Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 60
ISAIAH 2:3 – 42:6 – PART 2
We’d like to welcome you to an informal Bible study. We don’t claim to have all the answers. And I don’t apologize when people call sometimes and I just have to say, “I don’t know.” There are a lot of things the Scripture does not tell us. There are a lot of things, of course, that I cannot comprehend, but we’re just depending on the Holy Spirit to give us enlightenment and to be able to compare Scripture with Scripture. That’s all I ask people to do. Don’t go by what I say, but compare Scripture with Scripture and if you disagree with me, I always think of an old pastor friend of mine who used to say this, “Well, it’s a free country, you can be wrong if you want to be.”
But no, if you disagree that doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but on the other hand if you disagree, all I ask is that you search the Scriptures and, hopefully, you’ll see where I’m coming from. Also remember, you must rightly divide the Word as Paul was inspired to write. If we’re talking about things in this Grace Age, then you need to be looking for those answers in Paul’s writings, since the risen Lord gave him to the Gentile Body of Christ for our instructions. (Romans 11:13, Acts 9:15, Ephesians 3:2 and many others)
All right, for this last half hour this afternoon, we’re going to jump all the way up to Isaiah chapter 40 and from here we’re even going to jump on up into the New Testament, because I don’t like to stay in the Old Testament too long because after all this is all background. This is for what Paul calls “our learning,” but the very doctrines by which we are to be saved and walk the Christian life have to come from Paul’s epistles as I mentioned before. All right, Isaiah chapter 40 verse 1 and if you’ve ever listened to Handel’s Messiah this will just jump off the page won’t it?
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” Well, who are God’s people? Israel. See, this is what we have to constantly remind folks of – that God is dealing only with the nation of Israel so far as the promises are concerned. He deals with the Gentile world only in judgment because of their treatment of His people.
Now, never forget that. Certainly He deals with Babylon. Surely He deals with Moab. He deals with Syria. He deals with Egypt, but never with the promises of these things like He does with Israel.
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people (Israel) saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished,…” Now, you know it’s amazing, Jerusalem by name is supposed to be the city of what? Peace. Has it been? Never. It’s been in turmoil for as many thousand years as its existence, but the peace of Jerusalem is in the future. You’ve heard me say it; you’ve heard others say it, “Pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem,” because the peace of Jerusalem will come about when? When Christ returns at His Second Coming! And my, if ever there’s a time when believers should be praying that the Lord will come quickly, it’s today.
Oh, I dread to think what the world’s going to see in the next 20 years. Now, I’m going to share these things with people because I read them with my own eyes. A Muslim imam right here in America made this statement not too long ago that by 2020, now that’s not very long, that’s only 16 more years, that by 2020 they expect a Muslim president in the White House and a Muslim majority in Congress. Imagine! We can see it coming unless something puts the brakes on it. All right, so pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the soon return of our Lord and Savior.
“…that her warfare is accomplished, and that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her (what?) sin.” You know, I think I’ve shared it with this audience a long time ago – a couple of years ago one of the major call in talk shows in Tel Aviv, in Israel, had one of their major Rabbi’s as their guest on the talk show. He made the statement that Israel’s problems are usually the result of their sin. And what happened? The phone lines got jammed with angry Israelites who maintain that had nothing to do with it. It isn’t sin! They cannot see it, but the Scripture is full of it. It’s man’s sin that brings on all of his problems and Israel in particular. All right, so “Jerusalem has actually received double her problems because of Israel’s sin.”
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Who is it referring to? John the Baptist. He’s a prophesied Old Testament prophet, and that’s why I have made the statement and it shakes people up – that the four Gospel’s are just an extension of all this. It begins with the appearance of this promised Old Testament prophet, John the Baptist, quoting what he’s going to be crying. And so Christ’s earthly ministry is just an extension of all this.
