ISAIAH SESSION 12 — HIS HAND IS STILL STRETCHED OUT

Text: Isaiah 9:8-10:4

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He has assigned me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be “His Hand Is Still Stretched Out.” “Hand” means strength, power, and it is stretched out against His people in Ephraim (northern Israel) who defy Him and continue to rebel against Him. But it is also stretched out today, against His people who defy Him and rebel against Him. His anger does not turn away from those who refuse to repent. 

Isaiah 9:8-21

Verses 8-10 —

The Lord (the LORD of Hosts, the Captain of the armies of the LORD) sends a message (a word — that is, a prophecy) against Jacob, and it falls (lights upon) on Israel. Again, when His people Israel are backslidden, he calls them Jacob, the supplanter and deceiver who wrestled with Him and was changed by Him, and his name was changed to Israel.  

And all the people know (declare) — Ephraim and the inhabitants of its capitol, Samaria. In pride and arrogance, they speak, because they think they are wiser than the LORD!

What do they say? The bricks have fallen down. We are being conquered! But WE will rebuild! The sycamores (fig-bearing trees) have been cut down, but WE will replace them with cedars, a symbol of tenacity — that is, firmly gripping. 

Assyria had already overrun some of the northernmost parts of Ephraim. But the rest of northern Israel, especially the capital, Samaria, think they cannot be conquered.

 So they pay no attention to Assyria, nor to the LORD’s prophets. No matter what our enemies do, we can and will rebuild! They exalt themselves against their God! Their arrogance flies in the face of the Lord, who has warned them again and again, through His prophets! 

How often do believers do that today? The LORD has allowed Satan to attack them, but they say,  I will build myself back up, better than ever! I will firmly grip my future, and make it happen! 

They do not stop to ask the Lord if they are broken down because He is disciplining them for their sin. I pray they would see it, and repent! 

Verses 11-12 — 

Because of the arrogance and rebellion of all of Ephraim, the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin (Syria) and spurs them on! The Syrians on their east, and the Philistines on their west, devour Israel with the whole mouth. They greedily gobble them up! 
No matter where northern Israel turns, they will find that their neighboring countries have joined forces with Assyria. And their enemies arise at the LORD’s orders. He is in charge, not His people Israel!

In spite of all that the LORD has just described to them, His anger does not turn away. It is not yet quenched. And His hand (power, strength) is still stretched out against them.

Verse 13 —

Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. They see their enemies invading them, but rely on their own strength and spurn Him! They do not cry out in repentance and say, Forgive us! They say, we can take care of ourselves! Thus, they act foolishly!

Verses 14-15 —

Therefore, the LORD cuts off (destroys) both the head and the tail from Israel, palm branch (the most honored) and bulrush (the most humble in circumstance but not in heart) in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man (exalted of face), and the false prophets are the tail. 

They will be cut off, they will be killed, in a single day! It is just as with Assyria, when they came against Jerusalem. The angel of the LORD struck 185,000 in one night! 

Verses 16-17 —

There is a lesson here for all of us! And the lesson continues. Those who guide this people and lead them astray will be brought to confusion (destroyed). The Lord shall not rejoice over their young men (He has no regard for their natural strength), nor will He have pity on their orphans or their widows. 

What? Aren’t orphans and widows innocent and living in humble circumstances? 

Hear the LORD, beloved. Widows and orphans who follow falsehood are as guilty as those who lead them in that way! 

For every one of them leaders, false prophets, young warriors, orphans and widows — is godless (soiled with sin) and an evildoer. They are all rebelling against the LORD. Even the orphans and widows listen to those who speak lies to them. Every mouth is speaking foolishness (wickedness). 

Verses 18-19 —

Their wickedness is like a forest fire, consuming everything in its path. A huge column of smoke rises, as His rebellious people are consumed. Sin will consume you, O believer!

Assyria may appear to be the source of Ephraim’s destruction, but it is by (because of) the fury of the LORD of Hosts that all of the land is consumed by fire. It happens because He is stretching out His power and strength against His own people, so they may turn and repent. 

His outstretched arm, His outstretched power and strength. For thirty years, Assyria will invade and consume the land, laying siege on it, as the instrument of the LORD, for the punishment of His people. Then their work will be complete. 

But remember, His goal in judging them and punishing them is that they would hear and heed His words, and repent and return to Him! It is the same today.

Verses 20-21 —

These verses illustrate the long-held hatred between Manasseh and Ephraim, tribes of northern Israel, and their combined hatred of their brethren, Judah. 

They devour one another’s strength (right hand), but that is not enough to quench their hatred. They eat both the right hand and the left, but still they hate each other. And their mutual hatred devours both Manasseh and Ephraim. 

Is there hatred in your heart? You will surely devour yourself with it. Repent and cry out for the Lord to give you a new heart! Cry out for Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit!

In all of this, the LORD’s anger does not turn away, and His hand — His power and strength — is still stretched out. He will send them all into exile, far away from His presence!

Isaiah 10:1-4

Verses 1-2 —

The LORD’s judgment continues. Woe to those who enact evil statutes — ones that are contrary to Him! And woe to those who constantly record unjust decisions — ones who rule against those who are faithful to Him!

Why do they do such things? In order to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of His people of their rights! Unjust rulings abound against those who are least able to defend themselves.

Verse 3 —

So, what will Ephraim do in the day of punishment and in the devastation the LORD has ordered from afar? To whom will Ephraim flee for help? Where will they hide the wealth they prize, so it is not taken from them? 

There will be nowhere for the people of Ephraim to hide, and no help from the Lord. He will send them into captivity, that they may turn and repent. 

Verse 4 —

In the day of punishment, there will be only two choices for His rebellious people can do — crouch among the captives, or fall among the slain. Go into captivity, or try to fight, and die at the hands of the Assyrian army.

In all of this, His anger does not turn away, nor does He withdraw His hand (his strength, His power). There is more to come, not only for Ephraim, but for Assyria and Jerusalem. The LORD has promised, per 8:8,  that Assyria will even come up to Jerusalem’s neck! Yet Assyria will flee, when the angel of the LORD destroys 185,000 of their soldiers in one night!

O Lord, the arrogance of northern Israel is seen in today’s church. May believers and church leaders see that boasting about man’s strength, the cleverness of man’s ways, and man’s intellect is as repugnant to the Lord as Ephraim’s reliance on their riches and their own military strength. May they understand that You are furious with them, Lord, and repent. Let it be so, I pray. Amen.

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THE WHITEWASHED CHURCH

[SW383] 6/15/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“The Whitewashed Church”

 Text: Ezekiel 13:1-16, etc.

I want you to picture a wall, thickly covered with plaster to conceal what lies beneath. This wall is made of evil that desolates, and the thick plaster is made of witchcraft (the practice of magic). 

Who builds such a wall, and where is this wall? False prophets, teachers and leaders build it! Where is it? In Judah in the days of Ezekiel, and in the church, today! The Lord’s great desire is that you see this truth and repent, for  surely, He will forgive you, if you repent from the depths of your heart. 

Ezekiel prophesied from Babylon, where he was taken during the first of several waves of exile of the Jews in Judah. His words from the LORD were for those in exile, and those in Judah who had not yet been carried into exile. And they are for you, today.

The LORD was long gone from them — His glory (His weighty presence) had left the temple, then the outer court, and finally, Jerusalem itself (Ezekiel 11:23), because of the idolatry His people were committing. 

It is the same in today’s church. In many places, Jesus left the building long ago. 

What idolatry is being committed in today’s church? Idolatry of self, with millions, and even billions, of believers across the globe flocking to the “me-centered” gospel that is carried by false prophets, teachers and leaders in the church. 

This misleading, seductive gospel is fueled by the inborn sin nature. And those who speak it have no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18). 

I tell you the truth — though by speaking this truth, I am mocked in much of today’s church — the Lord will gladly crucify your sin nature and fill you with His Holy Spirit, O believer, if you will believe Him. 

Verses 1-2 —

The Lord commands Ezekiel to prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy. He was to say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, “Listen to the Word of the Lord.” 

If the LORD has to say, “Listen to Me,” then these prophets are certainly not listening. They do not hear from the Lord, or know Him at all, for if they did, they would never say what they say, and do what they do.

The false prophets in Ezekiel’s day did what all false prophets do — they prophesied from their own imagination. I tell you the truth, is the same today. Remember that the mark of true prophets is this — they exhort God’s people to repent, and warn them of the consequences of their sin.

