ISAIAH SESSION 44 — HIS SPIRIT VS. HIS JUDGMENT

Text: Isaiah 44

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “His Spirit vs. His Judgment.” In Isaiah 32:15, the LORD speaks of pouring out His Spirit. But Isaiah 44:3 is the first mention that in a future generation, the LORD will pour out His Spirit upon (literally, in) His repentant people! It is a prophecy of the Holy Spirit baptism that took place at Pentecost and beyond (see the Book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament)!

In stark contrast to the promise of the Spirit for believers who repent, He warns that He will surely judge believers who rebel and worship idols. His warning is a call for them to repent and return to Him.

Verses 1-2 —

In Isaiah 43:28, the LORD challenged His people to argue with Him in His court of justice. And He declared that He would wound and make unclean the idolatrous princes of the sanctuary (priests), and would give His people over to the curse, and revilement (insult). But now, for the repentant . . . 

“But now listen O Jacob, His Servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen,” says the LORD to His people. “Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you. Do not fear, O Jacob My Servant, and you Jeshurun.”  

(NOTE: Jeshurun is another name for Israel, meaning “upright.” That is what He calls all His believers who repent and return to Him, and ask Him to pour out His Spirit in them!)

Verse 3 —

Why should the repentant ones not fear? The LORD says, “For I will pour out water on the thirsty, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour out (literally, overflow) My Spirit on (literally, in) your offspring, and my blessing upon (in) your descendants.”

The LORD reveals that the water and streams He spoke of in Isaiah 41:18 and 43:19b are references to His Holy Spirit! In the future, His Spirit and His blessing will be in them! It is a direct contrast to Isaiah 43:8, His judgment of the rebellious.

The LORD speaks of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, through Ezekiel —

Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

When He fills you with His Spirit, He promises that your heart will be responsive to His every word. You will keep His commands, and will no longer disobey Him. You will say —

Psalms 40:8  I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”

Verses 4-5 —

The LORD further describes the glorious result, saying, “And they will spring up among the grass, like poplars (willows) by springs of water.” Those filled with His Spirit will be very visible, towering over the field of this world. They will be extremely water-dependent trees that thrive no matter where they are planted. Their thriving will be the evidence that they are fully supplied with the unending, ever-flowing water of His Holy Spirit who is within them!

There is yet another glorious result of being filled with His Holy Spirit! The LORD says, “This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ and that one will call on (literally, be called by) the name of Jacob (that is, He will call them His people).” 

When you are filled, you cannot stop speaking about what you have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)! You will say, “I am the LORD’s, and if you repent, He will do in you what He has done in me!

Their allegiance with the LORD will be sure and solid, when they are filled, for the LORD says, “And another will write on (literally, with) His hand, ‘Belonging to the LORD,’ and will name Israel’s name (literally, by the name of Israel they shall be named) with honor.” 

He will honor them, calling them His people — be they Jew or non-Jew — for He will pour His Spirit out for all who repent and return to Him! He says through the prophet Joel —

Joel 2:28 “It will come about after this, that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

Verses 6-7 —

Isaiah continues to prophesy, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his (Israel’s) Redeemer, the LORD of hosts, ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”  

Who is the LORD of hosts? Jesus Christ, who says to the Apostle John —

Revelation 1:17  “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

He is the Redeemer of Israel, for all of Israel who return to the LORD and believe into His Son. Remember that Jesus Christ is the kinsman redeemer, who redeems as His bride all repentant believers — Jew or non-Jew — who believe into Him.

Again, He challenges the false teachers and prophets and leaders, as in a court of law. The LORD of hosts asks, “Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; yes, let him recount it in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation (literally, the things of old), and let them (the false ones) declare to them (My people) the things that are coming, and the events that are going to take place.”

He mocks them, just as in Isaiah 41:21-23, for they cannot do such things. They do not hear from Him. The LORD says, through Jeremiah —

Jeremiah 23:21 “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.”

Verse 8 —

Again, He says to the repentant ones, “Do not tremble and do not be afraid. Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?” He is the only One who, long before it happens, proclaims and announces and declares. He is the one who brought everything into being by His very words. It was He who created everything, and who knows the end from the beginning, before anything was (see Isaiah 40:21, 41:4, 41:26, and 46:10)!

For those who will be filled with His Spirit, He says, “And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” Surely, Jesus Christ promised those who stayed and waited —

Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Such ones will know by experience that there is no other God besides Him. The water of His Holy Spirit has filled them, and God the Father and God the Son fully and permanently indwell them (John 14:23)! When He is in you, large and in charge, nothing will cause you to turn away from Him.

Verses 9-11 —

Now the LORD exposes the motives and foolishness of idolatry. Those who fashion a graven image (idol) are all of them futile (worthless things), and their precious things (things they delight in) are of no profit. 

Their own witnesses — that is, those who proclaim their false gods are real — fail to see or know. They are blind and foolish. Therefore, they will be put to shame (as a result, they will be shamed by the LORD).

Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? Ah! Here is the motive for those who create idols. They make money from them. Even today, the false god of self is fashioned by false teachers and preachers into an idol, as I have taught many times. And those who preach the god of self profit greatly from it. They have become rich by their false teaching and prophesying!

It is like the craftsmen in Ephesus —

Acts 19:24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; 25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. 26 “You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. 

What will happen to those who fashion such idols, and teach others to worship them? They will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Isaiah says, Let them all assemble themselves, let them stand up, let them tremble, let them all together be put to shame.

Verses 12-17 —

Now, Isaiah gives us a picture of a foolish idolater —

— He shapes iron into a cutting tool and does his work over the coals,

beating it with hammers and working it with his strong arms. 

— He also gets hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary.

— He shapes wood, measures it, outlines it with red chalk, works it with planes, outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house (like a man). Such is the idol of self!

— Surely, he cuts cedars for himself, take a cypress or an oak, grows it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir tree, and the rain makes it grow. 

— Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes some of the wood to make a fire, and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread, he also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it.

— Half of it he burns in the fire, over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.”

— But the rest of it (the part of the wood that he did not use to make a fire), he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.” 

But the idol to whom he prays is only wood! It is something he has made, by his own strength and ability! He has used it to provide fuel for a fire — warmth, and heat with which to cook his food! But he falls down and worships that which gives him instant gratification. 

How can he worship that which he has made? He knows that it is merely wood. Yet he prays to it to deliver him. He calls it his god. 

But it is the same today, with the god of self! Today’s believers worship man’s wisdom, man’s ways, and attempt to manipulate God for their own gratification. They worship the god of self. They are as foolish as the idolator Isaiah describes.

Verse 18 —

Idolaters do not know (they have no intimate knowledge of the LORD, as in a marriage). They do not understand (discern). 

Why? The LORD has judged them. He Himself has smeared over their eyes, so they cannot see — He has spiritually blinded those who have chosen to become idolaters. He Himself has smeared over their hearts, so they cannot comprehend (have wisdom) that what they are doing is foolish and empty! 

It is the same today, as I have described. The Lord is not surprised by the church’s idolatry. He knows what is in man (John 2:25), and knows that unless human hearts are changed by Him, they will worship the god of self.

Is there no cure for your idolatry of the god of self, O believer? There is surely a cure! Repent and return to the LORD, and ask your Father in heaven to fill you with His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). 

Then your sin nature will be crucified (Galatians 5:24), thereby destroying the root of the god of self. And your heart will purified (Acts 15:9), so you will no longer disobey the Lord. I know it is true — He did it in me, in Jeff, and will do it for any who obey Jesus Christ’s command to stay and wait (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5)!

Verse 19-20 —

Now, in contrast, the Lord shows Isaiah the state of those who do not repent. No one recalls (returns to the starting point), nor is there knowledge (again, intimate knowledge of the LORD)  or understanding (discernment) within them, that they would say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat  it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination. I fall down before a block of wood!” 

Such a one feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” Such ones have chosen to be blinded by their sin, they have chosen to let their heart be deceived. They feed on that which cannot give them nourishment.

Verses 21-22 —

The LORD says to the repentant, “Remember what I have done, My people! You are My servant! I formed you; you are My servant.” You are the creature, not the Creator! He made you! And when you return to the LORD, He promises, “You will not be forgotten (removed) by Me.” 

When you return to Him, He will say, “I have wiped out (erased) your transgressions which were like a thick cloud, and your sins which were like a heavy mist.” Your sin separated you from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2). But when you repent, He will redeem you (buy you back, make you His Son’s bride). 

Verse 23 —

Therefore, Isaiah says, “Shout for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth! Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it!” 

