Monday, December 11, 2017

Flying Into Hanukkah

We interrupt our walk through Isaiah to bring you a quick Hanukkah greeting.


We are literally flying right into Hanukkah.  Later today, we will board a plane bound for Tel Aviv.  Hanukkah will probably begin as we are standing in line waiting to get through customs.  Visions of candles will be swirling through my head.  Tea lights are nestled in my luggage, waiting to get lit when we arrive at our first apartment.  (Visions of sufganiyot will also be swirling.  The Israeli bakeries will be full of them!)

Sufganiyot, or Israeli Hanukkah donuts. 
Why do they have to make them so tempting??

I've written about Hanukkah before.  If you want to read any of its history or its current significance to followers of the Messiah today, you can click here to read any of my previous blogs that speak of Hanukkah.  It is a fascinating subject!

Hanukkah means dedication.  The only place Hanukkah shows up in scripture is John 10:22, when Yeshua was at the Temple during its observation.  It is here that the Judean leaders demanded to know if He was the Messiah.  (They didn't really want to know; they only wanted to trap Him.)

He went on to say that His sheep know His voice (hinting to these leaders that they didn't).  It was a tense moment.  They picked up rocks with which to stone Him, and He slipped away from them unharmed.

Hanukkah is beautiful. The lights remind me of Yeshua, Light in the darkness. I believe this was the time of year that He was conceived. Isaiah 9:2 alludes to the light that Messiah would bear to the world:

The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.


I will resume my walk through Isaiah with my next post.





Saturday, December 9, 2017

Isaiah Post 34 - The Fifth Gospel, Part 3 (Chapter 53B)

Today I will wrap up Isaiah 53, the "Fifth Gospel" of the holy scriptures.

Let's begin with the explosive verse 7:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.


My last post made the connection of us being His sheep, and needing a shepherd.  But now, Isaiah switches it around, depicting Him as a lamb.
This is a very detailed prophecy of Yeshua our Passover Lamb.  He was put on trial before Pilate, and before Herod - and yet, He did not defend Himself.   The day was Passover.  The night before (when Passover began at sunset), He had said to the Father, "Not my will but Yours."

Only love could have done this.

Hebrews 12:2 tells us that for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.

Look at the words of John the Immerser (baptizer) in John 1:29:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 

Where did John get this idea? Straight from Isaiah 53:7.

Verse 8 continues:
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.


Yeshua was arrested, imprisoned, and forced to endure a trial that was illegal according to Jewish law.  The verse then asks who will declare His generation (meaning descendents).  This is rhetorical.  Just wait, and the passage will tell us shortly.

We then learn that He is cut off from the land of the living. This means killed. He was killed for the transgressions of others. Again, clearly this is speaking about a man - and not about the nation of Israel, as the sage Rashi taught and Rabbinic Judaism adopted.

Verse 9 goes on:
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.


All criminals were assigned a grave with the wicked (so they wouldn’t defile the other graves), but the body of Yeshua was rescued and buried in a rich man’s grave (Joseph of Aramathea). He was not buried in the place originally assigned to Him. This is a very specific prophecy.

The burial was probably on the Mount of Olives, where every important person was buried since the time of the three prophets (and their disciples) who are buried there… Zechariah, Malachi, and Haggai. Numerous times, I have visited the cave that is the burial spot of these three prophets on the Mount of Olives.  It is a fascinating place!

Tomb of the Prophets, Mount of Olives
Today, there are over 100,000 graves on the Mount of Olives. You had to be SOMEBODY to be buried there, and it is still true today.

A small rabbit trail...  Jerusalem has two traditional places for the crucifixion and resurrection, one for the Catholic/Orthodox people (built over a temple of Venus) and one for the Protestants (in a garden just north of the Old City). I believe both are incorrect. I believe it all took place on the Mount of Olives, for many reasons.  A few of those reasons can be found here if you are in the mood for yet another rabbit trail.