Verses 3-5 —

Thus says the LORD, then and now! Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. Their end will be destruction!

Ah, but the people have no discernment that they are lying, because the people themselves are sinning and love their sin! By gleefully following false prophets, teachers, and leaders, they reveal that they are spiritually blind, and are still infants in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1). And by their gleeful following of such ones, they reveal that they do not know the voice of the Lord, or they would never follow the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5).

Because they are spiritually blind, they are happy when a false prophet says, “God’s grace will keep increasing, though you keep sinning,” and “You can’t help but sin.” Paul and I exclaim to them —

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?

O Israel, O church, your prophets have been like foxes (literally, jackals) among ruins, scavengers among what is left of Judah, and what is left of the church — they are carnivores who devour meat. They devour you, O believer!

Paul warns the Ephesian church of what was to come —

Acts 20:29 “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.

False prophets stroke and stoke the sin of infants in Christ. True prophets climb up into the breaches — the places of sin and thus, spiritual weakness in the hearts of infants in Christ  — and repair the breaches by exhorting believers to repent and ask the Lord to crucify their sin nature and fill them with His Holy Spirit. But it is up to the infants in Christ, to heed or mock the true prophets the Lord sends them.

If the words of true prophets are heeded by infants in Christ, the Lord will build a strong and impenetrable wall around them, one that stands and refuses Satan’s temptations, just as Christ did in Matthew 4:1-7)! And they will stand in the day of the Lord, at the end of things, and Jesus says they will hear from His mouth, Well done, good and faithful slave.” 

But false prophets, teachers and leaders do not speak the truth. Instead, advocate and bless behaviors that are an abomination to the Lord, and elevate those who sin — even to pulpits and even to leadership of entire denominations!

“The day of the LORD” is an end-time reference. What will you do then, O Judah, O church, O infants in Christ? You certainly will not stand, but will be judged, if you have flocked to the sweet-sounding lies of false prophets, teachers and leaders who devour you and whose words destroy you. Hear Hosea’s words about false prophets —

Hosea 4:8 They eat up (feed on) the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.

They feed on you, beloved. Their only desire is to continue to lie and to have you continue to believe their lies and continue to sin against the Lord.

Verses 6-7 —

False prophets, then and now, see falsehood and speak lying divination. I will say this in the original Hebrew-to-English — False prophets see evil that desolates, and speak witchcraft.

They say, “The LORD declares,” when the LORD has not spoken to them at all! He has not sent them!

They manipulate their hearers, stoking and stroking them with their evil words. That is witchcraft! Therefore, by their actions and words, they make it evident that the Lord does not know them at all, nor do they know Him!

And yet these prophets hope for the fulfillment of their words. They hope their words will succeed in what they want their words to do. But their words will not be confirmed, because their words do not come from the Lord. 

In the day of judgment, when they stand before Him, He will say —

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice (do) lawlessness (sin).”

The LORD says to the false prophets in Ezekiel’s day, “Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The LORD declares,’ but it was not the LORD who has spoken?” I ask the same, of today’s false prophets, teachers, and leaders!

Verses 8-9 —

Therefore, the LORD tells all false prophets, then and now, that He is against them. Why? They speak vanity (again, evil that makes desolate) and see a lie (deceit)!

Therefore, His hand is against the false prophets, then and now. They will not be in the council of His people. That means they will not be in the holy, intimate place where those who obey Him will be. They will not be part of His heavenly kingdom.

In addition, their names will not be written down in Israel’s registry. They will not be counted as citizens. They will not enter the promised land called Israel. And for today’s false prophets, their names are not written in the book of life. Only those who obey the Lord will enter His kingdom. Therefore, these false ones and their followers will not enter His kingdom. Instead, they will perish in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). 

Verse 10 —

Why will these things come upon the false prophets in Judah, and the false prophets in today’s church? It is definitely because they have misled (seduced) His people with their sweet-sounding words. What words? They say, ‘peace’ to sinning believers — today’s infants in Christ — when there is no peace between sinning believers and their Lord. 

Then and now, false prophets build walls of deceit, and plaster them over with witchcraft in order to conceal their deceit! 

The scribes of Jesus’ day were experts in the Law of Moses, but did not know the Lord. The Pharisees were the same, obeying the letter of the Law, but sinning in their hearts. Here is what Jesus says of such ones —

Matthew 23:27   “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites (actors under an assumed character)! 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.”

There are many actors under an assumed character in today’s church — even at the highest level of denominations today! They look good on the outside, because they have smeared whitewash over their witchcraft, so you cannot see them! But they are full of dead men’s bones and all impurity.

O blind believer! You do not look to the Word of God to see if what they say is truth. The Lord says then and now, My people perish for lack of intimate knowledge of Me,” and false prophets, leaders and teachers stand judged by Him already —

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed (perish) for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest . . .”

Today’s false prophets, teachers, and leaders are rejected by the Lord, but loved by blind believers who listen to those who do not know the Lord at all. And the blind ones who follow after the false ones do not know Him, either!

Verses 11-12 —

Therefore, the LORD says, Tell those who build a wall of deceit and thickly plaster it over with witchcraft , “Their wall will fall!” Their rickety wall made of lies will not stand! He will bring it down! 

He will send a flooding rain, and He will command the hailstones to fall, and a violent wind will break out. Jeremiah warns of that wind of judgment —

Jeremiah 4:11   In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people — not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for this — will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.

When the Lord has blown His wind and rained His hail, the plaster of witchcraft that has concealed the false prophets’ wall of evil that desolates will fall! Then they will be asked, “Where is the plaster with which you have plastered it?” Suddenly, the deceit they have so carefully concealed will be exposed! He will do the same to today’s false prophets, teachers and leaders!

Verses 13-14 —

Again, the LORD repeats that He will make a violent wind break out, in His wrath (fury) toward the false prophets, then and now! Remember that when He repeats His words twice in a row, what He says will happen suddenly! 

And in His anger (breathing rapidly through His nostrils because of His great passion against them), there will also come a flooding rain to consume it, in wrath!

So, He will tear down the false walls of deceit that are plastered over with witchcraft. He will bring those walls down to the ground, so that even the bottom is laid bare! And the false prophets will be consumed in the midst of what they have built! 

Nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13)! He is revealing the hidden today, for the sake of His people — including you, O infant in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1)!

I tell you the truth, even now, the Lord is exposing false prophets, teachers and leaders. But many infants in Christ continue to follow them, because they love their words and do not know and fear the one they call “Lord.”

O infant in Christ, at the end of things, on the day of judgment, you will know that He is the Lord, and there is no other. You who have had no fear of Him will suddenly fear Him, but it will be too late. You and the false ones you have loved will be destroyed.

Verses 15-16 —

The LORD has described how He will spend (accomplish) His wrath toward all false prophets, then and now. The LORD will say to His people, “The wall is gone and the plasterers are gone.” 

The plasterers who plastered with witchcraft will be gone, and the wall they built of destructive deceit will be gone. The Lord will spend His wrath on the false prophets, teachers and leaders because they have seen false visions of peace for Judah, and for the church today. The false ones who plastered, and the walls of destructive deceit that they built, will never again be seen! The LORD God declares it. Therefore, it will come to pass!

What is His purpose for exposing false prophets, then and now? That His spiritually blind people will finally see that they have believed words that will destroy them, and have been manipulated with lies, and repent from their hearts. 

He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). Peter wrote that letter to believers!

Some will say to me, “Once saved, always saved.” But those words are not in the Word of God. If they were, Jesus Christ would not have written to the believers at Sardis that, unless they repented, their names would be erased from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). 

When you believed into Jesus Christ, you were saved from being under God’s wrath, and reconciled to God. But if you continue to rebel by sinning against Him, you will become the Lord’s adversary and lose your salvation —

Hebrews 10:26  For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries (of the Lord).

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says, “Then there remains no sacrifice for sins. Such people have rejected the sacrifice of Christ.”

Beloved, true prophets build strong walls of truth and speak the life-giving Word of God. Those who heed true prophets will stand in the day of the Lord, at the end of things.

But you will only stand if you heed the exhortations of the true prophets the Lord has sent! You must repent, and obey the commands of Jesus Christ to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high, and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Heed my exhortation today, that you ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (see Luke 11:13), and crucify your sin nature —

Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (the sin nature) with its passions and desires.

