Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 62
THE STAGE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY
ISAIAH 61:1 – 10
Once again, we always like to make it plain that we’re just a simple Bible study. We’re not associated with any one group. We’re not underwritten by anyone. The Lord just keeps supplying our every need, and, consequently, I have to thank all of you out there in television for your prayer support, your financial support, and my, how we enjoy your letters! Especially when folks write and tell us that after hearing us teach salvation, they have become true believers. Well, we give God credit for opening hearts so that you may believe in your heart for your salvation what Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:1-4 “that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.”
You know, so many folk think there’s got to be more to receiving salvation than that, but you see, that’s all God requires. In fact, if you try to do more than just believe that, then Christ shall profit you nothing, the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians chapter 5.
All right, we’re going to keep right on going where we left off in the book of Isaiah. Now, hopefully, in the next four to eight programs, we’ll be winding up the book of Isaiah. But today we’re going to be in chapter 61. Again, like we’ve done almost all the way through Isaiah, in this first half-hour of an afternoon of taping I like to always remind folks of the wherewithal and the why and the who of these various books.
Isaiah was a prophet writing about 700 BC. He writes about 100 years before the prophesied judgment that would come upon Israel would actually come to pass. That’s why I always like to emphasize that God’s wheels grind slowly. Even though Isaiah prophesies these things as if they’re going to happen next month or next year, it was almost a hundred years before the first of these prophecies became a reality.
Then, secondly, I always like to mention that Isaiah is not just talking about the immediate, the hundred years, but he’s talking all the way up to the time of Christ’s first advent. The first advent was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. Then, he leaps even still further, beyond the Church Age, beyond the next 2000 years of prophecy, to the return of Christ at His Second Coming, which is preceded by the horrors of the Tribulation. So, we’re going to be looking at that aspect of prophecy today in Isaiah 61, as the one thousand year Kingdom rule now becomes more and more the center of prophecy. Now, there again, I always have to stop and explain that most of Christendom knows nothing of this thousand year rule and reign of Christ.
Of course, it was all precipitated by a fellow way back in the early years of the church by the name of Origen. He came up with the graphic idea that since Israel had rejected their Messiah and crucified Him, that God had, in turn, cast His judgment upon them by destroying the city and the Temple. He scattered the Jews throughout the then known world in 70 AD, therefore God must be all through with the Nation of Israel.
From that came this whole idea of no end-time prophecy or what I’ve always called Amillennialism, which now is more often referred to as “replacement theology.” The whole following of that is that if Christ, and God, is through with the Nation of Israel and they have disappeared from the scene, then it follows that none of these end-time events can happen according to Scripture, because, after all, the Jew is gone.
But, these folks fail to admit that the Jew in the world today is the Jew of this book. According to prophecy, they are back in the land. They’re back in their city. They have resurrected the ancient Hebrew language. Consequently, we feel, without apology, that we are looking now at the final end-time events, because Israel did NOT disappear. All the promises made in this Old Testament are still valid and will one day soon, we trust, be fulfilled.
All right, so we’re going to go into chapter 61 as we come toward the end of the book of Isaiah. Here we have the unfolding of literally the whole prophetic program. Now, before the program is over, I’m going to go to a timeline on the board. We’re going to show how all the Old Testament prophecies, especially since the call of Abraham and all the way up through the Book of Revelation, not counting Paul’s epistles, are all looking forward to the things that would unfold for the Nation of Israel. Everything concerning the Old Testament prophecies is zeroed in on the Jewish people, the Nation of Israel. So, you take Israel out of the mix and you cannot fulfill prophecy. It’s just as simple as that. So, contrary to a lot of these theologians, you see, I can look at all these Scripture verses and say, “Now, you’re going to tell me that’s not valid? That God lied?” But, He didn’t, and they are still valid.
All right, let’s start, if you will, here in the studio audience and those of you out in television with me, in Isaiah 61 verse 1, where the prophet writes:
“The Spirit of Lord GOD is upon me; (Now, that’s a reference to the Holy Spirit.) because the LORD (Now, remember, that’s the term of Jehovah that the Jew considered as the God of Israel.) hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2. To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; (and then that would be followed by) to comfort all that mourn;” Now, I’m going to stop there, because this is a portion of Scripture that Jesus used in the synagogue in Nazareth.