Let all the earth and all of the heavens shout for joy! Why? The LORD has redeemed His repentant ones! He has shown forth His glory (He has glorified Himself) by redeeming them!

Verses 24-25 —

The LORD, speaks again to His repentant ones. He is the one who redeemed them. He is the one formed them from the womb. 

He says, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things.” Idolators make their own idols. He made all things! He stretched out the heavens, He spread out the earth all by Himself. 

And He is the one who still causes the omens of those who boast to fail (literally, He frustrates and defeats the ones who lie). It is a picture of His judgment on those who trust in witchcraft. 

He makes fools out of diviners (soothsayers). The literal meaning here is much more powerful — He makes those who practice witchcraft go backwards, revealing their bare “bottoms.” Surely, they are made fools by Him, and their foolishness is revealed by Him!

Verses 26-27 —

In direct contrast, He confirms the word of His servant — His servants’ words come to pass, because they are His words, spoken through them. And He performs the purpose of His messengers — He reveals the goodness and soundness of the counsel and wisdom that He gives them.

The LORD says, “She (Jerusalem) shall be inhabited, and the cities of Judah will be rebuilt.” And the LORD says, “I will raise up (restore) her ruins.” 
It will be just as when He said to the depth of the sea, “Be dried up” (as with the Red Sea crossing in Exodus 14:21-22) and made the rivers dry (as with the Jordan crossing in Joshua 3:17).

Verse 28 —

And wonder of wonders, it would be a pagan king whom the LORD calls by name, who the LORD will anoint to perform all His desire. And Cyrus will declare of Jerusalem, “She will be built,” and of the temple, “Your foundation will be laid.” 

Cyrus was not yet born, when the LORD declared it. Therefore, some theologians who do not know the Lord and do not believe in prophecy say that such a thing is impossible, and conclude that this and other such verses must have been written by someone other than Isaiah. Shame on them!

Surely, Cyrus did just as the LORD had prophesied long before Cyrus was born —

2Chronicles 36:23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!’”

Jerusalem was burned to the ground, the temple was destroyed, and even the walls of the city were torn down by the Babylonians. As impossible as restoration appeared to be, the LORD kept His promise and restored Jerusalem and the temple! (See the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.)

He still rebuilds ruins! I was ruined by my rebellion against the Lord. I worshiped the god of self. 

But when I repented and diligently sought to know Him, He rebuilt my physical ruins, healing me of the incurable disease called progressive multiple sclerosis! And when I asked Him fill me with His Holy Spirit, He rebuilt me spiritually! Now, I am His witness here! I praise Him for what He has done!

Beloved, now is your time to repent. Confess to the Lord that your god is yourself, and repent and return to the Lord.  He will gladly rebuild your spiritual ruins by filling you with His Holy Spirit! Then you, too, will be His witness here!

Lord Jesus, may many in Your church see their idolatry and repent and return to You. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

A NEW COMMANDMENT

[SW416] 01/25/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“A New Commandment”

Text: John 13:33-36

Over the next few weeks, I will be speaking from John 13-17. The Lord wants me to emphasize to you the truths He gave His disciples at the end of His earthly ministry. 

These truths were essential for them to know and understand at that moment, because if they did not know and understand, they could not become His witnesses here. Beloved, what the Lord calls essential, believers must also call essential, at this moment. 

Through these messages, I pray you catch a glimpse of Him and His truth, beloved! When you do, you will not stop until He fills you with  Himself! I testify that when I caught a glimpse of Him and His truth, I pursued Him until He did it in me!

I will begin in John 13. Jesus was with the Eleven, on the night He was to be betrayed by Judas. He had given them His supper. The twelfth, Judas, had gone out to betray Him. And He began to speak about the first essential truth you must know and understand.

Verse 33 —

“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now (literally, just now, at this time) I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’” 

He called them His little children (literally, infants). They were His — ones who believed and followed Him but did not yet know Him in an intimate and holy way.

They loved Him as a friend, and as a brother. He had taught them many things. They had watched Him do works that only God can do.

But they were spiritual infants. They thought they knew Him, and thought they knew why He came. But just as it was for me when I was a spiritual infant, they only knew about Him and had come to their own conclusions about who He was.

Their conclusions about the purpose of His coming were influenced by their own self-interest. Their lives would be better, if they were free from Roman rule and if Israel’s kingdom was restored to God’s people, with Jesus Christ on the throne, as King.

Because they were spiritual infants, they could not yet understand that He came to set them free from the power of sin (John 8:31-36) not Roman rule, and that His was not an earthly kingdom, but a kingdom He would establish within them — literally, inside of them (Luke 17:21). He had spoken of these things throughout His three years of earthly ministry, but they had not understood Him.

So when He told them that He was about to leave them, they were confused. How could He leave? He was supposed to defeat the Romans, restore the kingdom of Israel, and become King of Israel! 

So, in this verse, He told the Eleven who had faithfully followed Him almost the same thing he had told the Jews who had rejected Him, per John 8:21 and elsewhere — “Where I am going, you cannot come.” But when He spoke to the Eleven, it is significant that He added the word “now.” Though they would seek Him, they could not now just now, at this time — come to where He was going. 

The Eleven could not yet go with Him to heaven, from whence He had been sent by His Father, for heaven was not opened to them yet. He had not yet taken upon Himself the punishment they deserved (Isaiah 53:5), and then risen from the dead. 

Only then could they be saved from the wrath of God and reconciled to Him. Only then was heaven opened to them. But even then, they were not yet able to do His new commandment, because heaven was not yet inside of them.

After He rose, He spent 40 days teaching them and the rest who had followed Him during His earthly ministry, opening their minds to understand the prophecies of His coming (Luke 24:44ff, Acts 1:3). But they did not understand why He was leaving or where He was going, because they were still spiritual infants. Even just before He ascended, they revealed their lack of understanding —

Acts 1:6  So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Verse 34 —

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Now, He gave a new commandment to them, one never given by Him before. He commanded them to love each other as He had loved them. But you must understand now, at this moment, what His new command means, in order to understand that it is an essential truth.

Though Jesus Christ surely was flesh and blood as He walked the earth, He was also fully God (Colossians 1:19). Because He was fully God, He loved with divine love, not human love. So His new commandment was that they love each other with His divine love!

He spoke it twice — “. . . love one another . . .  you also love one another” — for two reasons. First, to strongly reinforce that it was essential for them to obey His new commandment. And second, speaking it twice meant they would be able to obey His new commandment suddenly and quickly. Remember that in the Old Testament, whenever the Lord repeated what He was about to do, it would be done suddenly and quickly.

So they would suddenly and quickly be made able to love each other with His divine love. They could not yet love each other in that way. But it was essential that they do so! Why? He tells them and you, in the next verse, beloved.

Verse 35 —

“By this all men will know (literally, know without a doubt) that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Do you see it? They could not be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) — ones by whom all men would know without a doubt that Jesus is who He says He is — until they loved with His divine love! But you cannot love with divine love until the Holy Spirit fills you with it! 

So, it is essential for you to be filled with His Holy Spirit, so you are able to love with His divine love and be His witness here. Men will only know without a doubt that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ if you love with His divine love.

Paul speaks of the result of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in His letter to the believers at Rome —

Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God (His divine love) has been poured out (gushed into, filled to overflowing) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJV)

How do I know that I am interpreting His new commandment correctly? In His prayer to His Father, Jesus Christ concluded by speaking of what would happen to the disciples, so they would be able to obey His new commandment to them —

John 17:25  “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known (literally, declared Your name, character) to them, and will make it known (ginosko, fully known by experience), so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Jesus Christ declared the Father’s name — His characterto them, because He was the exact representation of His Father (see Hebrews 1:3), having His divine character, His divine nature. Jesus Christ was just like the Father. So, when they saw Jesus Christ, they saw God’s character.  

But then He says He will yet make the Father’s character known to themfully known by experience. And just as He promised, it happened suddenly and quickly, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Suddenly and quickly, they became partakers of His divine character (2Peter 1:4), so they fully knew His character by experience. 

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit fully and permanently filled them (John 14:23)! So, they were able to obey His new commandment — to love with His divine love, for His Spirit had poured out His divine love in their hearts, to overflowing! 

Then all men knew without a doubt that Jesus Christ is who He says He is, for they would love with His divine love. They loved with a love that no human being is born with, astounding everyone! 

The disciples then understood why Jesus Christ commanded them to wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit! They understood that His kingdom was not earthly, for His kingdom was now inside of them!

They could not stop speaking about what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:10)! Compelled by His divine love (2Corinthians 5:14), they proclaimed Him, in words given to them by the Holy Spirit! 