Then today’s false prophets, teachers and leaders will no longer have power over you, to draw you into sin, for you will be dead to sin (again, Romans 6:1-2). Therefore, you will no longer sin against the Lord. 

So, die to sin, and you will surely live! Die to sin, and you will surely stand! 

Lord Jesus, may these words open blind eyes to see the deceit and lies they have believed. I pray it in Your name. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 11 — HOPE FOR THOSE HE HAS HUMBLED

Text: Isaiah 9:1-7

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He has assigned me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be “Hope for Those He Has Humbled.” The LORD gives a very encouraging word through Isaiah to those He has humbled, and a warning to the arrogant in northern Israel. And what He says is extremely relevant to all believers today!

First, I need to reiterate Assyria’s custom, when they invaded a country. They would carry the exiles of that nation away, and scatter them across their empire. 

Therefore, it would be impossible for that nation to form again — their people were too far from one another to reorganize. Therefore, they were unable to become a threat to Assyria. And the land they had invaded would be salted with people from other nations that Assyria had conquered.

Just according to Assyria’s custom, then, those exiled from Ephraim were scattered in other lands. Those exiled from other lands were scattered in Ephraim. It was part of the LORD’s punishment of His people, for their rejection of Him. 

Remember, He is sovereign, and chose Assyria as His instrument to humble them, so they would repent and return to Him. That is always His desire!

I also want to be sure to note that, in the Assyrian exile, and later the Babylonian exile, the LORD always ensured that there was a small remnant of the Jews who remained in the land.

Verse 1 —

As I said last time, Isaiah 8:22 spoke of the gloom and anguish that would come in the end times. But that prophecy was also for the days after Ephraim went into exile. Because of its meaning to you as a believer today, I will speak primarily from that perspective, though I will include its meaning for Ephraim.

That remnant of the Jews in Ephraim lived in gloom and anguish. They lived in spiritual darkness and distress, separated from the LORD by their sin. 

Ephraim was no longer a nation. They were under Assyrian rule. And the people of Zebulun and Naphtali were forced to live among Gentiles who worshiped other gods. 

Though the remnant was in the land, they were not free. They were slaves to the Assyrians. In the same way, many today have been saved, but they are still under the rule of their sin nature, so they are not free, but slaves to sin.

But Isaiah prophesies a time when there will be no more darkness for her who was in anguish. Which of the tribes of northern Israel were the most anguished? 

The LORD treated  Zebulun and Naphtali with particular contempt (that is, He despised them for their sin), by making them the first to go into Assyrian exile. As their countrymen looked on, they were disgraced and shamed.

But in a time coming, they will be glorious! He will honor them. How? By appointing one of their cities — Nazareth of Galilee — as the place where the Messiah, Jesus Christ, grew up and worked until His ministry began! But He was not born there.

Joseph and Mary were of the house of David; that is, King David of Bethlehem was their ancestor. So the Roman census required that they journey to Bethlehem, though she was big with child. So, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just according to Micah’s prophecy (Micah 5:2) After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph returned with Jesus to Nazareth, in Galilee. Thus, Galilee of the Gentiles was honored greatly, as the place where the Messiah lived.

Verse 2 —

The people who walk in spiritual darkness, will see a great (never-before-seen) light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them! Galilee and city of Nazareth were part of Zebulun and Nephtali, the first to go into exile. 

Now they will be the first to see this light! And for those in today’s church who are still in spiritual darkness, that same light shines on you today! O believer, your sin has separated you from the Lord (Isaiah 59:2). Come into His light and repent!

Who is this light? Jesus Christ!  Even today, He shines upon all who live in darkness, separated from God’s presence. The Spirit-inspired John writes —

John 1:5, 9 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens (shines upon) every man. 

Verse 3 —

The light of Christ will result in the multiplication (enlargement) of the nation. What nation? The LORD’s nation — the people of His kingdom!

How will His kingdom be enlarged? He chose Israel to be His people, but both Jews and Gentiles will come to the light of Jesus Christ!

The gladness of all who believe in Him will be great, for they will rejoice, knowing that by His death and resurrection, they are saved and reconciled to God! 

And their joy will be made full, even joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8), because after He ascended to heaven, He poured out His Holy Spirit 

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Beloved, if you see His light and repent and ask Him to change your heart by filling you with His Holy Spirit, you will be glad (rejoice) in His presence, because His presence has filled you! If you are filled with Him, you are filled with His divine joy — not human joy! 

Isaiah sees that this gladness will be like the rejoicing that happens at harvest time. It will be like that of those who divide the spoil. What harvest? What spoil?

First, what is the harvest? When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, the Lord sends you out to work in His harvest fields. And by His power in you, souls are harvested for His kingdom! Lift up your eyes, beloved! The fields are white for harvest (John 4:35)! Are you working in them?

Now, what is the spoil? Those who were Satan’s captives. When you are filled with His Holy Spirit, your sin nature is crucified and you become a super-conqueror (Romans 8:37) over Satan and sin, and you are set free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). You are no longer Satan’s captive!

Then you exhort others to be filled with His Holy Spirit, so they also become super-conquerors over Satan and sin, and are set free from slavery to sin. So they are no longer Satan’s captives. 

So, by the Lord’s power in Spirit-filled believers, we take Satan’s spoil! And we surely rejoice greatly, with gladness, indeed, as we see the Lord work through us to set captives free from Satan and sin!

Verses 4-5 —

When Judah comes back to the land after the 70-year-exile, she will still be under the rule — the yoke and burden — of the Persians, and then under the rule — the yoke and burden — of Rome. 

So the yoke of their burden of Babylonian captivity will be broken, but they will still be captives. They will still be subject to the staff (an implement for beating prisoners) of their rulers. Therefore, this part of the prophecy must pertain to a later time.

Judah and Jerusalem will continue to be ruled by other nations, but there will be no more wars and no more exiles. The boots and cloaks of the soldiers of the enemy armies will be burned in the fire, in celebration.

But then, at a later time, there will be Jews and Gentiles who will see the light of Jesus Christ and will be saved. Then they will obey Christ’s command to stay and wait to be filled with His Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5), and the yoke and burden of the sin nature will be broken off of them. 

Then, those who are filled will become burden lifters and yoke-breakers for others! They will exhort others to be filled with the Spirit, and the yoke and burden of the sin nature will be broken off of those believers, too!

Verse 6 —

Who will this light be? A “He,” a child born to us, just as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 7:14. That child is Jesus Christ, as I have already taught you. And Jesus Christ will rule — that is the meaning of “the government will be on His shoulders.” Think of the epaulets that are worn by the military, indicating their authority. Jesus Christ has authority over all things (see Colossians 1:16-18)!

Isaiah prophesies about His name — that is, His character, His nature, His reputation. Oh, beloved, when He saves you and reconciles you to God, you will know His character. You will know He is who He says He is!

But even more, when He fills you with His Holy Spirit, you will become a partaker of His divine nature  and character (2Peter 1:4), the Father and the Son will come to permanently dwell in you (John 14:23), and His Light will fill you so that He shines forth from you! You will become a container for His great light!

Then you fully know by personal experience that He is —

Wonderful — The Miracle-Worker! Jesus worked the works that only God can do. He told the unbelieving Jewish leaders —

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.”

John 10:38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

And He is still healing and delivering! He is still a Miracle-Worker! He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). 

But the greatest healing He does is spiritual. You will know a change has begun in your heart when you are saved. And you will know without a doubt that Jesus Christ has given you a new, pure heart, when you are filled (Acts 15:9)! 

Counselor — When you are saved, you hear, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left (Isaiah 30:21). That is the voice of the Holy Spirit. But when you are filled with His Spirit, He and the Father and the Son come to fully dwell within you. So, you no longer turn to the right or the left. You travel on the highway of holiness —

Isaiah 35:8 A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean (sinners) will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.

Mighty God — When you believe, you begin to see that Jesus Christ is your Mighty God (Excellent Warrior, Champion, Valiant One). He fights for you, until you are filled with His Spirit. Then, you know that this Mighty God is in you, and you are victorious over Satan and sin, and more —

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God (be filled with Him), so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle (grappling with an opponent) is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Eternal Father — When you are saved, you know that Jesus Christ has given you eternal life. You sense that He is with you. You are His child, so to speak, because it was through faith in Him that you were born from above (John 1:13 , 3:3). And when you are filled, you know that Jesus Christ and God the Father dwell in you, fully and permanently!

