Good News for All Nations
The Book of Isaiah is divided into 66 chapters and we know this was done by man. As we begin our study in chapter 40 we will see a great transition in the prophecies of Isaiah.
We could say that the Book of Isaiah is divided into two divisions. The first division we studied last quarter. If we remember Isaiah spent a lot of time on the coming of the Messiah and Israel’s past.
In this second division, we will see Isaiah prophesy of Israel’s deliverance.
The Bible has 66 books and is divided into the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.
We will see that the Book of Isaiah is roughly divided the same, with 39 chapters teaching the coming of Christ, the Messiah and 27 chapters dealing with the deliverance of Christ and the promise of eternal freedom.
As we begin we will see it has been many years since the time of Hezekiah. Israel returned to idol worship and God allowed the Babylonians to capture Israel, even Jerusalem but as Jeremiah prophesied they would only be in captivity for 70 years.
This was not only the time of Isaiah but also of Jeremiah and Daniel and some others.
Even while Israel was in captivity, Isaiah was preaching of comfort and freedom that was coming to this nation!
Again, the truth is God’s redeeming power is clearly pictured in these words of Isaiah!
These things still called for repentance and a return to the Lord!
*****Isa 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
God’s instructions to His prophet was to comfort the Jews in this terrible situation that they were in!
Isaiah was not speaking to the inhabitants of Jerusalem nor of Judah in this day, he was speaking to the Jewish exiles in Babylonia.
Jerusalem and the Temple lay in ruins which will be referred to as the “old waste places”.
Isa_58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.
Notice this also refers to the Second Coming of Christ and His work on Mount Zion.
At this time, it is Babylon that is the dominating power in the world but even that would not last very long. Babylon over thru Nineveh and the Assyrians in about 606 BC and Babylon was overthrown by Cyrus in 538 BC, only 68 years. It would be Cyrus who would allow the Jews to go home and even finance the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Of course, Isaiah could not have known these things but he did know what God said would be the truth and he knew God would deliver his people from this captivity.
It is the voice of God that now directs His prophet to comfort His people.
God as a tender Father, will always reach out to His people and as His people suffer the Lord also feels that suffering Himself!
The people needed comfort and they needed a double amount.
Isaiah would have to change the way he delivered his message from the time of Hezekiah, which was a bold message of repentance and now be gentle in his message as these Jews had been humbled and were being humbled by captivity again.
It was time to reach into the hearts of these people with the love that God had for them, even when they had rejected His message.
They were in Babylon because of sin and they were beginning to realize this truth.
*****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 first need of every soul, is forgiveness!
Our soul can endure suffering when that suffering comes from our own mistakes but being unforgiven is a life of misery!
Before God can repair our mistakes and allow us to learn from them, we must be assured of forgiveness!
The Promise to the Church:
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The Promise to the Jews:
Mic 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
We must also realize that even when we are forgiven and God has issued His pardon, we must still reap what we have sown.
It was now Isaiah’s job to convey this message to those Jews in captivity!
According to the prophet Jeremiah, these Jews would have to serve 70 years in captivity and the Lord would also honor this prophecy.
Jer_29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
When these Jews were made aware of the promises of God, they then had great hope that their suffering would end but it did still required repentance.
Repentance is always required before forgiveness can come!
And then another great prophecy.
*****Isa 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.
Isa 40:4 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:
Isa 40:5 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.
Isaiah prophesied that before the Lord would come He would send some human to prepare the way.
The message to these Jews was that Jehovah had already put the necessary forces in motion to bring about the return of these captives.
There would be a revelation of Divine Glory for all the world to see!
1) First, we see that this relates to the deliverance of these Jews out of Babylon.
They would have to repent and straighten out their lives and remove all crooked, and unrighteous behavior.
We do know that after this time in Babylon the Jews never became idol worshipers again even in our day.
2) Second, we should know that this applies to John the Baptist.
Mat 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
Mat 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Before the Lord Jesus would reveal His ministry, His way must first be prepared for Him!
The way of the Lord is by the way of “Holiness”.
Today this seems to be forgotten!
Again, the message of John was to repent.
What was John’s job?
Luk 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
Luk 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
Luk 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And why was John to be in the power of Elias (Elijah)?
Because this prophecy has a third meaning.
3) Third the return of the Messiah.
Isa 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
Isa 35:9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
Isa 35:10 And 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.
Why was John the Baptist in the power of Elijah?
Mat 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Mat 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Mat 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
Here the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking of His Own Second Coming.
Elijah will also return in person to make way for the return of the Messiah.
Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
One of these two witnesses are Elijah and though there is great debate, the other would be Enoch because according to the Word of God every man must see death and Elijah and Enoch are the only two in the Bible who have not yet seen death.
Even the Lord Jesus Christ saw death!
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
It is when the Lord Jesus Christ returns that He will make everything straight, every valley will be exalted, every hill made low, the crooked will be made straight, and the rough places plain!
Therefore, these words came from the mouth of the Lord to His prophet!
When all the preparations are made, then there will be a complete revelation of the “Glory and the Might” of the Lord!
Why do we know this refers to the end times of the Tribulation Period? Because “all flesh will see it together”!
Rev_1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
This still has nothing to do with the calling out of the Church that was formed by His first coming!
1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
There would not be much comfort of the Saints, knowing we would have to go through the Tribulation and see the wrath of God which He said we would not see.
1Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The thing that we should see clearly is that when we repent and return to the Lord, we can level out the paths of our lives and when we are faithful and consistent in our Christian life, we will ride smoothly when we are on the mountain top and when we pass through the valleys of life with confidence.
