eTPL 2013

December 2013: Beginning of the Servant Psalms of Isaiah 42-53

Behold, My Servant!

Isaiah 42: Messiah

Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

The figure asterismos opens this section with an attention-getting announcement, inviting us to Behold! My Servant! The entire word of God speaks of Him, enlightening readers about the Son of God, Who is here announced to them, and is coming.

It is the first of two direct references to the Anointed One in Isaiah.

The second occurs in 65: 3.

Previously Isaiah has referred to two other servants of the Almighty.

Firstly, to My servant David, in 37: 35; and

Secondly to Israel … my servant Jacob, in 41: 8.

Here the prophet writes a loving and reassuring description of the Savior as One whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth, adding that God has placed His spirit upon Him, and commissioned him to bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

[Commentators point to this verse as “proof” of the doctrine of the trinity, claiming that God the Father – the speaker – is referring to “God the Son” (the Messiah) – and anointing that Son with God the Holy Ghost! Yet, this very act indicates the superiority of the Father over His Son and the Spirit, not co-equality of these values – this supposed anointing of the second person of the “trinity” with the third person! It is an unworkable (and inexplicable) action taken in that context or any other, as coequal persons are not so privileged to command such actions upon any of the others. However, this is merely a note in passing as this subject is outside the purview of our present consideration.]

We learn here many vital characteristics of the coming Savior.

One of the first is that this coming Jewish Messiah shall be specially equipped to bring forth judgment to the Gentiles – all those non-Israelites of the world – providing us with one of the chief reasons for his being instilled with the Spirit of God.

He shall be delightful to His Father (well pleasing to Him) because of His perfect obedience, and be upheld by Him by the inerrant operation of that Spirit of His Father in him.

Further divine traits are revealed in the succeeding verses.

Isaiah 42:2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

This is to say He shall not “cry” in the sense of making an outcry of contentious disputation, or clamor. As Matthew 12:19 informs, in paraphrasing this prophecy of Isaiah, He shall not contend with the authorities, i.e., He shall not go out into the streets to cause turmoil. This trait does not disallow His scriptural replies to His contenders, such as the Scribes and Pharisees, who so often challenged His teachings.

Isa 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

His rebuttals from the Word should not cause any harm or debasement; He would treat those who were innocent, eager listeners (the bruised, or damaged “reeds,” weakly supported) as ones to be encouraged, and should bring forth a factual, strengthening, and mature understanding of God’s word to them for their comfort and instruction.

Lamp wicks were usually made of flax; when the lamp’s oil was low or depleted, the flax would smoke and sputter, indicating that it was about to self-extinguish. In His encounters with people showing this weakness and aptitude toward failing, He would always strengthen them, adding to their supply of “oil,” meaning His word. Thus He would trim those wicks, and cause them to burn more brightly, increasing the faith of their bearers.

In this sense, He should bring out of His Father’s treasure house things previously hidden – such as His compassion for them – and for the Gentiles. Isaiah 40:11 expresses that compassionate care: He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Next, his reliability and constancy is related to them …

Isa 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

In vowing that He shall not fail nor be discouraged, Isaiah’s listeners were assured that His efforts in their behalf would not falter in any sense – that His lamp (His teachings) should not flag, nor His plan be thwarted. To be discouraged in this sense would be for Him to break down, or to fail; He would not allow that.

The result would be that “the isles” – the far-flung places of the earth – should wait for (or be receptive to) His law (His will).

Thus, Messiah, anointed with God’s Spirit, should have a global effect; He should exert forcible influence far beyond this small People of Israel, bringing about vast changes in the sea of humanity – all to the glory of the Father.

Now, building upon the Father’s innate, cited credibility, the Servant’s mission was assured of success. For His Father’s credentials are majestic and stately. The grand announcement is backed by those credentials:

Isaiah 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

No grander qualifications could be offered – and no greater ones required!

Yet it is these precise qualities of the God of Israel which men today try to explain away in humanistic theories – that He hath NOT made us … that we have made OURSELVES – through the process of organic evolution; it is a claim that is directly refuted by these words as well as the words of the author of Psalm 100:3 - Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

This stipulation is only a small portion of His blessing and grace.

In the beginning, He created the entire heavens and earth – all of which are still being “stretched out,” as we know the universe yet to be expanding. He spread forth the earth, and everything it produces. In that manner He gives breath (neshamah – life) to all the peoples, and spirit (ruach – wind, or breath) to everyone who walks therein. He is the originator and sustainer of life itself. As such, to Him is owed praise and glory from the whole creation.

Now, having defined Himself, He issues His grand commission –

Isa 42: 6 - I the LORD hath called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the People, for a light of the Gentiles.

Here is reiteration that His salvation shall extend to all nations of the earth! The last phrase makes certain to include the Gentiles – far above and beyond His beloved sons of Israel – for we are all the work of His hands!

We cannot appreciate the succor and strength which God’s Son ultimately received from His Father. We can easily appreciate that none of us mortals could have withstood the rigour, the insults, the intense wrath of His adversaries – even unto submission in abject humility to death itself at their hands! The Almighty did indeed hold Thine hand … and keep Thee.

His divine covenant lies ahead. His intense role in bringing it about lies in the past.

His work is done as to redemption.

It now remains for the people of God to grasp it and hold it fast, not allowing their names to be blotted out of the book of life by ill manners, unjust actions, iniquity, or trespasses against any – or against Him (Revelation 20:12; 22:19).

Further advantages most surely provided by Him are now enumerated: Isaiah 42:7 - … to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkenss out of the prison house.

This exquisitely poetic language indicates the restoration of the sense of sight to the blind (and healing of all other diseases by implication), and the resurrection of the dead in Christ who are now prisoners of death, who lie in the dank darkness of the earth, awaiting the Last Trump. By extension, the promise of being lifted from mortality to immortality is here included, for merely bringing one forth to mortal life again should have little meaning without that further lifting up of mortality to immortality!

Now, from His position of strength and sovereignty, the Almighty states again: Verse 8: I am the LORD; that is My name. And My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images!

He will not give up His name to another; but He will graciously confer it upon the obedient, all of whom shall have taken His Servant as their pattern of conviction and conduct.

In the finality, the Almighty quenches all other glory-seekers, for as Jesus avowed Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. It is an esoteric condition of His righteousness and compassion upon His people of all races and tongues.

As unparalleled support for His majesty and authority, He reminds Isaiah’s readers in Verse 9 - Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

It is to be an accepted, known and verified fact to the Israelites who are listening!

He had multiple times foretold the invasion of the mighty Sennacherib of Assyria, who had taken captive their errant brethren of Samaria directly because of their intractable practice of idolatry (praise to graven images of the previous verse). That promise had come to pass during their lifetimes; so they could plainly see His prescience in these affairs.

And now He shall now declare new things … before they spring forth I tell you of them.

This is the Almighty’s trump card, so to speak. Not only are “seers,” “psychics,” and “necromancers” incapable of foretelling the future with certain accuracy, but so are graven images, which are incapable of thought or speech of any kind.

There is no “mystery” here. God is the Father of all men, even in the most elemental sense of being their Originator. As to human understanding, the fact must have seemed inexplicable to them, as it does to us! Their concept of this quality may have been the same as our view today of something as mysterious as “magic.”

His nature and capabilities are unfathomable – in no way appreciable by mortal men. By merely speaking, He brings it to pass: God said, Let there be light, and there was light (Genesis 1:3).

Being the Alpha and the Omega – the First and the Last, we believe He is universally present in all the ages of man at the same time. I Am is the ultimate claim to that infinite quality (Deuteronomy 5:6, et al).

So we may possibly fathom or conceive the method which he employs to foretell the future as this: He reveals the things which He sees – and also those events which, in His sovereignty, He actively brings about in the affairs of men. But it is uniquely sufficient to exhibit his sovereignty.

It is an ability and a quality entirely unknown to any others; it defines only one of the Father’s superior abilities – but it is sufficient to prove His identity and credentials.

Simply stating this quality, He says, before they spring forth I tell you of them.

This ability to foretell future events is a major theme of the Prophet Isaiah’s writings. The Revelator brings that ability forward as being the ultimate test of His sovereignty in several portions of the prophet’s writings. We have seen it in 41:21-29. We shall see it again in 44:7; in 45:11 and 21; in 46:10-11; and 48:3-5.

The quality is entirely unique to the Almighty and His Son.

It shall become a quality of the redeemed Saints in the kingdom age. The Kingdom’s immortal ruler of the Gentiles in godless Buenos Aires will not be required to return to Jerusalem – or even to communicate with the King – in order to solve any problem with which he or she is confronted! And the future course of all such challenges shall be truly realized.

Thus we perceive that the giving and fulfilling of Bible prophecy is an unfailing engine of FAITH in His people of all ages. It is the reason we have chosen personally to place all our surplus energy into its understanding and amplification in this End Time. By fulfilled prophecy that is duly recognized AS fulfilled, we are immeasurably strengthened and encouraged – not only that our “keys” fit the locks, but that entry into the future is thereby amply, assuredly, and generously provided His people.

These concepts build as one structure upon the milk of the word – the basic, salvational doctrines which He has given us – and provide for us a visible, palpable, sensible structure of infinite future lives of happiness and security from death and disease.

Those benefits, of course, are to be provided by this Man of their future, My Servant.

And now the prophet lays the foundation for the great blessing of Isaiah 43:1, et seq.

Rejoicing and praise is the order of the day; His name is to be exalted by every mouth and tongue.

Isaiah 42: 10 - Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

Note carefully the universal quality of His commandments; it is not only Israel who is called to rejoice in His salvation!

11 Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. 12 Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands ...in the far-flung wilderness of the earth.

Isa 42:14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. The restraint of the Almighty is about to be unleashed upon His entire creation.

To cry like a woman in labor is intense and heart-felt anguish – and pervasive.

It is fair notice that His new Creation in Christ Jesus is about to be brought forth – superposed upon the insignificance of mankind, and its paltry, trifling, unconcerned response to His teachings of the ages.

Its effects shall be chilling and universal. It shall bring to an halt the productivity and initiative of mankind for its own sake – the heaping of mammon for its own gratification – the wanton execution of its own will in its own affairs, disregarding and disrespecting the Father of all men, and taking all the glory to themselves.

Their institutions shall be nullified and broken. Their wills shall be made void – canceled … disregarded … forever abandoned in favor of His glory and exaltation.

Isa 42:15 I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.

The natural social fixtures of Adamic Man shall be abandoned in the New Order. Their laws abridged, their devotions permanently altered to conform to His Way, their wills humbled in His service!

Isa 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Isa 42:17 They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.

The gross ignorance of the people is certified here to be almost universal. ‘

Every man and woman is certified to be astray from His Way – grossly to require instruction in true godliness. Their shame, when enlightened, shall be infinite – that they were so stupid as to follow graven image-worship, and the worship of Mammon instead of seeking the Father of us all.

Thus they are rightly characterized as “deaf” and “blind.”

Isa 42:18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.

Here is universal negligence on their part, to perceive God – to understand Him – to seek His name and not their own indulgence. Deafness and blindness are now banished from His kingdom – expelled into the darkness from which they came.

Bullinger, through structural analysis of the text, says this verse 18 is the beginning of God’s first controversy with Israel as noted by Isaiah. He challenges them to “HEAR.”

This challenge and the narrative of its controversy ends at 44:2.

Isa 42:19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant?

The phrases refer to spiritual qualities of sensate deprivation: … blind as he that is perfect … blind as the LORD’s sevant Jacob, or Israel, who had erred so painfully.

Isa 42:20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.

It is the most deliberate example of “having ears to hear, but hearing not,” and “eyes to see, but seeing not.” His People had been specially favored – taught well and faithfully by His faithful servants – but hearing in no sense, and obeying not His ways; and this had been His ONLY requirement!

The last stinging phrases of this prophecy call for His People to hear His voice of instruction, and to hearken to His long-standing advice for them; for them to hear His voice of salvation – His call to righteousness. In so doing shall they exalt His Law and His Testimony – and shall cease their victim-hood and self-imposed persecution by their enemies; by it shall they gain His favor, and begin to live honorably before Him.

Is is He who has given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers of life and longevity. It is they who have sinned against Him, and often set aside His will in their nation. For this reason has He poured out upon His People the fury of His anger, and the strength of battle, setting fire round about them, who, being surely burned by these agents “laid it not to heart.”

Isa 42:21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

Isa 42:22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

Isa 42:23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?

Isa 42:24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.

Isa 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

The times of all this trouble … and His reasons for it … is here chronicled.

But He is about to inform His People of a remarkable, gratuitous benefit in His next revelation.

He is about to confer upon them the blessedness of redemption, for they are called after His name: He tells them unequivocally, that thou art Mine.

We perceive in this intention the year of My Redeemed (Isaiah 63: 4) – that singular time when there is vengeance (for them) in His heart.

