A Nation Disintegrates Because of Sin

Isaiah 3:1–4

1For, behold, the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah stay and staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water; 2the mighty man, and the man of war; the judge, and the prophet, and the diviner, and the elder; 3the captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counsellor, and the expert artificer, and the skilful enchanter, 4And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (ASV, 1901).

In previous chapters God has been using the prophet Isaiah to let the people of the world, and particularly those of Judah and Jerusalem, know the effects of His judgment on the earth during the Great Tribulation. He now switches back to the sins of the people of Judah and Jerusalem during Isaiah’s life in the late eighth century B.C. God begins this chapter by saying He will remove their fundamental support systems because of their continued sin. The most fundamental support that will be removed, that of bread and water, are indispensable for existence. The whole “stay” (or supply), not just bread and water, will be removed and thus the nation will be deprived by God of its most necessary means of life.  When God metes out His justice on the people of Judah and Jerusalem it will cause the most prominent of its citizens, that is, the men and women of power and influence, to perish slowly through famine and war. The leaders the people depended and who led the people into sinful practices will be taken away, and replaced with the young and inexperienced. Six classes and occupations of men are designated: 

  • Soldiers 
  • Judges 
  • Prophets
  • Occult based Wise people 
  • Military leaders 
  • Skilled workers 
the charge of the mamelukes by Francisco Goya cir 1818

The fact that Isaiah included “the diviner”, and the “skilful enchanter”in this list does not mean he was endorsing them. He was merely noting those on whom the nation was depending for survival and security. Babylon trusted in this system of advisors (Isaiah 47:12). The Mosaic Law clearly prohibited any involvement in soothsaying and enchanting which are tied to the occult (Deuteronomy 18:10–14). The country will be robbed of its false support, and torn away from its comfort. The kingdom of Judah would descend into the most shameless despotism: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.”The glory of the reign of the last king of the unified empire, Solomon, will be followed by the times of his son Rehoboam. He was an immature young man when he ascended to the throne who followed the influence of his young friends, and rejected the wise council of the advisors to his father (I Kings 12:8). His own father had written of this folly:

Ecclesiastes 10:16–17

16Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness (ASV, 1901).

Solomon contrasted the despotic state of a nation whose leaders are incompetent and undisciplined with the blessed state of a nation whose leaders are competent and disciplined. The former kind of leaders are childish. But the latter kind of leaders are well prepared by noble birthand training. The phrase to “eat in the morning” means thatincompetent leaders are intemperate and start early in the day with revelry and drunkenness(Ecclesiastes 10:17; see Isaiah 5:11 and Acts 2:15 for similar ideas). But competent leaders are temperate, and theyeat at a proper time—for strength and notfor drunkenness.

future George III and his brother Edward by Barthélemy du Pan (1746)

The Population Becomes Oppressed

Isaiah 3:5

5And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the old man, and the base against the honorable (ASV, 1901).

The result of the unrepentant sin will be young and inexperienced leadership assuming control and oppressing everybody. The people will not respect them and will not subordinate themselves to this nonsensical leadership. This will result in a state of affairs wherein everyone will consider themselves capable of exercising authority, thereby forcing their will on their fellow citizens. This is definitely anarchy. God will send an evil spirit among them too (as in Judges 9:23) which would make them prone to bring harm to each other. Their princes, being children, will take no care to restrain the oppressors or relieve the oppressed. Nor will it do any good to appeal to them because every man is his own avenger, and therefore they bite and devour one another, and will soon be consumed one of another. In other words, there will be no leadership control.

When respect for the elderly, the experienced and the wise is denied, moral anarchy closely follows. The young will fight against these, and they move to harm the aged. Respect for old age by them is viewed as the “old law”, along with its fear or reverence for God as stated in Leviticus: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary [silver, or white] head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord”(Leviticus 19:32). When all authority passes, respect for aged also passes. One evidence of the degeneration of a government, a country, or a people is seen in the manner in which the elderly are treated. What is pictured here is a social war against everybody, including those whom God has honored with the blessing of long life. The elderly should be honored with expressions of civility. Those who are advanced in age and wisdom are worthy of double honor. They should be consulted because of their experience, their wisdom sought, and attention should be paid to their needs (Job 32:6–7). Christianity teaches good manners, and obliges us to give honor to the elderly, the experienced, and the wise (I Timothy 5:1–2, 17; I Peter 5:5;). It is an instance of great degeneracy and disorder in a land when “the child behaves himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable”. In the natural order that God created, the elders and respectable people are held in high esteem. But of outside God’s plan for societal order, the opposite will be true. The young people will be insolent toward the elderly and the experienced, while they also become crude, vulgar and uncouth towards the respectable people. People who engage in grave sins, but view them as minor infractions of behavior, will try to domineer righteous, God-fearing people.

Photo from Dachau Concentration Camp from the Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachaumartins.html

Desperation Ensues

Isaiah 3:6–8

6When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand; 7in that day shall he lift up his voice, saying, I will not be a healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: ye shall not make me ruler of the people. 8For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah, to provoke the eyes of his glory (ASV, 1901).

“When a man shall take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand” is depicting the situation of overwhelming poverty, and people looking for capable and worthy leadership. Isaiah is using a simile of one grabbing at the garment of another who appears to have some modicum of wealth. They sense this is indicative of prominence and capability of leading the nation out of the massive distress and anarchy that is rampant everywhere. The people will plead, “Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand”, to accept the position and responsibility of leadership of the nation. The people mistakenly view the individual’s clothing as a symbol of authority that will be obeyed by the rebellious citizens to settle the chaos. They think that surely their word will be obeyed by the population. They are not considering the source of the chaos, which is the sin against the Almighty God. These men however respond with a refusal of leadership roles because of their paucity. They too have “neither bread nor clothing” and respond to the request for them to be leaders with the statement,”ye shall not make me ruler of the people.”

In fact, the source of all Jerusalem’s problems is because they have sinned against God, in both word and deed. They behaved as though He does not see or hear their behavior. Worse, they did not care if He was aware of their behavior. Their desires to carry out their sins was so strong that they tried to avoid His acknowledgement of their behavior and His authority:

Romans 1:28–32

Engraving by Gustave Dore. From Milton’s Paradise Lost by Robert Vaughan, D.D. Chicago and New York 1885

28And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: 32who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them (ASV, 1901).

Boldness in Sin

Isaiah 3:9–11

9The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have done evil unto themselves. 10Say ye of the righteous, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him; for what his hands have done shall be done unto him (ASV, 1901).

The brazen nature of their countenance, or outward expressions, reveals their attitude toward their sins. The do not think they are sinning, they just view these desires they have as “who they are”,and that the righteous have put a restraint upon them. Just like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah they have no desire to conceal their sins. In fact, they exhibit a pride over their ability to publicly sin without any legal restraint of their behavior. They brought this evil upon themselves and have no one else to blame for this when the correction comes. The destruction that comes during their lifetime, as in the examples of Judah, Jerusalem, and Sodom, are one sphere of correction. The worse one is the eternal damnation that will befall them when they, as unsaved God-haters, enter the Lord’s domain and immediately realize their rebellion against Him. People of all ages are responsible for their behavior. The righteous person will enjoy the fruits of their restraint and shall “eat the fruit of their doings”.The wicked will experience Divine retribution for “what his hands have done shall be done unto him”.We are not responsible for the thoughts Satan pours into our minds. We are responsible for what we do with them once he pours his evil into us. We must submit ourselves to God and resist the Devil, then he will flee from us (James 4:7). We are to stay with God in all circumstances:

Romans 1:18–25

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things  24Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: 25for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (ASV, 1901).

