Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 61
THE GLORIOUS PROMISES TO ISRAEL – PART 2
ISAIAH 54:1 – 57:1
Let’s go back where we left off in Isaiah 54. We stopped with verse 7, so let’s look at that verse again for just a second.
“For a small moment…” God says, for just a little bit of time, but like I pointed out at the end of the last program, how long has it been? About three thousand years that Israel has been going through tough times. They’ve had certain periods of relative quiet, but most of the time the Nation has been under turmoil, under the hatred of all the other nations of the world, and still waiting for the day when they will finally have their Messiah.
Now, that’s why every Jew of any spiritual worth at all has a favorite saying, and what is it? “Next year Jerusalem.” I always get a thrill out of the picture when they first captured the Temple Mount in the Six-day War. How those young Israeli soldiers, you could tell they were kids, 18-20 year olds, and how they were celebrating that they had finally gotten the Temple Mount. It is known only to God why the Israeli general at that time, Dayan, gave it back to the Muslims. He could have just kept it for Israel, but I guess he thought he was trying to maintain good relations, whatever, but he gave it back to the control of the Muslims, and so it’s been ever since. But, nevertheless, they have always had a heart-cry for a return to the city of Jerusalem.
“For a small moment I have forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.” This is the hope of Israel. One day, they are still going to have all these Old Testament promises fulfilled and Christ Himself will be their King. Now, let’s go on into verse 8.
“In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; (for a little while) but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” Now there’s comparativeness. Here 3,000 years compared to eternity is what? A moment. None of us can have a concept of eternity. It’s just beyond us. But eternity is eternity is eternity. And 3,000 years of time as we know it is just (snap) nothing. All right, so he makes this comparison, now then, verse 9.
“For this is as the waters of Noah (the Noahic Flood) unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so I have sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” Now, what’s the comparison again? As soon as the floodwaters left and the rainbow appeared, what did God tell Noah? “That’s my covenant promise, the bow in the sky, that I will never again destroy planet earth with water.” And that’s what we’re to be reminded of whenever we see the rainbow. That’s God’s covenant promise with mankind that He will never again destroy the earth with water. Has He? No! And will He? No! But what’s the reason for it here? To make the comparison, neither will He ever give up on Israel.
They may rebel, they may be wicked, they may be sinful, they may be guilty of unbelief, but God will not give up on His chosen people. All right, let’s go back again and look at some Scripture verses. Let’s go back to II Samuel chapter 7, because this is one of the first promises that this is exactly the way it’s going to be. Israel will be rebellious, they’ll be sinful and wicked, but God will never withdraw His mercy from the Nation.
All right, II Samuel chapter 7, and it’s being spoken by God through the prophet Nathan to David. Verse 14: Here’s the promise that God makes to David concerning the Nation. Not just Solomon by himself but the whole Nation.
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. (Now, He’s speaking here of the nation of Israel.) If he commit iniquity, (and we know they have and they will) I will chasten him with the rod of men, (What’d He mean? Invading armies, the enemies that would overrun them over and over and over again) and with the stripes of the children of men:” God would punish them. But now verse 15, what’s the first word?
II Samuel 7:15a
“But (the flipside) my mercy shall not depart away from him,…” In other words, God will never, never give up on the nation of Israel. All right, now let’s jump up to Jeremiah a moment. Again, as I mentioned in our last program, there may be those who think that God is all through with the Jew. They may think that everything ended in 70 AD. But, I’ve got a question for them. Then what are you going to do with these verses? This is the Word of God. You can’t just throw it out and say, “Well, God has forgotten about it.” No, He hasn’t.
Jeremiah 31 and drop down to verse 35, now this is a promise of God concerning His earthly people.
“Thus saith the LORD, (Well, that’s all you need isn’t it? God said it!) which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar;…” I think that has a reference to the tide. You know, whenever we’re on a seacoast area, that is the one thing that still intrigues me – the tides. I just can’t fathom it that everything is so meticulously timed that they can set up schedules of the tides, way in advance. Unbelievable! But again, here is a reference to it.
“If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, (In other words, if all of a sudden the tides would stop going in and out, or if the sun or the moon should suddenly cease to function…) then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before me forever. “ But they haven’t departed. And Israel hasn’t stopped being a nation, nor will they.
“Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, (I think He’s speaking of the heaven of the heavens, the abode of God. He’s not just talking about space as we know it. He’s talking about the abode of God Himself, if that can be measured. If man can figure out where it’s at and find out the distance and everything, but it’ll never happen.) and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, (then God says,) I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” But, He won’t because the promises are steadfast and sure that all of these promises are going to be fulfilled.
