Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 62
GOD IS NOT BEING UNFAIR – PART 2
ISAIAH 62:1 – 64:6
Okay, it’s good to see everybody in again. For those of you joining us on television, we always like to remind folks that we’re an informal Bible study. We have no denominational axe to grind. We’re not going to attack anybody, but we just hopefully will help people to see what The Book says. I think it’s accomplishing its purpose. I had someone call just this morning and that’s what they appreciate – that we aren’t sowing our opinionated ideas, but rather just simply showing what the Word of God says. That’s my whole concept of teaching; it is to make it so clear that there’s no real room for argument.
Again, we thank you for your financial help. We’re not underwritten by anyone, remember. We don’t have a large group of people underwriting us. We are totally dependent on what comes in the mail. It’s amazing how God always supplies just what we need, and even as we take on new responsibilities it immediately starts coming in. So, we thank you from the depths of our heart, and for your prayers and your concerns.
Well, today we’re privileged, again, to have my oldest son, Greg, and his wife, Janette, with us. He’s the one who ranches with me. Both of them are pretty active in the office, and they talk to a lot of you folks out there in television on the phone. So, we just want to give you a little glimpse of who you’re talking to when you call in and he says, “This is Les’ son.” Janette, his wife, has become totally involved in the office, as well. So, we’re proud of the kids. They’re all part and parcel of the ministry.
Okay, now we’re going to pick up where we left off. We’re going to read right from Isaiah 62 verse 1; we left off, I think, at the end of verse 3. We’re going to start our comments in verse 4, but I want to read from verse 1 to pick up the flow.
“For Zion’s sake (for the sake of Jerusalem) will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until (Now remember, we commented in our last taping that until is a time word. God is never content until the day comes that He will return and set up the Kingdom promised to Israel.) the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness,…”
You remember in the last program, we pointed it out, how when the Jew is under the influence of the new covenant, nobody will have to ask, “Is that a believing Jew?” They will all be filled with the knowledge of God and His righteousness.
“…and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, (a name which only God knows) which the mouth of the LORD shall name. (in the future) 3. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, (Just take this in its illustration, just like a jewel inlaid crown that royalty wears, so will be the nation of Israel in the eyes of God.) and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Now, that’s the promise to Israel.
“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate:…” Now, remember, those are capitalized, so what does that mean? That’s what it is being called. They’re called “Forsaken.” The land is being called “Desolate.” All right, now I’m going to stop right there, and I’m going to bring you back with me to Leviticus chapter 26. I guess while you’re doing that I’m going to put something back on the board that may help concerning our timeline with Isaiah and other prophets concerning the future.
Now, remember, the first desolation that was evident, a hundred years later of course, but nevertheless it was the one that was near term so far as Israel was concerned, was 606 BC. This is when the Babylonians came in and destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem and they went through 70 years of desolation. All right, the next great event was shortly after the crucifixion in 70 AD. Much the same thing happened with the Romans as happened back here with the Babylonians. So, in 70 AD the Romans destroy the city and destroy the Temple. The Jew was again uprooted out of the land. Now, in 606 BC they were out of the land for 70 years. But, then it happened again in 70 AD. It has now been 1900 years plus from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman General Titus, until the Jews started going back to the land and recovering it from its desolation.
All right, now the next great desolation will come just seven years leading up to the return of Christ at His Second Coming. This seven years is also going to be a time of tremendous wrath, not desolation per se, like you have in 606 BC and 70 AD, but it’s going to be the outpouring of God’s wrath and judgment and the return of Christ; then finally, the glorious King and His Kingdom. Then all these good things will finally become a reality.
So, maybe that will help. We’re talking about two great desolations. The 70 years following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, the seventy years of captivity. Then the next great event was 70 AD when the Romans came in and did the same thing, and we had 1900 + years of total desolation, again. Then finally, we come to the seven years of the Tribulation and the Second Coming.
All right, now let’s read Leviticus 26 verse 32, and you’ll see what he’s talking about. This, too, is written by Moses, long before the Babylonians were even heard of. God says:
“And I will bring the land (See how specific it is?) into desolation: (What land? The Promised Land. The Holy Land. The Land of Israel) and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.” The few survivors that stick around, the Arab in particular, the Bedouins and so forth, would look around them and marvel at the desolation – how nothing grows. Nothing prospers and the first time when Israel was out of the land it was that way for 70 years.
I’ll show you, in a minute, how desolate it was at the end of the 70 years. But we’ll read on first that the enemies that are staying behind “will be astonished at it.”
“And I will scatter you (Israel) among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: (They would be hated and persecuted and murdered.) and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” Now, that was the promise of what God was going to do to Israel because of their unbelief, their idolatry, and their rejection of all the blessings of Jehovah. All right, I’m going to emphasize over and over that this wasn’t just a one-time thing. The seventy years of desolation would be followed by the same kind of desolation after the Roman destruction, only this one goes for 1900 + years, where the first one was 70.