They were His witnesses even to the ends of the earth — ones whose hearts were now filled with His divine love.They were not gods, but walked as Jesus walked (1John 2:5-6) and were as He was in the world (1John 4:17)!

Verse 36 —

After Jesus gave them His new commandment, Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”

Again, Peter did not understand, for he was still a spiritual infant. So just before Peter swore he would never deny Jesus, he asked Jesus where He was going.

Again, Jesus told Peter, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now, at this time. But He added these words — “you will follow later!”

After Peter was filled, he followed Jesus Christ to heaven, for he never denied the Lord again. His sin nature was crucified (Galatians 5:24), so sin was no longer in him. His heart was purified (Acts 15:9)! And as he wrote in 2Peter 1:4, he became a partaker — a sharer — of God’s nature, including His divine love! 

It is the same today, beloved. Many believers are still infants in Christ. They are not yet His witnesses here. But He has died and risen and ascended and been glorified! So it is essential that you, O believer, know and understand the essential truth that you must now obey His command to be filled with His Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). 

He commands you to do it because it is the only way you can obey His new commandment to love with His divine love. Then you, too, will be His witness here, one by whom all men would know without a doubt that Jesus is who He says He is, because you will love with His divine love — a love no human being possesses except by being filled with the Spirit!

So, if you are a Christian who says of the Holy Spirit, “I do not need it,” repent! Do not delay! Repent and obey! 

Lord Jesus, may Your little children hear these words and do them, just as Jeff and I heard them and did them 18 years ago! Make it so, I pray! Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 43 — HE REDEEMS THE REPENTANT

Text: Isaiah 43

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “He Redeems the Repentant.” But what does “redeem” mean? It means to buy back and marry!

He sends His Son to be our Kinsman-Redeemer, to buy us back from Satan’s clutches, and fill us with Himself, and the Father, and the Spirit, forever!

But what about those who continue to sin against Him and refuse to repent and obey Him? As with prior chapters, this chapter will show you that He rebukes and judges them.

Verse 1 —

The LORD reminds Israel (Jacob) and all churchgoers of who He is — “your Creator, He who formed you.” I tell you the truth, repentant ones can rejoice in and stand upon your Creator’s promises!

He says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.” He has bought you back, because you have repented. He has bought you back, in order to marry you. Therefore, there is no need to fear! 

When you are filled with Him and made holy on the inside, you no longer fear judgment (1John 4:18), for the sin nature in you is dead, and you no longer sin against Him! 

He bought you back, in order to marry you! Do you not know that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom, and that He prepares for Himself a bride having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but one who is holy and blameless? Those are the words that the Holy Spirit gave Paul, in Ephesians 5:27.

This is not a promise for those who continue to disobey Him. He judges against those who continue to sin, in  Isaiah 42:24-25. Indeed, they should fear and repent!

He has called Israel by name, and He knows the name of every repentant believer. And He declares, “You are Mine!”

Verse 2 —

Because He has redeemed these repentant ones, He promises, “You will pass through the waters, and I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.”

It is just as it was when Israel crossed the flood-stage Jordan on dry ground (Joshua 3:17). At that time, all of the rebellious generation of Israel, whom the LORD had brought out of Egypt, had died in the 40 years of wilderness wanderings. So, the obedient crossed over!

The LORD promises, “And when you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” It is the complete opposite of Isaiah 42:25, in which unrepentant churchgoers are on fire! 

Verses 3-4 — 

Why will the LORD redeem and protect His repentant and therefore obedient ones? He says, “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place.” 

He is holy, and faithful to save them! Their enemies will perish, but they will live!

He sees His repentant ones as precious — that is, prized. He honors them by making them His bride! He says, “Because you are precious in My sight, you are honored and I love you. I will give other men in your place, and other peoples in exchange for your life.” 

Again, He declares that He is the Holy One of Israel, their Savior! Again, He promises that their enemies will perish, but they will live!

Verses 5-7 —

He repeats, “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather them from the west.” Who are their offspring? All who have heard the good news that His repentant ones carry on their beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7)! Those who believe become their spiritual children!

And He says, “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.” It is a complete contrast with Isaiah 42:22, when He addresses churchgoers and Jews who rebel against Him. To them, He says, “There is none to say, ‘Give them back.’”

He continues, “Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” He will gather from the north, south, east and west, everyone who is the spiritual offspring of the repentant.

He will bring His sons and daughters. Who are they? His repentant Jewish and non-Jewish believers who have believed into Jesus Christ and have thereby become His children (John 1:12)! 

Many believe this verse also refers to the aliyah, the return of the Jews to Israel, from the four corners of the earth. But most are returning to the country of Israel, not to their God. Most still rebel against their God. They refuse to receive Jesus as their Messiah. They sin against the one they call “Father” by rejecting His Son. And their rabbis sin against Him by teaching that Jesus is not the Christ, and twisting the Old Testament scriptures that were fulfilled by Jesus. Only one tenth of one percent of the Jews in Israel have believed into Jesus!

Verses 8-9 —

Again, these verses are an echo of Isaiah 42:18-25. His blind and deaf servant, rebellious Israel, is now on trial. 

Bring them forth, the LORD says! Who? “The blind, even though they have eyes, and the deaf, even though they have ears.” Does the LORD mean the Gentile nations? No, He also means rebellious Israel, as I have said.

All the nations have gathered together. All the peoples are assembled. It is a time of judgment. And the LORD asks them, once again, “Who will declare the former things? “Let them present their witnesses, that they may be justified. Or let them say, ‘It is true.’” (See Isaiah 40:22.)

No one can declare the former things. They have not learned from the LORD’s past punishment of nations and of His people because of their rebellion. They have no understanding of His Word, so as to recognize their spiritual condition. It is the same today, in the church! 

“Let them present their witnesses, that they may be justified.” It is just as with Job, who was righteous in his own eyes and justified himself before God. The Lord rebuked him through Elihu, and then rebuked him directly —

Job 32:1-2  Then these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 . . . against Job, (Elihu’s) anger burned, because he justified himself before God.

The Lord rebuked Job, saying —

Job 40:8 “Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?”

Verse 10 —

Now the LORD turns to His repentant ones whom He has redeemed. “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” 

He is God alone — there is no other God but Him. And the repentant and obedient redeemed ones are His witnesses. He called Israel to be His witnesses. But they became idolatrous, and did not become the kingdom of priests and a holy nation that He commanded them to be (Exodus 19:6).

Who has become a kingdom of priests, a royal priesthood? Those who have believed into His Son, Jesus Christ, and have been filled with His Holy Spirit, so they are holy on the inside —

Jesus said of those who would stay and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit —

Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

1Peter 2:9   But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light . . .

Verses 11-13 — 

The LORD continues speaking to His repentant ones, “It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange (profane) god among you (that is, you have not committed spiritual adultery by worshiping false gods). 

“So you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God. Even from eternity, I am He, and there is none who can deliver out of My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?”

The source of all false idols is the god of self, whose root is the sin nature all humans are born with. False gods cannot declare and save and proclaim. Those who rebel against the Lord have forgotten that only God is their Savior, and they have served strange gods that cannot save them (Isaiah 17:10). It is the same today, in the church, where the god of self is worshiped.

But the repentant ones do not worship false gods. They have obediently stayed and waited (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5), and have been filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Therefore, they no longer have the sin nature in them. It has been crucified (Galatians 5:24), and they have become partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4)! 

So He declares again, “So you are My witnesses, and I am God.” You can only be His witness when you are filled with Him, and thereby have His divine nature in you!

Even from eternity, the LORD is God. And there is none who can deliver out of His hand (literally, His power), whether He stretches it out for judgment of the rebellious, or declares His protection over the repentant who have been filled with His Spirit so they no longer rebel against Him.

He acts, and who can reverse it? No one can reverse what He does, for He is Judge, and He judges rightly.

Verses 14-17 —

Again, the LORD reminds repentant believers of who He is — their Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. For the sake of the repentant, He sent to Babylon, and will bring them all out as fugitives. 

Who will He bring out as fugitives? The Chaldeans (Babylonians), who were the captors of Judah! The captors of the repentant will become fugitives! They will try to escape, using the ships in which they rejoice and trust. They will try to flee in that in which they had placed their trust. 

It is the same today, beloved! Much of the church places their trust in the things of the world. God the Father has been whittled down to a grandfatherly figure. And they have said that Jesus Christ has the same worries — and even depression —from which some churchgoers suffer! I read it in a pastor’s column in today’s paper!

