Fear thou not…I will strengthen thee…I will help thee. – Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not…I will strengthen thee…I will help thee. – Isaiah 41:10
Isaiah 66:4, I choose their delusions. When people who know the truth of YHVH apostatise from his truth, in an effort to bring them back to him, he will discipline them as a loving parent to bring his children back to him. This process begins when people allow false gods or heart idols to replace devotion and obedience to YHVH (Ezek 14:1–5).
Many times, people seek YHVH’s blessings and favor, while at the same time worshiping the idols of their hearts. When a person is in this spiritual condition and they ask for YHVH’s guidance in a matter, a person isn’t able to clearly hear the will of YHVH, since any light of truth they may receive from him will be filtered through the tinted windows of their idolatrous hearts. They will hear only what they want to hear from him. In fact, YHVH promises to answer a person “according to the multitude of his idols” because he is “estranged from me by [his] idols” (Ezek 14:5). This is part of the humbling and testing process YHVH puts his people through as they trek through the wilderness of life en route to the Promised Land of their spiritual inheritance. He wants to see what’s in their hearts and determine whether they will obey all of his commandments whole-heartedly or not (Deut 8:2–3).
As a judgment against his wayward people, YHVH will allow them to come under spiritual delusion in an effort to bring them back to him in hopes of helping them to see that the proverbial grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence.
This is what happened to the prodigal son in Yeshua’s parable when he returned to his father’s house after having lived riotously for a season.
When people turn from YHVH and choose to serve other (or foreign) gods (or idols), YHVH may allow those gods to rise up to enslave his people (Jer 5:19).
Sometimes YHVH will even send a deluding or lying demonic spirit to further deceive his hard-hearted and rebellious people (2 Chr 8:22).
During the end times apostasy, YHVH will send a strong delusion to his saints who don’t love his truth enough to fully obey him. They will end up believing “the big lie” of the man of sin. This man of sin is the agent of Satan and whom Paul characterizes as the lawless or Torahless one (2 Thess 2:8–12).
Isaiah 61:10, He has clothed me with garments of salvation … robes of righteousness. The Hebrew word for salvation is Yesha (Strong’s H3468), which forms the root for the word yeshua meaning “salvation,” which, of course is the derivation of the Messiah’s personal name, Yeshua. How does Scripture define the word righteousness? (For the brief answer, reference Ps 119:172.) We see in this verse an interplay between the concepts of being clothed in Messiah’s salvation and works of righteousness, which is Torah obedience. Now relate these two concepts to Ephesians 2:8–9, which describes how we are saved spiritually, and then to Ephesians 2:10, which describes the proof of our salvation.
Now let’s take the next step in our line of logic by turning to Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 to discover what are the identifying marks of the end-time saints. Now relate this to the robes of righteousness the bride of Yeshua will be wearing in Revelation 19:7–9 with special emphasis on verse 8. The KJV reads, “for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints,” while both the NIV and NAS read “righteous acts” for “righteousness.” What are therighteous acts of the saints? (Again read Ps 119:172 along with John 14:15 and 1 John 2:3–6. Now read 2 Pet 3:14; Eph 5:27; Heb 12:14; Matt 5:48 and John 12:48.) As a famous radio personality of our time likes to say, “Now go and do the right thing!”
Isaiah 62:2, The Gentiles shall see your righteousness. Compare this verse withIsaiah 60:1–3. How will the heathens see your righteousness if you dress, act, speak, live like a heathen and follow the heathen religious customs and doctrines that have made their way into the church system? Remember (from the comments on Isaiah 61:10 above) how Scripture defines righteousness?
Isaiah 62:6, I have set watchmen upon your wall. Who are these watchmen? (ReadIsa 21:6, 11, 12; Ezek 3:17; 33:2, 6, 7; Hos 9:8.) What is the current state of many of the spiritual watchmen? (Read Isaiah 56:9–12 compared to John 10:7–13.) Other than guarding the sheep, what are the watchmen to be doing? Read Jeremiah 6:16–19 where we learn that they are to be turning YHVH’s people back to the ancient paths of YHVH’s instructions and precepts in righteousness—the Torah.