The way God will turn them over to the lusts of the hearts is through demonic influence, and make it so that their consciences will no longer be able to let them know their behavior is sin against the Creator.

I Timothy 4:1–2

1But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, 2through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron (ASV, 1901).

Artist Unknown

Sin Reverses God’s Hierarchical Order

Isaiah 3:12

12As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they that lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths (ASV, 1901).

Woman who rides the beast by Howard David Johnson cir 2017

Because of the gross sins of Israel, God was placing women and children in leadership positions, reversing His desired plan for the leadership hierarchy, and therefore adding to the anarchy. God has provided a hierarchical order to this world. But the behavior of Adam and Eve ended that at the Fall when God pronounced a curse on them. The most significant curse was the spiritual death, which Adam and Eve experienced “on the day they ate of the fruit.”  Separate cursing’s were also settled on Adam and Eve. For Adam, man would henceforth earn his living by sweat (Genesis 2:15), and man’s life would now be filled with sorrow and ultimate death (Genesis 3:19; Ephesians 2:5).  For Eve, the multiplied sorrow and pain of women in childbirth and motherhood was also one result.  

The other result for Eve was her position in relation to man that came about because she chose to act independently from him, and disobey God’s Word. Prior to the Fall, woman’s position, in comparison to the man’s, was subordinate due to Adam’s divinely ordained headship. After the Fall, a firmer headship was invested in man due to woman’s responding to the serpent. While the man was to have dominion over her, she now desired to usurp his leadership role, to control him and desire his headship for herself. This created a built-in conflict within the family. Her husband would be a ruler over her, but not in a loving leadership role that accompanied God’s initial plan for marriage or her treatment in general. Now man’s rule over her would be sinful and domineering. But, just like Cain, the man and the woman had to master sin. Those who continued to turn away from God and follow after Adam and Eve would now follow the sinful and natural inclination that God gave to the relationship. Man would dominate woman, and she would resist and seek to usurp his rule. God did provide for her though, but only to those who followed Him and kept His Word. God’s plan is always best. The New Testament describes the roles which God has ordained:

Ephesians 5:22–25

22Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything

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God’s Saints Appointed to be Kings and Priests


Three Categories of Saints

The word saints, is used throughout the Bible to refer to people that have accepted the rule of God in their lives, and is a common word for believers of all ages. There are three groups of saints, divided by when they lived. The first group are the Old Testament saints or godly ones who believe in God and who lived before the Day of Pentecost (Psalm 85:8).

Christ and the Penitent Sinners by Gerard Seghers Cir. 1640

The second are the Church age saints, also today called “born-again” believers and consists only of those saved people who live between the Day of Pentecost of Acts 2 and the Rapture of the Church from the earth (1 Corinthians 1:2). Saints who died before the Day of Pentecost and people who become saved after the Rapture of the Church are never part of the Church. Thus, the Church consists of a distinctive group of saints who live during one particular period of history—namely, those saints who are baptized with the Spirit and are “born again”. This causes some folks confusion and they tend to incorrectly apply the term “Church” to those saints who lived and died before the era of the Church (Acts 2 – The Rapture), or after the Church era (Post Rapture). 

The third category are the Great Tribulation saints (Revelation 13:7) who accept Christ during the seven year span of the Great Tribulation. Even though the word “saints” is used several times during the Great Tribulation, it does not refer to those who were believers in Christ before the Great Tribulation began. Within the Great Tribulation saints, there is the group that are killed before the 3.5 year mid-point and those that die after the mid-point. The saints during the 7 year Great Tribulation include the 144,000 saved Jewish evangelists and the myriad of others converted mostly through their efforts (Revelation 7:3-17). They will also be resurrected after the Great Tribulation and during that Seventy-five-day Interval that comes between the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.

This distinction is brought out in Revelation chapter twenty:

 Revelation 20:4–6

4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (ASV, 1901).

Heavens opened – Artist Unknown

In verse 4, John describes who are to co-reign with the Lord Jesus in the Messianic Kingdom, and in this passage, they are the Church age saints and the Great Tribulation saints. 

The first group are those who have died during the Church age, and who in verse 4a are those to whom “judgment was given”. This is a direct reference to the Judgment Seat of Christ that they endured. This refers to the Church saints who were raptured at some time preceding the Great Tribulation. The Rapture will include only the Church saints and it will occur before the Great Tribulation. They are referred to as “kings and priests” in John’s introductory verse of Revelation 1:6 (KJV). The judgment that these saints have already had the apostle John is referring to is the Judgment Seat of the Messiah, also known as known as the Bema Seat judgment (I Corinthians 3:13; Romans 14:10). This judgement is an evaluation of how well, or how poorly, each believer exercised their spiritual gifts while still alive in their natural bodies. In fact, it is the outcome of this judgment that will determine the position of each Church saint in the Kingdom. 

The second group are the saints who accept Christ as their savior during the Great Tribulation. The first group in verse 4b are those who “had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus”are the believers who will be martyred during the first half of the Great Tribulation, and are mentioned at the time of the fifth seal opening (Revelation 6:9–11). The rest of the Great Tribulation saints are covered in verse 4c, and are those who “had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand”. Since the image of the beast, and the marking of worshippers of him with a mark on their forehead or arm are things initiated only at the middle of the Great Tribulation, this group of saints will be those martyred during the second half of the Great Tribulation. Both the Church saints and the Great Tribulation saints then will co- reign with the King for one thousand years. The Messianic Kingdom will cover the entire earth. But the land give to the Sons of Jacob will be what was promised to Abraham.

https://chart.bonlacfoods.com/detail/map-of-israel-promised-land-18.html

What happens to the Old Testament Saints?

After the second coming, we know Old Testament saints will be resurrected. This is stated by three Old Testament passages: 

Resurrection of the Flesh by Luca Signorelli Cir 1500

Isaiah 26:19

Your dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead (ASV, 1901

Daniel 12:2

2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (ASV, 1901).

Hosea 13:14

14I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O Sheol, where is thy destruction? repentance shall be hid from mine eyes (ASV, 1901).

With this resurrection, the unfulfilled covenantal promises will finally be fulfilled to them. One of these is the promise to become a “kingdom of priests”:

Exodus 19:5–6

5Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: 6and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (ASV, 1901).

In the Messianic Kingdom the nation of Israel will be ruled by the Old Testament saints in the implied role of kings:

Deuteronomy 28:1

1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that Jehovah thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth (ASV, 1901).

Finally, there is one particular passage where the Lord Jesus is speaking to the Jews before the Church was founded. In parable form, Jesus tells them that they can expect to become “kings” and “priests” and “rulers” in the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Luke 19:11-27). This passage tells us how Jesus Christ will determine who rules over how many cities in His Kingdom. Though it is a parable, it is widely viewed as referring to the way we will be selected as rulers, or kings.

King David – Artist Unknown

The Organization of the Messianic Kingdom

Are all three groups of saints are going to be kings and priests in the Messianic Kingdom? The answer is yes, but in differing roles, and in different geographical places. Jesus, as the absolute ruler on earth, will govern the Messianic Kingdom. His throne will be in Jerusalem. The government will be split into two branches, a Jewish branch and a Gentile branch. It is quite clear from both Testaments that Jesus will sit upon David’s Throne in Jerusalem ruling the Jews and Gentiles. The Lord Jesus will be both King of Israel and the king of the world. Under His absolute authority He will rule with a “rod of iron.” The “rod of iron” that will characterize the rule of the government in the Kingdom will be implemented through various spheres and positions of authority.