The second part of verse 9 speaks of His innocence. Yeshua quotes part of this verse when He was speaking to Nathaniel in John 1:47:
Yeshua saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”

Why does it appear that the Messiah saying Nathaniel is the Messiah? I wrote a post on this subject several years ago. You can read it here if you wish. Sorry for all the rabbit trails today! But it makes much more sense when studied through the Jewish roots of the scriptures.

On to verse 10:
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.


Did it really PLEASE the LORD to bruise the Messiah?  A better translation of that Hebrew word chaphets would be desire, will, or favor.  This is what Yeshua was praying in the garden:  Not My will but Yours be done.

Ultimately the reason Yeshua dies is because it is the plan of YHVH, and the plan involves you. He doesn’t just say I love you, He shows I love you.  Most of us know John 3:16 by heart.

Hebrews 12:2 bears repeating: For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.

The second half of verse 10 speaks of His seed - His offspring - and the prolonging of His days.  This speaks of the resurrection. Remember verse 8, when we are told that He was cut off from the land of the living, and asked, who will His descendants be?

If you know Him, it’s you. We are His descendants, His children.  We are heirs to His kingdom.

John 1:12 tells us,
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

And 1 John 3:1 says,
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

The first place the word love (ahava) is in the scriptures is in Genesis 22, to Abraham. Take your son, your only son whom you LOVE, and sacrifice him. LOVE is used in the context of sacrifice.

Abraham and his beloved Isaac

This amazing chapter wraps up with verses 11-12.  Let the words wash over you:

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

He bears our iniquities. How many times does this chapter say this? He does not die for His own sin. The servant cannot be Israel dying for its own sin, as the Middle Ages sage Rashi and now all modern orthodox Jews teach. But this is not allegory – He is referred to as a singular person throughout the whole passage.

The picture we see is a separation from God because of our sin. Sin requires death. We approach God, and the sword comes down. Our sinless Messiah steps in and takes it FOR us. He is our substitute. As soon as He dies, it is over. His suffering is done, and He is placed in a rich man’s grave until the resurrection.

The gospel in its simplest form contains two words:  sin and blood.

At Passover, Israel was required to apply blood to the lintel and doorposts of their homes.  Today, redemption is ours when we apply the blood of the Messiah to the "lintel and doorposts" of our hearts.  He will Pass Over our sins.


Here is a recap of this section of Isaiah, the “fifth gospel."  It is filled with prophetic promises of atonement by the Servant:

He will sprinkle many nations
He took up our infirmities
He was pierced for our transgressions
Crushed for our iniquities
Punishment was on Him
Laid on Him the iniquity of us all
For the transgression of My people He was stricken
His life was a guilt offering
My servant will justify many
He will bear their iniquities
He bore the sin of many
He made intercession for the transgressors

He is our Intercessor, our High Priest forever
Now that is good news!


To start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Isaiah Post 33 - The Fifth Gospel, Part 2 (Chapter 53A)

My last post covered the introduction to Isaiah 53 by digging into the second half of Isaiah 52.  Now, chapter 53 begins this way with verse 1:
Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?


Remember back to chapter 49:4?  “I have labored in vain.” Israel for the most part will not believe the report. But I have, and hopefully you have. Historically, many Jews also have believed this report, but only a small remnant (so far).

Isaiah 53:1 is repeated twice in the New Testament… you can find it in John 12:38 and Romans 10:16, which are both in the context of the good news not being believed by national Israel (but believed by the remnant… there has always been a remnant. Don’t forget that the first believers were all Jewish.)

Moving on, let's look at the first half of verse 2:
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.


This is a reference back to the stem from the root of Jesse that we covered in Isaiah 11:1. It is a picture of life coming out of the dead stump!  (The family of  King David had become poor and fell to almost nothing following the return from the Babylonian exile.)

This scripture clearly speaks of a man - the Branch. The arm of the LORD has sprouted and is growing up!


We can see this theme also in Jeremiah 23:5-6.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.


