December: Considerations of Zechariah 13 and 14
Jerusalem and Judah: Their redemption
The immediate result (of the last portion of Chapter 12) shall be that a remedy shall be instituted for their advantage. It is expressed as being a fountain opened to the House of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
Although we do not know the intimate details of this institution at this time, it shall become apparent to them at that time as a universal mechanism for confirming their repentance and acceptance of Messiah, the King of Israel, as He takes His seat upon the Throne of David upon Mount Zion in the Holy City.
Zec 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
This benefit of a mechanism of their cleansing – of whatever it consists – comes to them as a result of their repentance and subsequent mourning for their crucifixion of Jesus as well as their ready acceptance of Him at His Second Advent..
The next verse indicates the removal of all impediments to their understanding of and worship of the LORD Jesus Christ, Whom they shall at that time have accepted as Messiah and King.
Their cleansing and sanctification; all corruption defeated
Zec 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the (false) prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
In our studied opinion, this provision means that the Land shall be cleansed drastically: it indicates the expulsion of all the Jews who are “gay,” who will be cut off from the land and people; in includes everyone who is engaged in business theft or corrupt practices; and all those who claim to be atheists; and those who practice prostitution of all kinds; or are the proprietors of gambling establishments, casinos, etc.
All these evil and ungodly practices and professions will be removed from the people and the culture forever. Our reason for saying so is that all these practices were condemned in the tenets of the Law of Moses. In so claiming, we are not advocating that the Law shall be re-established in that future time, but are at the same time, recognizing that the stipulations of the Law are an expression of the standard of the righteousness of the Almighty which He had revealed to them in that statutory body of legal documents. We cannot but be convicted that such conduct and such practice shall be summarily forbidden in the administration which at that time becomes instituted in the Land for His People’s benefit and guidance.
The false prophets also, who now predict other than godly outcomes are to be expelled as well – the subject of the next verse. These are referred to in the context of the false prophets which plagued Judah in the days leading up to the Babylonian captivity – a period when their presence was rampant in the country.
False prophets nullified, destroyed out of the land
Zec 13:3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy (that is, of his own convictions, one who prophesies falsely), then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the (false) prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment (their outward identification as a “prophet”) to deceive: 5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
Now their attention is riveted upon Jesus as His identity is announced to them in this astounding “show and tell” session which He holds with them, in answer to their queries: we visualize this episode as occurring immediately after some semblance of order has been restored in the nation, after His feet touch the Mount of Olives, subsequent to His complete victory over the thorns and briers of the Land between the Rivers and the Seas (Abraham’s promised land).
Israel’s recognition of Jesus
Now comes “the moment of truth” as we so often describe pivotal events:
Zec 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
The Revelator finds it necessary to insert relevant background information here, determined to be of the categories, What? and Why?
The narrative now shifts back to that time when He first came, and was indeed betrayed. The prophecy is one of the most succinct, fully explanatory prophecies of this terrible episode in Judah’s history.
The prophet now explains in great detail how and why Messiah should be subject to the wrath of His fellows, and be wounded and killed in the manner which they shall then view with horror.
Bear in mind – these prophecies are necessary in order that the Spirit may establish its case in future history. These prophetic words will prove beyond any doubt to future consideration, that the events which shall come to pass relating to Jesus, were prophesied OF HIM – accurately, graphically, and in truth. They will verify the testimony of all the Father’s prophets.
The prophet is now directed to raise an alarm: “Awake, O sword …." The words introduce some of the critical details of the final persecution of Jesus leading to those wounds which still, at his Second Advent, reside in His palms and His side.
Subject: How He should be betrayed;
the consequences of the Shepherd smitten
Zec 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
Recall, please, that this prophecy lies well beyond (ahead of) the times of Zechariah, and as already stated, foretells in great detail much of the future history of his people, and His Son in particular.
It gives the reasons why certain key fulfillments came about, and in what manner they would do so.
This call is for a “sword” to be raised against two subjects: first, against the man Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ fellow who betrayed Him, and second, against Jesus Himself, the Shepherd Designate of Israel, Whose time had not yet come to fulfill that role.
First must come His sacrifice of shame, which should immediately result in His victory over sin and death, by resurrection.
These words foretell the man Judas, who betrayed his Friend Jesus; they also foreshadow the final moments of the life of the LORD, and his treatment before Pilate, some six hundred years future from the day of this revelation.
Judas’ “smiting” was his immediate recognition of the enormity of his act of betrayal, so severely overwhelming that he hanged himself, an act which was fatal to him.
The “smiting” of Jesus took the final form of crucifixion, the summary description of which is recorded in the gospel of John; its result was directly converse to that of Judas; it led to His salvation, and that of His followers:
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
This vile deed, promoted by the Jews, and executed by the Romans, could not stand without repercussion upon them, although it was fully providential. Its near-term consequences should become one of the most savage conquests of a people ever known – the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah in 70AD to 73AD, in which the curses of Deuteronomy and Leviticus came to bear with great vengeance upon the remnant of Judah.
The siege of Jerusalem was one of the final acts of this horrid, morbid drama. The Roman general Titus besieged the city for several months before he could conquer it. The walls were built of massive limestone blocks weighing many tons, and stacked as high as 60 feet.
The City contained its own abundant water supply, whereas the Romans were compelled to cart water from as far away as Caesarea Maritima, some dozens of miles away, for its thousands of soldiers. The Jews of the City taunted the Romans by soaking blankets with their abundant fresh water and hanging them over the walls to show the Romans that their supply of fresh water was not threatened.
But foodstuffs were a different story. Their supply of grains, dried vegetables, and meats was limited. As the siege wore on and on, those supplies dwindled and finally were depleted.
Caloric intake is absolutely necessary for human survival. As siege stones were catapulted over the walls, buildings were wrecked and people were killed within the city. One might suppose that the cannibalism which occurred at that time may have been initiated when some felt compelled to consume the carcasses of some of those persons killed in this way.
But later in these desperate times, women actually slew and boiled their own children in order to survive. Deuteronomy 28: 52-57 prophecied that destiny for many. The siege lasted from Passover to mid-August, 70AD.
Here is the crux of the prophecy: During that time, Josephus the historian, records that a third of the people died in warfare, a third starved to death, and a third were taken captive, fulfilling to a word this terrible prophecy of what was to come in days well after those of Zechariah.
It requires no “faith” at all to accept these facts as fulfilling this direct prophecy of their fate at the hands of Rome, the awful sentence of which lies in Zechariah’s next words. They follow closely upon the previous narrative, indicating the ultimate fate of those left living.
Zec 13:8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
Of the third who lived, and were taken captive, many survived a life of Roman slavery, going forward into freedom at some point, marrying and rearing families in the Jewish tradition.
The Jews of Judah continued to resist Roman overlordship, and in 135AD, under Bar Kockhba, they rebelled again, with consequences nearly as severe.
Jewish slaves were sold and deported all over the known world. It is said that the price of slaves in the markets of the Middle East dropped sharply, as the supply of slaves was overwhelming; there were not enough buyers of these miserable human properties.
Out of this oppressive milieu came the Jewish populations of much of Europe during the next centuries.
However, at the time of this great siege, many of the growing community of affluent Jews were already in dispersion, living in various parts of the Empire at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, witness to which we summon the record of the many synagogues in which the Apostle Paul and his companions taught the Way of Christ, but were rejected.
In the years that lay ahead of them, the Jews in particular were most oppressed of all Europe’s peoples, hunted and slain, accused and persecuted for all sorts of vile crimes and trumped-up charges, killed, tortured, maimed and vilified universally as a people.
In our opinion, all these folk represent the “third” that were brought through the fire of the Jewish rebellion, were refined as silver and as gold, the descendants of whom are in our present age coming home to Israel, and eventually shall come to call upon God’s name.
That is a time which lies yet beyond our own day, for their national recognition of Him, as already referred to by Zechariah, lies yet in their future.
They have significantly returned to their homeland from the Valley of Dry Bones as a re-assembled skeleton, standing upright, with skin and sinews (muscles) in place and with breath in their nostrils.
They have stood upon their feet as an exceedingly great army. Ezekiel 37: 10.
But today they still lack the infused Spirit of God, which shall ventilate and permeate their vital bodies in the near future – in that singular moment when they, seeing the thunderous actions of the LORD Jesus Christ being exercised on their behalf (such as in Isaiah 63), shall cry as one man, “Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the LORD,” as they shall do in fulfillment of the Master’s words in Luke 13:35.
We believe this to be a valid explanation of this critical passage of scripture relating to the two thirds destruction of Jews – that these terrible consequences have passed, because they are a matter of record; these are therefore not events which are yet to be expected in Israel’s future history.
To regard these horrible events as to be expected in future confuses our understanding of events to come.
Just how does such a drastic outcome as their future slaughter correlate with all the positive statements of the Spirit as to Israel’s future to the present day?
It does not correlate.
In our opinion it is not even possible.
Indeed, the sure prophecy of Amos, among several others, foretells a much different future, which is bright in prospect and sure of fulfilment:
Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
It surely must be agreed by every student of the Word that this described condition partially exists even now in Israel. Well over six million of His People have returned and now inhabit the Land! Although Edom (the PLO, etc, as described in Obadiah 1: 19, 20) is not fully conquered as yet, it is surely contained, and restrained from any further real harm to God’s people.
That hot conflict, in which this resistance is exhaustively crushed and destroyed, lies inevitably in their immediate future, in our opinion.
Its consummation, along with the comprehensive destruction of all the Islamic enemies between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers, brings the personal return of Christ into their midst, for verse 21 informs the reader, that Saviors shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau, and the Kingdom shall be the LORD’s, meaning, surely, that He and His now immortal Saints are personally there and occupying the restored Throne of David.
And although the Tabernacle of the Millennium shall not at that time have had its foundation laid, that remains the privilege of the Man, the BRANCH, Who when He comes, shall “build the temple of the LORD.” Zechariah 6:12.
And now the prophet’s words address the third part which historically escaped destruction at the hands of Rome. Their final refinement and redemption as a great body of fervent believers is depicted.
Zec 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Through the years subsequent to 70AD, the dispersed people are indeed subjected to refining as are precious metals. The end result shall be their humble submission to His will and way; and His response to them in that day will be clear and unmistakable.
The end of the matter sees their reconciliation to Him, and his declaration: “It is My people.” These are the ultimate, concrete events which are to be expected as a long-term result of His refining them, and removing their dross.
The end result is their sincere confession of His name and His Fatherhood.
But could there be another, additional implication of this prophecy?
We are not normally proponents of “secondary fulfillments” of prophecies, although sometimes such may be reasonably expected and actually seen.
In the soon-coming prophetic fulfillments, we may be able to perceive an “echo” fulfillment of this ninth verse of Zechariah 13.
The City of Jerusalem today prides itself in accommodating all its citizens, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim – the three recognizable divisions of “religion” located there today.
We have recently heard Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu’s words of rebuke to those of the USA who have voiced their opposition to the immigration of Muslim refugees from the present unrest in Syria and Iraq to come to the USA in 2015.