The ruling hierarchy of the Gentile branch of government will be from Messiah, to the Church and the Great Tribulation saints, to the kings of the Gentile nations. The ruling hierarchy of the Jewish branch of government will be from the Messiah to David, to the Twelve Apostles, to the princes, to the judges and counselors, over all Israel. 

Messianic Kingdom Org Chart by Daniel E Woodhead

David described this arrangement in Psalm 72: 

Psalm 72

1Give the king thy judgments, O God, And thy righteousness unto the king’s son. 2He will judge thy people with righteousness, And thy poor with justice. 3The mountains shall bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness. 4He will judge the poor of the people, He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor. 5They shall fear thee while the sun endureth, And so long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6He will come down like rain upon the mown grass, As showers that water the earth. 7In his days shall the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace, till the moon be no more. 8He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River unto the ends of the earth. 9They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; And his enemies shall lick the dust. 10The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute: The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. 11Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; All nations shall serve him. 12For he will deliver the needy when he crieth, And the poor, that hath no helper. 13He will have pity on the poor and needy, And the souls of the needy he will save. 14He will redeem their soul from oppression and violence; And precious will their blood be in his sight: 15And they shall live; and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: And men shall pray for him continually; They shall bless him all the day long. 16There shall be abundance of grain in the earth upon the top of the mountains; The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. 17His name shall endure for ever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun: And men shall be blessed in him; All nations shall call him happy. 18Blessed be Jehovah God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things: 19And blessed be his glorious name for ever; And let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen. 20The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended (ASV, 1901).

As we can see, in Psalm 72, the different Gentile nations will have “kings” over them. These kings will have their natural bodies, while the saints who will be over them will have their spiritual, resurrected, and glorified bodies. The individual kings will be the supreme rulers over their own nations, but they themselves will be under the authority of the Church and Great Tribulation saints who will be essentially kings over the lesser kings.

In conclusion, saints in all three of the categories of the Old Testament, the Church, and the Great Tribulation will all in some manner be “priests” and “kings” in the Messianic Kingdom.

One Point of Confusion

One point of the confusion is the misapplication of the term “church” by Covenant Theology, which has called Israel of the Old Testament the “church of the Old Testament”. This is simply not true. In contrast with the Covenant Theology view of the nature of the Church, Dispensational Theology asserts that the Church consists only of those saved people, both Gentile and Jew, who lived between the Day of Pentecost of Acts 2 and the Rapture of the Church from the earth. Saints who died before the Day of Pentecost and people who become saved after the Rapture of the Church are never part of the Church. Thus, the Church consists of a distinctive group of saints who live during one particular period of history—namely, those saints who are baptized with the Spirit.

It is essential to note that the Dispensational Theology view of the nature of the Church also leads logically to several conclusions. Israel and the Church are not the same because there is something distinctive about the relationship of the Holy Spirit to saints between the Day of Pentecost and the Rapture of the Church.  There are distinctions between groups of saints throughout history, (Old Testament saints, Church saints, Great Tribulation saints). The fact that saints will be on earth during the Great Tribulation period does not require the Church to be on earth during the Great Tribulation, and there will be more than one resurrection of dead saints at different times of history, not just one general resurrection of saints.

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Godly Suffering

The Reasons for Suffering

Hebrews 12:5–6

 

5and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of him; 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (KJV).

 

It is inappropriate to assume that every injurious trauma that happens to us is godly correction. There are three sources of harm that can come to us in this life.

 

  1. Evil entered the world at the Fall and the corruption associated with it is a general cause for disease, weather disasters, war and the like. These are not our fault.
  2. Mistakes we make are also causes that harm us, such as accidents. These are not necessarily our fault either, but accidents happen, and some of them cause us harm.
  3. Willful sin that we knowingly commit against God will bring God’s correction if we are truly a child of His, that is a born-again believer.

 

This third reason for God’s correction for coming into our lives is the focus of this section of the letter to the Hebrews. The apostle explains correction as a normal experience of believers.

 

It is so important to realize this, and we must view it as a loving correction or refinement that is evidence of Divine love. Our Lord disciplines us as His children because, like a loving father, He wants us to stay away from practices that will bring harm to us that also stop us from moving to maturity. Sometimes He must bring trauma into our lives to alter our path if He views it as leading to destruction:

 

Proverbs 3:11–12

11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; Neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the Lordloveth he correcteth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (KJV).

 

Godly Chastening

 

Hebrews 12:7–9

 

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live (KJV)?

 

The apostle applies the lesson from Proverbs to the readers of Hebrews. In the American Standard Version translation, it read “It is for chastening that you endure”. The effectiveness of the discipline God gives us depends upon how we receive it. This is moral training. The word “chasten” means “moral training,” or as Proverbs 22:6 says, “to train up a child”. “Chastening” is also punishment for the sake of correction, and is a corrective measure used by God. If you do not admit your sin when the punishment comes, you will not receive its benefit. Now Paul provides the principle behind this, which is “for what son is there whom his father chastens not?”

 

Having established this principle, he next presents a two-pronged argument.Verse 8 starts with the first step in the argument, which says if they are never disciplined, it will show them to be illegitimate and prove they are not true sons. However, since they have all become “partakers”of sonship because of this chastisement, they must receive this punishment. This is the bonafide evidence that they are sons. For this reason, the chastening should be accepted and incorporated in their day-to-day living. That means to realize its effects and alter their thoughts and behavior to accommodate God’s correction. But if chastening is absent, it shows they are illegitimate, and they are not God’s children. An illegitimate child does not have the rights of an heir to the father’s fortune, and deprives him of his father’s care. Under Jewish law, to be illegitimate meant three things: no right of inheritance, no right to marry into Jewish society, and no right to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

 

Verse 9 presents the second aspect of the argument, and refers to a human father’s discipline. In spite of that discipline, we learn to give our human fathers reverence and respect. The application of the illustration is “and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”Since the believers were willing to subject themselves to human fathers, how much more should they be willing to subject themselves to their Heavenly Father and, therefore, exercise patient endurance by voluntary submission? Undisciplined children, or children who refuse it, will not enjoy a relationship with their human fathers or God the Father.

 

The object of their submission is “the Father of spirits”, which emphasizes Him as the Creator and also refers to the immaterial part of man. It is the immaterial part of man that continues to live after physical death. The result is that they shall “live”. One product of divine discipline is the abundant life now enjoyed in fellowship with God the Father while the believer is still on earth. When we live forever, we can look forward to eternity with our Heavenly Father knowing His will and love for us as corrected sons.

 

Earthly Fathers are Imperfect

Joseph Reveals His Dreams to His Brothers by Giulio Romano – 1449-1546

Hebrews 12:10

 

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness (KJV).

 

Sometimes our earthly fathers administered the discipline inappropriately or not at all. Most did the best they could do for the time they had responsibility for our growth and development. Their efforts are contrasted with our Heavenly Father’s discipline. It is always right, perfect and designed to be good for us. We will also share in His holiness:

 

Romans 8:28–29

 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren (KJV).

 

Discipline is not generally enjoyed, but if it is received with the proper attitude it brings great reward. “Partakers of his holiness”is a reference to our sanctification or growth in becoming more Christ-like. This leads to the spiritual maturity and completeness that God would have us attain. We then become more like Him, or in His image.

 

Enduring Chastening

The Maccabees by Wojciech Stattler 1844

Hebrews 12:11

 

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (KJV).