Again, the LORD reminds churchgoers — “I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Beloved, is Jesus Christ truly your King? Or are you still the ruler of yourself? Has His kingdom been established inside of you? Are you part of a royal priesthood? Are you holy? Are you a living representation of Him, a witness of Him? Do you walk as He walked in this world? The Spirit-inspired John writes this truth —

1John 2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought (is required) himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Thus says the LORD, who makes a way through the sea (as He did at the Red Sea), and a path through the mighty waters (of the Jordan), who brings forth the chariot and the horse, the army and the mighty man (Pharaoh’s army who pursued Israel). 

What does the LORD say? “These will lie down together and not rise again (it was true then, and it will be at the end of things). They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick.” It is another striking contrast to those who are at the end of themselves, the ones who repent, the smoldering wicks He will not extinguish (Isaiah 42:3).

Verse 18-21 —

And the LORD says He will do something new — His Son, who will establish a new covenant with His people who repent! “Do not call to mind the former things, nor ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

“The beasts of the field will glorify Me, He says — even the jackals and the ostriches.” Why? “Because I have given waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people.”  

Not only Jews, but even non-Jews will glorify the Lord if they believe into Christ and then obey His command to be filled with His Spirit! Both Gentile and Jew become His chosen people, through faith in His Son (Ephesians 2:15)! And He fills them with His Holy Spirit, so that from their bellies flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39)! 

That is the new thing that He has now done! And these repentant ones glorify Him, with their voices and their actions!

Verses 22-23 —

Now He rebukes His people Israel, and today’s churchgoers who have rebelled against Him. He says, “You have not called on Me . . . but have become weary of Me. You have not brought to me the sheep of your burnt offerings, nor have you honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with incense.”

Many have not called on Him, even today. They are weary of church every Sunday, or of going to the synagogue every Saturday. They do not bring the sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to Him, as He says through Paul —

Romans 12:1   Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

No external offerings and external worship please Him, for they are done outwardly, not from the heart. Unrepentant ones give Him lip service, saying they love Him. But they do not give Him their hearts! He requires that Jews and non-Jews to offer themselves to Him completely, a whole burnt offering that honors Him because it is a recognition of His great mercy toward them! 

Verse 24 —

They have not used their money to buy Him sweet cane. They have not filled Him with the fat of their sacrifices. They have even neglected the required outward sacrifices, and offered them to false gods!

Instead of offering themselves to Him, they burden Him with their sins, and weary Him with their iniquities. How long will He put up with what they are doing? Even in this passage, He judges them at the time of Isaiah, and He judges sinning churchgoers today!

Verses 25-27 —

The LORD says to the repentant who obey, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” No one else can wipe away sin. It is He who sent His Son to take upon Himself the punishment we deserve. And because He has said He will do it, He will do it! His reputation is at stake!

He says to those who mock and rebel against Him, “Put Me in remembrance (they have forgotten Him), let us argue our case together. State your cause (show Me your own scorecard of your performance), that you may be proved right.” 

They are just like Job, as I have shown you in my comments on Verse 9. They justify themselves before God. They annul His judgment. They condemn Him so they may justify themselves. 

The Lord reminds us all that our first forefather, Adam, sinned, and our spokesmen have transgressed (sinned) against Him. Spokesmen literally means “those who mock (with their false teaching). 

Beloved, as I have said again and again, on the day these false ones are judged, they will seek to be justified, but Jesus Christ will tell them that He never, ever knew them —

Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice (do) lawlessness (sin).’”

For those who try to justify themselves and condemn the LORD for His judgment, He will pollute (wound) them, and will consign them (deliver them) to the ban (as something that must be utterly destroyed) and to revilement (insult). This will be the end even of the rebellious in Israel — Jacob, who was to be His servant. And it will be the end of all churchgoers who rebel against Him, even today.

So, it is time for you to repent! I have warned you regarding your sin, and the Lord has told you its consequences, by His very words. This is a limited offer. Right now, seek Him while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near! Forsake your wicked ways and evil thoughts! (See Isaiah 55:6)!

Lord, may your unrepentant ones see that they cannot claim Your promises while they continue to rebel. May they repent at the words you have given me to speak. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

“I WILL RAISE UP SHEPHERDS”

[SW415] 01/18/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“I Will Raise Up Shepherds”

Text: Jeremiah 23:1-8, etc.

False shepherds destroy and scatter the sheep of the Lord’s pasture today, just as they did in the days of Jeremiah. But woe to them! The Lord will judge the false shepherds, and He Himself will gather His repentant ones and raise up shepherds after His own heart, who will lead them and feed them His truth! 

Verses 1-2 —

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending (feeding) My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to (cared for) them; behold, I am about to attend to (judge, punish) you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD. 

This warning was given by the LORD in the days of Jeremiah, and it is given to today’s false shepherds! Note that He does not exhort them to repent, but warns them of His coming judgment of them.

To today’s false shepherds, I speak His words — 

Woe to you, for you are destroying and scattering the sheep of His pasture! So, you will be judged for the evil of your deeds! 

Because of your false words, His sheep are like sheep without a shepherd, just as Jesus Christ declared of God’s people in the days when He walked the earth (Matthew 9:36). They are confused and panicked, weary and flung away from the Lord. Therefore, you will be confused and panicked, weary and flung away into hell, by the Lord. 

You were responsible to protect His flock, and feed them the truth. But you are filled with lies, so you have fed them that which fills you. Therefore, they perish for lack of holy, intimate knowledge of the Lord (Hosea 4:6). Therefore, you will perish.

You have gathered the sheep of His pasture to you, with your false words. You have led them to worship the god of self, thereby committing adultery against their Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and denying their Lord. Therefore, He will gather you to Him in the day of judgment, and He will deny you (Matthew 7:23).

As Jude, Jesus’ half-brother, wrote —

Jude 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (immorality) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

You who are false shepherds have crept in unnoticed, to teach lies.You have not led them through the narrow gate, into zoe, eternal life. Instead, you have led His sheep down the wide gate and onto the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Therefore, He will destroy you.

You have not gathered His sheep to Him, but to yourself. Therefore, you will be gathered by the Lord, and destroyed. You have driven them out of His pasture and into exile. Therefore, He will drive you into eternal exile, in hell.

The sheep of His pasture are driven out from His presence and His protection by encouraging His sheep to sin (Isaiah 59:1-2)! Therefore, He will drive you out from among His sheep, and cast you into hell, where you will be eternally tortured and will eternally burn (2Peter 2:17, Mark 9:43-44, 46).

You have preached rebellion against the Lord (Jeremiah 29:32). The enticing false words you have spoken have destroyed many of the sheep of His pasture. So He will destroy you. 

Instead of being shepherds who protect His sheep from wolves, you yourselves are the wolves in sheep’s clothing who have come into His congregation, and even have come up from among His congregation. You devour His sheep, and they perish. Therefore, He will send you into the gaping mouth of hell, to be endlessly devoured by fire.

Paul warned the shepherds he appointed for the church at Ephesus —

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Verse 3 —

“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.”

He Himself will gather the repentant remnant of His flock, bring them back to Himself, and —

Jeremiah 3:15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 “It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD (see Revelation 21:2); nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” 

He will gather the repentant remnant of His flock. He will appoint for them shepherds after His own heart. Even now, the repentant remnant of His church and His people Israel are gathered to Him through such shepherds. 

Shepherds after His own heart are shepherds whose hearts are filled with His Holy Spirit. Their sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24), so they do not sin against the Lord. Therefore, they do not encourage His sheep to sin. They have pure, cleansed hearts (Acts 15:9). They are partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4), and bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Because they are His shepherds, they feed His sheep the true spiritual food they need, so they no longer spiritually starve. The Spirit teaches His shepherds all the truth (John 14:26, 16:13), so they are able to teach His sheep the truth that the Holy Spirit teaches them. His shepherds exhort His sheep to ask their Father in heaven to fill them with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), as Jesus Christ commands (Acts 1:4-5). 

His repentant sheep obey the command of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Chief Shepherd over the shepherds He gives you (1Peter 5:4). They stay and wait and are they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). Therefore, they no longer speak of the ark of the covenant in which God’s presence dwelled, for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit fully and permanently dwell inside of them (John 14:23). Thus, their bodies have become His ark. 

And because His sheep’s sin nature has been crucified, they do not walk anymore according to the stubbornness of their hearts, because heir hearts are longer evil. Instead, their hearts are purified (Acts 15:9), just like the hearts of the shepherds He has given them. They are no longer deceived by the lies of the false prophets, for the Holy Spirit teaches them all things, just as He teaches the shepherds the Lord has given them.

