How Jesus Christ viewed the Book of Isaiah, Part 2
How Jesus Christ viewed the Book of Isaiah, Part 2 (Chapters 40 through 66) (Mar 99)
"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" [Isaiah 29:13]
This article is a continuation of last month's article, "How Jesus Christ viewed the Book of Isaiah (Part 1), so I will not repeat the introduction or re-explain my abbreviation conventions here. If you have not read last month's article, you may find this article to be unnecessarily confusing. As before, unless otherwise noted, I am quoting the New King James (NKJ) translation of the Bible. In those cases where quotes from Isaiah are specifically cited in the New testament, I'll put ^ carrot marks ^ at the beginning and end of the portions that were cited and indicate where they were used in the New Testament. So let's get on with the review:
Chapter 40 [Isaiah-3]
"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." ^ The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God ^ [referenced in Matthew 3:3 Luke 3:4, and John 1:23]. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
[2-hvn. Isaiah-3 recognized that the event which Christians presently refer to as the "Second Coming of Christ" would require a two-step process. The first step would be to purge the teachings of Satan (which Jesus referred to as "tares") out of the teachings of the churches. The second step would then be to utterly destroy the popularity or "spirit" of a specific satanically inspired concept or idol that we refer to in this age as the concept of "national sovereignty." By doing so, the "church" will make it unmistakably clear that (forever after) it's role will be (first and foremost) to teach, promote, and verbally enforce the application of God's two most fundamental commandments (a.k.a. "God's guiding principles of truth and love") without placing any restrictions whatsoever on the applicability of either commandment. This will lead to the eventual establishment of a God-guided true world government, as promised by Jesus Christ in Revelation 2:26-28, and that in turn will create the environment needed to make the promise of "peace on earth, good will towards men" a world-wide reality.]
[3-hvn. John 1:19-23 describes how John the Baptist viewed his role as being this "voice of one crying in the wilderness", preparing the way for the Messiah. In fact, all true servants of God are helping to fulfill that role (i.e. step one, as described above). Allegorically, the "Second coming Christ" process will have the effect of "leveling out" the "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths, so that ALL man-made concepts (and things) will be evaluated relative to God's two most fundamental commandments rather than according to other criteria dreamed up by men (as is presently the case.). Thus godly concepts that are considered to be humble ("valleys") in today's world ("earth") will rise in popularity, and ungodly concepts that appear to have the staying power of "mountains" in today's world will be "leveled" so as to virtually disappear from mankind's perceptions of popular truths. As described in Isaiah 2:2, "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it." That's a highly significant change from the religious and political structures that we have in today's world, but it's a change that is not only predictable, it's inevitable, because it will more truly reflect God's Will.]
The voice said, "Cry out!" And he said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."
[3-hvn. This is an allegorical way of pointing out that men (and their man-made concepts) are inherently temporal in nature, whereas God's guiding principles of truth and love are eternal.]
O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead [spiritually] those who are with young.
[3-hvn. In other parts of the Old Testament (including the portions of Isaiah written by Isaiah-1), the name "Zion" is used to represent the "City of David" or more specifically the physical city known as Jerusalem. Isaiah-3, on the other hand, uses the name "Zion" to represent the true, God-serving "church" or more specifically the physical (human) manifestation of what Jesus Christ refers to as the "Kingdom of God." In Revelation, this concept of a true God-serving church or "Zion" is called a "New Jerusalem." This allegory of a SPIRITUAL shepherd leading his human "flock" is used extensively by Jesus and other authors of the New Testament. Notice that this allegorical teaching is NOT the same as the Levites' (also allegorical) concept of a human (Levite) "shepherd" raising a human "flock" and seeking to "multiply" its size by encouraging physical reproduction rather than spiritual reproduction (a self-serving concept that is still taught in many denominations of Christianity and Judaism these days).]
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 is further emphasizing the spiritual nature and eternal power of God. The "measure" he is referring to is the eternal "standard" of God's two most fundamental commandments. As history has clearly shown over the past four thousand years, man-made "nations" come and go like a "drop in a bucket", but God's guiding principles (or forces) of truth and love are eternal.]
To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains. Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 ridicules those who make and worship idols or who think that man-made idols can adequately represent God's principles of truth and love. They can't. God is Spirit. God is Love. But unlike a wedding ring, which symbolizes love and commitment between a married man and his wife, God's love is for all of mankind, even "sinners" (after all, we have all been sinners at one time or another). Those who focus attention and adoration on man-made objects are in effect diverting attention AWAY from following God's two most fundamental commandments.]
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth [Wow! Issaih-3 recognized that the earth is round!], and its inhabitants are [look] like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
[3-hvn. Isaiah-3's allegorical metaphor about "stretching out the heavens and spreading them out like a tent to dwell in" is designed to illustrate the awesome magnitude of what he believes mankind's perceptions of God should be, compared to the temporal and often trivial concerns of local leaders and judges. Think about it. How can one fashion a statue of "the sky"?]
"To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; he calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God"? [TLB translates that as "O Jacob, O Israel, how can you say that the Lord doesn't see your troubles and isn't being fair?] Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 reassures his readers that the Lord recognizes and understands their problems and will give them an enduring strength to deal effectively with them. Notice that whereas the author of Exodus 18:40 used the metaphor "how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself", Isaiah-3 expresses this idea as "they shall mount up with wings like eagles." This was probably in reference to Isaiah-1's description of the seraphim in Chapter 6 who "flew" using only two of their six wings (those two "wings" representing God's two most fundamental commandments).]
Chapter 41 [Isaiah-3 using some text from Isaiah-2]
"Keep silence before Me, O coastlands [distant nations], and let the people renew their strength [prepare their arguments]! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment [to engage in a debate regarding the merits of God vs. the merits of idols]. Who raised up one [Cyrus] from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, as driven stubble to his bow? Who pursued them, and passed safely by the way that he had not gone with his feet? Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? 'I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He.'"
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 frames some points made by Isaiah-2 as if they were part of a debate between representatives of God and representatives of the pagan nations of the world. Isiah-2 portrays the military and political rise of the "righteous" Cyrus to be an act of God, because he would not only free the Judean exiles in Babylon, he would also allow them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their cities and their temple.]
The coastlands saw it and feared, the ends of the earth were afraid; they drew near and came. Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, "Be of good courage!" So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; he who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, saying, "It is ready for the soldering"; then he fastened it with pegs, that it might not totter. "But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest regions, and said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'" Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them--those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you," says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 ridicules the efforts of those "distant nations" who formed an alliance to oppose Cyrus' forces and then relied on the building of idols to serve as their defense. The Judeans who were exiled in Babylon, on the other hand, would (according to Isaiah-2) be saved, because they were putting their faith in God. As it turned out, the fact that they put their faith in God (and assisted Cyrus' efforts to capture Babylon) did indeed contribute to Cyrus' decision to free the Judeans and allow them to return to Jerusalem.]
"Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth [allegorically, Chirst's double-edged sword of truth and love]; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel. The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, that they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
[3-hvn. This third-heaven paragraph was probably added by Isaiah-3. His allegories regarding the threshing of "mountains", etc. are essentially the same as he used in Chapter 40. Notice that he is using the cypress, pine, and box trees planted in the "desert" (i.e. "dry earth") as representing personified new godly teachings ("trees of knowledge") which "see, know, consider, and understand" that they were created by the "hand of the LORD." In other words, it will be clear to everyone that their teachings will be based on God's two most fundamental commandments.]
"Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them [i.e. their "fruits"]; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination. I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; and he shall come against princes as though mortar, as the potter treads clay."
[3-hvn. Back to the debate scenario. Isaiah-3 ridicules the inability of idols (and idol worshippers) to accurately describe the past and foretell the future. He compares their lack of performance to the success of Isaiah-2's predictions regarding Cyrus' victory over Babylon and its neighbors.]
"Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, 'He is righteous'? Surely there is no one who shows, surely there is no one who declares, surely there is no one who hears your words. The first time I said to Zion, 'Look, there they are!' And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings. For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, who, when I asked of them, could answer a word. Indeed they are all worthless; their works are nothing; their molded images are wind and confusion."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 is ridiculing some of his post-exile Judean contemporaries for reverting back to idol worship and ignoring the prophecies of Isaiah-2, prophesies that foretold events that nobody else had predicted.]
Chapter 42 [primarily Isaiah-3 using some text from Isaiah-2]
Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, my Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; he will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands [distant nations] shall wait for His law."
[3-hvn. Most commentators consider this Isaiah-3 prophecy to refer to the eventual coming of a "suffering Messiah", and that this role was fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Matthew 12:18-21 specially makes such an assertion. But the four gospels also make it clear that Jesus DID in fact "cry out" concerning the fate of Jerusalem (among other things), and he did "raise His voice" against the Pharisees, moneychangers, etc. Furthermore, Jesus certainly did allow his "voice to be heard in the street." So this prophecy is more likely referring the "Second Coming of Christ" in the "end times", to an ultimate worldwide victory of a SPIRITUAL Messiah over satanically inspired teachings such as the worship of "national sovereignty". Notice that Isaiah-3 makes it clear that this victory will apply to the "Gentiles" and "coastlands" (distant nations) as well as to the Jews. His comments about a "bruised reed" not breaking may have been added to indicate that this victory will occur by means of a spiritual battle rather than a physical battle.]
Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them."
[3-hvn. Notice how Isaiah-3 makes it clear that he is referring to THE Lord who created "heaven and earth" and all the life therein. Here the Lord is addressing the Kingdom or God as taught by Jesus Christ comprised of people who take God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY (a.k.a. the "Body of Christ"). This Kingdom of God will cause "former things to pass away" (like the "national sovereignty system") and be replaced with "new things" (e.g. a true world government). Furthermore, it's quite predictable that this will eventually happen. The view of the future presented in the "Star Trek" series assumes that this has happened already.]
Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands. The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; he shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; he shall prevail against His enemies.
[3-hvn. After the event known as the "Second Coming of Christ", the whole world will recognize that God really DOES exist and that ALL things created by man (conceptual as well as physical) will hereafter be subordinated to (and evaluated according to) God's guiding principles of truth and love.]