 

In verse 11 we are told“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,but grievous”. These words anticipate our objection to being corrected because of the grief and sorrow that comes with correction. The immediate question we ask ourselves is how could this be for profit and advantage? The apostle anticipates our reaction by affirming that no affliction “seemeth”to be joyous. No discipline seems pleasant at the time.  While corrections initially does not seem to be an occasion for joy, in the end they really are.  There is a delayed acceptance and later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. When we view correction by faith, we realize it as tokens of the love of God and Christ, and are evidence of our sonship to each of them.

 

This verse ends the apostle’s argument about sufferings and afflictions and how they should be borne. He also to the Corinthians states that the good derived from them is vastly better than their pain:

 

II Corinthians 4:17–18

 

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (KJV).

 

If we did not receive earthly correction as His sons we would suffer more than any of us can imagine in eternity. To be disassociated from God in eternity is perpetual pain and suffering which is far greater than the temporary pain associated with correction here. We must always have in mind our goal of eternal life and the Messianic Kingdom, not temporary discomfort here including God’s chastisement. All is temporary here, but eternity is permanent. We must endure here to receive the wonderful benefits of Heaven. This is what the apostle calls “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” in verse 11 above.

 

One might also refer to it as a “harvest of righteousness”. Another of God’s dealings here are likened to a farmer with his corn (Isaiah 28:23–29), or as a farmer pruning his vine so that it may bear fruit (John 15:2). This harvest produces two kinds of fruit. First, the removal of sin, by putting it to death. The second part of the harvest is increased righteousness and holiness for the “crop”, which is the believers.

 

Notice verse 11 says the harvest produced is the “fruitof righteousness,not righteousness itself. Neither our actions nor our suffering is the reason for our righteousness, but they promote it in us and increase its fruit and strength. Our righteousness is imputed at the point of justification (Romans 10:4; II Corinthians 5:21).  So, the apostle says that God would increase in them the harvest of righteousness “unto them which are exercised thereby”, orthose to whom God loves as sons to correct. The promised “peace” is one of both inward tranquility and contentment.

 

Do Not Give Up

 

Hebrews 12:12–13

 

 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (KJV).

 

In verse 12, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” is anexhortation directed toward parts of the body that are involved in coordinated activity like athletics. The hands, the knees, and the feet are named because it is through these body parts that we exert all our strength to prevail in an athletic competition. But first we must observe the defect they possess, then second, the remedy for this defect and finally what both of the defect and remedy mean spiritually.

 

Hands which hang down” is a reference to us becoming tired of what they we are doing and give up. “Feeble knees”a picture of fear and hopelessness. This imagery is used elsewhere in the Old testament by Nahum: “Hearts melt, knees give way” (Nahum 2:10), and in Psalms: “my knees give way from fasting”(Psalm 109:24). Both the descriptions of the hands and the knees depict one who is ready to give up and abandon all hope of achieving success. The same ailment is afflicting different parts of the body, so the apostle prescribes the same remedy for them both, which is to use all our spiritual strength in our Christian race to the end.

 

In verse 13, we are told to “make straight tracks for the feet.” This is a path that leaves a track that may be followed. Obeying God is called “walking with Him,” and these paths are the “paths of the righteous.” The apostle continues with his metaphor about running. Those who obey make level pathsfor their feet, but those who are defective here are called “lame”. This is not a ridicule of one who is lame, but a description of the effect of lameness that causes them to make slow progress, and in a race, they would be ready to stop altogether. So, lameness here is an mental ailment different from external hindrances, but points to an inner sickness of wanting to faint away from the race and let weariness stop us from striving. It is an attitude toward correction that needs to be healed.

 

Follow Peace

 

Ron DiCianni Simeon’s Moment

 

Hebrews 12:14–15

 

14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (KJV).

 

There is a radical difference in nature between the born-again on the narrow way to Heaven and those following the broad road to Hell. The character and conduct of the genuine believers make a stark contrast to non-believers. In fact, non-believers are incited to act with a self-pleasing disposition and in flesh-indulging ways to defy believers. The children of the Devil have no love for the children of God, and they delight in doing whatever they can to annoy and aggravate us. Nothing gives them more pleasure than to see success in their efforts to tempt us to compromise, or stir us up unto angry retaliation. Therefore, it is a code of conduct for allbelievers, in any age and in any country, to strive earnestly to live in peace with all men. That does not mean we will.  It means to try. We must avoid those who would antagonize us into anger at all cost. However, when confronted with anger and physical attack we must defend ourselves as we attempt to escape the situation.

 

Verse 14 starts out with Christians being told to“Follow peace with all men”.Its implication is clear: by nature, men are fractious, wrathful, revengeful creatures. It is because of this contentious, envious, revengeful, spirit which is in us living as the old man, that we need to be reminded to try and “Follow peace with all men”.Further, it is the duty of Christians to be at peace among ourselves, to be on their guard against all alienation of affection towards each other. Paul’s words here seem to be a reference to the world around them. They are to “follow peace with allmen.’”

 

We must carefully abstain from injuring anyone, and must do everything but sin in order to prevent a quarrel. Do not merely be easygoing when one irritates you, but go out of your way to be gracious unto those who oppose. Do not be so ready to “stand up for your rights,” but yieldeverything except truth and the requirements of holiness. We cannot successfully “pursue peace” if we are prideful, pridealways stirs up strife. We cannot “pursue peace” if we are filled with envy because we then see faults where they do not exist, and cause trouble.

 

Verse 15 tells us there must be constant spiritual oversight by each one over his life and his attitudes. There is a danger if we fail to keep on the lookout as to where we are spiritually. Falling short means “a moral separation.” It is more than a simple defect. It is the failure on the part of the children of God to apprehend or appropriate grace when something negative comes into their lives. Believers stumble in their spiritual lives because they fail to appropriate the grace that is available. The failure to appropriate grace is the first step downward for it means a failure to progress upward.

 

The second step downward is positive infidelity: “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled”. When the apostle refers to a “root of bitterness”, he deals both with the root and with the product, which is bitterness. The failure to appropriate grace during a time of suffering or trial leads to bitterness resulting from the suffering. Bitterness will eventually result in the defilement of many others. In a plant this is how the root manifests itself. Bitterness in the heart leads to murmuring with the tongue, and murmuring with the tongue means murmuring against other people. Others are defiled by the readers’ murmuring, and the murmuring is caused by the “root of bitterness”. This phrase is also found in Deuteronomy 29:18: “lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood”. It is used of Israelites pursuing idolatry and they have become a root that produces poison. People with a “root of bitterness”cause divisions and split churches. They defile others by talking against the leaders of the church. The first step affects only the individual, but the second step begins to affect others as well. They fail to have peace with all men.

 

Daniel E. WoodheadShare on Facebook

False Shepherds In Israel and The Church

The Role of The shepherd

In chapter 34 of the book of Ezekiel God is using a familiar illustration of the “shepherd” and his “sheep” to describe the leaders and the people of the Nation Israel. The Bible frequently uses this terminology to refer to the spiritual leaders with responsibility over a group of people (Psalm 78:70-72; Isaiah 44:28; 63:11; Jeremiah 23:1-4; 25:34-38). Their primary role was to guard the nation like a shepherd would guard his flock. Every society needs a recognized and well-ordered leadership for its own safeguard and prosperity. God chose elders, priests, kings and prophets to connect Him to the people in ancient Israel. There are earthly “shepherds” to carry out the Lord’s will in leading the people to God, and King David recognized this:

Psalm 23:1-6

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever. (KJV)

In this Psalm David categorized the many benefits of the Lord as our “Shepherd”, and who also is a gracious host. The Lord protected David from life’s dangers, and God’s persistent living protection enabled him to enjoy a secure communion with Him all the days of his life.

