Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 60
Okay, now we’re in Isaiah chapter 1, and we’ll just pick right up where we left off in our last program. We just finished verse 15, where we had the figure of speech “full of blood”which merely showed the nation of Israel’s wickedness, and their guilt. The remedy was in verse 16:
“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil; (and here’s the other side of the coin) 17. Learn to do well; seek judgment, (that is authority and good government) relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Those are certainly good attributes for a believer of any time. Now verse 18, a verse that has been known throughout church history, and yet I think, a lot of times, it has been totally misinterpreted, where the verse says:
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD;…” Now, what does that imply? That God is willing to what? Compromise. He’s willing to discuss the matter. No, the Hebrew doesn’t imply that at all. It was an absolute – “Come now” – it’s a settled fact that if you want to deal with your sin, God is more than ready in mercy and grace, even back here under the Law, to forgive their sin, to cleanse them from all unrighteousness. It’s not a matter of compromising. It’s not a matter of saying, well maybe, you know, like approaching the judge in a courtroom. No! No! No, it’s an absolute. And the Lord says:
“…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Now you see, the Apostle Paul puts it a little differently for us in the Age of Grace. Come all the way up to Romans, if you will, because like I mentioned when we first started in Isaiah, don’t weary that we’re going to be in the Old Testament; we’re going to jump back and forth as much as we possibly can. So, back to Romans chapter 5, where we have the same attitude from the same God. Now remember, God hasn’t changed. That’s why one of the terms we use for God is He’s immutable. He changes not. “He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.” Whether He’s dealing with Israel back here under the Law or whether He’s dealing with us today under Grace, the attributes of God are the same.
“Moreover the law (the Ten Commandments) entered, that the offense (or that sin) might abound…” In other words, the Ten Commandments didn’t create sin; they delineated it. The Ten Commandments just simply shows the human race what’s right and what’s wrong. That’s the purpose of the Law.
“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” Now, that’s not license. Then he comes on down to verse 1 of chapter 6. If God’s grace is always greater than sin, does that mean that we continue in sin or do we practice how far down into sin we can go and still expect God to cleanse us and forgive us? Well, if that’s your attitude, you’re all wrong.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2. God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” How can a believer even want to go down into the depths of lawbreaking? It’s contrary to us now. But you see, for Israel back here in Isaiah chapter 1 it was the same premise that God… In fact, I’m going to take you back under that same concept. Let’s go back to Exodus and it’s the account of Israel at Mount Sinai and the golden calf. I think you all know about it. It should be in Exodus about 32, if I remember right. Here they’re gathered around Mount Sinai; Moses has gone up into the mountain.
“And the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, (now that’s explanatory enough, so where’s Moses? He’s up in the mountain) the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron and said unto him, ’Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.’” Now, you know the rest of the story, how they collected all their gold and Aaron created a golden calf. And they worshipped it. They danced around it. And they went into gross immorality in the example of the heathen. Now, what could God have done? He could have just wiped them away. But does He? No. Because, you see, in chapter 33 verse 1, now after all the fact,
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it. 2. And I will send an angel before thee;…” Now, how in the world could a Holy and a Righteous God witness the demise of His chosen people who have brought about the creation of a golden idol and practiced the immorality of the pagans associated with it, and then He comes right back and He’s willing to still take them on up into the Promised Land. Why, He could have just as well ended it. But look why He does not. Drop on down in this same chapter 33, oh, I guess we can start at verse 18, where Moses now is confronting the God of Glory, and Moses says to God:
“And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. 19. And he (God) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; (now here it comes) and will be gracious, (what’s the other word for gracious? Grace) to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” All right, now let’s just jump up to II Samuel, chapter 7, and, oh, the patience and the mercy and the forgiveness of God, first and foremost to His people Israel, but it’s no different for us in this Age of Grace. He’s the same God, with the same attributes.
Now, look what He says concerning the nation of Israel as He’s speaking with David, and of course Solomon will be following in David’s footsteps. Here we have the promise, now, of the Davidic family bloodline, and down through Israel’s history everything is going to be leading to the coming of the Messiah, the son of David. A direct descendent of David through Solomon. All right, and that’s what he’s really talking about in these verses.
