Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 61
THE VICTORIOUS SACRIFICE OF CHRIST – PART 2
ISAIAH 51 – 53
All right, we pretty much finished Isaiah 51 and now we’re going to just jump into chapter 52 verse 1. Now I trust you all know your Bible well enough that Isaiah 53 is that great explanation of salvation for the Old Testament believers. But, it was in such veiled language that nobody really knew what it was talking about until we get to our New Testament revelations and then we can look back and see how graphically correct Isaiah 53 is. But before we get to 53 we want to take a run through 52, which is really leading up to that great chapter. All right, Isaiah 52 verse 1, here is now our third double “Awake.”
“Awake, awake; (Israel wake up!) put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Now what is that a reference to? Oh, the Kingdom of course is in reference here, when Christ will rule and reign and Jerusalem will be the capital of it all. But you see until that time, it is constantly under the heavy boot of the Gentile world.
Come back with me, I think its Luke 21. I hadn’t really planned to do this in this program but it just comes to me and is such an appropriate verse for comparison sake. Now here the Lord is speaking through the prophet Isaiah that Jerusalem will not have any Gentiles trodden their streets. It’s going to be the capital of Israel. Let’s begin with verse 24. Now this is a prophecy concerning the Titus invasion and destruction of Jerusalem and then what would follow after 70 AD.
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword (now if you have a red-lettered edition, this is Jesus speaking in His earthly ministry and He’s speaking of prophetic things out ahead of His day and time. And speaking of the invasion by Titus in 70 AD) and shall be led away captive into all nations:…” Which of course we know they were, they were dispersed into every nation under heaven after 70 AD. But now look what’s going to happen to Jerusalem compared to Isaiah.
“…and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of (whom?) the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Which of course will be by the time the Tribulation ends. So Jerusalem, you want to remember from time immemorial, has been trodden underfoot by the Gentile armies, or as the Bible refers to them as the uncircumcised. One after the other, and even since Titus destroyed Jerusalem they’ve come under all of the various empires, the last one of which was Great Britain whose empire on which the sun never set. So Jerusalem has been under constant Gentile dominion.
And even today, even though Israel is relatively a sovereign state, yet we know that without the Gentile powers Jerusalem wouldn’t survive. But now come back with me to Isaiah 52, the Jerusalem of the Kingdom Age, when Christ will rule and reign from Jerusalem then this becomes as if it’s already in place.
“…for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised (that’s the Gentile) and the unclean. 2. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and set down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3. For thus saith the LORD, you have sold yourselves for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.”In other words, it’s going to be the blood of Christ that will redeem them.
“For thus saith the LORD God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt (see how we keep going back to that slavery in Egypt) to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause,” Now I didn’t know until I was getting ready for this and I did some studying. Who do you suppose is referenced here as the Assyrian? Pharaoh! Pharaoh was Assyrian. And evidently archaeology has proven that. So, this is the reference that while they were in Egypt, the Pharaoh was basically Assyrian.
“Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people (see how He’s constantly referring to Israel) is taken away for nothing? They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” (now, that evidently is a reference to Israel’s enemies) 6. Therefore my people (Israel) shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.” (now here is another description of the God of Israel) 7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,…” Now of all the times I’ve heard that verse referenced I’ve never heard it referred to as Christ. But that’s who it is. “It’s Christ who is the one with the beautiful feet that brings tidings”.
“…that brings tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; (that can’t be anybody but Christ) that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.” Indeed He will, someday when we come to the 1000 year beautiful earthly kingdom. Verse 8.
“Thy watchman shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” Now look at verse 9. Once Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom and He’s got His throne room there in Jerusalem, look at the euphoria of the Nation.
“Break forth into (what?) joy, sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD hath comforted his people, He (the Lord) hath redeemed Jerusalem. (see all the prospect of His Second Coming?) The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Why? Because He’s going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He’s going to rule the earth from Jerusalem.
“Depart ye, depart ye, go out from thence, touch no unclean things; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. 12. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.” Now you know what I’m thinking; it’s a reference back to the flight out of Egypt and by a comparison. What a difference! This time they will go in and out of Jerusalem with complete joy and safety and blessing. All right now the Scripture jumps all the way up to a graphic description of the suffering Messiah, the Servant.
“Behold, my servant…” Now again, I didn’t realize it until I started preparing for this, in every other portion where God says, “behold my servant” the fellow is named. “Behold my servant Moses.” Behold my servant so and so. So here the name isn’t necessary because it’s a given. There is only one true servant of Jehovah and that’s God Himself. So speaking of the Messiah:
.”Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14. As many were astonished at thee; his visage (now here comes the prophecy concerning the horribleness of the crucifixion) was so marred (or his appearance, his facial appearance) more than any man,….” Now you remember what was part and parcel of His suffering before they crucified Him? They pulled His beard. They ripped His beard and so no doubt His flesh just hung in strips from His face.