Verse 4 — 

 “I will also raise up (establish, decree) shepherds over them and they will tend (shepherd) them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

His shepherds teach His sheep the truth that Jesus Christ will set them free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). Therefore, when they obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit, His law is written on their hearts, so they obey Him always —

Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

His sheep are filled with His perfect love, so they no longer fear judgment by the Lord (1John 4:18), for He has given them new, obedient hearts. Nor do they fear death, for it has no victory, and it has no sting for His sheep who have repented and been filled with His Spirit so they no longer sin against Him (1Corinthians 15:55)!

And none of His repentant sheep will be missing —

John 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

And in His prayer to His Father, Jesus Christ said —

John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”

Verses 5-6 — 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;  and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’”

This is a prophecy of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)! The LORD promises a righteous Branch from the lineage of David. That Branch is  Jesus Christ, who was the descendant of David, who is and eternally has been God the Son (John 1:1-12) —

Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse (the father of David), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 

This righteous Branch will reign as king — indeed, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)! He is God the Son and He rules with divine wisdom, justice and righteousness!

The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, died and rose and ascended and was glorified, returning to His Father’s right hand. Before He ascended, He commanded His apostles to wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They and the 108 who gathered with them obeyed. Thus, they became the shepherds He raised up.

Many were saved from the wrath of God and reconciled to Him when Jesus Christ walked the earth, even from among Judah and the remnant of Israel who dwelled with them. And many more have been saved over the past 2,000 years — truly saved by the good news brought on the beautiful feet of His shepherds. And continue to be saved and, in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command that His shepherds have taught them, are filled with the Holy Spirit.

All who have come to faith in Him, and have obeyed His command to filled with His Holy Spirit, will dwell securely, for His Spirit is in them and will remain in them forever —

John 14:15   “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

Verses 7-8 —

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”

He is a living God! He is eternal, active, present, and visible through His creation and through those whom He has filled with His Holy Spirit! They are His witnesses here (Acts 1:8), living proof of the living God!

When you are saved by and filled with the living God, beloved, you will say of Him, “He truly is the living Lord — I know it is true, because He fully and permanently indwells me! He led me into the true Promised Land of freedom from slavery to sin! And He has prepared a place for me where He is, so I will live with Him forever!” (See John 14:2-3.)

Lord Jesus, may Your wayward sheep repent! When they do, You will surely deliver them from the mouths of the false shepherds, and lead them to the shepherds whom You have raised up for them! Make it so, I pray! Amen!

ISAIAH SESSION 42 — BEHOLD MY SERVANT

Text: Isaiah 42

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “Behold My Servant.” In this chapter, the LORD introduces us to God the Son, Jesus Christ, His Servant. From this point forward in the Book of Isaiah, the LORD unfolds His plan for the redemption of His people, and for those who do not yet know Him, then and now!

What will His Servant do, for all who believe into Him and obey Him? Watch and listen, and I will show you!

Verse 1 —

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold,” says the LORD, “My chosen one in whom My soul delights (through whom He is pleased to satisfy a debt).” Who is His Servant? God the Son, Jesus Christ —

Matthew 20:28  “ . . .  the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The LORD continues, “I have put My Spirit upon Him (literally, given Him my Spirit permanently). And He will bring forth justice (literally, judgment) to the nations (Gentiles).” 

He will rightly judge them, offering them the same salvation and infilling of the Spirit as His people Israel. If they refuse, He will judge against them.

John the Baptist explains the permanent giving of the Holy Spirit as a new thing, saying of Jesus Christ —

John 1:32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

Never before had the Holy Spirit remained permanently. In the Old Testament, and even with John the Baptist, the Spirit come upon the Lord’s prophets, and then lifted after they had prophesied. 

But for Jesus Christ, the Spirit remained! John marveled at it! It was a sign that proved that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit and purifying fire (see Matthew 3:11, Malachi 3:3). 

Peter explains in his testimony about the Gentile, Cornelius, and his household, who were given the Holy Spirit (permanently filled with the Holy Spirit) —

Acts 15:8 “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them (literally, putting in them) the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

Verses 2-3 —

The LORD continues, saying His Servant “will not cry out or raise, nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.”

He will not cry (shriek), or lift up (so as to boast in Himself), or cause His voice to be heard in the street (as if to draw attention to Himself instead of His message). 

A bruised reed (those who are oppressed) He will not break (crush). A smoldering wick (those who have come to the end of themselves) He will not extinguish. 

He will faithfully (it is a truth that He will) bring forth judgment, both favorable and unfavorable. It is just as Jesus Christ speaks —

John 5:27 . . . and He (the Father) gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

Verse 4 —

He Himself shall not grow dim and will not be crushed (cracked into pieces) until He has established judgment (a verdict) in the earth — favorable for those who believe, or unfavorable for those who refuse Him. 

And the coastlands (again, a reference to Gentiles, per Isaiah 49:1) shall wait expectantly for His law (His instruction), trusting in it. As for His own people, He was despised by many Jews, and rejected (Isaiah 53:3). John writes —

John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Verse 5 —

Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its vegetation, who gives breath (a life-giving puff) to the people on it, and spirit (a living soul) to those who walk in it! 

God the LORD is over everything and everyone. And His Son is the Creator of everything, including you and me (Hebrews 1:3). It was only by His powerful word that all that is visible and invisible was formed. Paul proclaims of Jesus Christ, God the Son —

Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Verse 6 —

What does God the LORD say? And to whom does He say it? He says it to His Servant whom He sends to the earth. For what purpose was Jesus Christ sent? To be the perfect, sinless sacrifice, taking upon Himself the punishment we deserved (Isaiah 53:5), so that all who believe into Him and obey Him are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God!

So, to His Servant, He says, “I am the LORD. I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand (I will strengthen You) and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, and as a light to the nations.” 

He called and sent His Son, His Servant, for this purpose — to be the Establisher of a new covenant, and a Light. 

Jeremiah prophesies —

Jeremiah 31:31   “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

And the writer of Hebrews confirms it in in Hebrews 8:10-11 and Hebrews 10:4, 8-9!

It is a righteous act that reflects the LORD’s character. He is the embodiment of righteousness — He is righteousness!

The LORD will appoint His Servant as a Light for the peoples! He is the Light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5), the great Light that came into the midst of deepest darkness (Isaiah 9:2)! What will the Light do?

Verse 7 —

He will open blind eyes, healing spiritual and physical blindness! He will bring out prisoners from the dungeon (freeing us from slavery to our sin nature, per John 8:31-36), and bring out those who dwell in the spiritual darkness of the prison of their sin! 

Surely, He is the One who frees all who are captives of Satan, if they will believe into Him. Jesus Christ spoke this scripture, in Luke 4:18, saying He was the fulfillment of this scripture —

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners . . .

Verses 8-9 —

The LORD addresses the false prophets and gods whom His people are worshiping. He says, “I am the LORD, that is My name (there is no other god but Me)!” Therefore, He says, “I will not give My glory (honor) to another, nor My praise to graven images.” 

His people worshiped the gods of the land, and worshiped Him by rote — they went through the motions, but their hearts were far from Him (Isaiah 29:13) — just as it is today among many believers. They did not give Him honor, they did not praise Him. And He said, “I will not allow you to steal what is Mine!”

He continues, “Behold! The former things have come to pass,” (just as He had previously declared them). “Now I declare new things. Before they happen, I proclaim them to you!” 

The sending of His Servant is the new thing, the means of paying the debt for the breaking of the first covenant and establishing a new covenant with His people. Jesus Christ says to His disciples on the night before He was crucified —

Matthew 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

What must His sinning people — including sinning believers today — do to be restored and reconciled to their God? Believe in His Servant, His Son, Jesus Christ!

Verse 10 —

Therefore, Isaiah says, “Sing to the LORD a new song of praise, even to the ends of the earth!” Jesus Christ said this of His disciples who would obey His command to stay and wait to be filled with the Spirit —

Acts 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Everyone was commanded to sing a song of praise — those who go down to the sea — and even all that is in the sea — and Gentiles, who were part of His plan for salvation from before time began! 

I tell you the truth, when you are filled with His Spirit, you are filled with a song of praise! You cannot help but praise Him!

Verses 11-12 —

Even the desert and its cities will praise Him, the settlements of Kedar and Sela —where the offspring of Ishmael dwell — will praise Him! They will shout for joy from the tops of the mountains upon which they dwell. They will give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands — to all peoples!

And indeed, throughout the Book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, and even today, the Lord’s praise was and is declared by all people who come to Christ and then obey Him! They cannot stop speaking about what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)! They give Him all praise and honor, for only He can make a human heart obedient to Him, when believers are filled with the Holy Spirit!