Mr. Netanyahu proudly claims the truth that all religions are treated the same in Israel today.
Not only are the Jewish synagogues protected, but so are the Christians and their churches; so also are the Muslims and their mosques. All are purported to have equal rights and protection within the State of Israel today – a point of great pride for the Israeli people.
But will this condition persist in Israel?
Will the LORD Jesus continue to hold this principle?
NO; He shall not.
Are all these groups, as such, equally and fully acceptable in God’s sight?
Can He tolerate their continuance within His land?
Shall they continue on unabated into His kingdom?
Emphatically, NONE of these three groups are acceptable to the Almighty, as constituted.
That statement requires qualification ...
The destiny of the first group is markedly different from the latter two, in this fashion.
The Jews still refuse the person hood of Jesus, the Son of God, Who shall appear soon, as their long-awaited Messiah. They are destined to remain in denial of Him until that future time, although surely under His angelic protection and guidance even as we speak.
Their fate is to be enlightened and converted to the Way of Christ, and not destroyed. These are the People to whom He is returning personally, and who He intends to save and redeem. In such a case, they could be regarded as the third which is saved from destruction.
The Christians have, after inheriting the words of Life from the Savior’s apostles and disciples directly, have corrupted the words of salvation and made a mockery of them, claiming the Son of God to be ‘God the Son;’ claiming him to be a third part of an indivisible trinity of gods, all coequal and co-eternal; they hold that man “contains” an immortal soul which lives on eternally after death in fuller knowledge than ever, denying that “the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5); they fear an external, hostile Devil-tempter who convinces them to sin, rather than recognize that they, themselves, are inherently evil and sinful; they are led principally by a Papa-figure (the pope) who takes to himself the authority of God in the earth, sitting as he does on ‘the throne of St. Peter” in the Vatican; as God on earth, he forgives sins directly, grants papal exemptions for sin, and generally conducts a richly sumptuous pagan, sectarian empire, giving the true God no real credit; everyone gets the picture here. The destruction and eradication of this System is adequately addressed in the latter chapters of the Apocalypse.
The third group, The Muslims, are a purely pagan, godless people who have never been privy to the truth of God. Their founder knew not God in any sense, but being nominally acquainted with both Judaism and Christianity (as they existed in his day) appropriated many well-known stories of the Bible, and adapted them to his “holy book,” the Koran. He was a man who lived, and ‘converted’ the ‘infidel,’ by the sword, and lorded it over all men with fierce authority. His “religion” is patently man-formed, and based in the fleshly nature of the natural man. Even its most prominent “heavenly” reward is purely of the flesh – unlimited access of each “saved” Muslim to 72 virgins which will be provided for them.
These three populations are all destined either to be converted or removed from Jerusalem and Israel in the coming Age.
But they shall ALL (as presently constituted) be destroyed in three different modes.
The Jews of Israel are set to recognize and befriend Him, and thus be converted. This conversion changes their belief system to that of their Father, and brings their subjection to Him with gratitude and humility. Thus, this first “third” survives His refining actions upon them, and live on to inhabit the first dominion of the kingdom of God on the earth (specifically promised to them in Micah 4:8, q.v.).
The Christians will resist Him to the end, believing Him to be anti-Christ and many shall be destroyed, although a few, or even many, may convert to His way and be saved. But they shall not be saved into His kingdom as “Christians,” but as Brethren of Christ who shall have submitted to intelligent baptism into His name – and to have repented, and to have repudiated their former false doctrines.
The Muslims make up the nations round about, and are also mingled within Israel (in the West Bank, Gilead, Gaza, Golan Lebanon, Jordan, Negev and Sinai), whose destiny is that outlined in Psalms 83, Obadiah, Ezekiel 35, Isaiah 11, Zechariah 14, and many other scriptural passages.
Destruction to a man is their destiny, for they will never “convert” to God’s way, nor kneel to the newly returned Jesus Christ; their destruction shall be so pervasive and inevitable that there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, as records Obadiah 1:18.
Those Jews who then remain in Israel shall have been delivered from the vile threats of the nations round about, which they have endured for 68 years (since 1948). The deadly Islamic sword which has overshadowed them shall have been removed permanently, and their peace and safety assured by the LORD Who shall have appeared to them in the last of these end times.
In the terminal chapter of Zechariah, we shall read the exciting and exacting details of that final conflict of Israel with their enemies “round about” them.
The account takes the reader to the end of this conflict, introducing at its end the conditions of “peace and safety” which shall consist when the Gogian host casts it covetous eyes on the great wealth that shall have been amassed by the newly-expanded Jewish Commonwealth which is now under the rulership of its new King, the Lord Jesus Christ. <HEL 12O> ~3400 words.
Subject: The day of the LORD; a narrative which addresses our time
Zec 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
Most readers tend to think of “the day of the LORD” as the actual day of His reappearance upon the earth in visible form, revealing Himself to Israel in warfare, conquering the nations of the earth.
We submit that the term refers to a much longer period of time which shall lead up to and include the events of His second coming. We refer to the words of the prophet Daniel, in chapter 11, in which he states that, “at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him ….” Daniel 11: 40.
Here the "time of the end" is cited as being when this action occurred. Our studied conviction is that the date of this event is 1517AD, when the Ottomans overran the land of Palestine while chasing the Egyptian forces southward after they "pushed at" the Ottomans in the region of Damascus.
At this time, the Ottoman Empire became the last king of the north by displacing the last king of the south, which was Egypt, from its possession/occupation of the Holy Land.
This date is described as "the time of the end," and evidently refers to the latter half of the Times of the Gentiles - a period which terminated in 1917, when Britain drove the Ottomans out of Palestine under the authority of the Balfour declaration. The “time of the end” obviously stretches well beyond this date, however, and occupies the time until the Christ returns to His people.
At this future time, the passage in Daniel 12 comes into play: Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This stipulation – knowledge being increased – indicates a marked increase in our understanding of Bible prophecy concurrent with the vast, exponential increase of the “knowledge” of science and technology which we have experienced during the last century.
At this point in time, enough of the end time events have occurred that students are able to make comparisons of history with prophecy and determine much of it having been fulfilled to the current date.
Zec 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
These specific actions were fulfilled during the 1948 War of Independence. They must not be expected to occur again because of such passages as Amos 9, as cited above. Any future physical assault upon Jerusalem shall fail.
Israeli forces, near the end of the time leading up to the truce in August, 1946, were unable to hold the Old City of Jerusalem. In an unprecedented defeat, Haganah troops were forced to evacuate it and leave it to the Arab League of Jordan to occupy.
It was the first and only time in history that half of the city was conquered, but the other half was left in the hands of the Jews.
In that war, the LORD surely fought “as in the day of battle” for the 660,000 Israelis who had declared independence on May 14, 1948, in the shadow of perhaps 180,000,000 Muslims of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the nearby Islamic states within the Promised Inheritance (between the Nile and the Euphrates, and between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean).
We don’t believe it should have been possible for Israel to have survived, and to have gained huge amounts of extra territory in the war, as actually happened, without angelic (divine) assistance. We believe that is the meaning of the prophet’s next words – the LORD FOUGHT for His People.
For 68 years at this writing (2016) we have, in wonder, beheld the prowess and fortune of Israel’s Defense Forces in their several wars with the proximate Islamic States.
As the next verses foretell, the conflict is not yet finished. Its end shall come with a remarkable and drastic change in the geopolitical matrix of the entire Middle East.
Zec 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
His (Jesus’) involvement is no longer to be at a distance, and conducted by angelic intervention. In that day (a code word here for, “when the kingdom comes”) HIS FEET shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, and certain unprecedented tectonic events shall shake the earth to its foundations – a great earthquake which shall rearrange the topography of the Land, and set it up for certain progress into the kingdom age.
Zec 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
We question sincerely, should this great shaking not cause the demise of many Israelis and other citizens? The answer is found in the text. Evidently, the people shall have been given a warning to “flee to the valley of the mountains,” as in the following verse. In this manner, the populace is saved from great damage by the great shaking of the Land.
The very intense nature of this earthquake signals to Israel and to all the world, that a great change has come with the advent of Jesus Christ, although indications are that the peoples of the nations shall not recognize Him for Who He really is, and that the world of Christendom will sincerely mistake Him as being their prophesied Antichrist of the end time.
Zec 14:5 And ye shall flee (the people are to be warned ahead of time) to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
This straightforward account in plain Greek tells the essential details of the Second Advent. It attests plainly that the Master returns at that time, and that when He does, He shall bring with Him all the Redeemed Saints (Hebrew, qadosh, which may indicate an angel or a Saint; we prefer the latter meaning here).
All these together shall rescue Israel from its enemies – a fact attested by numerous scriptural references, and a fact which is true regardless of the confidence of Israel in its own defense forces.
The next verses comment upon the geopolitical “outlook” in general when He comes.
In that day, Israel’s prospects (the light) shall not be clear at all, in our opinion. At that point, the Jewish people may have yet another moment of doubt such as that expressed by Moshe Dayan during the initial days of the Yom Kippur War.
In the first few days, the battle did not go well for Israel. Its forces were largely on leave from duty and its troops were at their homes to celebrate Yom Kippur.
Egypt’s forces attacked at dawn on that significant day. During the next few days they made excellent progress into the Israeli lines in the Sinai. They were immediately joined by forces from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, approaching the country of Israel from the east and north.
General Dayan went to the prime minister’s office and spoke to Mrs. Golda Meir personally. He said to her on this occasion, “Golda, the Third Temple is about to fall!”
The darkness of possible defeat loomed heavily upon Israel’s leadership.
That ominous report brought a decision by Mrs. Meir to arm Israel’s warplanes with nuclear weapons. She was getting ready to exercise “the Samson Option” of Israeli battle doctrine.
But the spy satellites of both the Soviet Union and the USA quickly noted suspicious activity, which indicated the Israelis’ nuclear intentions of defense in that moment. The USSR raised its threat level to code red; the USA placed its armed forces at, I believe they referred to it as, “Defcon One,” both indicating the nations’ highest threat level.
Even they were preparing for a nuclear exchange by Israel upon the Proximal Islamic enemies – those Islamic nations “round about.”
But immediately a curious, unexpected change in the battle came; Israel began to make clear and obvious advances against their enemies, beginning decisively to repel them on every front.
The threat level was reduced; Israel did not exercise the Samson Option, which is the Jewish State’s military doctrine that, “If we are going down, we will take everyone else – our enemies – down with us.”
How dark that “day” had become!
It may again reach this depth of doubt and uncertainty for Israel in the coming hot conflict which will ensue between itself and its Proximal Islamic enemies. We cannot know for sure, but this is possibly the potential meaning of these next words …
Zec 14:6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
Israel’s leadership may not be sure of a successful outcome in the coming war, for it shall be waged by nearly 200 million Arabs pitted against about six million Jews – not good odds in any case (over 25 to one). The day may look extremely dark for Israel at this time.
However, a new factor enters the picture.
We learn that the result of this New Factor is that the LORD has returned, and is vigorously engaged in the battle for Israel’s survival in this terminal war of Phase One, as we designate it.