Again, let’s jump all the way up to Zechariah, one of the great prophecy books in the Old Testament, other than Isaiah. Zechariah, chapter 14, I’d like to start at verse 1, because this is what the world is getting ready for tonight. The whole world, the planet, either in the natural forces of earthquakes and volcanoes and tidal waves and the power of weather, or whether it’s manmade weapons of mass destruction, everything is getting ready for these final moments of human history. Here’s where Zechariah culminates. It’s what we call the Battle of Armageddon. It’ll be the last great push that Satan will perform against the eternal coming Christ. These are all still future.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. (This is all spoken to Israel.) 2. For I will gather all nations (The whole world, now, you talk about a coalition, this is going to be a coalition and then some.) against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; (Sound familiar? That’s warfare. That’s the residue of armies.) and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3. Then (when it seems as though Jerusalem will disappear from history) shall the LORD go forth, (the Second Coming of Christ) and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” Well, we know what’s going to happen from the Book of Revelation. He’s going to annihilate those nations brought together by the anti-Christ, and this will introduce, then, His peaceful appearance to set up the Kingdom.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east,…” The Mount of Olives? Does everybody know about the Mount of Olives? Well, I hope you do. On every tour we’ve ever taken to Israel, that’s one of our stops. We hope to go again next spring, and we’ll be standing on the Mount of Olives.
All right, now jump with me, keep your hand in Zechariah and let’s just jump up to Acts. Because what I like to prove to people over and over is how these Old Testament prophecies, whenever they’re referred to in the New, are so explicitly and simply put that nobody can argue with it. Acts chapter 1 and this is when the Lord has just finished His forty days in His resurrected body with the twelve or the eleven, rather. They’re now meeting on the Mount of Olives, and I’m sure these eleven men have no idea of what is about to happen. They just think it is another one of their confabs with the Lord, but then all of a sudden, verse 9, when He had finished speaking the things in verse 8:
“…while they beheld, (just all of a sudden with no forewarning) he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (They watched Him go.) 10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven (watching Him leave from the Mount of Olives) as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, (Now watch this! Jesus, in that resurrected body, the nail prints in His hands, who has now been with them for forty days walking, talking, eating.) who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.”
Now, do you have to have a theological degree to understand that? Why, it’s as simple as can be. Now, flip back to Zechariah. And isn’t that the same thing? Now Zechariah foretold this 500 years before Christ. Almost like after it happened. Let’s read it again:
“And his feet (the returning Christ) shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives,…” He’s not going to come in an invisible Spirit. He’s not going to come like an ethereal cloud or like an angel of some sort. It’s going to be the resurrected Christ, the same one the Twelve watched go into heaven. So, we know it’s the same one, and He’s going to come and stand on the Mount of Olives, which in turn will be separated to make way for a glorious river of fresh water running between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. We pick that up now in verse 8.
“And it shall be in that day, (when Christ sets up His throne room in Jerusalem) that living waters (fresh water) shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, (the Mediterranean) and half of them toward the hinder sea: (that is the Dead Sea, out to the east) in summer and in winter shall it be.” In other words, it’s going to be an ongoing thing year round.
“And the LORD shall be king over (what?) all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Now, that’s plain and simple. He’s going to establish an earthly Kingdom as we saw in the first program today. Israel will be the top dog of the nations. They will never again have to ask somebody else for help. Instead, they’ll help others. They’re going to have their Messiah as their King. Israel is going to be blessed beyond all the other nations. It’s coming.
All right, now then, let’s come back to Isaiah, we’ll make a little headway. In chapter 54, verse 9, and I think this is a good verse to remind yourself of the eternalness of our God. Now, the water was on the earth how long with Noah? A little over a year before it started receding. All right, so the waters of Noah were just like nothing compared to this nation of Israel.
“…for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (Why?) 10. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; (this is all supernatural activity) but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” All these promises for Israel will one day come to fruition.
All right, but now we come back to their state of unbelief and their wickedness and they are being afflicted, verse 11:
“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, (See, all this before they can have the blessings of the Kingdom? But, look what’s coming.) behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.” Now, I’m sure this is all in symbolism, but actually it may become literal when the throne room is brought here to Jerusalem that all these beautiful gemstones will be part and parcel of the building of it. But either way, it just makes for glorious reading to see how God is going to bless His covenant people one day.