"I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. I will lay waste the mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools. I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, who trust in carved images, who say to the molded images, 'You are our gods.'
[3-hvn. By teaching people the significance of following God's two most fundamental commandments, this event will "open people's eyes" to what has really been going on in the world. Many will no longer be able to "hide" behind their ungodly ideologies and will be greatly ashamed by how badly they were misrepresenting God to the people of the world.]
Hear, you deaf; and look, you blind, that you may see. Who is blind but My servant, or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is blind as he who is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? Seeing many things, but you do not observe; opening the ears, but he does not hear." The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; he will exalt the law and make it honorable. But this is a people robbed and plundered; all of them are snared in holes, and they are hidden in prison houses; they are for prey, and no one delivers; for plunder, and no one says, "Restore!" Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, nor were they obedient to His law. Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger and the strength of battle; it has set him on fire all around, yet he did not know; and it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.
[3-hvn. If this NKJ translation of the Isaiah-2 paragraph above appears to be quite confusing to you, don't feel lonely. The following TLB translation expresses it more clearly:
Oh, how blind and deaf you are toward God! Why won't you listen? Why won't you see? Who in all the world is as blind as my own people, who are designed to be my messengers of truth? Who is so blind as my "dedicated one," the "servant of the Lord"? You see and understand what is right but won't heed nor do it; you hear, but you won't listen. The Lord has magnified his law and made it truly glorious. Through it he had planned to show the world that he is righteous. But what a sight his people are--these who were to demonstrate to all the world the glory of his law; for they are robbed, enslaved, imprisoned, trapped, fair game for all, with no one to protect them. Won't even one of you apply these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you up ahead? Who let Israel be robbed and hurt? Did not the Lord? It is the Lord they sinned against, for they would not go where he sent them nor listen to his laws. That is why God poured out such fury and wrath on his people and destroyed them in battle. Yet, though set on fire and burned, they will not understand the reason why--that it is God, wanting them to repent. (TLB)
This Isaiah-2 portion of the text was clearly written while the Judeans were still exiled in Babylon. Apparently, many of them were worshipping Babylonian Gods at the time. Notice how it reflects Isaiah-2's Levite-like view of God as being a jealous, wrathful God--a God who can be blamed for doing evil things as well as good. As I have shown in my earlier articles, the Levites used such views and teachings to intellectually "control their flocks" and at times to inspire their "flocks" to engage in extraordinarily evil conduct whenever it suited their selfish purposes to do so. The Greeks and Romans viewed their gods in much the same way, for similar reasons. As I have already shown, and will show again, rather than attributing the evil to God, Isaiah-3 taught instead that people brought evil upon themselves. This was a major intellectual "breakthrough departure" from the views of God (and gods) that were commonly held in those days. Jesus Christ agreed with Isaiah-3 on this point and added the idea that those who were bringing evil upon themselves were in fact following the teachings of Satan. In conjunction with this, Jesus taught people how to distinguish between teachings which were "of God" and those which were "of Satan", so that people could more easily recognize how to avoid bringing evil upon themselves.]
Chapter 43 [Isaiah-2 with some embellishments by Isaiah-3]
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth--Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."
[3-hvn. This is actually a continuation of the Isaiah-2 paragraph that ended Chapter 42, although Isaiah-3 was probably the author of the above sentence about passing through the water and the fire. Allegorically, "passing through the water" represents the spiritual act of "baptism" whereby the teachings of God (as revealed or perceived by following God's two most fundamental commandments) help to cleans one's heart and mind of ungodly views and practices. "Walking through the fire" represents the essentially the same purging process, except in this case the guidance (a.k.a. "grilling") comes from other people who (by following God's two most fundamental commandments) recognize that what you are doing or saying is ungodly (and "scold the hell out of you" accordingly). True servants of God will accept such criticisms and adapt accordingly. So by adding that one sentence, Isaiah-3 transformed an Isaiah-2 description of the redemption the Judeans would receive by following the "Laws of Moses" to a description of the redemption they would receive by following God's two most fundamental commandments. More likely than not, Ezra and Nehemiah were so "blinded" by their Levite ideology that they were unable to recognize the difference.]
"Bring out the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled. Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear and say, "It is truth." You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses," says the LORD, "that I am God. Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?"
[3-hvn. This part is pure Isaiah-3; it refers back to the debate among "all the nations" which Isaiah-3 used to frame those Isaiah-2 texts in chapter 40-43. Unlike Isaiah-2 who was primarily concerned with returning with his fellow Judeans to Jerusalem, Isaiah-3 looked forward to the day when God would spiritually rule the whole world (and everyone in it, not just the Judeans). This was the view of God originally conceived by the authors of Genesis, and it is the view of God taught by Jesus Christ.]
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "For your sake I will send to Babylon, and bring them all down as fugitives--the Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King." Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, Who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick): "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise. But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; and you have been weary of Me, O Israel. You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings, nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings, nor wearied you with incense. You have bought Me no sweet cane with money, nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted. Your first father sinned, and your mediators have transgressed against Me. Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary; I will give Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches." [TLB: "That is why I have deposed your priests and destroyed Israel, leaving her to shame."]
[3-hvn. This part was clearly written by Isaiah-2 regarding the impending demise of Babylon. Notice that Isaiah-2 still advocated the use of animal sacrifices as the prescribed means for atonement or redemption, whereas (starting in Chapter 1) Isaiah-3 scorned such practices, saying that God didn't really desire animal sacrifices. Here Isaiah-2 predicts that Hebrews will be invited return to Judea "from all over the place", and that they would in effect "start with a clean slate" when they returned. But he reminds them that the reason Judea fell in the first place was because its citizens weren't following practices prescribed in the "Laws of Moses." So above indicates that Isaiah-2 was probably a Levite priest.]
Chapter 44 [Isaiah-3]
Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you: "Fear not, O Jacob My servant; and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring; They will spring up among the grass like willows by the watercourses." One will say, "I am the LORD'S"; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; another will write with his hand, "The LORD'S," and name himself by the name of Israel. Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one."
[3-hvn. Here is another beautiful passage by Isaiah-3. Allegorically, "pouring waster on him who is thirsty" represents the guidance that God will gladly give to those who seek and follow the truth relative to His two most fundamental commandments. The "Rock" allegorically refers to the feeling of consistency and security one gets when one seeks and follows God's two most fundamental commandments without putting one's true faith in any of the temporal things or concepts created by men. Man-made things and concepts come and go, but God's guiding principles of truth and love AWLAYS provide a consistent, realistic, and quite useful view of the world.]
Those who make an image, all of them are useless, and their precious things shall not profit; they are their own witnesses; they neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed. Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing? Surely all his companions would be ashamed; and the workmen, they are mere men. Let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, they shall be ashamed together. The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals, fashions it with hammers, and works it with the strength of his arms. Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The craftsman stretches out his rule, he marks one out with chalk; he fashions it with a plane, he marks it out with the compass, and makes it like the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house. He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak; he secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn, for he will take some of it and warm himself; yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; indeed he makes a god and worships it; he makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. He burns half of it in the fire; with this half he eats meat; he roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire." And the rest of it he makes into a god, his carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" They do not know nor understand; for He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. And no one considers in his heart, nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, "I have burned half of it in the fire, yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"
[3-hvn. Here we have some further ridicule of idol worship, probably written this time by Isaiah-3 inspired by the earlier writings of Isaiah-2. Some have argued that such writings give the Pagans a "bum rap." It wasn't the idols themselves that the Pagans were worshipping--it was the gods that those idols represented; just as we claim that it isn't our national flag that we are worshipping--it's the nation that the flag represents. In either case, from God's point of view, worshipping golden idols, Greek gods, national flags, or nations themselves are ALL forms of idolatry. Such practices divert attention AWAY from following God's two most fundamental commandments, and they falsely attribute to those idols blessings and achievement which in fact originated from God. Such practices permit the human "owners" of such idols to exert a form of "mind control" over those who worship of such idols, making it easy to inspire such worshippers to donate money, go to war, etc. Christian "fundamentalists" have a tendency to make an idol out of the Bible, so that they can use it for such purposes.]
"Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me! I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel. Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad; who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness; Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; who says to Jerusalem, 'You shall be inhabited,' to the cities of Judah, 'You shall be built,' and I will raise up her waste places; Who says to the deep, 'Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers'; Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," and to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."'
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 stresses the Lord's eagerness to redeem Israel and to "forgive and forget" their past sins if they would only follow His guidance. Notice that although Isaiah-3 mentions Cyrus, he does so in the past tense; likewise with regards to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. This was clearly written after those decisions were made. The Judeans were given a second chance, and at the time this was written, Isaiah-3 was apparently quite exited about this. So this may have been one of Isaiah-3's own early prophecies written before Ezra and Nehemiah arrived from Babylon.]
Chapter 45 [Isaiah-2]
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, 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."
[2-hvn. Notice that Isaiah-2 referred to Cyrus here as being "His anointed" which means "Messiah." To him, Cyrus WAS the "Messiah", for he was about to free to Judeans from their captivity in Babylon. And, as you can see, Isaiah-2 attributed all of Cyrus' victories (including all the evil things he did) to being "the work of the Lord." Compared to other rulers of his day, Cyrus was considerably more liberal and open-minded about allowing his subjects to retain their former religious beliefs and practices.]
"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. Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds 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'? 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. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he [Cyrus] shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward," says the LORD of hosts.
[2-hvn. More Isaiah-2 praise and prophecy regarding Cyrus. Isaiah-2's view that Cyrus was inspired and guided by God had considerable credibility among the Judeans, even with Isaiah-3.]
Thus says the LORD: "The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; they shall walk behind you, they shall come over in chains; and they shall bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, 'Surely God is in you [Cyrus], and there is no other; there is no other God.'" Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior! They shall be ashamed and also disgraced, all of them; they shall go in confusion together, who are makers of idols.
[2-hvn. The above was clearly written by Isaiah-2 shortly before Babylon fell.]
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: "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. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, who carry the wood of their carved image, and pray to a god that cannot save. Tell and bring forth your case; yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me." "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! 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. He shall say, 'Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.'"