The prophet’s next words are extremely telling as he relates the conditions “at evening,” or, we believe he is specifying, “at the end of that day,” when nightfall ordinarily occurs. Instead of darkness, “it shall be light” in a far greater sense than indicated by the words themselves.
Zec 14:7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
Here the narrative leaps into the near future to that day, omitting all the messy details of its fulfillment – the pitched battles in many various locations between the Rivers, designated by the Prophet Joel as ‘the Valley of Jehoshaphat,” and “the Valley of Decision.”
In II Chronicles 20, one reads the historical forecast – the prototype – of these end-time wars – in the account of these same enemies of today (Moab, Ammon and Edom) approaching the kingdom of King Jehoshaphat, who is clearly not confident (the day is “dark” for him) that he can combat these enemies, so he seeks the LORD in fervent prayer.
King Jehoshaphat asked appropriately and fervently for the LORD’s assistance; he was assured of deliverance from these enemies. The result was that, well before the king and his small army could even reach the field of battle, Edom has been destroyed by Moab and Ammon; and after that, the Spirit informs that Moab and Ammon then slaughtered each other!
In other portions of scripture that action is described multiple times as “every man’s sword against his brother.”
Arab armies today are literally FAMOUS for such confusion.
It happened in Operation Desert Storm. It happened in the Yom Kippur War, and to an huge extent in the Sinai phase of the Six Day War.
Advancing Arabic forces met fierce opposition from Israeli troops [or American troops (in Desert Storm)], and thus were compelled to retreat, but could not do so because of all the troops and armament behind them, so they literally fired upon their own tanks and men who were now in their exit pathway, killing multiple thousands of them completely apart from any involvement of Israeli or American armies! Every man’s sword against his brother, indeed!
Life Magazine’s weekly edition following the Six Day War pictured hundreds of burned out Egyptian tanks, and thousands of dead Egyptian soldiers who had been killed by “friendly fire” as they desperately tried to make their way back to Cairo and relative safety! They abandoned their tanks and half-tracks, their food supplies and water supplies, and even thousands of articles of clothing, including their footwear, in their frantic efforts to escape the wrath of the LORD being thundered from their fleeing fellow troops now trying to make their way back to Egypt; the carnage was multiplied by lightning strikes from the skies above them by the Israeli Air Force and by the tanks and infantry of Israel which were often beyond the horizon – just as in Jehoshaphat’s day.
Every man’s sword against his brother!
It shall be one of the main features of the coming war of Israel with the Proximal Islamic states (Haggai 2:22, q.v.) as well as in the later Gogian conflict (Ezekiel 38:21, q.v.).
The end result of all this bloody conflict is reflected in the prophet’s next words, which depict the long-term outcome of all this carnage – the peaceful, tranquil, abundantly safe environment which shall eventuate after the dust of battle has settled. The scene is that of the peaceable Kingdom of Christ in its nascent years, when He has pacified the entire Land, and brought the Islamic enemies of His people to their knees in battle.
That result brings Israel to a state of rest and peace from their enemies “round about.” Kingdom conditions begin to be developed by the Christ of the Second Advent, Who is now among His People in person – now fully accepted by them, after their universal recognition of Him and their abject repentance for their long denial of His name.
Zec 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
The Kingdom age is depicted in its early years in this poetic description of the Land in that day. The King is on His throne, and all is finally right with the world!
Zec 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
The pervasive peace of that day will be in direct contrast to the turmoil and unrest of today; and the governance by feckless rulers of men shall be replaced by the perfect judgment and righteousness of the King of kings, the LORD of lords, the Lion/Lamb of God!
The safe and peaceable habitation of the Land is then addressed. Its topography shall have been changed drastically by the Olivet earthquake, preparing the great platform as the site of the Millennial Temple which shall soon be constructed in Jerusalem.
In addition, we are convicted that the general physical disruption, the geologic upheaval in the Land prepares the cantons, or provinces, of the Twelve Tribes now as clearly visible to Him, and ready to have their respective citizens brought home to Israel from the four winds, and settled there for the kingdom age that has begun.
Zec 14:10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.
Zec 14:11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
Notice carefully this last phrase, that “Jerusalem shall be SAFELY inhabited.”
It has been inhabited officially for 68.5 years to date, but never “safely,” in the sense of being secure from intruders and killers of various sorts, who desired to do damage to Israel and her people.
But now - in that future day - it is specified to be “SAFE.”
The word in Ezekiel 38:8 is “safely,” and comes from the Hebrew word (Strong’s H983) Betach, which means, as safe as if in a fortress, utterly safe, carefree, careless, implying without bars or gates of any kind.
In that day, a failure to comply with the demands of the New Ruler will have direct and clear consequences. His reply to disobedience shall be positive and effective, for it leverages the very existence of His subjects as to their compliance with His will and law.
The results – the plague over which He has complete control – clearly resemble nuclear warfare, but in the circumstances described, can hardly be that. We believe the connotation of these drastic words is that the punishment for disobedience shall be immediate and clearly visible to its victims and any outside observers.
Zec 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
The effect of this plague is human dissolution. It is the identical, terminal result seen in leprosy – the rotting flesh, causing portions of bodies to drop away.
Zec 14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
Again we see the godly exercise of internecine strife as an effective “crowd control” method!
Among the rebellious ones, It is again, every man’s sword against his brother.
Note that this activity is pervasive in ALL the land by our estimation – it occurs in every venue between the Nile and the Euphrates, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. The Land is aflame with conflict in a rapid-paced melee of destruction of Islam and its followers!
The prophet’s next words outline in detail the role of God’s people Israel in the coming affair.
As it has to date, Judah also shall fight – and conquer – and then gather the wealth of the enemy forces, just as did the army of Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20 – no doubt requiring far longer than the three entire days that were required to strip the dead bodies of an incredible bounty of wealth which they had inexplicably brought with them into the notable battle that gave its name to “the Valley of Jehoshaphat!”
In the same manner, shall Christ and His Saints, and Israel, His newly challenged people, gather the enemies’ wealth and lands and properties with their vast deposits of liquid crude petroleum, oil shale, and vast potash and uranium deposits (as in Jordan) – all the currency, the precious metal stockpiles, the mineral wealth, the physical chattels, the liquid capital and all deposit accounts and stock certificates, bonds and debentures of the Islamic States “round about,” and devote these assets to the benefits of the nascent kingdom which the returned Christ shall establish.
In this manner shall the Christ and His People spoil the Gentiles round about, fulfilling the specific wordage of the next verse, which describes those conditions with unmistakable certainty!
Zec 14:14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
Zec 14:15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
And now, the great preamble to PEACE is voiced by the prophet.
Addressing those who may then remain of their nearby enemies, the LORD reveals that all these nations which “came against Jerusalem,” shall do obeisance to Him in Jerusalem – in that holy city of God which they once claimed as an holy city of Islam – the city that is so “holy” that Mohammed never mentions its name even once in his entire diatribe which is called the Qu’ran (the Koran).
The scene is one of utter peace and tranquility, as the subdued nations come forcibly under the scepter of the newly arrived Shiloh of Genesis 49:10 – that blessed and (to the sons of Jacob) mysterious descendant which should depart from (be born of) Judah, otherwise known as my Servant David, in Ezekiel 37: 24, meaning Jesus, the Son of God.
Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
It shall be a bitter pill to swallow for the non-compliant ones of those nations; but of such there shall be NONE remaining. If any of those present nationalities do remain, their nature shall be wholly receptive of the rulership of the LORD, for their “religion” shall have been abolished by the Lion of Judah, its practice outlawed and summarily forbidden by Him and His administrators.
For non-compliance there are severe penalties …
Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Zec 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
These horrible consequence has been described in verse 12, above.
Zec 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Henceforth there shall be no undercurrent of unrest in the Land – and no overt noise of rebellion among its peoples. Every intention of the righteous reign of the Prince of Israel shall be directed to the honor of His Father – Holiness to the LORD. Every aspect of that administration shall be so marked, even to the ubiquitous and lowly ornaments of its horses even to its cooking pots in the LORD’s house.
Zec 14:20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
Zec 14:21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
This extremely telling, final sentence of the prophecy of Zechariah summarizes the entire message of his entire book – the conquest of the LORD over the nations round about Jerusalem.
The broader, godly expansion of His kingdom to the wider world seems not to be touched upon in this prophet’s words; he leaves these considerations to the large-scale and more global considerations of Daniel and Ezekiel, and of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in his Revelation.
This personal review of the writings of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, son of Iddo the prophet of Israel, has been thoroughly profitable to pursue as concentrated research into one of the great prophets of Israel. It is not meant to be an exhaustive study as such, but to be a workable, brief resume of our personal understanding of the overall general and specific meaning of the prophecies as stated.
Other students of prophecy have written in greater depth, bringing in wider considerations than these. We commend for your own further research, for example, John Carter’s Prophets After the Exile: Zechariah (The Christadelphian, Birmingham, 1945) as a credible work, although it contains suppositions that we do not necessarily agree with, or do so only with stipulations. <HEL code 1P>
November: How was Jesus the Son of David?"
Harold Edward Lafferty
When we consider the lineage of the Lord Jesus, we read that he was born of the Virgin Mary, but that the Almighty One was His Father. More than fifteen times in the N. T., Jesus is referred to as “Son of David.”
David was of the Tribe of Judah. But His mother Mary was a Levite – a fact which we had (supposedly) determined by considering her relationship to her cousin Elizabeth, mother of John Immerser (“the Baptist”): Luke 1: 5 and 1: 36 makes the connection between these two women. Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, is stated to be of the tribe of Levi.
But does this mean that Mary is also descended from Levi? Do cousins necessarily share Tribal inheritance?
If she is, how may Jesus be certified as a “Son of David,” if Mary as a Levite is his only human progenitor?
Can this seeming disparity be explained in another scriptural way?
How can Jesus be “the Son of David” if his only earthly parent (Mary) was descended from Levi, the priestly Tribe?
Jesus posed nearly this precise question to the Pharisees and scribes in the temple, yet in a different context …
Mark 12:35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
Mar 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Mar 12:37 David therefore himself calleth him (Christ) Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
The conundrum to which Jesus referred was this: How can David have called one of his descendants, “my Lord,” and to have recognized that descendant’s superiority to himself in the great elevation (“Sit Thou on My right hand …”) to which he referred?
Sons are never considered lords of their fathers in any commonly accepted sense.
We propose that the answer lies ultimately in the realization that Jesus Christ was Messiah, that He was descended directly from David, and that He was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Seed of David given in 2Samuel 7: 12-16, q.v.
More than fifteen times in the New Testament, Jesus is noted to be the “Son of David.”
This statement of course does not contend that Jesus was the literal son of David the King – but means that he was a direct descendant of David according to this prophecy.
Now … as the promised Messiah, Jesus had to be of the lineage of David as deduced from this same prophecy as well as others.
The answer lies partially, we contend, in the legality of His being the son of Joseph by adoption, as the matrilineal line is never admitted in Hebrew genealogy.
There might seem to be no other workable answer to the dilemma … But is this so?
