A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith



Applied to the Heart of Today 

PART II  ...

For Part I, follow THIS LINK.


Last week, we moved into viewing seats around Isaiah 65-66, reaching in general, to about 66:9.


Let us for a little, reconsider the matter, now in review and proceed. Not only did that prediction of Isaiah 66:6-9, both in fact and in style come to pass;  and not only was the nation born in ONE DAY, May 14, 1948. There is far more.

How ironic and despotic was the evil word of those who hated Israel (Isaiah 66:5), a malignancy which for some almost seems a hobby, perhaps because of the smell of divine things in Israel's history. Here Isaiah is granted to catch the exactly murderous, both callow and callous attitude of the nation's enemies, Let the Lord be glorified, they had mocked (66:5): how ?  in the largely Gentile-imposed suffering. With twisted snarl, they hurled the name of the Lord at crushed Israel (cf. Isaiah 51:22-23), taunting, Let us see your joy as we do this and that! You would like God to be glorified ? Try this!  Let their God intervene now, and let them suffer to show His greatness! came the blood-soaked challenge of the murderous.

These we learn here, will be ashamed (Isaiah 66:5). Let us see how happy you are under our boots, Nazi or other (Europe has specialised in this, but Russia has put in the boot too, in heartless pogroms), they derisively snorted, when you give you THIS, and this and that! Indeed shame will be their lot, as well it might be. If a Headmaster gives six of the best to an offender, is this a time for his enemies to bloat with self-importance, deride his shame and seek to thrash him again, while thus  made vulnerable! What kind of people do this ? Shame indeed is to come; and it has come, for all of this is now past history, though many would prolong it; but this too is all foretold, as to its end.



In fact, it is just then (66:6) that we share with the sense of excited triumph as the nation is suddenly reborn, as the Lord acts, He who "fully repays His enemies," 66:6. This birth ? no labour, just the sudden act! Divinely ordered, the mass of contraries that could have crushed the Jews, historically were contradicted by the Lord in a miracle rivalled the Exodus when they were led out. So here they were led in to nationhood from sunrise to sunset, one day. This was their first day back, in statehood! It was like MacArthur with the Philippines, We will return! quoth he.  Here it is God who underwrites it, by forecasting it. Strong is He who executes His word (Joel 2:11).

Would I bring you to delivery and then shut up the womb ? the Lord asks (66:9). It is a time for rejoicing, and for care of His protected people. Gentiles will help rebuild her (Germany's reparations were vast and useful, for example, just as here more recent gift of atomic submarines has been in the same careful concern after Auschwitz and co.). Where again would this comfort come ? The Bible cites the sites for it. Why it would be markedly in Jerusalem (66:13). It is reborn (here in Isaiah, as now in history) as a nation and a national capital is in view. Moreover, it is Jewish as exhibited above. It is precisely as in the co-ordinate prophecy of Zechariah 12:6.

"In that day I will make the governor of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile,
and like a fiery torch in the sheaves;
they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left,
but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place - -Jerusalem."

Here as in Isaiah 66, there is an emphasis as though foreseeing the reluctance to honour both the power and the word of God, for God knows all things as these prophecies themselves attest, a stress on that very troubled city of Jerusalem. Take Zechariah. The governors of Judah are neither the United Nations, nor the Gentiles, nor any of their churches, subtle or subverted or even sound. They are as stated,  the rulers in the site where Jerusalem is. Flights of imagination for the superbly defined nation as noted above, are irrelevant: this is sober fact. Surrounding peoples, in the plural, are to be overcome. Indeed, there are many of them seen assailing Judah, in Zechariah 12, and all of these will fail. In the face of this international and multiplied assault, Jerusalem will for all that, be inhabited again. Did you notice where ? the Lord seems to thrusting, as He speaks.

He proceeds therefore to emphasise the reality of the thing further. The place which Jerusalem is to inhabit is not some new thing, some development just as Judah is not a name for Gentiles. The PLACE is HER OWN. That is where the called, divorced and restored people are to be then. It is back to HER OWN PLACE, which is the order of the day. That is the word of Zechariah 12.