All right, I’ve done this before in some of my seminars and some of my classes in Oklahoma, but if those of you out in television will bear with me, I want you to listen to me as I read just a few words from a book written by Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens, the guy who wrote Huckleberry Finn. He was traveling in the Holy Land in the 1860’s. Now, don’t forget that date, 1860’s, about the time of our Civil War. This is from a book he wrote, and I want to give credit to it. Here it is. Now watch the words that Mark Twain uses, and he wasn’t knowledgeable of Scripture, I’m sure of that, but it’s the same kind of language.
The Innocents Abroad
“The soil is rich enough, but it is given completely to weeds, a desolation. There’s a desolation here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We never saw a human being on the whole route. We pressed toward Jerusalem. The further we went the hotter the sun got, the more rocky and bare and repulsive and dreary the landscape became. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. Jerusalem is lifeless. It is a heartbroken land. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its field and fetters its energies. It is desolate and unlovely and can the curse of a Deity beautify a land? Palestine (or what we call the Holy Land) is no more of this work-a-day world.”
[Editor’s note: These statements by Mark Twain from The Innocents Abroad are found in chapters 47, 49, 52, 53, and 56 of his book. They are not written as a continuous paragraph.]
Now, do you hear that? That’s from the pen of a man like Mark Twain, picturing the Holy Land in its desolation. It stayed that way from 70 AD all the way up until the late 1800’s, when the Jews, a sprinkling of them, started going back because of the persecution and programs that were taking place in other areas of the world. They began to clear the land of the rocks and the rubbish. They began to plant trees. Now, the last number I read was that Israel has planted 300 and some million trees since they have come back to the land. Out of that abject desolation, we see the land is once again, even as it will be far more so during the Kingdom, becoming a rose in the desert. It’s coming into full production. I want you to understand that when God speaks of the Promised Land of Israel as a desolation, it’s not just a play on words, it means what it says.
Now, the first inkling we had of it was the first time Iris and I went over there was in 1975. I’ll never forget how we were driving along the Jordan Valley and there was nothing but desolation on both sides of the road. I even commented to her, I said, “Honey, how in the world can the Bible call this place the land of Promise! Who would want it? I mean there’s just nothing here.” Well, when we went back in the early 90’s then, it was a great transformation. Irrigation. There were large wheat fields. There were all kinds of citrus groves and almond groves and everything. You could just see that the land was starting to blossom, like I said, like a rose. What a difference! But it came out of abject desolation. This is what I want people to understand. Then when old Arafat used to say, “a verdant, or green, land.” No, it wasn’t, it was total desolation.
All right, now just to show you how desolate it was, even at the end of the 70 years, come up with me, we may have done this not too long ago. Come up with me to Nehemiah, and I want to jump in at chapter 2. I thought I was going to finish Isaiah today, but there is no way, so there’s no use even trying. We might as well take what time we need for some of these other things. Nehemiah chapter 2, let’s just jump in at verse 11.
Now, this is shortly after the 70 years that they were out of the land in the Babylonian captivity. In fact, it’s more than a year later, it’s almost 70-80 years later that Nehemiah comes, but now look at the language so that you can see that it wasn’t a temporary thing. When the Jews left, the Arabs didn’t come in and build it up and put it into production. No, it just stays desolate. Then when the Jews come back and begin to produce and hire help, then the Arabs come back. I mean, that’s the way it’s always been.
“So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. (That is from way back out in the Euphrates Valley.) 12. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem:…” Now remember, what were God’s instructions to Nehemiah? “Rebuild the city wall and the gates.”
Ezra had come almost a hundred years earlier to build the Temple, but now Nehemiah comes by God’s instruction and with the decrees from Artaxerxes the King to rebuild the city wall and the gates. Now, what’s the purpose? Well, you can’t have an entity of any worth without defense. You know, we were just talking about it last night. It’d be nice if we could dispense with all of our military. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t worry about our borders, and we could just live in peace and tranquility? It doesn’t work that way.
You have to maintain the defense of what you have. Israel was no different. So God instructed Nehemiah to go back and build the city wall and the gates. Why? For defense. You can’t sit out there on the open hills; the enemy will come and run you over. So, that was the first instruction. “Go and rebuild the wall and the gates.”
“And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, (Those were all various gates in the city wall, previously.) and viewed (or overlooked) the walls of Jerusalem, which were (what?) broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.” Seventy and hundred years later, they’re still just laying there in disarray, broken down. Which meant what? There was nothing but charred wood laying at what should be a gateway
“Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.” (He was probably riding on a donkey. There wasn’t any place for the beast to go.) In other words, if there was a pool of water or a creek or something, the beast had no bridge to cross it.
“Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned. 16. And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, (Who, remember now, have been there for about a hundred years, building and rebuilding the Temple.) nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.” Did they know he had been out surveying what needed to be done? No. All right, verse 17, I’m doing all this so that you’ll get a vivid picture of how desolate Jerusalem was, even though they’d been there a hundred years working on the Temple. But, so far as the secular end of the city, it was a shambles.