Those weighty words introduce us to the Second Advent of the Master from the heavens – to the “day” in which His anger shall be specially and terminally exerted against their enemies – often their enticers to evil, and the causative agents of their transgression (though His People are not exonerated for giving in to their temptations).

Yet, for His name’s sake shall He deliver them and redeem them from their transgressions.

The interminable fires of their purification shall have well-purged their dross; their iniquity shall be at an end; their redemption shall be sure, in that soon-coming day in which He shall return to save His people from their enemies, in the process, surely revealing Himself to them without any doubt whatever, and commanding their everlasting fealty and dependability by their honoring His exalted Name.

<HEL MD/USA code 8M> ~3550 words.

November, 2013 (1): Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People

Isaiah 40: A Voice From the Wilderness

This chapter begins a new prophecy of Isaiah, following upon that of chapters 34 – 35: 10, and the historical episode of chapters 36 – 39.

It begins with an emphatic figure of speech known as Epizeuxis, defined by Bullinger as “Duplication. The repetition of the same word in the same sense.” [Appendix 6, The Companion Bible, Appendix p. 10]. It is used for important highlighting of a principle or benefit.

Isa 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

At this juncture, His people need to hear comforting words just as they have beheld His comforting actions on their behalf.

Unfortunately, it would be centuries before this principle was applied to them.

But at that time, it comes upon them as a flood of the Almighty’s favor. And it only comes after they “return to Him” in the sense of returning to His Land in the End Time – to the Land of Abraham’s Promise, which they shall soon inherit forever.

In Chapter 34 is chronicled the destruction of their arch-enemy of the ages, Idumea (Edom – or Esau) – For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of the recompenses for the Controversy of Zion! (Isaiah 34)

Isaiah perhaps should not have fully appreciated the gravity and weight of this Controversy of Zion; but today, we have realized its troublesome progress for nearly twenty five hundred years – the unvarying resistance of Edom (cf., Obadiah) to the people and nation of Israel in its Land.

The last verse of Isaiah 35 (verse 10) assures His people that … the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!

This grand event shall be the epitome of Comfort for His people!

All these aspects of Israel’s future history were foretold well before their first exile – their first enveloping controversy. It portended not only their first exile, but also their second, a far longer, more extensive, more protracted and enforced separation from their land.

A safe and secure return has not hitherto been possible for them, because of the evil beasts who inhabit their land, and who have coveted their land, and wrought terror upon them day and night for an extended time. That enemy of the End Time is defined by the prophet Obadiah as Edom, or Esau.

But now, in yet future time, their place is projected to be secure, and their Land freed from oppressors. She shall never again see active warfare.

Her abject repentance shall have gained for her, pardon for her sins. The absolute end of her suffering is at hand, for she shall then have been adequately punished for her sins.

Isa 40:2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.

The interjection, Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, is uttered as the warmest expression of His affection; it is encouragement directed to their hearts – to their thankful, repentant minds and dispositions of that future time. For it shall come after the shattering defeat of the nations round about, and within His inheritance – of all the interlopers within the covenant Land from the Nile to the Euphrates – when the People shall have beheld His pervasive, thunderous authority and glory.

And only then shall Zion have received of the LORD’s hand DOUBLE (meaning, in full) for all her sins.

Now her iniquity is about to be expiated – her transgression removed – by that singular, redemptive, humble, and thankful exclamation that shall be fairly shouted by them when they behold His might and overwhelming power against their strong enemies: Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! (Luke 13: 35)

These, we are assured, shall earnestly inquire of Messiah, What are these wounds in thine hands? (Zechariah 13: 6) and His poignant reply shall evoke the plaintive, repentant and emotional response of Zechariah 12:10 - And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

Never again shall those evil beasts of terror, pride, and envy rear their hideous heads amongst or against His people; so words of extreme, heartfelt comfort are tenderly appropriate, and are gratefully received by them as one man.

The mourning of Hadadrimmon refers to the deeply-felt, sincerely extended, and heart-rending sorrow expressed by them for the death of their good king Josiah of that earlier time.

Now the prophet is directed to write yet other verbatim history in advance – words to be spoken by John Immerser, the harbinger of His righteous Servant many centuries later, to the oppressed people of Israel of Jesus’ day, when they gather to hear John, preaching in the desolate Judean hills of that day, and baptizing men and women in Jordan’s waters:

Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

John’s joyful proclamation of The LORD was intended to guide those men and women of faith through the difficult time of Roman oppression and exile – and into the blessedness of life eternal.

He enlightened his brethren of that day of the bright prospect of Jesus’ victory over all obstacles, revealing the glory of the LORD in His determined and dogged pursuit of triumph over all adversity, and illustrated clearly to them that the mere efforts of the flesh could not accomplish this great conquest – that it must be motivated and accomplished by God’s Spirit actively and aggressively, in God’s Son.

This majestic and expansive message of John is quoted in every gospel record, and referred to by the Apostle Peter as well. Its importance is paramount … and supremely germane to His introduction to Israel of His day.

The regal, all-encompassing truths of His will and way are now emphasized to them:

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. 9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

The personage being adored is the Returned Lord Jesus Christ, Who, at that future day has rightly inherited and exemplifies the Name of God, here expressed as YHVH Elohim.

It is, in our opinion, the plural/collective title of Messiah and all His Saints – all His immortalized brethren who accompany Him in white linen garments, mounted upon white steeds as in Revelation 19: 14, and having in their mouths the sword of the Spirit as also does their Master and Commander.

It is these who effect the physical redemption of His beloved People Israel, those Jews who are on hand in the Land to greet their returned Messiah, and to benefit eternally from His salvation and glory, now willingly and lovingly tendered to them with His most heartfelt favor and compassion.

His urgent commission is then expressed in the words of verse 10: Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

His unspeakably valuable reward for them is well expressed in the caring phrases that follow, where it is affirmed that (Isaiah 40:11): He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

The loving figure we see IS that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who now tends His beloved People as the Good Shepherd doth His sheep. He cares for the little ones, gently cradling them in his bosom – protecting and sheltering them from all harm, as He brings the nucleus of His Kingdom forward now with purpose and determination!

The next verses are acclamatory of His omnipotence – of His innate ability to bring forth a new Creation upon the earth as the firstborn of every creature (Revelation 3: 14).

He shall then have only just begun to accomplish this mighty feat.

But the prophet states in unequivocal terms His qualifications to bring it about, as he applies eternal terms to the renovation of the earth which Messiah is now privileged to undertake; think of these in terms of the New Creation being established by One Who is Master of the Spirit of God in that new heaven and earth! (cf., Revelation 3: 14).

Isaiah 40:12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

This majestic language conjures His omnipotence, His omniscience, and His infinite blessing and mercy to all His people. The brightness of His power and the pervasiveness of His glory conquer all with ease. His majesty rises far above the kings of the earth, whose fleshly bonds are fragile and brittle – and which crumble before His might.

At His Father’s right hand Messiah has learned well the lessons which He must apply to fleshly powers in order to bring them into submission. Their resistance is of little account to Him and the Faithful.

The might of His enemies are not even a worthy sacrifice to His Father.

Isaiah 40:16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

The prophet’s realization of Messiah’s greatness is keen; that is so far above that of mere human rulers there is no real or valid comparison.

Isa 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? 19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. 20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

The foolish and ignorant ways of men and their idols are of no account in God’s plan, or in His plan for the earth. Now shall they be compelled to admit the omnipotence of the everlasting Father of all men … their Creator, and Sustainer.

Isaiah 40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: 23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. 24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

The institutions and pretensions of mortal sovereigns are doomed; they are carried away as the chaff of the threshing floor. Their lines of succession are doomed to oblivion as their thrones and institutions crumble before Him!

Isaiah 40:25 To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.

Then shall all know Him – and that it is He Who has created us, and not we, ourselves (as claimed by the humanists and intellectuals of the earth … men of science and theology); in that day shall His might and bright glory be extolled and eulogized by all!

Isaiah 40:27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

No more shall His mortal people err from His ways, nor deem that their ways are not plain and open to His sight and scrutiny. Their certain realization shall be of His astonishing indefatigability and patience – and the immensity of His understanding – along with the succor and encouragement with which He sustains His new creation.

Isaiah 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Natural men of stamina who depend upon their own resources are doomed to fail in that day. Not so with those who wait upon the Lord; their vitality shall be without limit, their accomplishments as those of the strongest of creation, their service to Him unflagging and without fatigue or weariness.

The eternal age of perfect service and overflowing benefits shall have begun in earnest; great shall be the gladness of those who inherit it. <HEL MD/USA 8M> ~2575 words.

November, 2013 (2): Keep Silence Before Me

Isaiah 41: Messiah

Isaiah 41:1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

Isa 41:2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

The beginning verse of this message demands silence from the peoples of the earth. Let them renew their strength to endure, as their days grow more arduous, and dangers increase. For judgment is near in the earth.

The prophet then is inspired to remember the Almighty, Who raised up the righteous man from the east.

What righteous man is indicated? It is the notable partriarch, Abram of Ur, in Chaldea of the east.

It was he whom the LORD called out of that pagan land – called him to His feet in the Land in which He had chosen to place His name – eventually to Jerusalem itself (Salem, as it was then known), and before Melchizedek, King of Salem, a priest of the most high God.

It was the LORD who gave him power over (conquest over) kings, such as in Genesis 14: 1, 8, 9, who he overcame and subdued, as attested by verse 4, and by attested by Melchizedek in verse 20.

It was the first recorded conquest by Abram of any enemies, which may be the meaning of the phrase in verse 3, He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet (i.e., by an action which he had not previously undertaken).

Then the question is posed: 4 -Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? The answer is provided: I the LORD, the first, and with the last, I am He.

Here, an hint of the omniscience of the Almighty is foreshadowed in the phrase, calling the generations from the beginning.

It is an ability made feasible by His qualities of being the first and the last – the I Am. Deuteronomy 5: 6.

Abram’s Conquest Over the Kings

We may tend to think of Abram’s conquest of these pagan plunderers as a minor affair, and only regional as to importance: local, and pedestrian. It was not!

Isa41: 5 notes that The isles saw it and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. This widely expressed notoriety may have been maximized by Abram’s friendship with others in his local area – others whose strength and influence we do not know.

We only know of these associates of Abram from the words of Moses in Genesis 14: 13, where we read that … Abram the Hebrew … dwelt in the plain of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

We must deduce, however, that any added strength given by the people of Mamre, Eschol and Aner was unimportant, for it is the 318 armed and trained servants of Abram, who are emphasized. Verse 6 seems at the least to point to his confederates’ support and encouragement. Perhaps this support was merely passive.

Even more importantly, it was the LORD, Who implemented Abram’s victory.

The affair was widely realized. Its success was duly noted as being unusual even in the coastlands. Abram became a man of renown.

His victory was celebrated in a later ceremony by the priest of God at Salem.

That notable occasion prefigured yet future, secure promise for Abraham, the friend of God (verse 8), leading to the establishment of an everlasting Covenant with God to Abram. Genesis 15: 17, 18.

At this time, it is not possible to comment upon verse 7, except to note that it relates to the heathen kings who were confederates of Abram. They encouraged each other, urging their idolatrous practices upon the entire civilization except for Abram’s household.

Perhaps we might understand that the confederates even urged these idolatrous practices upon Abram’s house as well – but his faith was sufficient to resist them and hold to the way of the Almighty.

Isa 41:7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

We are certainly aware that Israel of Isaiah’s day had become idolatrous, worshipping manufactured “gods” of wood and stone. This is a reference to that practice. It is in stark contrast to the entities of the next verse – named as Israel, Jacob, and the Seed of Abraham. The conjunction, “but” lends credence to this notion.

Isa 41:8 But thou, Israel, art My servant. Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, My friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, ‘Thou art My servant; I have chosen thee and not cast thee away.

In complete harmony with the Almighty’s foreknowledge of Israel’s destiny – the destiny of the nation which He should bring forth from these progenitors in the distant future – is faithfully foreshadowed in these pregnant phrases.

It appears that a certain double meaning is intended, in that, as God called Abram from the ends of the earth to His Land of Promise, so would he gather Abram’s seed to that same Land, from the ends of the earth, to which they should be scattered.

As such, it was an earnest of His faithful and compassionate treatment of His errant Servant, as yet impossible to determine from their actions in the days of Isaiah.

The last assurance is for their ultimate safety and blessing under the Messiah Who is to be introduced in Chapter 42 – I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

Their Secure Future

The next three verses emphasize the same foreknowledge of Israel’s future, which is ultimately secure in Him.

Isa 41:1o Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them and, and shall not find them, even them that contendeth with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

These words relate to the protection and strength that the Almighty had just freely given to Abram and his household servants as they rescued Lot and all his household, who had been taken away by the petty kings of his day.

They should evidently have much future cause for dismay, and a grave need to be upheld with the LORD’s right hand. His protection and strength to the whole House of Israel should be entirely parallel in the End Time, when His entire, collective Servant should need and receive His rescue and recovery from the lands of the enemy – all those who were infuriated (incensed) with him, and who strove with him.