[3-hvn. The above appears to be an Isaiah-2 writing slightly embellished by Isaiah-3. Although it expresses Isiah-3's views regarding the universality of God, it focuses almost exclusively on the future of Judeans.]
Chapter 46 [Isaiah-2]
Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle. Your carriages were heavily loaded, a burden to the weary beast. They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity. "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. To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal and compare Me, that we should be alike? They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; they prostrate themselves, yes, they worship. They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it and set it in its place, and it stands; from its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer nor save him out of his trouble."
[2-hvn. More Isaiah-2 ridicule of his fellow Judeans for making Babylonian idols and worshipping Babylonian gods like Bel and Nebo.]
"Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. 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, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,' Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man [Cyrus] 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. Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness: I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; my salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel My glory.
[2-hvn. This was clearly written by Isaiah-2 shortly before Babylon fell.]
Chapter 47 [Isaiah-2 embellished by Isaiah-3]
"Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, take off the skirt, uncover the thigh, pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be uncovered, yes, your shame will be seen; I will take vengeance, and I will not arbitrate with a man."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 seems to be rejoicing at the prospect that the Babylonians will soon physically suffer the Lord's vengeance.]
As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel. Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no longer be called the Lady of Kingdoms. I was angry with My people; I have profaned My inheritance, and given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy; on the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily. And you said, "I shall be a lady forever," so that you did not take these things to heart, nor remember the latter end of them. Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, who say in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children'; But these two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness because of the multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments. For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, "No one sees me"; your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; and you have said in your heart, "I am, and there is no one else besides me."
[3-hvn. Although it is clear here that Isaiah-2 was allegorically referring to the Babylonian Empire and its religious leaders as an "evil daughter who thought she was invincible", it appears that Isaiah-3 probably added the comment "for you shall no longer be called the Lady of Kingdoms", because that point is more typical of an Isaiah-3 view than an Isaiah-2 view. That little addition to Isaiah-2's text transforms his allegorical reference into a description of a form of idolatry that is widely popular in today's world, the worship of "national sovereignty." This "Lady of Kingdoms" is described in a similar manner as a scarlet harlot labeled "MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" in Revelation 17:5. Think about it. That "Lady of Kingdoms" bestows absolute power to kings over their people, and as they say, "absolute power corrupts absolutely." This concept that national rulers are accountable to no one but themselves is a "bloody abomination" from God's point of view.]
Therefore evil shall come upon you; you shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; you will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not know. Stand now with your enchantments and the multitude of your sorceries, in which you have labored from your youth--perhaps you will be able to profit, perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before! Thus shall they be to you with whom you have labored, your merchants from your youth; they shall wander each one to his quarter. No one shall save you.
[2-hvn. Again, this was clearly written by Isaiah-2 regarding Babylon. But throughout history the same could have been said about numerous other kings and kingdoms who put their faith in idols and in their own interpretations of "national sovereignty" rather than in God's two most fundamental commandments. The daily NATO bombings and the Serb massacres in Kosovo at this very moment are all taking place because of disagreements over how Kosovo's "national sovereignty" should be defined--ALL THAT is symptomatic of the idolatry and international anarchy that we euphemistically refer to as the "national sovereignty system."]
Chapter 48 [Isaiah-2]
Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah; who swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth or in righteousness; For they call themselves after the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel; the LORD of hosts is His name: "I have declared the former things from the beginning; they went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Because I knew that you were obstinate, and your neck was an iron sinew, and your brow bronze, Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you, lest you should say, 'My idol has done them, and my carved image and my molded image have commanded them.' You have heard; see all this. And will you not declare it? I have made you hear new things from this time, even hidden things, and you did not know them."
[2-hvn. Again, Isaiah-2 is ridiculing his fellow Judeans for falsely claiming to believe in the God of Israel while in fact they have been worshipping Babylonian idols. So he makes further predictions to demonstrate that God can foresee the future accurately while idols cannot.]
They [these new predictions] are created now and not from the beginning; and before this day you have not heard them, lest you should say, 'Of course I knew them.' 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. Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last. Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has stretched out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together. All of you, assemble yourselves, and hear! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he shall do His pleasure on Babylon, and His arm shall be against the Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him [Cyrus], I have brought him, and his way will prosper. Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit have sent Me."
[2-hvn. This was apparently the first time Isaiah-2 had predicted that Cyrus would defeat the Babylonian Empire, so chronologically, this chapter should have been inserted between the present chapters 40 and 41 of the Book of Isaiah.
Notice how all three Isaiahs follow the Levite tradition of saying "Thus says the Lord..." and then write in the first person as if they were God Himself. Jesus never did that; his view was that he was being guided by God's Holy Spirit. In fact, the only time that literary technique in used in the New Testament is in Acts 21:10-11 where a prophet named Agabus said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit...." Some Christian fundamentalists argue that God "never spoke prophetically to people since Old Testament times", because they insist that the Old Testament authors' use of that literary technique must be interpreted literally. As I have pointed out in earlier articles on this web site, the use of that literary technique by the Levites often led to extraordinarily evil acts committed by the Israelites. On the other hand, Jesus and the authors of the New Testament viewed God differently. The New Testament does record some "spiritual voice" instances such as the angels proclaiming Jesus' birth, the voice of God at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, and Jesus speaking to Saul on the road to Damascus. But in general, the New Testament teaches people to seek and follow God's Holy Spirit (by following God's two most fundamental commandments) without necessarily expecting the hear an actual "voice of God." This is the new (and some might say more honest) covenant between God and man.]Hol
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants also would have been like the sand, and the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; his name would not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me."
[2-hvn. Clearly, Isaiah-2 blames the Judeans themselves for their defeat at the hands of the Babylonians, or at least for their trashing of Jerusalem and King Solomon's Temple. As you may recall from our review of 2nd Kings, Jerusalem and King Solomon's Temple may well have survived pretty much in tact after the Babylonians initially conquered Judea. It was a subsequent rebellion (for the sake of Judean "national sovereignty") that led to the actual trashing of Jerusalem its Temple. Then in 70 AD, the "stiff necked" descendants of those Judeans did it again (with similar consequences).]
Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! With a voice of singing, declare, proclaim this, utter it to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!" And they did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; he caused the waters to flow from the rock for them; he also split the rock, and the waters gushed out. "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."
[3-hvn. Obviously, Isaiah-2 was eagerly looking forward to being freed from the "wicked" Babylonian captivity. The point about the "rock" being split and the "waters" gushing out is an allegorical reference to the guidance from God one receives when putting one's faith in the "rock" of God's two most fundamental commandments. That comment may have been added by Isaiah-3.]
Chapter 49 [primarily Issaih-3 with some Isaiah-2 text inserted and embellished.]
"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. 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.'
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.'" 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). 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.'"
[2-hvn. I suspect that the first half of this chapter was written by Isaiah-3 after Ezra and Nehemiah arrived from Babylon and reestablished a Levite-like theocracy in Jerusalem. Thereafter, the truth about God's two most fundamental commandments was evidently suppressed or censored by the "current establishment" thereby forcing the Isaiah-3 author(s) to resort to "sneaky" allegorical techniques in order to convey the truth about God to future generations. As previously mentioned, Isaiah-3 recognized that the ultimate victory of God's guiding principles of truth and love over the less-than-Godly traditions of the Levites would occur in two phases requiring two different "Messiah" roles (a human teacher "First Messiah" role followed by a victorious spiritual "Second Messiah" role). Isaiah-3 also recognized that each role could only be fulfilled "when the time was right." Since the time was not "right" under the ideologically repressive administration of Ezra and Nehemiah, these two roles would have to be fulfilled some time in the future. A few centuries later, Jesus Christ recognized this first role and decided to fulfill it, even though he knew it would cost him his life. St. Paul eventually completed that "first Messiah" role when he clearly extended Jesus' teachings to include the Gentiles. So here we see Isaiah-3 describing some aspects of the "First Messiah" role that would need to be fulfilled sometime in the future.
Have you ever seen any of your religious leaders provide as good an explanation as this as to WHY the Old Testament prophets predicted the coming of a "Messiah"?]
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." 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; 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. Surely these shall come from afar; look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim. 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."
[3-hvn. This part is an early formulation by Isaiah-3 of the "Second Messiah" role. Chronologically, this chapter should have been presented prior to the more detailed predictions regarding the "Second Messiah" event that we reviewed in Part 1 of this article. It appears unlikely that Isaiah-3 would have scrambled the chronological order of the texts appearing in the Book of Isaiah to appear in its present form, unless it seemed necessary to do so in order to make it appear that the entire book was written by Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-2.]
But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me. Your sons shall make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you. Lift up your eyes, look around and see; all these gather together and come to you. As I live," says the LORD, "You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament, and bind them on you as a bride does. For your waste and desolate places, and the land of your destruction, will even now be too small for the inhabitants; and those who swallowed you up will be far away. The children you will have, after you have lost the others, will say again in your ears, 'The place is too small for me; give me a place where I may dwell.' Then you will say in your heart, 'Who has begotten these for me, since I have lost my children and am desolate, a captive, and wandering to and fro? And who has brought these up? There I was, left alone; but these, where were they?' " 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."
[2-hvn. Here it appears that Isaiah-3 inserted and embellished some text that was originally written by Isaiah-2. Isaiah-2 probably intended to reassure the Judean exiles that God had not forgotten them and to predict that the Judeans would become "fruitful and multiply" (physically) once they returned to Judea. However, Isaiah-3 evidently embellished this text to predict that the population of Jews would multiply much faster than that, because the children of many Gentiles would recognize the truthfulness of their teachings and convert to Judaism as well. Or at least that may have been what he was hoping would happen before Ezra arrived and began enforcing the Levites' satanically inspired "racial purity" teachings again. So this paragraph appears to have been written months or even years before the First and Second Messiah portions of in this chapter.]
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of the righteous be delivered? But thus says the LORD: "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children. I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. All flesh shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
[2-hvn. This last paragraph is typical Isaiah-2 prophecy.]
Chapter 50 [Isaiah-3]
Thus says the LORD: "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. Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink because there is no water, and die of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering."