Matthew 1 proves clearly that Joseph, Jesus’ legal (adoptive) father (God Himself being Jesus’ actual Father) was of the Seed of David, descended through Judah (1:3).
Luke 3 apparently traces the genealogy of Joseph again (not Mary, as some have claimed) back to Adam!
But that appearance is deceptive, as we shall prove.
When we read the verse in the English translation, as presented, it does seem to say that His lineal descent is attributed to be through Joseph, Jesus’ legal step-father – a common practice (even a necessary one) in Jewish law.
Neither text mentions Mary by name.
The verse reads: Luke 3:23 - And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…
This verse seems to claim that Joseph’s father was a man named Heli.
But only casual further investigation reveals that Joseph’s father was NOT named Heli.
Joseph’s father’s name was Jacob: Matthew 1: 16.
Instead, it was MARY who was the daughter of Heli, a fact which must be deduced from the record of this verse. As explained below, Joseph married Mary, a daughter of Heli, and therefore Joseph was considered in the genealogies as being Heli’s “son” – or as we say today, his SON-in-law – and therefore was considered to be the LEGAL father of his wife’s Son, who he had not begotten.
The indirect statement of the relationship of Jesus to Heli (grandson, but termed “son”) is thus firmly made in this statement, because Jesus is the son of a daughter of Heli. It is so stated because of the inadmissibility of women in the Hebrew genealogies.
But Jesus’ legal step-father is married to the daughter of Heli; this is the logic behind the entry that was made into the genealogical record.
This genealogy in Luke cannot be that of Joseph, because it is stated to be through Nathan – the third son of David and Bathsheba: Luke 3:31 – rather than Solomon, first son of David and Bathsheba, and the stated ancestor of Joseph (cf., Matthew 1:6).
The record in Luke is instead the true genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus, stated in the legal terms of genealogical record by the Jews of the day.
In this ingenious manner, and by careful, comparative investigation, both Mary and Joseph are shown to be descendants of David by holy writ – a status of both, which cannot be denied.
Their relationship to Jesus is in Joseph’s case, legal; in Mary’s case it is His natural blood line of descent.
But both are descended to Jesus through David’s offspring – his first and third sons.
The earlier supposition that Mary was a Levite can easily be dispelled by considering that Mary, although a cousin of Elizabeth, the mother of John Immerser, Mary, who was the daughter of a father (Heli) who belonged to the Tribe of Judah as already proven, could still have been a cousin of Elizabeth through the wife of Heli, Mary’s mother being a sister of Elizabeth’s mother; we therefore conjecture that Mary’s mother was a Levitess.
But such a reality actually is irrelevant to the real solution.
An explanatory note on Luke 3:23 in ESword, bears this out with our close consideration…
ESword: Note on “Luke 3:23 --- “which:” The real father of Joseph was Jacob (Matthew_1:16); but having married the daughter of Heli, and being perhaps adopted by him, Joseph was called his son, and as such was entered in the public registers; Mary not being mentioned, because the Hebrews never permitted the name of a woman to enter the genealogical tables, but inserted her husband as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law.
“Hence it appears that Matthew, who wrote principally for the Jews, traces the pedigree of Jesus Christ from Abraham, through whom the promises were given to the Jews, to David, and from David, through the line of Solomon, to Jacob the father of Joseph, the reputed or legal father of Christ; and that Luke, who wrote for the Gentiles, extends his genealogy upwards from Heli, the father of Mary, through the line of Nathan, to David, and from David to Abraham, and from Abraham to Adam, who was the immediate "son of God" by creation, and to whom the promise of the Saviour was given in behalf of himself and all his posterity.
“The two branches of descent from David, by Solomon and Nathan, being thus united in the persons of Mary and Joseph, Jesus the son of Mary re-united in himself all the blood, privileges, and rights, of the whole family of David; in consequence of which he is emphatically called "the Son of David."”
Thus, Paul could write to the believers at Rome this summary description of the Saviour: Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: Romans 1:3, 4.
But there is substantively more to the title “Son of David” being David’s “Lord” than a seeming confusion of mere physical genealogy.
The title is decidedly Messianic in nature and implication. When any of His followers referred to Him as Son of David, they were acknowledging that they recognized Him as the long-expected Deliverer, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of such a being.
It seems to us that Jesus’ point in asking the question in Mark 12:35, was that He was emphasizing the fact that Messiah is more than JUST the physical descendant of David.
He is also David’s LORD.
And, as such He is greater than David.
Our reasoning follows this line …
In Apocalypse 3: 14, John writes: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God…
These are the revelation of Jesus Christ, the author of the entire book as dictated to the Apostle John, who faithfully set it to papyrus.
As such, the putative and actual Creator of the New Creation, Jesus, having been elevated to the position of “the beginning of the (everlasting) creation of God,” now becomes the nominal Creator of all that is new (or renewed – as in the sense of resurrected and immortalized, in the future world – of all that lies ahead for the Redeemed Saints; for all the Redeemed Saints, including David himself.
It shall be literally true, in that future economy, that Jesus shall be constituted the LORD of David – the then resurrected and immortalized (former) King of Israel – who shall at that time have become an immortal member of the Kingdom of Christ, and although equal to Him in nature in that future day (along with all the Saints), must still be considered as subject to his greater Son, the King.
<HEL 8P> ~ 1650 words. N. B. This article was published in the Christadelphian Advocate in the current year.
October: Some Parallels of Joseph and Christ
Illustrated in The Bible Codes
There are many parallels to Jesus (Yeshua) in Joseph’s (Yoseph’s) life … a fact that has been recognized for centuries, and throughout the era of the Christ. But it has only become possible within the last several years of this modern era to determine many carefully hidden features of God’s word that have been encoded for centuries, awaiting a certain era of human endeavor.
That possibility awaited the “increase in knowledge” foretold by the Revelator to Daniel the prophet – which is primarily associated with the development of the digital computer and its adjunct accessories (programs).
One such program addresses hidden codes spelled out perfectly in God’s word at equidistant letter spaces (ELS). We consider in this article some of the findings of the Bible Code which will indubitably prove Joseph’s history as being completely parallel to that of Jesus Christ.
We will refer both to “surface” (obvious) references as well as hidden ones. We fully realize that this approach to Bible revelation is denounced by some, who claim it a false construct and therefore not valid. Our view is that if it validates the word of God and is not contradictory to His purpose, it should be investigated by His servants and recognized for the honor and glory that it gives to His name. Please consider the following facts in that context…
We note some obvious (“surface”) similarities along with some not-so-obvious ones (deeply hidden within the Bible Codes).
In order for one to make much individual progress in this field of investigation, he requires a computer program designed for such searches.
I personally do own such a program, but have not applied myself to its usage to any extent as one first needs to study Hebrew and become familiar with words and spellings in that language. As a matter of course, I am pursuing the study of Hebrew as time and energy permits.
Meanwhile, we are enjoined to make liberal use of others’ work in such investigations – an initiative which bears ripe, delicious fruits, adding greatly to our faith!
Many Strengthening Facts Hidden in God’s Word
In this short article, we have selected some extremely unlikely “finds” from a small book – Yeshua –by Rabbi Yacov Ramsbel of San Antonio, Texas, which is cited in the endnotes.
As we move forward, we consider a few of dozens of “surface” similarities in the careers of these two remarkable men of God. Then, in many of those texts key references to the principals being narrated, specific names are to be found against great odds of their being found by chance.
Betrayal of Both Yoseph and Yeshua
A. Genesis 27: 26-28 Y’hudah (Judas) betrays Yoseph (Joseph) to be sold to Midianites for 20 pcs of silver.
Luke 22:3-5 Y’hudah (Judas) betrayed Yeshua (Jesus) to Pharisees for 30 pcs of silver.
At the time, this was the standard price for a slave.
Hatred byTheir Brethren Toward Both Men
B. Genesis 37:1-6 Yoseph’s brothers hated him.
John 19:12-15 Yeshua’s brothers hated him.
This hatred was due to Yoseph’s dream that he should rule over his brothers (indicated by his sheaf being respected and bowed down to by the others in his dream), and due to his father’s favor for Yoseph because he was the son of his old age and had made a coat of many colors for him – a special mark of favor.
In Jesus’ case, their hatred was based in Jesus’ appointment as ruler over them (as the scene before Pilate proves).
Code: in Genesis 37:6, the word “hear” is shmah. Each time Yoseph bade his brothers to “hear” his dreams, they reacted negatively – refusing to profit from them. From the ayin in that word, counting 214 letters three times from left to right (backwards) spells Yeshua!
In addition, the adjacent letters to those letters spell tummim = spotless, integrity, perfection, truth. This principle was engraved upon the golden crown of the High Priest as he served before the LORD – Holiness to the Lord – and certainly befits the dedication of Jesus to His Father throughout His life.
This code confirms the validity of Yoseph’s dreams as valid prophecies, referring as it does to Yeshua and His faultlessness. Of course, subsequent events prove that too, but such findings are astonishing as to their relevance to the Lord Jesus encoded so many centuries before His appearance!
Two Associates of Yoseph and Yeshua
Suffer Similar Fates
C. Genesis 40:18-22 The dreams of the baker and the butler of Pharaoh; it was revealed to Yoseph that the baker should be hanged in three days, but the butler would be restored to his position, both of which events came to pass. These two suffered opposite fates.
Luke 23:42,43 At Jesus’ crucifixion, there were two felons crucified with him. One of these exhibited great belief, and faith, and humbly asked to be remembered by Jesus in His kingdom, symbolizing the butler who was exonerated. But the other scorned that principle and died without hope, symbolizing the baker who was hanged, both pairs of offenders likewise suffering opposite fates.
Extremely Similar Destinies of Both Men as Rulers
In Genesis 41: 34-44, Yoseph is appointed ruler of Pharaoh’s kingdom because of his faithfulness. Romans 14:11,12 reflects the same sort of blessing on Jesus: every knee shall bow to Him – a partial fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6 as relates to Yeshua.
D. Joseph’s Four Positions of Authority
1. Genesis 37:3,4,13-14, 17 Overseer of his brethren
Joseph was sent by his father to visit his brethren who were keeping their flocks in Shechem (meaning, “ridge”). He was asked to report on his brothers, so he was in this case, an “overseer” of his brothers – which they resented.
When he arrived at Shechem (meaning “ridge, or high ground”), his brothers were not there. A local resident told him they had gone to Dothan (meaning, “ritual, or law”).
They were therefore not where their Father had asked them to be.
Yacov (Jacob, their father) had asked them essentially, to occupy and to graze Shechem, the higher ground – the ridge, or lofty principles – as ordered by him.
But Yoseph found them in Dothan, instead – in rituals, or law – in a figure.
Similarly, Jesus’ brethren, the Jewish leaders of His day, were also found figuratively to be in Dothan – not on the lofty ridges (of Shechem) commanded by their Father, and not at all having benefited from the ultimate instruction of the Law of Moses, which should have led them to Christ: Galatians 3:24.
He found His brethren, similarly buried in the ritual of the Law, lacking its higher refinements – the lofty ridges – of love and mercy.