His name is YHVH Tsidkenu – Yehovah our Righteousness. This is a reference to the Messiah, who is YHVH. No man has ever seen God, who is spirit. Yeshua is God in the flesh, the one who is seen throughout the scriptures. He is the One who visited Abraham, who showed up in the fiery furnace, and who appeared in visions to Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel.

Jeremiah is speaking of a time when He will reign, and Israel will dwell safely.  This is a second coming prophecy.

Back to Isaiah... the second half of verse 2 says:
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.


Israel was looking for a majestic, conquering king to deliver them from the grip of Rome. But the Messiah, in His first visitation to earth, was ordinary in appearance. They did not see (and mostly still don’t see) Him as a man.

Verse 3 continues:
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Clearly the Servant is a man.  Yeshua grew up in Israel during a time of poverty, sickness, and oppression. He was well acquainted with grief; He understood it all, and He knew His mission.

Not only was He undesired, but He was despised, and Isaiah says “We (Israel) hid our faces from Him and did not esteem Him.” They did not see Him with spiritual eyes, only the natural eyes.

Yeshua was not just disliked; He was despised and rejected. No other person in all of human history has been despised and rejected like our Messiah, and not just by the Jews, either.



Orthodox Jews often refer to Him as YESHU which is actually an acronym for “May His name and memory be blotted out.” (Yimmach shemo vezikro, or Yod Shin Vav).

However, by simply adding the letter ayin at the end of the acronym, it forms His name, Yeshua. Ironically, the ayin carries the meaning of an eye… meaning seeing! (Yod, shin, vav, plus ayin).  Yeshua!  Someday soon they will see Him!

Yeshua - what a beautiful name!

Verse 4 continues:
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.

This verse has near/far application.  The first part is quoted in Matthew 8:17 as Yeshua was healing people left and right - both physically and spiritually - during His first visitation.

However, the verse is also looking forward to Israel's national confession, when they realize that He HAS borne their griefs and carried their sorrows.  Someday they WILL look upon Him whom they have pierced, as described in Zechariah 12:10.

Matthew 23:39 says,
For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

Yeshua was directly quoting Psalm 118:26 when He said those words.  The context of Psalm118 is the future salvation of Israel, following their rejection of the chief cornerstone the first time around.

The second part of verse 4 - we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God - means that we (Israel) thought that He was being killed for His own sins (especially the sin of blasphemy - claiming to be God.  This is still a major issue for Jews today).

I want to pause and mention he Hebrew word for borne - nasa - meaning to lift, lift up, carry, support, sustain, endure, to take away, carry off, forgive. The word is used over 600 times in the Hebrew scriptures. In the descriptions of animal sacrifices in Leviticus, the word is used to depict the sin that is placed on the animal that would then it bear or carry that sin away as a substitution for the sin of the people.

On to verse 5:
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.


Israel's future national confession of Yeshua as the Messiah carries the realization that He was wounded for OUR transgressions and bruised for OUR iniquities. The penalty that was required for OUR peace was laid on HIM.  I am not sure how Rashi was able to continue calling the servant Israel, in light of this verse.  Clearly, someone else took the punishment for Israel's (and our) sin.

By His stripes we are healed - what a good word!  This is a promise that we can count on for sure!

Unleavened bread - matzah - broken, striped, and pierced
I want to speak for a moment on healing.  Some people do get healed here on earth.  I myself have received a physical healing from the Lord.  All glory to Him!

HOWEVER, I will say that some people do not get healed in this lifetime, in spite of fervent prayers.  Often these precious people are accused by folks in the faith movement of not having enough faith. What a burden to lay on someone. Does Joni Eareckson Tada not have enough faith to be healed of her paralysis?  What a crazy question.

Yeshua healed people in so many different ways, and there were times when people did not get healed; for example, in His hometown. The penalty for sin is still death last time I checked.  Unless we are blessed to live until His return, we are GOING to die; often of sickness. God is sovereign, and has a purpose and a plan for everything under the sun.

