Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 62
ISAIAH 57:3 – 60:22
Okay, I see everybody is back in here after your coffee break. For those of you out in television that are rather new to the program, we always like to periodically let it be known that we tape four programs in succession here on a Wednesday afternoon. Between each half-hour program we have a coffee break. The ladies bring in enough refreshments for a ‘log rolling,’ so we have a good time all afternoon with Bible study and sweet fellowship.
We’re in Isaiah chapter 59. We’re going to pick up where we left off because I want to come in at verse 20 and 21 and the first part of chapter 60 this half-hour. Remember, that in spite of all of Israel’s sin, God still puts before them the prospect of glorious things to come, especially that earthly kingdom. Now, as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, most of Christendom, church-goers and Sunday School people, don’t have a clue as to this thousand year earthly kingdom coming on the earth. The reason they know nothing of it – it isn’t taught in their particular denomination. But just because it isn’t taught doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen!
This glorious earthly kingdom with Christ Himself as the King will be primarily to fulfill all of the promises made to the nation of Israel. The end result of everything will be this glorious Kingdom over which they will be the primary nation. We’ll be looking at that sometime in the next two programs. All right, so even though it’s depressing to read about all of Israel’s sin and their unbelief and their wickedness, yet the prospect is still out in front of them of this glory yet to come.
“According to their deeds, (that is their unlawful, wicked deeds) accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands (or the borders of other nations) he will repay and recompense. 19. So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. (which is the east) When the enemy shall come in like a flood, (which of course, is a reference now to the Babylonians) the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” All right, now we’ll leap all the way up in verse 20 to Christ’s first advent.
“And the Redeemer (And you see that’s capitalized. So, it’s a title, and it simply means the One who will pay the price for Israel’s salvation. That is going to be their Messiah.) shall come to Zion, (Never forget Zion is Jerusalem. Mount Zion is in Jerusalem. Never forget that.) and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” All right, now when Christ came to the nation at His first advent, just like it’s been all the way in their history, how many responded and believed who He was? Just a small percentage, only a few.
All right, now let’s go again and see how the Apostle Paul deals with that phenomenon. Let’s go again to Romans, chapter 11. It was only a small percentage of Israel that could understand and believe who Jesus of Nazareth really was. Of course, it carries over into Paul’s writings here in Romans 11 as he’s dealing with the nation of Israel. Here Paul is showing that even from antiquity and up to his present time, as I said last program, things never change. There was a remnant back then, there’s a remnant here, and there will be a remnant in the end-time scenario.
“God hath not cast away his people (Israel) which he foreknew.” Now, that flies in the face of a lot of teaching that’s going out today that God was all through with the Jew after 70 AD and that everything promised Israel has been given to the Church. Not according to Romans 11! They have to throw this chapter away, because here it’s as plain as day that:
“…Know you not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,” Now watch, if this isn’t a true ringer with what we’ve been reading in Isaiah. Even Elijah was already experiencing it.
“Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” Why were they seeking Elijah’s life? Because he was a true man of God, and they didn’t like him in their midst. That’s been Israel’s history.
“But what saith the answer of God unto him? (That is to Elijah.) I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” Baal was the god in Elijah’s day. In Isaiah’s day it was Molock and some of the others. But it’s always that same small percentage that did not fall into rank unbelief. Now, look at verse 5, Paul writes:
“Even so then at this present time (as he writes, in about 60 AD, just a few years before Rome will come in and destroy the Temple and the city) there is a remnant (that small percentage) according to the election of grace.” So, what happened? Verse 7:
“What then? Israel (the nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;” Well, now what does that mean? Well, all up through the Old Testament, because of the prophets, they had an understanding that there was a King and Kingdom coming, and that it would be glorious. And in spite of all those promises they still would turn their back on it. Now, Paul makes reference to that fact. Israel was looking for a King and Kingdom, but they didn’t get it because they wouldn’t believe who Jesus was.
See, that’s the whole thrust of Christ’s earthly ministry. I guess I can use one of my favorite verses while we’re in Romans anyway. Jump ahead a few pages to chapter 15. Many of you have heard me use this verse. I use it so often on my traveling seminars as an introduction to almost any subject I want to teach on for a whole day. I can start with this verse. Romans 15 verse 8. Most of Christendom doesn’t even know it’s in their Bible. But it is. It is! Where Paul says:
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (that’s Israel, and for what purpose?) for the truth of God, (Now, what was His purpose when He came to the nation in His first advent?) to confirm (or fulfill or bring to fruition) the promises made unto the fathers.” That says it all! So, why did Christ approach the nation of Israel? To proclaim Himself as their King and how He was ready to bring in this glorious Kingdom promised all through the Old Testament. But did they accept it? No. Their unbelief caused them to be blind to even that for which they were looking.