II Samuel 7:12
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and shalt sleep with thy fathers, (in other words, he will die physically) I will set up thy seed (or coming generations) after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels (your innermost being) and I will establish his kingdom.” In other words, it’s going to come down through the genetics of King David and God says, “I will establish his kingdom.” Now, I don’t know whether we’ll get anymore this afternoon or not, but we’re going to start looking at these promises of this coming earthly kingdom promised to Israel. All right, now then verse 13:
II Samuel 7:13a
“He (this king that shall follow David) shall build a house for my name….” Well, not a house of wood and concrete but a royal house, a royal family, a bloodline. And through that bloodline, now coming from Solomon, the son of David:
II Samuel 7:13b-14a
“…and I will establish the throne of his forever. 14. I will be his father, (that is this whole line of kings and the nation coming through the promises made to David and Solomon) and he shall be my son….” But now, look at the next word, “If”. If somewhere down the line they make bad choices:
II Samuel 7:14b
“…If he commit iniquity, (now He’s not just speaking about Solomon, He’s speaking about the nation of Israel who is going to be under the kingship of David and Solomon and all these kings that will follow) I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” Now, that’s exactly what Isaiah is telling them, that if they do not straighten up and forsake their wickedness, the Syrians and the Babylonians will be coming in. That’s exactly what God promised way back here, that “if they would sin, God would chasten them with the rod of men, their invading armies and with the stripes of the children of men.” But in spite of their punishment, in spite of the invading armies which would wreak havoc, bring in misery, starvation many times, but what’s the promise?
II Samuel 7:15-16
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took from Saul, whom I put away before thee. (Then verse 16, here’s the promise that the kingdom will never fail to make its appearance.) 16. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever” That’s God’s promise, that the Kingdom will be established forever. It won’t be just the 1000 years of Revelation, but it’s going to slip right on into the eternal estate so that this Kingdom will be established forever. Well, now, keep that in mind as we see the punishment and the chastisement that’s going to come on the nation of Israel; as we see it coming from the pen of the prophet Isaiah.
All right, back to Isaiah chapter 1, if you will, and verse 19; if Israel would just recognize that God is willing to forgive and cleanse their iniquity. These are further conditions, just like we saw in Deuteronomy.
“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: (God would bless them) 20. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Now, here’s their choice again. I’m going to stay on that probably all afternoon – choices. And I can tell America the same thing today. If we do not change our direction, if our nation does not stop going in that way of rebellion, God’s judgment is going to fall. America’s doomed. We have the choice of going the other way, but it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen any more than it did in Israel. But it’s not God’s fault. If America someday goes down the tube, it won’t be God’s fault. All right, verse 20 again:
“But if you refuse and rebel you shall be devoured with the sword:…” That is, by invading armies. Now, he comes back to Jerusalem, the so-called city of peace.
“How is the faithful city become a harlot!…” Now, you remember a harlot all through Scripture is a picture of something good that’s been adulterated, so even Jerusalem has been adulterated with all the sin and the wickedness that Israel could dream up. We’ve already touched on a lot of it in the last program.
“…it was full of judgment: (in other words, good government, good rule) righteousness lodged in it; but now (what?) murderers.” What does murder and that type of behavior imply? A breakdown in law and order. Whereas once they had a beautiful city in which to live, now they almost had to be afraid to walk down the street. Sound familiar? Verse 22.
“Thy silver is become dross, (Now, not everybody will agree with me. You know what I think he’s saying? Their monetary system has become defunct. It’s worthless. Whether it was inflation or whatever, their silver, their medium of exchange, had become as nothing) thy wine mixed with water:” What does that speak of? Adulterating again.
Go back with me to Galatians chapter 1, because I use this constantly. I remember I did a word study on this several years ago when we were teaching, I think, in I Corinthians, where Paul said, I didn’t come to you as a huckster with an adulterated product. I didn’t come selling a bunch of junk that was worthless and charging a big price. That was the implication. All right, and when you chase that word study down you will find that the number one example of that is what we just saw in Isaiah; when they would take good wine and dilute it half and half with water and sell it as pure wine. Boy, that makes a good profit doesn’t it?
All right, now look what Paul says in Galatians 1 as he writes to these Gentile believers up there in Asia Minor, Central Turkey, what we call Galatia; who had been succumbing to false teachers who were trying to add to Paul’s Gospel. They were telling them that you couldn’t be saved by faith alone in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. They had to also practice circumcision and keep the Law of Moses.