We can fill secure knowing that we will see the Lord in all His glory and He will welcome us with open arms!
Getting back to these Jews, we can be sure that by no longer having a home, being a stranger in a foreign country, ruled by a ruthless and unmerciful king, their future did not look very promising. They knew that no one on this earth now had the power to save them.
Isaiah’s message was that no matter what they thought, there is a God, the One true God who can do all things.
*****Isa 40:6 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:
Isa 40:7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
When we focus on this world, nothing in this life seems very promising. The voice of reason teaches us that we have only a few years to live and in fact we do not know what tomorrow will bring!
God says if we would just awaken to His truth, we could rest in our spirit and life would be tolerable knowing that there is really a life after the death of this flesh!
Compared to the glory of God, the glory of the human(flesh), a creation of God, is no more than common grass!
Like the grass, we are subject to all the tragedies that happen to grass. The glory of the grass is short lived until it withers away and is gone. Even when a blade of grass is at its full strength it can be trampled upon, or parched by the Sun, plucked by some other flesh, or even mowed down to nothingness.
If the grass has any glory at all, it is when it is flowering which may be the only time that it is noticeable as no one really pays attention to common grass!
Unlike the grasses, the Word of God has a life that compares to the God who gave it, it is eternal!
The doctrines of the Word of God abide forever. They are not just theories as those of philosophers but are eternal truths!
The promises of God are sure! The punishments and the rewards are real!
To those who are “Born Again” into the family of God, all things have changed!
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
1Pe 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
1Pe 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
The Word of God does not contain the “Gospel”, the Word of God is the “Gospel”!
Any false doctrine of man will fade, as will the grasses of all flesh, that have not been “Born” into the family of God!
All corruptible seed will perish!
When we trust the truth of the Word of God then hopelessness disappears. The knowledge of a great future is enduring because God will fulfill His promises, because every promise is God’s guarantee!
The Word of God is incorruptible because it was given by the Holy Spirit!
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We serve a Great Big God who is also Mightier than any power on this earth!
*****Isa 40:9 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!
This Scripture may be from Isaiah to all the prophets of his time to go to Zion and proclaim the “good tidings” of God but in truth this is a command for not just all Pastors, and all Missionaries, but to all the children (the Saints) of God to proclaim the “good news” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
God says go to the highest mountain and proclaim the salvation of God with all the strength we possess!
The message of salvation is so important that it must be declared to everyone.
Luk 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Salvation is no longer a mystery to the Church but most of this world still live believing salvation is only a mystery that cannot be solved and it is our only job to see that these who are lost get the opportunity to know the Lord and His salvation plan!
We must not be cowardly by shrinking back from proclaiming the “Good News” of the Gospel!
We must not fear rejection and we must not fear persecution!
We must not tone down the message of God, it still requires true “faith” and real “repentance” to be rescued!
The “Good News” must not be twisted into a lie, making everyone acceptable by their own beliefs or their own works.
The “Good News” is not to be treated like it is some secret that the world does not need to know.
The Word of God will always do what it was intended to do!
Isa_55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
There is still only one truth and only one way to reach the glory world of Heaven and have eternal life!
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The truth is, the Lord is coming in a marvelous way just as He came the first time in the virgin birth.
1) He is first coming, as a thief to remove His Church so that the Church will not see His wrath upon this earth full of unbelievers!
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
2) Then He is coming to show His wrath to all unbelievers and then to fulfill the promises made to King David.
1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Notice that God says, without a doubt, that He will return as the Messiah!
*****Isa 40:10 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.
Behold our God will come with all His Might and all His Majesty, His Beauty!
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the arm of God.
Psa 80:17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
His reward is with Him and His work is before Him:
Joh 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
Joh 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
Joh 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Joh 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Joh 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Joh 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
God promised to rescue His people from Satan, Jesus did that on the cross on Mount Calvary. That work is finished:
Joh_19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
When the Lord returns, He will complete all the remaining work that needs to be done:
Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
What is the Lord doing right now?
1) Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Joh 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
2) Rom_8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
The Lord will not stop His work until He has redeemed every believer and brought justice to this world by striking down all His enemies!
Then all the redeemed will see a side of God that we have only read about and only dreamed about!
*****Isa 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
The Lord who will show no pity in His destruction of all unbelievers and His enemies, will become a tender Shepherd to those who love Him.
Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Joh 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Rev 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Rev 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Rev 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
All those from the time of Adam until the day the Lord calls out His Church and those that are saved during the Tribulation years and that remnant of Israel, who have answered the call of God, are all the flock of the Lord, and will have eternal life through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.
As always, those who are weak will be carried in the bosom of the Lord, and the Lord will lead His flock at the pace of those who are young!
It is true that the remnant of the Jews had this picture of the Lord, which was a true picture but it will also be true for that remnant of the Jews during the time of Jacob’s trouble.
And the Lord our King will also be the Shepherd who calls His Church home.
The picture we should all see is that the Lord holds each of His flock close to His heart!
The Lord will never forsake His children!
Where ever our Shepherd leads, we are content to follow!
How great is our God? Here is just an example:
*****Isa 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?
Notice the reference to the hand which in fact only the human has and it is wonderfully constructed as is every part of our bodies.
It is the hand of God that refers to God power and authority!
It is the arm of God that gives leverage to God’s hand!
We read in another place where the heavens are the work of God’s fingers.
We know that Jehovah spoke our world into existence but we would be fools to not see that we are all shaped by the hand of our Mighty God!
This hand is so powerful that once we are in His hand there is no power on earth or in Heaven that can take us out of God’s hand!
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.
Who can do such things but our God, Jehovah?