This article is, with permission, being republished from August 2012 - R.P. BenDedek email@example.com
Last week we finished Part 7 on The Prophet Isaiah finishing at Chapter 31. That article concluded by saying:
From these Chapters today we learn that the priests and leaders of a people must live right and do right and teach the doctrines of God lest they lead their people into drunkenness, pride and error and God chastise them. We also see that they whom God uses as instruments of chastisement will also be punished and furthermore, that when the nation is faced with chastisement, judgment and destruction, God's people must be still before the Lord and trust in Him.
Today secular academics and liberal theologians do their best to downplay the Scriptures and the importance of the prophetic word contained therein. They will say of the book of Isaiah for instance, that it is not a book of prophecy but was written 'after the events' and written as if it was 'prior to the events'.
These same people also find many reasons to discount the prophecies of Ezekiel and the Apostle John (Book of Revelations) and yet today we find ourselves living in an age prophesied by both. 'Global Governance', the euphemism for 'One World Government' is at our door. The 'Whore of Babylon' (Revelations Chapter 17) can be seen rising in the world financial and political system which seeks to destroy the Christian Faith and cause individual Nation States to lose their independence through submission to the United Nations. The 'Mark of the Beast' without which men can neither buy nor sell is partially in place already (from credit cards and debit cards to implanted computer biochips), and the restoration of Israel is already an established fact thus paving the way for the Battle of Armageddon.
Whatever we may believe about God and whatever theology about God we may hold, the reality is that world history is converging on Biblical Prophecies written between 2000 and 2700 years ago, and it behooves us not only to be aware of that but to remember that our salvation lies in returning to and resting in the Holy One of Israel; in having a quiet confidence in Him; in continually waiting upon the Lord and not relying on human strength or wisdom, and paying attention to HIS teaching and instruction because HE 'is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working'.
Today's text comes from Isaiah Chapter 32 through 35 which is actually a continuation of the preceding chapters and may be described as the prophetic promise of punishment, restoration and exaltation of the Lord on High. In as much as the prophetic word was originally given in relation to the various exiles 722BC (Israel) and 586 BC (Judah) they find fulfillment in the restoration of the temple under Ezra and Nehemiah, but we know that the temple was again destroyed by the Romans in the 1st century of our Lord and the people of Israel were once again scattered throughout the world, not being returned until 1948 AD.
We can therefore see in the prophetic word, both near and future end time application. Scripture references are those of the King James Bible found at Minister book . com and I recommend John Gill's Exposition of the Bible for those wishing to study further.
Isaiah Chapter 32
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment (Verse 1). The John Gill's Commentary on this verse points out that the person at the centre of the statement is initially King Hezekiah whilst the complete meaning is to be found in Christ.
This chapter is a little difficult to discern for while it starts with such a wonderful statement and talks of rivers in a dry place and eyes that will not be dim and ears that will hearken, it goes on to say that "the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail (V.6) The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right (V.7). [Let him in the 21st Century hear and understand.]
Commentators see in this chapter a statement of the coming King of Righteousness but not before evil rises. Verses 13, and 14 state that the land of God's people will be covered in thorns and briers and the palaces will be forsaken. What seems quite clear from the remaining verses is that the focus is on the coming of Messiah, since in an absolute sense the prophecy has not yet completely come to pass.
15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
19 When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.
20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.
Isaiah Chapter 33
This chapter commences with:
Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee. (V.1)
This is followed by a call to the Lord to be Gracious (V.2); A statement of the exaltedness of God on high (V.5); The general state of the world (V6-9) and then a statement from God that he will now rise up and exalt himself (V.10)
The effect of God's rising will be that sinners and hypocrites will be afraid (V14) while those who walk in righteousness shall dwell on high. (V15:16)
15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
Isaiah Chapter 34
Chapters 34 and 35 are described as poems and as such they are a literary device to describe the workings of God in the earth.
Verse 1 calls the nations to take note of the indignation of the Lord on the Earth which is described in Verse 2, but in verse 4 we see reference to what the Apostle John describes in the Book of Revelations 6:14.
Verse 4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
V. 5 and 6 refer to the land of Idumea which the John Gill's commentary applies to Rome, and in Verse 10 we can see a link to the Book of Revelations Lake of Fire:
Verse 10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
The chapter compares and contrasts the two different types of judgment that God passes. On the one hand those who follow him and on the other, those who don't.
Isaiah Chapter 35
Remembering that this chapter is poetic in style, we see the blessings of God on those whom he has chosen.
The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose (V.1); they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God (V.2); behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you (V.4).
:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
:7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
:9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
What these four chapters portray is promise of God unto his people and the other nations of the earth. Evil men will rise up, good men will suffer, but salvation, deliverance and blessing is the promise unto those whose hearts seek after the Lord.
Today, we see the battle lines drawn in so many quarters. Many believe that God and his people must be overthrown! But those who seek to do so are unaware that God and his promises are real and so they do not know against whom they stand. But we, those of us who remain faithful and true to the Spirit of Christ - living our lives without malice, hatred or evil intent - we shall see the Glory of God arise, either in this life or the next.
I started this section today with reference to Chapter 32 Verse 1, identifying the King of Righteousness as King Hezekiah. Next week we will commence with Chapter 36 at the 14th year of King Hezekiah, when Sennacherib King of Assyria came up against Judah.
M. Wallace Johnson
Historical Reading on this time period via a new approach to understanding Bible Chronology - See Mr. BenDedek's
Articles by M. Wallace Johnson
Introducing M. Wallace Johnson
Holy, Wholly or Holey SERIES
Idols in Ministry SERIES
No 1: The Prophet Amos
Full list of M Wallace Johnson articles in his Column at the Writers Journal