Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 61
THE CHOSEN NATION REDEEMED
ISAIAH 42:8 – 45:3
We always appreciate when folks write and tell us they feel like they’re sitting right there on the back row and it reminds them of a college classroom. Well, that’s just exactly the way we want you to feel. We’re just here to teach the Word, and the only way you can teach is use the Textbook! And, of course, that’s another thing we always appreciate that all of you folks come in with your own Bible.
We’re not here to preach at anybody, but we do teach salvation by faith and faith alone as taught by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, by believing in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again plus nothing else added to that.
Okay, we’re going to jump right in where we left off in our last taping. We’re spending a little time in the book of Isaiah. We’re not going to take all sixty-six chapters verse by verse like we did Romans and some of the others, but we’re going to hit some of the highlights and remember the background, as I’m always stressing – whenever you read a portion of Scripture always determine who’s writing; to whom is he writing; when was it written; what are the circumstances?
Bear with me as I keep reminding you that this is all back at about 700 BC, that Isaiah is writing, and the nation of Israel has been split between the two kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom with ten tribes and the Southern Kingdom with the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah. The Temple is still operating; so when we look at all their idolatry; don’t think for a minute that the Temple isn’t still there. They go into idolatry in spite of it.
But then we’re going to find, as I’ve put on the timeline on the board, that all the way back in 606 BC, six hundred years before Christ, when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians came and besieged Jerusalem and finally broke through, they destroyed the city and destroyed the Temple. They took, for the most part, the whole nation of Israel to Babylon for 70 years.
Then, as we’re going to see in one of our further programs this afternoon, the next empire that comes on the scene is the Medes and the Persians who defeat the Babylonians. The king of the Medes and the Persians will then be what God calls “His servant” who will give the decree to Ezra to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple first, and then about a hundred years later Nehemiah goes back and starts rebuilding the city walls.
Now, it’s interesting and I think this bears repeating, in fact let’s look at it in Scripture. Come back with me to Leviticus 26. This is an appropriate time to use this verse. God is speaking while they’re still there in Egypt. This is even before they’ve come out of Egypt, and yet the prophecy stands looking forward to when the nation will go into captivity. Of course, the first time is this seventy-year captivity in Babylon, and then the second time, as we’ve shown on the board, is in 70 AD.
From history now we know that in 606 BC God permitted the Babylonians to come in and destroy the Temple and the city and take the children of Israel back to Babylon. This left the land empty. Then in 70 AD we have Titus destroying the Temple and sending Israel again into the dispersion so that the land was emptied. Now, this is the amazing thing, anytime the land is emptied of the Jew, Leviticus 26 tells us what’s going to happen, and let’s look at it.
Leviticus 26:32 and remember the timing now. This is during the time of Moses, he’s writing, but look what it says. God is speaking to the nation of Israel, and He says:
“I will bring the land (that is the Promised Land) into desolation: your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. (That is the desolation. In God’s own time, He says) 33. I will scatter you among the heathen, (that is the non-Jewish world, what we call Gentiles) and I will draw out a sword after you: (They’re going to suffer persecution.) and your land shall be desolate, your cities waste. 34. Then shall the land (that is the Promised Land) enjoy her sabbaths,…” Now, this is a direct reference to the 70-year captivity. The sabbatical year was when every seventh year the ground was to be left fallow; given a rest, and they never did it. So, over a period of 490 years neglecting the sabbatical year, they owed God 70 years. So, God is going to get those years back.
“Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth (what?) desolate, and you be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. 35. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when you dwelt upon it.” In other words, they kept it in production.
All right, now, I think while you’re in Leviticus, we might as well use another verse that I use so often, Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 1. Remember, this is always apropos when God removes Israel from the Promised Land, whether it’s 606 BC or whether it’s 70 AD, it’s still going to pretty much be under the same process. The only difference is on the third one that we’ve been talking about in Isaiah. This is when the judgment of the Tribulation comes and goes and Christ returns, then, of course, Israel will never again be scattered out of her land.
But the first two times they were. The first one, as we’re looking at now in this lesson today, is the Babylonian captivity and they were gone only 70 years. In the second one, when Titus overran the city and destroyed the Temple, they were dispersed for 1900 and some years, until they came back in 1948. All right, but here’s the process, if I may call it that:
“It shall come to pass, when all these things have come upon you, the blessings and the curse, which I have set before you, and thou shalt call them to mind (or you’re going to be remembering them) when you are among all the nations. (all the nations not just, some of them) where the LORD thy God hath driven thee.” Now, of course, you have to know history. At the time of the Babylonian captivity, the then known world was still pretty small.
The only known part of the planet was the area around the Mediterranean and on out to the Far East. They knew nothing of the New World. They knew nothing of the Western Hemisphere. So, the “all nations” in 606 BC were a lot fewer in number than the “all nations” of 70 AD, when they would finally end up around the whole planet. But now, at either time, whether it was 606 BC or whether it was at the end of the next one, which was like I said, in1948, this is what’s going to happen.