But ultimately, because of this promise in Isaiah 53:5, we will ALL get physical healing at the resurrection when we are given bodies that are immortal. I Corinthians 15 describes the resurrection!  This is a promise… ALL believers will ultimately receive complete healing when He returns.

1 Corinthians 15:42 says,  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable

And verses 53-55 tell us, For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (from Isaiah 25). “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (From Hosea 13).

Indeed, by His stripes we are healed. But please don’t lay a guilt trip on a sick person who has not been healed, or on the one who is praying and laying on hands, telling them they don’t have enough faith. Yeshua healed people with faith and without. All things are according to His will and His purposes. To Him alone be the glory!

I will end this post with verse 6:
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


This is a clear picture of the rebellion of mankind.  Both Israel AND the nations.  You. Me. Uncle Ernie.  Everyone.  We are figurative sheep who need a shepherd. Zechariah 13:7 prophesies this:
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered


This refers to the execution of the Messiah.  Yeshua quoted this verse just prior to his arrest in Matthew 26:31 (and repeated in Mark 14):
Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

We really need our Good Shepherd, because our tendency is to STRAY.  (See Psalm 23 and John 10 for  lovely descriptions of our Good Shepherd).

My sheep know My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  John 10:27

Our Good Shepherd has laid down His life for us. To be born again, each of us must accept this and apply His blood to our sinful selves.


To start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Isaiah Post 32 - The Fifth Gospel, part 1 (chapter 52B)

The roller coaster has reached the top. Lift your hands, people, and shout for joy!


Chapter 52, Verse 13 opens a section of scripture that is so radical, so amazing, and so prophetically pointing to the Messiah, that it has been called “the fifth gospel” of the Bible.  In reality, chapter 53 should have begun at this spot. The chapters and verses that we use today were added to the scriptures in the 16th century, and they weren't always divided up in a clear fashion.

The first believers, all Jewish, had no written New Testament yet. Therefore, it was the Hebrew scriptures - the Tanakh - that the believers would search.  The noble Berean Jews of Acts 17:11 faithfully searched these scriptures daily in order to solidify their faith.  How stunning this section must have been to them!


Now let's jump into verse 13:
Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently;
He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.


Who is being spoken of here? Who is My (God’s) servant?

Jewish sages have debated this through the ages.  In the 11th century, the Jewish sage Rashi put forth the notion that the servant spoken of in this section is Israel.  Most of his contemporaries disagreed with him (for example, Maimonides, also known as Rambam), but most ancient Jewish writings claimed this section as messianic.

Rashi's views were eventually widely adopted; and today, Orthodox Jews are taught that the servant is Israel.  However, this passage is not included in the annual cycle of scripture readings in the synagogues.  This begs the question:  "Why?  Because it so clearly describes Yeshua?"   

Many Jews have never even heard this passage.  But so many Jews have been saved when do come across it and read it.  If you would like a quick rabbit trail, click here for a testimony from a Jewish man to whom this happened.

When a Jewish person comes to faith in Yeshua as the Messiah, they are often sent by family members to a rabbi who has been trained to "deprogram" them by explaining that the servant is Israel.

Anyway, back to the verse.  It begins by calling attention to His second coming, when He shall be highly exalted and extolled.  He will not be a baby in a manger anymore, and He will no longer be the servant who suffers.  He will be worshipped!

The Hewbrew scriptures put forth two very different pictures of the Messiah.  In fact, ancient rabbis taught that there were two messiahs, and eventually they taught that possibly there was one messiah that came twice. Of course, this is not taught anymore in the Jewish world.

The two clear pictures of the Messiah in the Hebrew scriptures are this:
  •  Messiah, Son of Joseph – the Suffering Servant
  •  Messiah, Son of Daviid – the Reigning King
  


After the Servant is introduced as One who is exalted, the very next verse goes on to show just the opposite.  In one verse, we go from highly exalted to disfigurement. 

Just as many were astonished at you,
So His visage was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men

If you have followed this series, or studied the book of Isaiah in depth on your own, you know that Isaiah frequently uses contrast, and this is a crystal clear example.

