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!

For the next post, click here.

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:

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 read part 3, click here.

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 they 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 some taught that possibly there was one messiah that came twice. Of course, neither idea 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
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.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Isaiah Post 28 - The Second Servant Song, to All The World (Chapter 49)

Chapter 49 starts out with the second of four "Servant Songs" in the book of Isaiah.

Here are verses 1-13, with my commentary interspersed throughout the passage. Get ready... this is good stuff!  This is the Messiah speaking:

“Listen, O coastlands, to Me,
And take heed, you peoples from afar!
The LORD has called Me from the womb;
From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
(For unto us a child is born, a Son is given; from Isaiah 9:6)

And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.”
“And He said to me,
‘You are My servant, O Israel,
In whom I will be glorified.’
(This servant is called Israel, but it is not referring the nation. It is a reference to the greatest Israelite of all, which will be confirmed in verse 5.  He is the only one who has ever perfectly kept “Torah,” or the Sinai covenant.   And why was that covenant given at Sinai? To demonstrate to Israel the nation - and the world - how impossible it is not to sin, or fall short.  See Galatians 3:19)

Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord,
And my work with my God.’”
(Has the Servant really labored in vain?  Most of Israel rejected the Messiah when He came the first time.)

“And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
( The Servant will bring back Jacob and Israel to Himself.  Israel doesn’t gather itself to itself - that just isn't logical.  This is how we know that the Servant here is the Messiah of Israel.

Some Bible versions- the ones based on the Masoretic text such as the King James Version - actually say NOT GATHERED in this verse.  The Dead Sea Scrolls say gathered.  This is an interesting discrepancy… when Israel rejected Yeshua, they were not gathered but scattered. Today they are being gathered in preparation for receiving Him!)

And now for one of my favorite verses in Isaiah:
 Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Can I get an amen here?  This one should make us all rejoice!  Not just Israel will be redeemed by the Servant, but He will be a light to the nations!  Salvation (Yeshua) to the ends of the earth!  In Acts 10-15, we see the Good News beginning to expand to the nations.  The apostles were confused about this, even though it is plainly foretold here in Isaiah.  Oh, how our culture can blind us sometimes.

Thus says the LORD,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the LORD who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You.”
(We read that the Messiah will be despised by the nation of Israel, but kings and princes from all over the world shall worship Him.)

Thus says the LORD:
“In an acceptable time I have heard You,
And in the day of salvation I have helped You;
I will preserve You and give You
As a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth,
To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
(YHVH will give the Servant as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth!  This is near/far prophecy.  Israel’s rejection of the new covenant was not permanent.)

That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
“They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
I will make each of My mountains a road,
And My highways shall be elevated.
(What a beautiful picture of what the Messiah does for us)

Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”
Israel will return from afar, and there will be great joy!

Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.

All the earth will rejoice someday! The servant’s work was NOT in vain (from vs 4). The church should be rejoicing at the regathering of His people Israel, but sadly, most of it isn’t.

This is all being played out before our very eyes. The eyes of the world is on Israel and what is happening there. World politics are centered on these events. Jerusalem is a cup of stumbling to an unbelieving world.

This last verse is a throwback to Isaiah 35:10:
And 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,
And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

It makes me wonder: did the apostle Paul have Isaiah 49 in mind when he penned Romans 11? Israel rejects the Messiah, the Good News circles the earth, and then all Israel is saved.

Moving on in Isaiah 49...Zion thinks the Lord has forgotten . Today, they are returning to the land, mostly in unbelief.  Modern Israel began as a secular nation.  But everything happens right in God’s perfect order… see the dry bones in Ezekiel 37.  They are brought together, but have no breath (the word for breath is ruach, which also means spirit) in them at first.  The breath comes later, after the reassembling.

Verses 15-21 give us a glimpse of the heart of the LORD for His people. Here's my paraphrase...  Can a mother forget her nursing child?  Like I could ever forget you!   Here, let me show you something.  My hands! Lift up your eyes, look and see.

What a picture of God’s love for His chosen people.

Isaiah goes on to say the land will even be too small to accommodate them.  And this is so!  Ever since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has been expanding into the biblical heartland.  And Israel gets in trouble with the world every time they build. Jewish settlements built beyond the green line, in desolate, uninhabited areas come under worldwide scrutiny.

The nations of the world don't hate Israel, even though they think they do.  The world actually hates God, so therefore it hates those whom God loves.  I think I finally understand the secular Jews who advocate for Palestine and protest against the state of Israel.  They don't want to acknowledge God.

In verse 21, Zion metaphorically asks, where did all these children come from?  I’ve been barren!  I've been a wasteland!