The Lord also described the future, earthly appearance of the Messiah of Israel as a “shepherd” who will feed and gently carry the young of His flock (Isaiah 40:11). The same is important in New Testament times as well (Proverbs 8:15; Romans 13:1). During His appearance in time and space as the Lord Jesus, He called Himself the “Good Shepherd”, while describing the bad shepherd as a thief and a robber:

John 10:1-16

1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me[a] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (NKJ)

The Good Shepherd (Asia Minor, c. 390; Cleveland Museum of Art)

The Shepherds of Israel

The kings and princes who ruled over the Nation Israel became evil and self-serving instead of doing God’s work ministering to the people. God was getting ready to take them to task for what they were not doing (Ezekiel 34:1-2).

Characteristics and Results of Evil Shepherds

Ezekiel 34:3-6

3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill the fatlings; but ye feed not the sheep. 4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought back that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have ye ruled over them. 5And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. 6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and there was none that did search or seek after them. (ASV, 1901)

Wolf in sheep’s clothing – artist unknown

These appointed leaders did not serve the flock as the Good Shepherd intended them to do. At the expense of the common people they were using the offices that they held to achieve personal gain, and become wealthy. Their view of the people as a source of wealth replaced fulfilling their obligation to the Lord who had entrusted them with the administration of His love, care and accurate promulgation of His Word in an organized and systematic manner. Instead of taking their God-given role seriously, they ruled with harshness and brutality. They did not strengthen those who were diseased, they failed to adequately heal and care for the sick, and they did not care for the lost, either physically or spiritually. Through the truth of Scripture, they should have nurtured the people, and brought them to a positive, genuine relationship with God. Another error in their flagrant disregard for the people was failing to watch over them. Instead they let the sheep wander from the safety of the flock. Their shepherding of the flock was diametrically opposed to what Jesus characterized as the appropriate action of a Good Shepherd:

Matthew 18:12

12What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? (NASB)

 

Shepherd rescues one sheep – artist unknown

Sheep will wander. It is one of their characteristics, and when the sheep become scattered they are vulnerable to predatory wild animals. As much as he can, the caring shepherd will make sure they are not wandering off in a direction that will harm them. These leaders were so self-serving that they failed to provide any oversight, and did not notice, or care, that the people of Israel had left the flock in terms of spiritual purity and physical safety. When leaders abandon truth for personal gain of any sort they are placing their flocks in danger. When the message of truth is corrupted or is inadequately conveyed, a person will leave their acceptance of the authority of Scripture’s spiritual truth and is lost. They no longer have the safeguard of its protective doctrines, and are in danger of losing the path to eternal salvation.

Since the mid 1800’s many of the spiritual leaders of the Church have been abrogating their spiritual responsibility to care for their flocks. They cause many to leave because they began denying, or arguing over some of the fundamentals of the faith. Denominations and church after church have split over denials of the Trinity, the incarnation and the Second Coming. The roots of this began in Europe, particularly with German Rationalism where the inerrancy of the Scripture was denied with the development of Biblical Criticism and particularly with the “documentary hypothesis”. Julius Wellhausen was the principal developer of this concept. He insisted that human reason only, not the Bible, could be trusted. He presented the idea that the Bible, far from being God’s Word, was just a collection of human documents. These destructive denials of the fundamental truth of the Bible caused the church leaders to quote everything but the Bible, and preach everything but the gospel. Religious liberalism led to the calamities that came upon Europe such as Communism, Nazism, fascism, and promulgation of the occult. Other diseased ideas have been promoted by the absence of a spiritual core that makes up the divine life and spiritual blessing. Wellhausen and his liberalism destroyed the spiritual life in Europe, and nearly succeeded in the spiritual destruction of the United States. Today less than 1% of the population of Europe is made up of Evangelical Christians. [1]

If you think that men are not able to negatively influence others to keep them out of the Kingdom, listen to what the Lord Jesus had to say to the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:13

13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (KJV)

TRUTH MUST NEVER BE SACRIFIED FOR PEACE. IT NEVER WORKS!

In more recent times modern “false shepherds” have led many into a totally new phase of misleading the believer. The old phase, under the liberal intellectuals of the 1800’s, can be characterized as “destructive denials” of Scripture authority. This new phase claims to affirm the fundamentals of the faith, but they have made a paradigm shift away from the Bible as being the final authority in determining divine truth, and focus on experience as being equally valid, or taking priority over Scripture. If the Bible contradicts a particular practice, or “experience” promoted by the modern day church, then that practice is justified by them as a “new move of the Spirit”, and what the text of the Scripture actually says can be contradicted by this new “experience”. This represents itself as a more “spiritual” of a way of denying the truth of God, and therefore far more deceptive. The Holy Spirit will never move in a manner that is contrary to Scripture.

The New Evangelicalism or The Emerging Church

 The New Evangelicalism, also called the Emerging Church, is perhaps the most insidious of all the apostasies. It is characterized by catering to the desires of the people. Instead of being inculcated with God’s Word and having our personal world view and behavior be patterned after God’s Word, the New Evangelicalism gives the people what they want. One New Testament passage clearly predicts this reversal of worship of God to worshipping man:

Romans 1:25

 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (KJV)

The idea of this new wave apostasy is to “soft-sell” the Bible and salvation. This apostasy does not want to upset anybody, there is never any mention of Hell, or the outcome of an unsaved life. Instead they offer a path away from an aimless, meaningless life here on earth. They say they “believe” strongly in salvation through Jesus Christ, but their actions differ sharply from what they say. Salvation is given lip service, and evangelism with real confrontation or teaching Biblical doctrine is thought to be too “divisive”. Usually their Bible teaching is characterized by an over emphasis on application, which is the “middle of the road” approach. Our “experiences” and “quality of life” here on earth are more important than total service to God, and the blessed assurance that He will soon come to lift us out of this sinful decaying world. Paul warned us that the end times would be characterized with a departure from sound doctrine, and from the truth:

II Timothy 4:3-4

 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (KJV)

 

From an 1871 editorial in Harper’s magazine. The fanged beasts coming from the sea are false shepherds.

The New Evangelicals believe if they do not emphasize “man-pleasing”, they will lose members of their congregation, and more importantly, their funding. A total dependence on God for their resources is abandoned for “sound business” practices or “fundamental marketing techniques.” Total reliance on God by elders through prayer and patience is exchanged for parliamentary procedure, schemes for man-made self-advancement, and the development of career goals. The pastor is considered a CEO, not the teacher of God’s Word. Mission statements and strategic plans are formulated to accommodate personal plans. The Bible is subordinated to man’s desires.

The thought of prophecy is anathema to the New Evangelical for they say it causes “division”. This “division” of course is between those non-literal Bible expositors and the literal Biblical expositors. Some have characterized the New Evangelical as being seduced by the world spirit of this present age. You can see it in the leaders who are popularized. Usually they have a high degree of prominence in the government or sports, and their testimonies are sought after for paid speaking engagements and book endorsements. But you will never see a Sunday school teacher, or poor inner city pastor held up by them as pillars of the faith. Christ went to the lowest members of society to bring the truth to the world. He did not go to the popular and prominent because they had already compromised the Truth for self gain.

The New Evangelicals represent a spirit of disobedience to, and a mood of compromise of what God has asked us to do in times of confrontation. It is a rejection of many of the difficult aspects of New Testament Christianity. They promote an attitude of “positivism” where they would rather be passive diplomats, not focused fighters, and infiltrators rather than separatists. They would not be restricted by a separationist mentality as we are asked to do if God’s word is violated. The New Evangelical would rather pursue dialog, intellectualism, and appeasement than standing firm for Biblical truth.