Prince of Peace — When you are saved, you are reconciled to God. In that way, you are at peace with God. But you find, just as I did when I was saved, that you are still wrestling with sin. So you are yet wretched. Then you see that Jesus Christ our Lord will rescue you from your wretchedness (Romans 7:21, 23-24)! 

When will He rescue you? When you obey His command to be filled with His Spirit! “My peace I will give to you,” He says (John 14:27). The peace He gives is not like the world’s peace — a fleeting, temporary peace. When the Prince of peace fills you with His Spirit, He fills you with His peace, and His peace emanates from you (Galatians 5:22-23)!

Verse 7 — 

There will be no end of His government and of His peace in the end times, when He comes to judge the world. And when you have seen that you have the world in you (that is, the sin nature) and ask Him to crucify it and fill you with His Spirit, there is no end of His government in you, and no end of His peace, for His peace fills you!

His throne will then be established within you. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness (Isaiah 11:4-5), from the moment He fills you, and forever! 

How will this be accomplished? By the zeal (intense fervor, passion and emotion) of the LORD of hosts, of God the Father and God the Son —

Isaiah 37:32 “For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

 

Oh, beloved! There is hope for those who He has humbled! The zeal of the LORD will accomplish a most amazing transformation in you, if you will believe! Do you see that this prophecy pertains to you personally? Then repent and ask Him to do it!

Lord Jesus, may your people see the truth in this passage, and respond by asking you to fill them with Your Spirit. Amen, Lord. So be it.

ARROGANCE LEADS TO CAPTIVITY

[SW382] 6/8/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Arrogance Leads To Captivity”

 Text: Jeremiah 36, etc. 

There are two reactions when God’s people are exhorted regarding their sin and warned of the consequences of their sin. They will either become afraid and turn back, or arrogantly ignore the LORD’s words.

What is the result of arrogance against the LORD? Exile and captivity, which happened just 25 years after this chapter of scripture. What is the result of repentance, turning back to the LORD? Forgiveness and restoration! 

I will show you both, because it is the same today, with many church leaders and believers. May you have ears to hear!

Background

Jeremiah was a Levite, a priest of the LORD. He was born and had lived in the Levitical city of Anathoth. 

 When King Josiah, who cleansed the land of false gods, had been king for 13 years, Jeremiah was called by the LORD to begin to warn Judah of the LORD’s coming judgment. 

The LORD showed him that Judah would fall away, after King Josiah. Jeremiah continued to prophesy for a total of 40-1/2 years.

Just as the LORD had shown Jeremiah, all the kings after Josiah, and the priests and prophets in the temple, arrogantly returned to worshipping false gods. The people then arrogantly worshiped gods that the kings and religious leaders worshiped.

Verses 1-3 —

King Jehoiakim was a vassal king of Judah, appointed by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt. Four years into Jehoiakim’s 11-year reign, the LORD directed Jeremiah to write down all the words that He had spoken to Jeremiah from the first day he began to prophesy until the day the LORD spoke to Jeremiah in this passage.

The LORD commanded Jeremiah to write down “all these words” the LORD had given him over the 25 years he had prophesied at that time, and then read them in the house of the LORD, and to the people in Jerusalem. Why? To prompt fear and repentance in them, when they heard of the calamity He was about to bring upon them. 

If they turned back to Him, He would forgive them and restore them. If they arrogantly continued to sin, they would be exiled from His presence and carried into captivity in Babylon.

Verses 4-8 —

But how would Jeremiah deliver the scroll? The religious leaders and priests were enraged by Jeremiah’s prophecies from the LORD (see 7:1-15 for the words Jeremiah spoke, and 26:7-11 for the leaders’ and priests’ reaction to them), and he could not longer go into the house of the LORD. He was banned.

So, Jeremiah called his scribe, Baruch, and dictated all the LORD’s words to Baruch, who then wrote them on a scroll. When the scroll was complete, Jeremiah instructed Baruch to publicly read the scroll on a fast day, to all the LORD’s people in the temple, and also to all the people from the cities who had gathered in Jerusalem on that fast day.

Repeating the LORD’s words, Jeremiah told Baruch that the LORD was giving Judah one more chance to repent for their idolatry, when the people and the leaders heard the entirety of the calamity.  Jeremiah added, “Great is His anger, and the wrath that the LORD has pronounced against this people.”

The scroll was completed after several months of dictation. So Baruch went to the LORD’s house, as Jeremiah had commanded him, and read from the scroll the words of the LORD in the LORD’s house.

Verses 9-16 —

Then, in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem, and all who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem, proclaimed a fast day. Per Verse 6, it was time for Baruch to go forth and speak the words of the scroll, to all the people assembled for the fast.

First, Baruch again read aloud the LORD’s words in the scroll, in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of one of the scribes. The scribe’s son, Micaiah, also heard all the words of the LORD, and went down to the king’s house, into the scribe’s chamber there. 

All the officials were there. Micaiah declared all the words Baruch had read. They sent a messenger, Jehudi, to Baruch, telling him to bring the scroll to them. He obeyed. They asked him to read it. He did.

Their reaction was fear! They heard the words of all the calamity the LORD was going to bring upon them, if they did not repent from their idolatry and arrogance! They vowed to report the words to King Jehoiakim. But they did not repent.
Verses 17-19 —

The officials confirmed from Baruch that the scroll was written by him at the dictation of Jeremiah. Then they told Baruch and Jeremiah to hide, and to tell no one of their whereabouts.

Verses 20-21 —

The officials then went to the king, but kept the scroll in the chamber of one of the scribes. They reported all the words to the king, who then sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi then read it to the king and all his officials who stood beside him.

Verses 22-26 — 

All of this happened in winter. Therefore, the king was in the winter house, with a fire burning in the brazier before him. 

After Jehudi had read a few columns of the scroll, the king arrogantly cut it off the scroll with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire, until the whole scroll was consumed in the fire. Why? He did not like the words of the LORD. He did not consider the words of the LORD worthy of anything but destruction. Because of his arrogance, it was he who would be destroyed, because the word of God cannot be destroyed —

Psalms 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled (stands, is established) in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Jesus Christ declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

King Jehoiakim and his officials did not fear the LORD’s words of impending calamity. They did not tear their garments in mourning, at the words of the LORD. They did not repent. 
Then King Jehoiakim ordered that Jeremiah and Baruch be seized. But the LORD hid (concealed) them. 

Verses 27-28 

 

So the LORD ordered Jeremiah to take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were on the first scroll that had been burned by Jehoiakim. The Word of God cannot be destroyed.

Verses 29-32 —

Jeremiah was to say to Jehoiakim, Thus says the LORD, “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will make man and beast cease from it (that is, die)?” The words of judgment on the scroll were the LORD’s, not Jeremiah’s.

Because Jehoiakim arrogantly disregarded the LORD’s warning, the LORD swore that Jehoiakim’s offspring would not sit on the throne of David. His son, Coniah, reigned three months, surrendered to Babylon, and was exiled. Then there were no longer any kings in all of Israel, even to this day. 

And Jehoiakim would be dishonored in his death. His dead body would not be buried or entombed, but would be cast out into the heat of day and the frost of night.

All of this calamity would come upon Jehoiakim because he did not listen to the words of the LORD that He declared to them through Jeremiah. Instead, he arrogantly ignored them, cut them up, and burned them.

Then, Jeremiah dictated another scroll to Baruch, and added many words of the LORD that were like the first words on the first scroll were written down.

The Babylon invasion and exile of Judah was the LORD’s judgment of the arrogance of Jehoiakim, The last king of Judah was Coniah’s uncle, Zedekiah, who was vassal king of Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon. And all of Judah went into exile or perished.

Do you see it? Exile and captivity always results, when God’s people are arrogance toward Him — both then and now!

 

A contrast, in King Josiah 

King Josiah was Jehoiakim’s father. The book of the Law of Moses was found by Hilkiah the priest. It had been lost during the apostasy under the rein of Josiah’s father. When Josiah heard the words of the book of the LORD, he repented —

2Kings 22:10 Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. 11

When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.

Huldah the prophetess then told King Josiah what the LORD would do, because he repented —  

2Kings 22:19 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD. 20 “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.”’” So they brought back word to the king.”

So, Josiah would be honored in his death, because he repented. 

A Word for the King Jehoiakims in today’s church

From Jeremiah 36:23, remember that after Jehudi had read a few columns of the scroll, the king arrogantly cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire, until the whole scroll was consumed in the fire. 