Verse 13 —

The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.

I tell you the truth, in John 2:14 and forward, when Jesus Christ cleansed the temple of all the merchants and their animals and their unjust scales, the disciples remembered the words from Psalm 69:9! Zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him! And the same zeal consumes all filled believers who see that His house is broken down and filled with sin. 

We proclaim the good news that the Lord is the cleanser and purifier of their hearts, and when He does it, the Father and the Son and the Spirit come in to permanently and fully dwell inside of them!

Verse 14 — 

The LORD has kept silent for a long time. He has kept still and restrained Himself. But like a woman in labor, now He groans for the condition of His people and His church! He gasps and pants, as if in labor. The Spirit-filled Paul says to the sinning believers at Galatia —

Galatians 4:19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you — 20 but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Verses 15-17 —

The LORD promises that He will completely devastate those who rebel against Him. The mountains and hills are the prideful. They do not rely upon the LORD, but upon what they themselves can grow and build with their own hands. I am speaking to today’s believers in today’s church! The LORD will dry up all the natural sources of natural replenishment upon which they rely.

And when all that they rely upon is gone, He will lead His spiritually blind people by a way they do not know, and will guide them in paths they do not know. They do not know the way because their sin has separated them from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2)! For a long time, they have not walked rightly before Him. 

He will make darkness into light before them, and rugged places into plains. His people are blinded by their spiritual darkness. But by Jesus Christ, the great Light which He will give them, His blind people will see. He will smooth the rough places in their hearts, making a highway for Him to fill them with Himself!

These are the things He will do, and He will not leave them undone. He keeps His promises, for all who will turn back to Him and obey Him!

But for those who trust in idols, who say to molten images, “You are our gods,” He promises that they will be turned back by Him, to wallow in their sin, and will be utterly put to shame! 

Verses 18-20 —

To His spiritually deaf and blind people, He says, “Hear you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see!” They are deaf to His commands, and blind to their poverty-stricken spiritual condition.
He continues, “Who is blind but My servant, Israel?” They are far from Him, they are in darkness, they are blind. 

And He asks, “Who is so deaf as My messenger whom I send?” He commanded Israel to be His witnesses, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation (Genesis 19:6), but they did not heed His commands, but rebelled against Him.

For all who will believe into His Servant and obey Him, Peter says this, quoting from Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 —

1Peter 2:9   But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The Jews (and today’s church) have seen many things — miracles done by the LORD, over and over again! But they do not observe them (take heed of them). Their ears are open to hear His commands, but they do not hear (obey)!

Verses 21-22 —

The LORD was pleased, because of His righteousness, to make the law great and glorious! He gave the law to Moses, so His people would know His heart and His ways. But to them, it was just a series of do’s and don’ts. They were blind to the light (understanding) that it contained. So they turned to darkness, driven by the lusts of their sin nature.

Therefore, His spiritually blind and deaf people were and are plundered (utterly stolen from) and despoiled (robbed), they are trapped in cages, they are hidden away in prisons, they are a prey for Satan. There are none to deliver them, and they are a spoil (booty taken by their enemies), with none to say, “Give them back!” 

He surely will not say, “Give them back,” for they have rebelled against Him! Therefore, He has sent their enemies against them, and has allowed Satan to sift today’s believers like wheat (Luke 22:31), for they have boasted in their own strength and works, and willfully disobey Him! 

Why does the Lord punish His people and today’s church? He does it so they will return to Him from whom they have so deeply defected (Isaiah 31:6).

Hear these words, O believer, O church! You have deeply defected from Jesus Christ and your Father in heaven, and are plundered and robbed by Satan!

Verse 23-25 —

Who will actually listen to what the LORD is about to say? Who will give heed, for the time to come? 

Listen to the LORD’s words, through Isaiah —

Who gave you up for spoil, and to plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom they have sinned, and in whose ways they were not willing to walk and whose law they did not obey?

O believer, hear this today! Then and now, this is His response to those who continue to sin and rebel against Him, after He has saved them!

He pours out on them — rebellious Israel, and today’s rebellious believers — the heat of His anger, and the fierceness of battle, and it sets them aflame all around, yet they do not recognize it, and it burns them, but they did not take it to heart!

Do you not know that you are on fire, O rebellious believer? It is not the purifying fire that Jesus baptizes with, but a fire that destroys, just as He spoke —

John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me (receive my life-giving sap), he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they (the angels) gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”

And He says —

Matthew 13:49 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Do you not recognize that you are aflame? You are burned, but you do not take it to heart! You do not see that He does it so you would repent, but you continue to sin against Him.

You do not cry out for the Lord to fill you with His Spirit, so you no longer are slaves to sin. He would gladly do it, crucifying the sin nature in you, so you no longer rebel against the Lord (Galatians 5:24)! Instead of crying out, you listen to false teachers and preachers who say the Lord cannot deliver you from your sin!

Beloved, take to heart the words of Isaiah 42, and the other words the Lord asked me to speak! You are being consumed by flames, even now!

O righteous Lord, open the deaf ears and open the blind eyes of Your rebellious people and today’s believers, I pray! Let it be so. Amen.

“I DID NOT SEND THESE”

[SW414] 01/11/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“I Did Not Send These”

Text: Jeremiah 23:16-27, etc.

You must know the Sender — the Lord — in order to discern whether or not the one you follow is sent by the Sender! I do not say, “you must know about the Sender,” but “you must know the Sender, in a holy, intimate way.” But many do not know the Sender in that way, so they are easily deceived by those that the Lord has not sent.

As I said last week, those who are deceived by these polluters love their words. But they do not like the words of the prophets sent by the Lord, for they speak what the Lord tells them to speak! The ones He sends exhort believers regarding their sin and warn them of the consequences of it. But they are mocked by those who follow the polluters. They do not see that in mocking those He sent, they mock Him!

Therefore, the Lord and those who He sends lament, saying —

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed (perish) for lack of knowledge (yada, intimacy as in a marriage).

Beloved, you will quickly shun the polluters if you know the Lord in a holy, intimate way! His Holy Spirit teaches you all things (John 14:26, 16:13), and you love and know His Word (and I am not speaking of simply memorizing verses). The Holy Spirit opens it to you, so you see it more and more deeply. So you easily detect the lies of the polluters. 

But those who only know about Him are the ones who follow polluters. I tell you the truth, they will perish if they do not return to the Lord, beloved! Therefore, the Lord asked me to warn you, through Jeremiah 23.

Verse 16 —

Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD.”

Do not listen! Beloved, false prophets have not changed. These polluters who prophesy to you today are the same as in Jeremiah’s day! They do not hear from the Lord. He has not sent them. They are leading you into futility (literally, leading you astray into emptiness), with their empty words. They speak from their own imagination.

They do not speak the LORD’s words! Instead, they speak the words of their master. Infants in Christ will follow them, for they are not yet spiritual — they are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit (see 1Corinthians 3:1-2).

Paul warned the infants at Corinth, for many had begun to follow false leaders and prophets —

2Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Beloved, whoever sins — including those who say they believe in Jesus Christ — will perish, if they do not repent! Paul exhorted the infant believers at Rome, warning them that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). They had been told by polluted false apostles and prophets that as they continued to sin, God’s grace would simply increase, and cover their sin. Paul responded —

Romans 6:1   What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

But the very good news is that Jesus Christ will set you free from slavery to sin, when you obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). He will crucify your sin nature (Galatians 5:24), so you die to sin — it is no longer in you! And He will purify your heart and make you a sharer in His divine nature (Acts 15:9, 2Peter 1:4)!

The polluters say, “No worries,” regarding your sin. But their words are contrary to Jesus Christ’s words. If He says to His disciples that He will set them free from slavery to sin, then they must be slaves to sin (see John 8:31-36)! He would not need to set you free, O believer, if you were not in chains. 

Do you see it? Those who are not sent by the Lord speak things that are contrary to the Word of God, thus they call the Lord a liar. And so do those who listen to them and love their words!

Verses 17-18 —

The LORD of hosts continues, “They keep saying to those who despise Me (literally, provoke, anger Me), ‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace”’; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’18 But who has stood in the council of (literally, stood in the presence of) the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened?”

The polluted ones declare and decree, “Peace, peace,” to those who anger the Lord by sinning against Him (Jeremiah 8:11)! I tell you the truth, infant believers who walk in the stubbornness of their own hearts sometimes find their conscience has been pricked. They have heard somewhere that believers will be judged for continuing to sin against the Lord. But the polluters say, “God loves you,” calmly assuring those who are provoking the Lord! 