Isaiah 62:10, Lift up a standard. The Hebrew word for standard is nec, pronouncednace (Strong’s H5251/TWOT 1379a) meaning “signal pole, banner, ensign, sign or sail.” According to The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, nec generally refers to “a rallying point or standard, which drew people together for some common action or for the communication of important information.” This usually happened at a high or conspicuous place within the camp or community. There, a signal pole, sometimes with a flag attached, would be raised as a point of focus or object of hope. In Exodus 17:15, we discover that one of YHVH’s covenant names is YHVH-Nissi or YHVH My Banner. Isaiah prophetically declares that Yeshua, the Root of Jesse, would be “an ensign to the nations” (Isa 11:10) signifying the lifting up of Israel’s messianic king around whom all men would gather (TWOT, vol. 2, p. 583). In Isaiah 62:10–12, the prophet declares that a standard will be lifted up over the nations for the daughter of Zion (the land of Israel) signalling their return to Israel from the nations among which they have been scattered. What makes this end-time remnant of Israel holy (set-apart) and redeemed? What is this standard or rallying point that YHVH will lift up over the nations causing them to return to their land and spiritual roots? How is this being fulfilled today among YHVH’s people?
Isaiah 63:1–6, Comes from Edom. Who is Edom? Both Christian and Jewish Bible commentators see this passage referring to YHVH avenging Israel for Edom’s perpetual hatred and persecution of Israel. The Jews relate Edom not only to the literal descendants of Esau, but see Edom as a metaphor for all those who have persecuted the Israelites down through the ages including the Babylonians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, and even the Germans. (Relate this passage to the parallel passages in Rev 14:14–20.) Even as Esau and his small army stood blocking the way of Jacob’s return to the Promised Land inGenesis 32, so Edom will attempt to prevent Jacob’s descendants from doing the same in the end days. How is this being fulfilled in the land of Israel today? Who is attempting to thwart Israel’s every attempt to re-establish itself in its homeland today? Isaiah 63 shows us how YHVH will eventually deal with Edom for their antagonism against YHVH’s people. Other Scriptures that deal with Edom’s demise and punishment at YHVH’s hands because of their perpetual hatred for Israel include Jeremiah 49:7–22; Ezekiel 25:12–14; 35 (entire chapter); 36:5 (where Idumea is another reference to Edom) Joel 3:19; Amos 1:6, 9, 11;2:1; the entire Book of Obadiah, and Malachi 1:4.
Isaiah 63:9, The angel of his presence saved them. This is another one of those short prophetic passages that could be easily passed over, but which is significant. The wordangel is malak (Strong’s H4397) meaning “messenger” or “representative” and can refer to both an earthly or human messenger, as well and a heavenly or divine/supernatural messenger. With regard to the latter, Scripture reveals that some are angelic messengers (e.g., Gen 19:1; Pss 91:11; 103:20), as well as a singular divine messenger who comes in the name of Elohim, from the Presence of Elohim acting as Elohim, and revealing himself to be Eohim, while presenting himself in humanesque form (e.g., Gen 22:11; 31:11; 48:16;Exod 3:2; 23:20, 23; etc.) The word presence in Isaiah 63:9 is panyim (Strong’s H6440) meaning “face.” To whom is this a reference? Compare Genesis 32:30 (Peniel means face of El/God) with Hosea 12:3–4. Most Christian Bible commentators see this messenger as a preincarnate appearance of Yeshua, which in theological terms is referred to as atheophany, or more specifically, a Christophany. In Isaiah 63:9, what does this Messenger from YHVH’s Presence or face of Elohim do for Israel? Discuss the concepts of salvationand redemption relating this to the work of Yeshua the Messiah as revealed in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament).