I tell you the truth, beloved. Calamity awaits today’s church and believers, who have strayed far from the Lord! 

There are many false prophets who defy the LORD by twisting His words, and deleting some passages entirely, in order to feed the lusts and desires of both the leaders and believers in today’s church. They are arrogant, and have no fear of the LORD. Neither do their followers.

When they twist and delete the Word of God, the false prophets effectively cut it to pieces, and burn it. Why? They do not like the words of the LORD. They do not consider the words of the LORD worthy of anything but destruction. Their arrogance has been heard in heaven, and judgment is coming to them and the church leaders and believers who love their teaching 

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?

Arrogance leads to captivity! The false prophets have already become captives of Satan —

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.

But both the false prophets and those who have flocked to them — from the highest leadership positions to the believers in the pews — will perish in the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:15), unless they repent.

Jesus says of the current days 

Matthew 24:11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness (sin) is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”

Beloved, a day of judgment is coming, and believers will be judged first —

1Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Jesus Christ says that, despite hearing the words in this passage of scripture, neither today’s false prophet nor leaders and believers will fear. They will not repent. Jesus Christ says they will all continue to burn up the Word of God in the fire of their own desires! 

Again, they are arrogant, considering His words to be unworthy to heed and deserving of burning, so nothing is left to prick their consciences!

I tell you the truth, O foolish church, nothing can change or destroy His word! Again —

Psalms 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Jesus Christ declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

I exhort you to heed the words the LORD gave me in a prophetic song in 2008 —

My Word will never pass away. It will forever stand. It cannot ever be destroyed by vain attempts of man. 

My Word cuts through all man’s pretense, so each their heart can see. I do it as an act of love, so no one is deceived. 

The truth and power My word contains, many won’t receive, nor let it pierce their stony hearts. For them, My heart is grieved.

The last verse of the song reveals the cure —

Become a doer of My Word, and surely, you’ll be blessed. You’ll enter into My own life, and in Me, you will rest. You’ll enter into My own life, and in Me, you will rest! 

Ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit, O believer (Luke 11:13)! In a moment of time, you will become an obedient doer of His Word. In a moment of time, You will enter His own life, because His own life will enter you and fill you completely and permanently (John 14:23)! Then you will have a front row seat to watch Him work in and through you. 

But remember that, in that prophetic song the Lord gave me, He said many will not receive the truth and power of the Word of God! Many will not tremble with fear, knowing they have sinned! For them, His heart is grieved. He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9)! Therefore, repent!

I will keep boldly writing and speaking the truth of God’s Word. Some may try to quiet me, but I will speak it to you, and the LORD will give me more to add to it. When I have done all He has set my hand to do, I will go to Him. But another will replace me and continue to declare His Word.

Lord Jesus, I have spoken as you have asked me to speak. Your Word will not come back void. Those who receive it humbly, and mourn and repent, will surely be blessed. May Your church have ears to hear. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 10 — HIS SWIFT AND SPEEDY PUNISHMENT

Text: Isaiah 8

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He assigns me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give today’s teaching a title, it would be “His Swift and Speedy Punishment.” He quickly and suddenly disciplines those He loves, if they do not repent when they hear His warnings. As I have said throughout this study, His aim is that they turn back to Him!

Verses 1-2 — 

After warning King Ahaz in the last chapter, the LORD instructed Isaiah to take a tablet — a large writing surface that could be displayed publicly — and write on it, “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” It would stand as a witness to the people, that Isaiah’s words were truly from the Lord.

God’s judgment on Syria and Ephraim will be swift, through Assyria. And Assyria will gather much booty from Syria and Ephraim. But then, Assyria will swiftly become the LORD’s prey, and will speedily abandon their invasion of Judah and Jerusalem, after the LORD sends His angel to strike down 185,000 of the Assyrian army in one night (Isaiah 37:36-37). 

I believe the prophecy extends farther, too. Later, according to the LORD’s plan, Babylon will swiftly overpower Judah and Jerusalem, carrying away much booty. But in 70 years, Babylon will suddenly, speedily become prey and fall to the Medes and Persians, in one night (Daniel 5:25-30)!

The LORD promised Isaiah that there will be witnesses to what He had told him, in addition to the witness of the tablet. Uriah the priest, and Zechariah (likely a member of the Levitical priesthood) will be the LORD’s faithful witnesses. They had not joined in Jerusalem’s apostasy (abandonment of the LORD).

Why did the LORD direct Isaiah to have additional witnesses? Again, to prove the authenticity of the prophecy. No one would be able to say that Isaiah prophesied after the LORD had taken action. He did not prophesy after the fact, but in advance, to warn God’s people! Therefore, his prophetic word had to have come from the LORD.

Verses 3-4 —

Isaiah then approached his wife, who was a prophetess (that is, she also prophesied), and she conceived and gave birth to a son. It seems like Isaiah is suddenly speaking history, and no longer prophesying. But read on!

The LORD directed Isaiah to name the child Maher-shalal-hash-baz, which means “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.” His son’s name was a prophecy of the coming invasion of Assyria. So, every time someone spoke his son’s name, the prophecy would again be declared!

The LORD said that before Isaiah’s son is able to say My father, My mother — that is, before he is able to understand his relationship to his parents —  Damascus, capitol of Syria, and Samaria, the capitol of Ephraim, will be carried away, in the presence of the king of Assyria. The LORD’s swift, speedy judgment is coming to Syria and Ephraim, within three years, for a child understands his relationship to his parents anywhere from 18 months to three years of age.

So there were three witnesses to the authenticity of Isaiah’s prophecy: 1) it was written on the large tablet for public display; 2) it was told to two faithful witnesses, and 3) it was again confirmed by the name of Isaiah’s son, every time his son’s name was spoken.

Any charge of sin must be confirmed by two or three witnesses, per Deuteronomy 17:6. This time, it was three.

Verses 5-6 —

The LORD further spoke to Isaiah, that the swift and speedy judgment of Ephraim will be meted out by the LORD because they had rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah. It was a reference to the pool called Siloam in Jerusalem, and a symbol or type of the LORD’s gentleness toward His people who do not rebel against Him.

King Ahaz and all who trusted and rejoiced in the king of Assyria were rebels against the LORD, just as the son of Remaliah (Ephraim’s king) rebelled by trusting and rejoicing in Rezin (Syria’s king). 

Jerusalem and Judah, and Ephraim, trusted in man and in man’s strength, not in their God. They knew they were not right with Him, but instead of repenting, they sought help elsewhere! Hear this, O church, O believer!

Verse 7 —

Therefore, BEHOLD, says the LORD! Take notice, Jerusalem and Judah! Take notice, King Ahaz!

The LORD will bring on Syria and Ephraim the strong and abundant waters of Assyria, since they rejected Him and His gently flowing waters! The king of Assyria, in all his glory (his great army, a display of his power) will wash over Syria and Ephraim as powerfully as a river that rises up and completely inundates the land with water. 

Verse 8 —

Then the king of Assyria and his armies will sweep on into Judah, overflow it, and pass through it, rising even to its neck — a reference to Jerusalem (see Isaiah 36, for the account of that attempted invasion). Assyria’s huge armies will spread its wings across the land and fill “your land, O Immanuel.”

“Your land, O Immanuel” was spoken by the LORD as sarcasm, for they certainly had not sought “God with us,” and saw the land as theirs, not His! So, He was certainly not with them, in their rebellion against Him! 

Are you rebelling against Him? Then He is not with you. Hear and heed, O church, O believer! His arm is not too short, nor is His ear deaf, but your sin has caused a separation from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2)!

Hezekiah was king of Judah when Assyria invaded Judah, captured many of its cities, and was now at the wall of Jerusalem. King Hezekiah clung to the LORD (2Kings 18:6), faithfully obeying Him.

So when Assyria was at the wall in Jerusalem, mocking the LORD, he mourned (Isaiah 37:1) and prayed to the LORD, spreading out before the LORD Assyria’s derision and blasphemy against the LORD (Isaiah 37:14). Then, as I have noted, the LORD sent His angel, and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were struck dead in one night. Swiftly, speedily, Assyria was judged! 

NOTE: Many Bible scholars have theorized about why Isaiah Chapters 36-39 are written as history, in prose — a sudden change from Isaiah’s prophecies that were written in poetic form. But the purpose is obvious, to me. At the LORD’s instruction, Isaiah included what transpired in the days of King Hezekiah as proof of the prophecy the LORD gave him. The historical record is a fourth witness to His people — including you and me — that the LORD had spoken to him, and that He is faithful to discipline and punish those who rebel against Him.