These far-reaching words strongly assure this accomplishment, and that His people are to be taken away, then re-assembled – at least partially – before Messiah comes to their aid, and shall be back in their Land and shall have become identifiable AS His people, with the designated name of “Israel.”

His reassurance now becomes effulgent and profuse as His Plan for them matures.

Isa 41:13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, ‘Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not thou worm, Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee,’ saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

His reassurance thus turns to their roles of the End Time – their abrupt change from being a lowly “worm” to their wholly new identity as the threshing instruments of the Holy One:

Isa 41:15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. 16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Contrary to their earlier plight, His favor shall turn decidedly toward them; the remnant of His people should assemble together and gain strength, for only as a collective may such power be exerted against their common enemies – the virtual “mountains” of enemies which surround them on every side, and even inhabit their interior territory.

Their Healing Assured

Now we read a sure prescription for the healing of His People …

Isa 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: 20 That they may see and know and consider, and understand together, that the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Notice the emphasis by the multiple verbs describing their new insight – seeing … knowing … considering … understanding – together, or as a unity. Their recognition and acknowledgment of their God is completely committed to His glory and honor.

Show Us What Shall Happen

At this point, the prophet is directed to challenge prediction of the future by any observer, drawing a clear distinction between Himself and any others in the matters of prescience or foreknowledge.

Isa 41:21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons saith the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring forth, and show us what shall happen; let them show the former things, what they be, that We may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.

In this challenge, the Almighty is laying before His people a clear and unmistakable case for establishing faith in His word alone.

He addresses His ability to prophesy with certitude and precision, challenging others to do the same, that the latter end of them be known by men claiming to be seers.

But there are none who can fulfill this need! Indeed, Isaiah 41: 21-27 is …

The Ultimate Test of God’s Sovereignty: Prophecy

Not only is it impossible for idols and graven images of stone and metal and wood to speak, hear, walk, or smell; they cannot even move! So they cannot foretell future events. Isaiah’s writings are a fertile source of references to prophecy of future events being a quality of the Almighty alone:

Isaiah 41: 21-27 – show us what shall happen … declare Us things for to come.

Isaiah 42:9 – before they spring forth …

Isaiah 43:9-12 – who among them can declare this, and show us former things?

Isaiah 44:7 – challenges them to foretell …

Isaiah 46:6-11 – Declaring the end from the beginning and … the things that are not yet done …

Isaiah 48:3-6 – God has forecasted future things for them in vs. 4, and challenged their idols to do the same! Of course it can’t happen.

He continues his requests for any challenger to come forth …

Isa 41:23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that We may know that ye are gods; yea, do good or do evil, that We may be dismayed and behold it together.

His exasperation shows clearly in the urgency of these words – just do SOMETHING to prove your convictions or purpose.

Yet silence only is heard. Their manufactured, and adopted gods neither hear nor speak.

His conclusion is the only logical answer:

Isa 41:24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of naught: an abomination is he that chooseth you!

His disdain is scathing; their pretenses mislead and bring condemnation upon those who practice them.

Their end is a vapor that passes away.

Their pursuit brings an abominable curse to all who follow their ways.

Cyrus – a Portent of Messiah

Now He turns to an exemplary future event which He intends to bring upon them as sure proof of His identity and claims – and illustrating the onus which He has placed on the pretenders to prophesy.

By stating it in the past tense, He emphasizes the certainty of it – as if it has already been accomplished …

Isa 41:25 I have raised up one from the north and he shall come; from the rising of the sun shall he call upon My name. And he shall come upon princes as morter, and as the potter treadeth the clay.

Here He is indicating – over 100 years in advance – the rising of a strong man of the east – Cyrus of Persia, who He has already created in a poetic sense (for his appearance is certain); and foretells that Cyrus shall defer to the Almighty in his decrees, honoring the God of Israel – and permitting His people to return freely to the Land from which they shall shortly be snatched by Babylon.

Note that this strong man is parallel to Abram, of whom a near identical description is given in verse 2. But is given about 137 years before Cyrus’ birth!

In so saying, the Almighty is illustrating and fulfilling the challenge already issued in verses 21 to 23!

By patient waiting, and review of His word, the future people of Israel shall easily comprehend His omniscience – His singular ability to foretell their destiny both short- and long-term … and by that fact alone, they should learn to trust implicitly in their God, their Maker.

Isa 41:26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? And beforetime, that we may say, ‘He is righteous?’ Yea, there is none that sheweth; there is none that declareth; yea, there is none that heareth their words.

Of course, the reason that none heareth their words is that no words of such quality are spoken by them – indeed no words at all come forth from the mouths of the idols of their vanity.

Only may the Creator, the only Deity, utter such comforting words to His people. And, by this intractable proof must they admit, He is righteous.

Isa 41:27 The first shall say (From the first I have said – Bullinger), ‘Behold, behold them,’ and I will give to Jerusalem One that bringeth good tidings.

Their plight was clearly in that day that none such were in Jerusalem, for all their shepherds spoke smooth words, reassuring the people of safety from invaders, and encouraging idolatry and iniquity.

They would not hear the warnings of Isaiah or Jeremiah of the coming of trouble from the north – of oppression and captivity which was then impending.

Isa 41:28 For I beheld and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counselor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. 29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing; their molten images are wind and confusion.

The wind (Hebrew, ruach) is their breath, meaning their speech, in the usual usage of the word, but indicates the absence of it; and confusion should have reminded them of Babylon, the meaning of which IS confusion, and the origin of their gods of wood and stone!

The next chapter of Isaiah addresses the coming Servant of the LORD.

Only in Him – in this One that bringeth good tidings – is there salvation – the Elect of God, in Whom His soul delights! <HEL 8M> ~2700 words.

The eProphecy Letter

October 2013: Exhortation for the End Times


I Thessalonians 5

Harold Lafferty

The Apostle Paul wrote this epistle around the middle of the first century AD from Athens, during his second missionary journey: the only visit he made to that city. It was written to the brethren at Thessalonica, to strengthen and to establish them in the faith, which he had just delivered to them before he came to Athens.

The apostle evidently considered these days to be immediately precedent to the Second Coming of Christ, not realizing the vast time that should yet be required for Christ’s work among the Gentiles.

He wrote of this day which they were expecting:

1Th 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

Two Views of His Second Coming

This expectation of the apostle is one of two views of the Second Coming: 1. First, He shall come as a thief in the night – as a burglar or intruder who enters an house to steal valuables, detected by no one.

2. The other fact is that His Second Coming shall be with great flourish, and display, that shall be witnessed all over the world.

We refer to the words of Jesus Himself, in Matthew 24:27 - For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

If one could ignore the lightning, it is always followed by claps of thunder – both together getting the attention of everyone, everywhere!

These two descriptions are entirely opposite to one another, and must be understood in context.

As a Thief in the Night

His coming as a thief in the night describes that appearance in which the gathering angels of the Trumpet, the Shofar of the resurrection of the dead in Christ appear, unseen to humanity, heard and seen only by the elect: the Shofar’s sound is heard by all those who have taken upon themselves the covenants of promise, offered as salvation by Christ … those in the graves … and those “in Christ” who are alive at His coming. We have emphasized “the” graves as the interment of the saints are MARKED graves, or memorial graves, as illustrated by a close reading of Matthew 27:53 and John 5;28.

In these two references, particular attention is given to the definition of their graves as “the” graves – the particular places of interment of those “marked” or “memorialized” by the name of Christ.

This doctrine of a limited, selective resurrection of saintswhether obedient or disobedient – was considered by Paul and his brethren to be an essential factor in their understanding of the plan of salvation.

This action is similar to the Rapture preached by the churches, but is far more limited in scope. These dead, lying in “marked” graves all over the earth, are raised, and with the living in Christ, are snatched from among humanity – gathered to an invisible place to stand before the Returned Christ for His judgment of their lives and service in Christ.

It is the most solemn moment any believer shall ever have faced – the “moment of truth” as we so often say.

That unique ceremony shall be entirely secreted from the eyes of the people of the world at large, being an entirely private affair between the Christ and His brethren.

The world has no knowledge of this, and no business knowing of it.

But the world shall be markedly affected – and brought to rapt attention – by the outcome of this Judgment by Christ.

The details are revealed in Revelation 4 and 5 – and in Revelation 19 – the summarizing account of the entirely new and unique status of the faithful in Christ who are approved by Him, and awarded robes of purest whiteness, and crowns of purest gold.

Now The Scene Changes Drastically

These follow the Angel of the Bow on white horses, making war among the nations of the Land who are enemies of God and His people, Israel, beginning IN Israel, opposing His vile enemies who are warring and contending with His people.

It shall be a political and societal storm of great dimensions!

At this point, the second picture, beheld by the entire world begins to reveal its details, drawing the attention of the whole world, as the lightning that flashes and illuminates the dark skies of this turbulent storm from horizon to horizon.

The entire world shall then behold Him and the Saints in their glory and in power.

Because of the nature of their Unity, Christ and His Saints are now identified and considered as One Man. We have invented the apt term “the multitudinous Christ” to describe these blessed Ones.

Their appearance is perhaps the first event noticed by the world in the scene laid out in Isaiah 63, as the One Man enters into bloody warfare with the people of Esau/Edom in Bozrah, staining His garments (probably figuratively) with their blood, indicating their wholesale destruction by Him.

The radio and television script for this initial event was written 2,700 years ago by Isaiah; the exact words in 150 different languages of the earth shall be, Who is THIS that comes from Edom?

This force is previously unknown in the tumult that then shall be raging …

This action shall immediately rivet the attention of the world press. The action will be televised for all the world to see – thus precisely mimicking the lightning (and the thunder) that shines and reverberates from the east to the west, enlightening all – in its stroboscopic flashes of brilliant eloquence, in the “night” that then pervades the world of that day!

We return to Paul’s epistle …

1Thessalonians 5:3 - For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

In a real sense, THIS day ONLY comes upon the world “as a thief,” but quickly develops into the opposite state – that of worldwide visibility!

Their saying, or proclamation; “Peace, and Safety,” may indicate the general, popular opinion that such has now been attained: at least a brief rest from all the hazards of the world’s terrorists, threats of germ warfare, of chemical warfare, from rogue nations, and their fierce warriors.

This sincere desire among most nations is perhaps even now stronger than it has ever been driven to be, as the danger to all men has increased greatly.

We wonder if some breakthrough in diplomacy toward peace in the world is what brings this saying, “Peace and Safety!”

Notice that Paul does not specify a CRY for peace and safety.

He tells us men shall SAY peace and safety – seemingly proclaiming it with great relief, to have been accomplished.

The Greek for “to say” is Lego, and is (according to Strong , G3004), “a primary verb; properly to lay forth (figuratively) (or to) relate in words, usually of systematic or set discourse.”

These are therefore not words of excitement or agitation, and are not intended to be speculative, or questioning.

We believe this proclamation is perhaps a statement of what is believed by the majority, or at least some key spokesmen, to be true – that it is a proclamation that Peace and Safety have been attained.

Logically, it is difficult to view this any other way. A cry FOR Peace and Safety for the world would not be unusual or remarkable, for this has been the plea of many for decades building to the End Times. No man has yet dared to proclaim these qualities for the world!

On the other hand, is it not cause for great fear then – as now – upon the nations? … Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 21:26).

Seemingly, at the very utterance of this great Peace Proclamation, their worst fears shall be realized: sudden destruction comes upon them!

It is as inevitable as the process of the birth of a child by a mother in the throes of labor; it is unstoppable.

The apostle’s next words are comforting to Believers:

1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

His warning is therefore, not to Believers, but to those who are not looking for this intervention among the affairs of men by the newly arrived Messiah of Israel! He gives the reason for this …

1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Here the armour of God is invoked! To “put on” these principles is TO ADOPT THEM in our lives – to acquire them and bring them deeply into our hearts and minds – to make them integral to our sincerest thoughts and convictions.

1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Keep in mind that Paul is here reminding the Brethren of Thessalonica of their most valuable asset – their high calling in Christ Jesus, and the assurance that it brings to the faithful.

How fortunate are those who are afforded the opportunity even TO HEAR His rarely proclaimed, verifiable word, and even more, to take it to heart, accept its message and follow its directions.

We have a superb example to follow in this profession. Jesus of Nazareth is our Master and Redeemer, Whose life we are exhorted to emulate in our own lives. Thinking His thoughts, doing His deeds, devoting ourselves to His teachings and ideals.

We meet each first day to recall the great forfeiture by Him of all the (supposedly good) things of this life made by our Master, the Lord – Jesus Christ. To remember the devotion that He gave to the service of His Father.

That service – His obedience in all things – was rendered on our behalf; that we might have life – in greater abundance … than a simple mortal life-span.

