at one time was an anointed cherub. Cherubim, the B-I-M, or the I-M, is actually a plural suffix in the Hebrew language. So a cherub would be singular. But there are cherubim; there are many of these angelic beings. Satan was one of these exalted angelic beings. Interesting it would seem that the cherubim are there to guard the holiness of God. And perhaps he was the chief over the cherubim. It would seem to indicate that as Ezekiel addresses him in the form of the king of Tyre, “the anointed cherub that covers. Thou has been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, beryl, onyx, sapphire, carbuncle,” and so forth. “Thou wast perfect in beauty, perfect in wisdom, perfect in all of your ways until the day that iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:13-15). And then he speaks of his fall.
Now Isaiah tells us exactly what the iniquity was. It was his declaring, “I will,” in opposition to God’s will. And anytime you declare your will in opposition to God’s will, that’s sin. That’s rebellion. Rebellion against God. Sin is the failure to do the will of God, to surrender, to submit to the will of God. “I will ascend into heaven. I will sit also. I will exact my throne above the stars of God.” Stars of God being the angels of God. “I’m going to exalt above them. I will sit also on the mount of the congregation on the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights. I will be like the Most High.” Interesting. The climactic “I will” of Satan: “I will be like God.”
Shakespeare in the one play has someone addressing Cromwell, “Oh, Cromwell, flee ambition. For by this sin the angels fell.” I will be like God.
It is interesting when Satan came into the garden to tempt Eve, what was the hook? “God doesn’t want you to eat that fruit, for He knows that the day that you eat that fruit, you will be like God. You want to be like God? Eat this fruit.” And that was the hook. It was the thing that tripped him up, and so it’s the very thing then that he used to trip Eve up--to be like God. “God doesn’t want you to eat it. He’s afraid you’re going to be like Him.”
So any of these religions today that make you like God, that put you in a God category, “When you die, you and your wife can be as gods. You go to your own little planet,” be careful. That was the hook that got Satan. That was the hook that he used for Eve. These that make a god out of you. “Recognize the god in you.” The self-realizations. What is the self-realization concept? “I am God,” that’s what I need to realize. Isn’t that wonderful? Tragic! But so many people are being drawn by this desire to be God. And so the god in me blesses the god in you, the self-realization of who I am. So Satan’s fall: “I will be like the Most High.”
Now the interesting thing is that God is making us again in His image. When God first created man, He created man in His image and after His likeness. But man through disobedience, in his desire to be like God, fell from that image of God. And “by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; so that death passed unto all men, for all sinned” (Romans 5:12). So if I want to know what God intended when He created man, I can’t look around the world and find it. Because in the world that doesn’t exist, because I see fallen man. I see man that is filled with greed. I see man that is filled with hatred, with avarice. I see a man who is controlled by his own desires and lust. That isn’t the way God intended man to live. That isn’t what God intended for man.
We see man in his fallen state. But God reached down to touch man in his fallen state, and the purpose of God in working in your life tonight is to restore unto you that which was lost through the fall. God wants to restore you back into His image. And so Paul said, “We, with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory into the same image” (II Corinthians 3:18). That doesn’t mean I’m God. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be God. I’m always going to be me. But I will be conformed again by the Spirit of God into the image of Jesus Christ, where love will once again dominate instead of greed or selfishness, and made again into the image of Jesus Christ. That’s the purpose of God’s work in our lives tonight.
So Satan fell. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning?” You said you’re going to exalt yourself. You’re going to be like God.
Yet you will be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms (14:15-16);
Man, when you see Satan down there, you’ll say, “Wow, is that the guy that gave me such a bad time? The man that created all of the problems for this universe? The one that started the whole rebellion against God. Is that? Wow, look at him.” What a sight that’s going to be.
That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities; that opened not the house of his prisoners? [All the kingdoms of the earth, or] all the kings of the nations, even all of them that lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass that is trodden under foot (14:17-19).
The kings are buried in tombs, sepulchers and so forth. But you’re going to be cast out of the grave. You’re going to be like the coat of a man who has fallen in battle that’s just cast aside to be trodden down under the feet.
Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and the remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD (14:20-22).
How many of you have met a Babylonian lately? They don’t exist. God cut them off. The name, the son, the nephew, they are no more family, Babylonians.
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand (14:23-24):
That is one powerful verse. God said. He’s sworn. This is, men take an oath to confirm what they have said as being really true. Well, God who has never spoken anything but truth, when God swears to something, man, how true can you get? How firm can it be? How well can a thing be established? When God has sworn, “Surely as I have thought, it shall come to pass.” God’s Word shall surely be fulfilled.
When the Lord told Daniel to write these things, He said, “For the prophecy is certain” (Daniel 2:45). It’s going to be fulfilled. God declares, “Surely as I have thought, so it’s going to be. And as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” The purposes of God are set. They cannot be changed. The plan of God will be fulfilled.
That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who can disannul it? his hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (14:25-27)
The tremendous, awesome sovereignty of God.
In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden (14:28).
So now we’re moving on into a new area. It is not distinguished by a chapter change, but it is distinguished by the fact that he introduces this new section by, “In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden.”
Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent (14:29).
Now he’s just spoken of the destruction of Assyria, but don’t rejoice because Assyria is broken by Babylon, because now God is going to bring the Babylonians against you.
And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant. Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times. What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it (14:30-32).
So God is going to found Zion, the ultimate bottom line.
Now in chapter 15, he turns his attention against Moab, that area that lies just east of the Jordan and of the Dead Sea. And he begins to speak of the destruction of Moab and of some of the major cities in Moab. The cities that are destroyed at night.
Ar is laid waste, and brought to silence; Kir is laid waste, and brought to silence (15:1);
And these other cities, Bajith and Dibon, and so forth. Howling then over the mountains. Mount Nebo and Medeba, which is just east and south from Nebo.
on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off (15:2).
This when they went into great weeping or mourning over the dead, they would shave their heads and their beards. It was a sign of great mourning. They would usually put on sackcloth, shave their head and beard. So everyone’s head is shaved. Their beards are all cut off because of the slaughter that has come upon the inhabitants of Moab, the howling over the destruction.
In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth (15:3):
The garment of mourning worn over the bare skin.
on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh (15:3-4):
These are the cities.
their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz (15:4):
From one end of the nation to the other.
therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him. My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction (15:4-5).
And then speaking of the rivers and so forth that will be desolate. Nimrim was a river towards the south, but it’s going to be dry.
the hay is withered (15:6).
They’ll flee down that way, but
the grass fails, there is no green thing (15:6).
So there will be a drought in that area. And thus, God predicts and describes His judgment against Moab and the inhabitants of that land.
Now even as God describes the judgment against Moab, yet Moab is to figure yet in the future, and as we get into chapter 16, we find the place of Moab, which, of course, today is Jordan. We find its place during the Great Tribulation. And you’ll find some very interesting things in chapter 16 where, this is where we locate the rock city of Petra as the place where the children of Israel will flee in the middle of the Great Tribulation when the antichrist comes to Jerusalem and sets himself up in the temple. And chapter 16, the word Sela is rock or petra, the rock. So the rock city of Petra is named here, the city of Sela. And as you read it, see if you can put it together in your mind, and then we’ll seek to put it together for you next Sunday night as we see God’s preservation of a remnant of His people from the Great Tribulation who flee to the rock city of Petra for refuge when the antichrist moves to Jerusalem in his great sacrilege against God.
So next week, sixteen. And your chapters next week are rather short. And so sixteen through twenty, but some interesting things. Chapter 19, the prediction of the Aswan Dam, and just a lot of people, not a lot of people, some people see the United States in chapter 18. If you can see the United States in chapter 18, you’ve got better eyes than I have. But some people make quite a bit out of chapter 18 being a prophecy concerning the United States.
As far as I’m concerned, the United States doesn’t appear in prophecy except for one area where there’s a possibility. And that is when Russia invades Israel, the merchants of Tarsus. Tarsus is thought to be England. And the young lions thereof shall say, “What are you doing invading this defenseless little land?” Now if the United States appears anywhere in prophecy, that’s where it appears, and it is when we file a complaint to the Security Council of the United Nations asking them to soundly condemn Russia for invading the Middle East, Jerusalem. So outside of that, I really do not see the United States in prophecy, because as John tells us in the book of Revelation, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
God isn’t interested in prophesying about the whole world and the nations of the world as such. He’s interested in one person. And all prophecy centers around Jesus Christ. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. So as nations relate to Israel, as Israel relates to the Messiah, so these nations will come into the light of prophecy. But the purpose of prophecy is not to give us an unfolding of the whole world scheme, but to center on one person, the person of Jesus Christ in His first and in His second coming.
The nations that try to destroy Israel before the Messiah came, God deals with them in prophecy. How He is going to destroy those who are trying to destroy the nation before the Messiah could come. And then, of course, all of these prophecies that deal now with the return of Jesus Christ, the establishing of His kingdom and all. But they all really center around Jesus. So you may be disappointed that the United States doesn’t show up, but when you read some of the things that are said about some of these nations that do show up, that’s sort of nice that He doesn’t detail what might happen here.
But come what may, my life is secure in Jesus Christ. And that’s the main thing, that you be found in Him, not clothed in your own righteousness, but the righteousness which God has given you through your faith in Jesus Christ. That’s the only way I want to be found. Praying that I’ll be accounted worthy to escape these things that Walter Martin wants to go through.
Now he’ll take issue with that statement. I’m wrong. He says he doesn’t want to. He hopes that he’s wrong in this point. Well, I know he’s wrong so what difference does that make? Shall we stand. But I respect his right to be wrong. May the Lord be with you, give you a beautiful week. And may His Word sustain you as you walk with Him in fellowship. May God really begin a powerful work in your life. May the Spirit of the Lord just really rest heavy upon you. And may you really have a chance to share the love of Jesus Christ with someone else this week. May God make you effective in your witness for Him. May your life be like a light shining in a dark place. That others might be drawn to that light and find the source of the light, even Jesus. So God bless you and give you a rich week in fellowship with Him.