Code: In Genesis 37:14 (as above), beginning with the last mem, count every 117th letter from right to left. These spell Meshiach – the name of the personage Whom Joseph was portraying here in relation to his people.
2. Genesis 39:1-5 Overseer of Potiphar’s House
Joseph, after being sold to the Midianites, was taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, Captain of the Guard in Egypt. Potiphar immediately saw uncommon merit in Joseph, and promoted him to Overseer of his house.
As a result, Potiphar is greatly blessed. Joseph continues in this position until Potiphar’s wife wrongly accuses him of adultery and has him thrown into prison, where another position of authority is given Yoseph.
Code: In verse 5, beginning at the last yod, every 100th letter from left to right (in reverse) spells Yeshua – a sure indicator of its typical meaning.
In the same sense as Yoseph, Yeshua was Master of His house – Overseer of His errant people – and had power to bless Gentiles as well as Jews, as evidenced by His healing of the Ten Lepers and others.
3. Genesis 39: 21-23 Overseer of the Egyptian Prison
Now in prison due to the accusation of Potiphar’s wife, for a crime he did not commit, Yoseph is shown mercy by the Almighty, and to Yoseph’s hand was committed all the prisoners!
Immediately we see the parallel between this wrong sentence upon Yoseph and that rendered upon Jesus by the rulers of the Jews, who accused Him of trying to depose Caesar – a crime which He did not commit. But in reality, Jesus was also charged with the care of “prisoners” as we shall see!
We immediately draw from the Bible Code a confirming fact: that Yoseph here is a type of Yeshua.
Code: Beginning at the last chet, in verse 23, count every 117th letter right to left, as in case one, and it again spells Mashiach! This leaves no doubt as to the antitypical fulfillment of this case, for it was Jesus Christ, Who in an equivalent circumstance, was preaching to the spirits in prison, as referenced by 1Peter 3:18-20!
Contrary to all “commentators,” these “spirits” are not the unconscious dead – those in tombs, which Jesus also inhabited for three days and three nights – but were clearly His own contemporary, living people, the Jews of Judea, who were unenlightened – living in the shadow of condemnation and death because of their willing ignorance of their Messiah, Who had appeared in their midst, unrecognized by them!
The diligent student of God’s word is completely aware that those in the grave are deceased (Psalm 9:5, 6) and capable of NO sensuous contact or interaction with the living. Isaiah 26:14 - They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
Of course we must realize that he is here speaking of the ungodly LIVING dead – as some say, “the walking dead,” or those not affiliated with the Messiah and His everlasting covenant – a covenant that had been made with some of their contemporaries – many particular folk, which guarantees them a resurrection from the dead. But while they are deceased, before their resurrection, they are totally incapable of any communication with the living. They are spirits “(or lives – souls) in prison,” i.e., the grave.
Gentiles Included in His Ministry
But is certain that His mission should additionally be to the Gentiles as well …
All these at first (before He came with salvation for them) were in the prison-house of death, unredeemed, un-covered, and destitute. Both these groups – the Jews primarily, but also the Gentiles – were the deliberate targets of Messiah at His first coming, as cited by 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: 6 I the LORD have called thee (Yeshua) in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people (Israel), for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
That inspiring and compassionate picture of Messiah’s mission is one of supreme elegance – of undeniable worth and substance – the very essence of salvation from death – of deliverance unto life eternal in the Almighty’s service!
It is a message which can only be received while one is alive, for now is the day of salvation! (2Corinthians 6:2) For in death, there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave, who shall give Thee thanks? (Psalm 6:5)
The grave, therefore, is “the prison” from which His people required liberation. However, their ignorance of His Way was a great barrier to their salvation – their unawareness that He bore to them the essential message of redemption. His righteous instruction was necessary to that end – but was largely rejected.
They conveniently ignored the glaring facts that Isaiah was given in Isaiah 61:1 - The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me (Yeshua – a Messianic prophecy); because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (including those bound to death even while living, as well as providing a portal to resurrection of those who would learn and accept His offer of salvation – His covenant).
4. Genesis 41:38-44 Overseer and Prime Minister of Egypt
In this passage, Pharaoh himself recognized Yoseph’s desirable qualities of efficiency, honesty, loyalty, and diligence. He also recognized that Yoseph was full of the Spirit of God – whatever he perceived about that excellent quality. In this respect he was comparable to Jesus, of whom it is said that, he increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).
This position is also parallel to Yeshua’s being appointed King over Israel in its restoration as well as the whole world under His Father, to Whom He will give the kingdom when it is perfected (1Corinthians 15:24).
Code: At the last yod, in verse 40, count every 100th letter right to left and it spells Yeshua.
Note that this is the same letter spacing as #2 – Genesis 39:5, just as it was 117 letters in #1 and #3!! I cannot venture to say if this has meaning, but the chances of this combination of ELS happening is 224 which is one in 234,256 chances!
After Jesus’ resurrection, all power in heaven and earth was His – power which He delegated to His apostles and disciples just as Yoseph delegated his authority to assistants in Egypt! His words to this effect are recorded in Matthew 28:28 – All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Cf. also Ephesians 2: 19-23.
When He returns, He shall delegate power and glory to all His faithful servants, allowing them to express the same authority and sovereignty which He possesses.
As an aside, Pharaoh gave to Yoseph the name, Zaphanat Pa’nai’ach, which means “the revealer of secrets.” Jesus reveals this same characteristic about Himself when He says, in Matthew 11:27 – All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
In that sense, He is the Ultimate Revealer of Secrets.
Additionally, there is John 16:13 – He will show you things to come.
Another correlation between these parallel lives of Yoseph and Yeshua is summarized in Acts 7:9-13, which recounts the somewhat implausible, but almost predictable (!) reunion of Yoseph with his brethren on their second trip into Egypt. The emotional strain is so great that Yoseph breaks down in tears, and lovingly reveals himself to his brothers.
The whole affair shall be similar to the reunion of Yeshua with Israel, when He comes the second time – some of the details being foretold in Zechariah 12 and 13.
That reunion shall likewise be with tears of joy and some fear by His brethren of retribution; but He shall quickly clarify to them that He is unmistakably their Brother whom they slew, by exhibiting his hands to them – the wounds received in the house of My friends – and that they are completely forgiven for their aggression against Him.
Their response of regret and mourning shall result in His warm embrace of them in His supreme agape love, and with tears of joy.
The certain Agent of grace and compassion toward his brothers, and their relieved, grateful response, is illustrated, hidden in Genesis 50:16-21.
Code: At the last mem in verse 18, if we count every 40th letter, right to left, we find Mashiach. This gives us End Time proof that Jesus Christ is the intended anti-type here, of Yoseph in Egypt. Jesus shall redeem the whole house of Israel as did Yoseph.
He will give them the wealth of the nations. Zechariah 14:14.
He will cause them to dwell in peace and safety. Ezekiel 38:11.
He will raise Israel out of the wilderness of the people, bringing their sons and daughters to Himself, literally elevating them above all other nations, designating them the First Dominion of His Kingdom! Haggai 2: 5-7.
Code: At the 4th to the last yod in Genesis 50:22, count 12 letters right to left, to spell Yeshua … the unmistakable Agent of these great blessings and godly compassion.
Does this 12-letter count represent the twelve Tribes of Israel? Perhaps, as we are informed in Ezekiel 37:19, that He shall unite the sticks of Judah with Israel both in His hand, and they shall again be one people.
There is one other remarkable detail here. Ephraim and Manasseh were recognized as the de facto 12th and 13th Tribes of Israel, often taking the place of Joseph as “half-Tribes.”
Code: Starting with the sixth to last yod in Genesis 50: 19, counting every 13th letter spells Yeshua ri’mon – meaning Yeshua the pomegranate.
We remember that the pomegranate decorates the lower hem of the garment of the High Priest of Israel – making a pleasant sound against the alternative silver bells also so attached – as he went about his priestly duties.
As the Great High Priest, the Master likewise atones for us on high each hour as Yeshua the pomegranate!
Now, look briefly at Zechariah 12: 8-10, which tells of Yeshua’s return. The prophecy says that in that day … such and such will happen – namely that the LORD shall defend Jerusalem and destroy their enemies, and pour out a spirit of grace and supplication upon the House of David; they shall look on me ... and mourn for Him.
“In that day” always signifies an important statement for the End Time.
Code: In the phrase ba yom – in that day, count from the mem, every 38 letters, right to left, and spell Mashiach. This code surely confirms from its ancient date of composition, that Mashiach has been recorded here as the Agent Who shall perform these acts, precisely at the time of His second coming!
<HEL MD/USA code 11M> ~3000 words.
Credits: One of my sources for this information is the book, Yeshua, Yacov A. Rambsel [Frontier Research Publications, Inc., ncs, 1996], from which much of this research was drawn. This excellent researcher as well as other investigators have recorded many times this much information in the same investigational vein using the ELS (equidistant letter spacing) in the Hebrew text.
The Ninth of Av
Now … adding to these wonderful facts, I want to consider several events in the history of Israel which have an astonishing “coincidence” of date of occurrence.
Israel has instituted a fast of mourning which is Tisah Be-Av – the ninth day of the month Av., which occurs around our month of August. There are many good reasons for this date, as we shall see …
1. The Twelve Spies return from Canaan with their evil report: on Tisha Be-Av! The result of the evil report of ten of these spies was that Israel wandered a year for each of the forty days spent spying out the land. All of them died except Caleb and Joshua.
2. The destruction of Solomon’s Temple by the Babylonian army: Tisha Be-Av! It occurred at the end of the summer on this sinister day.
3. The destruction of the Second (actually Third) Temple by the Romans: Tisha Be-Av! General Titus and the Roman army overthrew the City and burned the Temple of Herod, in 70 AD.
4. The Romans plowed the Temple Mount and sowed it with salt, AD 71.
5. The destruction of Bar Kochba’s army, AD 135: Tisha Be-Av. This resulted in the overthrow of a rebellious Judea and the end of Roman patience. They expelled all Jews and renamed the land Palestina.
6. England expelled all its Jews, in AD 1290: Tisha Be-Av. Massacres occurred in various cities, such as the slaughter of nearly 300 Jews in York, where they had taken refuge in the Keep of York Castle. A plaque marks the site today!
7. Spain expelled all its Jews, in AD 1492: on Tisha Be-Av! At that time, Spain’s Jewish population was the highest of any nation – around 600,000 Jews – and all these were either “converted” to Catholicism, or deported. It was the origin of the Shepardic Jew.
8. Christopher Columbus departed on the same day on a voyage to find India, but found North America: Tisha Be-Av. It is likely that Columbus was an Italian Jew. In discovering the New World, he opened a safe haven for millions of Jews fleeing persecution elsewhere, and the mainstay of the modern Jewish state!
9. Russia mobilized for World War I and launched persecutions against the Jews, on Tisha Be-Av – August 1, 1914. Josef Stalin was one of the most dedicated persecutors of the Jewish people. His Pale of Settlement was a giant Ghetto for Russian Jews.