It is then emphasised a third time. After the dash, we find this "Jerusalem," as if you might forget! Here is a cardinal definition in terms and in terminology. What then ? In that day of power, God indicates through the prophet Zechariah, that He will make the governors of Judah (a not unknown tribe in Israel) "like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves... "

How many fields have come in as bases for conquest, how many nations, how often, with what hateful rockets and methods, and disregard even of children, of domesticity, while then launching complaints as if  Israel did not die readily enough, and dared to make defensive attacks as seemed necessary in so small a stronghold with so few to repel so many from such vast territories as make up a significant portion of the globe! But these, they did not prevail, whatever their bombast (into the sea with you! care of Nasser), or their cruelty; for they did understand the counsel of the Lord (as in Micah 4:12)!

A deep work has He had in mind, as perceived in Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6, and Israel, though cut off the tree of testimony and free salvation is to be restored into that tree, in its full bloom of the Gospel (Romans 11). It is MINUS repetitive sacrifices that it is to be (Isaiah 66:3), for it is too small a thing for the Messiah to come with salvation to Israel; it must be for all mankind (as in Titus 2-3, John 3), the very nations themselves. ONE LAMB will provide a basis for the pardon for all who by His stripes are healed, all believers in Him..  One Gospel of One Messiah, with NO more sacrifices, is in view. How sacrifice after such a sacrifice as this described in portent and power, in Isaiah 50, 52-53, for example! Hence it is to a newly fashioned Christian oneness that the Israel to be the subject of an enormous outpouring of grace, and repentance concerning their piercing of the Messiah, as in Zechariah 12, is to come.

 The nation is refounded; the errors however, these will be confounded. The assailants will be beaten back and ashamed; but the nation will also in repentance be appalled at its own former folly. It is a vast canvas and how Paul exults in the wonder of it all, the Lord's wonder, for He IS WONDERFUL, as Isaiah 9 makes so very clear (cf. Romans 11:28-36), after his description of the spiritual disruption and the restoration. Thus not only is Israel nationally back, but also as in Micah 7:19ff., spiritually. It is to inherit both its place,  and His grace, as promised to Abraham; for the God who made our brains, also made His own covenants and does not break His word: instead IT BREAKS ROCK! (Jeremiah 23:8-9).  



Thus Israel is to be back (as also in Ezekiel 36-39),
and is to be both kept and assaulted
till the time of its recovery as a nation IN SPIRIT,
occurs as in Zechariah 12-13 and Ezekiel 37:1-14).

In the midst of this, God acts (as in Zechariah 14:3ff.),
epochally obliterating the lustful actions of the littered obliterators
by direct overthrow.

It is ZION which is the MOTHER, the child the nation in restoration. It is not its own child (Isaiah 66:9), in mere continuity;
nor does the Church beget the Church (Isaiah 65:13-15).

In this situation, one of stress and yet of comfort, there is a dénouement at hand. God enlightening their eyes also deploys His power against now more and more explicit enemies who wish to advise Him (if they at all believe in Him), that THEY have a different view of things and find no reason to cede ANYTHING to the God of Israel, to the land of the Messiah (Isaiah 8:8), or to the promises of God (Genesis 17:7-8). Hence the Lord will "show His indignation to His enemies" and will come "with fire". If the nations want to gang up on Him, He yet will "judge all flesh," Isaiah 66:16. Indeed those slain by the Lord will be many (Isaiah 66:16).

The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, reflects back to the outrageous events so signalised in the day of Isaiah (as in the idolatry shown in 44:20ff.), and such as seen in those days, in the testimony of Isaiah 66:17.What of the slain who are many in this conflagration ? they "shall be consumed together." It is not usual to talk of salvation in terms of coming to a judicial end, the literal word here, that is, consumed, suffering a fatal rebuke from the Lord in the midst of utter condemnation, being on the receiving end of a divine tour de force in their thrust to the dust, overthrown. The Pentecostal usage here is one of the phenomena of the history of exegesis of the word of God, so contrary as to challenge the topmost contenders for recognition, in outright defiance turning a bloody massacre into a blessed acceptance, and fury into favour, a military event into an inward testimony of grace. All such transformations are parodies and mutilations of the word of God.