[3-hvn. This is Isaiah-3's view of who was to blame for the fall of Judea and the Judeans' captivity in Babylon. Here Isaiah-3 is saying that it wasn't God's fault that those things happened. The Judeans brought those things upon themselves ("for your iniquities you have sold yourselves, and for your transgressions you mother has been put away"). So whereas Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-2 tended to attribute the Judeans' misfortunes to vengeance executed by God Himself, Isaiah-3 did not. In his view, the Judeans simply "did it to themselves." As pointed out earlier, this amounted to a SIGNIFICANT change in how God was viewed; it was this view of God that Jesus Christ recognized and used in his own teachings. Perhaps, from his "Monday morning quarterbacking" vantagepoint, Isaiah-3 could see how Levites' teachings had failed to save the Judeans, Jerusalem, and their Temple from utter destruction; indeed, he evidently recognized how some their ungodly teachings helped lead to those ungodly consequences. So Isaiah-3 pretty much "ditched" the idea that God can be blamed (or credited) for doing evil things. People do evil things, not God.]
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. 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. For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. He is near who justifies Me; who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me. Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up. 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".
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 further describes (perhaps from personal experience) the kind of views and teachings he expected would characterize the First Messiah role.]
Chapter 51 [Isaiah-3]
Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock [God's two most fundamental commandments] from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit 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. For the LORD will comfort Zion, 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. "Listen to Me, My people; and give ear to Me, O My nation: for law will proceed from Me, and I will make My justice rest as a light of the peoples. My righteousness is near, my salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands will wait upon Me, and on My arm they will trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness will not be abolished."
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 further describes the Second Messiah role. Notice that he is using the concept of "Zion" in the broader sense of "My peoples" (worldwide) rather than merely referring to the physical city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. In this case, he is using term "Zion" in essentially the same way as the term "New Jerusalem" is used St. John's Book of Revelation. Isaiah-3's reference to the heavens vanishing like smoke allegorically represents mankind's former (supernatural?) misperceptions of God disappearing like smoke dissipating in the air. The reference to the earth growing old like a garment allegorically represents mankind's current perceptions of popular truths fading into history. Like the people who believe in such perceptions, they will all eventually die, but God's guiding principles of truth and love are eternal.]
"Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but My righteousness will be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD! Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, and wounded the serpent? Are You not the One who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over? 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. I, even I, am He who comforts you. "
[3-hvn. Here we have further Isaiah-3 prophecies regarding the Second Messiah role. The reference to "making the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over" infers the same idea as the "walking on water" allegory used in Matthew 14. Following God's two most fundamental commandments may appear to some to be like "walking on water", because the guidance you get by doing so is likely to change somewhat as circumstances change. But for those who regard "only God as holy", following those two commandments is like standing on a "rock" that provides a consistent way to view the world in such a way as to help make the world better and more neighborly place from just about everyone.]
"Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; you have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, that he should not die in the pit, and that his bread should not fail. But I am the LORD your God, who divided the sea whose waves roared--the LORD of hosts is His name. 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.'"
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 is stressing the point that God communicates directly with men and will guide them accordingly, inspiring them to speak according to His Will. Human intermediaries are not required.]
Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of His fury; you have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and drained it out. There is no one to guide her among all the sons she has brought forth; nor is there any who takes her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up. These two things have come to you; who will be sorry for you?--Desolation and destruction, famine and sword--by whom will I comfort you? Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, like an antelope in a net; they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of your God. Therefore please hear this, you afflicted, and drunk but not with wine. Thus says your Lord, the LORD and your God, who pleads the cause of His people: "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shall no longer drink it. But I will put it [cup of wrath] into the hand of those who afflict you, who have said to you, 'Lie down, that we may walk over you.' And you have laid your body like the ground, and as the street, for those who walk over."
[3-hvn. Here the "cup of My fury" allegorically refers to God's wrath, as does the "cup" in Rev 14:10. Isaiah-3 is predicting that the Judeans will no longer have to partake of that "cup" (for a while at least). Notice that rather than promising future vengeance to deter disobedience, Isaiah-3 portrays the Lord as a loving God who "pleads the cause of His people."]
Chapter 52 [Isaiah-2]
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! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! For thus says the LORD: "You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money." For thus says the Lord GOD: "My people went down at first into Egypt to dwell there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here," says the LORD, "That My people are taken away for nothing? Those who rule over them make them wail," says the LORD, "And My name is blasphemed continually every day. Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: 'Behold, it is I.'"
[2-hvn. Clearly, this was written by Isaiah-2 during the Judean captivity in Babylon. Notice that he incorrectly viewed the Assyrians as having "oppressed them without cause." In fact, the Judeans were "oppressed" by the Assyrians, because King Hezekiah decided to rebel against the tribute arrangement that King Ahaz had negotiated with them. Isaiah-2 may have had only a limited or distorted knowledge of the major events that took place in Judea 150 years earlier. Notice also how he views the expected freeing of his fellow Judean captives in Babylon as being a Godly act of redemption, even though, as we saw in his earlier writings, he considered many of them to be unworthy of redemption due to their idolatrous worship of various Babylonian idols and gods.]
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!" 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. Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-2 anticipated great things to happen when they returned to Jerusalem.]
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 of our God. Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD. For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 is once again sounding like a Levite priest, or at least a student of the Levites.]
Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 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; 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.
[3-hvn. This last part was clearly added by Isaiah-3. If it were written by Isaiah-2, the term "My Servant" would have referred to Cyrus, and the rest of the description doesn't apply appropriately to Cyrus. What we have here is the beginning of Isaiah-3's description of the "suffering Messiah" portion of the roles that were to be played out by the coming of the First and Second Messiahs. This can be more clearly seen in the TLB translation of these last two verses:
"See, my Servant shall prosper; he shall be highly exalted. Yet many shall be amazed when they see him--yes, even far-off foreign nations and their kings; they shall stand dumbfounded, speechless in his presence. For they shall see and understand what they had not been told before. They shall see my Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there. So shall he cleanse many nations." (TLB)
The "Servant" in this case is the spiritual "body of Christ" referred by St. Paul and the allegorical "Lamb" referred to throughout the Book of Revelation. In the Second Coming of Christ, the "suffering Messiah" role will be fulfilled by those religious leaders who will ACCEPT THE BLAME for the horrendously bloody consequences that have resulted from their traditional misrepresentations of God to the people of this world. Clearly, that hasn't happened yet.]
Chapter 53 [Isaiah-3]
[This chapter had a profound influence on Jesus Christ who assumed this role during the 18 hours or so leading up to his crucifixion.]
^ Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm [or hand] of the LORD been revealed? ^ [John 12:38 and Romans 10:16] For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. 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. ^ Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; ^ [Matthew 8:17] yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
[3-hvn. We need to ask ourselves, "Why did Isaiah-3 write this prophecy?" Was it a dream? Was it a "supernatural revelation?" Perhaps. But when we examine this from the third-heaven point of view, we can recognize another answer to this question. The "growing like a tender plant or root out of the dry ground" means that he will not be part of the "current religious establishment." He will start with a "clean slate" as far as his perceptions of popular truths are concerned. He will "feel the pain" of the victims who have suffered and died at the hands of those who do not take God's two most fundamental commandments seriously. He will be despised and rejected, especially by the current religious establishment, because he will use God's two most fundamental commandments to "expose their nakedness" from God's point of view. This indeed describes a portion of the role that Jesus Christ fulfilled. In some ways, it also describes that role which I am fulfilling by writing these articles on www.onesalt.com. Like "d‚j… vu all over again", it's a role that true servants of God are often obliged to assume.]
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way [i.e. to following criteria OTHER than God's two most fundamental commandments]; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 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. 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. 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.
[3-hvn. This part Jesus fulfilled completely. Evidently, Isaiah-3 recognized that God would oblige the First Messiah to teach and show the people of the world how to cleanse themselves of their iniquities in the eyes of God. The First Messiah would be tried and convicted of violating some man-made criteria and put to death. He would be buried along with criminals, but in a rich man's tomb, because he had done no wrong. By his death, he would show the people of the world that all they need to do to be forgiven of their sins is to follow (and put their faith in) the intersection ("cross") of God's guiding principles of truth and love. In that way, "the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all."]
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. 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.
[3-hvn. God will be pleased by his obedience. The Living Bible (TLB) translation states this more accurately.
But it was the Lord's good plan to bruise him and fill him with grief. However, when his soul has been made an offering for sin, then he shall have a multitude of children, many heirs [spiritual descendants]. He shall live again, and God's program shall prosper in his hands. And when he sees all that is accomplished by the anguish of his soul, he shall be satisfied; and because of what he has experienced, my righteous Servant shall make many to be counted righteous before God, for he shall bear all their sins. Therefore, I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great because he has poured out his soul unto death. He was counted as a sinner, and he bore the sins of many, and he pled with God for sinners. (TLB)
So this chapter is where the doctrines of 1) "resurrection" and 2) the forgiveness of sins through the allegorical "blood of the Lamb" come from. No matter how hard men may try, they can't keep God's principles of truth and love "buried" under mankind's perceptions of popular truths. According to Isaiah-3, this one sacrifice will be sufficient in the eyes of God to grant forgiveness of sins for all of the suffering messiah's ("spiritual descendants") thereafter who are willing to seek, follow, and TELL THE TRUTH relative to God's two most fundamental commandments. If Isaiah-3's Levite contemporaries (who relied on animal sacrifices for their income) had clearly understood this prophecy, they would have been enraged.
So why did Isaiah-3 write this chapter? I suspect that something like this happened to one of his (or their) friends under the Levite-inspired administration of Ezra and Nehemiah. Isaiah-3 predicted that it would happen again, and again, and again until God's principles of truth and love finally purge (worldwide) ALL the ungodly religious teachings from the "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths. Isaiah-3 was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write these prophecies, because he was following the REAL God. Those who teach that Isaiah-1 wrote these prophecies simply because he received them from God "supernaturally" are asking us to make a "leap of faith" which is neither justified or necessary.]
Chapter 54 [Isaiah-3]
"Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman," says the LORD. "Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited."
