PProphecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62

Isaiah 59:1-21 Webs of Misery and Destruction

This is a short Bible study on Isaiah chapter 59 that shows how to find where the fulfillment to this prophecy is recoded and how to check to ensure you have the correct fulfillment. In other words, how to eliminate any guesswork in matching prophecies to their recorded fulfillment.

Isaiah 59:1-21 NLTse Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. (2) It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. (3) Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption. (4) No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin. (5) They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders’ webs. Whoever falls into their webs will die, and there’s danger even in getting near them. (6) Their webs can’t be made into clothing, and nothing they do is productive. All their activity is filled with sin, and violence is their trademark. (7) Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them. (8) They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace. (9) So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. (10) We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead. (11) We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us. (12) For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are. (13) We know we have rebelled and have denied the LORD. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. (14) Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. (15) Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The LORD looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. (16) He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him. (17) He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion. (18) He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth. (19) In the west, people will respect the name of the LORD; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the LORD. (20) “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the LORD. (21) “And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken!

I don’t think we’re looked at such a one sided prophecy in Isaiah. Most of this chapter deals on negative aspects. Only the last few verses have a positive spin. It’s as if translators took out this one segment because its theme was centered on one aspect of human nature. Look at the collection of keys words.

Sins, lies, corruption, sinning, rebelled, denied, deceitful lies

murderers, murder, Misery, destruction, attacked, evil

webs

deadly, die, danger

darkness, dark, gloom

grope, stumble

unfair, oppressive, oppressed

All of those key words are related including the way web is used in the chapter. They could have been grouped together as one related list. There are other key words but this list seems to be the obvious guideline to search for parallel texts. As we’ve learned, key words will lead to scripture with the same theme. From that point it’s a matter of checking introductions and summations to make certain both chapters share the same contexts. That’s when we are certain the fulfillment explains the prophecy.

Looking at Isaiah 59 it may be questionable whether or not Isaiah is describing a condition in Judah at that time, or if he is pointing to the future. We don’t know until we check scripture. Living in this world it is not difficult to assume problems Isaiah listed describe the time he prophecised in, the era New Testament writers covered, our time, or any time in between. Let’s face it, sin has been and is a problem in this world and it is going to take a major event to solve the problem – eliminate sin.

PProphecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62
Prophecies Revealing the Messiah Isaiah Chapters 40 Through 62. Now you can download this eBook direct from the author.

It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. This leads most people to believe a lot of popular teaching these days. Are they true? Has God turned away from this world and left us on our own to face the enemy and his army of angels? Take a look at the timing. Has God communicated with this world since Isaiah was given this prophecy or vision? Of course. Jesus came to this world to explain how God communicates with us. If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’ “But I will send you the Advocate–the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry. (John 15:24-27 NLTse). Okay what do we get out of those four verses? Jesus’ enemies hated Him. How does what compare with Isaiah 59? “Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption. No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin. They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders’ webs. Whoever falls into their webs will die, and there’s danger even in getting near them.” Like those priests who killed Jesus, there were people trying to discredit God and kill His followers a long time ago. It still goes on today. People claim to teach about Jesus but they carry their own message. They don’t listen to God’s Spirit. They don’t know Jesus. They don’t receive their message from Jesus. They miss details while eliminating important information. Some preachers and people may think their doing a good job but have no idea they are turning people away from God’s simple plan of salvation.

Even when God sheds light on this world most people miss it. “We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead.” I’ve seen this in the news. The US wants to build a multi-billion dollar space system to shoot down meteors just in case God forgot one. In essence a move like this is designed by the enemy to take eyes off God while placing trust in science and government. It’s sort of like those people hiding behind Jerusalem’s walls. Instead of trusting in God and obeying Him, they make plans to discredit God, His ability and concern. Isn’t that what the US is doing – hiding behind a wall of money while worshiping science over God? So what happened a few weeks later? News comes out about a giant volcano in the middle of the US. God spoke with a meteor that passed over Russia last year. Science and rulers shook their fists at God and plugged their ears. Not even religious leaders saw or heard anything. So God repeats Himself with a volcano located deep inside the country that boasted the loudest. It seems science and leaders forgot to look under the ground to see all of God’s domain. God has His way of making the wisdom of this world look foolish. This almost seems like a chapter out of Exodus using different elements for new plagues. This time God moved from what man thought he could see to something he couldn’t see, but is much closer to home. See how the threat or curse moved? Notice how the plagues in Exodus moved from the river to the field to inside homes? What’s going to happen if the world doesn’t listen to these signs and warnings?