The next verse tells us what this Servant will do:

So shall He sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;
For what had not been told them they shall see,
And what they had not heard they shall consider.

The Hebrew word for sprinkle, nazah, is actually a legal term dealing with the sprinkling of blood or oil for cleansing.  It is used 24 times in the Hebrew scriptures, and 22 of those times (13 times in Leviticus alone), it is in the context of being sprinkled with blood for purification and holiness.

Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur.   In this chapter, nazah is used three times.  Aaron had to first cleanse himself by sprinkling blood on the mercy seat, before he could cleanse the nation. 

The one doing the sprinkling had to be clean. The Servant had to be clean so He could be our substitute.

In regard to the importance of blood for cleansing, Leviticus 17:11 tells us, 
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’'  

This scripture is quoted in Hebrews 9:22.

The gospel can be given in two words:  sin and blood.  There are many ways to share the good news of salvation, but these two vital concepts should not be left out. 



To summarize, this three-verse introduction to this section tells us that: 
  • He will be exalted
  • He will be severely suffer
  • He will sprinkle the whole world.

How exciting is this?  This is a prophecy of salvation being poured out to the nations; and the nations, who didn’t know anything but idols, will stand in awe of Him.  This prophecy was written over 500 years before this actually began to happen.

Stay tuned as we continue to walk through this very exciting portion of scripture!

The next post is ready!  Click here to read it.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Isaiah Post 31 - Are You Ready?? (Chapter 52A)

In this journey through the Isaiah roller coaster, we are now climbing up the highest hill.  Get ready - the wild plunge is coming soon!



The previous chapter contained two wake-up calls to Zion, telling them to put on strength and not to be afraid. Chapter 52 now elaborates with a third wake-up call, telling them to get ready in a big way!  (Remember that in Hebrew, stating something three times is the ultimate emphasis.)

Awake, awake!
Put on your strength, O Zion;
Put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city!
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
Shall no longer come to you.
Shake yourself from the dust, arise;
Sit down, O Jerusalem!
(as if enthroned)
Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion!

Verse 3 goes on to say that even though they sold themselves for nothing, they will be redeemed without money – they didn’t have to do anything to earn it. Cyrus declared them to return from Babylon and rebuild their temple, without them asking.  Later on in history, Yeshua the Messiah shed His blood for their redemption, without them asking.  It was all the work of the LORD.

Isaiah continues with a reminder of the history from whence Israel came, and that they WILL know His name again.

A note about His name:  Jews don’t pronounce the name YHVH out of respect.  Christian translators continued this tradition.  Whenever you see LORD in all capitals in the Hebrew scriptures, it’s the Hebrew word YHVH.  You may have noticed that I use the terms interchangeably when I am writing. Today, scholars can only guess at its pronunciation because it's been hidden for so long...  Yahweh, Jehovah,  Yehovah, etc.  Someday we will know for sure when we see Him face to face.



Biblically, the name of someone is much more than just what they are called. It is their reputation, their very being; who they are, or what they do.

Verse 7 is beautiful, and packed with promise:

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation
(Yeshua)
Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!

The Hebrew term for glad tidings here is literally the term for gospel (which itself is an old English term meaning good news. The Greek word  for good news in the New Testament is euangelion.)

Biblically, messengers were always on foot.  In Ephesians 6, we see that the feet are shod with the gospel of peace.  Today we also have planes, trains, and automobiles.  And TV.  And the internet. And we still have evangelists who can only reach remote areas on foot.

Beautiful feet carrying the Good News
Romans 10:15 quotes part of this passage from Isaiah: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”  The context in Romans is the rejection of the gospel by the nation of Israel, and the preaching of the gospel to the world.  However, that last line of verse 7 -  the part NOT quoted in Romans -  is now happening in Zion.  It is another example of near/far prophecy showing up together in Isaiah.