It is plainly evident that all these events touched the Jews and their destiny deeply. The details of these events are adequately addressed by Grant R. Jeffrey in The Handwriting of God, [Frontier Research Publ., Inc., Toronto, 1957] pp. 195-202.
The Jewish Tetrads – Blood Moon Eclipses
This subject is covered by an adjunct paper entitled “Signs in the Sun and Moon,” an abstract of information by HEL, q.v.
These are occurrences of blood moon eclipses on the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles on sixteen specific dates – all extremely relevant to Israel’s destiny. The years of their occurrence were 1492, 1948, and 1967, with one set of four remaining: 2014 - 2015!
N. B. All the material in this October insertion may have been published by us at an earlier time as a Circular Letter. <HEL 11M>
September: Isaiah 40 - 42
Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People
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 in real time.
But at that time, it comes upon them as a flood of the Almighty’s favor.
And it shall only come to them 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. Cf., Malachi 3: 7.
Much of the previous text leads the student to this conclusion. 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)
However, this great time would require their patience – and obedience. This achievement lay millennia ahead in future time.
Isaiah perhaps should not fully have 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 the masses of humanity, here likened to Edom (cf., Obadiah) as a primary oppressor of 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 foretold not only their first exile, but also their second, a far longer, more extensive, more protracted and enforced separation from their land.
For centuries, their return to their land was not possible. A safe and secure return was not possible for them, because of two factors: the land lay desolate and forlorn, unable to sustain a population of any number given the agrarian techniques available during that extensive period. It also was not feasible because of the evil beasts who inhabited their land, and who have long coveted their land, and wrought terror upon them day and night for an extended time the peoples round about that Land.
A major portion of that enemy of the end time is defined by the prophet Obadiah as Edom, or Esau.
By so designating this enemy, he is naming its then-present inhabitants – Esau, grandson of Abraham, son of Isaac. The controversy is internecine – all within the family – unfortunately.
But now, in yet future time, their place is projected to be secure, and their Land freed from oppressors, a time after which 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 punished adequately for her sins, spoken of poignantly as their warfare being accomplished.
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 be accomplished completely within the boundaries of His primal inheritance – the defeat of all the interlopers within the covenanted Land from the Nile to the Euphrates – within which 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 described in 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 these gracious 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, as they gathered to hear John, preaching in the desolate Judean wilderness of that day, and baptizing men and women in Jordan’s waters.
It was a message that bore for them the elements of salvation itself – their ultimate redemption.
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.
It was designed and fully intended to place before them the dire matters of physical and spiritual life to be extended to those who should hear the Son which He should send to them. They were now as fragile as the grasses and flowers of the field; He would offer great longevity to them, raising them above this fragile state into that of immortality and eternal life.
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 (the doing of “works”) could not accomplish this great conquest – that it must be motivated and accomplished by God’s Spirit, actively and aggressively expressed 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 and hands the sword of the Spirit as also does their Master and Commander.
It is these who effect the physical redemption of His beloved, “returned” People Israel, those Jews who have returned to and are then 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.
No longer is His blessing to be regarded as yet future – inevitably coming to them in some distant time.
His unspeakably valuable reward for them is well expressed in the caring phrases that follow, where it is affirmed that – 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. (Isaiah 40:11)
The loving figure we see IS that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, the Lord, Jesus Christ, Who in that future day 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 acclaim His omnipotence – 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 His qualifications to bring it about in unequivocal terms, as He applies eternal power to bring about 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).
His Authority is that of His Father, Whose abilities and character is put forward in a rhetorical series of questions …
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, beginning with His own brethren … indeed, beginning with His only Son as having been sent forth into the earth to conquer the forces of darkness, and to renovate the earth and its peoples.
The brightness of His power and the pervasiveness of His glory conquer all with ease. His majesty rises far above the kings of the earths, 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, into the base and subservient position of a footstool under His feet.
Their fleshly resistance is of little account to Him and the Faithful.
All the might and substance of ALL His enemies are not even considered to be 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; magnificence that is so far above that of mere human rulers there is no real or valid comparison.
The weakness and invalidity of their regimes is illustrated in his next words…
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 godly arrangements for the earth.
In His next words He addresses His people – those who shall have survived the persecution which He had leveled at them for their idolatry. No others can possibly be meant, as they shall be utterly destroyed.
Now shall Israel 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 and their superstitions are only transient; as such, they are doomed; they are carried away as the chaff of the threshing floor. Their lines of succession are destined for 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 (contrary to the ignorant claims of the humanists and intellectuals of the earth … men of “science” and theology … the ignorant followers of Darwin and other Humanists of our day); in that day shall His overwhelming might and bright glory be extolled and eulogized by all!
Their lack of wisdom is astonishing to Him…
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 believe 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 have always depended upon their own resources are doomed to fail in that day.
Not so with those who place their trust in Him – 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.
Keep Silence Before Me
The opening words of the Revelator invoke humility, and their rapt attention …
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 patriarch, 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, and prototype of the LORD Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the New Creation which He shall establish in the identical place … in Zion.
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 admitted 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, relatively meaningless, and pedestrian.
It was not!
Isaiah 41: 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; these spread his fame far from its epicenter.
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 relatively unimportant, for it is the 318 armed and trained servants of Abram, whose preparedness and skill is emphasized.
The prophet continues his explanation of Abram’s adventure …
Isa 41:6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
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.
Verse 6 seems at the least to point to his confederates’ support and encouragement. Perhaps this support was merely passive.
Verse 7 emphasizes that these confederates were not believers in the LORD God, but were pagan idolaters … worshipers of wood and stone images which they had manufactured with patience and skill. They encouraged each other, urging their idolatrous practices upon the entire civilization.
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 protect his household, holding tenaciously to the way of the Almighty.
Even more importantly, it was the LORD, not these confederates, 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 ritual conducted by the Priest of God at Salem.
That notable occasion prefigured yet future, secure promises for Abraham, the friend of God (verse 8), leading to the establishment of an everlasting Covenant with God to Abram. Genesis 15: 17, 18.
We are certainly aware that Israel of Isaiah’s day had become idolatrous, worshiping 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 in the end time would He gather Abram’s seed back 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.
But because of the transgressions of which they should soon be guilty, they should evidently have much future cause for dismay, and a grave need to be upheld with the LORD’s right hand.
His protection of and strength to the whole House of Israel should be entirely parallel in the end time, when His entire, collective Servant should require 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.”
In another place, the returned People are indicated as “standing upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (Ezekiel 37: 10)
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 powerful threshing instruments of the Holy One.
His end time grace to be extended to His people is thoroughly documented – His renewed favor to them emphasized.
Isa 41:15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains (the nations “round about”) 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 in 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 newly positive insight – seeing … knowing … considering … understanding – together, or as a unity.
Their recognition and acknowledgment of their God is steadily, progressively and completely committed to His glory and honor.
Show Us What Shall Happen
At this point, the prophet is directed by the Almighty to challenge an accurate prediction of the future by any observer, drawing a clear distinction between Himself and any others in the matters of prescience or foreknowledge.
His challenge to them is compelling – and imperative!
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 their faith in His word as given them by His true prophets alone. Not only are those challenged required to predict the future accurately – they are tasked with showing the future’s relevance to events of the past (“the former things”).
He addresses His own ability to prophesy with certitude and precision through them, challenging others to do the same, that the latter end of them (the future) be accurately predicted 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 (the overall sense being, Do Something!), 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 deities 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 to disappear, as 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 upon 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 was 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 graven images – 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, that He is righteous.
Isa 41:27 The first shall say (that is, “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 Who bringeth good tidings – is there salvation – the Elect of God, in Whom His soul delights!
<HEL 8M> ~2700 words.
Further commentary on this text from an eTPL Circular Letter is enclosed here: these remarks emphasize the latter day applications of these verses.
Israel Penetrates Iranian, Hezbollah Networks
in Syria: Quntar and Sha’alon – Terrorists No More
From DebkaFile Reports: Israel’s intelligence and air force again displayed their best skills for pinpointing and reaching very small targets in the operation conducted on December 20, 2015, to blow away the Hizballah arch terrorist Samir Quntar.
Quntar, head of Iranian and Hizballah terror networks in southern Syria down to the Israeli border, and his deputy, Farhan Issam Sha’alon, chief of the National Syrian Opposition group on the Golan, lived and worked in two secret apartments on the first floor of a residential building in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana, 10 km southeast of the capital.
One apartment served as living quarters, and the other as operations center for running their terrorist networks.
The four missiles that Israeli warplanes launched Sunday from a point over the northern Israeli Sea of Galilee destroyed the entire first floor of that building – his residence.
Nothing could have survived the blast.
For this Quntar hit, Israel military intelligence made elaborate preparations:
1. To locate his secret residence known to be in or near Damascus.
2. To determine whether he worked from home or another location to prepare Hizballah’s terror networks in southern Syria for attacks deep inside Israel.
3. Since Quntar’s movements could not be tracked electronically from the air, the Israeli planners needed clandestine eyes on the ground to signal his entries and departures from his apartment, to shadow his movements outside, and to identify the signs showing he was at home.
He was therefore under constant surveillance for a considerable period leading up to the assassination.
4. Dozens of undercover agents and local informants were employed in Damascus for this task. One of these agents used a laser beam to guide Israeli warplanes to the Quntar abode.
That agent necessarily was physically within line of sight of the targeted apartment, and was physically pointing a dedicated laser beam at the residence!
That Israel was able to run an undercover operation on this scale, without discovery by Syrian, Iranian or Hizballah intelligence, attests to the depth of Israeli clandestine penetration of the Syrian capital and its environs.
5. The blow against Iranian intelligence was painful. Iran relied on Quntar for its terror and intelligence operations even more than Hizballah. The Iranians kept dark (did not admit publicly) the additional deaths of his two Iranian controllers in the same rocket attack. Debka intelligence sources name them as Mohammed Reza Fahmi and Mir Ahmad Ahmadi.
6. This in-depth penetration of Damascus is not new. Undercover cells have been there for at least eight years.
The modus operandus for the Quntar hit was different from other recent attacks.
When the Israeli spies had confirmed that Quntar was asleep in bed, the deadly rockets were released. They flew through the windows to kill him, his deputy and their Iranian controllers.
The report noted that the four deadly missiles had been released from Israeli warplanes flying above the Sea of Galilee. If readers are aware of the geography of the area, you will realize that the distance from the Sea of Galilee to Damascus is thirty to fifty miles. The target from the warplanes position was hardly in line of sight by any means.
Our understanding is that once the guided bombs were released, they were placed under the dedicated fire control system that utilized the laser beam focused on the target. That beam guided all four bombs to the residence and through its windows to achieve the assassinations.
Earlier Successes by the IAF
The technology used by Israeli Air force bombers and drones for threading rockets through a small window or hatch for precisely targeted assassinations was last demonstrated during the IDF’s Gaza campaign in the summer of 2014.
Information had been received that Muhammad Deif, head of the Hamas military wing, the Ezz-e-Din al-Qassam Brigades, had arranged to visit his wives and children at the home of a trusted associate in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza.