 

Isaiah paints a dim picture showing a pattern the world has repeated a thousand times and continues to repeat. Those studying future prophecy will not argue that the trend will continue until Jesus returns. We should also know, Jesus and God’s Spirit is hard at work to change the tide. It’s not going to be easy. We may not see world changing trends, but God has always centered His efforts on individuals which is one of the most difficult concepts for us to phantom. I have no idea why. Most Christians pray to God. Most think God hears them. Most believe God works in their lives. So why would those same Christians think some worldwide event, meeting, rally, or out pouring of God’s Spirit is in the works? That’s what most people who rely on future prophecy are waiting for. They don’t plan on making a move toward God until they see the sign they’re told to wait for. It seems that sign changes from day to day or week to week. If you watch some of those modern day future prophecy gurus you can’t help but think prophecy is a moving target. But it’s not. God wrote the fulfillment of every prophecy in His book long before it happened. That’s part of being God.

As you’ve noticed, the beginning of this study included the entire chapter of Isaiah 59. Just about the whole chapter covers a single aspect, the world is evil and people in it run to do evil. They love sin more than God. In the summation Isaiah introduced a few words of hope. “He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him.” How is God going to save them? “”And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken!” This sounds nice. It sounds worth repeating. But what does it mean? Of course it means God’s Spirit has been with man and remains with us. What words has God’s Spirit given us? Has God’s Spirit spoken to a single person or a chosen group of church leaders to speak to? We should be thankful we don’t live in a world or time when one man claiming to be god in earth determines right from wrong, what’s to be preached and what blasphemy is. There was a time extending for generations when one man determined what was to be preached, how it was to be preached, who it was preached to, and who preached his message. Whoever didn’t follow the creed of one man was tortured, killed, burnt on a stake, or worse. God showed this world what men are capable of. Then God opened new doors to put an end to one man, or group rule in this world. Are we walking through those doors again?

Isaiah’s chapter closed by showing God’s Spirit will always be with us. Jesus came to explain how God works with us. His disciples were examples of how we fall short of that understanding as well as examples of what to preach, how to preach, who to preach to, in addition to explaining what Jesus taught them in easy to understand terms. Those disciples didn’t change anything Jesus taught. They didn’t add to it or subtract from it, but showed how those lessons are related. This study shows how Paul explained Isaiah 59 to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 2:1-10 NLTse Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. (2) You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil–the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. (3) All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. (4) But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, (5) that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (6) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. (7) So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. (8) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (9) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (10) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

The introduction to Ephesians makes it clear we, people following Christ were no different than the rest of the world. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil–the commander of the powers in the unseen world.” Paul didn’t pull any punches. Sure we’re all sinners and that’s an important part of our ministry, remembering where we came from. Remember Abraham was called out of the land of the Chaldeans. That was Babylon. Paul the author of this book persecuted Christians. He arrested, beat, and jailed them. We know he stood by watching Stephen stoned to death. Then there was Peter, Andrew, James, and John, all fishermen. They didn’t have many leadership skills. Not the kind you would expect to find in a small group of people starting a new church, or shall we say religion. Maybe it was just a fresh way of looking at God or returning to a way long lost, hidden under generations of sin. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

After we realize where we came from, how do we figure out where to go? The first step is to realize how and why we were changed. Paul explained how the prophecy in Isaiah 59 was fulfilled. “He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him. He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.” As usual, it’s always best to let God’s Word explain the fulfillment. “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Change is never an easy process. It is not an instant change. When you become a new Christian it is like facing a battle on two sides. One side wants you to change, to be a better person. The other side wants to pull you back by sending every kind of temptation and trial you can imagine. At times it seems you’re not going anywhere. Some days you’ll want to give up. Remember God is stronger and Jesus already won the battle. Also think of what Elisha told his servant when everything looked lost. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” (2 Kings 6:16-17 NLTse). How can we loose when we have a much larger army around us and they are on fire?

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Sure we’re saved by God’s grace and sure it’s a gift from God. Does that mean we have nothing to do? Look at the texts carefully. “We are God’s masterpiece.” What does that mean? “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” If we’re a masterpiece, there has to be some changes before a canvas or block of marble can become a masterpiece. We become God’s new creation in Christ. And Paul tells us why, “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Remember the study when we looked at details about the book God wrote for us long before we were born? Is all of this fitting together? Ask yourself these questions. Is God changing me or recreating me into the masterpiece He originally designed? Is God leading be back to follow the story of my life He originally wrote for me? Some people may argue this takes away our freedom of choice. Ask yourself another question. Do you want to live forever in a world like this or the perfect world God originally created? If Jesus is going to recreate a new world, don’t you think you have to undergo a few changes to fit in? It’s just not you. As Paul pointed out, “all of us used to live that way.” Paul also wanted to tell us how far this message should reach. He covers that in the summation for Ephesians 2 which we have to compare to Isaiah 59.

