Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 61
THE GLORIOUS PROMISES TO ISRAEL
ISAIAH 54:1 – 57:1
We want to thank everybody for coming today. We just praise the Lord! I was reminding our studio audience, for those of you out in television, that we started fourteen years ago this month (Oct 2004). We decided this morning that we taped our very first program fourteen years ago. It doesn’t seem possible, but we had probably fifteen people in attendance for that first taping and today we have well over 100. So, over the years it’s gradually been growing. Again, I want to thank all of you in the studio audience for putting forth the effort. I know a lot of you have driven a long way. We’ve got folks here from Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and, of course, Oklahoma.
Okay, now let’s get back where we’re going to start in Isaiah 54 verse 1. Now, again, for those of you who may be new to the program, we like to repeat and repeat and repeat for your benefit. Remember, now, that Isaiah is writing 700 years before Christ, and yet in some of these things he writes as though it’s almost a past tense. That is how unique prophecy is in our Bible. And again, I keep repeating this – there is no other book on earth that can do that. Only our Bible, the Word of God, can tell things hundreds and hundreds of years in advance, as if it’s past, and never forget that.
Whenever they try to lift up some other religion and their writer and their book and their god, they cannot hold a candle to this Book, because they cannot tell one event in the future. Even your most famous fortunetellers, like Jean Dixon a few years ago, you know what their batting average is at the very best? Fifty percent. That’s all they are, just 50 percent guesses. But this Book is right 100 percent and it’s written, many times, thousands of years in advance.
We’re going to see some of that in our first half-hour this afternoon. So, again, we always want to remember that this is written in 700 BC. The nation of Israel has just recently been divided into the Northern Kingdom with ten tribes, the Southern Kingdom with two. But yet, Isaiah, living in the Southern Kingdom, will address both the Northern and the Southern Kingdom. And, of course, 700 BC is around a hundred years before Nebuchadnezzar will come in and destroy the city and the temple and take Israel captive. Again, it’s written as though it’s just right out in front of them.
Now, as I was driving up yet today I was mulling over how often we forget the vast amount of time that elapses up through the Old Testament. In other words, from Moses until King David was almost 500 years. Then, from King David until Isaiah starts writing about the coming judgments and everything is another 300 years. Now, think about that. That’s a long time! My, we’ve been a nation less than that. So, all these events that are unfolding throughout our Old Testament are not just within a short period of time. It’s over hundreds and hundreds of years. God’s wheels grind slowly and surely.
Okay, we’ll pick up where we left off after the last taping and the prophecy concerning Christ’s crucifixion – the graphic description of His suffering and His death in chapters 52 & 53. Let’s go on into chapter 54 as we come into the glorious promises that will follow Israel. First, after they’ve come back from the Babylonian captivity, they re-establish Temple worship. But the big picture, remember, which is what we’re always looking at, is after the horrors of the seven years of Tribulation. Christ will return and Israel is going to have all these Old Testament promises fulfilled. This is what we’re going to look at right here.
“Sing, O barren, (Well, what does singing remind you of? Good feelings, joy, and happiness.) thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child:…” More than likely, what Isaiah is referring to are those years when Israel was spiritually dead. There were hundreds of years where Israel was steeped in their unbelief and their rebellion, and, consequently, there was no joy or an increase in blessings or anything else. So, now with the hope of this coming kingdom, they can sing like one who has travailed.
“..for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.” All right, now that’s kind of a tough one to explain, so I’m going to pass over that. Come down to verse two. (Transcriber’s note: Don’t you love someone who isn’t afraid to say, “I don’t know?”)
“Enlarge the place of thy tent,…” What does that speak of? Well, progressive growth. When you enlarge the tent it just simply means that you’re getting ready for more occupants. That’s what Israel is to do. They’re to get ready, now, for great expansion of their blessings.
“…and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;” Remember, he’s speaking of a tent back in antiquity and the tent pegs would be stretched out further away to make room for a larger tent. In other words, it is a symbolic picture of how the Nation will be increasing in blessings.
“For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; (Blessings upon blessings are waiting for the nation of Israel.) and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,…” Now, you’ve got to remember, since the Babylonian invasion and destruction of the city according to Scripture, especially from that point on Israel has been under the heavy boot of the Gentile empires. They have never enjoyed national blessings as a separate entity. But the day is coming when they will. Not only will they enjoy the blessings, but they’re going to be supreme over all the Gentile nations. We’re going to look at a few of those in just a moment.
“…and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” In other words, it’s going to be a great growth of Israel’s population. Now, let’s go back and look at a few of those promises that are sprinkled throughout the Old Testament looking forward to this day when Israel will finally cash in on all of these blessings of the promises.