Certainly, Assyria rose to the neck — even the to wall at Jerusalem. But again, it was not yet time for Judah and Jerusalem’s exile. God determines such things, not men.

Verses 9-10 

In their own time of trouble, Judah and Jerusalem will pretend alliance to the LORD, claiming that He will break all peoples who come against them. They will tell their enemies that the LORD will break them and shatter them. They are sure the LORD will save them, even though they rebel against Him. 

They would say to their enemies, “Give ear!” Listen and heed! “Gird yourselves and be shattered!” The LORD often repeated His words when something was to happen quickly. So they would mimic Him, repeating to their enemies, “Gird yourselves and be shattered,” as if God would act quickly on behalf of His rebellious people. 

Why did they believe the LORD would defend them, despite their rebellion? They said, “for God is with us!” Enemies, don’t you understand? He will rescue us because we are His people!

Believers in today’s wayward church say, No matter what plan Satan devises against us, it will be thwarted by the Lord! We declare and decree it! No matter what Satan attempts, it will not stand! We declare and decree it!

Why do they believe the LORD will defend them, despite their rebellion? They think God is with them! But He is not!

Verses 11-12 —

The LORD spoke to Isaiah, with mighty power, and instructed him, saying, Do not walk in the way of this people. Do not live as they live, rebelling against Me and yet declaring I will save them! 

Do not say, it is a conspiracy. The Hebrew word means “joining together, loving.” The LORD was saying, Do not join together with them and love what they love! 

Do not fear what they fear, or be in dread of it. The LORD is sovereign. He determines by whom and by what means His people receive His discipline and punishment, and He determines when it will happen.

Am I repeating myself? Yes, because He wants you to clearly see His sovereignty, O believer! You may say, “I declare and decree,” but you cannot declare and decree something over your life or someone else’s life. Your words are foolish — only the LORD declares and decrees! He is sovereign, not you, and if He judges and disciplines you, He is right in what He does!

Verse 13 —

The LORD says, fear the LORD of Hosts, the Captain of My armies! Regard Me as holy! Sanctify Me as God alone! Fear Me! Worship Me! Dread Me, for I will surely discipline and punish you, if you continue to rebel! 

Verses 14-16 —

The LORD shall become a sanctuary, but not to northern Israel and not to Judah and Jerusalem. To them, the LORD of Hosts, Jesus Christ, will be a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, and a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 

Jesus, the LORD of  Hosts, quotes from Psalm 118:22-23 —

Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures:

‘“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this,

and it is marvelous in our eyes.” 

And He declares that He will be a sanctuary for others —

Matthew 21:43  “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

The kingdom of God will be given to other peoples, not to those of His people who rebel. But do not dismiss Israel. They will return to the LORD, per Romans Chapters 9-11, and He will again receive them, at the end of things. But first, He will become a sanctuary for all peoples of the earth who believe into Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ, the LORD of Hosts, commands Isaiah to bind up the testimony He has given. Seal the teaching to whom? To His disciples, 700 years from the time of Isaiah!

Verse 17 —

Isaiah says, I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob (all of Israel). The LORD often called them Jacob when they backslid — that is, when they tried to scheme against Him, or when they relied on the strength of men and not on their God.

Verse 18 —

The LORD of Hosts, Jesus Christ, says, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of Hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion (the heavenly Zion). 

Who are the children the LORD has given Jesus Christ, as miraculous evidence, as signs and wonders, that He is the Messiah? John says —

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

And His children will become the signs and wonders that He speaks about. They will become His witnesses (Acts 1:8) when they are filled with His Holy Spirit. 

These are the signs and wonders of His holy children — they walk as He walks, and are as He is in this world! They are holy on the inside, sanctified through and through, as Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica (1Thessalonians 5:23)!

The writer of Hebrews confirms —

Hebrews 2:11 Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to My brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” 13 And again . . . “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

Verses 19-20 —

The LORD speaks again, rebuking His people for consulting in mediums (wizards) and spirits (familiar spirits that are not of God) who whisper and mutter — that is, they imagine empty things, and are so far from God that their voices are barely audible to Him.

Yet the people say, Consult them! The LORD says through Isaiah, consult Me! What are you doing, consulting the dead — for that is who the mediums and spiritists consult, and they themselves are spiritually dead — among the living. I am the living God. Consult Me! 

In Leviticus 20:6, He says, “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.”

How foolish you have become! Church, believer, who are you consulting? Could it be that you consult with such ones because your sin has caused a separation between you and your God (Isaiah 59:2)? Then repent! 

To the Law of God, and to His testimony! If anyone does not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no light of dawn. 

Believer, this is not just for the Old Testament. Many false prophets and false teachers do not speak according to His Word. They have no light of dawn. His light is not in them! Do not listen to them! Learn His Word, so you can discern the true from the false!

Verses 21-22 —

The LORD gives Isaiah a vision of a future time, and Isaiah sees apostasy and destruction. But it is not just Judah and Jerusalem’s destruction, but the destruction of all who reject the LORD and seek to be delivered by man!

Those who reject Him and rebel will pass through (cross over) the land in a grievous state (in pain and anguish). They will be famished, but when they are hungry, they will not repent. Instead, they will be enraged and curse Him as they look heavenward! Then they will look to the earth around them, and see what the Apostle John saw in the Revelation of Jesus Christ —

Revelation 16:9 And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory. 

Revelation 16:11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. 

Revelation 16:21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each,  came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe. 

Those who rebel against the Lord — even His own people — will see distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish, and they will be driven into darkness. They will perish. It is as true today as in Isaiah’s day! 

But there is hope for those who repent. We will see it in Isaiah 9, when he prophesies of the coming Christ who purifies and sanctifies!

Lord Jesus, may today’s believers hear and heed, and take warning. May they see their folly and repent. Amen. Let it be so.

DENYING JESUS

[SW381] 6/1/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“Denying Jesus”

 Text: Matthew 26:31-35, etc.

Peter and the rest told Jesus Christ they would never fall away by denying Him. But He had already told them they would deny Him! And they did. Why? And why does it matter to you? I will show you what the Lord showed me.

Verse 31 —

Jesus Christ’s Twelve were with Him. They were the ones whom He had chosen, the ones who had stayed with Him from the beginning of His earthly ministry. They had remained loyal to Him for 3-1/2 years!

They were all together, in the upper room, on the night before He was to be crucified. He had just given them the bread of His body, and the wine of the new covenant in His blood. Then they had followed Him to the Mount of Olives.

And He spoke to them, saying, “You will all fall away from Me this night, for it is written (in Zechariah 13:7), ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” 

The Spirit-inspired Zechariah spoke these words of the Lord over 500 years prior to that night in the upper room. And when the Lord speaks, it will surely come to pass.

Why would they fall away and deny Him? First, they loved Him with natural, human love. They loved Him as a friend (John 21:15 and forward). That love is insufficient. It would fail them, when persecution came.

Second, it was because they saw Him as an earthly Savior who would free them from Roman rule and put them in charge, under Him. But He never said such a thing. 

Indeed, Peter was given revelation from the Father that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew 16:16). Certainly, Peter and the rest of the Twelve refused to leave Him, saying they would stay with Him because He had the words of life (John 6:68). 

But Peter and the rest still saw Jesus’ salvation as salvation from Israel’s earthly slavery to Rome. Even in Acts 1, after Jesus Christ had risen from the dead and for 40 days, had explained to them the Old Testament scriptures about Him, the disciples were still looking for an earthly salvation, restoration of Israel from Roman rule. Listen to their question —

Acts 1:6   So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 

How would they ever see Jesus Christ as He truly is? Jesus hints at it, in the next verse.

Verse 32 —

“But after I have been raised,” said Jesus, “I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Something would happen, when He was raised! Even though He knew they would fall away by denying Him, He promised them they would see Him again! Then they would be able to repent before Him. 

God the Son knows every heart, and He knew His Father’s plan from before time began. He knew He would rise from the dead, ascend, be glorified, and pour out His Holy Spirit. 

He knew that on the day of Pentecost, in a moment of time, the Twelve and the rest of the 120 in the upper room would be filled with His Holy Spirit and His divine love.Their hearts would be purified — cleansed of the sin nature — so they would never again deny Him! 