Now, remember, even though Jesus at one time told His questioners that He could not give them the day or the hour that all these things would come to finality, we know on the other hand, from His Deity side, He could have told them the exact day and hour. So, we always have to keep these things straight that never take away from His Deity. He was the God of Creation. In His earthly ministry He could have spoken one word and just as much could have happened as it did in the beginning. He had never laid aside His Deity. He had merely laid aside His Glory.
So, when they asked a question, yes, from his human side, He could not answer it. Never forget that in John’s Gospel, chapter 14, when the disciples were questioning him and Philip, you remember, said, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” What was Jesus’ answer? “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen (who?) the Father;…” So, what does that tell you? Well, from the Father aspect of His Triune relationship, He could have given the exact day and hour.
All right, it is so obvious as we turn to Luke chapter 4. I want you to keep your hand in Isaiah 61, because we’re going to flip back and forth now and see how beautifully all of this fits together. I don’t intend to get it all done in this half-hour. We may have to spill over into the next program in order to cover all this, but we’re going to take it slowly and surely. I don’t care if it takes all four programs. We’ll take whatever time it takes. Luke chapter 4 and we’ll drop right in at verse 16.
“And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, (His hometown) where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, (the seventh day Sabbath. Now, I always have to remind folks that in Christ’s earthly ministry He lived under the Law. He never abrogated it in one way or another.) and stood up for to read.” In other words, that was their prerogative in synagogue. If somebody had something to say or something they wanted to read, they would just stand up and be recognized. So, this is what Jesus does. He stands up to read.
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. (Which, of course, He must have asked for. Now, when I say must have, there are times in Scripture where you have to read between the lines. It can’t tell you every detail, so you read between the lines. So, He must have requested the Book of Isaiah.) And when he had opened the book, (Which was really a scroll, not a book as we understand.) he found the place where it was written.” Now, again, what does that indicate? Well, He looked for it. He didn’t just open the Book of Isaiah and start reading. He knew exactly what He wanted to read at this particular time. So, he’s going to read and quote directly from what we just read in Isaiah 61 verses 1 and 2, and He reads:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;…” Now, here’s where I always have to stop. What Gospel was Jesus preaching in His earthly ministry? Well, not our Gospel of Grace. He hadn’t died yet! He couldn’t preach faith in His death, burial, and resurrection. It hadn’t happened.
Nobody knew it was going to happen except God Himself. So, now back up with me to Matthew. Keep your hand in Luke! Keep your hand in Isaiah! We’ll try to keep them all together. Back up with me to Matthew chapter 9. The Scripture is explicit, and yet most of Christendom refuses to see the difference. Matthew chapter 9, verse 35, now your Bible says it just as well as mine, so it’s not something I’ve dreamed up. It’s in the Book.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, (See how Jewish this is?) and preaching the gospel of the (Grace of God? No! The what?)kingdom,…” He uses that same term again, now turn ahead with me to Matthew 24, when He is referring to the future time, the seven years of Tribulation when the 144,000 Jews will go around the world and perform evangelism like the Church has never dreamed of. They will finally fulfill the Great Commission, to “go into all the world;” they’ll do it. But again they’re not going to be preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, Jesus Himself tells us differently – Matthew 24 verse 14. If you’ve got a red-letter edition, it’ll be in red. He’s the One that is saying it. Matthew 24 verse 14, and He’s talking about the Tribulation. The whole chapter is Tribulation ground. So, now He comes to verse 14.
“And this gospel of the kingdom (See how plain that is? Just exactly the same term that He used in Matthew chapter 9.) shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then (what?) shall the end come..” Well, sure, the Gospel of the Kingdom will come back into the picture, once the Gospel of Grace has run its course in this Age of Grace. When we’re taken out of the way, then the Gospel of the Kingdom will pick back up again just like it was in Jesus’ day. It will be proclaimed during the seven years of Tribulation. By the time that seven years is over, those 144,000 Jews, with supernatural power and ability, will have indeed covered every tongue and tribe and dialect on the planet. Revelation tells us they will.