Nothing has changed. They’re still under the Temple worship. Never does Jesus tell anybody to stop keeping the Law. He never tells the Jew to stop sacrificial worship. It’s just the same, the only difference is that the promised King is in their midst promising the Kingdom if they would just believe it.
Now, I’m going to come to this in a few moments. The Kingdom was available. He was there to offer it. Now, I know the first question that comes up, “Well, then He couldn’t have been crucified.” Well, leave that with God’s Sovereignty. He makes a valid offer that they could have the King and the Kingdom and in His Omnipotence, in His Sovereignty, He could have brought about the crucifixion any way He wanted. But the valid offer to Israel was – it’s right out in front of you. It’s yours if you can believe it. But that was their problem. They couldn’t.
“Every valley shall be exalted. (John the Baptist continuing on) and every mountain and hill shall be made low: the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”Now, that’s all symbolic language of what the King and this glorious Kingdom would accomplish for the nation of Israel.
“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:…” Now, it’s just like the Mosaic Law, now let me show you. Keep your hand in Isaiah. Jump all the way up to Romans. Now, I didn’t intend to do this, so I have to feel this is the leading of the Spirit for one reason or another. But jump up to Romans chapter 3, you’ve got the same analogy, that yes, God is dealing with Israel, but it’s not stopping at Israel’s borders. It’s going to the whole world.
“Now we know (Paul writes) that what things soever the law saith, (Now, that’s referring to the Ten Commandments.) it saith to them who are under the law; (and who was that? Israel, the Jew! But it doesn’t stop there) that every mouth may be stopped, (not just in Israel) and all the world may become guilty before God.” You see the language? Yes, the Law was given to Israel. Only Israel was put under the system of the Law, but the moral Law condemned the whole human race. Nobody is exempt from Israel’s moral Law. And to this very day, what makes man a sinner? Well, he’s born in sin, that’s not the answer I want. But what determines his sin? He breaks the Law. It’s Israel’s Law, but nevertheless it is universal in its condemnation.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (or the keeping of the Ten Commandments, whether it’s Israel or it’s the rest of the world) shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law (the Ten Commandments, God’s moral law for the whole human race) is the knowledge of sin.” Now, I’ve given this simple illustration over the last forty years of teaching. If you had an intersection back before the population grew and it’s out there in the boondocks and people who are in the area go through that intersection, they don’t need a stop sign. There’s not that much traffic. But, all of a sudden, because of increased traffic, the powers that be put up stop signs. Now, what does that stop sign require? That people stop. If someone drives through it, the law has every reason to stop the individual and give him a ticket. And the individual may say, “Hey, I’ve been driving through this intersection for years. I’ve never stopped.” But, now you do because there’s a stop sign. What’s the stop sign? Law! Have I made my point? When the Law says stop, then you’d better stop. But until the stop sign was there, there was no breaking of the Law.
All right, now, it’s the same way with the Ten Commandments. Once the Ten Commandments were made known to the human race, there was no debating with God as to what sin was. He covered all aspects. All right, now then, back to Isaiah chapter 40. It’s the same thing; that all of this was given primarily to Israel, but it has an effect upon the whole human race with none excepted.
“The voice said, ‘Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is as grass, and the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:” Here is the temporariness of all this. Life is short. It’s temporary.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass.” (or were like grass.) Another portion of Scripture puts that analogy that as the grass springs up in the morning and it’s clipped in the afternoon, that’s life. It’s so temporal; temporary.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. 9. O Zion, (Now, we come back to God dealing with His people) that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift it up, thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; to say unto the cities of Judah, (what?) Behold your God!” Why? He’s going to be coming in the flesh, and every eye will see Him.
“Behold, the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his work is before him. 11. He shall feed his flock (Israel) like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arms,…” All right now, for sake of time, I’m going to bring you all the way over to chapter 42. Now, 41 is a good chapter to read in your spare time. It, again, shows the omnipotence, the greatness, and the glory of Israel’s God. But now in chapter 42 verse 1:
“Behold my servant,…” Now, remember, Mark’s Gospel is a total revelation of the servant-hood of Christ. You remember the four Gospels are delineated by four different views of Christ. Matthew depicts Him as the King. Mark depicts Him as the Servant. Luke depicts Him as the Son of Man. John depicts Him as the Son of God. Here we have the servant-hood of Christ.
“Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: (Now, it’s a reference to the Messiah, to Jesus of Nazareth.) he shall bring forth judgment (or rule, or government, not just to Israel but who else?) to the Gentiles.” Now, when we go in a little bit to the book of Matthew, we see that Jesus makes it so plain that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of Israel.
They were not to have anything to do with Gentiles. It didn’t mean that God had cast the Gentiles out of His mind, but it had to be in His own order of things. Israel had to first have the King and the Kingdom and under that scenario every Jew could become a priest of Jehovah as Exodus 19 puts it. Or, every Jew could become a missionary or an evangelist to bring the Gentiles to a knowledge of God’s salvation. God hasn’t cast the Gentiles out of His thinking, but it had to be according to His design. And that was going to be left up to Israel whether to accept it or reject it.
It’s always based on that opportunity of choice. Israel is constantly left with choices. Just like you and I are as we looked at several tapings back. We’re constantly faced with choices. And because of those choices, we can end up either blessed or in a bad straight. All right, so here we see that God is going to bring forth judgment or rule to the Gentiles. Now, I’m going to bring you in again, for sake of time, down to verse 6.
“I the LORD (Jehovah) have called you in righteousness, (Now, we’re dealing with the nation, Israel.) and will hold thy hand, will keep thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, (a relationship between Israel and the God of Abraham and the covenant promises) for (what purpose?) a light of the Gentiles.” Now, that’s plain English! That was Israel’s purpose – to be a light to the Gentile world!
Now, you jump up into Christ’s earthly ministry, what did Jesus tell the Twelve? “You are the light of the world.” Well, who were the Twelve representatives of? Israel! “You are the salt of the earth.” Who was? Israel, because of all these covenant promises. Okay, now I think I can move all the way up to Matthew. Now, let’s just jump and finish our few minutes in the New Testament because I don’t want someone to call and say, “Les, you’re spending too much time in the Old Testament,” because they will.
Now, let’s jump up to Matthew. This is a review of things I’ve said before. I may be getting older but I still remember what I’ve said before. And I’ve said this a ton of times. Matthew chapter 9 verse 35. It’s in Christ’s earthly ministry now. He’s just beginning the three years.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, (that is of Israel) teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom,…” Good news! What was good news? The King is coming! This glorious Kingdom is finally available. They’ve been waiting 2000 years and here it is. The Gospel of the Kingdom, and He associated with that since He was God and He had the power of God.
“…and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” Now, chapter 10, in the first five verses, He has the twelve disciples named. That is He called them. The Twelve are now brought together and He’s ready to begin His ministry with them. Now, verse 5, and it’s a verse that a lot of people don’t like. They’ve called to tell me that their pastor says, “That doesn’t mean what it says. Doesn’t say what it means. They don’t believe it.” Well, I beg to differ. It says exactly what it means because He’s now on covenant ground, that God made between Himself and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets; that Israel would first have to have the Kingdom before they could evangelize the Gentile world.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans, enter you not:” (That was a command.
Why? Next verse:) 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Why? Israel has to be brought the Kingdom first and then the King could come and then Israel could evangelize. Do you get the picture? That was the way it was supposed to be.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is (what?) at hand.” Why? The King is in their midst! He’s there! Now, I know. Don’t think I don’t know – He had to go the way of the Cross. But that’s beside the point. Israel is put on trial – can they believe who He is? Can they believe the promises? As a result, what happened? They lost that opportunity to evangelize the Gentile world. They dropped the ball is the expression I usually use. They lost that opportunity of being the evangelists.