[3-hvn. By predicting "your descendants will inherit the nations", Isaiah-3 is predicting that the Kingdom of God will be worldwide (including Gentiles and the orphan survivors of war, disease, and famine.) "Enlarge the place of your tent" means that God will want ALL of them to be included in the Judeans' definition of "neighbor". This is a RADICAL departure from the satanically inspired restrictions which Moses-2, the Levites, Joshua, Samuel, and David placed on their definition of "neighbor." On the other hand, as I have shown in earlier articles on this web site, this teaching conforms very well with the teachings of Moses-1 and King Solomon.]
"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; he is called the God of the whole earth. For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused," says your God.
[3-hvn. Here we see the source of the "Bride of Christ" allegory in Revelation 21, a true worldwide church (in the context to a true world government) that follows, teaches, and enforces God's principles of truth and love without restrictions.]
"For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer. "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
[3-hvn. Many commentators view this as referring to the "Second Temple" Israel, but God's peace was clearly "removed" from the nation of Israel a few centuries later (in 70 AD). No. Those "mountains" haven't departed yet, and those "hills" have yet to be removed. This is referring to the ultimate victory of the Second Messiah or "Second Coming of Christ."]
"O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake. Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me," says the LORD. [YES!]
[3-hvn. This sounds a lot like the "New Jerusalem" in the Book of Revelation, does it not? "All our children shall be taught by the LORD" (i.e. no intermediaries; people will understand how to seek and follow God's two most fundamental commandments by themselves). Peace, freedom from oppression and terror, all that can be achieved within a God-guided true world government (the "instrument for his work"). This is not "utopian thinking." It's already beginning to happen in Europe, and eventually it will happen everywhere (hopefully without requiring a nuclear war bring it about).]
Chapter 55 [Isaiah-3]
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you--the sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people. Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you."
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 is describing how things will be AFTER the spiritual coming of the Second Messiah. There will still be "nations", but in the context of a God-guided true world government, they will interact and live peacefully together (just as our states within the USA interact and live peacefully together). It's interesting that Isaiah-3 would refer to the "sure mercies of David." As we saw in our previous reviews on this website, King David was "morally deficient in the mercy department." Perhaps King David recognized that deficiency at the end of his life, and his remorse contributed to his decision to ignore the "birthright" tradition and appoint Solomon to succeed him as King of Israel.]
Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."
[3-hvn. These are further comments by Isaiah-3 regarding how things will be AFTER the coming of the Second Messiah. When advocating change, it helps to create a "vision of the future" to show how things could and should be.]
Chapter 56 [Isaiah-1]
Thus says the LORD: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil." Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD speak, saying, "The LORD has utterly separated me from His people"; nor let the eunuch say, "Here I am, a dry tree." For thus says the LORD: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants--everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant--even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
[2-hvn. In chapters 56 through 59, we return to the writings of Isaiah-1 at a time when animal sacrifices were still being performed in Solomon's Temple but after the fall of the Northern Kingdom (a.k.a. Israel). The points made above are similar to the points made by King Solomon when in 1st Kings 8 he dedicated the temple and welcomed foreigners to join its congregation. However, here Isaiah-1 also says that loyal, obedient eunuchs were welcome to become part of the Temple congregation--in spite of the Levite teaching in Deuteronomy 23:1 that prohibited such men from becoming part of the congregation. So Isaiah-1 extended his definition of "neighbor" to include just about everyone who observed Hebrew customs, but he still viewed these teachings as only applying locally (i.e. within Judea only).]
The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, "Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him." All you beasts of the field, come to devour, all you beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory. "Come," one says, "I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; tomorrow will be as today, and much more abundant."
[2-hvn. As we saw in Part I of this article, Isaiah-1 was negatively impressed with the moral conduct of his contemporary Judeans and their religious leaders. He predicts that they will be easily "eaten by beasts" and that in their place the Lord will "gather" not only refugees from the Northern Kingdom but from other nations as well. It's similar to the sentiment expressed by Emma Lazarus regarding our Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"]
Chapter 57 [Isaiah-1]
The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 is mourning not only the loss of those who were righteous in the Northern Kingdom, he is mourning over the fact that his fellow Judeans don't seem to care about what happened to them. He says that nevertheless, they will rest in peace with their reputations in tact.]
"But come here, you sons of the sorceress, you offspring of the adulterer and the harlot! Whom do you ridicule? Against whom do you make a wide mouth and stick out the tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of falsehood, Inflaming yourselves with gods under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks? Among the smooth stones of the stream is your portion; they, they, are your lot! Even to them you have poured a drink offering, you have offered a grain offering. Should I receive comfort in these? On a lofty and high mountain you have set your bed; EVEN there you went up to offer sacrifice. Also behind the doors and their posts you have set up your remembrance; for you have uncovered yourself to those other than Me [i.e. you have committed religious "fornication" with idols], and have gone up to them; you have enlarged your bed and made a covenant with them; you have loved their bed, where you saw their nudity. You went to the king with ointment, and increased your perfumes; you sent your messengers far off, and even descended to Sheol. You are wearied in the length of your way; yet you did not say, 'There is no hope.' You have found the life of your hand; therefore you were not grieved.
[2-hvn. That's quite a scathing indictment of the religious values and immoral practices of his fellow Judeans.]
And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me? I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you. When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry them all away, a breath will take them. But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain."
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 is saying that when crisis comes, their self-righteousness (righteousness based on their own man-made criteria rather than God's two most fundamental commandments) and their collection of idols will not save them. But those who sincerely trust in the Lord (and His two most fundamental commandments) will inherit God's "holy mountain" (Isaiah-1's allegorical representation of the Kingdom of God, the "promised land", the "Garden of Eden").]
And one shall say, "Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, take the stumbling block out of the way of My people." For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips: peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near," says the LORD, "And I will heal him." But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 predicts that those with a humble spirit (a spirit that is willing to follow God's guidance) will be saved and do well. Notice that Isaiah-1 still shared the Levite view that the Lord is a God who gets angry at ungodly people rather than ungodly concepts. The allegorical reference to the wicked being like a "troubled sea" describes the way people inevitably get themselves into conflicts with others when they view things relative to their own man-made criteria rather than God's criteria of truth and love. The "sea" is often used by the prophets to allegorically represent the apostate, stagnant (tradition oriented) teachings of the "current religious establishment."]
Chapter 58 [Isaiah-1]
"Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God. 'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
[2-hvn. Here Issiah-1 criticizes the pious attitudes of some of his fellow Judeans, especially the way they were missing the whole point of the fasting ritual.]
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'"
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 explains how the fasting ritual is really supposed to be performed and what it is really supposed to mean. Fasting is supposed to represent an act of personal sacrifice that one must be willing to make whenever needed to follow God's two most fundamental commandments. He gives some examples, like feeding the poor, clothing the naked, etc. By doing so, you demonstrate God's love, light, and glory. As a result, God will be with you and make Himself known to you.]
If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In."
[3-hvn. For emphasis, Isaiah-1 states his case again, using new words to make essentially the same point. The allegorical reference to a "spring of water, whose waters do not fail" represents the inexhaustible guidance, teaching, and cleansing that comes from God when you when you follow His two most fundamental commandments.]
"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken."
[2-hvn. Then for even further emphasis, Isiah-1 uses different words to make this point a third time. It's kind of like me continually emphasizing God's two most fundamental commandments. Even though I risk sounding redundant regarding those two commandments, they MUST be emphasized, because they are SO important, and because they are being largely ignored by many of our nation's best known religious leaders.]
Chapter 59 [Isaiah-1]
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web; he who eats of their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 is apparently scolding his contemporary religious leaders for not following and teaching God's guiding principles of truth and love. Allegorically, he says their teachings are like "vipers' eggs". Those who believe ("eat" or "swallow") such teachings will not only die (spiritually, at least), their spiritually dead souls will create new vipers (ungodly teachings) as well. It's kind of like the way evil blood is transmitted from person to person in our Hollywood vampire movies. Jesus Christ may have had these verses in mind when he called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" in Matthew 23:33. Indeed, in many ways, Jesus' chastisements of the Pharisees and their associates resembled Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-3s chastisement of their own contemporary religious leaders (for mostly the same reasons too--they were falsely claiming to represent God while teaching and practicing violations of His two most fundamental commandments).]
Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.
[3-hvn. This is a scathing indictment indeed. The expression "crooked paths" of course means paths other than the "straight and narrow" path revealed when one follows God's two most fundamental commandments.]
Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as [spiritually] dead men in desolate places. We all growl like bears, and moan sadly like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, we know them: In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
[2-hvn. In Isaiah-1's view, all of the awful things described in this chapter were happening due to the corrupted teachings and practices of Judea's spiritually "blind" religious leaders. How many of the characteristics described in this chapter can you recognize in the teachings and practices of America's so-called "Christian Right" religious leaders?]
Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. "The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," says the LORD. "As for Me," says the LORD, "this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants," says the LORD, "from this time and forevermore."
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-1 is predicting that God will ultimately prevail over those people and/or their descendants. Since the Judeans' religious intercessors had so thoroughly disgraced themselves, he predicts that God would communicate directly with his faithful followers thereafter. This Isaiah-1 "ditched" the Levites' claim that they had a covenant with God that granted them an exclusive right to serve as intermediaries between God and the Israelites). Then Isaiah-1 predicted that God would execute vengeance on Judea's enemies and defend the Judeans from their attacks. Finally, he predicted that a true understanding of God and His Holy Spirit would be passed down from descendant to descendant forever after.]
Chapter 60 [Isaiah-3]
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
[3-hvn. We're back to Isaiah-3 again. Here he describes a vision of what it will be like after the Messiah triumphs over the spiritual and conceptual "darkness" that is created by the worship of national sovereignty.]
"Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall ascend with acceptance on My altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory."
[3-hvn. So, according to Isaiah-3, ALL nations, not just the Judeans, will become true believers in God's guiding principles of truth and love.]
"Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts? Surely the coastlands shall wait for Me; and the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you. The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you. Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession. For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined.
[3-hvn. Even though he was describing a vision of the distant future, Isaiah-3 had to express it in terms of cities and kingdoms known in his day in order to help his listeners better understand what he was talking about. Notice that Isaiah-3 describes this process as being voluntary for some and not-so voluntary for others (i.e. those nations that don't join will be "utterly ruined").]