“And shalt return…” Now, that’s plain language isn’t it? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that after they have been scattered by God’s Sovereign design, when He is ready, He will bring them back.
He did when Cyrus the Mede-Persian Emperor made a decree that they were to go back and rebuild the city and the city gate. All right, in 1900 AD thereabouts, the Jews finally started putting things in order that they could get ready to come back to the Holy Land again. Then we saw the Nation suddenly appear and become a Nation in 1948.
All right, so here’s the promise that they would be scattered and that while they’re scattered, while they are out of the land of Israel, however you want to put it, the land of Israel will become desolate.
Now, isn’t it amazing? You would think that as soon as the Jew was gone, the Arab world would have come in and taken advantage of the production of those vineyards and those orchards and those wheat and barley fields. But did they? No. Don’t you ever believe it when people try to tell you they did. They never lifted a finger to put the land back into production when Israel was taken out. It remained desolate – both times! During the seventy years while they were in Babylon, oh sure, there were a few Bedouins and a few Arabs in the area but not enough to bring it into production. In fact, I can just prove that. I didn’t intend to do any of this. I don’t know why this came up.
Turn to Nehemiah chapter 2, with me so you can see what I’m talking about. Now, this is when Cyrus gave the decree. Cyrus was a “servant of Jehovah” the Bible tells us. He was, by design, brought into a place of power where he would have the authority and the sovereignty to send Nehemiah and his company of Jews back to Jerusalem. He could give them whatever they needed from the forests for their lumber. They had full authority. But, now look at the setting after 70 years. In fact, by the time Nehemiah comes, it’s more like a hundred and seventy years, because he comes back much later than Ezra, who would come back after the 70 years. So, Nehemiah is really writing almost a hundred years – I’m going to be on the safe side – 150 years after the fact. So, here’s the setting by the time Nehemiah comes back.
Now, you would have thought that when the native people are gone, the neighbors around would have just come in and taken advantage of them. What do you think the world would do if all of a sudden all of us Americans were relocated out of our country? What would the rest of the world do? Why, they’d come in like a flood and take over everything that we’ve got. They would put everything into production. They would enjoy our homes. But, see, the Arabs didn’t do that when the Jews left. They left as well, for the most part.
“Then I said unto them, you see the distress that we are in, (that is, he and his fellow Jews) how Jerusalem lieth (what?) waste,…” They hadn’t cleaned it up after the Babylonians besieged it. They hadn’t gotten back into populating it. No, it was still laying waste a hundred fifty or a hundred sixty years after.
“…and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more reproach.” Then there’s another one. I’ll think – where is it? In chapter 4, where it speaks of the rubbish and the trash they had to clean up? So the Arabs didn’t take over that land while Israel was out of it, because it was desolate. Well, anyway, you can come over to chapter 4 and see the same opposition; I can make that point if nothing else, that they have today. Nothing has changed. Because, you see, all during the time of 70 AD, until the Jews came back after the turn of the century, the Arab world didn’t come in and occupy it. Now, Arafat would like to make us think so, but it’s not true. It was desolation.
I’ve read the comment of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) who traveled back in the middle 1800’s. You’ve heard me read it over and over, and he said, “The place is a total desolation, not even the weeds of the desert grow here. The wild animals of the desert are gone.” They never saw a soul driving all day. They finally got to Jerusalem and he said, “There were a few people there, of course, but it was a desolate place, and I would never want to live there.”
So, where do these people get the idea that when the Jews were gone those 1900 years the Arab world made it verdant – that’s the word they like to use – v-e-r-d-a-n-t. That it was in great production. No, it wasn’t. It was desolate, just like God promised it would be. So, read here in Nehemiah chapter 4 when they come back and try to rebuild the walls; let’s bring you down to verse 15.
“And it came to pass, when our enemies (Nehemiah 2:19 the Arabians) heard and it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, that we returned all of us to the wall, everyone to his work.” That is the city wall, not the Wailing Wall, but the outer wall of the city, which was the number one line of defense.
“And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, the other half of them held the spears and the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons: and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17. They who build on the wall, and they that bear the burden, with those that laid it…” In other words, carrying the mortar and the bricks and the whatever, “Every one.” Now, watch this. Just like today.
“…every one with one of his hands worked in the work and with the other hand he held (what?) a weapon.” The Arabs were constantly trying to thwart the work of rebuilding the city wall and the gates and so forth.
So, it’s no different then than it is today. But, on the other hand, I want to make the point that when God emptied the Jew out of the land it became desolate. It was non-productive. Earthquakes kept anybody from building. Diseases such as malaria kept anybody from enjoying a healthy lifestyle. The water was in short supply. The rains stopped. So, with all those things, God made sure that when the children of Israel were out of the land it was desolate. Never forget that. That’s one of the points I want to make today.