    (**UPDATE:  Right after I posted today, I read the following in my daily Bible reading, from Nahum 1:15...
Behold, on the mountains
The feet of him who brings good tidings,
Who proclaims peace!
O Judah, keep your appointed feasts,
Perform your vows.
For the wicked one shall no more pass through you;
He is utterly cut off.
The LORD is giving good news to Judah in the midst of Assyria's threats.  I love that He coordinates my scripture reading for me)

I just want mention a side note on carrying the Good News back to Zion... it can be difficult to give the gospel to religious, educated Jews who have been trained against Christianity their entire lives. Horrible things done to Jews throughout history, sadly, in the name of Jesus. There are walls which need to be torn down and bridges to be built. Jewish people need to know you aren’t trying to preach to them, convert them, or kill them. In this case, not preaching to them is actually preaching to them. Through loving relationship, we try to show them Yeshua. And this should be done unconditionally - meaning we do not reject them if they do not accept Him as Messiah.

Recently, I was watching a televised conference taking place in Jerusalem, and there was only one Christian on the panel. She spoke of the Messiah, acknowledged that we both expect Him, and that when He comes, one of us could say to the other, “I told you so.” Except that we both would probably be in such awe!

Isaiah continues in verses 8-10:

Your watchmen shall lift up their voices,
With their voices they shall sing together;
For they shall see eye to eye
When the LORD brings back Zion

Who are the watchmen?  The Hebrew word is tsafah, meaning one who observes, peers into the distance, waits expectantly.  The watchmen were waiting for the messengers.


Are you one?  Are you paying attention to what God is doing with Zion and with Israel

Verse 9 says, Break forth into joy, sing together, Jerusalem
For the Lord has comforted His people, Jerusalem
(This is not a figurative Jerusalem here. This is a literal Jerusalem - the center of God's plan)

The LORD has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation
(Yeshua) of our God.

(All will see - Yeshua IS the holy arm of God - He is the physical image of an invisible God)

Verses 11-12 contain a command to Israel to go out from there (the world) and touch no unclean thing. It is a call to holiness, to be set apart. We see a similar command in Revelation 18:4, "Come out of her, my people." Come out of the Babylonian religious system that is so pervasive in the world.  We too are called to be holy and set apart.

Verse 12 reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt, but this Exodus from the world and back to Israel  would not in haste. For the last 100+ years, the LORD God has been drawing Jews back to the land from all over the world. He is systematically assembling His people so He can reveal Himself to them when He returns.

The context of chapter 52 so far has been mostly the second coming of Yeshua, and the passage is about to switch to a first coming context. Stay tuned for the roller coaster plunge!

The next post is now available:  click here to read it.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.










Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Isaiah Post 30 - Returning With Joy (Chapter 51)

Following the servant song of the previous chapter, Chapter 51 is a chapter of great encouragment, comfort, and exhortation to the people of Israel.  Let the first three verses soak in:

“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,
You who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,

(Messiah is the rock)
And to the hole of the pit (quarry) from which you were dug.

Look to Abraham your father,
And to Sarah who bore you;
For I called him alone, 
And blessed him and increased him.”
(This is a reference to the Abrahamic covenant. God gave this promise to one man - Abraham - but made him a father of many nations)

For the LORD will comfort Zion,
(in the same way as Abraham going from barrenness to many)
He will comfort all her waste places;
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in it,
Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

Oh my word - is this comforting or what??

The passage continues, telling us that law, justice, salvation, righteousness will reign.  This is millenial kingdom language.  In the last days, scripture tells us, there will be an increase of wickedness, where good is called evil and evil is called good. This passage promises a reversal of that nastiness.

In verses 5-8, we see the expression My Salvation three times, which is Yeshua in Hebrew.  The very name of the Servant, the Messiah of the world.  And as I've said before, when something is stated three times, it is the ultimate emphasis in Hebrew.

Yeshua - Salvation

Verse five tells us, My Salvation will go forth.  We are then twice assured that this Salvation will be forever, from generation to generation.