His goal in this Service had one objective – that we should live eternally, together with Him, as stated in the apostle’s next words regarding Him …

1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep (that is, whether we are living when He comes, or are asleep in the grave), we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Every community requires responsible leaders – overseers – who have experience, and are responsible. In our Ecclesias, we strive to elect brethren to lead our congregations who are responsible in matters of family, employment, and avocation – those who lead upright lives, and who make exemplary decisions.

Each of us is here exhorted by Paul to look to these brethren for assistance – and to mind their directions.

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

Our recognition of them shall not be in fear, but in affection for their wisdom and grace.

This response is intended to engender PEACE among us, and a spirit of happy association, and spiritual union. We are commanded …

1Th 5:13 … to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

Their work entails other duties as well. They must serve as arrangers of our miniature society – hence, are Arranging Brothers – whose duties include sometimes awkward decisions (awkard to the flesh) as to proper conduct; and even correction of some who may be disruptive.

1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

Three categories are mentioned by the apostle here – the unruly (Greek, Atakos, or insubordinate), the feebleminded (Greek, Oligopsuchos, that is, little spirited, or fainthearted), and the weak (Greek, Asthenes, literally, figuratively and morally weak, or feeble).

These obligations of oversight by the Arrangers, may not always be pleasant to fulfill among brethren, but are absolutely necessary for the successful operation of the Ecclesia.

The leaders’ successful handling of all these cases serves as an example to all the other members, lending a foundation and a certain structure and elevated constitution to the Ecclesia.

Following these specific instructions for the Body of Christ, there follow ten others in rapid succession. They are comprehensive, and vital. We consider each one briefly, in our closing considerations.

First, Paul addresses a key requirement for all his brethren in each congregation. This requirement applies to all, equally.

This quality is directly subject to the Managers’ oversight.

1. 1Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

We might think of this advice in light of our Lord’s instruction for prayer: forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12).

We need humbly to be aware that all men and women are fallible, and make mistakes. Sometimes they do hurtful things to others which might to some be almost unforgivable. But they are not to be so!

Sometimes these acts, in moments of weakness, are actually intentional – intended to hurt.

These too are necessary to be forgiven, realizing one’s own fallibility in such matters.

And how many times must one forgive another??

Jesus’ commandment is to forgive men (or women!) seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22), realizing the propensity of all for repeated mistakes of judgment.

Most of us would come to the end of our patience long before the end of such a prolonged series of affronts; but the point remains – they are to be forgiven each and every time.

That figure of 70 x 7 is not concrete; it just defines that our obligation is to forgive others ENDLESSLY, if need be.

2. 1Th 5:16 Rejoice evermore.

The Greek word for “rejoice” is Chairokai ee’ ro – and means to be calmly happy … glad. It indicates a serene inner tranquility, in which one is at peace with himself and others – inviting that attitude among his associates and fellow Believers.

These are an influence for the general welfare of everyone else, serving as an example to them.

3. 1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

The Greek word is Proseu’chomai, meaning to supplicate, or pray to God, without interruption. This does not mean that if the telephone rings, we may not answer it. It does mean that we must diligently pursue prayer as a regular, frequent habit, letting our thoughts be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6.

Paul, in Romans 12:12 adds to our understanding of this; he says we must always be Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer

In this regard we think immediately of Nehemiah, the king’s wine steward, whose sadness at court one day, showed greatly, and prompted a question from the king as to the cause.

Nehemiah 2:4 records that, I prayed to the God of heaven.

His prayer was brief, to the point, and his request was readily granted by the king.

We must recognize this as a perfect example of continuing instant in prayer! For the time span allowed Nehemiah for his prayer as to his answer to the king, could not have been more than ten seconds!

Such an attitude – and ability – illustrates one whose complete dependence is upon the Lord in every circumstance.

It is the goal toward which each of us must press daily!

4. 1Th 5:18 - In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Paul’s additional comments in Ephesians 5:20 enlighten us further: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

One’s recognizance and verbal acknowledgement of the effusive blessings of our Father creates a deeper sense of appreciation for these blessings.

Such is not a ritual to be done mechanically, but with heartfelt feeling, and true gratitude to the Giver of all gifts.

Sometimes we may be compelled to give thanks for adversity as well as blessing.

Joseph adopted this attitude when he revealed his identity to his brothers who had come to buy grain in Egypt.

Their hearts sank when they realized that the Prime Minister of Egypt was indeed their own brother whom they had thought to slay, but had sold as a slave.

But Joseph placed the matter in godly perspective when he told them,

Genesis 45:6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

We may be absolutely certain that the brothers of Joseph would give profound thanks for this turn of events, in everything, giving the glory to God – even for the embarrassment and humiliation that they suffered along with their deliverance from famine.

5. 1Th 5:19 - Quench not the Spirit.

The Greek means “do not diminish the pneuma” – or do not squelch the vital spirit, the life, the soul - the living person.

This may easily be done by hypercriticism, or fault-finding of one with another.

We all know Grumpies, who cannot be satisfied with others’ best efforts and behavior, and are prone to criticize or demean. These actions can readily Quench the Spirits of others, and are to be avoided!

It seems to me this sometimes unintended action is akin to the saying of Jesus, in Matthew 18:1 - At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child (or develop this little child’s spirit of trust), the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones (shall cause him to stumble) which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

To “offend” here is not to cause ill feelings, or to place another in a “snit,” but is “to trip up, to entrap, to entice to sin.” Much more grave than a passing insult!

In little children we often see their trust and reliance upon others as unique – a trait not as apparent among older people; those lose their innocent dependence much too soon – lose their spirit of expectation of good, and become calloused, pitiless, and unfeeling – to their hurt.

To quench the innocent trust of a child is unforgiveable – including the grown-up children of God!

6. 1Th 5:20 Despise not prophesyings.

The Greek is Prophete’ia, and means a prediction – scriptural or otherwise – sometimes simply an opinion.

In Paul’s day, this prohibition applied to genuine words of prophecy uttered by qualified spokesmen of God, unlike today when the voice of prophecy is silent except in the written word.

But today it can refer to one’s well-considered opinions about future events as foretold in scripture.

The message seems to be that if a considered event lies yet in future, no one’s opinions upon that event should not be “despised,” but thoughtfully considered.

The “bottom line” is that before an event occurs, one’s expectations of its fulfillment may be in error.

If the principle being discussed is basic doctrine, such an error can be grave, or even fatal, being considered as false doctrine.

This is the case with a sorcerer, Elymas by name, in Acts 13, who tried to dissuade his master from believing the Gospel as being taught him by Paul, and was struck blind by Paul.

Elymas was guilty of “despising” the prophetic words of Paul – words of salvation and redemption, not mere opinions of future events.

As a result the deputy believed immediately, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Elymas had despised Paul’s words of truth in the most basic way!

7. 1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

In our thinking, this is one of the most important of these admonitions of the End Time. To “prove” something is to examine it or test it, literally or figuratively, as to its veracity. Prove it!

To “hold it fast” is to keep it in memory, or to retain it – to establish it as truth, and not let go of it.

This admonition applies to our position as Brethren of Christ. All of us should continue to “prove all things” that we hold, and retain those strong elements which lead to salvation.

Such discussion sharpens our senses and our Biblical understanding – and strengthens our convictions. This is another way of saying, our faith increases thereby.

8. 1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

This message commands removing ourselves from all forms of lewdness, wickedness, iniquity, and degeneracy – even from acts or speech that has that appearance, fashion or shape.

The result is that one’s character may always be viewed by others as blameless, honorable, and upright, so as to bring no shame upon our LORD or His Son, but to bring only honor to His name – that name which we bear about in our bodies as well, and the faithful life which we must be offering to others with whom we come into contact each day.

Such an one presents a demeanour of civility and gentility – of uprightness and prudence in all things.

All these admonitions have the greatest and most urgent merit in our daily lives.

And it follows, that, so deporting ourselves, our Father will elevate us and sanctify us completely. Paul’s words are solemn and imperative …

1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body (Pneuma, Pseuche, and Soma) be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The all inclusive prayer of these words concerns the whole man or woman:

Pneuma is the human spirit – the rational self, the rational mind, the disposition.

Pseuche is the heart, life, mind, the soul of men.

Soma is the body of man as a sound, whole being – the physical man, or his corpus.

Paul reminds his listeners of the inherent dependability of Christ Jesus:

1Th 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

9. 1Th 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.

Finally the great Apostle to the Gentiles, humbly asks that his brethren pray diligently for him – for success in his missionary work among the heathen nations; for his safety in travel; for his daily bread; for the effectiveness of his message of salvation; for great crowds of people to whom he may deliver the Gospel of Christ.

These simple four words tell us of Paul’s convictions about prayer – that it is powerful to advance the work of Christ, and that he needs their AND OUR assistance in this.

10. 1Th 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

This sentiment is not unusual coming from Paul. His affection for his brethren in Christ was demonstrative and unbounded.

His sacrifice for them was without limit.

His exposure to danger on their account was constant, as his catalog of “adventures” tells us in 2Corinthians 11:23-28, in which he recounts many of the hazards he had faced as he brought the message of salvation to the Gentiles.

This catalog of trials is profound testimony of his esteem for his brethren – his kinsmen in Christ Jesus. Greet all these, he instructs, with an holy kiss.

His injunction recalls the tearful goodbyes expressed to the brethren at Ephesus, as Paul touched shore briefly there, and after a heartfelt exhortation to faithfulness and constancy in the Faith on their parts, departed on his way back to Jerusalem, as recorded in the 20th chapter of Acts, verse 36: And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. 37 And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.

Now he completes his exhortation to them, giving them permission – rather instruction – to pass this epistle to others as a circular letter – to all the holy brethren.

These are brethren set apart especially in dedication to the Lord – sanctified to His service, and later to be recipients of his largess and blessing.

The letter contains general instruction which applies to all. All should be made aware of its contents – for strength and encouragement in the faith. So his instruction is …

1Th 5:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

1Th 5:28 The grace (the unmerited favor) of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. The first epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens.

<HEL code 10M> ~4375 words.


The eProphecy Letter

September, 2013: Thoughts on Isaiah 5: The Song of YHVH

Harold Lafferty

The initial phrases of Isaiah’s message are reminiscent of the beautiful prose of Solomon’s Song concerning his Beloved. He builds a vineyard for her and plants it with the noblest vines; He constructs a tower in its midst for protection – and a winepress for expressing the goodness from the grapes which He expects it to produce.

But in contrast to Solomon’s vineyard, it fails to bring forth good grapes. Its produce is stunted and twisted – unprofitable to Him, and an utter failure.

It is therefore an echo of the parable of the fig tree of Matthew 25, about which He digged, and fertilized for three years, with no acceptable productivity at all.

Both these figures symbolize Israel (verse 7).

Isa 5:1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:

Isa 5:2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

The physical makeup, or constitution, of the vineyard offered the very best prospects. It was located in a fruitful hill. It was securely fenced, its stones had been removed, and it had been cultivated – planted with the choicest vines – and enclosed its own tower. It contained its own winepress. There seemed no deterrent to its abundant production of fruit.

But it produced none.

The inhabitants of Jerusalem should have recognized immediately that the parable related to them, and to their unfruitfulness in the LORD.

Their time has come for a decision.

Isa 5:3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.

Isa 5:4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wildgrapes?

His ponderous question is why, after all the concentrated efforts He had expended upon it, that he had obtained this unacceptable result from his vineyard.

The answer is doubtless obvious to Him – but not to them.

So He must take action.

His Solution

Isa 5:5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof (or withdraw His protection from it), and it shall be eaten up(swallowed up by Babylon at the first – and even later by Rome); and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:

To take away the hedge thereof is to withdraw His divine protection from them. That will allow the vineyard to be “eaten up,” and “trodden down” by predators. Cultivation shall be withdrawn; no rain shall fall upon it henceforth.

The pathetic, exhaustive extent of these physical insults to His Land are well documented y travelers to Palestine as late as the early 20th century. Mark Twain famously reported upon the utter desolation of the Land in his work, Innocents Abroad, in the mid-19th century.

Isa 5:6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rainupon it.

Briers and thorns have a connotation beyond neglect of His land.

The interlopers from neighboring countries moved into the lands from which His people had been removed, and squatted upon it for centuries, contributing no worthwhile benefit upon it, merely occupying it for its meager herbage, upon which fed their sheep and goats. Moving from place to place, the Bedouin lived in temporary shelters of goat-hair tents with their numerous children and extended families. Some of these became wealthy by foraging the desolate landscapes of God’s Holy Land during His abandonment of it.

This abandonment is directly foretold by the prophet Micah (5:3) when he prophesies that He will give them up (or abandon them, in other versions), until the time when she which travaileth hath brought forth …

That time would lie in the finite future for them, and would terminate only at theirsecond return to the Land from all nations, becoming their own State again in 1948 AD! (cf., Isaiah 11:11)

The words I will lay it waste should therefore attain a degree of fulfillment unimagined by any of those transgressors; their expectations could not possibly have comprehended their future tribulations, or the utter wastage of their ancient homelands.