Now again, you know my favorite illustration of that was when they could have had the Promised Land. They could have gone in and had the land flowing with milk and honey. When I make these two comparisons, I always ask the question, was He playing games with Israel when He said the land of milk and honey is theirs? No, it was for real. They could have had it. But why didn’t they? Unbelief. Oh, we can’t beat those Canaanites. They’re too big. They’re cities are walled. Where was their faith? They had none. So, they had to turn around and die in the desert. Well, it was the same way at His first advent. Here He made all the fulfillment promises. If they would just believe who He was they could have had it, but only a few did, and that wasn’t enough because it had to be the whole nation. So, what a sad commentary. But, listen, don’t just blame Israel. That’s the world in general.
In fact, I was just talking to someone on the phone yesterday and we got to talking about some of these parallel percentages. When seven thousand in Israel didn’t bow the knee to Baal, out of a population of seven million, now most of you have heard me use this before, what was the percentage? It was one tenth of one percent, or one out of a thousand. That’s all.
Now, look at America today. Even though our churches may be full of raucous worshippers, how many are true believers? How many are resting on that finished work of the cross? (That’s faith that he died for your sins, was buried, and rose again.) There are not many. I’m not going to be bold enough to say one tenth of one percent, although I’d like to. But listen, it’s going to be a small percentage. When the Lord comes, they won’t even miss us. Those that are missing won’t even make a dent in the population. So it was in Israel.
Now, back to Isaiah and verse 21 as Isaiah is leaping all the way over the Babylonian invasion and he’s coming all the way up now to His (Christ’s) first advent in verse 20, which we just looked at. Now, verse 21:
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, (that is believing Israel) saith the LORD; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever.” Now, when Israel rejected Him at His first coming this won’t become fulfilled until when? The Second Coming. At His Second Coming we can expect Israel to come under the fulfillment of what we call the covenant that He makes with Israel.
Jeremiah, let’s look at it a minute, Jeremiah 31 and the new covenant. Not the old covenant of Law, but the new covenant, which will be ushered in at the advent of the Kingdom. Now, of course, when Israel rejected everything at His first coming this was pushed back 2000 years, which nothing in Scripture indicates. There’s nothing in here to indicate a 2000-year period between His first advent and His second. It may even be more. We’ve already come almost to 2000, according to our calendar anyway. But, whatever, it’s going to be at His Second Coming. This new covenant is not for the church as so many would try to tell you it is. This will be for the nation of Israel.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” Now, that has never been made yet, because Israel rejected everything. But when He comes the second time it will become a reality. Now verse 32. This is what that new covenant is going to be, just like Isaiah foretold in his writing.
“Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; (That was the covenant of Law. This is going to supersede the Mosaic covenant of Law.) which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:” He didn’t give up on them any more than a husband will on his unfaithful wife. Now, verse 33:
“But, this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, (That is, after anything intervening and He finally comes and sets up His Kingdom, this is what’s going to happen to every Jew that comes into that Kingdom experience.) saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” It’s going to be an automatic thing.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me,…” See, there won’t be any unbelievers to stick out the tongue in the Kingdom. They’re all going to be of like minds.
“…from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” That’s coming! But until that day, Israel is still plagued with all the things that Isaiah is writing about.
Okay, let’s come back again to Isaiah where we just left off, and that would be in chapter 60. Isaiah chapter 60 and this, of course, is a reference first and foremost to His first coming and the following Kingdom, if Israel would have accepted it. But they didn’t. So now, they’ve been sent into the dispersion, they’ve been scattered into the nations of the world. They have now been coming back these last many years to their ancient homeland in order to be ready for His Second Coming. It’s no accident that the Jews are back in the Holy Land. It’s no accident that they have become a nation of people once again. They have to be there for the coming of their Messiah at His Second Coming. All right, but now we’re talking about the first advent in verse 1.
“Arise, (the prophet writes) shine; for thy light is come,…” Whose light? Israel’s. And Who is Israel’s light? The Messiah, Jesus of Bethlehem and later on of Nazareth.
“…and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (the Nation of Israel) 2. For, behold, the darkness (spiritual darkness) shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:”(Israel) Even though they had the temple and the priesthood, yet it was nothing but a manmade ‘works’ religion by the time Christ comes, and they are in a spiritual darkness. “But,” that’s not going to stop God.
“…but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Then, if Israel would have been obedient and if they would have recognized who Jesus was, the Tribulation would have gone by, the King would have set up His Kingdom and then Israel could have been what?