Our culture has become deeply entrenched with psychology, and its teachings are rapidly becoming the norm in Christian Schools and churches to “add to” or replace the teachings of the Bible. The weakness and carnality of the church in recent decades has allowed this psychological mind-set of the world to flow into the church. Psychology offer remedies outside of God’s word in the Bible, and has brought about a redefining of many foundational matters of the Christian faith. The correct understanding is that man’s condition is sin, and God’s remedy is His saving and transforming grace (Romans 5:12, 17). Psychology teaches that man must esteem himself, affirm himself, and actualize himself. All of this new thinking is coming from psychological theory, which is primarily a man-based philosophy of life. In conclusion, we are strongly warned in the word of the Lord not to be guided by the philosophy of the world:

Colossians 2:8

 8Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (KJV)

It is clear from the beginning passages in Chapter 34 of Ezekiel that man (who are “sheep”) tended to stray from God to follow his own self-willed path (Isaiah 53:6). We need to deny ourselves, take up His cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). We need to follow the leading of our Good Shepherd, who loves us, and died so we could be eternally secure and free. The Good Shepherd is just the opposite of the bad shepherds who let the sheep die because they cannot be bothered to do their job.

The Indictment of The False Shepherds

Ezekiel 34:7-8

7Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah: 8As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely forasmuch as my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the beasts of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my sheep; (ASV, 1901)

Our Lord here addresses the wicked shepherds directly with the command to “hear the word of Jehovah”. God begins again to stress the situation the wicked shepherds created causing the sheep to scatter, and become prey “to all the beasts of the field”. The shepherds did not look for the sheep that were scattered. God still calls the sheep His own, which obviously means that He has never relinquished His rights to sheep entrusted to the shepherd of the flock. These wicked men were given temporary custody and this is their indictment; they failed to look after the people of God to whom they were entrusted.

This should be a sober message to anyone who has responsibilities to teach the Word of God. God is very serious about the quality of the teaching of His Word, and will chastise those who cause the sheep to scatter because of poor quality teaching, including denial of essential doctrines necessary for the sheep to flourish. The false shepherds had brought Israel to ruin, and now He would intercede to rescue His chosen people. The fact that God will cause His people to hear the truth, and bring the genuine sheep out from under false shepherds cannot be missed. There also is a component of responsibility on the sheep to seek out the truth of God’s Word where it is taught clearly, and to abandon the false teachers. Only the truly saved will seek the truth.

God Will Deliver the Sheep

Ezekiel 34:9-10

9therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah: 10Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. (ASV, 1901)

 The main objective of God in this situation was to bring about the deliverance of the sheep and their well-being. God does not desire the ruin of anyone. This text primarily rebukes Israel’s false shepherds. The sheep are meant to receive comfort, and He promises that He has not forgotten about them. The Lord God will deliver His sheep from the hand of the unfaithful shepherds, and He personally would gather His scattered sheep. Throughout the history of the Church this is also very apparent. When the shepherds have gone “bad”, and are no longer are feeding the flock of sheep, God intervenes and leads the sheep to a new shepherd who will feed them.

False Shepherds Today

Revelation chapters two and three can be seen as a chronological exposition of a broad overview of Church history. We can see the letters to the churches describe an accurate chronological depiction of the problems encountered throughout church history. The last letter to the church at Laodicea provides an clear picture of the apostasy of the visible Christian Church, also called The Church of the Apostasy, and represents Church history from A.D. 1890-to the present day:

Revelation 3:14-22

 14To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ’17Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NASB)

 This letter is directed to the Laodiceans, whose name means “people ruling”, and it is a church entirely ruled by men, which this is diametrically opposed to God’s ruling in the church. This is because the Holy Spirit is not present and doing His ministry of guiding, teaching, and illuminating. While this has happened throughout the history of the Nation Israel, it is far worse in the Church Age since the 1890’s. God says that in the latter times some will be led by demons away from faith in God. This is what led the Israelite shepherds away from God as they worshipped the Canaanite idols on the “high places.” The following passage clearly describes the shepherds who are given authority to bring God’s Word in the Church Age, and why they fail:

I Timothy 4:1-3

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons , 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (KJV)

Artist Unknown

The source of the apostasy is demons. Apostates have essentially given in to seducing spirits and are preaching a system of doctrine that is a doctrine of demons. Furthermore, they speak lies through hypocrisy, and their consciences have stopped working. We can see how the shepherds through their adherence and interest in demonic activity have been led to teach a whole host of unbiblical requirements. As they turn from clearly teaching God’s Word, they deny its authority:

II Timothy 3:1-5

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV)

This passage from II Timothy begins with a description of the general character of false shepherds of God Word. Many of these characteristics are true today. Verse five specifically identifies the false front put on by the shepherds. These men have “a form of godliness”, but deny the power of God’s Word. Consider apostate clergy who wear flowing clerical gowns and embrace church hierarchical titles or dress in a manner appearing to be “one of us”. They appear to have a form of “godliness”, but they deny “the power thereof”, for they have denied the true power of godliness. They claim to trust in God, but are actually trusting in worldly methodologies. They bring the world’s attractions into the church to lure the sheep into remaining, even when they stop affirming the authority of God’s Word. This is one aspect of the sheep scattering from the false shepherd that no longer carry’s the voice of God to the sheep. We are commanded to separate from them. Here are four important points to understand what this really means:

  1. Separation is not an optional part of Christianity; it is a commandment (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; I Timothy 6:5; II Timothy 2:16-18; 3:5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 7-11; Revelation 18:4).
  2. Separation is not mean or unloving; it is obedience to God.
  1. “Mark them . . . avoid them” (Romans 16:17)
  2. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with” (II Corinthians 6:14)
  3. “Have no fellowship with” (II Corinthians 6:14)
  4. “Come out from among” (II Corinthians 6:17)
  5. “Withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:5)
  6. “Shun” (II Timothy 2:16)
  7. “Purge oneself from” (II Timothy 2:21)
  8. “From such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5)
  9. “Reject” (Titus 3:10)
  10. “Receive them not into your house neither bid them Godspeed” (II John 10)
  1. Separate even from brethren who are living in disobedience, and do not follow the traditions Christ taught us (II Thessalonians 3:6).
  2. Separation is a wall of protection against spiritual danger. Failure to separate from error leaves one open to the influence of error (I Corinthians 15:33). The reason a shepherd separates the sheep from wolves is to protect them. Likewise, a faithful and godly Bible teacher will seek to separate his flock from spiritual dangers that are even more destructive than wolves. As evidence of this we see many false prophets, corrupt denominations and seminary teachings.

Another activity of the false shepherds is mockery of the fundamentals of the faith and the creation schisms or separations:

Jude 17-19

17But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (KJV)

They begin denying some of the fundamentals of the faith such as the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, the Substitutionary death of Christ, and His physical resurrection from the dead. Then they attempt to convince some to their heresies, but not all will accept them. As the Lord said, many sheep will know His voice and only follow Him, and not a false shepherd (John 10:1-5). In the course of time this produces a split within the visible church. Throughout the Church age there has been schism after schism. Church after church and denominations have split over denials of the Trinity, the incarnation and the Second Coming.

Like the example we have in Ezekiel’s day, these scatterings of the sheep through heretical teachings and deeds of separations have become prevalent as church history has progressed from the time of Jesus to the present day. Liberalism, also called Modernism, and other attempts like them to keep God’s Word from clearly reaching the sheep have accelerated since the early 1900’s. The decade of the 1920’s was characterized by the great Modernist-Fundamentalist battles. There were many attempts to fight Modernism within the church. Toward the end of that decade, it was apparent that the Modernists were firmly in control of both the denominational church positions (this included all the major denominations except the Southern Baptist Convention) and their schools.