“…he was more marred than any man and his form more marred than the sons of men. (but as a result of that suffering and His exultation, which will follow, even though the verses are reversed, now look at verse 15) So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them they shall see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” Now there’s probably more than one way to look at that verse, but I think it’s really driving at you and you want to remember crucifixion hadn’t been invented yet.
And this is what I’m always emphasizing these people back here in the Old Testament were not looking forward to the cross like most of us had been told over the years. How could they? Crucifixion hadn’t been invented. Nobody has died a death of crucifixion. The Romans, if I understand right, created crucifixion. So, there was no way that these Old Testament patriarchs and believers could look forward to a cross. Unheard of.
And yet that’s what so many people think that they looked forward as we look back. Well looking back is far different than looking forward because when we look back it’s a point of history. The Romans crucified literally hundreds if not thousands of Jews. But nobody had ever heard of it before and so here we have then the first indication of an intense suffering but also his exultation.
All right, now before we go into Isaiah 53 I want to take you up to the New Testament again, and come with me all the way to I Peter chapter 1. And I may refer to this more than once going through Isaiah 53 because you have to understand that there was no way that anybody understood that He was on His way to a death by crucifixion throughout His three years of ministry. Nobody suspected that. That was the furtherest thing from their mind. But all right, now look what Peter writes in his first epistle and I’m going to start in verse 7. And we’re going to take this slowly.
I Peter 1:7a
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, (in the end and that your faith,) though it be tried with fire,…” Now you want to remember when we taught these little epistles, what is Peter preparing the Jewish believers for? The Tribulation. And that’s the fire that he’s talking about, the horrors and the testings of the wrath of God that will be poured out upon the whole human race, but Peter is preparing his Jewish believers to be tested with those fires of Tribulation.
I Peter 1:7b
“…and might be found unto praise and the honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” In other words, there will be an element of Jewish believers that would go through the Tribulation and be there to go into the Kingdom. Now it was true then; it’s still true in the future. We know there’s going to be a remnant of Israel that will survive the horrors of the Tribulation and be ready to come up and be the Nation starting the millennium. But all right, let’s move on. “The appearing of Jesus Christ.”
I Peter 1:8-9
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, (now that’s faith. Faith is taking God at His Word, without seeing anything concrete) you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9. Receiving the end of your faith, (which is what?) the salvation of your souls.” That’s setting the stage for his listeners or those who are reading his epistles, the Jew who was a believer at that very time. Now verse 10, he goes back to the Old Testament.
I Peter 1:10a
“Of which salvation (that these Jews now had in response to believing that Jesus was the Christ for their salvation remember) the prophets (the Old Testament writers) inquired and searched diligently,…” What were they looking for? What Peter and his believers have now witnessed, the whole scope of the plan of salvation, but they couldn’t figure it out. And God didn’t expect them to.
I Peter 1:10b
“…(these same prophets) who prophesied, (they foretold) of the grace that should come, unto you.” In other words, a coming redemption, a coming salvation. Now verse 11. These prophets, (don’t lose the subject)
I Peter 1:11
“Searching (that is in the Scriptures) what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who is in them (and caused them to write what they wrote) did signify, when it testified beforehand (that is way back in the Old Testament, like we’re going to see now in Isaiah 53, when the Spirit caused Isaiah to prophesy) the sufferings of Christ, (but that’s not all. But what?) and the glory, which was to follow.” Now you see we’ve been seeing that exemplified throughout the book of Isaiah. First the chastisement for their rebellion and then the blessing. Chastisement and then blessing. Oh, it’s going to be the same way. The Tribulation is going to be utter chastisement but it’s going to be followed by what? The most tremendous blessing Israel has ever known. But could the Old Testament prophets put it together? No.
They didn’t have a clue how this was going to happen. They knew there had to be a suffering Messiah. They knew there was going to be an exalted and a ruling Messiah but how it was all going to come together, no, they didn’t have a clue and God didn’t expect them to. All right, I think that’s far enough.
Now back up with me to Luke 18. We haven’t used that on the program in a long time. Luke 18. And I always use this as the primary example of how these Old Testament writers could write in latent language the crucifixion, the glory that would follow and yet the Old Testament prophets couldn’t figure it out. Well, maybe this will make it a littler easier to understand. Luke 18 verse 31, and this is toward the end of His three years of earthly ministry. In short order, they’ll be going up to Jerusalem for Passover and the crucifixion and the resurrection. All right, verse 31, He’s still with all twelve up in northern Israel.