The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, and milk the breast of kings; you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
[3-hvn. The expression "milk the breast of kings" implies that the kings themselves would cherish, be loyal to, and nourish this new City of the Lord, Zion. Even those who opposed it initially will end up worshipping it.]
"Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver, instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise."
[3-hvn. Here it becomes obvious that when Isaiah-3 referred to "Zion" in this chapter, he was NOT referring to the physical city of Jerusalem; he was referring instead to the spiritual state of mind of those who will comprise what is described in St. John's Revelation as the "New Jerusalem". Peace and justice shall reign protected by "walls" of salvation and "gates" of praise. That is, in order to "enter in" to this spiritual "Zion" with its "walls of salvation", one must praise the Lord and purge oneself of all ungodly doctrines. That's essentially the same point the authors of Genesis made in their allegorical "Garden of Eden" parable.]
"The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time."
[3-hvn. This is similar to the 21st chapter of Revelation which describes the "sun" (the Israelites view of God" and the "moon" (the Levites' view of God) as no longer being needed, because everyone by then would have a true and understanding relationship with the REAL God.]
Chapter 61 [Isaiah-3]
^ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, ^ [Luke 4:18-19] and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
[3-hvn. This is a continuation of chapter 60. Here Isaiah-3 is proclaiming the good news (a.k.a. "gospel") to the poor, brokenhearted, prisoners, etc. Notice he uses the expression "garment of praise" as if praise were an article of clothing to cover one's nakedness. His expression "trees of righteousness" refers to trees of knowledge formed in the minds of the righteous in accordance with God's two most fundamental commandments.
Luke 4 describes an incident in a synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read the part shown above between the ^ carrot marks ^. He then closed the book, and said, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." His audience was amazed. But when Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country" and started citing examples from the Hebrew scriptures to prove his point, his audience became enraged, took him outside, and attempted (unsuccessfully) to throw him off a cliff. Notice that the part above which Jesus did NOT read refers to the day of God's vengeance. That implies the Second Coming of Christ, which Jesus recognized would not be fulfilled until sometime later.]
And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 is resurrecting the original Moses-1 (Exodus 19:6) vision of the children of Israel becoming a "kingdom of priests" (in this case a kingdom of servants of God). He predicts that the Gentiles will gladly accept them in that role and work with them in peace accordingly. Is this were Jesus Christ's concept of a "Kingdom of God" came from? Perhaps, but as we have seen in some of the earlier reviews on this website, other Old Testament authors contributed to this concept as well.]
"For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed."
[3-hvn. Isaiah-3 predicts that their descendants will likewise fulfill such a role for all of mankind.]
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
[3-hvn. This is similar to the way the Book of Revelation describes the cleansed and unified church as being the "bride of Christ." Righteousness and praise for the Lord will "spring forth before all the nations." Indeed, the writings of the authors of Genesis and Isaiah were a prominent source of allegorical imagery as well as inspiration for St. John's Book of Revelation.]
Chapter 62 [Isaiah-3]
For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.
[3-hvn. This is a continuation of chapters 60 and 61. The expression "your land shall be married" allegorical means that mankind's perceptions of popular truths will essentially "become one" with mankind's perceptions of God. Jesus described this as "heaven and earth will pass away" in Matthew 24:35.]
For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You, who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, And give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: "Surely I will no longer give your grain as food for your enemies; and the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored. But those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts."
[3-hvn. This is a further elaboration on the "bride of God" theme where the "bride" represents a purified ("virgin") church.]
Go through, go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples! Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.'" And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken.
[3-hvn. The "bride of God" will be known by many godly names-each representing an aspect of the understanding relationship that would exists between God and men.]
Chapter 63 [Isaiah-2 slightly tweaked Isaiah-3]
Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?--"I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save." Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth."
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 is again predicting that the Lord would execute bloody vengeance upon the Edomites (especially those from Bozrah) for their cooperation with the Babylonians in destroying Judea. Some commentators allege that it was the Edomites who persuaded the Babylonians to utterly destroy Jerusalem. The point that "I looked, and there was no one to help..." was probably added by Isaiah-3 in order to tweak this passage in such a way as to have a third-heaven interpretation. If that bloodshed was inflicted by the "hand of God" only (as opposed to being done at the hands of men), then this may be interpreted to imply that the Edomites would be victims of the anarchy that they themselves helped to create. That would be another way of viewing their bloody encounters with various enemies over the years that followed and their eventual assimilation into Judea.]
[3-hvn. In our review of Chapter 34 last month, we examined the possibility that "Edom" may have been used allegorically by Isaiah-3 to represent the concept of "national sovereignty"--in the sense that it blocks people from perceiving and following God's guidance (i.e. blocks people from reaching "the promised land."). In this case, the blood-stained character described above can be viewed as representing a false "body of Christ" (apostate "Christian" churches in today's world) whose vengeful misrepresentations of God have been contributing to massive amounts bloodshed and human suffering over the centuries. St. John allegorically represents this character as a scarlet harlot labeled "BABYLON THE GREAT". It appears that in order to "tweak" Isaiah-2's diatribe against the Edomites so as to have this "hidden" allegorical lesson, Isaiah-3 added the part where the allegorical blood-stained character complains about having the "do it alone" (because God certainly wasn't going to help him) and then claims to have "brought "salvation" for himself by his own "arm." Now that hardly resembles a Christ-like teaching. It's more like our Pentagon attempting to "save" itself by attempting to scuttle the International Criminal Court, promoting international anarchy, opposing a ban on land mines, promoting military actions in Iraq, Serbia, and Kosovo, etc. We live in dangerous times alright, but our Pentagon is NOT making the world any safer for anybody, in spite of the fact that over half of our income tax dollars go to "defense spending". Such are the ways of Satan.]
I will mention the lovingkindnesss of the LORD and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesss. For He said, "Surely they are My people, children who will not lie." So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 is pointing out that the Lord wants to treat "the house of Israel" with lovingkindness, but instead He turned against them, because they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit. It was a typical Levite-like view of God.]
Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying: "Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within them? Who led them by the right hand of Moses, with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them to make for Himself an everlasting name? Who led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, that they might not stumble? As a beast goes down into the valley, and the Spirit of the LORD causes him to rest, so You lead Your people, to make Yourself a glorious name. Look down from heaven, and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, the yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me? Are they restrained?"
[2-hvn. So Isaiah-2 pleads with the Lord to remember his former promises, show mercy upon the Israelites, and support them.]
Doubtless You are our Father, though Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name. O LORD, why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear? Return for Your servants' sake, the tribes of Your inheritance. Your holy people have possessed it but a little while; our adversaries have trodden down Your sanctuary. We have become like those of old, over whom You never ruled, those who were never called by Your name.
[2-hvn. Isaiah-2's point here is that even though the Judeans had proven to be miserable Hebrews (according to the standards of Abraham, Jacob, and the Levites), they were still His children. Notice that Isaiah-2 blames the Lord for making them stray from His ways. This Levite-like view is similar to the view of the author of Exodus who claimed that the Lord "hardening the heart" of the Pharaoh. Isaiah-1 and to a larger extent Isaiah-3 (like Jesus) tended to view people who ignored God's guidance as bringing ungodly consequences upon themselves (rather than blaming God directly for such consequences).]
Chapter 64 [Isaiah-2]
Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence--As fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil--to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things for which we did not look, you came down, the mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.
[2-hvn. This is a continuation of Chapter 63. Here Isaiah-2 is expressing dismay over the fact that the Lord has not "shown Himself" to the Judeans' adversaries. Evidently, chapters 63 and 64 were written fairly early on during the Judean exile in Babylon (i.e. before it became apparent that Cyrus would become "savior" for the Judean exiles).]
You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned--in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-2 admits that the reason God hadn't "shown Himself" was probably because the Judeans at that time were so apostate that there was no one (other them himself) who even called His name.]
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Do not be furious, O LORD, nor remember iniquity forever; indeed, please look--we all are Your people! Your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire; and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O LORD? Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?
[2-hvn. Here we have some further desperate pleading by Isaiah-2. Notice the references in chapters 63 and 64 to the destruction of Jerusalem in the past tense. This clearly shows that these chapters were NOT written by Isaiah-1, the claims of many American TV evangelists notwithstanding.]
Chapter 65 [Isaiah-3]
^ "I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am,' to a nation that was not called by My name. I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, ^ [Romans 10:20-21] who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts; A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; who sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on altars of brick; Who sit among the graves, and spend the night in the tombs; who eat swine's flesh, and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Who say, 'Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!' These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.
[2-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 describes the apostate attitudes and practices of his fellow Judeans under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. He words this first paragraph to make it appear that it was written by Isaiah-1, but the theme is pure Isaiah-3. The Judeans are following their own criteria ("thoughts") rather than God's. The "I am holier than you" comment is probably referring to the Levite-like followers of Ezra. The fact that people from nations other than Israel were beginning to recognize and follow God's guiding principles of truth and love indicates that this was written after the Judeans returned from Babylon, because that was not likely to have been the case before then.]
"Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay--even repay into their bosom--your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together," says the LORD, "Who have burned incense on the mountains and blasphemed Me on the hills; therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom."
[2-hvn. Apparently, the Judeans who returned from Babylon were beginning to revert back to the same old beliefs and practices that their forefathers had during the second half of the Davidic Dynasty. Isaiah-3 predicts that they will therefore suffer the same fate as their forefathers.]
Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, 'Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it,' so will I do for My servants' sake, that I may not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; my elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me. But you are those who forsake the LORD, who forget My holy mountain, who prepare a table for Gad, and who furnish a drink offering for Meni. Therefore I will number you for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight."
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 is predicting that the Judeans will experience further ungodly consequences due to their failure (or refusal) to follow God's guidance, but there would nevertheless continue to be a remnant of Israel, and from the remnant will come more prophets who will recognize the "new wine" (new teachings or revelations regarding God's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself).]
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be ashamed; Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and wail for grief of spirit. You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; for the Lord GOD will slay you, and call His servants by another name; So that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My eyes."