Verse six emphasizes that even the earth will pass away, the sky will vanish, but My Salvation (Yeshua!) will be forever.

In verses 9-10, Isaiah reminds the people to wake up and remember the mighty things that the arm of the LORD has done from ancient times. He has wounded the serpent (whom someday He will crush), and He has dried up the sea so that the redeemed could cross.

Verse 11 tells us that as it was then, so it will be again. Zion is returning with joy. Sorrow shall flee!  In fact, here it is:
So the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness;
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Returning with joy and singing to Zion

The passage continues with assurance that God is almighty and in charge. The exile WILL end.  The Babylonian Exile and the Worldwide Exile.  Today, the children of Israel are returning to the land with joy from all over the planet.

And just listen to verse 16:
And I have put My words in your mouth;
I have covered you with the shadow of My hand,
That I may plant the heavens,
Lay the foundations of the earth,
And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”


Did you catch that?  The very creation of heaven and earth is aligned with the statement, “You are my people, Zion.”

Isaiah continues in verses 17-20 with a reminder of where they have been, and an exhortation:  Wake up, Jerusalem, you who has suffered the fury of the LORD!

Following the exhortation is the promise to His long-afflicted people:  The cup of the Lord’s wrath shall be removed from them, never to drink it again.

However, the scripture tells us; OTHERS will drink it.  The cup of God's wrath will be poured out on those who have afflicted God's people - those who mistreated the Jew, throughout history and now. Sadly, much of this was done by the church and in the name of Jesus. 

Where you stand on Israel and how you treat God's chosen people matters very, very much.

For a trip to the top of the roller coaster in my next post, click here.


If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Isaiah Post 29 - The Third Servant Song (Chapter 50)

In chapter 50, we read the third Servant Song of Isaiah.

The first three verses liken Israel to an immoral wife.  Ouch.

But Israel was not sent away because God didn’t love her.  No, it was because of her own sin that she was sent away.  Indeed, the first verse of this chapter reads thusly:

“Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce,
Whom I have put away?
Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you?
For your iniquities you have sold yourselves,
And for your transgressions your mother has been put away.

The Servant begins His song in verse 4.

“The LORD God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.

The LORD God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.


We see here a lovely prophecy about the wisdom and obedience of the Messiah.  The gospels don’t show much about His childhood. He was born, escaped to Egypt, returned to Nazareth, spoke to the teachers in the temple around His bar mitzvah age, and then we don’t see Him again until He was 30.

But let's pause and look at the glimpse of His boyhood that we do have.  In Luke 2:41-50  we see the Servant having astonishing wisdom as He spoke with those teachers at the temple.  At age 12, He already knew that He was to be about His Father's business.  It was not common for the Jews to call YHVH father.  Chapter 2 of Luke wraps up with Yeshua growing in wisdom and stature; in favor of both God and man.

Yeshua as a boy, in the temple at Passover

When Isaiah describes the learning of the Servant, it is clear that the wisdom came from the Father - His learning came morning by morning - and Yeshua did not rebel or turn away.  He was obedient.  He knew who He was and that He would suffer.

Verse 6 is fulfilled in the gospels and gives us a preliminary prophecy of how the Servant would suffer:

I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

What follows in verses 7-9 is an assurance that YHVH will be the help for the Messiah.

This short chapter wraps up with a warning in the last two verses.  Fear the LORD and obey His Servant! But those who walk in their own way will lie down in sorrow.

“Who among you fears the LORD?
Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness
And has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the LORD
And rely upon his God.
Look, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with sparks:
Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled—
This you shall have from My hand:
You shall lie down in torment.

Those who “light fires” refer to people who have their own schemes and their own gods. (For example, Aaron’s sons in Leviticus 10:1, when they burned strange fire in the tabernacle).

The Hebrew word used for torment actually means grief or sorrow.  A place of pain.

You want to know this Servant of YHVH!  Without Him, we have no true light.

Yeshua Messiah - Light of the World!
For the next post on Isaiah, click here.


If you would like to start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.