Isaiah 43:21ff, Religious service is the flower or result of a life of devotion and service to YHVH and our fellow man. It is not the religious service itself that matters to YHVH, but the condition of one’s heart and the life of righteousness that precedes resulting in the religious service that counts. Israel had lost sight of this, and their religious service had become empty, ritualistic and meaningless to YHVH. Additionally, the offering presented to YHVH had to cost the offerer dearly. Though Yeshua fulfilled the sacrificial system by his death at Golgotha by becoming the ultimate sacrifice (and it cost him dearly), if we are in Yeshua we must follow in his footsteps. How is this? (Read Ps 51:15–16; 34:18; Isa 66:1–3; Rom 6:3–13; Gal 2:20 and Heb 13:15–16.) Remember, it is not what we do, or how we do it that matters to YHVH as much as why we do it. Why do you do what you do in your spiritual exercises? If it is for any other reason than to draw near to our Father in heaven, to love him, and to become like him, then your motives may be questionable.
Isaiah 43:23–24, The purpose of the offerings was to bring the offerer nearer to Elohim. Israel had lost that perspective and therefore YHVH states, “Not for me have you brought the lamb of your elevation offering ….” What were the wrong motives on Israel’s part with which YHVH took exception? What are your motives for obeying YHVH? In the Christian world, the need for “fire insurance” against the fires of “hell” is a major though sadlymisguided motive for many to be a follower of Jesus. For some who are returning to the Hebrew roots of their faith, obedience may be simply a knee-jerk reaction against some of the false teachings of Christianity, or it may be about proving to others that they are better or more righteous than others. Or maybe we’re doing it so seek the approval of others? Perhaps it is to earn points with YHVH, making our obedience a works-based legalism. What is at the root of your motives? This are all wrong and misguided motives and are displeasing to the Almighty.
Isaiah 44:3–4, Pour water on him that is thirsty. In Scripture, water symbolizes both the Torah-Word and Spirit of Elohim. Is your innermost soul like parched ground that is begging for water? (Read Pss 63:1–11 and 84:2.) Is this your heart-cry and desire? When our offerings are presented to YHVH out of right heart motives, then heaven and earth align to bless the offerer. The physical land will be blessed with rain in due season, even as YHVH will bless the spiritual land of our lives with spiritual rain from the highest heaven. When YHVH blesses his people they sprout between the blades of grass and become like willow trees by a river. Grass is thick and what can possibly squeeze between blades of grass, much less grow? But YHVH can pour out his Spirit on your life and you will literally shoot up to tower over the grass like a willow tree. Willows require much water and will grow quickly into large trees. Some species related to the willow such as poplars and cottonwoods can easily grow to be 130 feet tall with trunks six feet in diameter if they are planted on a riverbank, for example. But they started out as an indistinguishable sprout amongst the blades of grass in the brush and weeds along the river. Cry out to YHVH for his divine river of life to flow into your life so that you can rise heavenward above your circumstances and setbacks. (Read Luke 11:9–13.) Isaiah is addressing the plight of the descendants of Jacob while in their spiritual captivity in galut (in exile). We are collectively in galut. But if each person individually begins to break out of his or her personal galutthrough the power of the resurrected Redeemer of Israel—Yeshua, through whom we are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37), then the entire body-politic of the nation of Israel will move forward spiritually out of exile and toward the Promised Land. Soon there will be a mighty forest of willow trees. (Read Ps 1:3.)
Isaiah 44:6–8, I am the first and the last … Is there any Elohim beside me? Who is the First and the Last? (Read Rev 1:11,17; 2:8; 22:13.) In the first part of verse six, we find the interesting phrase: “Thus says YHVH the King of Israel and his redeemer YHVH of Hosts; I am the first and the last …” To whom is this a clear reference? Who is redeeming Israel collectively and as well as one life at a time? With redemption comes deliverance, victory and eternal life. There is no possibility of defeat in the end when the one and only Elohim of the universe is on your side!