He knew that when they were filled, they would see Him as He truly is, not as the earthly Savior into which they had fashioned Him. They would see Him as the One who saves us from ourselves!

Verse 33 —

Peter and the rest were always unable to grasp His words when He told them that He would be crucified and then raised on the third day. So when He spoke those words to them, they said nothing. But Peter rebuked Him once, for speaking those words, and Jesus immediately rebuked Peter —

Matthew 16:22  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” 

Do you see it? Peter still saw Jesus as an earthly Savior. But how could He save them from Roman rule, if He was killed? That was why he rebuked Jesus.

Because Peter had fashioned Jesus into an earthly Savior, He was offended and objected when Jesus said, “You will all fall away.” He was offended and objected when Jesus said, “You will deny Me.” 

So Peter again contradicted Jesus’ words, and Zechariah’s prophecy. He exclaimed, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away!” 

His words revealed that he not understand that he was rejecting the truth Jesus spoke, and denying the truth of the prophecy that Zechariah had received from the Lord. And the rest said the same thing, too (see Verse 35). So, they all rejected and denied the truth. He was not speaking to them as the earthly Savior they thought He was!

Verse 34 —

When Peter said, “never,” the Lord answered him, saying, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Again, He knew Peter, and all of them, would deny Him. But Peter would deny Him three times!

He would deny Jesus because he did not want to die. He feared for His life. He would deny Jesus because the Jesus that Peter had fashioned was not supposed to die, but reign in Jerusalem after He had set them all free from slavery to Rome.

Verse 35 —

So Peter rejected Jesus’ words, saying, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” As I have said, all of the disciples said the same thing. 

But He had told them all that they would indeed fall away by denying Him. So, by saying they would never deny Him, they all rejected His truth twice, and denied Zechariah’s prophecy twice.

I say again that what the Lord speaks will surely come to pass. They all denied Him, and three times, Peter denied knowing Him, in Matthew 26:69-73. Peter heard the rooster crow after He denied Jesus. He remembered Jesus’ words about the rooster. And he wept. But Peter still did not understand who Jesus really is.

What does Jesus want the church and you to learn from this?

I tell you the truth, after I was saved, I loved Jesus with natural human love, but I had no idea who He really was. I heard bits and pieces about Him. I did not hear any of His so-called “hard words.” I thought the Holy Spirit was an ethereal ghost who hovered in the upper right corner of the sanctuary’s ceiling. 

So, like the Twelve, I fell away and denied Jesus many more than three times. I had fashioned Him into something that was certainly not Him, but something that was pleasing to me.

After I was saved, I believed He came to many cultures over thousands of years — that He came at one time as Buddha, another time as one of the millions of India’s gods, and so on. I believed that all the gods were Jesus, but that for each culture, He had come in a way that would be acceptable in their culture. Like the Twelve, I fashioned Him into what I wanted Him to be. I had already fallen away by denying Him in that way.

And I see that today, many believers are like I was. They have fallen away and denied Him in the same way I did, after I was saved. Many entire denominations have done the same. 

So, for today’s church, I will interpret this passage of scripture again.

Verse 31 — 

You have been saved. You attend church. You love Him with human love, even as a friend. That love is insufficient. You will not have the power to stand, when persecution comes. Therefore, you will fall away by denying Him.

You have fashioned Him into One who gives you what you want, or One who will save you from all the troubles of this life. By doing so, you have already denied Him. You are just like the Twelve! 

Therefore, Jesus Christ says you have fallen away. He says you are denying Him even now. 

These words offend you. You tell Him you will never fall away by denying Him! 

Again, what He says has, and will yet, come to pass. He says the end time, which I believe is upon us —

Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations (peoples) because of Me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” 

Why will you fall away by denying Him? Why will your love for Him grow cold? Because your love for Him is mere human love, and because you have fashioned Him into a false Jesus. You have made Him into what you want Him to be.

Verse 32 —

But here is the good news, Beloved! Jesus has risen, and ascended and been glorified at the Father’s right hand! He will give you your own personal Pentecost, and you will see Him as He truly is! 

He will fill you with His divine love so you will have the power to stand against persecution. You will know that His promise of eternal life is true, for His eternal life will be in you! And I tell you the truth, you will never deny Him again!

Verses 33-35 —

You will say, I have never denied You, Jesus, and I will never deny You! But you have and will yet do so. And much of the church has and will yet do so. Beloved, you are denying and will yet deny Him because you have received today’s Jesus, a false Jesus who bears little resemblance to the Jesus of the Word of God. 

Just as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:9 and forward, many false prophets have appeared and they have deceived you. These false prophets teach wickedness by altering and deleting Jesus Christ’s words and the rest of the Word of God. 

They do so in order to make Jesus completely unoffensive to the world system that denies God. They have fashioned Jesus into what they want Him to be.

Because you love a false Jesus, the love of many of you will grow cold, when persecution comes. Because you love Him with human love, you will not stand, but will fall away and deny the real Jesus. And you will be offended when your heart is pricked by the words of ones who tell you that surely, you will fall away. 

Hear His commands by which you will stand firm in the midst of persecution, and will see Him as He truly is, beloved —

Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The power you will receive is the power to stand in the midst of persecution, the power to never deny Him again, regardless of the threats of the world system that defies God, and the world that is in the church! You will be filled with His divine love! You will have power over sin, for your heart will be purified!

What a difference in the Twelve after they and the rest of the 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit, in Acts 2:4!. Before the Twelve were filled with the Spirit, they hid from the Jews (John 20:19). They still feared persecution and death. They were still in a state of having fallen away by denying Him. 

But when He commanded them to stay and wait, the Twelve and 108 others stayed and waited! They were filled with His Holy Spirit! Their hearts were purified! They were filled with His divine love! The Father and the Son and the Spirit came to fully dwell in them, permanently! They saw Him as He truly is!

Then they never denied Him again! Instead, they boldly proclaimed Him and called everyone to repent! Listen to their words, after they were filled. Peter and the rest went up to the Temple, no longer hiding for fear of the Jews. They stood with Peter, who said — 

Acts 3:13 “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”

Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord . . .”

And when Peter and John were captured and brought before the Sanhedrin and had been commanded not to speak the name of Jesus —

Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Again, they were brought before the Sanhedrin, and exhorted not to continue teaching in the name of Jesus, they said —

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Those who love Him obey Him. Those who do not love Him do not obey Him. (See John 14:23-24.) Will you obey Him?

I tell you the truth, Jesus Christ longs to hear words of true repentance. He is waiting for you to obey Him! Therefore, abandon the false Jesus that you have fashioned and that so many false prophets teach, in today’s church! Obey the real Jesus today! Stay and wait and be filled with His Spirit!

When you do, I tell you the truth, you will never deny Him again. You will become His bold witness, even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). You will boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will not be able to stop speaking about what you have seen and heard. 

You will speak the name of Jesus regardless of the consequences, obeying God who empowered you to speak and be Jesus Christ’s witness, rather than man. And you will not teach or accept teaching of a false Jesus. Many will be saved by His work in and through you!

Lord Jesus, may the eyes of many be opened, may their hearts receive the truth of this word You have given me to speak. So be it. Amen.

ISAIAH SESSION 9 — WHO DO YOU TRUST?

Text: Isaiah 7:1-25

When God’s people go astray, He sends His prophets to frankly and bluntly warn them of their sin and admonish them to repent and return to Him. Again, when I speak of God’s people, I am speaking of the church, Jewish believers, and Jews that do not yet believe that Jesus is their Messiah.

In the days of Isaiah, God’s people are headed for disaster —  exile (separation from His presence), and even death and condemnation. Oh, but if they will repent as I did, the Lord and I will rejoice and sing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

The LORD does not desire for any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). So, He sends Isaiah to speak to Jerusalem and Judah. And He assigns me to speak to today’s believers.

If I were going to give this a title, I would borrow from John Oswalt, commentator for Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament — “Who Do You Trust?” 

Your answer determines whether you receive the Lord’s mercy, or His discipline and punishment. As I have said throughout this study, His aim in discipline and punishment is that you turn back to Him!

Verse 1 — 

King Jotham had reigned for 16 years after Uzziah. Now Uzziah’s grandson, Ahaz, reigned as king of Judah. King Ahaz faced a threat from Syria, which had joined forces with northern Israel (Ephraim, pronounced Ef-RAH-yim) against Jerusalem, to wage war over it and conquer it. But they would learn that it is the LORD who determines what will happen to His people, not man.