Withdrawing His prophets and other spiritual mentors for the time between the Testaments fulfilled the prophecy that it should not be pruned nor digged – should have no cultivation at all – that it should not be tutored nor instructed – and the rain of His word should be withheld from it. But that lack of pruning and digging (cultivation) continued through the many centuries since the first advent to Christ, and His crucifixion.

It lay fallow and uncultivated for almost 1900 years, gaining some semblance of a good prospect only with the first stirrings of Zionism, in the late 19th century.

In such conditions, only briars and thorns flourish – which is analogous not only to the destitution of the Land itself, but to the influx of foreigners from the Arabian peninsula, from Babylon, Assyria and Egypt – of people from the pagan nations who should fill the vacuum created by the removal of His people.

These gave rise to the Samaritans, for example, who brought back into the region their idols and heathen customs.

The figure of a Vineyard is now made unmistakably certain:

Isa 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment (good judgment on their part), but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry (a plea for help from those oppressed ones).

His expectation from them was judicious behavior, or prudent conduct before Him. Instead, the opposite resulted. Their arrogance was lifted up before Him. They vaunted themselves against Him.

The Parable Interpreted for Them

As we begin to consider the latter portion of this chapter, we note that the word “woe” is uttered SIX times in its remaining words. These address six different subjects, which we shall note in our comments upon it.

Isa 5:8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!

The first WOE decries their proliferation of houses, and by extension, riches. Although not wrong or sinful in themselves, this increase in wealth and property without appropriate attention to the things of the Spirit, is condemned in the strongest of terms.

These are destined to be abandoned, trodden down, and destroyed.

Isa 5:9 In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall bedesolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.

Isa 5:10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath (about six English gallons), and the seed of an homer (about eight bushels of seed) shall yield an ephah (which is about three pecks, English).

The vineyard shall utterly fail, not even reproducing its own original planting!

Isa 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may followstrong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

This WOE decries drunkenness, depravity, and irresponsibility of comport.

Isa 5:12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.

Their drunkenness and inordinate, gluttonous feasting was a smoke in His nostrils. Their lack of serious consideration of Him was an abomination.

The Reason for Their Captivity

Isa 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

The clear figure here is “lack of knowledge (or understanding);” it is here related to a famine of true bread, and of a thirst for His word – or commandments, or guidance.

This behavior has consequences – which would be their going into captivity in Babylon. That insult lay just ahead of them at this time, and was certain to come unless they amended their ways.

Isa 5:14 Therefore hell (Sheol – the grave) hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

Isa 5:15 And the mean man (adam – the common man) shall be brought down, and the mighty man (ish – the peer, or prominent man) shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:

All their social structure shall be dismantled and debased. Their society shall essentially perish in the coming onslaught from the north. All shall be humbled, and brought low.

But the opposite shall be true for the LORD – and by implication, for all those who trust in Him.

Isa 5:16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.

Isa 5:17 Then shall the lambs (His true sheep) feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.

His ways, being respected and observed, should be the exaltation which He rightfully claimed from them – which He had the right to expect from them – His sanctification.

Isa 5:18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:

Isa 5:19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!

This WOE (the 3rd) calls attention to their focus on sin and iniquity of all sorts. Their depraved ambitions actually sought a strong response from the Almighty – they dared Him to intervene, or to correct their errancy!

Their vile practices were diametrically opposed to His Way, as spelled out in the next line – the fourth WOE:

Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Their definitions of evil, darkness, and bitterness – esteeming them to be the opposites of what they were – was a direct result of their deviant behavior … and their acceptance of the ways of the nations from which the Almighty had delivered them in the initial years of their habitation of Canaan.

Isa 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight (the arrogant, and the haughty)!

The fifth WOE harshly denounced this extreme arrogance – this elevation of self above all others, and even above the LORD himself!

Isa 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink (the drunkards):

Isa 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him (those who bear false witness, and take bribes for unjust judgment)!

The final (6th) WOE condemns their practice of oppression of their own people in matters of judgment and law. To bear false witness was to break the Ninth Commandment given to Moses for them (Exodus 20:16).

All these action bring reactions – from the Almighty. He now sets these forth for their learning. He summons pictures of the winnowing of harvest – assigning to them the role of chaff and stubble.

Isa 5:24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Isa 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

The ambivalence of these remarks should have illustrated to them clearly, that even in the fury of His anger, His forgiving hand is yet stretched out to them in love.

He will therefore institute His remedy for them.

It consists of a singular achievement on His part; in the latter days, He shall raise up an ensign to Judah and to Israel from afar.

That ensign (Hebrew, Nes – a flag, standard, or banner – which represent a state) is to be their re-constituted polity, the nation of Israel in the End Time!

Isa 5:26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations (these “nations” are Judah and Israel – the two and the ten) from far (indicating their great dispersion from their homeland), and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:

The “hiss” here is said to be the hissing that beekeepers make to call their bees, and is analogous to whistling for one’s pet dog.

It is a signal – a commandment, really – for them to return to Him (cf. Micah 5:1-3), which, at the proper time, they shall do with haste (with speed).

It is notable that, after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, its population more than doubled in only four years, as the dispersed from Europe and the Arabic lands poured back freely into their own land, fleeing the oppression which was forced upon them in all other places of the earth! It has grown exponentially since that early date, and today stands at more than six million Jewish citizens!

Isa 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:

He is assuring them that, in that future day, their determination – their tenacity – shall be indomitable; and their resolve unchangeable.

This re-gathering is as certain as were their earlier dispersions to Babylon, and then to the nations.

The great military and intellectual prowess of His people is predicted to be remarkable, and pronounced to all observers. It represents an entirely new departure from their former demeanor – the initial evidence of an entirely new initiative on their parts – i.e., resistance to evil that is effective, and devastating. Their vile enemies were about to see a NEW thing from the Jews of the world – a dedication to resistance and survival that they had never been able to marshal.

Isa 5:28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind:

Isa 5:29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.

This vivid description signals the intensity of their return to that Ensign – and the determination of their will to establish it, and to make it safe for their own habitation – roaring upon their enemies like a young lion (later to be commanded by the Lion of Judah in person!).

Their singular prowess in warfare today is surely supernatural in origin, although unseen by most; it is the angelic assistance of Michael the Archangel, into whose hands the people of Israel are given as they re-assemble in their Land. Daniel 12:1-3.

We have beheld with awe this modern-day power of the Israeli people not only in procuring their land, but also in securing it, and in governing it successfully (as to human institutions).

Their spiritual renovation is yet to come.

Isa 5:30 And in that day they (Israel) shall roar against them (their enemies) like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.

These words foretell the pervasive power of His people in the End Time, when they shall darken the skies of their enemies with smoke and brimstone, and their destruction by bombs and missiles, artillery and overpowering military force.

We have beheld with admiration and awe such demonstrations of Israeli power time and again in these End Times – their overpowering domination of their enemies from all quarters, their swift victories against the forces of darkness!

And these words also foreshadow a day when the ensign, Israel, is superseded by its Ensign, the Christ, by His Second Coming – and by His literally saving His peoplefrom the enemies from which they shall perhaps (?) have become incapable of delivering themselves.

This claim of literally saving them from their enemies in the End Time – because of the extreme pressure of their opponents’ numbers and arms, perhaps coming in hordes of fighters, at Israel from all sides, and most distressingly, from within (this shall be the PLO, for example) – is shown by such extremely pointed passages as Isaiah 63: 1.

This passage directly pictures for us that seemingly first visible action of the returned Christ and His Saints, then beginning to overpower and destroy the vile opponents of His People and His nascent Kingdom.

He shall entertain no such opposition to the divine economy which is about to be established in the holy place of the Land which these enemies viciously covet, as foretold in Psalm 83, where it is clear that the nations round about are intent upon the destruction of the nation and people of Israel – and their own acquisition of Israel’s land and wealth.

This can only come to pass when Israel shall have been re-constituted upon the ancient territory of Israel. It is then (meaning, now) that their enemies determine to destroy Israel, and to acquire all her territory and wealth for themselves.

We have no need to remind readers that this precise scenario is developing before our eyes at this moment in time.

Be assured, dear ones, that the re-constitution of all things is about to begin, forecasted by the Apostle Peter, in Acts 3:20 - And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times ofrestitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Peter here urgently delivers to his brethren of that day a lucid admonition – contained in the immediately previous words of Peter: Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord …

It has been the determination of The Prophecy Letters for over twenty years to encourage His people to live in expectancy of His second appearing; to so order our lives as to be entirely compatible with and expectant of His intervention in the affairs of mankind.

It is an eventuality which men, generally, do not expect – or even think necessary, or possible.

But even babes in Christ are thankfully aware of its necessity and its inherently everlasting benefits.

For only such intervention shall be able to bring about the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began!

<HEL MD/USA 10M> ~3300 words.


The eProphecy Letter

August, 2013: Trust in the Lord - Not in Man

The insertion in the "Prophecy" section this month is being considered to be Position Paper #21, which has been inserted under the Position Papers tab above, since it is a relatively long article at 5200 words.

Please click on tab above to read. <HEL>


The eProphecy Letter

A Scriptural Fable

July, 2013: A Prospect of Paradise: Part Three

To develop as Sons of God during the days of our flesh required industrious, concentrated, strenuous effort, certainly – constant care and diligence in our lives. We shared our shortcomings and our disappointments (as well as our desires and aspirations for godliness) with the Father, in prayer through His Son’s mediation. As our Advocate[i] with the Father, Jesus was personally aware that we were striving – even agonizing – in the faith; to work its principles into our minds and lives, to subject ourselves in every way to His guidance and care, and to strive to bring it to the attention of those about us.

Thus, Jesus’ office, even before His own death, resurrection and ascension, was to develop His own house Whose house[ii] were we, as we strove to hold fast and overcome.

When we had been developed (it seemed an interminable process), we were changed to His glorious nature, as has been described. As a bride to her husband, so were we made one with Him[iii] in every way! And were incorporated into His priesthood similarly to the sons of Aaron under Moses’ Law. Kings and Priests unto God we became, our destiny and privilege to reign on the earth.

Formerly – in the days of our flesh – we were a royal priesthood in a preliminary sense, offering, as the apostle[iv] wrote, incense of praise and sacrifice of spiritually-oriented service to our Lord. But our manifestation – when it became really known and visible to others what we actually were – that we were in reality kings and priests[v] unto God – was reserved for the era of our Master’s visible power and glory before the whole world; when we should, with Christ, judge[vi] the world, and reign with Him[vii] in glorious aspect under the terms of the New Covenant which He has made with us.

So the promises given His faithful servants during mortality, by our Father through Isaiah,[viii] that we should be named the priests of the Lord, and that men should call us the ministers of our God, came to pass. He promised that we should eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory should we boast ourselves[ix] - those promises have seen fulfillment. Everywhere among the nations men say and acknowledge that we are the Seed[x] which the Lord has blessed, the faithful Seed of Abraham.

The Saints as Priests of God

The Saints thus became an immortal order of priests, having to do with the children of men, assisting the Melchisedec King-Priest of the new Constitution not only in earthly ministry among the mortals, but also coming near unto the King to minister unto Him, standing before Him to offer unto Him the fat and the blood, entering into His sanctuary,[xi] coming near His table, to minister[xii] to Him and keep His charge, being the infallible successors to the ancient Sons of Zadok of this millennial age.

The Mortal Priesthood

The Saints Who thus serve in this Divine presence balance against the restored order[xiii] of mortal, Levitical priests, who are the keepers of the charge of the house; a lower order of priests, mortal in nature serving in the sanctuary, but not privileged to come into the presence to the Priest after the order of Melchisedec, to do the service of priest unto Him.[xiv]

The True New Order

When the stubbornness of mortal man now comes to the fore, their infractions are summarily dealt with. A few instances of failure of peoples to come up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles have occurred; these people have found that they failed to receive adequate rainfall[xv] to make their crops grow during the next season! Drought is still a powerful persuader of obstinate human nature!

Only once has drought failed to bring about obedience; at that instance the hold-outs were smitten with an horrible plague, of which Yahweh had warned through His prophet.[xvi] It was fulfilled exactly as before determined; their flesh consumed away as they stood upon their feet; their eyes melted in their sockets, and their tongues withered in their mouths. This severe example has since ensured compliance on the part of all other groups, for the Savior shall be worshipped in the manner in which He has instructed!

Climate Controlled and Regulated

On the other hand, the severe imbalances in weather patterns, excessive rainfall as well as drought, which had been experienced during the time of the end have been corrected. It occurred first in the land of Israel, beginning in the closing years of the twentieth century, where the periodic rains[xvii] - the yoreh and the malkosh – the early and the latter rains (of December-January, and of February-March respectively) have been fully restored as in the days of old. This normalized pattern has meant the insured growth of every good staple and commodity necessary for human welfare, as when Israel first came out of Egypt into Canaan. The vats overflow with wine and oil; the beasts know no thirst as springs of former wilderness areas flow constantly; the tree yields her fruit in abundance; the vine and the fig tree yield their strength; the desert[xviii] indeed blossoms profusely. In the wilderness, waters break out – and streams in the desert; the parched ground has become a pool and the thirsty land, springs of water!