Get ready for what follows in verses 22-23:

Thus says the LORD God:
“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the LORD,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

The nations will actually help Israel return to the land. Lick the dust from your feet is a metaphor, for respect and also humility. World leaders and kings are used to having people bow down to THEM, and yet here we see the opposite happening.  It won't be all the world, but only those who are able to see the hand of the LORD moving in these last days. Perhaps it is those who take Isaiah 40:1-2 to heart:

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the LORD's hand
Double for all her sins.”

Isaiah 49 continues in chapter 24 is a rhetorical question.  Can the captives be delivered?  Of course they can!

The chapter wraps up with a grim warning to the enemies of Zion.  You don’t want to be on the wrong side… choose wisely.

Why does God do all this?
All flesh shall know
That I, YHVH, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

For the next post in this series, click here.

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Isaiah Post 27 - For My Name's Sake (Chapters 47-48)

In chapter 46, we saw the LORD giving a warning to and also pleading with Israel, to forsake their idols and return to Him.

In chapter 47, the LORD now turns to Babylon, warning them in colorful language.  Babylon is likened to a prostitute, uncovering herself and wallowing in her shame.  In Revelation 17:5, this theme continues:


The rebuke to Babylon continues in Isaiah 47.  The LORD explains why He was angry with them.  God used them to judge Israel, but Babylon went overboard in their destructive glee.  

This is more near/far prophecy.  Babylon cursed the people of Israel then, and the religious system of Babylon continues today, cursing the land and the people of Israel.  This is why spiritual Babylon is mentioned in Revelation.  This false religious system, which takes on many forms but is basically sun god/moon goddess worship, will be destroyed once and for all.  If you need a refresher, this post from the current series on Isaiah covers the subject.

In fact, when you read the rest of Isaiah 47, you might think you are actually reading Revelation 17 and 18.

Isaiah changes tone in chapter 48 again, and switches back to the pleading tone of chapter 46.

The chapter begins by addressing those who swear by the name of YHVH, but not in truth or righteousness,  This is applicable today as well - there are many who serve the LORD but do not yet know the Messiah who is the giver of true righteousness.

The chapter continues... The Lord reaffirms His sovereignty, He brings things to pass, but Israel still does not hear or obey Him.

In verses 9-11, the LORD says He will defer His anger and will not cut them off – for His sake.  He will not give His glory to another.  So much for Replacement Theology - the idea that the church is now Israel.  Nope.  Not according to the promises of YHVH.  He made those promises and therefore, He WILL keep them.  It does not matter that Israel was disobedient and hard-hearted.

He is Who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do.

Beginning in verse 12, YHVH pleads again with Israel.  Oh, that they had obeyed His commandments!  So much good would have happened if that were the case.  We can say the same today.  Where would our lives be today if we had faithfully obeyed the LORD every step of the way in our walk with Him?  And yet, He is faithful even when we are not.  Even when we are disobedient and hard-hearted.

Verse 20 gives Israel a warning.  Flee from Babylon!  (Remember, they weren’t even there yet).  Flee from the country and also flee from the Babylonian religious system that is based in paganism.

Again, we could all learn from this command.  That system has worked its way into pretty much every corner of the church.  We are so used to it that we don't even recognize it.  But someday it will all be gone, when the King of kings and Lord of lords returns to Jerusalem and sets up His very Jewish kingdom.

Chapter 48 wraps up with this straightforward statement:
“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

Who are the wicked?  The Hebrew word is rasha, and is used 263 times in scripture.  It is always used in the context of one who is guilty, morally wrong, and hostile to God.

But God in His mercy will continue to draw His people to Him and will discipline us when needed. We just need to look back at verses 8-11 of this chapter:

Surely you did not hear,
Surely you did not know;
Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb.

“For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,
And for My praise I will restrain it from you,
So that I do not cut you off.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;

For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.

Oh, what a merciful and faithful God we serve.

For the next post in this series, click here.

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Isaiah Post 26 - The LORD Pleads (Chapter 46)

Chapter 46 a short chapter, which summarizes what is written in the previous chapters.  The emphasis is on the futitlity of idols and the mightiness of the LORD.

Verses 1-2 describe the idols in less than flattering terms.  They stoop, they bow down, they cause weariness on the beasts of burden who are forced to haul them around.  Idolatry can still burden us today.  Although we may not bow and scrape before wooden images, there are still plenty of things that we do bow and scrape to, and put above the LORD... materialism/money, sports teams, convenience, self-promotion, celebrities, drugs, sex, political parties, food, etc etc.  (And I am definitely guilty as charged on some of these.  Aren't we all?)