Isaiah 44:9–20, These verses discuss the absurd futility of idol worship. How would we define modern-day idolatry? Quite simply, it is anything in your life that takes precedence over your relationship with YHVH-Yeshua. What do you spend most of your time, thought life, energy and resources pursuing—God or mammon? Be honest and do not lie to yourself. Your heart will convict you. Down deep you know the real answer to this question. Many people put YHVH into a box and let him out of that box once a week when they are with other believers, and then put him back into that box when they are back alone. This is gross idolatry and hypocrisy. Idolatry is the religion of those in spiritual exile. They are those who worship the created instead of the Creator (read Romans 1). YHVH’s people Israel have gotten mixed up in these false religious concepts and must come out (Rev 18:4).
Isaiah 44:21–23, Read and meditate on these verses. This is our destiny. This will happen and is happening, for YHVH has declared it. Who eternally remains at the center of Israel’s redemption and glorious future? (Read Acts 17:28.) Do you love him with all your heart? If not, ask YHVH to enlarge (or widen, make room) your heart, as David prayed (Ps 119:32).
Isaiah 40:1–26, The End-Times Elijah Generation Preparing the Way for Messiah
Isaiah the prophet ministered in Judah for about 40 years from 740 to 697 b.c., approximately 100 years before the southern kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 586 b.c. Judah’s captivity in Babylon would last for 70 years. The Book of Isaiah contains more messianic prophecies than any other book in the Tankah, and many of those prophecies specifically relate to the redemption through the Messiah of the two houses of Israel.
In the Isaiah 40 prophecy, according to rabbinic understanding, Isaiah is prophesying (in verses 3–5) concerning Israel’s deliverance from exile seventy years after her captivity (The Soncino Pentateuch, p. 777). This is not an incorrect interpretation of this prophecy, although it is not necessarily the only one, for we know, as with many of the Scripture’s ancient prophecies, there are sometimes multiple fulfillments. Because the old adage that says, “history repeats itself,” is true, and because human behavior remains unchanged from time immemorial, though the players and costumes change on history’s theatrical stage, many biblical prophetic themes have cyclical patterns. In the present case, where Isaiah speaks in verse three of “a voice crying in the wilderness,” (Isa 40:3) we know that the gospel writers applied this to John the Baptist preparing the way for the coming of Yeshua the Messiah (Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23). What in this prophecy did the gospel authors see as applying to Yeshua the Redeemer and Savior of Israel? First,Yeshua himself declared John the Baptist to be that messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah that Malachi prophesied about (cp. Matt 11:10 and Mal 3:1). Themessenger of Malachi 3 and 4 seems to be the same individual mentioned in Isaiah 40. Furthermore, Isaiah 40:3 speaks of preparing the way for YHVH and making a highway in the desert for Elohim. Clearly, the gospel writers recognized that Yeshua was YHVH Elohim based not only on his claims to deity, but based on the fact that Isaiah states that the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel, would not only be YHVH Elohim, but that he was the arm of YHVH (Isa 53:1) making him a manifestation, if you will, of YHVH.
Not only did the gospel authors see John the Baptist in the Isaiah 40 prophecy (Isa 40:3–4cp. Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–5; John 1:23) because they recognized who Yeshua was and could see that John had fulfilled the Isaiah 40 passage, but they also likened John to Elijah the prophet who had come to prepare the way for Yeshua (Mal 3:1 cp. Matt 11:10;Mark 1:3). Additionally, we know that an end-time prophet, or prophets, will come to prepare the way for the second coming of Yeshua. This is clear from Malachi 4:5–6 where we find the prophecy concerning Elijah the prophet coming before the great and terrible day of Elohim’s wrath, which is understood to occur just prior to the coming of Messiah. This Elijah-type person, or person(s), coming in the spirit of Elijah (like John the Baptist, seeMatt 17:11–13), will effect a great spiritual revival in helping to turn the hearts of the children to their spiritual fathers (Mal 4:6), and in so doing will be preparing Israel to meet their Messiah. So we can link the Isaiah 40 passage with John the Baptist and Elijah the Prophet and with an end-time generation of righteous individuals who will be fulfilling this prophecy; that is, they will be preparing the way of YHVH, exalting the valleys, lowering the mountains, and making the crooked paths straight. What do these poetic expressions mean in concrete spiritual terms?