Ephesians 2:16-22 NLTse (16) Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (17) He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. (18) Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. (19) So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (20) Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. (21) We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. (22) Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

At first glance the summaries for Isaiah 59 and Ephesians 2 seem to contrast one another and they do. “He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him.” This could lead people to look for the avenging Messiah those priests who opposed Jesus were looking for. This shows how a parallel chapter will disclose the unexpected interpretation to a symbol. Paul filled in not only the name but details showing how the prophecy was fulfilled. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. How does this help to explain the summation of Isaiah 59? We see the prophecy pointed to Jesus who intervened to help the oppressed. We also see that by His death on the cross, “he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm.” This puts a strange twist on Jesus’ sacrifice. Did you ever look at Jesus’ death on the cross as a show of His strong arm? Think about it. Arm is a symbol. It required a lot of courage and inner strength to die on the cross. The symbolic arm doesn’t point to physical strength but character.

Isaiah used other symbols Paul revealed. “He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion. He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.” Of course robe and cloak are symbols. Vengeance and repay are also symbols we can understand by reading Paul’s explanation. “Our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.” Look at Jesus’ enemies who opposed all of Jesus’ followers. They thrived on hostility. They created hostility. They were convinced hostility ensured their positions and income. When Jesus and His disciples brought together Jews and Gentiles, they put an end to that hostility. In essence they put an end to the hold those religious leaders had on their followers. Those religious leaders payed to have Jesus betrayed and Jesus repaid them by putting an end to their strangle hold on the Jews. This cut into their income. Jesus didn’t fight that war with any type of weapon they expected. Jesus fought with righteousness and salvation, the last thing they expected. Generations later they still can’t figure it out.

“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the LORD. “And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken!” Isaiah’s prophecy tells about a message, but doesn’t tell us exactly what that message is. This is another detail Paul points us to. “He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.” Paul used the phase Good News for a reason. One of the major misconceptions Christians have, carry, and teach is the Good News which is also translated Gospel. If nothing else we should learn one lesson from the Gospel. Jesus prayed for every person before He met them and knew exactly what to say to them, how to heal or help them, and answer questions from those who opposed Him. How did Jesus know all of that? He prayed long and hard. Most of Jesus’ prayers consisted of listening. Why bother praying if you already know the answer? Why bother praying if your not going to listen to God’s answer? The Gospel represents people who learned how to communicate with God like Jesus did. Look at how Paul explained it. “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” What does it mean to come to God? It better mean listening to Him. I don’t think one of us has earned the right to go to God with demands, comments, or a better way of doing things. I don’t think God needs advice on fulfilling His plan of salvation. Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? (Isaiah 40:14 NLTse).

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.” Paul also explained another portion of Isaiah’s prophecy. “In the west, people will respect the name of the LORD; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the LORD.” The book of Acts explains how Christianity grew at such a fast rate no one could control the tide. Jesus sent vengeance upon His enemies by creating a situation they couldn’t control. This left them with a lot of sleepless nights. It also formed divisions within their established religious order. Without God’s Spirit they were tossed and turned like a raging sea. Everyone thought they had the only solution and insisted their plans had to be followed to the letter. Methods they used to build the unity they wanted turned out to be a weapon destroying everything they dedicated their lives to. Once they took their eyes off Jesus they sunk faster than Peter on that stormy sea. Only Jesus could lift them out of the grave they dug for themselves. The faster their house fell, the quicker God’s house grew. “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

Comparing those summaries verse by verse we’ve seen how one explains the other. God used more symbols than anyone could ever imagine. Without God’s Spirit we would have never found those simple explanations or seen how Jesus fulfilled His promise of vengeance by dying on the cross and opening up a path to God’s throne not only for Jews, but Gentiles. This pulled the floor out from under the Jewish religious order. Loosing members equated to loss of income. Breaking down those barriers between Jews and Gentiles ensured that the Jewish religious order would never regain the glory it once had.

We’ve also seen how parallel chapters explain one another. All we did was follow simple Bible Study rules or patterns but highlighting keys words, looking at the patterns, using key words to search for parallel New Testament texts, checking introductions and summations to ensure we are using chapters with the same theme and context, then study the chapters together verse by verse to unlock lessons just below the surface.

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