Okay, now then, come back with me to Luke chapter 4 and here we have Jesus, again under the Law, reading from Isaiah in the synagogue. He says, as He reads from Isaiah:
“…because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Then what did He do?) 20. And he closed the book, (scroll) and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. (All right, don’t stop there. Let’s read on.) And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” Now, I like to stretch that a little, if I may. They weren’t just fastened, they were what? They were staring at Him. I imagine He could almost feel those eyes staring at Him, as what kind of an individual was this that could do what He had just done? Most people don’t know what He did. Well, I’m going to show you in just a minute. All right, so now, when He realized that they were almost shook up, He stood up again now in verse 21.
“And he began to say unto them, This day (Speaking in His generalized first advent, these three years of His earthly ministry.) is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Now, watch what that says. That Scripture was what? “Fulfilled.”
Everything that He had just read out of Isaiah, He had now accomplished in those few years of His earthly ministry. All right, now let’s go back to Isaiah 61 and see what He did that shook up the Jews in that Synagogue. Again, you’ve got to compare, so keep your hand in Luke and flip back and forth. Isaiah 61 again and we won’t read it all, but I’m just going to jump up to verse 2, to the closing words of what He read in the synagogue before He closed the scroll and sat down.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, (That’s where He stopped and sat down.) and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” Now, goodness, if you have any knowledge of Scripture whatsoever, you know that the rest of that verse didn’t happen within the next few days after He spoke. In fact, it hasn’t happen yet, but it will someday, and we think we’re getting close.
But His was the progression of prophecy. After He had come at His first advent, and as we read so often from Romans chapter 15 verse 8, I won’t have you look at it, because I’ve used it so often most of you should know it as well as I do. “Now I say that Jesus Christ was (past tense. Now that’s Paul writing in about 60 AD, after the fact.) a minister of the circumcision (Who are the circumcision? Israel!) for the truth of God, (It wasn’t something Paul dreamed up. Then what does the rest of the verse say?) to confirm (fulfill) the promises made unto the fathers.”
Well, what’s He telling us? Christ came to fulfill all the prophetic promises that had been written up through the Old Testament time. This is why He calls it, “the acceptable year of the LORD.” Israel should have known who He was. How many times haven’t you heard me say that? Especially when I teach I Corinthians. Israel should have known. Israel could have known who He was. Why didn’t they know? Their unbelief. It was their acceptable time. He presented Himself with His valid credentials of miracles and signs and wonders. Israel should have been able to get it, but they refused.
It’s just like most of Christendom today. They’re not blind because they can’t help it. They’re blind because they don’t want to be any different. They don’t want to see the truth. “Just leave me alone. I’m comfortable.” Well, Israel was the same way. They were blinded in their unbelief.
All right, now in order to make my point, I’ve got my board set now for my timeline. I can come up here and just rehearse from the Old Testament view. I want you to just stay focused on our top timeline, coming out of the Old Testament and all these prophecies of Moses back in the Torah. Then, beginning with the Psalms and we’re going to look at that in just a moment. Psalms is full of prophecies. In fact, Psalms 2 is the outline of human history. Now, these Old Testament prophets couldn’t understand it. It was beyond them, and we’ll show you that in just a minute. As a result of all of these prophecies of a King and a Kingdom, Christ came and began His three years of earthly ministry, signs, wonders, and miracles. Then what happened? Israel rejected it all, and they demanded His death. Of course, you know here’s another thing that people just don’t realize – Christ had to be lifted up. Didn’t He? “As the serpent was in the wilderness, so Christ had to be lifted up.”
Now, what was the official means of executing the Jewish people? What was the official death? Stoning. Well, you see, if you stone someone you can’t lift him up like the serpent in the wilderness. So, you see, it couldn’t be left to the Jews to bring about His death. But the Romans, for a couple of hundred years, had been using this system of execution called crucifixion. So, this is according to God’s Divine purposes. Israel demanded it, but they couldn’t carry it out, because it wouldn’t be the right kind of death. So, Rome is brought into it and the Jews and Rome together bring about, not only His death, but also a death whereby He was lifted up and would draw all men unto Him.