Let’s go all the way back, if you will, to Deuteronomy chapter 28, and we’ll get a glimpse of the blessings that are awaiting the Nation of Israel. They have never enjoyed this in their history. Not even close. But the day is coming when they will. Now, they had it as a prospect all through their history but because of their unbelief, their belligerence, their wickedness, and their lifestyle of sin, they never experienced it. All right, let’s drop all the way in at verse 9. Now, these are all promises that God has made to the Nation of Israel.
“The LORD shall establish thee a holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. (In other words, God demands obedience.) 10. And all the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, (They’re going to be productive beyond our imagination.) in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land (the Land of Promise) which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 12. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” What’s Israel’s financial situation today? They have to borrow constantly or they couldn’t survive. All right, but it’s going to be reversed. Israel will be in a position to lend to other nations.
“And the LORD shall make thee the (what?) head, (They’re going to be the top nation of the nations when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom.) and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:” Well, that’s one of the very earliest Scriptures, long before they even got into the Land of Promise. But, all the way up through the Old Testament you have these promises of how Israel will one day enjoy the blessings.
Now, let’s see, let’s go to Zechariah, that’s the next to the last book in your Old Testament. We’ll be running across some others before we leave Isaiah in the next few programs. As you get to Zechariah chapter 8, we’ll begin at verse 20. We’ve used these verses, especially in our classes and seminars, but I don’t think I’ve used them much on the program. Now remember, these are all Old Testament prophecies and promises. None of these have been fulfilled as yet, but they will.
Now, I guess this is as good a time as any to stop. You know, there are those who oppose my line of teaching by saying that God is all through with the Jew. That when Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, that was the end of all these promises. They say that Israel disappeared, that they faded away as a nation of people and all the promises have been turned over to the church. Some people call it “replacement theology.” I call it plain old “amillennialism.” Now, there’s another new name for it, and it is “preterism.” Well, if they claim that there’s nothing more to be fulfilled after 70 AD, then all these promises have failed! Then our God has failed! I might as well throw the Book away and go home!
But, they haven’t! They’re still going to be fulfilled. Our God is still in control. Those people in the Middle East are Jews. They try to reject that fact, but they’re Jews. They’re Israel. In fact, I just had a call, I think early this morning, about “all the tribes of Israel.” I said, “Well, you’ve got to remember that they never were “lost.” They all went into the Babylonian captivity. They all came back under Ezra and Nehemiah.” Then I took him to the verse where Peter says in Acts 2:36, “…therefore let the whole house of Israel know assuredly.” So, what does that tell you? Even in Peter’s day, that Pentecostal crowd included Jews of every tribe. None of them were ever lost. The same way when the 144,000 will be chosen out of Israel at the very beginning of the Tribulation, they’re all there. They’re all going to be able to provide 12,000 young men from every tribe to fulfill the 144,000. They’re not lost. God knows who they are. All right, so here we have it again. This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. But it will be!
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass,…” Is God lying? No, He’s not lying! Is He incapable of fulfilling it? No, He’s not incapable. He is fully capable and He will!
“…that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22. Yea, many people and strong nations (That’s the Gentile world.) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts (Where?) in Jerusalem, (That’ll be the world’s capital) and to pray before the LORD. 23. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days (When Israel has her King.) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: (Why?) for we have heard that God is with you.” Why? Because of all these promises.
All right, let’s go into the New Testament. Let’s go into Luke chapter 1, and we’ll drop down to verse 64. While you’re looking for it, I’ll give you the background. You remember that one of the priests of Israel was a man by the name of Zacharias and his wife’s name was Elizabeth. Zacharias and Elizabeth supernaturally had a child whose name was John the Baptist.
All right, all during Elizabeth’s gestation of nine months, Zacharias was stricken speechless. He could not talk. Practically everybody in Israel knew it. But, when the child was born and they asked Elizabeth what the name would be, she said, “John.” Well, they were all shook up because no Jew had ever been called John, so they trot up to the Temple and find Zacharias. They write on a tablet that the baby had been born and what’s to be his name? He took the pen and wrote, “John.” As soon as he wrote John, he got his voice back. Well, then everybody was all alarmed. What in the world’s going on? All right, let’s pick it up in verse 64,
“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.” Well, like what? This elderly couple, she conceived, and the minute she conceived he lost his voice. And he’s been absolutely, what we call ‘dumb,’ for nine months. But, as soon as the baby was born he’s got his voice back. What’s going on? All right, here we go, verse 66:
“And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.” Now remember, we’re not talking about Jesus, we’re talking about John the Baptist.
“And his father Zacharias (the priest) was filled with the Holy Spirit,…” Now, this is long before Pentecost. Yet, he’s filled with the Holy Spirit, which means that everything he says is directed from God Himself. This isn’t wishful Jewish thinking; this is God speaking through this Spirit-filled priest. All right, now this is what he says, and remember what we’ve just read in the Old Testament.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied, saying, 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he (the Lord) hath visited and redeemed his people, 69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” Now, as we read this, be careful to watch, is there any reference to Gentiles? Not a word. This is all dealing with the promises made to Israel, and none of these promises apply to the Gentiles except as they come through Israel. So, these promises here are to the Nation.