“Then I said unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, (It wasn’t a thriving city.) and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.” What does that mean? Why, you don’t even have a wall to defend your cities. You can’t sleep at night. Your enemies can just walk in and take you over. That’s a reproach.
Well, listen, it means the same thing today. You cannot be a pacifist and survive, because it’s just normal human behavior to take what the next man has if it’s better than your own. It works with nations as it does with individuals. That’s why we have to have law and order. That’s why we have to have a defense system. You cannot be a pacifist in this world under the curse. It won’t work.
“Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me….” Now, we didn’t take the time to read the earlier verses, but what did King Artaxerxes tell him when Nehemiah said, I want to go back and rebuild the city wall? Old Artaxerxes, the king, says to make out a list of requirements. Tell us what you need and we’ll supply. So, this is what Nehemiah is going on.
“…as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. The Jews he is addressing said what? Let’s build! Let’s get with it.
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, (Now, what’s an Ammonite? Well, he’s an Arab. Read on.) and Geshem the Arabian, heard it,…” So, what have you got? The opposition from the Arab world just like it is today, and this is back here in about 450 BC.
“…and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? Will ye rebel against the king? (Well, people didn’t know that the king was the one sponsoring it. But attitudes haven’t changed one iota.) 20. Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: (Now, take note of the last part.) but ye (Now, who’s he talking to? The Arabians) have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
Now, isn’t that plain? There isn’t an Arab on this earth that has any claim to one square foot of Jerusalem. It’s the Promised Land. It was promised to God’s covenant people, Israel. All right, now we’ve got the same scenario coming back today. They’ve been in desolation for over 1800 years. I say 1800 because 70 AD is almost the end of the first century, and it wasn’t until the late 1800’s or about 1900 that the Jew started sprinkling back into what we call Palestine, or the area of Israel. Now, since 1900 they’ve been clearing the land and increasing the irrigation. It’s blooming like a rose in the desert, and Israel has come as far as she has come by God’s grace. It is getting ready. That’s what I want folks to see. Everything that you’re seeing in the Middle East, whether it’s Israel or the Arab world or the oil or whatever else, it’s all getting ready for the end time events that are staring us in the face.
Okay, now let’s see, I think that’s enough of that for the time being. We’ll go back up to Isaiah chapter 62, where, remember, the LORD has promised that they will no longer be called forsaken, because He will have returned, He will now be their King, He’s bringing in this glorious Kingdom. They will no longer be called desolate because now the land is going to flow, literally, with “milk and honey” is the expression. I think I’ve explained it before. You know what it means to flow with milk and honey? It doesn’t mean that milk is going to come down the rivers. Honey isn’t going to come down off the mountains.
So, where does the term come from? Well, everything that an environment needs to supply an abundance of milk, an abundance of honey, means you have to have what? You have to have grass and water for the cows to produce the milk, and if you’re going to have to have an abundance of honey, you have to have an abundance of blossoms. Fruit blossoms and flower blossoms, so the two concepts together mean the land is just going to be productive beyond comprehension. It’s going to be literally flowing with milk and honey. Not sticky honey, as such, but all the flowering trees and flowers and so forth. Not necessarily white milk coming down the river, but all the abundance of what it will take to produce it. That’s Israel’s future, it’s coming.
All right, I’ve only got a couple or three minutes left. So, it’ll no longer be called desolate, but – flipside! Now, we’re going to make a series someday on all the ‘buts’ in Scripture. You know, it’s amazing how the Lord intervenes. I’ve been kind of dreading looking up all of the ‘buts’ in Scripture. The B-U-T’s. You know what came in the mail the other day? A guy did it for me! He sent a sheath, that thick, with all the ‘buts’ from Genesis to Revelation, so all I’m going to have to do is go through and pick out the ones that I can put on the program. I just said, “Thank you, Lord!” He probably saved me about ten hours of intense study trying to find them all.
“…but thou shalt be call Hephzi-bah,…” Which means the one in whom is my delight. It’s actually the queen’s name of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah termed her ‘the one in whom I delight.’ Well, that’s what God is going to use to call Israel.
“…and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” God is once again going to be so involved with the physical, earthly aspect of Israel’s lifestyle. All right, now then, verse 5.
“For as a young man marrieth his virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: (This is going to be a relationship, now, between God and the nation of Israel.) and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” But it’s all future. This hasn’t ever happened yet. Israel has never been in that kind of a place of obedience, but it’s coming. It’s coming.
You know, there’s something that has really got my attention and I want all of you, even out there in television, to be aware of it. There is, seemingly, a spiritual awakening taking place in the land of Israel and a lot of the Israelis are actually turning to Christ. Now again, I’m in no place to judge the authenticity of their salvation, but it’s kind of exciting when you get the reports of how many Israelis are now becoming open to the Gospel. So, I just can’t help but share it, that this is all telling us one thing. The end is coming close. It can’t be very much longer. Now, I’m not sensational. I don’t say next year or five years, but in terms of time, no, it’s not going to be very much longer.
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