Consequently, you come all the way through three years of His earthly ministry, you come through the early chapters of Acts and it culminates with Acts chapter 7, and that’s seven years after Pentecost. That’s a good way to remember it. Acts chapter 7, you can almost figure about a year per chapter here, and so seven years after Pentecost, Peter and the Eleven have been preaching their hearts out and still only a small remnant of Jews will accept Jesus of Nazareth as the King. And, remember, the requirement was they all had to. So, the Nation is falling through the cracks in unbelief. But God sends one more time, Stephen, not one of the Twelve, but now He sends Stephen to address the Nation. He does it through the religious leaders, so he’s confronted by the High Priest, and he says in verse 1:
“Then said the high priest, Are these things so?” In other words, all the things that they claimed Stephen and the Twelve had been saying. All right, now then, Stephen begins his whole long dissertation of how God had brought about the nation of Israel and how He had prepared them for these days, the coming of their Messiah. But, in their unbelief, now bring it down to verse 51, this is Stephen speaking, a man full of the Holy Spirit, remember, and he accuses the religious leaders of Israel:
“Ye stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your father did, so do ye.” Oh, they were circumcised in the flesh, but spiritually not at all. Well, that’s what we’ve been seeing in Isaiah. Rather than giving into the leading of the Holy Spirit, what had they been doing? Worshipping idols.
Now, we’ll make the point in our next taping that when they went into those 70 years of captivity, God broke their idolatry. The Jew never again practiced idolatry after that 70 years, but up until then they were steeped in it, steeped in idolatry. All right, so now this is what Stephen is reminding them of, that they constantly resisted the wooing of the Holy Spirit. All right verse 52:
“Which of the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, all of them) have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain (or killed) them who showed before (or prophesied) the coming of the Just One; of whom you have now been betrayers and murderers” So, really, the Jews in the practice of their religion were no different than the Mohammedans are today. If you don’t like what we preach, if you don’t want to agree with us we’ll kill you. Well, the Jews were the same way – they killed the prophets, they killed those who tried to bring Israel back out of their idolatry. It’s nothing new.
All right, so Stephen, of course, is put to death, and he was the last real trumpet sound of God dealing with the nation of Israel. All right, but now look; what does God have to do? Something totally different. Israel, as a nation, has dropped the ball. They want nothing to do with this Jesus of Nazareth. All right, now look what God does. He saves old Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Jump up with me to Acts chapter 9 verse 15, and when you deal with people who don’t understand this let them read this verse. I just talked to a fellow early this morning and I told him the same thing, he said, “Les, I go back to my people and they ridicule me. They want nothing to do with Paul.”
And I said, “Well, try this approach. Take them into Acts chapter 9 verse 15 and let them read it.” But they have to understand that, all the way up until this time, God has been dealing with Israel. He hasn’t even tried to deal with the Gentiles. He’s been dealing with Israel so that they would be the vehicle, but Israel will not. Now, look what he says:
“But the LORD, said unto him, (that is Ananias, that believing Jew up there in Damascus) go thy way: for he (this Saul of Tarsus) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before (what people?) the Gentiles,…” You want to remember that up until this time that was a dirty word in the hearing of a Jew, but God has now designated this man who is going to be kept providentially from any contact with the Twelve in Jerusalem until he has received all of these new revelations of things that had been kept secret in the mind of God.
Oh, God knew it was going to turn out this way. He wasn’t taken by surprise, and if I had the time…maybe we do. Can we go back quickly to Acts chapter 15? We’ll have to do this quickly. Acts chapter 15 where we have that Jerusalem Counsel and Peter and the Eleven have been confronting Paul about his going to the Gentiles, and they thought they had to be proselytes of Israel, but they finally agreed that Paul has a commission all his own. So, then, James the moderator – I’ve got to do this quickly now.
“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, listen unto me: 14. Simon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them (the Gentiles) a people for his name. 15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; for it is written, (now watch this verse 16) 16. After this (After He’s called out a people for His name. That’s us in this Church Age) I will return, and will build, again, the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down:…”