“And he took unto him the twelve, and he said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.”But they hadn’t figured it out. They couldn’t understand what it was talking about, but Jesus knew. And now look what He said, according to prophecy:
“For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, he shall be mocked, spitefully entreated, spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” Now He lays it all out in the open. So do the Twelve know? No.
“And they (the Twelve) understood none of these things:…” Now don’t miss that. They understood none of this. They had no idea He was going to die. Why? Because God hid it from them, supernaturally.
“… and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Unbelievable? But you’d better believe it, because when they got to Jerusalem several days later, they had no idea what was going to happen and when they finally saw Him on that cross, did they just say, “Well take heart! Three days from now He’s going to be back.” Did they? No. Peter on the other hand says, what? “I’m going fishing!” Why? It’s all done. Everything collapsed. All their hopes were dashed.
All right now come with me to John chapter 20. See, and these are concepts of Scripture that you won’t normally hear, because that would go against what many denominations teach. And then when the Apostle Paul comes along and says I’ve been revealed mysteries, secrets that were held in the mind of God, they ridiculed that. That’s why they don’t like Paul. And that’s why I love him.
My, God chose that man to reveal all these things so that we don’t have any doubt. It’s there, and now all we have to do is believe it. But now look at John’s Gospel chapter 19 and you know the account how Mary Magdalene has come to anoint the body, the corpse, and it’s gone. And so she runs and finds Peter and John wherever they were and tells them that the grave is empty. And they couldn’t believe it. So the first thing they thought was what? Grave robbers. They’ve stolen Him. And they’ve taken Him someplace else.
“So they ran both together:…” Peter and John, and old John outran Peter. And I always have an explanation for that. I think John was a young guy in his twenties and I think Peter was a big, probably a forty year old sort of at the end of his athletic years. And I can just see young John just zipping right by him and here comes Peter huffing and puffing a little bit later. And John has already looked in but being timid didn’t go into the tomb, or into the cave, but he saw, now let’s pick it up:
“So they ran both together: and the other disciple (John) outran Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. 5. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying;…”Wow! So he hadn’t just been totally kidnapped, as we’d say or stolen, the evidence, the linen clothes were there. But he didn’t have the gall to go in. Now verse 6, here comes Simon Peter and he went into the sepulcher. He didn’t even think twice.
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7. And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” Peter just barges right in and looks at all the evidence, the linen clothes and the napkin. So he could tell that there was order to all of this. It wasn’t a haphazard grave robbery. Now then verse 8:
“Then went in also the other disciple, (John) who came first to the sepulcher, (now watch this) and he saw, (the evidence and then he what?) and believed!” They had no idea He was going to be raised from the dead. They had no idea He was going to be crucified. But when they saw the evidence they believed.
“For as yet (up until that point in time, after His three years of earthly ministry, after telling them that He would be put to death and be raised the third day, as yet Peter and John) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Now can I make it any plainer?
They didn’t know that Isaiah 53 was speaking of the death of their Messiah. Nor were they supposed to. God was just putting that back in there I think, for every human being on this side of the cross to now go back and we’re going to do it in the next program, if not in this one, go back and read these graphic statements in Isaiah 53 and say “here this was written 700 years before it happened and it all fell in place. What kind of a book is this?!” Well, it’s the Word of God and that why we have to rest on it.
Now let’s go back in the couple of minutes we have left and get started at least on Isaiah 53. Now remember all these verses we just read. Peter writes that these Old Testament prophets had no kind of clue as to how all this was going to happen. They understood there had to be a suffering Savior. They understood there would be a ruling Monarch. Glorious beyond human comprehension, but who and how and when? They did not have a clue. All right, so now let’s just start Isaiah 53 verse 1:
“Who hath believed our report?…” Is it any different today? My, we can talk about, we can teach all these end-time events that are taking place around us, what percentage of even America, the only near-godly nation left on earth, and what percentage of even America believe the word we say? Not many.
Europe is a basket case, spiritually, forget about them. And for goodness sakes don’t fall for their system of government. They have got those people so wrapped up in regulations and red tape that they can’t even breath and yet everybody thinks we’ve got to be like Europe. It’s unbelievable isn’t it? But see that’s the world tonight. They don’t believe the things that this Book declares. Israel was no different.
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” All right, now here comes that latent kind of language that Israel, I think should have understood, but they didn’t.
“For he (now remember we’re talking constantly about the Messiah in this chapter. Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, as we know of Him from this side of the cross) shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Now I think a lot of folks have misconstrued that to think that He had no physical appearance that would attract people. I don’t think that’s what it’s talking about at all. Well, we’re going to have to sort of wind down, our time’s just about gone and we’ll pick it up in our next program. And we’re going to make a scriptural reference to this when we come back. But here we’re talking about the Messiah who would not come in as a great ruling son of an emperor or anything like that, but He’s going to come with no real credentials to magnify Himself.