All right, so you bring about the crucifixion, a supernatural act of God to fulfill His blueprint for the ages. All right, after He’s rejected there are forty days to prove, again, His resurrection life, and then He ascended back to glory. Now, according to all of our Old Testament, as we’re going to be seeing throughout the afternoon, the next event on the prophetic program was the Tribulation. The seven years of horror and God’s wrath and vexation to be followed by, as Isaiah has been showing over and over, after the judgment would always be what? The blessings. That’s been over and over. But now, this is the final one. So, after the horrors of God’s chastisement and His wrath, especially on the Nation of Israel, Christ would return and bring in the glory of the Kingdom.
Now, what’s missing? Well, we find it down on the second line, that contrary, or without any knowledge of the Old Testament prophecies, there is not one word of prophecy concerning the out-calling the Body of Christ, or what we call the Church Age, which is being completed as we speak. But, we’ll leave that for a later half-hour. Let’s stay on this top line which is all Israel. We did this when we started the little Book of James, but that’s a long time ago already.
Now, I’m going to do something that we haven’t done for a long time, to better understand what happened in Isaiah 61. I’m going to take you back to Psalms chapter 2. I can see already that we’re not going to get very far in this half-hour, but Psalms chapter 2 is what I call an almost perfect outline of this Old Testament prophetic program. That’s the best way I can put it. All of these Old Testament prophesies, looking forward to the crucifixion and the ascension; it’s all back there. Then would come the horrors of the Tribulation, then Christ returns and He would set up His glorious Kingdom. All right, Psalms chapter 2 puts it in a nutshell. It helps us understand other portions of Scripture that may not designate every aspect of this but only some of them. All right, Psalms chapter 2, we’ll read the whole first part of the chapter, starting at verse 1.
“Why do the heathen (the non-Jewish world) rage, and the people (That is the Nation of Israel.) imagine a vain thing?” Now, you’ve got the whole human race involved. You’ve got the non-Jewish world, the ‘heathen,’ and you’ve got Israel. As far as Scripture is concerned, those are the two major categories of the human race – Israel and the Gentiles.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, (in their pomp and their circumstance) and the rulers (Israel. Their religious leaders) take counsel (What’s the next word?) together, against the LORD,…” What do they call that now? Multilateralism? Well, anyhow, when they all get their heads together – you’ve already got it in Scripture. So, the Jewish leaders and the leaders of the Roman Empire decide together to put this innocent man to death. So they:
“…take counsel together, against the LORD, (Now, this is a prophecy concerning His rejection and His crucifixion, remember.) and against His anointed, (that is to be the Messiah of Israel) saying, 3. Let us break their bands asunder,…” Now, here’s the little tidbits of Scripture that I know most people miss. Why the pronoun “their” when it’s talking to God, or speaking of God, rather. Well, because you see, God is a plurality. God is a Triune God, so when we refer to Him honestly, it has to be in the plural pronoun. So, this is why it is. The world says, let us break God’s bands asunder, but God is plural, so the pronoun is “their.”
“…and cast away their cords from us.” What are they saying? We don’t want God ruling in our affairs. We don’t want Him in our business. You know what? It hasn’t changed a bit. Do you realize that the European Union’s new constitution, contrary to all the efforts of the Pope and various other Christian leaders in Europe, has not one word of reference to God or Christianity. They don’t want God in their business. Well, things haven’t changed a bit. It was no different back here with Rome and Israel. They wanted nothing to do with Him. Now, verse 4, and because of man’s foolishness:
“He (GOD) that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” That’s what it says. God will sit in the heavens laughing. It will not be a laugh of amusement. There’s nothing funny about all this, but it’s a laugh of what? Scorn. And ridicule. The foolishness of men!
Okay, so here’s the whole picture. As Rome and Israel come together and consort together to get rid of this representative of the Deity, they bring about the crucifixion. So, we can’t blame the Jew alone. We can’t blame Rome alone. It took both sides of the question to bring it all about. Well, we’ll pick it up in our next half-hour.