The plea that follows from the LORD to Israel beginning in verse 3, is very strong:

“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

The LORD is saying, "Guys!  Pay attention!  I am the One who made you and will sustain you! Not those useless, deaf and dumb wooden idols. I am there for you.... start to finish!"

He continues with His plea in the remainder of this short chapter:

Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
(Prophecy, confirming Who He is!)
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it; I will also do it.
(He has said it and He is faithful to do it!)

“Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted,
Who are far from righteousness:
I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off;
My salvation (teshua, derivitave of Yeshua) shall not linger.
And I will place salvation in Zion,
For Israel My glory.

The LORD wraps up this chapter promising salvation and righteousness to Zion - the soon-to-come Messiah!

The word used in the last verse for glory is tiferet –  which means beauty, splendor, of rank or renown – a jewel. Israel is the LORD's jewel!

The priestly breastplate features 12 jewels, representing the 12 tribes of Israel.

The other word translated glory in the scriptures is kavod, and it always describes the LORD Himself or of things pertaining to Him. Kavod is a word that means heavy.   

Fun fact: the Hebrew word for liver is the same word: kavod, because it is the heaviest organ in the body.

Stay tuned!  Click here as Isaiah continues to take us on a prophetic roller coaster ride.

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Isaiah Post 25 - Who is In Charge of the Universe? (Chapter 45)

In chapter 44, the LORD introduced us to a guy not even born yet, something no idol could ever do.

In chapter 45, He continues this amazing prophecy, speaking directly to the not-yet-born Cyrus:

“Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
‘I will go before you,
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,

(Isaiah is prophesying about a Gentile, who doesn’t even know the LORD! What is God’s purpose?  Let's look and see...)

That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,

I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting,
That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.’

“Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it.

This whole speech to a man yet unborn, one who is a future and powerful Gentile king, leaves me rather speechless.  Why is the LORD doing all this?  So that Cyrus will know Him!  And so that all of us, when we read these writings thousands of years later, can also know Him!

If there remains any doubt that YHVH is absolutely sovereign and in charge of everything, the prophecy continues with a warning.

“Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!

 (A pot among the other pots of the earth)
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?

How often do we do this? Compare ourselves with others? Question why we are who God made us to be? Yes, I do this. So far, I've only done it twice today, but it's still early in the day. Scripture uses the analogy of potter and clay numerous times. Paul reiterates the sovereignty of the LORD in Romans 9:21...

Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 

Yes, God is in complete charge.  Will we yield to Him, or will we become a mis-shapen pot?  The warning continues:

Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’”
Thus says the Lord, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
I have made the earth, And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded.

(Several times in Isaiah we have heard that God has stretched out the heavens. This seems to answer the scientific question of how the light from the stars reaches earth without needing billions of light years... by the hand of God who stretched them out. Maybe the earth IS the center of everything He created.)

Now the LORD gets really specific regarding the future actions of Cyrus:

I have raised him up in righteousness,
And I will direct all his ways;
He shall build My city,
And let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward,” Says the LORD of hosts.

(hosts:  tsavaot – the Hebrew word for armies)
The LORD, the Only Savior

In case you don't know the story, the Jews who had been exiled in Babylon for 70 years were given permission by Cyrus, king of Persia, to return to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Here is his decree in 2 Chronicles 36:23:

Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!

And indeed, Jews then returned to Jerusalem with joy and eventually rebuilt the temple.

Goodbye, Babylon!

The chapter goes on to describe the sovereignty of the LORD and the futility of idols (in case we haven't taken these things to heart yet).  Here are several highlights from the remaining verses:

But Israel shall be saved by the LORD
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.

For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens, Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:

(A quick side note:  the LORD created this earth for man.  His purpose has always been to dwell here with us.  Someday, He will return to EARTH, renew it, and reign with us from HERE and not some cloud in the sky.)

“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right....
“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth!
(Not just Israel, but those who attach themselves to the Holy One of Israel)

For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.

Paul quotes this last part in both Romans 14:11 and Phillippians 2:10, which link this prophecy to Yeshua our Messiah, confirming that He is YHVH in the flesh.  Someday, every human that ever lived will face Him in person.  Are you ready?

If you are in Him, you are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel; like Ruth, who attached herself to the people of Israel and Israel’s God. “Your people will be my people, AND your God will be my God.”

I know... I mention Ruth often.  By attaching herself to Israel, she was blessed to become King David’s great grandmother, and ultimately in the lineage of the Messiah! What an honor. Are you a friend of God’s chosen people? In attaching to the God of the universe, do you also attach yourself to them?

Ruth clings to Naomi and is blessed.  Orpah departs and is never heard from again.

For the next post in this series, click here,

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