All right, back to Isaiah 42. Now, we can take off where we intended to start in the first place. That as Israel comes under the chastisement of Jehovah and God takes them out of the land, their neighbors don’t come in and enjoy it but instead it becomes desolate and that has happened over and over but especially in 606 BC and again in 70 AD.
All right, Isaiah 42 and we’re going to drop in at verse 8. Remember, in our last program, we were talking about how Israel was being groomed and prepared to be the missionaries and the evangelists to the Gentile world. That’s their whole purpose. God is getting them ready for the coming of their King, their Messiah and their Redeemer. Then, if they could have the King and His Kingdom they could evangelize those pagan Gentiles. All right, but now in verse 8, we’re going to be aware that Israel’s number one problem leading up to the Babylonian captivity was idolatry. Idolatry.
Now, that just seems almost impossible to comprehend. This was a nation of people that had experienced the miraculous power of their God uniquely to them; holding back their enemies and blessing them like no other nation on earth; bringing them through the Red Sea. Forty years later He brought them through the River Jordan at flood time. He was watching over them constantly, giving them promise after promise after promise and yet they went “whole hog” for idolatry. It’s just utterly hard to believe. This is what we’re building up for; that they are going to have to be dealt with because of their idolatry.
“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory I will not give to another, (In other words, He’s not going to share it with an idolatrous god.) neither my praise to graven images.”See what God is talking about? I am not going to let you take praise and worship away from Me and give it to some dumb idol. But, that’s what they were doing.
“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” What’s He talking about? His foreknowledge. God knows what’s going to happen. He knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. He knows what’s going to happen a hundred years from now. There is nothing that He is not aware of. All right, so now then, verse 10 He comes back and gives an instruction:
“Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, you that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 11. Let the wilderness (the desert) and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.” That’s what God expects.
“Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.” Or, within the borders. Now, verse 13, we’re going to see the other side of God. He’s the God of blessing. He’s the God of joy. He’s the God of happiness. But He’s also the God of wrath and discipline. So, now we see that other side.
“The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: (He’s going to come in and He’s going to be ruthless with them.) he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.” Not Israel’s especially but God’s.
“I have long time holden my peace. I have been still, (God’s gracious, remember? It takes a long time to get God to a place of meting out judgment) and refrained myself: now I will cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. 15. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up their herbs; I will make their rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight, These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
Now, this is one thing I have to constantly remind you. No matter how far Israel goes down; whether it’s unbelief, like at Kadesh-Barnea or whether it’s idolatry, like we’re dealing with here, God had made them a very special promise.
Now, I’ve got to bring you back to II Samuel chapter 7, and all the way through the book of Isaiah I want you to be reminded of this constant promise. II Samuel chapter 7. Now, He’s talking to David and He’s setting things in order to go down the eons of time coming to the birth of Christ and it’s going to be through the lineage of King David, so this is who He’s talking to. God tells David concerning, not just Solomon, but this whole lineage of the House of David that will be coming down the pike, God says:
II Samuel 7:14-15a
“I will be his father, he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, (See, there it comes. God knows that he will. He’s also talking about the nation of Israel in total.) I will chasten him with the rod of men, (I will bring in enemy armies. I’ll bring in enemy empires that will tax you. They’ll overlord you.) and with the stripes of the children of men. 15. But
(the flipside, even though God will chasten and He will discipline) my mercy shall not depart away from him,…” Now, that’s the constant promise that God holds before the nation of Israel; that even though He will bless them and He will bring chastisement, yet His mercy will never depart.
Now, here we are 4000 years after the Nation made its appearance. They’ve been through the throes of persecution. There has been a constant satanic effort to destroy them. They have never gained any great numbers of people but then neither have they disappeared. Of course, that’s the miracle of the nation of Israel today, as I’ve said over and over in seminars and in our classes in Oklahoma. Most of you have heard me say it over and over. They should have disappeared 1900 years ago. They should have lost their identity through inter-marriage, through persecution, through martyrdom, whatever. But here they are in the news every day! How can anybody not see that this little nation of people that should have disappeared, have anything but disappeared. They’re in the news like no other little nation on earth. It’s just unbelievable; except it’s what the Word of God has declared.
All right, so now then, coming back to Isaiah chapter 42 for just a second, our time is just about gone. We come on down to verse 17:
“They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, you are our gods.” Can you image? Well, who’s he talking about? Israel! Not the pagan world. That’s a given that they were idolaters. Even Terah, you remember, the father of Abraham was an idolater, but Israel?
They have now come hundreds and hundreds of years since becoming a Nation; they’ve had the prophets; they’ve had the five books of Torah. They’ve had Moses. Yet, the Nation, with the exception of a remnant, we’ll look at that maybe in the next program or two, but for the most part, the Nation has fallen in total rejection of the God of Abraham. They are falling into idolatry. They are following the gods of the pagans around them. Why, when God has been so good to them? It’s just one of the things of human nature. You want to remember a Jew is just as human as the rest of us.