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” That was their prospect. But they lost it. They lost that opportunity when they rejected their Messiah. So, now, there will be no unsaved Gentiles after Christ sets up His Kingdom because that will have totally changed. Now, turn to Matthew 23. This is just to show you that Christ knew Israel was going to reject Him, and that they would have to wait for a period of time, it never tells us how long, until He would yet return and give them the King and the Kingdom. All through His earthly ministry He gives no indication of Israel’s rejection, even though the vast majority were not becoming followers and believers. Yet, He did not indicate that there would be a break in the time or in the outflow of Old Testament prophecy.
Here in Matthew 23 verses 37-39, are verses I’m sure you’re all acquainted with. These are a couple of verses that I just cherish.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…” Can’t you hear Him? Many of you have seen the painting of Christ sitting on the Mount of Olives looking out over the city. This is where I think the painter got the setting. He sits here and looks out over the city that is now rejecting Him out of hand, and this is His heart-cry,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,…” (They’ve been doing it for hundreds of years.) and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often (all the way through their history) I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Now, it’s unfortunate in our day and time that very few people know what a phenomenon that is. When I was a kid, when we still had the old, as we called it, the old cluck or setting hen with her little brood of chicks. My, she could just ‘tick, tick, tick, tick’ and here they’d all come and hide under her feathers. Just totally disappear. Well, it’s exactly the illustration He’s drawing.
How He would have called Israel under His Almighty feathers, as the Psalmist put it, “I will hide under the feathers of your wing.” That was the connotation. The old hen with her brood and He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but you would not.”Little chicks had brains enough to come running. But Israel wouldn’t. Quite an analogy isn’t it? But “You would not.” You couldn’t sense your danger. You couldn’t sense the tranquillity under My wings, and you rejected me out of hand. All right, now then, here’s where I think He gives an indication that Israel is going to reject Him and all the promises are going to fall through the cracks until a later time. So, He says in verse 38:
“Behold, your house is left unto you (what?) desolate. 39. For I say unto you, (Now, here comes the indication; now nobody understood this. The Twelve didn’t grasp it. They thought everything was going to keep right on coming. He would yet set up His Kingdom. But the Lord knew.) Ye shall not see me henceforth, until (So, it’s still coming, but it’s going to be at a later time.) ye shall say, (that is Israel as a Nation) Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” That, of course, will be at His Second Coming.
All right, now let’s back up into the Old Testament and stop at Zechariah, which is just ahead of Malachi. Drop in with me at chapter 12 and verse 10. This is prophecy and it fits right in with what the Lord said in Matthew 23. God speaking through the prophet says:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they (the Nation of Israel) shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son,…” In other words, when they’re reunited. Not a mourning of death and losing that son, but of a renewed acquaintance like Joseph and his brethren wept on one another’s necks. It was not because they were losing him, but because they were being reunited. All right, and then we read on:
“And shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” All right, now the next one is in chapter 13, verse 6. Now see, all of this prophetically showed that Christ would suffer and die and then yet set up His Kingdom.
“And one shall say unto him, (That is at His Second Coming, after He has made Himself available to the population.) what are these wounds in thine hands?” Now, what does that tell you? When He returns in that resurrected body, what’s going to be the evidence of His suffering? Nail prints in His hands. He’s coming back physically and visibly in that same body with which He ascended in Acts chapter 1. Here’s the proof of it – prophetically. They’re going to say, when He returns:
“…what are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Well, who were His friends? Israel! It’s all so obvious. Now, come back to Isaiah chapter 60 verse 3.
“And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,…” Now see, I hope you have gathered, in all of our studies over the years, that God never instructed Israel to evangelize the Gentiles. Never. Jonah was the lone exception. He was sent to Ninevah. That was all. That was for fulfilling a ‘type.’ But nevertheless, we always like to make it plain and simple that Israel only had one requirement from their God – to be obedient to the Mosaic Law and the system of Law and Temple worship. They were to take it all by faith and look forward to this coming glorious King and His Kingdom. That’s all Israel was expected to know. They knew nothing of a crucifixion. They knew nothing of a death, burial, and resurrection, and God didn’t expect them to. But they were to believe what God was telling them. They would not. They refused it.
All right, now if they would have accepted that King and the Kingdom, they could have evangelized the whole world. That was the prospect, because in Exodus 19 God said, “every Jew would be a priest,” or a go-between. But when they rejected the King and the Kingdom, they lost that opportunity of evangelizing the Gentile world, because there will be no lost Gentiles in the Kingdom. Now, that’s a no-no, because the Lord Himself said, except a man be born again he cannot see or enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But in the Old Testament prophecies that was Israel’s possibility of being the light to the Gentile world under the Kingship of their Redeemer and their Messiah. But when they rejected Him they lost it all, at least for a couple thousand years.