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: (Now, watch the language.) 71. That we should be saved from our (not sins, what?) enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” All right, now stop and think. Who were Israel’s enemies from day one? Well, the Arab world. You know, I always have a good time going back in to Nehemiah especially in my classes here in Oklahoma. I show that even in the day of Nehemiah, when they were trying to rebuild the city wall and the city gate, who was constantly opposing them? The Arabs. It got to the place where if the Jews wanted to work they had to work with a trowel in one hand and a weapon in the other, or they couldn’t get anything done. So, it’s always been this way. But you can just fast forward up to 2004 as we tape this, and it’s still the same. All these promises are still valid that the day will come when Israel won’t have to worry about the Arab world. Israel won’t have to worry about Nazis or Communists or anybody else. They’re going to be under the protective care of their Messiah King.
“72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; (What covenant?) 73. The oath which he swore to our father Abraham,” Now, you’ve got to remember (I’m going to cover the covenants when we finish Isaiah) that in that Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham was promised a nation of people totally different than anybody else. That reminds me of something else I thought of on the way up. I read a long time ago how God made the Nation of Israel “different’. They have been and still are. But what was the eternal purpose in it? To prove that nobody in the human race is any different from the other.
So, Israel was shown to be different to prove they’re no different. Now, did I make my point? The whole Adamic race, whether it’s Jew or Gentile, are still sons of Adam. All right, now let’s go back again. The Abrahamic Covenant promised that out of Abraham and Sarah would descend this special nation of people. Why would it be special? Because out of Israel would come first the Word of God, out of Israel would come the Messiah, and out of Israel would come all the prophetic promises.
You’ve heard me say it over and over, Israel is the hub of God’s wheel; you pull Israel out, you destroy the nation of Israel, and God’s program falls apart, and, again, you could throw the Book away. But, Israel will never, never leave. Okay, let’s go a couple more verses here; our time is about gone already.
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Which, of course, will go on into eternity. Then he goes on to show the promises made to the man John the Baptist. But anyway, the promises are all the way through, and if we had the time we could go all the way back to the last chapters of Revelation when the glories of that kingdom on earth will be fulfilled on behalf of the nation of Israel.
All right, for the next couple of minutes let’s go back again to Isaiah chapter 54 and look at verse 3, again.
“For thou shalt break forth on the right and on the left; and thy seed (In other words, the coming generations) shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4. Fear not;…” Now, you’ve got to remember that before all this could come to pass, Israel is going to go through 3000 years of suffering and turmoil. Three thousand years. Now, remember that when we come into the next program, next half-hour. I’m going to show you how God compares it in His line of thinking.
“…for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth,…” That is as a nation they’ll forget all the trials and tribulation that the nation of Israel has gone through over these hundreds and hundreds of years.
“…and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. This is when God left the Nation to their own devices and said you are no longer my people. That’s been over a good portion of their national lifetime. All right, verse 5:
“For thy Maker (the Creator) is thine husband;…” Now, here we have that husband and wife relationship especially as Hosea points it out. Maybe someday we’ll teach Hosea on the air. I’ve been thinking about it. In Hosea’s little six or seven chapters we have a beautiful picture of Israel as the adulterous wife of Jehovah. Now, why do I call her adulterous? Because, she ran after other gods. Just like an unfaithful woman will chase after men who are not her husband, so Israel chased after other lovers, nationally speaking, in the realm of the spiritual. So, she’s called the unfaithful wife of Jehovah. But one day, Jehovah will forgive her of all of her sin and she will come in and be that blessed wife of the husband. That is the beautiful picture portrayed in Hosea.
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Now, there again, that puts all other gods and goddesses and religions, whatever you want to call them, it just puts them down into the realm of nothingness, because only the God of Israel is the God of Creation and the God of this Book.
“For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, (and that marriage has been dissipated by unfaithfulness because of Israel’s chasing after other gods) when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 7. For a small (Now watch this. Here’s what I was coming to.) moment have I forsaken thee;…” And what’s He calling a small moment? Three thousand years! Isn’t that something? Yet, that’s the eternalness of our God. Three thousand years are but a moment in His line of thinking. It’s so hard for us mortals to comprehend that.
That’s why, along with my enthusiasm for the soon return and as we see the world seemingly getting so ready for Christ to enter back into human history, that I have to always temper my enthusiasm with this very thing, that with God time means nothing. Ten years isn’t even a split second in His line of thinking. So, yes, I think the Lord could be coming in the next few years, but God may think otherwise.