Truly, then, has our Lord brought His Father’s plan for His people to fruition. The greater David sits as king[xix] over them – one Shepherd Who feeds them and IS their Shepherd. As one man they acknowledge the Lord of Heaven to be their God and their Father, as both are valid titles for the Savior in this perfect day when He is entirely equal to His Father, and we are equal to Him! He has made a covenant of peace with the whole house of Israel. No wild beast (of man or animal) roams there to harm or to destroy. The places round about His Hill are a blessing; the showers come down in their season. All Israel – both those of Judah and of Israel – rest secure in their own Land!

Peace and Security Under the Messiah of Israel

After the first dominion of the kingdom was saved from destruction by the Christ of the Second Advent, it was then founded under His infallible leadership and constitution, land became truly secure.[xx] Even then, as Messiah brought order to His land, made a New Covenant with and disarmed the people of Israel,[xxi] and constructed the House of Prayer[xxii] for all Peoples (during which time the forces of Gog attacked and were destroyed[xxiii]), we beheld the rapid spread of His divine power and benevolence to the extremities of the earth. Yes, there was fierce resistance by the forces of the established Church,[xxiv] for He had not appeared in the manner in which they had predicted, nor treated them as they had expected He should have. There was no “rapture” of the “Church,” no escape from the End Time tribulation to the heavens for the avowed Christians of the world.

They have since learned the truth of His words, and understand them in the proper context. For these things He is by them praised continually, and prayer is made unceasingly to Him. The Edenic curse of the land has been removed.[xxv] An abundance of corn grows, even upon the tops of mountains; the fruit of it shakes like that of Lebanon. The plowman overtakes[xxvi] the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who soweth seed.

Formerly meat-eating animals no longer desire meat in their diets; indeed, the wolf[xxvii] dwells peaceably with the lamb; the leopard lies down beside the kid of the goats, and the calf with the young lion and the fatling. Little children lead them all! The cow and the bear feed together; the lion eats straw like the ox. Neither the asp nor the viper will ever harm anyone again. There is no hurt nor destruction in all God’s holy earth or mountain, for the whole earth is now full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea![xxviii]

All these accomplishments are vivid evidence that it has been brought to pass which was written[xxix] by the prophet: that His word should not return unto Him void, that the commandments of His lips should invariable be obeyed, and that His word should accomplish that which He pleased, and prosper in the thing whereunto He sent it. The Redeemed, as well as their mortal subjects (in a lesser sense) go out with joy, and are led forth with peace in its fullest manifestation and meaning; the mountains and the hills break forth before them into singing with perfect harmony; and all nature, including the trees of the field, clap their hands in approval and laudation of His divine programs. Instead of noxious plants such as the thorn and briar, the fir tree and the myrtle spring forth.

The Kingdom Moves Ahead

Before the going forth of the everlasting gospel, many millions upon the earth had never even seen God’s written word, the Bible, much less did they know what it taught! Millions of these people still live. It is they and their descendants who m the Saints now teach. Their days are greatly prolonged, but they do not live forever. They are blessed beyond any reasonable expectancy. Their welfare is the concern of Christ and His Saints. Now, they have ample, freely-offered, daily opportunity to learn of God and follow His way.

The joy of the Saints in their role as teachers is one of joy unsurpassed as they assist Messiah in ruling over the entire population of the earth. These enjoy the features of an economy which satisfies every need of their former, inferior, human condition: security; freedom from fear and anxiety; life without end; freedom from sorrow, suffering, crying or pain; complete peace of mind; freedom from sin and guilt; and a superbly worthwhile occupation. No more foolish mistakes and later remorse. They rule their cities and peoples with complete justice and righteousness, having the mind of Christ.

In such a perfect state, the Saints eagerly and faithfully pursue their profession of leading men and women toward perfection. Their work is the most rewarding one can imagine. Their charges are in constant need of guidance in their affairs, in need of help along their pathways toward life eternal, hopefully to be attained at the end of the thousand years. For, at that time, those who are yet evil and unworthy are destroyed. But those who are faithful and righteous will be also admitted to the state of immortality – for the world is due to change one more time – at the close of the Millennium!

Rebellion, sin and unrighteousness shall then be fully dissolved. From that time there shall be no more fallen human nature upon the earth, and no more resultant death.

God’s plan shall then have reached His stated goal – its full climax, its ultimate apex – and Jesus Christ, the King, shall do as prophesied by the apostle:

Then cometh the end (of the millennial age), when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He that put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith, ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is manifest that He is excepted, Who did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him Who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.[xxx]

Conclusion

You may feel that we have emphasized the Saints’ parts in this discussion of the divine plan for the future to the detriment of that of the King. We haven’t meant to do that except for this reason: that we, being yet mortal, but having that blessed HOPE of eternal life in His kingdom, might be able to identify more easily with the elements of our hope – and with our expected role in the coming millennium. We have meant in no wise to detract from the honor and majesty of our King. This is HIS purpose. HE has called us to it – and is yet calling others. HE wants us of be part of that glorious administration! HE is willing that none[xxxi] of us should perish! HIS role is foreordained and set; ours is not, for our names could yet be blotted out of the Book of Life[xxxii] where they were recorded at our baptism into Christ.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Ecclesias. To him who overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name … which no man knoweth, saving he who receiveth it. [xxxiii]

A white, smooth stone was known to the ancients as a victory stone; thus its analogous use by Jesus in this passage. When this fable was first presented, [xxxiv] its presenter passed out to every member of the audience a small, grayish, semi-smooth stone – a water-polished stone from Lake Ontario, which he had gathered for this occasion. Hearers were asked to retain it in their possession, to keep it on their dressing tables or mantle-pieces at home. To keep it, and to think about it often; and labor to make it whiter and smoother, by meditating and acting on those commandments, principles and examples of the Book of Life. [Conclusion]

An interesting note: Some 20 years after that presentation, one of those attendees at that meeting told us he still displays his small gray stone on the mantle-piece in his living room and remembers its significance every time he notices it!

Regarding footnote numbering: The f. n. numbering is automatically generated in Word. Microsoft Word has its own mind in these matters; we could not discover how to change these Roman numerals to English ones and twos, although we have done it on prior occasions. Please excuse any confusion! –Ed. <HEL MD/USA code 6M> ~2400 words.



[i] I John 2: 1

[ii] Hebrews 2: 6

[iii] Revelation 5: 10

[iv] I Peter 2: 9

[v] Revelation 1: 16; Romans 8: 19

[vi] I Corinthians 6: 2

[vii] II Timothy 2: 12; Hebrews 8: 6 - 8

[viii] Isaiah 61: 6

[ix] Isaiah 61: 9

[x] Galatians 3: 29

[xi] Ezekiel 43: 15, 16

[xii] Ezekiel 43: 19

[xiii] Ezekiel 40: 45

[xiv] Ezekiel 44: 13

[xv] Precedent: Amos 4: 7

[xvi] Zechariah 14: 12 - 20

[xvii] Joel 2: 21-24

[xviii] Isaiah 35: 1-6

[xix] Isaiah 34: 22-31

[xx] Ezekiel 38: 11

[xxi] Zechariah 9: 10

[xxii] Ezekiel 40 - 48

[xxiii] Ezekiel 38 - 39

[xxiv] Revelation 17 – 18; Psalm 2; Psalm 149:4-9

[xxv] Revelation 22: 1-3; Psalm 72: 15 - 17

[xxvi] Amos 9: 13

[xxvii] Isaiah 11: 6-9

[xxviii] Numbers 14: 21

[xxix] Isaiah 55: 11-13

[xxx] 1 Corinthians 15: 24-28

xxxi II Peter 3:9

xxxii Revelation 3: 5

xxxiii Revelation 2: 17

[xxx]iv October Gathering, Richmond Chapel Ecclesia (Virginia)

The eProphecy Letter

A Scriptural Fable

June, 2013: A Prospect of Paradise: Part Two


H E Lafferty

[Reprinted from The Prophecy Letter, January to March, 1998]

Dear Readers of The electronic Prophecy Letter (eTPL):

Here is the second installment (of three) containing a discussion of the coming Kingdom of God.

During the six millennia leading up to His glorious kingdom, men loved to speculate upon matters of which they had termed the New Age, matters such as “karma,” re-incarnation, ESP and mind control. Many false prophets arose who, under the guise of possessing an ability to foresee the future, made “prophesying” their livelihood, grossly deceiving a gullible, fearful, mortal population with their predictions, which were proven time and again to have been no more accurate than guesses … which, indeed, they were!

In contrast to these practices, the immortal Saints, indeed are instilled with the ability of mental communication, knowing the end of every matter from the beginning; perceiving the thoughts and intents[1] of the heart of man. And fully born now of the Spirit of God, with all it blessed attributes, possessing instantaneous, infallible solutions to every problem of every sort and in every field of endeavor, including education, law, theology, morals, ethics, sociology, engineering, science and medicine.

Healing of the Nations

In the latter connection, all supplies of narcotic and medicinal drugs have been destroyed, along with their means of production. Yet the span of mortal life is greatly prolonged. In the Holy Oblation, in the vicinity of the throne of God and of the Lamb, there flows a pure river of water of life. In the midst of it and on its banks grow the living wood[2] of Life[3]twelve kinds of trees, each bearing fruits in each successive month, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations. Further, all treatment of disease has been delegated to the Saints, who utilize t heir complete knowledge and wisdom to prevent and control disease. They heal injuries, restore sight, speech and hearing without the use of surgery, medication or therapy – just as did the Master when He ministered to the sick and infirm two millennia before, and Who at that time said, “He who believeth on Me, the works that do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do.”[4]

The Perfection of the Saints

Further in this vein: our own bodies and minds, as immortalized Saints, are now totally pure and perfected, having been the subjects of drastic and complete change, in a moment[5] - in the twinkling of an eye – through the spirit and power of Messiah, Who transformed our vile bodies[6] and fashioned them like unto His glorious body, according to the working of His ability to subjugate all things unto Himself! All together, we represent the Bride;[7] the Lamb’s Wife; the Holy City[8] New Jerusalem; the Called;[9] the Elect; the Chosen; the Faithful; the Redeemed of the earth! Our nature is immortal, being incapable of dying[10] anymore!

Since being immortalized we feel no fatigue at all; yet we find pleasure both in resting and sleeping, as well as partaking of the perfect cuisine of the kingdom[11] which the abundance of the good earth produces. We are not limited to one language, or to two, but without thought or difficulty, communicate in the native tongues of all those being addressed or heard, if they have not yet learned the pure language [12] of the kingdom.

Unlike our proclivities of the days of our flesh, no evil thought enters our conscious processes. Though not always true for our constituents (the peoples over whom we bear rule), we feel neither sorrow[13] nor pain nor sadness; yet our capacity for joy, well-being and compassion is boundless! We weary not of physical tasks[14] or of well-working;[15] we rejoice in expounding the everlasting Gospel[16] to millions, who now are eager and willing to hear[17] and believe the Truth of Yahweh. It has been astonishing to us Immortals how that the masses of the nations have clung to the natural Israelite (but now having the laws of God written upon their hearts) – Jews of greater Israel, striving to learn of God, and confessing that their fathers had inherited lies[18] and things in which there was no profit.

The Miracle of Resurrection Witnessed

Some of us who were alive and remained at the coming of the Lord Jesus still marvel at the power of the resurrection! – a process which we thought might surely be worked upon ourselves had the Lord delayed His coming much longer. It was marvelous how the memorial graves were opened at the sound[19] of the Master’s voice, and the dead were cast out! At first they were not alive, of course, but were shortly revivified. Each saint was, by the infinite power of God, infividually restructured[20] in the perfect image of his or her former self; then, in an instant, the nephesh[21] of life was restored to each, and they lived again, to stand[22] before the judgment bar of their elder Brother and Savior, Jesus the Christ, Yeshua essiah, according to the decree of the Almighty through the prophets and apostles.

From lofty peaks, from quiet cemeteries, from hidden vales, from the depths of the seas, from remote and desolate regions[23] they came, these souls, gathered by the angels of the Lord at the last trump[24] along with the living believers and even their dependent children, to be marshaled into the presence of the Righteous Judge.

At the time (for we who had been living when He appeared the second time), it was most disturbing to us to behold those on His left hand, who were rejected at that tribunal; they wept sorely and gnashed their teeth for their irretrievable loss of His free gift of life – all because of faithlessness – all because of unbelief. Yet the Master had no compassion upon them in their plight, for their blindness, ignorance and lack of faith during their probationary time; for their names were not found written in the Book of Life.[25] [Alas, they had been blotted out of that Book!] With contempt, He ejected them, telling them that He had never known[26] them!