This led to the separatist movement of the 1930’s as the Fundamentalists pulled out of the denominations and started their own denominations or independent churches. Emerging from the United Presbyterian Church of the United States of America was a group led by J. Gresham Machen, which subsequently split into three separate denominations (Orthodox Presbyterians, Bible Presbyterians and the Evangelical Presbyterians) due to internal struggles. Out of the American Baptist Convention came the General Association of Regular Baptists (GARB). Out of the United Methodist Church came the Evangelical Methodists. The following chart is a partial depiction affirming these splits:

Protestant Denominations since Christ by http://protestantism.co.uk/denominations

Additionally, ecumenical movements have been prevalent during the 1940’s through to the present day. Ecumenism is a demonic attempt to tie “bad” teaching and practices to “good” ones, which only results in bad theology and doctrine. The fundamental Bible believers either cave in to the liberal apostates, or separate by breaking off in order to clearly receive God’s Word from other sources. In 1948, the World Council of Churches was organized on two principles: First, the unity of all the Churches in the basis of liberal beliefs; and second, the unity of all religions. In 1950, the old Federal Council of Churches was reorganized into the National Council of Churches, again attempting to unify all churches in the United States along liberal beliefs. Consequently, the visible church is primarily apostate today. Even among conservative denominations, the threat of apostasy is taking over of the theological and seminary schools and results in the supplying of liberal ministers for the pulpit.

God Affirms His Deliverance of His Sheep

Ezekiel 34:11-16

11For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14I will feed them with good pasture; and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord Jehovah. 16I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice. (ASV, 1901)

Good Shepherd rescues His lost sheep – Artist unknown

God always will take charge of His genuine sheep even though the false shepherds ignore the sheep in order to chase after their own desires and profit. He says that He “will search for my sheep, and will seek them out”. Jesus expressed this same truth in John chapter ten. In very loving text God says that He will bring the Jews out of all the places in the world where they have been scattered, and place them again in the land of Israel. He will not allow them to suffer again anything they need because He will supply it. The Lord’s treatment of His flock is diametrically opposite to that of the false shepherds. In verse 16 God states there will also be judgment on the wealthy, or “the fat and strong” of the nation who have oppressed the poor. God’s Word tells us that excessive prosperity causes people to forget God:

Proverbs 30:8-9

8Remove far from me falsehood and lies; Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is needful for me: 9Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, And use profanely the name of my God. (ASV, 1901)

All these promises to Israel and the Church seen in Ezekiel 34: 11-16 will be realized in the Messianic Kingdom.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

[1] Breese, Dave, 7 Men Who Rule The World From The Grave, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 1992Share on Facebook

ISAIAH PROPHESIES JESUS’ APPEARANCE AND WORK

Communicating Old Testament Prophecy

OT

Artist Unknown

The New Testament frequently realizes fulfillments of Old Testament prophetic passages in various manners. Some have stated that there are in excess of six hundred allusions and quotations in the New Testament from the Old Testament. Others have alluded to the book of Revelation as having that many all by itself. Prophecy is obviously a significant component of the New Testament. Therefore, it is important for a correct reading of the New Testament to understand this issue so you can accurately assimilate the message that God is communicating. Without an appropriate understanding of the proper reading of God’s Word, it becomes “jammed up” in its meaning, and the reader will receive an erroneous message. Just as earthly warfare has combatants attempting to “jam” each other’s communications to gain an advantage, the Biblical text has an enemy that is seeking to cast doubt on God’s Word. Satan has been trying to cast doubt on what God has spoken since the Garden of Eden. He will use any means possible, including poor hermeneutics, poor grammar and incorrect theology.

It is important to understand the different written forms of texts in the Old Testament in order to understand how the prophecy came about. The same is true for all the all other biblical writers. The manner, or form, somebody says or writes in has everything to do with formulating a proper understanding of what they mean. For example, in the seventh, eighth and ninth chapter of the book of Isaiah there are discussions taking place which refer to specific activities taking place in Isaiah’s day needing resolution, but the resolutions will be completed by God at a later time. Isaiah wrote his book in standard narrative and Hebraic poetry forms, and this makes a difference in how we read Isaiah’s words. One of the keys to understanding Isaiah is to come to grips with the poetic genre of communicating. Reading poetry requires us to read it at a different pace, to pay closer attention to the text, and to remind ourselves that it is not a straight narrative, therefore we must focus on the words more intently.

He will be born of a virgin (Circa 714 B.C.)

 

‘Joseph’s dream ’ (1645) from the workshop of Rembrandt

 

Most of us are not familiar with poetry’s decorative manner of presenting concepts, and therefore understanding it does not come naturally. One factor of poetry that helps us understand it is the attempt to put God into language. Since He is outside of our experience, He not easily rendered with straightforward words. But poetry can express what has been called “divine communication” because it exceeds normal comprehension. Isaiah frequently made use of the method called “parallelism”. Simply stated, one sentence would be followed by another, but stating the same thing in a different manner. Isaiah expressed many of the offices and characteristics of the coming Messiah this way. For example, see how in about 714 B.C. Isaiah presents the characteristic of Christ as being born of a virgin, and pay especial attention to sequence in verse 14:

Isaiah 7: 1-14

  1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.  2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind. 3 Then said Jehovah unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller’s field; 4 and say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither let thy heart be faint, because of these two tails of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have purposed evil against thee, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set up a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeel; 7 thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken in pieces, so that is shall not be a people:  9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. 10 And Jehovah spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of Jehovah thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt Jehovah. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel (ASV 1901).

Knupfer_Nicolaus-ZZZ-Queen_of_Sheba_before_Solomon

Queen of Sheba Before Solomon Nicolaus Knupfer

To give you some background on this passage, about 930 B.C. after Solomon died, there was a civil war in Israel. The name “Israel” became attached to the apostate ten tribal regions in the north. “Judah” became the name attached to the faithful southern region. Ahaz was king of Judah in the southern kingdom (Cir. 714 B.C.). As the text tells us, the king of Israel Peka, the king of Syria Rezin, and the nation Ephraim laid siege to Jerusalem. This scared Ahaz so that he thought that the Jews would be wiped out, and also the tribe of Judah through which the Messiah would come. God sent Isaiah, along with his son Shear-jashub, to comfort Ahaz by telling him that Judah would not lose the battle, or be exterminated. God, through Isaiah, then wanted Ahaz to realize that he could rely on God to provide protection for him and his people. They would not be destroyed since the Messiah had to come through the tribe of Judah, and He would be born from a virgin who would be God Himself. In the Hebrew language the word “virgin” refers to a young unmarried girl, and is pronounced ha’almah, which means “the one who is not yet betrothed.”

In the Hebrew culture under the Mosaic Law, an unmarried girl had to be a virgin or she would be stoned to death. So while the word ha’almah does not translate directly as “virgin”, this is what is understood based upon the ancient Hebrew culture. The Hebrew word for “God with us” is Emmanuel, and by specifically stating this word, God wanted Ahaz to know that just as it had been prophesied from previous times, God’s promises would come to pass. They always do. When we weary of our circumstances, remember this story that God gave Ahaz to comfort and even to rebuke (“ye will weary my God also?”) him for not trusting God to do what He said He would do. The parallelism demonstrated in this passage is that God would protect Ahaz within the immediate future, and there will be an even greater protection in the distant future when Emmanuel is born.