On August 19, after he entered the building, a series of at least four one-ton bombs were released by Israeli warplanes located well within Israel.
The building collapsed, but the master terrorist survived, thanks to a mechanical malfunction and Deif’s own ruthless egotism.
A joint Israeli air force-military intelligence probe subsequently established that, after the first bomb failed to detonate, the quick-witted Deif decided to get out fast and sacrifice his family. And indeed, when the second bomb exploded, it destroyed his family, but he had escaped to safety.
That episode demonstrated that even the most superior technology and intelligence cannot be guaranteed to work one hundred percent, and all such operations are touch and go.
And a Still Earlier Operation in Damascus
One such earlier deep-cover Israeli spy network engineered the targeted assassination on February 12, 2008, of Imad Fayez Mughniyeh, Hizballah’s military chief, who was the top Iranian intelligence and terror operative in the Middle East.
He was knocked off outside his home in the exclusive Damascus suburb of Kafr Sousa.
Mughniyeh was a trusted favorite of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his status in Tehran at the time comparable to that of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Al Qods Brigades, whose current whereabouts are meanwhile unknown.
To kill Mughniyeh, Israel’s agents sneaked into the garage of his home in Damascus, and planted explosives in the driver’s headrest of his car. When he started the engine, the headrest blew up and decapitated him.
The modus operandi for the Quntar hit was different. When spies had confirmed he was asleep in bed, the deadly rockets were released. They flew through the windows to kill him, his deputy and their Iranian controllers.
These three examples of pinpointed Israeli actions against their enemies from a long distance away, are instances of prophetic arrangements announced by the prophet as a divine provision for Israel of the end time.
We believe the account is firm fulfillment of key information given Isaiah in the words, 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. 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. Isaiah 40:10, 11.
This observation is not to claim that the present clearly evident assistance and support which the Father is giving Israel is a complete fulfillment of these words, but the enormous ingenuity that we see demonstrated by Israel is not wholly of their doing; these events in our conviction are leading to that end as indicated by these two verses.
Later in Isaiah’s text – the next chapter – we see fuller details of exactly HOW He intended to assist His people against their enemies of this end time.
The narrative is remarkably current!
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.
This is surely the condition which we are observing in Israel today.
He now HAS brought millions of His people together into His Land, taking them out of the jaws of oppression and hate, which the hostile nations have leveled against them through the centuries.
Israel is now His collective Servant, whom He has CHOSEN.
Chosen for what?
Chosen to express his will against their enemies; for their enemies are also HIS enemies. Their foes’ chances of survival are therefore not full of good prospects!
Note well His forceful encouragement of Israel His people, seeming by some to be dwelling as a vulnerable sparrow upon a rooftop (Psalm 102:7); but the back story is, they are no longer alone: “I am with thee” is His promise.
We can see the fact demonstrated each day that passes in this hazardous environment of the Middle East, where Israel is truly standing alone against multitudes of vicious foes.
The prophet’s forecast reads like the daily headlines of the present day Israeli newspapers which chronicle the ingenious, highly successful combat which its armed forces are able to accomplish against the enemies of Zion.
We hope Isaiah’s prophecy of encouragement for the end time is read and understood by some in Israel today, for the promise is sure. The end is certain.
They are no longer a people abandoned to their enemies, no more subject to the soles of their boots or the edges of their swords.
He therefore encourages and comforts them; He reassures them in plain words, applicable to, and intended only, for these last of the latter days prior to the Second Coming of Messiah …
Note well the certainty and finality of these dreadful phrases …
Isaiah 41:10 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.
Isa 41:11 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.
Isa 41:12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them (that is, after their enemies’ destruction), even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
Isa 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
Isa 41:14 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.
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.
Isa 41:16 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.
Conclusion: We are absolutely certain of the continuing fulfillment of these promises, which are intended to encourage His people leading up to the time of their complete exoneration before their enemies.
For His people are in their godly dedicated mode of Return Unto Him, as He admonished them in the words of Malachi 3:7 - Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.
It shall terminate surely in that blessed time when … thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
From these signs of the times, we may be sure of our convictions that the final day of Israel’s Consolation lies not far into Israel’s (and our) future.
<HEL 1P> ~1800 words. An eTPL News Item, issued January, 2016.
Now … one more important and timely observation…
The narrative of Isaiah’s prophecy seems at this stage to have proceeded to a continuous narrative of forward movement of His Plan.
The rising of a powerful Israel in His Land, along with the developed power of enemy resistance which is shown to have grown up among those enemies, both create a crisis of some magnitude for Israel. Israel’s vulnerability to their enemies grows – at least it increases on the surface – a phenomenon which we see today.
The subsequent words of Isaiah illustrate a result whose need seemingly shall have arrived for His People … the Second Coming of the LORD from heaven to rescue and to redeem His People!
As we shall see, the initial words of chapter 42 are…
Isaiah 42:1 Behold my Servant, whom I uphold (His meaning is… in fierce personal combat!); mine Elect, in Whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
The Judgment of the Gentiles by His Son, in our reckoning, is at that time absolutely required.
His patience has finally run out.
His people have received double for all their sins.
The cup of His Fury has been removed from them and given to those vile enemies.
It is the day of recompenses for the Controversy of Zion!
In accord with this “set time” (cf., Psalm 102), He sends back to the earth the Son of His Right Hand, along with His faithful Brethren – then having been immortalized – to execute His Vengeance upon them in this thunderous, terminal, utterly terrible slaughter of all His enemies!
<HEL 7P> An eTPL Exposition…
Beginning of the Servant Psalms of Isaiah 42-53
Behold, My Servant!
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 considered 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 – abilities far beyond the limits of human capability or judgment.
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 within 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 metaphorical 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 understand, scientifically, that the universe is yet expanding.
He has 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 into certain effect 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 darkness 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 their 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 conferred 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, in multiple times, foretold the invasion of the mighty Sennacherib of Assyria, who had taken captive their errant brethren of Samaria specifically 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 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 all these are 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 Sovereign (His appointed future ruler over one city, or ten) of the Gentiles in godless Buenos Aires, for example, will not be required to return to Jerusalem – or even to communicate with the King in Mount Zion – 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 concentrated, dedicated 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 our entry into the future course of things 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 upon to rejoice in His salvation!
Isa 42: 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 42:13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
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.
This restraint of the Almighty has always been astonishing to our thinking. How can He long endure the foolishness and stupidity of errant men? But now His restraint is at an end. His wrath is about to be unleashed upon His entire creation.
To cry like a woman in labor is intense and heart-felt anguish – and pervasive in its nature.
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, ignoring, 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 national boundaries erased, their wills humbled in His service!
The use of the term “New Order” is appropriate particularly in this regard; men of today fear the New Order seemingly intended by the leaders of men, and institutions such as the United Nations Organization (UNO) – all of whom see such a change in the future of mankind.
But His Kingdom is the real “new order” in the earth! The next passage reveals the stark ignorance of ALL the earth that is spread out before Him – the rejection of His way by ALL men – a “way” which they have not known!
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 and unconcerned as to follow graven image-worship, and the worship of Mammon instead of seeking the Father of us all.
Thus are all these rightly characterized as “deaf” and “blind.”
Isa 42:18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.
Here is recognized universal negligence on their part, their failure to seek or to perceive God – to understand Him – to seek His name and not their own indulgence.
Such deafness and blindness are then 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 servant 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 and abundantly favored – His ways taught well and diligently to them by His faithful servants – but had resulted in their 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 (i.e., imposed by their own disobedience) persecution by their enemies; by it shall they gain His favor, and begin to live honorably before Him.
It 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 placing it upon them, 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 to be 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 from 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> ~11,800 words. An eTPL Exhortation…
August: Conduct, Based Up0n Conviction (Faith)
An eTPL Editorial
The profound division that has recently entered into the body of Christ is rapidly metastasizing … please give the following analogy your closest consideration:
As in the case of every carcinoma, the localized, affected area undergoes uncontrolled proliferation of itself in a malignant, unrestrained progression of rapid cell reduplication and often bizarre, unstructured growth.
The tumor inevitably consumes the vital nutrients that support the surrounding healthy tissues, rapidly assuming a death-spiral toward which there often is no known retardant.
Often, toxic products are exuded from the neoplasm – sometimes these are the entirely natural production of the affected gland – which exert fatal effects upon the doomed patient in rapid order, as when the adrenal cortex becomes cancerous (as in the neoplasm known as a pheochromocytoma) and produces a consistently high level of norepinephrine – the powerful precursor of adrenalin – and raises the helpless patient’s blood pressure to rapidly lethal levels. These particular tumors are usually not malignant, but due to their unstoppable effects, must be diagnosed and removed.
But with malignant tumors, if surgery is not possible, the alternative of palliative (that is, analgesic) treatment may be prescribed for the patient until the patient expires.
By analogy, in this present case however, the patient will not expire; his longevity is assured by the Father of us all, the Master Physician.
His palliative is the great privilege of sincere prayer for comfort and deliverance from the harmful malady which is affecting the body. That measure may not afford immediate or even satisfactory relief – but long-term benefits are assured by Him.
This present cancer, although not yet operable, if it indeed persists, shall in our opinion be excised successfully by the Great Physician when He elevates our fragile human nature to that of immortality – at the moment when He makes up His jewels.
The dreadful sentence upon the unwanted tumor shall be … Then shall He (the King) answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. Matthew 25:45.
It is a statement to which there is no rejoinder – no justification, or validation – by any of the perpetrators. Their mortal sin has been their abject failure to render genuinely expressed and freely given love, support, and succor to their weaker and more dependent brethren.
The Apostle Paul addressed some of his own day who insisted on keeping now useless articles of the Law of Moses.
His desire for them (to be cut off) is beyond our own, personally felt and considered treatment of such; but his words are inspired … his allusion to drastic surgery is unmistakable: I would they were even cut off which trouble you. 13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love (agape) serve (Gk., douleou, to be a slave to) one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Galatians 5:12-15.
The deeply emotional act of love (agape) in this instance is a collective devotion of the few to the many, and not the devotion of a few to each other on an exclusive basis, actively shunning and shutting out the bulk of their brethren – “troubling” them, in a word.
It is never a wise decision to consider oneself better than – and more worthy than – one’s brethren. The inspired words of Paul to the Philippians is … Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3, as later referenced.
The genuine shepherds, the leaders of the flock, band together for the collective good; they do not withdraw into a reclusive corner to nurture their own self-designated exclusivity.
As a result, the King’s reaction in the day of assize shall be diametrically opposite to His decision about those who faithfully exert themselves in deep affection for their brethren, becoming slaves for them in a figure – for those perhaps weaker vessels who require tender nurturing and succoring by gentle, wise shepherds.
The delightful and welcome sentence upon those servants (slaves) shall be … And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Matthew 25:40
In these words we immediately perceive the compelling wisdom of humble service of brethren to brethren instead of expressions of vainglory - exclusivity.
Paul, the apostle, wrote to the Philippians: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (in Greek, kenodoxia, or self-conceit); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:3-5.