[3-hvn. Isaiah-3 predicts that those new prophets will "eat", "drink", understand, and follow God's guiding principles of truth and love, and that the Levite-led Judeans would not. So the Judeans will be cursed, and the Lord will then decide to call his true servants by another name (i.e. "Christians"). Notice that Isaiah-3 specifically refers to the Lord as "the God of truth" and that it will be those who follow His truthful guidance whose sins would be "forgotten" (from God's point of view). It's not too difficult to see how Isaiah-3 was able to arrive at such a prophesy, but the fact is that he made it, and the fact that it came true, firmly established Isaiah-3 (along with Isaiah-1) as one of the great prophets of Israel.]
^ "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. ^ But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.
[3-hvn. He Isaiah-3 once again focuses into the future to predict what it will be like following the event that Christians refer to as "The Second Coming of Christ." Notice that Isaiah-3's allegorical references above to "new heavens and a new earth" were also used by Jesus in Matthew 5:18 and by St. John in Revelation 21:1. This clearly shows that like Jesus and St. John, Isaiah-3 was interpreting the creation stories in Genesis the way I describe them in my article "HOW IT ALL BEGAN" on this web site.]
Chapter 66 [Isaiah-3]
Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist," says the LORD. "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word. He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog's neck; he who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine's blood; he who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol. Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight."
[2-hvn. This is a continuation of Chapter 65. Here Isaiah-3 is continuing to describe what it will be like after the Second Coming of Christ. Those who humbly seek God's guidance (with a "contrite spirit") will share in God's glory. Those who follow the animal sacrifice teachings of the Levites (i.e. those who use their wealth to "bribe their way out of well-deserved jail sentences") will do poorly. The point about God "choosing their delusions and bringing their fears on them" can be readily observed among those who worship mankind's satanically inspired idol of "national sovereignty." Those who worship national sovereignty the most are the ones who are most paranoid about real or imaginary "threats to our national sovereignty", even though "national sovereignty" is more of a myth than a reality in today's world.]
Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at His word: "Your brethren who hated you, who cast you out for My name's sake, said, 'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy.' But they shall be ashamed. The sound of noise from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the LORD, who fully repays His enemies! Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?" says the LORD. "Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?" says your God.
[3-hvn. Here Isaiah-3 predicted (or observed) that the nation state of Judea would be "born" by decree and that its "birth pangs" would come after that. That's pretty much how it happened when Cyrus degreed that the Judeans who were exiled in Babylon would be permitted to return to Judean and rebuild their cities. In 1948, it happened again when the United Nations decreed the establishment of the nation state of Israel, an event which triggered several wars in that area thereafter. That happened largely as a result of Israel's ungodly (Joshua-like) land grabs where they stole properties from the Palestinians without providing reasonable compensation. Looking back, one can see that such actions were a very costly mistake for the Israelis; it has cost them dearly in lost lives and perpetual insecurity.)]
"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." For thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; on her sides shall you be carried, and be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
[2-hvn. Isaiah-3 further descriptions how it will be AFTER the event referred to by Christians as "The Second Coming of Christ."]
When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants, and His indignation to His enemies. For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many. Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, to go to the gardens after an idol in the midst, eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse, shall be consumed together," says the LORD. "For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the LORD, "as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites," says the LORD. "For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD. And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh."
[3-hvn. This is Isaiah-3's description of the actual processes involved in the event Christians refer to as "The Second Coming of Christ." It will involve a great judging of all peoples from all nations, past and present. After a purging of the ungodly doctrines taught by various religious leaders, "all flesh shall come to worship before" the Lord. Those who die physically before then without repenting and following God's guiding principles of truth and love will be eternally condemned by God and abhorred by all future generations of mankind. And, as mentioned before, there were be new "heavens" (new perceptions of God) and a new "earth" (of mankind's perceptions of popular truths).]
NEW TESTAMENT REFERENCES TO ISAIAH:
Now we shall briefly review where writings from the Book of Isaiah are specifically referred to in the New Testament. I've indicated which references were to the portions of the Book of Isaiah that were apparently written by Isaiah-1 and which references were to those to portions apparently written by Isaiah-3. Notice that there are no New Testament references to the portions that were apparently written by Isaiah-2. Indeed, most of the New Testament references refer to the writings of Isaiah-3. I'll use ^ carrot marks ^ to denote the beginning and end of the actual quotes from the Book of Isaiah.
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ^ "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.' " ^[Isaiah-3 40:3] And John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. (NKJ)
[3-hvn. John the Baptist used baptism to symbolize the cleansing or purging of one's heart and mind of satanically inspired teachings and beliefs (those which strayed AWAY from following God's two most fundamental commandments). In this way, he was indeed "making straight the Way of the Lord." Allegorically, the expression "crying in the wilderness" denotes that fact that he was teaching things that were contrary to the teachings of the "current religious establishment." It's interesting to note that, like Jesus, John the Baptist also referred to some of the religious leaders of his day as a "brood of vipers" (Matthew 3:7), because like many of today's better known religious leaders, they were more interested with preserving their ungodly but financially profitable religious traditions than they were in "making straight the way of the Lord." Within a generation thereafter (in 70 AD), most of the descendants of those religious leaders paid with their lives for the sins and "blind guidance" of their fathers. Will history "repeat itself" in this regard if our present religious leaders continue to do likewise? Very likely so.]
And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ^ "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." ^ [Isaiah-1 9:1-2] From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (NKJ)
[2-hvn. Here the author of Matthew quoted Isaiah-1 as part of his effort to show how Jesus' life fulfilled various prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures.]
[3-hvn. By teaching people the importance of following God's two most fundamental commandments, Jesus appeared to many to be a "great light" of spiritual insight. He helped them to understand and "see through" the shadowy darkness and confusion in their lives that was caused by their NOT following God's two most fundamental commandments. As we have seen in this review, this theme was frequently expressed by both Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-3.]
When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ^ "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." ^ [Isaiah-3 53:4] (NKJ)
[3-hvn. My article "Does Satan REALLY exist?" describes how Jesus and his disciples were able to "cast out" ungodly spirits from those who appeared to be "demon-possessed." There was nothing "supernatural" about that. Jesus' ability to physically "heal all who were sick" does appear to many to have been a demonstration of "supernatural powers", but there are many preachers in the 1990s who have claimed to have done similar things. The idea that Jesus "took our infirmities and bore our sickness" is an Isaiah-3 concept. It refers to the "suffering Messiah" role which Jesus took on when he decided to literally "die for our sins". By sacrificing himself on a cross which symbolizes the intersection of God's guiding principles of truth and love, Jesus showed mankind how to REALLY attain salvation and forgiveness of sins---not by sacrificing animals or other personal possessions, but rather by sacrificing one's own beloved ungodly idols (like "national sovereignty") in order to honestly follow and serve God (and mankind) the way Jesus honestly followed and served God (and mankind)!]
Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
^ "Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen, my Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust." ^[Isaiah-3 42:1-4] (NKJ)
[2-hvn. The author of Matthew evidently believed that Isaiah-3's description of a "suffering Messiah" was referring to Jesus Christ. Jesus indeed decided to fulfill that role, but it is interesting to note that Jesus did in fact "quarrel" with the Pharisees and "cry out" against them, and there were many who heard his voice in the streets. Furthermore, although there are many nations today who may CLAIM to "trust in His name", they are in fact trusting the military weapons and organizations rather than in God's Will and the teachings of Jesus Christ. So, as discussed in my review of Isaiah 42, this is actually an "end time" prophecy, which has yet to be completely fulfilled. Web sites like this one, for example, may not be literally "heard in the streets", but they are indeed "declaring justice to the Gentiles" in order to make "His Kingdom come, His Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."]
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ^ 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.' ^ [Isaiah-1 6:9-10] "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (NKJ)
[3-hvn. This is referring to the "blindness" of many of the Pharisees (and America's so-called "Christian fundamentalists") who are either unable or (more likely) unwilling to recognize the love-your-neighbor-as-yourself-based allegorical nature of the stories in the Hebrew scriptures and in the teachings of Jesus Christ. As we have seen in this review of the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah-1 encountered this problem, as did Isaiah-3 and other Old Testament prophets, as did Jesus, St. Paul, etc., etc., etc. As someone once said, "It's d‚j… vu all over again!" And as I have pointed out in various articles on this web site, the false teachings of those who refuse to recognize and accept these allegorical lessons are wreaking bloody havoc among the people of the world. The present NATO bombings and Serbian acts of genocide in Kosovo are only the latest in a series of over four thousands years worth of bloody examples of massive human carnage committed for the sake of "national sovereignty."]
"For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"--'then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ^ 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " ^ [Isaiah-1 29:13] When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" (NKJ)
[3-hvn. More of that "d‚j… vu all over again." As I have shown in numerous articles throughout this web site, that comment "'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" applies quite well to the teachings and efforts of American's so-called "Christian Right." Although they like to quote the Bible a lot (often out of context) in order to make it appear that they are representing God and Jesus, they are in fact teaching people to ignore God's Holy Spirit to violate BOTH of God's two most fundamental and commandments. By using God's name in vain like that, they have been acting like "antichrists." America's "Christian Right" religious leaders aren't solely to blame for the wars and mass killings we have been observing lately; the rest of our religious leaders are partly to blame as well, because they have ALLOWED those false "representatives of God" to get away with using God's name in vain in spite of the bloody consequences of their teachings and actions.]
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ^ 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' ^ [Isaiah-1 29:13] For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men-- the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." And He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"--' (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do." When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand: "There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!" (NKJ)
[2-hvn. This is Mark's version of this point. Notice how here Jesus adds, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition." God has no desire to preserve ungodly "traditions", religious or otherwise. If you have any doubt about Jesus' teaching that "words that come out of people's mouths" can defile (and even kill) people, keep these points in mind as you watch your TV news broadcasts or read your newspapers regarding such issues as war, famine, the death penalty, etc.]
And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: ^ "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.' " ^ [Isaiah-3 40:3-5] Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (NKJ)
[3-hvn. This was Juke's reference to the writings of Isaiah-3 which describing John the Baptist. His point about all flesh seeing the salvation of God has yet to happen, but it's only a matter of time before it will happen. Notice that, like Jesus, John the Baptist also characterized the Pharisees as a "Brood of vipers."]
