The Suffering Servant 1

SufferingServant

Isaiah Lesson 11  Isaiah 50-52   Pastor Barry Bruce                      The Gathering 

 Isaiah’s Prophecy to the Jews

As Isaiah would write or speak to the people the Lord would clearly take over and begin speaking through him things which he could not have known about nor understood.  This is how he would prophesy.  In our last lesson we saw how Isaiah began speaking to the    people about his own calling: “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother‘s womb he has spoken my name” Isaiah 49:1,  but suddenly he speaks as God about another that cannot be him:  “I will also make you a light of the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”  Isaiah was not “a light of the Gentiles (non-Jews) , and the old covenant that Isaiah knew only reached out exclusively to the Jews.  This was an obvious reference to Jesus Christ (the coming Messiah) by God through the prophets mouth.  As we know now, it is Jesus who became a new “covenant for the people” Isaiah 49:8  It is Jesus Christ who has “engraved us on the palms of his hands. Isaiah 49:16

As we move now into these next three chapters, and ultimately into the amazing prophetic chapter 53, which reveals Christ with such accuracy, let us understand that it is Jesus that Isaiah is speaking about in regards to Israel’s salvation.  Orthodox Jews refuse to see this fact, however, the entire discourse in these chapters is God scolding Israel for not accepting His salvation through Jesus Christ.  How can they see anything but Jesus here?

Israel’s Sin and the Obedience of Christ  Isaiah 50:1-2b, John 1:11, Matthew 27:21-26, Isaiah 50:5-10

Here the Lord speaks through Isaiah to rebuke the nation of Israel for their sin.  He uses “mother” as a metaphor for the nation.  How was she divorced from God?  How was Israel sold off?  The Lord reminds them that He came to them but there was no one to receive Him.  When He called them they did not answer.  It was they that rejected the Lord not the Lord who rejected them.  We see this again and again throughout the Old Testament.  We see this again when Christ comes and the Jews do not receive Him and call for His crucifixion. (“his blood be upon us and our children”).  We see this now with the orthodox Jew’s refusal to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah.

Suddenly Christ speaks through the prophet in advance of His own coming about being a willing servant:  “The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious.”  The KJV and NASV versions show the word “ear” (singular).  This language likely refers to the willful act of obedience by a bond-servant (ebed) to his master.  The Mosaic Law allowed an indentured servant to become a bond-servant voluntarily: If the servant declared that he “did not want to go free,’ then his master would take him before the judges and then to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. An earring would then be affixed to that ear which declared him a servant for life” (Exodus 21:5-6).  Jesus became a willing servant to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).  It was Jesus, not Isaiah, who offered His back to those who beat Him (John 19:1) and who was mocked and spat upon (Matthew 26:66-68).

 “The Fear of the Lord?” Isaiah 50:10-11, Proverbs 9:10

In verses ten and eleven, Isaiah comes back and speaks: “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant?”  The servant Isaiah speaks of is not himself but the Messiah to come who is Jesus Christ.  Isaiah speaks to all ages to come and then to those in his immediate audience:  “All you who light fires” referred to those Jews who were engaged in the rituals of worshiping false gods at the time; however, what “false torches” have we set ablaze?  In other words, “what idols have we set up over God?”  Remember, an idol is anything we elevate above God.  The age old command is that God will not have any other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3).  Anyone past, present and future that breaks this command will one day lie down in eternal torment (Unless we repent and are saved).

“Look to the Rock” Isaiah 51:1, 4-5a, 7-8, Acts 4:8-12  

Isaiah calls those who pursue righteousness to look to the rock from which they were cut.  A Rock is a symbol of God throughout the Old Testament ( 1 Samuel 2:2 ; 2 Sam 22:3 ; Isaiah 17:10 ; Psalms 28:1 ; Psalms 31:2 Psalms 31:3 ; 89:26 ; 95:1 ); and also of Christ in the New Testament (Romans 9:33 ; 1 Corinthians 10:4 ). The salvation spoken of in Isaiah 51 that “is on the way”, that “will last forever”, and extend “through all generations” is from the ROCK!  That ROCK is Jesus Christ.  Of that “Rock” the Apostle Paul concurred with Isaiah and said: “The one who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”  Romans 10:33, Isaiah 28:16 The Apostle Peter also said that there is salvation in no other!  Acts 4:8-12

 “Good News!”  Isaiah 52: 3-7, 13-15, Leviticus 16:11-34 (selected verses)

Isaiah speaks to Israel who was once enslaved in Egypt and is currently under Assyrian oppression (Isaiah 52:4b).  He also prophesied that they would be enslaved to the      Babylonians (“Sold for nothing” Isaiah 3:a), and also made it clear that those Babylonians would be taken over by the Persians (King Cyrus by name) and that the Jews would be  redeemed (Enter Palestine once again) “without money” Isaiah 3:b.  All of these prophecies came to pass long after Isaiah expiredIsaiah proclaimed the promise of God regarding these prophecies in Isaiah 52:6 by saying: “Therefore my people will know my name;    therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it.  Yes, it is I.”