But our distress was short-lived, for we were found upon the right hand of the throne of Judgments, and as the Master turned to survey our immense company – drawn out of every age and people, out of every nation, kindred and tongue – we could behold tears of deepest joy in His eyes, as He spoke to us the sentence of Victory[27] over Death and the Grave! “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:: For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; Naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.”

The Evil of Mankind Resistant to Christ’s Righteousness

Although the Master is finally in the earth, and the seventh millennium is in progress, and outward aggression has been brought under control, we Immortals are acutely aware that the forces of human resistance have not fully given up.

Among the intellectuals, mostly, there is a strong element of fleshly pride – and chagrin that these late supernatural events have come about! The attitude of many is for now similar to that of the scribes, Sadducees, Pharisees and priests when the Master lived in the days of His flesh.

Though they certainly witnessed the remarkable Second Advent (for every eye did see[28] Him!) and the events surrounding that occurrence – though they witnessed first the numbing defeat of the armies of Israel’s neighbors[29] round about, then that of the Gogian[30] host, and finally the sound thrashing[31] given the armies of the Man of Sin – a suspicious few are yet of the opinion that these developments may be somehow a super-clever Zionist conspiracy to take over the world! And that the Lord Jesus is Himself a powerful but spurious Messiah – a man that they accuse as being “Antichrist!”

The apologists of right-wing political ideology throughout the world had been hard to convince that the Zionists and the Russian host weren’t in close league with each other to dominate the world, until the day came that the Russians betrayed their supposed Jewish allies, who had by then taken full control of not only a land area far greater than that of David’s kingdom (from the Nile to the Euphrates), but also all the oil reserves and refineries and the immense wealth of the proximal Islamic states; their huge troves of gold, art treasures, cash reserves, commercial paper, and other chattels – having soundly beaten their Ishmaelite and Edomite brethren after a protracted series of smaller wars.

Of course, the truth was that Israel and Islam were always enemies, and that the latter were strongly backed by the Russians, both politically and ideologically. But their mistaken belief shows how devastatingly wrong sincerity can be without facts!

Sincerity Without Facts – a Case in Point

The established Church and its Protestant daughters was another case, mostly, of pride and mistaken sincerity! It had gone astray late in the first century, corrupting the received doctrines of the Father, given through His prophets and through the Master. It had refused to recognize the inherent difficulties in reconciling its new “theology” with those most basic of scriptural doctrines of: (1) the covenants of promise[i][32] made to Abraham and his Seed, along with (2) Paul’s concrete declarations[33] which immutably linked the Christ with Abraham, showing Him to be the Seed of Abraham and of the woman, land (3) the hundreds of passages which showed that the kingdom wasn’t destined to be in heaven at all, but on the earth,[34] with the throne of David being restored in Jerusalem and occupied by Jesus Christ, fulfilling II Samuel 7, among many other prophecies.

So the Church had “spiritualized” many institutions of the Father, among the chief ones being their claim that all New Testament mention of Israel (and many Old Testament, as well) as being indicative of the Church, instead of the literal nation of Jews restored to their land in the 19th and 20th centuries in fulfillment of that specific set of prophecies. Errors – sincere errors, doubtless – but errors nevertheless, of the grossest magnitude and consequence.

Other errors foisted on the masses in direct contradiction of the word of God were, (4) “Thou shalt NOT surely die,” the proposition of the serpent to Eve, which was appropriated by the Church, whose priests declared that men didn’t really die at the end of their mundane life, but that the “real man” (the soul) was whisked away from his body at death to purgatory, there to await still later transfer either to heaven, where he would live forever, or to hell , where he would also live forever! Either to everlasting life in heavenly bliss, or everlasting life (not death – which means to cease to exist in any way) in the fires of hell where he or she would undergo eternal combustion but never be incinerated!

And that punishment would be eternally administered to an immaterial “soul” of their imagination – a quality which they aver cannot be seen, felt, or sensed in any way! Remarkable!

In this instance alone, tahey disregaareed and denied several other major doctrines which had been given man from God; (5) Biblical death; (6) Biblical resurrection; (7) the Biblical Judgment; (8) the Biblical kingdom of God; (9) the millennial reign of Christ on the earth in which He shall perfect it; (10) the Biblical King; (11) the Biblically defined nature of man, to name only a few of its errors.

There were numerous other areas of corruption and distortion of God’s plan.

Babylon the Great Destroyed

But now, the harlot mother, Babylon[35] the Great, has been destroyed forever, amongst much weeping and howling of the great ones of the earth, as they beheld her destruction. The Man of Sin has been defrocked!

Now our privilege as Saints is to teach the pure, simple doctrines of salvation, of redemption, righteousness, and peace to mankind – to those who have survived that final holocaust, that dreadful outpouring of the wrath of the Almighty upon the earth!

Activities of the Saints; the Pure Tongue

Now the peoples of the earth must learn one language – the pure tongue of the kingdom age and beyond. How is that holy activity accomplished? The Saints diligently instruct the people, who learn God’s way with eagerness. We teach them in a pure, universal[36] language, which represents, of course, a return[37] from the confusion of tongues at Babel, when the formerly unified language of man was broken up[38] – a return toward interracial peace and acceptance through abolition of nationalism and racism, and through universal adoption of th way of truth and life – toward setting aside suspicion and prejudice, fear mistrust among men – and toward perfect understanding of all mattrs of millennial life and law by the mortals. Our new language is an exact, perfectly exspressive tongue which conveys in difrect language, every facet of God’s glorious purpose.

The Peaceable Kingdom

Thus, Yahweh’s kingdom, in its beginning millennium, containing now both mortal and immortal beings, is truly a kingdom of peace! Men and women may do as they please only insofar as they follow God’s gracious and benevolent laws; for them, the kingdom is a delightful place. If any wish, even now, to live unto themselves and by their own standards, as formerly, that aren not allowed to do so. It is a paradise of peaceful but powerful evidence and persuasion by the Christ and His Immortal Helpers – all working for the good of mankind in the context, first, of glory to God[39] and respect for His purpose.

Though the point has already been hinted at, one must realize that the immortalized Ones are now constituted in every aspect of our beings in glorious unity with the Beloved Savior, Whose throne is in Jerusalem. As the apostle[40] had written, we were given exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

As the beloved apostle wrote[41] of the Sons of God, that during their fleshly tenure they were, indeed, Sons of God, but that it was not yet apparent what we should be in the future; but even then, John knew that, when the Lord should appear, we should be like Him, seeing Him as He would appear.

But try as we did in the days of our flesh, we could only perceive as through a shard of smoked glass,[42] our future state – being like Him! Now, we see clearly, face to face – and fully comprehend! How often did we sing[43] this comforting hymn of hope during our fleshly tenure –

We shall be like Him! O, How rich the promise,

What greater could our Father’s love prepare?

Few are the words, and softly are they spoken,

But who shall tell the blessings hidden there?

We shall be like Him! – pure in heart, and sinless;

But His redeeming mercy ends not there;

These bodies like to His shall then be fashioned,

And we, His resurrection glory share.

We shall be like Him! – raised above all weakness,

Forever past all weariness and pain;

E’en death itself shall have no power to reach us

When, with our risen Lord, we live and reign.

So, in the hope of bearing His bright image,

Rejoicing in His present gift of grace,

His love shall keep our hearts in patient waiting

Till we, in glorious beauty, see His face.

That lofty hymn of hope and profound purpose has brought us to our present state: like Him!

One with Him!

One with the Master! One with the King of all the earth! Not only identical in nature- alive forevermore, unable even to die, be hurt, or become ill or infirm or aged – but one in heart and purpose with our Redeemer, with no more challenges from the deceit of evil!

[End PartTwo: This series is to be concluded in the near future, God willing. Ed.]

ENDNOTES:

[1] I Corinthians 13:32

[2] Revelation 22:1,2

[3] Cf. footnote in Companion Bible (Bullinger)

[4] I Corinthians 15: 52

[5] I Corinthians 15

[6] Philippians 3: 20, 21

[7] Isaiah 62: 4, 5; Revelation 21: 9, 10

[8] Revelation 21: 1

[9] Revelation 17: 14

[10] Luke 20: 36

[11] Luke 21: 41, 42

[12] Zephaniah 3: 9

[13] Revelation 21: 4

[14] Isaiah 40: 31

[15] Galatians 6: 9

[16] Revelation 14: 6

[17] Zechariah 8: 23

[18] Isaiah 16: 19

[19] John 5: 28

[20] Romans 4: 17

[21] breath

[22] Romans 14: 10; Revelation 20: 13

[23] Revelation 20: 13

[24] Romans 14: 10; I Thessalonians 4: 16

[25] Revelation 20 : 15

[26] Luke 13: 27

[27] Matthew 25: 31 - 46

[28] Luke 21: 27

[29] Micah 5; Psalm 83; Zechariah 14, etc.

[30] Ezekiel 38, 39

[31] Revelation 17, 18

[32] Genesis 12: 1-3; 15; 17: 5-8; Acts 7:5 etc.

[33] Galatians 3:16=29

[34] Numbers 14: 21; Zechariah 14: 9; Psalm 37:9, 11, 22; Habakkuk 2: 14

[35] Revelation 18:19-24

[36] Zephaniah 3: 9

[37] Genesis 11: 7-9

[38] Genesis 11: 1

[39] Habakkuk 2: 14

[40] I Peter 1: 4

[41] I John 3: 2

[42] I Corinthians 13: 12

[43] Hymn 292 (CHB 1964 ed.)



The eProphecy Letter

A Scriptural Fable

May 2013 : A Prospect of Paradise: Part One

H E Lafferty

[Reprinted from The Prophecy Letter, January to March, 1998]

Dear Readers of The electronic Prophecy Letter (eTPL):

I hope that you will not think me presumptuous in the presentation of this fable for your consideration. It is a fable only temporarily; simply because it has not yet seen fruition. The certainty of this narrative seeing fulfillment – in its general parts – is as predictable and certain as the sun’s rising on the morrow.

It is intended that this narrative enable each of us more fully to understand, appreciate and internalize that Institution for which we labor and toil – the glorious Kingdom of God under our Lord, Jesus Christ – and that it will give us more insight into it and sharpen our desire to be a part of that dominion.

And not only that; that this narrative may give us some greater measure of strength to stand against the wiles of the devil – that ancient, supremely strong and deceiving principle of sin within each of us; so that we may resist, and fight, and struggle against it, and hold fast our faith during these evil times … in these times in which our faith is being tested in even newer, more subtle and more unusual ways. And that our understanding and appreciation of the greatness, the bounty, the compassion and the love of our heavenly Father, and of the magnitude of His promises, may be made surer and stronger.

We will be utilizing well over an hundred primary scriptural passages in this dissertation, so I’ll endnote each one rather than insert the reference into the test. See how many you recognize before you consult the endnotes!

A PROSPECT OF PARADISE

The year is Anno Mundi – the year of the world – six thousand twenty four; or, by the common reckoning, Anno Domini – the year of the Lord – two thousand twenty one. The earth is at complete peace throughout, and our Father and His Son are known throughout the earth.[1]

The End Time Wars

The clouds of war and commotion which have lately engulfed the entire earth[2] have passed away – with much protest, mind you, and with the dogged (but brief) resistance of numerous former leaders in the world who had drawn out disciples after themselves to pursue their own national aims and politico-philosophical fixations.

Now those insurrectionists are defeated, their followers are at rest – or dead, in the final, agonal spasm of organized human resistance, which had its most spectacular and comprehensive display (but not the last by any means!) on the very mountains of the Holy Land. The implements of warfare, the equipment and supplies of the invading armies of Gog of the land of Magog and his confederates alone required 84 months of continuous cleansing of the Land; just the dead soldiers were seven months in burying, following the thunderous defeat – the utter annihilation – rendered upon the armies of the heathen by the Lord God Almighty.[3] The greatest center of their destruction was concentrated east of the Sea[4] where millions of the aggressors’ dead lie buried in the largest cemetery on earth, the Valley of Hamon-Gog.[5]

This degree of destruction was by no means surprising to the enlightened - to those End Time watchers of Spiritual Israel who were closely observing the events of those days, guided by the revelations of the prophets of God[6] who clearly forecasted these events – not so their readers could become prophets themselves, but so that they could, by pondering these prophecies, then watch for them, and believe and understand them when they came to pass; they were meant to direct the expectations of the faithful, and to strengthen them in their resolve and faith,[7] to encourage them to trust fully in the Lord of all the earth, and in His glorious, perfect plan of salvation.