Now let us establish one fact. This end-time Elijah-type prophet (or prophets coming in the spirit of Elijah) will make straight the crooked paths of men, thus preparing a spiritual highway in the wilderness for the Messiah (Isa 40:3–5). The righteous ways of YHVH are always straight and narrow (Matt 7:13–14), while the wicked ways of men are crooked (Jer. 17:9). Messiah is coming back to reward the righteous—those whose ways are straight—and to punish the wicked.
YHVH’s path of righteousness is always straight, never changes (or curves) and leads to eternal life, while the path of a serpent (like the tracks of a snake in the sand) is curvy and wavers between good and evil. That is why the serpent hid in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and lured Adam and Eve away from the tree of life over to his crooked path that leads to death. Most men want to do some good, but they do not want to walk in total submission to the righteous commands of YHVH. Instead, they prefer to bend the laws of Elohim a little (or a lot!) to fit the lusts of the flesh and eyes to suit them. This is the broad and curved path that leads to destruction—not the straight line path that leads to eternal life (Matt 7:13). This is the path of secular humanism where YHVH and his straight path of righteousness as characterized by his Torah is marginalized or diminished in the minds and theologies of men, and the prideful will of man is elevated against the will of YHVH. This is the path that says that YHVH does not mean what he says in his Word—that YHVH’s Word does not stand forever, even though he says it does (Isa 40:8). We see this spirit of rebellion manifested on the part men in our day when, for example, YHVH commands man to keep the seventh-day Sabbath on the seventh day and man chooses to do so on the first day of the week, or men exchange YHVH’s biblical holy days for man-made holidays, or men cast off the constraints of the righteous walk by disregarding YHVH’s dietary laws, or men exchange many of YHVH’s other biblical truths for their own non-biblical religious doctrines and traditions.
Each of us can choose to be willing and obedient to YHVH’s Word and be blessed as a result, or choose to refuse to obey and instead rebel against YHVH only to suffer his judgment (Isa 1:19–20). For those who choose the straight and narrow path of life and adhere to the Torah (YHVH’s instructions, teachings and precepts in righteousness), Yeshua declared that they will be called the greatest in YHVH’s kingdom (Matt 5:19). For those who choose to rebel against YHVH’s Torah, YHVH Messiah will return the second time to establish his millennial kingdom and with a strong hand and arm he shall rule and he will reward men according to their obedience to his Word that stands forever (Isa 40:8and 10). The Book of Revelation speaks of Yeshua ruling on this earth as King of kings with a rod (staff or a kingly scepter) of iron (Rev 2:27; 17:14; 19:15–16). Those who refuse to keep the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, for example, during the millennial reign of King Yeshua will be starved into submission as Yeshua with his sovereign rod of iron rule upon the earth (Zech 14:16–19). This is the strong arm by which Messiah will rule that Isaiah refers to (Isa 40:10).
In the remainder of Isaiah 40, the prophet makes a strong case that it is futile for men to match wills with the Creator of the universe before whom the nations are mere vanity (or nothingness, verse 17) and men are mere grasshoppers (verse 22). Furthermore, all religious activities of all men on the whole earth, other than obedience to YHVH and adherence to his unchanging Word, are meaningless and absurd (verses 19–20).
What then is the point of this discussion? It is this: Only by complete submission and obedience to the unchanging Torah-Word of YHVH as revealed in the Scriptures will men be walking in the straight and narrow path. Only then will we be preparing the way in the spiritual wilderness that surrounds us for the Messiah to come again. Many in our day are called to be spiritual Elijahs and John the Baptists crying in the wilderness urging all to turn their hearts back to the ancient paths, back to the biblical Hebraic roots of our faith, and back to our spiritual fathers—the patriarchs, prophets and apostles. Someone has been given the difficult task of pulling down the religious strongholds that run counter to the “Word [Torah] of our Elohim [that] shall stand forever,” and to prepare a straight and flat path for the return of Yeshua the Messiah. Are you part of that Elijah generation, and if so, what are you doing to prepare the way for Messiah?