God Warns Isaiah Not to Be Like Many People

Isaiah 8:11-22

11For Jehovah spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, 12Say ye not, A conspiracy, concerning all whereof this people shall say, A conspiracy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be in dread thereof. 13Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15And many shall stumble thereon, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 16Bind thou up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17And I will wait for Jehovah, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion. 19And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead? 20To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. 21And they shall pass through it, sore distressed and hungry; and it shall come to pass that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse by their king and by their God, and turn their faces upward: 22and they shall look unto the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and into thick darkness they shall be driven away (ASV 1901).

300px-Jesaja_(Michelangelo)

The Prophet Isaiah by Michelangelo cir 1508-1512

The only proper way to determine truth is to go to first the Word of God. Many have departed from this, and look to other sources such as personal experiences or a denomination’s hierarchy to tell us what is true. Frequently people will experience something, whether it is in the news or from a church leader, and then try to find verses to justify the activity rather than be willing to admit that the experience—no matter how wonderful or supernatural it felt—was simply not of God. As evidence they will say that they “feel better” by validating the experience with a particular verse or others, usually taken out of context from the original scripture passage, and think that this justifies the experience. God’s Word must be the primary source of truth, not any experience.

Within the Book of Isaiah God frequently demonstrates by means of comparison a difference between actual believers and those that do not believe. In verse 16 above, we see just what value each places on Scripture. The “law” is the Law of Moses, and the “testimony” is the words of the Prophets. The Believers actually believe Moses and the Prophets (The Old Testament). The non-Believers reject the Scriptures as the ultimate authority, and were trying to make God more “real in their experience” by finding gods they could see, feel, and touch. In verse 19, Isaiah warns them that they are not to go after counterfeit spirits and teachers “that chirp and that mutter.” People who follow after those “that chirp and that mutter” could have some great feelings, but Isaiah rejects all this. The only valid testimony is what he declares in verse 20: “To the law and to the testimony!” In other words, go back to the Scriptures as the only final authority. And in closing he says “if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.” Isaiah makes it quite clear: Whatever the experiences, if it does not align with the written Word of God there is simply no morning “light” for them. A person’s failure to heed God’s Word means he has no spiritual light (John 3:19–20). God will eventually judge all Spiritists, mediums, and those who consult them (Isaiah 8:21–22). In their distress they will look up to God and curse Him, and look to the earth where they will face distress, and then be thrust into darkness (2 Peter 2:17). Ironically those who seek to consult the dead will be forced to join them!

The Light of the World Will Come

The troubles of Israel shall end through the birth of a very Special Child. This section of the prophecy actually started with chapter 7:1, and ends in this wonderful and gracious promise:

27361932-c66c-11e6-b0e3-e12c29c152ce_1280x720

Stained Glass Artist and location Unknown

Isaiah 9:1-7

1But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. 5For all the armor of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be for burning, for fuel of fire. 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this (ASV, 1901).

The essence of the whole section is that Israel shall not suffer from Pekah and Rezin, and her oppressors shall be Assyria and Babylon. They shall overwhelm her, crush her, lay her low, and she shall remain awhile in gloom and darkness, but later the darkness is going to end. Then a “great light” shall shine forth, first in the north, then over all the land, and “the rod of the oppressor” shall be broken. A Child shall be born, who shall bear marvelous names, and shall rule over the full kingdom of David in justice and righteousness forever. God has spoken, and God will perform this.

Verse 1 states that “contempt” was brought upon the more northern part of the Holy Land, first when it was overrun and ravaged by the Syrians (1 Kings 15:20) under Benhadad, and then when it suffered under the Assyrian attack (2 Kings 15:29) under Tiglath-Pileser. Under Gentile domination, that area was then called “Galilee of the nations” meaning the gentiles, not Galilee of the Jews. Isaiah then moves on to cite a time is coming when the people will see what God will do as stated in verse 1b where He states “He made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” This was area was the home of Jesus. He was a Galilean, and lived and ministered there. For thirty years he had lived at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There He had first come forward to teach in a synagogue (Luke 4:16–21). Also in Galilee He had done his first miracles at Capernaum, “upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali” (John 2:11; 4:54).

All the world was “in darkness” when Christ came, but especially the Jews. They had the light of God and seemingly rejected it. “The Light of the world,” “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” first came in the North of Israel “by the way of the sea,” when Jesus came forward to teach and to preach in “Galilee of the nations.” Jesus first streamed forth His light, glorifying the Northern Israeli region on which “contempt” had long been poured. Verse 3 tells us Jesus will make the nations joyful as when a bountiful harvest is reaped. So this verse is offering relief to the people who have been deceived and downtrodden. The result will be that a very special son will come to them who will be a blessing in the northern part of Israel.

The coming of the Messiah sets the Israelites free, removes the yoke from off their neck, breaks the rod where their shoulders were beaten, and delivers them from bondage into the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” In verse 4, the “yoke of his burden” is that of sin, the “oppressor” is that prince of darkness, who brought all mankind under his dominion. However Christ will break it when the Messianic Kingdom arrives, and the heavenly Kingdom will come on earth just as it is in Heaven. And then all need for military equipment will vanish as it is burned up because He will cause peace and justice to prevail on this earth.

In verse 6 we are told that a child will be born who will eventually rule the entire world. The government will indeed “be upon the shoulders” of the Messiah as He bears the work of managing the government of the entire world during the Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years:

Psalm 2:6-8

Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession (ASV, 1901).

Also in verse 6, His name will be called “Wonderful” and is a direct reference to Judges 13:18. Here Samson’s father asks the Angel of the Lord who He is, and gets the reply of “Why do you ask My name,” the Angel of the LORD asked him, “since it is wonderful.”

The word “Wonderful” can also be translated as “secret” or “extraordinary”, “supernatural”, or even “incomprehensible”. This is the nature of God. Jesus the Messiah will be a “Counsellor”, and the people will gladly listen to Him as the authoritative One. In the Messianic Kingdom many people will be anxious to hear the Messiah teach God’s ways. As the Messiah He will also be “Mighty God” who is strong, powerful, and mighty. As the “Everlasting Father” He is eternal and has no end as the Father of all mankind. The title “Everlasting Father” is an idiom used to describe the Messiah’s Deity, not His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. He is God the Son. He will endure continually for Messiah is God. The Messiah is also called the “Prince of Peace”, the One who will bring in and maintain the time of millennial peace when the Jewish nation, and the world at large, will be in obedience to the Lord. Together, these four titles give a beautiful picture of the coming Lord that is future in Isaiah’s day (and yet future to our day too) and Messiah’s character.

According to the passage in Isaiah, verse 7 tells us this child will be born into a Jewish family of the lineage of king David with whom the control of the entire world’s government will rest. Isaiah expands on this here:

Isaiah 16:5

And a throne shall be established in lovingkindness; and one shall sit thereon in truth, in the tent of David, judging, and seeking justice, and swift to do righteousness (ASV, 1901).

Of the increase of his government and peace” there shall be no end, which means the Messiah’s kingdom shall ever increase more and more, and there shall be no limits to it. Ultimately it shall fill the world (Matthew 28:18, 19). The continual spread of Christianity tends to the accomplishment of this prophecy. “Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom” means that the Messiah is to sit on the throne of David, which signifies His Davidic descent. A gradual establishment of the kingdom as Christianity spreads is the first stage that is also taught in the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven (Matthew 13:31-33). From “henceforth even forever” means the kingdom is to be both universal in respect of extent, and in respect of eternal duration. God’s jealousy of his own honor will assure the performance of all that is prophesied.

 

 

 

 

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