Today, all the mortal population that remains is extremely fortunate even to the here – to have survived the years of the sword and cannon, which, in the day of the Lord extended to every part of the eastern hemisphere as well as to every corner of the west, from the sub-Arctic to every continent, and to the islands of the sea, leaving the dead of the Lord scattered[8] from one end of the earth to the other. Hundreds of thousands never were gathered nor buried, but were left as dung upon the ground, rotting into dust.[9]

Headquarters of the Kingdom of God

And scattered with them lie the former great cities of the earth in ruins, much of their populations decimated.[10] Even Jerusalem, the present seat of world Government, is a new city, having been broken up[11] by a tremendous earthquake just prior to the beginning of the kingdom. As such, it is the center of the world’s worship[12] of the Lord God – of Yahweh Himself – through Yahweh Tz’vaoth – the Lord of Hosts – His beloved Son, Yeshua Messiah. It is located in the territory of old Judah, the Sanctuary in the midst of the Holy Oblation, in the new, theocratic monarchy of Israel, precisely on its old site.[13]

The administrative City of the Great King is located approximately 30 miles to the south; it is an hundred square miles in size, and is called Yahweh Shammah.[14] But it is to the Sanctuary itself – to New Jerusalem – to the great House of Prayer for All Nations,[15] to the splendid Temple of the Millennium, that we see a constant, joyful flow of mortal beings[16] out of every tribe, tongue, people and land, coming each year now to worship Yahweh of Hosts, and His King upon David’s restored throne,[17] and to keep the feast of tabernacles.[18]

In recent years, Gentiledom suffered its own inevitable defeat! At the end of that time, the Gentiles (the nations) began to come willingly unto Him from the ends of the earth, confessing and lamenting: “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit;”[19] not only pseudo-Christians of every stripe, but also the pagan races of old Asia and Africa, along with idolaters, animists, followers of witchcraft, sorcery, new age doctrines, of Shinto, Plato, Zoroaster, Allah, Buddha, and every diverse philosophy.

The Millennial Kingdom

Now, some decades after its inception, the age of the Seventh Millennium – the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ – is making excellent headway. For 6,000 years, Adamic man had trampled underfoot the laws of God; he had consistently turned his back upon God’s purpose with the earth and on His plan for mankind.

At the Christ’s manifestation to the world – at His Second[20] Advent; after the resurrection of the saints; after their judgment[21] and His awarding eternal life[22] to many of them; after His destruction of Israel’s enemies[23] who came against His Land; and after His proclamation of [24]Himself King in Jerusalem and being accepted with tears and grieving[25] by his people Israel – at that time did the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing.[26] They would not readily accept Messiah’s proclamation that He had returned as King of the whole earth; so these kings set themselves and took counsel together against the Almighty and His Anointed; “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us,” said they, in unique concert!

The Victory of Christ Over the Nations

But, as usual, the kings of the earth were in error! For Messiah’s spirit and power was soon manifested to them in stunning victory, in which He broke them as with a rod of iron, dashing them to pieces like a potter’s vessel,[27] He spoke to them in His wrath, and vexed them in His sore displeasure. And Yahweh did eternally set His King upon His holy hill of Zion, in the First Dominion of His Kingdom.[28]

Thus it was, in the days of these kings[29] that the God of heaven did set up His kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and which shall not be left to other rulers (as its King is immortal, and shall retain His power forever). This kingdom broke in pieces and consumed all these obstinate kingdoms, absorbing them into the kingdom of God on the earth.

It was in this precise way that the proclamation of the great voices in heaven, at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, were brought to pass: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

Peace Established on the Earth

The obscene folly in which mankind has been engaged for so many centuries has finally come to a crushing, total halt!

The proclamation of the angels, when He was born, in this day fulfilled in our eyes:

“… on earth, peace, goodwill among men ....” [30] At last our blood- and tear-stained planet is free from war! Even minor conflicts among individuals and social groups is greatly diminished; and true peace among mankind is the order of the day.

The battle bow is cut off not only from Israel,[31] where disarmament was one of the first orders of their King, but He has spoken peace unto the nations as well. His dominion is from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. Out of Zion goes forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He judges among many peoples and rebukes strong nations afar off, so that their reaction to His commandment has been to beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; no longer does any nation lift up a sword against another nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but the people of each nation sit under their own vine and fig tree, and none makes them afraid.[32]

Nations and Boundaries Abolished, and Saints Rule

National boundaries have according been removed. National laws have likewise been abolished, and replaced by Messiah’s righteous decrees. There remain no hostile borders or political enclosures in all the earth. Armies and police forces of every sort have been disbanded; law enforcement has taken on entirely new aspects in planet earth! The head of each city is an immortal Saint of God, some of whom control as many as nine other cities.[33] These Saints are, without exception, the products of a previous probationary life, and as such, have been perfected through trial[34] and forgiveness.[35] Beside this, the grace of the Christ has been poured upon those Saints in order to bring each one of them to the fullness of perfection, even “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Whom they now serve in an eternal capacity.[36]

With such qualifications, these Rulers – gifted with angelic powers, invested with immortality; endowed with the perfect mind of their Master; having hearts in completed tune with His, as well as His standards of Righteousness and justice; and given the ability to read the thoughts and intents of mortal men and women – these Rulers are the ideal Governors among the people remaining of the mortal nations.

The Master, through these Immortals, has now established uniform laws – His own righteous laws – throughout the earth and among every people; likewise, the Saints, in their roles as Priests,[37] daily teach the direct, sublime, pure Truth of salvation to the mortal tribes who come morning and evening to hear and receive the word of God – to ask mediation, blessing and forgiveness of sins through their agency.

In this way the people are steadily being taught righteousness.[38] Even now, all[39] the mortal population know their King, from the youngest to the eldest. They plead urgently and with genuine affection and regard to those Jews[40] who inhabit their Land now in perpetual peace and safety, as well as to the Saints who have charge over them in daily life, confessing after this manner: “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Fulfilling these duties, these Saints have become those promised Administrators of the perfect laws and religion comprehended in the everlasting gospel[41] of Him Who is their Head, “the Faithful Witness, the First Begotten of the Dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth,” [42] Who loved each of the Saints, and washed them from their sin in His own blood, Whose glory and dominion is the whole earth for ever and ever!

Nature of the Saints

You will recall that the Divine Ruler of this age, our Lord Jesus Christ, had previously defined the particular nature of those wh o should be accounted worthy oto obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead[43] - that they neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither can they die anymore; for they are equal unto the angels; and are children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Likewise, at the House of Prayer in Jerusalem, the bearers of the light and glory are Messiah and the perfected Saints.[44] The prophet Ezekiel had seen the glory depart from the temple of Solomon;[45] in later narrative, he was privileged to report seeing a vision[46] of the return to the Sanctuary of that Shekinah – that brightness, that brilliant light of God – which had departed earlier.

So it was fulfilled. The great Temple-Sanctuary has been constructed under the direction of it s chief occupant; the Anointed Savior, Who, with His sacred Elect, the immortalized Saints, has brought into it the brightness of God’s glory. The people now hear His collective voice, like the noise[47] of many waters; the earth glows now, shining[48] with His splendid glory!

[Part two next month, God willing.] <HEL MD/USA May, 2013> 2265 words

ENDNOTES:

[1] Habakkuk 2: 14; Numbers 14: 21; Micah 2: 4, 13; Zechariah 14: 9; Psalm 72:19

[2] Isaiah 66: 16; Jeremiah 25: 30-33

[3] Ezekiel 38: 18-23

[4] Ezekiel 39: 9-15 – the Sea of Galilee, according to Young, in the Yarkon Valley.

[5] Ezekiel 39: 15

[6] Jeremiah 25; Daniel 12; Ezekiel 37, 38; Isaiah 47: 63; Zechariah 12 – 14; Joel 3; Revelation 17, 18

[7] John 13: 19

[8] Zephaniah 3: 8

[9] Jeremiah 25: 33

[10] For example: Damascus – Isaiah 17:1; Amos 1:5; Amman – Amos 1: 13; Rome – Revelation 18: 10, 21

[11] Zechariah 14: 4, 10

[12] Ezekiel 40 - 48

[13] Zechariah 14: 11

[14] The Lord is There: Ezekiel 48: 35

[15] Isaiah 56: 7; Matthew 21: 13; Mark 11: 17; Luke 19: 46

[16] Zechariah 14: 16

[17] II Samuel 7: 13, 14; Luke 1: 31-33; Acts 2: 30

[18] Ezekiel 45: 25

[19] Jeremiah 16: 19-21

[20] Acts 1: 11

[21] I Corinthians 15: 1 -22

[22] II Corinthians 5: 10

[23] Revelation 3: 4, 5

[24] Micah 5: 6, 8; Zechariah 1: 8, 9; Joel 3: 12 - 17

[25] Zechariah 12: 10 – 14

[26] Psalm 2: 1

[27] Ibid, verse 9

[28] Micah 4: 8

[29] Daniel 2: 44

[30] Luke 2: 14

[31] Zechariah 9: 10

[32] Micah 4: 2 - 4

[33] Luke 19: 15 - 19

[34] Colossians 4: 12

[35] Romans 4: 7, 8; James 5: 15

[36] Ephesians 4: 13

[37] Revelation 1: 6; 5: 10; 20:6

[38] Isaiah 60: 12

[39] Jeremiah 31: 34

[40] Zechariah 8: 22, 23

[41] Revelation 14: 6

[42] Revelation 1: 5, 6

[43] Luke 20: 35, 36

[44] Isaiah 60: 19

[45] Isaiah 11: 23

[46] Ezekiel 43: 2

[47] Revelation 19: 6

[48] Revelation 21: 23

The eProphecy Letter

April 2013 : Our Extraterrestrial Bible

Harold Lafferty

We are not being sensationalistic with this title. Our insistence is that the word of God is only that – the word of God. As such it is not earthly, but heavenly. Hence, extraterrestrial.

Many people scoff at the Bible, claiming it to be a dusty old collection of myths passed from generation to generation by romantic Jews and others – interesting in places, but of little consequence. They claim it is not to be taken literally. That its authority is spurious.

That is perhaps one of the easiest of Humanistic claims to prove wrong. Please consider this exposition of some of the ways …

Solomon wrote, in Proverbs 25: 2 - It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. As aspiring future “kings” we eagerly accept the challenges! There are astonishing facts hidden in the Bible which easily prove its divine authorship. We will address several in this short essay.

First:

The language of the Old Testament is Hebrew with only a few exceptional passages recorded in Chaldee (in Daniel). The word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet – aleph, and beth.

Hebrew letters have a phonetic character, of course, but they also carry meaning, in addition.

In ancient Hebrew, aleph was a drawing similar to an ox-head with horns. It carries the meaning of “leader,” or “strength.” Beth was shaped like an house, and meant “house” or “family.” So these two letters, AB, means HEAD of the HOUSE, or FATHER.

The letter heh looks like uplifted arms raising a window. It means “behold,” “revealed,” and “breeze, wind, spirit.” If one writes aleph and beth – and places between them the letter – heh – the resultant word is ahab, which means heart or essence of the father, which is LOVE. So, you see, many words define themselves quite handily.

Now, we are aware that the complete message of salvation is only made clear by the appearance and the redemptive work of Christ in the New Testament. But the New Testament is integral with the Old Testament. Without the Old, we cannot understand the New.

Second.

Take for instance the genealogy of Noah, in Genesis 5. If we scan the text we find the names of ten men in this order: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah. But these are transliterations of those names; as such they are not defined. Each has a discernible meaning. Here is a list of them with definitions …

Adam is from adomah, or man

Seth means "appointed" Genesis 4: 25 records that … Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

Enosh means “mortal, frail, miserable” from the root anash, which is a wound, or sickness which is incurable.

Kenan means “sorrow, dirge, or elegy”

Mahalalel means “blessed, or praised,” with El the name for God

Jared (Yared) means “shall come down”

Enoch is an academic phrase, and means “commencement, or teaching”

Methuselah means "his death shall bring." It had been revealed that the flood would not come until Methuselah had died. He indeed died in the same year the flood came!

Lamech means “lament, or lamentation.” it suggests “despairing”

Noah is from nacham, “to bring relief, or comfort, it means comfort, or rest. It is defined in Genesis 5: 29 - And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.

The translation of these names in order gives us the following declaration: “Man (is) appointed mortal in sorrow. (But) the blessed God shall come down, teaching His death; (it) shall bring to the despairing, comfort (and) rest.”

This exciting discovery comes only from exerting the additional effort to translate the names in order to try to discern their message. It is a staggeringly important discovery tucked away neatly and obscurely in the genealogy of Noah! It foreshadows the entire gospel message quite simply.

And all the time, we just wanted to scan through these tedious genealogical lists of hard-to-pronounce names as quickly as possible and get on to something more interesting!

This clear statement proves the foreknowledge – the omniscience – of God without any doubt. He is aware of all things from the foundation of the world!

Genesis contains a concise summary of the clearly-taught New Testament Gospel in Torah! It surely cannot be thought that Moses, or any group of Jewish Rabbis had the foreknowledge to hide this definitive truth of the plan of God in the Torah! It was the work of God Himself.

Third.