Now having touched back to the errors such as were rife in the day of Isaiah (66:17), ungodly errors which will engulf many in the day of judgment, the Lord proceeds with the expanding narrative. All nations in this confrontation are to be "gathered together" and we learn that they will "come and see My glory," Isaiah 66:18.

We then move in Isaiah 66:19-21, from this all-nation exhibit of His glory at the terminal points, to some of the modes of leading on to this result earlier, when that same glory is to be shown to the Gentiles who at that time HAD NOT SEEN it (Isaiah 66:19). In this, Jew and Gentile believers are predicted to join with a deep understanding, at a joint plane, and "they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations ..." (just as in parallel, as in Romans 11:26-36, Paul cites in his delight in the unity at last achieved on the Messianic basis so long neglected).

No more is the wall of separation active (broken down by the Gospel as in Ephesians 2:14-18), for no more is it to be a breach of a unity which is now possible since the Messiah is for one, as for all, having fulfilled the ceremonial law of offerings and sprinkling with blood, since not jot or tittle is to remain UN-fulfilled. It is fulfilled in this, and hence the duality becomes a unity in the fulfilment of the prophecy committed to and through Israel, and the application of this, as given to the Gentiles, and then again, back to the Jews (as in Romans 11). Indeed, Romans 15:15-16 uses the very language of Isaiah 66:20 in referring to Paul's own Gospel ministry in which he acts "that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit."

Thus does Paul apply this offering concept to the Gentiles as the work of the one Gospel  moves through this dual agency. In Israel, it is one suddenly expanded as in Romans 11:25, as much of that nation at last is swept into the faith.  The ministering servants of God, Jew or Gentile alike, then, will "declare My glory among the Gentiles," even those who had not heard. Apostles and individuals do much; but the nation not yet. In the confrontation as already noted, all nations will hear, but that is the exceedingly dramatic end of the line. On the way, there are many and there is much to be shared, as the combination of Jewish and Gentile believers continually pour out the testimony to the world. Such is the message of Isaiah 66:19-21. No cut-off remains.

The total testimony having been fulfilled, and the major confrontation concluded, the testimony of heaven and hell, this remains as one result from one God, who has one way for wisdom, for salvation, and sent ONE only-begotten Son to achieve it, who having been raised from the dead (Psalm 2, 22, 16, I Corinthians 15), when the Gospel of mercy is complete in international testimony, returns to resurrect (Isaiah 26:19), and to rule, indeed to exhibit on earth the testimony of truth, before the earth itself is removed, and fresh creation proceeds fit for eternity.

What of this presentation of the glory of the Lord by Jew and Gentile in mixed in race, in singularity of theme ? It was an advent moving towards the finale, when all nations see it. Here is the patient processive work before the final complex confrontation, one both of forces and for faith, as noted re Romans 11:25. Then all peoples, exposed, see it and know it and are rebuked according to the case, or received (Isaiah 66:20); and then all things are manifest to the nations (as in Ezekiel 39), as well as to Israel, for they learn anew what God has been doing both with Israel and themselves.

So the remnant of Israel, amid converted Gentiles, as one, will continue, suddenly enhanced, and the millenium (as in Isaiah 65 and Revelation 20) will proceed. In a figure, at the end of Ch. 66,Isaiah shows the common Gospel approach leaves a sight of the common hell both for the resistant, unbelieving Jew, and the parallel amid the Gentiles, and the exclusion of these is a sight to the mind, and a testimony to the spirit, as the military scene changes amid the promises of God, and the premises of the Gospel are fulfilled (66:24). THESE remain when even the earth goes! (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35). Jesus never fails.