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ^ "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." ^ [Isaiah-3 61:1-2] Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?" He said to them, "You will surely say this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.'" Then He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. (NKJ)
[3-hvn. So it's clear that Jesus made a conscious decision to fulfill the role described above by Isaiah-3. However, it's also interesting to note that Jesus "closed the book" before finishing that section of Isaiah which went on to say, "and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." In other words, Jesus realized that he was not destined to fulfill the rest of that role while he remained "on earth" in human form. That part would have to be fulfilled by the spiritual event that Christians refer to as the "Second Coming of Christ."]
Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ^ "Make straight the way of the Lord," ^ 'as the prophet Isaiah said." [Isaiah-3 40:3] Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. "It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose." (NKJ)
[3-hvn. This was the apostle John's version of how Isaiah-3's "voice in the wilderness" role was fulfilled by John the Baptist. Notice that the Pharisees were evidently expecting some people to "return" and fulfill the roles that they referred to as "the Christ", "Elijah", and "the Prophet." But due to their satanically inspired devotion "literal interpretations of the scriptures", "Hebrew religious traditions", and "Judean national sovereignty", they failed to recognize (or refused to admit) that John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were in fact fulfilling those roles.]
Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: ^ "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" ^ [Isaiah-3 53:1] Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: ^ "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." ^ [Isaiah-1 6:10] These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. "And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. "And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." (NKJ)
[2-hvn. So according to Jesus, "His command" = "everlasting life." It appears from this that seeking, following, and telling the truth relative to God's two most fundamental commandments (without restrictions) is like "partaking in everlasting life." I have no problem believing that. But is that all that Jesus was talking about when he referred to "everlasting life?" We'll examine this issue more specifically in a future article.]
[3-hvn. Here we see some more "d‚j… vu all over again." John refers back to an early Isaiah-1 writing to reinforce this point. Unlike Isaiah-3, Isiah-1 still believed the Levites' selfish teaching that it was God who "hardened people's hearts" so that they could not comprehend His guidance. That teaching was selfish, because it was one of the teachings the Levites used to help justify their claim that they had an "exclusive covenant" with the Lord to interpret His Will for the people (i.e. to serve as exclusive intermediaries between the Lord and the Israelites). As you can see, the apostle John modified that Levite view to make Jesus Christ the "exclusive intermediary" between God and people (see also John 14:6). Apparently, John (and Jesus) realized that they would have to teach such things for those who were unable to shed their belief that they needed to have an intermediary between themselves and God. Unfortunately for mankind, the Roman Catholic Church used these teachings to "further extend" the Levites' teaching that people needed to have intermediaries between themselves and God. But in John 4:23-24, John also points out that Jesus said "...the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." This implies a direct relationship between people and God (with no intermediaries). The fact is, if you follow God's two most fundamental commandments (without restrictions), you are in effect following BOTH God and Jesus Christ, so that particular distinction is irrelevant from God's point of view. In fact, it appears that this was one of the lessons the apostle John was attempting to teach (i.e. that the relationship works either way).]
As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there they shall be called sons of the living God." Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ^ "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth." ^ [Isaiah-1 10:22-23] And as Isaiah said before: ^ "Unless the Lord of Sabbath had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah." ^ [Isaiah-3 1:9] What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: ^ "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." ^ [Isaiah-1 8:14, Isaiah-1 28:16] (NKJ)
[3-hvn. Here St Paul is using some quotes from Isaiah to illustrated how ironic (and predictable) it was to see many Gentiles taking Jesus Christ's teachings seriously while most of the Jews did not. St Paul predicted, using a quote from Isaiah-3, that were it not for the "seed" (of a Kingdom of God) which the Lord left (through the teachings of Jesus Christ), Israel would suffer the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah. That's essentially what happened to Jerusalem in 70 AD. That same prediction applies for our present world situation as well.]
But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ^"Lord, who has believed our report?" ^ [Isaiah-3 53:1] So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: "I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation." But Isaiah is very bold and says: ^ "I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me." ^ [Isaiah-3 65:1] But to Israel he says: ^ "All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people." ^ [Isaiah-3 65:2] (NKJ)
[2-hvn. Once again, St Paul it using quotations from Isaiah-3 to chastise and ridicule "Israel" for not believing in Jesus Christ, even though many Gentiles did by then. Notice how St Paul criticizes a doctrine which many of our nation's TV "evangelists" and self-proclaimed "orthodox Christian" web sites teach, namely that all one has to do is "call on the name of the Lord" and "you shall be saved." Many of them use quotes by St Paul (satanically out of context) in order to make that point (it's a classic example of "speaking with the voice of Satan"). As you can see above, St Paul himself criticizes that doctrine by pointing out that you can't effectively "call on Him" if you don't BELIEVE in Him (and in what he taught and did). In other words, "calling on the name of the Lord" implies a LOT more than what some of our religious leaders have been falsely leading their listeners to believe. Among other things, it implies that one has decided to become a part of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ (which requires following God's two most fundamental commandments).]
Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name." And again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!" And again: "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!" And again, Isaiah says: ^ "There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope." ^ [Isaiah-3 11:10] Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (NKJ)
[2-hvn. Here St Paul refers to the writings of Isaiah-3 to further make his point (as other prophets had pointed out) that God is the one and only REAL God of all mankind--not just a God of the Jews. This indeed was one of the major "breakthrough themes" handed down to us through the writings of Isaiah-3.]
[1. So as you can see, there are three readily distinguishable sets of views regarding the nature of God and God's relationship to man presented throughout the Book of Isaiah. If you copy of my two articles on the Book of Isaiah into a text processor, print out one page per chapter, and rearrange them according to the way I have identified their authorship and chronology, you will get a much clearer view of the differences in the way each of three authors viewed the nature of God and the nature of God's relationship with men. You'll also see how in each case, their views were "shaped by the times they were in" and how their views tended to evolve toward the views taught by Jesus Christ as their ministries progressed over time.]
[2. Some may contend that Isaiah-3 was simply an older and wiser Isaiah-2. I don't find that to be plausible, because Isaiah-2's writings indicate that he was a child or in his teens when Judea fell to the Babylonians (aided by the Edomites). Since the exile lasted 70 years, it is doubtful that Isiah-2 could have lived long enough to have observed and written the things that were written about by Isaiah-3.]
[3. If we step back for a moment to view a broader perspective, we can see that although the Levites believed in only one God, they were very much like their Pagan contemporaries who tended to view their "gods" as perpetrators of evil as well as good. The Levites often used God's name as if it were a Pagan idol for "morally justifying" many forms of evil as well as good. In today's world, Christian fundamentalists tend to use the Bible in a similar though perhaps less obvious manner. Also like many of their Pagan religious contemporaries (but unlike most Christian fundamentalists), the Levites taught that they had an exclusive right to serve as an intermediary between God and their human "flocks." Isaiah-1 effectively "ditched" that concept and taught instead that mankind can communicate directly with God (by following God's two most fundamental commandments). Isaiah-3 supported that view and further taught that God was like a loving Spirit--NOT a perpetrator of evil vengeance against people as the Levites and Isaiah-1 had been teaching. So it was Isaiah-3 who "ditched" the idea that God can be blamed (or credited) for doing evil. Furthermore, Isaiah-3 attempted and to some extent succeeded in "ditching" all of the Levites' former restrictions regarding their definition of "neighbor." Isaiah-3 taught that God's love and guidance was applicable to the Gentiles as well and the Jews. He also seriously challenged credibility of the Levite teaching that sins can be forgiven simply by offering animal sacrifices. Finally, it was Isaiah-3 who most precisely defined the future roles for the First and Second Messiahs and who devised the allegorical imagery that was subsequently used for the "Kingdom of God", "scarlet harlot", and "bride of Christ" in the New Testament. So it was the authors of Genesis who initially planted the "seeds" of the New Testament with their allegorical creation parables, Tower of Bable parable, and Noah's Ark parable, etc. Then it was King Solomon, Isaiah-1, and Isaiah-3 who most effectively "watered the roots" that sprang from those "seeds" to eventually became the teachings of Jesus Christ and the central theme of the New Testament. The effect of their insights and teachings was to transform mankind's perceptions of God from the Pagan-like image of a "single loving but vengeful God" devised and used by the Levites to Jesus Christ's far more accurate perception and understanding of the REAL God who, among other things, is the loving Creator of all life on earth.]
[4. By destroying the credibility of the Levites' claim to have an exclusive right to serve a intermediaries between God and the Israelites, Isaiah-1 made it possible (in most cases) for other contemporary and future prophets to challenge the teachings and practices of "the current religious establishment" without being stoned to death. Although the Nathan and Elijah had preceded Isaiah-1 as recognized non-Levite prophets, it was the preaching and writings Isaiah-1 that "drove a stake through the heart" of the Levites' claim to have an exclusive right to represent God. We'll examine this issue further in future reviews. By the time of Jesus Christ's ministry, there was open discussion among a wide variety of groups regarding the "Will of God" and how the Hebrew scriptures should be interpreted. The writings of Isaiah-1 and Isaiah-3 (especially Isaiah-3's prophesies regarding the First and Second Messiahs) contributed significantly to this general willingness to discuss such emotionally charged religious issues openly. Their writings also made it easier for Jesus to credibly claim that he represented God, even though he wasn't a Levite.]
[5. So how did Jesus view the Book of Isaiah? Well, it's clear from this two-part review that the writings of Isaiah-1 and especially Isaiah-3 influenced Jesus' teachings a LOT! Did Jesus recognize that the Book of Isaiah was written by two or three different authors who lived at different times? I suspect that he did. Of course, if Jesus were divinely "all-knowing", then he would have known for sure. But as I have demonstrated in these two articles, one does not need to be "divine" (whatever that means) in order to recognize the differences in the writings of those three authors. The fact that Jesus and the authors of the New Testament never cited any of the writings of Isaiah-2 indicates that they did not agree with Isaiah-2s views regarding the nature of God and the nature of man's relationship with God.]
[6. Like Jesus, my approach for reviewing the Book of Isaiah is based on God's two most fundamental commandments. Since I know of no one else who has ever attempted to do this before, I suspect that this review probably comes closer to showing how Jesus Christ viewed the Book of Isaiah than any other article you are likely to have read on this topic.]
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002