The prophet announced that this “Good News” of salvation would be proclaimed by      messengers who say “Your God Reigns!”  These were the disciples and teachers of Jesus who was “raised and lifted up and highly exalted.” One who’s “appearance was disfigured beyond that of any human being”. “He will sprinkle many nations”. By His blood sacrifice on a cross He became our “Scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:15-22).  Jesus our salvation… “Once and for all!” (Hebrews 10:1-10)  Good news for all who call upon His glorious name.

KILL YOUR IDOLS

Idols

Isaiah Lesson 10 Isaiah 46-49  Pastor Barry BruceThe Gathering 

 i·dol  1. an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. 2. a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.

Bow Down! Philippians 2:6-11

Axl Rose  wore a shirt during the Guns N’ Roses Use Your  Illusion Tour which became very popular. (The Use Your Illusion Tour was a concert tour by the rock band Guns N’ Roses which ran from January 20, 1991 to July 17, 1993. It was not only the band’s longest tour, but one of the longest concert tours in rock history, consisting of 194 shows in 27 countries.) The shirt was designed as an anti-religion shirt suggesting that man should have no idols…even Jesus Christ.  The irony is that Christ was killed by sinners who put him to death because they loved to practice their sin and were tired of Jesus calling their attention to it.  They chose their idols over the God who came down to show them the way, the truth and the Life.  Furthermore, Axl Rose himself had become a rock idol to millions and a rival of the only God who should ever be worshiped.  One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess (even  Axl Rose)  that Jesus Christ is Lord.  They tried to kill Jesus but He rose again.  Idols don’t rise again. 

Into captivity Isaiah 46:1-11, 47:1, 8-11, Matthew 6:19-21, 33

Bel and Nebo (Nabu) were two of the primary gods that were worshiped in ancient times by the Babylonians. Isaiah begins this prophecy by saying that these gods (moreover, the Babylonians that worship them) will bow down to another and go into captivity. (Note: Babylon was taken over by the Persians (Cyrus the Great 539BC) following this prophecy.)  When this occurred the Jews were freed from their 70 years of Babylonian captivity and were permitted to return to Palestine.  Here God speaks through Isaiah about the  foolishness of worshiping false gods and reminds His rebellious people that there is no god like Him.

The Babylonians had many false gods and lived in luxury.  Their city was the most beautiful and prosperous of its time.  It boasted of one the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (The Hanging Gardens of Babylon), but its government and its people were steeped in sin.  God was not pleased with all that pleases men.  That amazing city of people fell as will all      people who turn against the will of God.  Sodom and Gomorrah fell, Babylon fell, Rome fell  and so will Las Vegas, Hollywood , and America  if her people choose to worship idols over God.  Like Babylon, we as a nation or as individuals, may think we are getting away with our sin but we will eventually discover that we have lost our high place and are sitting on the ground.  We may be secure now but in a moment judgment will come as it did for Babylon.  We must kill our idols now or go down with them.  Trusting in them is an illusion that will come to an end.  Jesus advised us to store up a relationship with God rather than a life of pleasure.  Those that do this will discover that everything they need will be taken care of as they put God first.

Stubborn Israel Isaiah 48:1, 4-6a, 9-11, 17-18, 20a,22

In chapter 48 God scolds His people (“descendants of Jacob who take oaths in the name of the Lord but not in truth”) for worshiping idols.  In short he calls them stiff necked and thick headed and bids them to finally admit how stupid they were to drift away from Him and over to false gods.  God reminds His wayward people that He is rescuing them because He will not be defamed on their account.  God is jealous for us (Exodus 34:14). Like a good father towards his son.  He will teach us what is best…He will direct us in the way we shall go.  He tells the Jews to leave Babylon, because “there is no peace for the wicked”.  God wants us to have peace but there is nothing but judgment coming for the wicked.  We must get away from them or we will be swept away.  Kill your idols or you will go down with them.

 A New Covenant Isaiah 49:1, 5b-8-10, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

In chapter 49 God speaks through His Prophet Isaiah (49:1) to bring Jacob (Israel) back to Himself(49:5b), but the promise of salvation is not for Israel alone…Israel has become a new covenant for “the people” (all people).  That salvation is now extended to all of mankind, and as the apostle Paul said:  Now is the time of God’s favor, today is the day of salvation!  If you have not yet given your life to Christ then now is your time to Kill your idols and receive the only living God!

 Engraved on His palms Isaiah 49:14-16, John 3:16

When we mess up like Zion (Israel) did and fall into sin and trip into judgment, we might also say “the Lord has forsaken me”.  We may find ourselves in cauldron of trouble with no peace in sight, but God has not forsaken us.  God did punish Israel for their sin with a   captivity that lasted 70 years but He did not forsake them.  God will not forsake us.  We must call out to Him!

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?”  is God’s reply.  (Well… I have met some that actually have, and so God also recognizes this tragic fact) though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

 This is a prophecy of Christ’s love for mankind and His individual love for me and you.  The savior has come to redeem us and not to judge us.  His hands were pierced through on a cross for our forgiveness.  So that we might kill our idols and live in peace with our great and glorious God!