King Ahaz had sought help from Assyria, and had made a deal with them, in order to defeat Israel and Syria (2Kings 16:7-9). There were spiritual implications to the deal, per Oswalt. In order to receive help from Assyria, King Ahaz had to agree to recognize the Assyrian gods as being real, and agree that he would come under the “lordship” of these false gods. Thus, his deal with Assyria was a total defection from the LORD!

Foolishly, King Ahaz did not seek help from the LORD, but from Assyria, whose king would later threaten Judah’s existence. When the church and individual believers seek man’s help, and when they make deals with the world, there are always spiritual consequences

Do you see that today’s believers and churches commit the same sin as King Ahaz, by making deals with the world, by accepting and welcoming practices and beliefs that are completely contrary to the Lord, and by trusting in man and in the things of the world? 

Do you understand that such things are a spiritual defection from the Lord? Do you see that the price of your defection is discipline, punishment, and exile from His presence? O church! O believer! I pray you have ears to hear this truth, and that you repent.

Verse 2 — 

When King Ahaz heard that the Syrians had encamped in Ephraim (northern Israel), his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind. What a picture Isaiah paints, with this word from the LORD!

Prior to this threat, King Ahaz had been defeated by Syria’s army, and separately, had been defeated by northern Israel’s army, and suffered great losses in those battles. Now, Syria and Ephraim had joined forces against Judah! King Ahaz and the people of Judah and Jerusalem had reason to fear total annihilation in the natural. 

How amazing that they still did not repent and return to the LORD, but how often I see it, even in today’s believers! Many hold fast to their sin, rather than to the LORD.

Verse 3 —

The LORD instructed Isaiah to meet King Ahaz, specifying that both Isaiah and his son Shear-jashub (only a remnant will return) should go. They were to meet him at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the fuller’s field. 

Oswalt theorizes that King Ahaz was there to assess the vulnerability of Jerusalem’s water supply, which was always a target when any enemy threatened and attacked. But I believe that it was simply a meeting place between Jerusalem and her enemies, per 2Kings 18:17, Isaiah 7:3, and Isaiah 36:2. The bottom line was that Isaiah was ordered there by the LORD to prophesy to and warn Ahaz.

In addition, the name of Isaiah’s son was a promise from the LORD of impending doom for Judah and Jerusalem, but not at the hands of Ephraim or Syria, or even Assyria. The LORD had already planned for Judah and Jerusalem to be overrun and taken into exile by Babylon. But the name of Isaiah’s son was also a promise to Judah and Jerusalem that  a remnant would return after the 70-year Babylonian exile.

Verse 4 —

The LORD instructed Isaiah to say, Take care (take heed) and be calm (be at rest), have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands, on the account of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, OR the fierce anger of Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel. 

Their fierce anger meant nothing to the LORD. They could not change His plan regarding Judah and Jerusalem. In the LORD’s eyes, they were the burned-out stubs left after the fire, for God had already judged them. They could do no harm, because they had burned out. The fire of His judgment weakened them, and they would be easily broken by the LORD. 

Verses 5-7 —

These burned-out stubs had planned evil against Jerusalem and Judah, to terrorize  and set up their own puppet king, Tabeel, in Jerusalem. Therefore, the Lord GOD said, It shall not stand nor shall it come to pass. 

Verses 8-9 —

Damascus was Syria’s capitol. Rezin was only a king of Syria, and his throne was in Damascus. Samaria was Ephraim’s capitol. Pekah, the son of Remaliah, was only king of Ephraim. Both Syria and Ephraim would be destroyed. Isaiah prophesied that Ephraim would go into Assyrian exile within 65 years. As a result, Northern Israel would no longer be a people. The LORD already had their judgment ready, per Verse 16, and it would surely come to pass, for He is King, not them!

No enemy is able to foil the LORD’s plans for His people — even His plans to discipline and punish. His plans were for Judah and Jerusalem to go into Babylonian exile. He chooses who becomes their conqueror — not their enemies!

But if Ahaz would not believe in the sovereignty of the LORD, pledged by the LORD through Isaiah. he surely would not be established. Either he would entrust himself to God, or he would continue to shake in his boots. He would either trust Assyria, or take hold of the promise God offered, that He would rescue Judah and Jerusalem, for the time being.

Verse 10-12 —

The LORD directly asked Ahaz to ask Him for a sign from “the LORD your God.” No matter what sign Ahaz asked for, the LORD would do it!

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!” It was false humility from King Ahaz, who regularly rebelled against the LORD. How foolish! God can see right through false humility. And It was the LORD who instructed Ahaz to ask. Even in this, Ahaz rebelled against the LORD!

Verses 13-14 —

So, Isaiah rebuked Ahaz. Listen now! Is it too slight a thing to try the patience of men (Isaiah himself, who has warned Ahaz again and again)? He was weary of prophesying to Ahaz! Must you also try the patience of my God, Isaiah asked? 

Therefore, here is the sign I will give you, says the LORD. I am sovereign, and I will give you a sign anyway! 

Behold! Look and see! Pay attention! A virgin will be with child, and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (“with us” God). Matthew confirms that Jesus’ birth fulfilled that prophecy —

Matthew 1:19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

In speaking of a child to be born to a virgin, he LORD confirmed that the Jews would not be entirely wiped out by the coming Babylonian invasion. A remnant of God’s people would return to the land, and the descendants of King Ahaz would see a miraculous sign — a virgin would give birth to a boy! 

What would His name be? God with us, Immanuel! In the distant future, 700 years from when Isaiah prophesied, the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come by a most miraculous means!

Verses 15-16 —

And this “God with us” would eat curds and honey, which were abundantly available as food. By the time the child reached the age of moral accountability (12 years old), both northern Israel and Syria would no longer exist as nations. 

The last of northern Israel would be taken into captivity in 722 B.C., over seven hundred years before Jesus Christ was born. Isaiah had not been shown by the LORD the exact arrival time of this child, but certainly, this word from the LORD through Isaiah was to show King Ahaz of Judah that in the future, these nations would be totally eradicated, their governments never to be rebuilt.

Verses 17-20 —

In 5:26, the LORD spoke through Isaiah that God would whistle for nations, to come against Israel. Now He specifies that the nations to whom He will whistle.

In that day, when Ephraim will be judged by Him, He will whistle for the bee of Assyria, and the fly of Egypt. They will be like vast swarms of insects, suffocating and overwhelming Ephraim. 

The description of Ephraim’s demise was a warning from the LORD to Judah and Jerusalem. They would be just as vulnerable to Babylonian invasion as northern Israel was to Assyrian invasion, unless they turned back to the LORD!

These bees and flies would be hired by the LORD, whistled for by Him! Assyria would be the agent of the LORD, to mete out discipline and punishment to Ephraim and Syria. The LORD would “shave with a razor the head and the hair of the legs,” and even shave off the beard. Ephraim would be disgraced. 

Verses 21-22 —

Indeed, in the day when the LORD judged Ephraim, each man would keep alive only one heifer and a pair of sheep. These animals would produce milk for curds, enough to survive. And honey was available from bees. But in the end, the people of Ephraim would be killed or carried off by the Assyrian armies.

Verses 23-25 —

The LORD gave Isaiah a vision of the extreme devastation of northern Israel Thousands of valuable grapevines would be replaced with briars and thorns. 

The formerly fruitful land would only be suitable as a hunting ground. It would no longer be suitable for farming. All the land that had been cultivated with hoes would be avoided, because it would be overrun by briars and thorns. Oxen and sheep would graze there, trampling down everything in their path.

The LORD’s warning through Isaiah is also a warning to today’s church. Much of the church relies on man’s ways to try to shore up its attendance statistics. Leaders are chosen based on measuring instruments devised by men, rather than on the LORD’s wisdom. 

Now is the time to return to the LORD, O church, O believer, for if you do not, He will surely deal with you, just as He promised five of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation —

Revelation 2:5 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent.”

Revelation 2:16 ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”

Revelation 2:22 ‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.

23 ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”

Revelation 3:3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.”

Revelation 3:15   “‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of (vomit you out of) My mouth.”

Lord, may Your church and all believers heed this warning from You through Isaiah to King Ahaz, for it is directed to them as well. May they repent of their reliance on men and on the world. May they turn back to you, and rely on and trust in You and You alone. Amen. So be it.