The Apostle Paul on another occasion spoke about those who “glory in appearance, and not in heart,” in these words: For the love of Christ constraineth us (compels us, or puts us in a strait); because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2Corinthians 5: 14, 15.
The summarizing argument for patient, caring association of all brethren with all their dear brethren is well expressed by the Apostle John:
1John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
<HEL 7P> ~1050 words. An eTPL Editorial July 26, 2016.
"If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Senator Cory Booker (D) of N. J.
July: Aspects of the Seventy Weeks
Harold E. Lafferty
The prophecy of Daniel known as The Seventy Weeks Prophecy is grossly misunderstood by the greatest majority of Bible readers, led by the “preachers” of Christendom who use it to their advantage in the propagation of their theories of the end-time events occurring at the time of the Second Coming of the LORD.
In order to facilitate a closer study of the prophecy, we have set it forth below in limited tabular form, in order to highlight the main features of the prophecy.
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks
are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,
· to finish the transgression,
· and to make an end of sins,
· and to make reconciliation for iniquity,
· and to bring in everlasting righteousness,
· and to seal up the vision and prophecy,
· and to anoint the most Holy.
Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince
shall be seven weeks,
and threescore and two weeks:
the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks (and after the initial seven weeks already stated – i.e., after 69 weeks)
shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:
and the people of the prince that shall come (this is Rome – not “the AntiChrist") shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Dan 9:27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many
for one week:
and in the midst of the week He (The Christ – by His sacrifice) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations (by the Romans, with the Jews’ enthusiastic approval) He (Jesus, for the subject-pronoun has not changed) shall make it (by dint of His sacrifice He annulled it, making it) desolate, even until the consummation (at the end-time), and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (that is, upon the desolator – Rome and subsequent desolators, ending with Ottoman Turkey in 1917).
In order better to understand the prophecy we intend to examine it in great detail.
The Seventy Weeks
We see first that the prophecy concerns Seventy Weeks of time. We note from Leviticus 25, that a “week” is equivalent in prophetic terms to seven calendar years based on our solar year. We can discern that fact based on how events have played out in history in similar applications.
The only difficulty we can have with the basic period of seventy weeks of years (490 years in total, or 70 x 7), is determining the beginning point of the prophecy.
We note from verse 25, that the period was to begin at a point designated as ... from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.
Historically, there are three similar decrees which could have served as the starting point; only one of these can be valid.
In order to establish the correct decree, one only need carry the beginning dates of all three to an end-point, then determine which end-point is relevant to the prophecy.
“Weeks” here is the Hebrew word Shebuah, which Strong confirms in his Hebrew Lexicon as meaning, literally “sevened” – just “sevened” – which, he says, means a seven of years, or seven years, or a “Sabbath” of years” as it is expressed in Leviticus 25: 8.
One of the three decrees should work out perfectly with the specifications of the prophecy, so it should be an easy task.
From historical record, we know that similar decrees were issued …
1. By Cyrus the Persian in 533 BC;
2. By Artaxerxes Longimanus to Ezra the Scribe in 455 BC;
3. And by Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah in 442 BC.
The first of these dates, if lapsed 490 years (the total of the prophetic years indicated) would give a result of 43 BC as its termination: [533 BC minus 490 = 43 BC]. Nothing happened in this terminal year to fulfill the prophecy.
The Second of these dates, lapsed 455 BC to 1 BC leaves, from the next year which was 1AD, 34 years of fulfillment remaining in the AD years, or 34 AD. Let’s leave this entirely workable one for a moment and calculate the last date.
The third of the above dates, lapsed 442 years into the future to 1 BC leaves, from the next year which was 1AD (or a lapsed 443 years), 47 years remaining in the 490 decreed [490 minus 442 = 47 AD]. There is no visible indication that the Seventy Weeks could have ended on this date.
We therefore revert to consideration of the middle date, 455 BC, when Artaxerxes decreed the return of Nehemiah to rebuild the Sanctuary and the walls of the Holy City.
In our consideration of the terminal date for the prophecy of 34 AD, we determine that this year is slightly after the crucifixion, which we deem to have been in the year 30 AD.
If this is so, how do the tenets of the prophecy correlate with this date?
Is it reasonable to conclude that this is the proper starting date of the prophecy?
It would seem precisely the correct date. If it is so, the six goals of the prophecy should have been met in some meaningful way by that date. This is extremely important, because the complete fulfillment of these requirements awaits the establishment of the kingdom of God.
Now we turn to the features of the prophecy to be fulfilled, the first of which is “to finish the transgression.”
First … To finish the transgression
If this is difficult to understand in the AV, we must look to the Hebrew word translated ‘finish.’ It is (Strong, H3607) ‘kala – a primitive root, to restrict, by act (hold back or hold in), (or) by word (i.e., prohibit).’ The RV uses “restrain” here, and omits the article, thus meaning “to restrain transgressions.” The text seems to refer to transgressions in general, i.e., sin. The first objective, then, is to restrain transgressions.
It is obvious that when Christ comes the second time He will forcibly suppress sin in all its aspects, ruling the nations with a rod of iron. He will give to Israel a ‘new heart’ at that time, and work a work of moral reform upon His people. That restraint will pass over into the general world population.
But how was this accomplished at Christ’s first coming? Messiah had first to come to His people – the primary ‘business’ of the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (P70W) – and to be ‘cut off.’ In so doing He made an end to the daily sacrifice and abolished the Old Covenant of Moses; He therefore ‘confirmed the promises made unto the fathers’ by the shedding of ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant.’
The preparation of the people (both Jews and Gentiles) who would assist Messiah in His great future work would be required to develop the ‘new heart’ and the ‘new spirit’ which pertains to this new covenant.
By this process of godly living which He established and codified, therefore, sin would quite effectively be ‘restrained,’ and the characters of His adherents would be developed after the requirement and pattern of the Lord. When He came the first time, similar to the work of John Immerser, that was his avowed mission – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord in the long term – Luke 1:17.
Christ’s spiritual cultivation of this great body of believers thus prefigures the work to be done upon His people, upon Jerusalem, and ultimately upon the people of the world at His Second Advent.
We are told that the Law was a ‘yoke of bondage’ to the people; as such it was impressed upon them as a restraint upon their desire to serve the flesh and their own purposes. It was intended to make His chosen ones markedly different from other peoples. The second part of this goal was to make salvation available to the Gentiles as well as the Jews – a goal which was attained during this final, 70th week as we shall see.
The requirements of the provision, then, is seen fulfilled in limited aspect at His first coming, but perceived to be of greatest effect – of conclusive effect – upon His people at His return.
Second … to make an end of sins
As it stands, we know that this provision was not universally and literally fulfilled at His first coming. Men and women continued to sin in their daily lives; although sin was repressed by their attempts at obedience, sin was not ended. There is one exception to this general fact: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was certainly the primordial victory over sin and death – and over ‘sins,’ for He committed none.
However, it is notable that the word in Hebrew for ‘sins’ and ‘sin offerings’ is the same; note that in the 27th verse of Daniel 9, His making an ‘end of sin offerings’ is referenced in the ‘cutting off’ of Messiah in the clause, “in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” This means that He would in some manner bring to an halt the ‘sacrifice and the oblation,” which were literally the sin- offerings under Moses’ Law!
In sacrificing Himself, Jesus Himself “was made sin for us” (II Corinthians 5: 21); “He died for our sins according to the scriptures.” He offered the one perfect sacrifice which was the ‘one offering’ which God required at that time.
In doing that, He effected the ‘end of sin offerings’ whether anyone recognized the fact or not. From that point in time – His death on the stake at Golgotha – the sin offerings of the Law were no longer valid or operative.
We are aware that, in the minds of the Jews of that day, Jesus’ sacrifice did not impinge upon the Law of Moses at all, and did not end their ritual use of sin offerings which they continued to offer until 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed. They did not accept His sacrificial death in the least, and shall never do so until they ‘look upon Him whom they have pierced’ (Zechariah 12:9).
At that time they shall be introduced to the ‘bonds of the New Covenant,’ and with that will come their immediate recognition of ‘the end of sin offerings.’
Having said that, Jesus’ sacrifice did put an effective end to the ‘sin-offerings’ of the Law although not recognized at the time by the Jews. In light of His sacrifice, no matter how many sin offerings they offered after that time, they were no longer functional as they had been under the Law.
Thus, the greater fulfillment belongs to that future day, and like the first provision, points to a greater fulfillment of this great prophecy in the coming kingdom age.
Third … to make reconciliation for iniquity
The Hebrew word for making reconciliation is kaphar, which means to cover; figuratively it means to expiate, condone, placate, or cancel. In the O. T. it is translated as make atonement, cleanse, forgive, pardon, purge away, and others.
To review, we see that the proclivity for sin in the Jews of His day was not removed with the coming of Jesus. But we see in His work that He clearly introduced age-lasting righteousness to those who perceived His work and mission. At first a few Jews believed – then multitudes did; then the Gospel was introduced to the Gentiles, and thousands believed on Him. The Gospel is the means by which sin is expiated or cleansed or pardoned – and thus is the vehicle of age-lasting righteousness.
The important factor here is that Jesus Christ came to His people, obeying His Father in every respect even though He was an earth-born man with all the propensities of the flesh dwelling within Him. Hebrews 2:17 informs us that Jesus was made exactly like us so He could “make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” By offering this perfect life by His death on the stake, he indeed made reconciliation for sin – he expiated it within Himself, making perfect atonement by obedience and faith.
Thus the result was established in One Who was a prototype for all who would come after Him in faith. In the most literal way, He “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.” (Titus 2: 14) As believers in the gospel, we realize that this redemption of Christ reflected upon Himself as beneficiary as well as upon all men; it was entirely necessary that He put forth His own, now perfected life, as the required perfect and acceptable sacrifice.
The future effect of this component of the six objectives is defined in the national cleansing described in Ezekiel 36: 24, 25: “I will gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean (forgiven): from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.”
Fourth … to bring in everlasting righteousness
At His first appearance, Jesus brought into visible appreciability ‘the way of life’ and established it and amply illustrated it in His own life. He made it known widely at that time.
But Israel – His people and the Holy City – did not widely adopt His teachings. That achievement awaits future fulfillment, in the day of Israel’s salvation; it is only then that Zion’s “righteousness of Ages” shall “go forth as brightness.” (Isaiah 62: 1; 46: 13)
The future fulfillment is indicated in such passages as Jeremiah 23: 5, 6: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In HIS days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” It is remarkable that the same prophet in chapter 33: 15, 16 pens these precise words the second time!
At the same time, His blessing is personal to each of his people: “Unto you first, God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you (every one, individually), in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3: 26)
When those events of Jeremiah 23 occur, the Lord’s name shall rest immutably upon Israel, and the People shall BE ‘righteous!’ Only when she thus possesses His righteousness can the nation’s righteousness ‘shine forth as brightness,’ for before that time Israel has none.
At that time, it is the righteousness of Israel’s Savior which goes forth from that place – the Lord our righteousness – which will fulfill Isaiah 1: 26: “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”