But who has stood in the council of the LORD? Who stands before Him, in His very presence? Who has listened to Him? Who has obeyed Him? Certainly not those who calmly assure you, saying you will have peace though you rebel against the Lord, thereby making Him angry!

All of today’s true prophets of the Lord stand before Him. They are not Christ, but they are like Him (1John 2:6, 4:17), because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit indwell them permanently and fully (John 14:23). 

They see and hear Him, for they stand in His presence. So, they say what they hear Him say and do what they see Him do (John 5:19, 7:16). They do not leave out a word of what He says to them.

Not so with the polluters! They lie, but accuse His true prophets of lying (Jeremiah 43:2), but they are sons of the devil, who is the father of lies. Jesus tells the outwardly religious Jewish priests, scribes and leaders who reject Him and lead His people astray —

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

 

With their lies, they sin against the Lord, leading many of His sheep down the broad path that they themselves are on — the path that leads to destruction (see Matthew 7:13). 

Listen to the soon-to-be-beheaded Paul’s appointment of Timothy to continue the ministry that he had begun —

2Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of (literally, standing before) God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Many infant believers today are walking in the stubbornness of their own hearts! Many reject sound teaching! Many have turned their ears from the truth and turned aside to ear-pleasing myths! Therefore, many provoke and anger the Lord!

Beloved, if you are among them, calamity surely will come upon you! The Lord will do it so you awake from your slumber, see your foolishness and return to Him. I make no apologies and give no calm assurances, for I must say what the Lord 

says! And He says —

Lamentations 2:14 “Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; 

and they have not exposed your iniquity (perversity, sin) so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.”

The polluters’ visions are not of God, because they are not sent by the Sender! The Lord says, “I did not send these!” They receive their lies and false visions from the father!

Verses 19-20 —

Jeremiah warns, “Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl (twisting, like a tornado) down on the head of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it.”

Where will the Lord’s tornado of wrath painfully descend? Upon the heads of all who are wicked (evil) among His people —  both the spiritual polluters and the spiritually polluted. As I said in my last message, believers choose to be spiritually polluted when they take in polluted teaching even though they are warned again and again by the Lord’s prophets!

The anger of the LORD will not cease until He has carried out the purposes of His heart — to judge His people by letting their enemies overrun them, and to thereby sift them like wheat (Luke 22:31) until they repent! When they are judged, they will clearly (perfectly, completely) understand the condition of their hearts, and their need for Him to change them.

I do not believe this applies to His people who will be exiled in Babylon. Why? 

According to the Word of God, during their captivity in Babylon, some Jewish captives repented. But many Jewish captives listened to the false prophets who went into captivity with them (see Jeremiah 29:24-28)! 

But when you see the condition of your heart, beloved, you surely will repent and ask the Lord to change it. You will fully understand where there is a great distance between Him and you, and will fully understand that your sin has separated you from the Lord (Isaiah 59:1-2).

In the day of the Lord, both believers and unbelievers will be judged by Jesus Christ (John 5:22, Romans 14:10, 2Corinthians 5:10). Are you ready?

Verses 21-22 —

The LORD says, “I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. 22 “But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.”

He did not send these polluted prophets. To stand in His council is to stand before Him, as I have taught from Verse 18. If they had stood in His council, they would have spoken His words to His people, so His people would hear His words. And they would have turned His people back from their evil ways and evil deeds!

Beloved, what a leader or prophet speaks determines where their words are coming from. If they exhort you to turn from your sin and warn you of the consequences of it, they are from the Lord. If they deliberately omit any mention of sin or repentance, and deliberately omit Jesus Christ’s command to be filled with the Holy Spirit so your sin nature is crucified and your heart is purified (Acts 15:9), they are not from the Lord.

Verses 23-24 —

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? 24  “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the LORD. 

“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. 

Can anything be hidden from the Lord? The writer of Hebrews answers —

Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open (laid bare) to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (NKJV)

He is a God who is near. He does not stand far off. And your heart is not hidden from His sight, as the Lord spoke through Jeremiah —

Jeremiah 17:9  “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; 

who can understand (discern, know) it? 10 I, the LORD, search (examine) the heart, I test (examine) the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

Verses 25-26 —

The LORD says, “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ 26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts (literally, how long is this in the hearts) of the prophets who prophesy falsehood (lies), even these prophets of the deception (fraud) of their own heart, 27 who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?

The LORD knows exactly what the polluting false prophets are doing. They announce that they have dreams and visions. It sounds impressive to God’s people! But the LORD asks rhetorically, “How long will the pollution remain in the hearts of the polluters?” He knows they will not repent!

Certainly, the LORD is not in their hearts! If He was, they would not say what they say and do what they do! 

Their hearts are polluted, full of fraud and lies which they share with one another, encouraging each other to continue lying. And their hearts will remain polluted until they repent from the depths of their hearts. But I cannot recall from God’s Word that any polluter ever repented. They were, after all, sons of their father, as Jesus said. And I do not recall that any polluters have repented, in today’s wayward mainline, in today’s non-denominational churches, and in today’s so-called prophetic ministries.

What is the purpose of their lies and fraud? To try to make God’s people forget the nature and character of the LORD, by the dreams they related to one another. They hide His true nature! 

The Lord is holy and righteous, and He commands believers to be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and holy as He is holy (1Peter 1:15). By the polluted words of the polluters, they make His people forget that He will judge them for their sin against Him!

The Lord has not changed, beloved! He knows your heart! Do not try to hide its contents from Him. 

But remember the good news that I spoke last week, and spoke at the beginning of today’s message! If you have become polluted by the polluters, there is a cure that will make you completely clean on the inside, with no spiritual scar. Be filled with His Holy Spirit, as He commands! Then you will have a clean heart and a crucified sin nature. Then you will no longer sin against Him. And you will be able to immediately detect the polluters, and warn others about them!

Lord Jesus, may infant believers be awakened and may these words prick their hearts, so they would return to You! Make it so, I pray! Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 41 — LET US COME TOGETHER FOR JUDGMENT

Text: Isaiah 41

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be, “Let Us Come Together For Judgment.” In this chapter, the LORD encourages His people who have repented in this passage, and judges the false prophets and false gods among His people.

Why do I say His encouragement is for the repentant? Because of Isaiah 40:27-31, a picture of His people who rebel, and His people who repent. So, if you are rebelling against the LORD, O believer, do not claim any of the promises of God for yourself, but repent!

Verse 1 —

Through Isaiah, the LORD commands the coastlands (islands, a reference to the Gentiles/non-Jews) to be silent. And He commands not only His people (in Isaiah 40:31), but Gentiles to gain new strength. If they repent and believe into Him, they will become His adopted sons and daughters.

This is a clear picture of the ingathering of non-Jews, which happened in the Book of Acts and is still happening today. Jesus Christ came to save from God’s wrath whoever will believe into and obey Him, be they Jew or Gentile, and to reconcile them to the one true God.

There is no “let” in these next lines of Verse 1. He commands them to come forward, to speak, and to come together with Him for judgment. He judges those who do good, with a positive judgment that results in eternal life, and those who do evil with a negative judgment that results in condemnation (see John 5:27-29). 

Verses 2-3 —

The LORD now speaks through Isaiah concerning Cyrus, king of Persia, who has not yet been born, but 150 years from the date of this prophecy will issue a decree. In it, all Jews who want to return from captivity in Babylon to Jerusalem will be free to go. It is a matter of history, and is recorded on the cylinder of Cyrus, and in the Word of God —

2Chronicles 36:22   Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia — in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah — the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!’”

Remember that the Medo-Persians overthrew Babylon. So, the people of Judah who were in captivity were now under Persian rule — thus, the reference to the east.

The LORD (not Cyrus’ god, Marduk) stirred Cyrus to let the captives return to Jerusalem. He called Him in righteousness, to fulfill His promise to His people that they would return after 70 years of captivity (Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10). The LORD called Cyrus to His feet, a position of servanthood.

NOTE: This prophecy was fulfilled by Cyrus, and is also a prophecy fulfilled when the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the promised Messiah, the faithful Servant we will see in coming chapters. For all who believe into Him and obey Him, Jesus Christ will bring them into the true Promised Land of the kingdom of heaven! 

Here and now, He will establish His kingdom in believers’ hearts, when they cry out to their Father in heaven to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). And when they go to be with Him, they will forever dwell with God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the kingdom of heaven.