“I marvel (I’m amazed) that ye are so soon removed from him (that is from the Christ of the cross) that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7. Which is not another; (It’s not something totally foreign. It’s not something totally different) but there be some that trouble you, and would (what?) pervert, (adulterate) the gospel of Christ.”
Now, remember what the analogy was? You took pure wine, diluted half and half with water and still call it a pure product. Well, that’s what they were doing with Paul’s Gospel that we must believe for salvation. They were adding works, just like adding water to wine. They were adding works to Paul’s pure Gospel of Grace. See the analogy? It is a beautiful illustration. And they’re doing it today. Hasn’t changed a bit. My, how they want to add and add and add.
You know, I think it might have been already in the last taping, I had just gotten a letter and the question was, “Where does the Bible say Faith plus Nothing?” Well, that would be another program, just like the one I’m planning to do someday on “But now.” I think I can put together a whole half hour program on that. Faith plus and there’s nothing there! So what is it? It’s nothing. I’ll just give you one example, you all know Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” Plus anything? No! That’s all it says.
Well, you can go over and over through Paul’s epistles and it’s the same thing. By faith; nothing is added. But here they were. They were adding works to Paul’s Gospel and the word then is – “you’ve perverted it.” And then here’s the judgment on such people:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, (which is you’re saved by believing that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, He arose from the grave alive evermore, and when you add to that it’s a perversion. And he says) let him (such a person) be (what?) accursed.” That’s their end. Oh, they may sound pretty good. They may have a pretty good sermon, but if they’re going to add works to Paul’s Gospel, the Scripture has already condemned them. Now, that’s a hard pill to swallow. But I’d hate to be in their shoes. I really would. And then he repeats it for emphasis. God is serious!!
“As we said before, so say I now again, (this is the warning) if any (now the word man is italicized, that’s been added by the translator, so it’s any. It may be women. It may be younger men; it may be older men. Doesn’t matter. If anyone) preach any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Let him be anathema is the Greek word and it’s condemned. My, what a judgment is going to fall on these people who are adulterating this glorious Gospel of Grace. All right, only got a couple of minutes left. Let’s come back to Isaiah once again, verse 23.
“Thy princes (in other words, the upper echelon of their society, the men that should have known better. The men that should have been examples to the rank and file) are rebellious, and companions of thieves: (Boy, now that’s a moral rottenness, isn’t it?) every one loveth gifts,…” What’s the other word for it? Bribes. Everybody was bribing somebody to get something for nothing.
You know, I read a good little thing the other day, and when I was looking at this last night I couldn’t help but think of it. Every lobbyist in congress should be able to walk around with a sandwich board on front and back that says, “I am bribing our congressmen.” That might put a slowing on it, because that’s what they’re doing. Oh we’ve put a good name on it now, to be a lobbyist seems like somebody. Not in my book. A lobbyist is up there bribing our congressmen to get something for someone or something else! And that’s what they were doing here, and it brought about the demise of Israel. It’ll bring about the demise of our nation as well. So, this is the whole idea that they were trying to finagle, they were trying to bribe everything in the name of a buck.
“…everyone loveth gifts (or bribes) and followeth after reward: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. (That’s the least of their concern. All they’re concerned about is the big bucks) 24. Therefore saith the Lord,…” Now remember, I’m making the analogy on all of this; as Israel was, America is. And you can’t get away from it.
“Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah,…” Now ,that has a special meaning in the Hebrew. It’s an exclamatory word. Pay attention! God says:
“…Ah, I will ease me of my adversaries, and avenge me of my enemies.” Now, He’s not talking about the Babylonians and the Syrians. Who are God’s true enemies here? Israel! Israel, who should know better, Israel whom God is pleading with to turn from their wicked ways and come back and be obedient so that God can bless them. But they don’t want any part of that, just like the majority of humanity today.
Now, I think I’ve got a minute left. Let’s go all the way up to Jeremiah 44 and do it quickly, because this shows so perfectly how far down Israel had dropped. Now remember, like I told you, Jeremiah writes almost a hundred years later. So things haven’t improved. The prophets aren’t getting through to them.
“Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, 16. As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee (we’re not going to listen.) 17. But we will certainly do whatever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out our drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings, our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: and were well, and saw no evil.” Isn’t that awful? That’s Israel. Right there in the shadow of the Temple. And that’s what they’re doing, they’re pouring our drink offerings, they’re worshiping the gods and goddesses of idolatry.