AMERICA…Don’t Mess With Israel!

AmericaIsrael

Isaiah Lesson 9 Isaiah 41-45  Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering

 July 4, 1776-2016   “In God We Trust”   

As we celebrate our 240 years of American independence let us be forewarned not to take that independence for granted.  Originally the thirteen American colonies declared themselves a new nation (the United States of America) and no longer part of the British Empire, but we were never expected to be independent of the God of our fathers. Of this Declaration Of Independence John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

 “The second day of July, 1776 (John was off by two days because of revisions in the   document), will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”.

 Did you all get that…”commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty”.  This God, by the way is no other than the God of the Jews who came to us by directing Abraham, called the father of the Jewish nation, and then through prophets who foretold the promised Messiah, Jesus, who was crucified and then resurrected. His followers survived the persecutions of the Roman Empire and rose up through the emperor Constantine. Then came the Roman Catholic Church, which was split by the Protestant Reformation beginning in 1517 only to float into “the New World” in 1620 on the Mayflower. By 1630 20,000 Puritan Christians immigrated to America from England to gain the liberty to worship God as they chose.  A religious revival, called “The Great Awakening” swept the colonies in the 1730s and 1740s which paved the way to the revolution by causing people to realize ones personal relationship to God, and that all men are created equal and no king ruled over people by divine inspiration, especially if he was a tyrannical one!  Make no mistake about it.  God had everything to do with the founding of this nation and the founding fathers. Most were devout Christians and yes, some were influenced by a form of Deism (a belief that God dose not interfere with His creation), but only a handful were steeped in that belief.  God is stamped all over their early quotes and documents. Most of our presidents have also believed in this God and one of them even signed the establishment by congress of our national motto as “In God We Trust.” (84th congress/ July 30, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower). If Americans “trust in God” then we best keep His word.  To do otherwise will bring a much deserved curse. This curse, according to God’s word, (the Bible) is for everyone who comes against this God and His nation of Israel. 

 Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said in 2010, “Israel’s ties with the United States are in their worst crisis since 1975 … a crisis of historic proportions.” Author and scholar Dennis Prager concurred, “Most observers, right or left, pro-Israel or      anti-Israel, would agree that Israeli-American relations are the worst they have been in memory.” In the spring of 2011, David Parsons, spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, said: “There’s a traditional, special relationship between America and Israel that Obama is basically throwing out the window in a sense.” David Rubin, a U.S.-born Israeli author and expert on the Middle East, put it this way: “President Obama is very harmful for Israel and very dangerous for the future of Judeo-Christian civilization.” http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1521

The Helper of Israel  Isaiah 41:1-4, 8-12, Genesis 12:1-3

 The Lord speaks through Isaiah to Islands and the nations, both then and now, like a judge in a court: “be silent”, “Come forward and speak”, “Let us meet together in judgment”.  The Lord then makes His opening remarks in verse 2 by referring to Israel’s beginnings with His calling of Abraham (“one stirred up from the East” and “called into righteousness to His service”, “by a path his feet have not traveled before”). God identifies the nation Israel as His servant, chosen one and friend who He “took from the ends of the earth and “called” from its “farthest corners”.  He tells Israel not to fear and that “all who rage against her will be ashamed and disgraced (Consider those who participated in the holocaust and those who did nothing.  Are they not ashamed and disgraced by the history they made?), “ those who wage war against her will be as nothing at all”.  This same promise was given to   Abram (His name later changed to Abraham. Genesis 17:3-8) on the outset of God’s promise to Him and the nation that would come from Abraham’s obedience. “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” says Genesis 12:3b.  Jesus will bless anyone who will call upon His name, “To them He gave the right to be called the sons of God”.  John 1:12

Useless Idols and the all-knowing God Isaiah 41:22-29, 42:1-9,   Matthew 12:14-21, Isaiah 43:3,44:24-28, 45:22-25, Philippians 2:9-11

The Lord mocks those who trust in idols (an idol is anything you exalt before God) and sarcastically calls them to foretell the future…then in this prophecy, given nearly150 years before the birth of King Cyrus, God foretells how this king will deliver the Jews from Babylonian captivity (verse 25) and  reminds scoffers that He was the first to tell Zion this news (Verse 27).  Later, in Chapter 45:1,13 God names Cyrus and says he will rebuild  Jerusalem and set the exiles free.  Here is an instance of someone whose name and deeds are recorded by God long before his birth. (So much for the philosophy of a Deist) Cyrus was the first ruler of the Persian Empire. He brought down Babylon in 539 B.C. and issued the decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Daniel 1:21; Ezra 1:1-4).  At the time of the prophecy of Isaiah, Jerusalem was a prosperous city that would not be destroyed for more than 100 years by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Furthermore, Isaiah introduces Jesus in 42:1-9 (see also the fulfillment in Matthew) and reminds Israel that He is their only savior in 43:3.  In 44:24-28 God makes His concluding argument and gives His warning to all nations in 45:22-25: “Turn to Me and be saved”… No man is equal to God and no nation better than His…Don’t mess with Israel!  They will find deliverance in the Lord.