“And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, (which are a bright red stone) and all thy borders of pleasant stones. 13. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. 14. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Now, remember, this is all such an opposite scenario from what the Jews have experienced over these last 3000 years of their history.
“Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” Now, whenever the nations of the world turn on Israel, you can just bet whatever you want to bet that the adversaries of Israel are going to be losers, because God is not going to let anyone touch Israel without his design.
“Behold, I have created the smith (Now we’re talking about a blacksmith.) that bloweth the coals in the fire, (that’s the forge to heat the metal) and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; (whatever the blacksmith is making. In antiquity it would usually be swords and spears. All right, so if that is what he was talking about then he says:) and I have created the waster to destroy. 17. No weapon that is formed against thee (Israel) shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn….” You see, this is why I have begged anyone I’ve taught for the last thirty years to pray every day for God’s people, Israel, and He’ll bless you for it. Write your congressman, call them; don’t ever turn against the Nation of Israel. They are God’s promises and the promises are that if we turn against them we’re going to fall. And I’m sure that in spite of our wickedness, this is why God has blessed America. So, never forget these promises that God will bless them that bless Israel, He will curse them who curse Israel.
“…This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” In other words, He is in control of everything. All right, now we’re going to go right into chapter 55, and all of a sudden, just like Paul does up in the New Testament, the prophet shifts gears. Now, instead of looking forward to the glories of the Kingdom after having gone through the years of turmoil, we go into the glory of God’s saving grace. This is a salvation chapter again.
“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,…” Now, stop and think a minute. What does that remind you of? What did the Lord tell in His own earthly ministry of Himself?“Come and drink of me, and you’ll never thirst again.” Why? He is the Living Water! You go back into Numbers, when Israel was thirsty and their herds were bellowing with thirst, what’d He tell Moses to do? Strike the rock! Out of that rock came rivers of water to water the millions of Israelites plus all their livestock. Well, who was the Rock? Christ! He’s the Rock of Scripture.
So, out of Him came living water. Here we have it again. Israel is invited to come and drink of the waters of salvation that God will freely give, because look at the rest of the verse. These waters are for that person who has no money.
“…come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Why? Because God’s salvation is free. It’s the same way today. You can’t work for it. My, I just spent minutes again the other night with someone who was brainwashed – they think they have to work, work, and work. I said, “Can’t you trust the cross?”
“Yeah, but…!” They’ve got to work for it. It’s just unbelievable. Because you see, as soon as you have to work for salvation, what human being can know if they’ve done enough? Well, you can’t. So consequently, whenever you ask someone who is basing their going to heaven on their works and you ask them, “Are you sure you’re going to go to heaven when you die?” What’s their invariable answer? “I hope so. I hope I’ve done enough.” But, they can never know. But, you and I don’t have to hope so, we know so! Not because we’re so good. Not because we’ve done so much, but because we’ve done nothing. God has done it all! That’s all God wants is faith – believe it!
Here this verse makes it so plain that even in the Old Testament economy salvation was free. It didn’t cost. All right, we’ve got a couple of minutes left, so let’s go on into verse 2.
“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? (It’s of no use) and your labor for that which satisfieth not?…” Now what’s he referring to? Materialism. Look at the world around us. We are saturated with materialism. It’s all our younger generation can think about. A bigger house. A better car. More activity for their kids. Well, that’s all well and good as far as it goes. But listen, Beloved, that in itself never satisfies. It’s worthless.
Now, after we’ve gained salvation and we have all these precious spiritual promises, yes, God doesn’t tell us that we’ve got to live like hermits. God doesn’t tell us to move into a monastery and be isolated. No. But, we do have to have our priorities straight, realizing that salvation costs nothing and that it’s free and that once we have it, then we can go and certainly enjoy the things that God has blessed us with.
“…hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (that is, in spiritual blessings) 3. Incline your ear, (Listen to what God has to say.) and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” Now, never forget he’s talking here to Jews. We can certainly take application, but the actual text is for the Nation of Israel.
“Behold, I have given him (David, a man after God’s own heart) for a witness to the people, a leader and a commander to the people. 5. Behold, thou shall call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.” Now, there again, I think that’s just a reference to those verses that we saw earlier. When Israel finally enjoys her King and that glorious earthly Kingdom, all the nations of the world are going to be blessed through Israel. It’s going to be Israel’s King that’s ruling. Israel is again the hub of the wheel and all the nations of the world will be blessed through that blessed covenant nation of Israel over whom Christ, God the Son, their King, will be ruling and reigning and not just for 1000 years. It’ll be forever and ever.