So just according to the LORD’s plan and promise Cyrus delivered up nations before him, and subdued kings. He made them like dust with his sword, as the wind-driven chaff with his bow. He pursued them, passing on in safety, by a way he had not been traversing with his feet. It was the same with Jesus Christ, who defeated Satan by way of the cross (Colossians 2:15)! And in the end, He will judge all people (John 5:28-29, Revelation 19:1 and forward).

Hallelujah!  We serve a God who knows everything, plans everything, and keeps His promises, if we repent and believe and obey His commands. And do not be deceived. It is impossible to obey until you are filled with His Spirit, as He commands (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5).

Verse 4 —

The LORD asks, “Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.”

Indeed, Jesus Christ is the First and the Last —

Revelation 1:17   When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,” 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

And —

Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Jesus Christ and God the Father have eternally existed. So, before anything was, God had already planned to call forth Cyrus’ generation for the fulfillment of His promise to return His repentant people to the land. Do you see it? The LORD knew Cyrus’ name, 220 years before Cyrus was to release His people!

He called forth the generations that led to the natural birth of Jesus Christ. He called forth you! He called forth me, for such a time as this! He already knew that, though I was far from Him and mocked Him for over forty years, I would turn to Him and repent, be saved and be filled, and become His messenger! 

Who is in charge of history? The Lord, who sits above time and knows the end, from the beginning! I stand in awe of Him!

Verses 5-7 —

As for the Gentiles who reject Him, they have seen and are afraid. They have seen the work of the LORD, to restore His people. Even to the ends of the earth, everyone trembles at what they have seen. 

They draw near and come for judgment, per Verse 1. They have no choice.

Each one encourages his neighbor, saying, “Be strong!” How do they strengthen themselves? By making more idols, and worshiping them! It is just as true today, except that in today’s church and among today’s believers, the idol they make and worship is the idol of self.

How foolish to trust in something made by man, how foolish to trust in man’s wisdom and man’s ways, and how foolish to trust in the world system that defies God! But believers do so, and their false leaders, false teachers, false preachers and false prophets encourage them to worship themselves! 

I tell you the truth, just as I did in the last teaching of Isaiah 40:19-20, nothing made by man is built on a solid foundation. It will totter and fall, no matter how carefully it is built by man, and no matter how strong their structure. It was not built by the Lord, so it will surely fall!

Verses 8-10 —

But for His repentant people, He will save them! He chose them, by way of Abraham, who He still calls His friend, for Abraham is now with Him —

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

And you, too, O believer, are the offspring of Abraham, by faith in Jesus Christ —

Romans 4:16   For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham (that is, those who have faith in the Lord) . . .

Verses 11-14 —

 

When believers repent, and when Israel no longer rejects their Messiah, Jesus Christ, all who are angered at us will be shamed and dishonored. Those who contend with us will be as nothing and will perish. We will seek but not find those who quarrel with us. Those who war with us will be as nothing and non-existent. 

Why? Because He is the God of the repentant — the LORD your God who upholds your right hand, who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you. Do not fear, you worm (in comparison to His majesty), you men (humankind), I will help you, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”

Verses 15-16 —

When believers repent, and when Israel no longer rejects their Messiah, the LORD makes us new, sharp threshing sledges, with double edges. We will thresh those who are prideful and boast of their greatness (mountains and hills). We will pulverize the mountains, and make the hills like chaff. 

We will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, for they are chaff, which is useless. It is not in our power that we will do this, but in His power. His wind — His breath — will carry them away. The storm — His storm  — will scatter them. But we who have repented will rejoice in the LORD, and will glory in the Holy One of Israel! We will boast in Him, and shine for Him!

Verse 17 —

Afflicted and needy believers (those who hunger and thirst for righteousness) are seeking water, for they know they have none. Their tongue is parched with thirst for the living water with which Jesus Christ will fill them —

John 4:14 “ . . . but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well (literally, gushing fountain) of water springing up to eternal life.”

John 7:37   Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The LORD Himself will answer those who believe in Him. Because HE is their God, He will not forsake them (leave them destitute)!

Verses 18-20 —

The LORD will open rivers of living water on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of those who have humbly thirsted and hungered. Those whose hearts were a wilderness will be like a pool of water, and those who were spiritually dry will be like fountains of water, just as He promised in John 4:14 above!

The LORD will put trees that must be well-watered— cedars, acacias, myrtles, olive trees, junipers, box trees, and cypress — in the wilderness. He will place you, O believer who hungered and thirsted and were filled with His Holy Spirit, in the wilderness of this world, and you will thrive. 

The Lord will make you thrive, even under the most difficult circumstances. He will do it so that everyone around you will see and recognize and consider and gain insight as well! What does He mean by insight? They will fully understand that the hand of the LORD has done it, and the Holy One of Israel has created something miraculous — a human being filled with His living water, to the point where it gushes forth from them, and to the point that they remain well-watered even in the midst of the utter dryness of much of today’s church, and of the world!

Verses 21-24 —

Now the LORD turns to the false leaders, priests, and prophets who led Israel astray into idolatry. The scene is a courtroom, and they are on trial. The LORD mocks them and those who follow them, for they do not speak the truth, and know nothing.

The King of Jacob (Israel) says, Present your case, bring forward your strong (arguments, Hebrew-to-English). Let them (the false prophets) bring forth and declare to Us (the Father, the Son and the Spirit) what is going to take place. 

As for the first things, the beginning, declare what they were, that We may consider them and know their outcome, or announce to Us what is coming. They cannot, for only the one true God declares the end from the beginning —

Isaiah 46:9  “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure . . .’”

Again, He mocks their false gods, “Declare the things that are going to come afterward, that We may know that you are gods. Indeed, do good or evil, that We may anxiously look about Us and fear together.”

And He says, “Behold, you are of no account, and your work amounts to nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination.” Have you chosen the false god of self? Then repent, for it is a false god, it is nothing, and by worshiping it, you have become an abomination to the Lord!

Verse 25 —

The LORD says, “I have aroused one (Cyrus) from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun he will call on My name . . .” The sun rises in the east, but here he says Cyrus will from the north. 

The Expositors Bible Commentary explains that north and east are combined in Verse 25. Why? From Israel’s location and their point of view, Cyrus originated in the east, in Persia, and carried out major conquests to the north of Israel.

The LORD will cause Cyrus to be victorious. King Cyrus will come upon rulers as upon mortar, even as the potter treads clay. He will, 220 years hence, overrun and trample Israel’s enemy, Babylon. And it is true of Jesus Christ, who has conquered Satan! And at the end of things, He will return as a warrior and a judge, as I have shown you from Revelation 19:1 and forward!

Verse 26 —

The LORD now taunts the false prophets to prophesy to the Godhead. Therefore, I capitalize “We” and “Us” in the next few verses. 

He asks the false prophets, “Who has declared this from the beginning, that We might know or from former times, that We may say, “He is right!” Surely there was no one who declared, or proclaimed or heard your words, O false prophets of Isaiah’s time, and false prophets of today!

Verse 27 —

The LORD formerly said, “Behold, here they are.” This is a poor translation, from my NAS Bible. The KJV translates more accurately, “The First (Verse 4b) shall say to Zion, Behold! Behold them!” And the First said to Jerusalem, “I will give a messenger of good news.” 

He spoke of John the Baptist, and of Jesus Christ, and of those who are filled with His Spirit and working in His fields which are ready for harvest today!

Verses 28-29 —

The LORD says, “But when I look, there is no one, and there is no counselor among them who, if I ask, can give an answer. Behold, all of them are false; their works are worthless, their molten images are wind and emptiness.” 

None of the false prophets can answer His questions, nor can those who are their followers. No one prophesies truth, and those who follow false prophets are following lies. Who are you following, beloved?

It was the same when Jesus Christ walked the earth. The Jewish leaders, priests, rabbis, and even the Sanhedrin, who should have recognized their Messiah, rejected Him. It was not a surprise to the LORD. He later says of His Christ, through His prophet Isaiah —

Isaiah 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, 

nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

The Jews, during Jesus’ earthly ministry were false teachers. And Jesus Christ exposed their hypocrisy and falsehood before the crowds in Jerusalem —

Matthew 23:13   “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

Matthew 23:15   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

And He says —

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

They were false ones, and there are many such false ones in today’s church. But sadly, most believers have no discernment to see that they are false. That is why, in today’s church, many are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, like the believers at Laodicea (see Revelation 3:17). 

But beloved, if you will repent, if you will return to the LORD, He will receive you back, and you will live in His victory over Satan, delivered from your sin nature, and made a super-conqueror (John 8:31-36, Galatians 5:24, and Romans 8:37)!

Hear and heed these words that the Lord has given me to speak today. Lord Jesus, let it be so, I pray. Amen.