Vol. 12, No. 1
PRAYER THOUGHT: "The message we have to bear is not a message that men need cringe to declare. They are not to seek to cover it, to conceal its origin and purpose. Its advocates must be men who will not hold their peace day nor night. As those who have made solemn vows to God, and who have been commissioned as the messengers of Christ, as stewards of the mysteries of the grace of God, we are under obligation to declare faithfully the whole counsel of God. We are not to make less prominent the special truths that have separated us from the world and made us what we are; for they are fraught with eternal interests. God has given us light in regard to the things that are now taking place in the last remnant of time, and with pen and voice we are to proclaim the truth to the world, not in a tame, spiritless way, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God. The mightiest conflicts are involved in the furtherance of the message, and the results of its promulgation are of moment to both heaven and earth.
"The controversy between the two great powers of good and evil is soon to be ended; but to the time of its close, there will be continual and sharp contests. We should now purpose, as did Daniel and his fellows in Babylon, that we will be true to principle, come what may. The flaming fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated, did not cause these faithful servants of God to turn aside from allegiance to the truth. They stood firm in the time of trial, and were cast into the furnace; and they were not forsaken of God. The form of the Fourth was seen walking with them in the flames, and they came forth not having even the smell of fire upon their garments....
"Today the world is full of flatterers and dissemblers; but God forbid that those who claim to be guardians of sacred trusts, shall betray the interests of God's cause through the insinuating suggestions and devices of the enemy of all righteousness.
"There is no time now to range ourselves on the side of the transgressors of God's law, to see with their eyes, to hear with their ears, and to understand with their perverted senses. We must press together. We must labor to become a unit, to be holy in life and pure in character. Let those who profess to be servants of the living God no longer bow down to the idol of men's opinions, no longer be slaves to any shameful lust, no longer bring a polluted offering to the Lord, a sin-stained soul." -- Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 470, 471.
Our study for today is taken from several chapters in Isaiah, particularly chapters 12, 13 and 14. Some of these chapters contain prophecies which are illustrated by certain experiences of ancient peoples and nations which at some time were to be repeated. We shall now commence our study with only a brief review of what we have already found in chapters 7 and 8 because our time is limited and you are all more or less familiar with it.
First is mentioned the history of ancient Israel's unsuccessfully confederating with Syria against Judah, for they could not prevail against her. Instead, both were taken by Assyria. Then follows the prophecy of the birth of Immanuel. Since, however, Christ was born long after the kings of Israel and Syria were taken, it is obvious from verse 16 of chapter 7 that a circumstance was to occur at sometime that would be the antitype of the confederacy which took place anciently between Israel and Syria against Judah, and that in this antitypical period both kings represented by Syria and Israel would be taken by a power represented by Syria and Israel would be taken by a power represented by Assyria before "Immanuel" would know the difference between good and evil.
Since, as has already been pointed out, Christ ("Immanuel") did not live in the time of such a confederacy, it must be that not only Israel, Syria, and Assyria are types, but Christ Himself is also a type. We learned that Immanuel (meaning, "God with us") could represent only His true followers, the born-again Christians.
Through these scriptures and historical facts we learned that the antitype of Israel and Syria's confederacy took place commencing in the first century A.D., when one part of the Christians (Israel) federated with pagans (Syria) against the other Christians (Judah), but their combined church-state power was broken by the Protestant nations (Assyria) after Immanuel (born-again Christians) came but before they had advanced in Truth far enough to know how to choose between good and evil and before the younger Christians, represented by the second son, Mahershalalhashbaz of chapter 8, had progressed enough even to know their "father" (God) and their "mother" (the church).
After Isaiah mentions the ancient historical confederacy and then the sign of Immanuel, which we have just reviewed and applied to the experience of the early Christian church history, Isaiah 8:9 warns against another association of peoples, saying that this confederacy will likewise surely fail and fall to pieces. And for us, this is the main lesson in these chapters. We are instructed as to what to expect and what to do about it.
The period we are now in is antitypical Assyria. The Assyrian period is about to pass away and the period of Babylon to be ushered in. But there is another thing that is to happen between the setting up of the confederacy of Isaiah 8:9 and the rise of Babylon: it is the setting up of God's Kingdom. God's people are to be taken to their own land and made free.
In outlining the chapters we find this order: The seventh chapter brings the birth of Christians and the federation against them, the eighth chapter brings in the latter-day confederacy of peoples and nations and the outcome of it; the ninth and tenth chapters contain a continuation of the antitypical period of Assyria and her fall; the eleventh chapter brings the setting up of the Kingdom of God; the twelfth chapter expresses the praise of those in Zion in the Kingdom; the thirteenth chapter brings the burden of Babylon.
Recently, you recall, we studied the tenth chapter of Isaiah and found that this chapter brings us to the time when the period of antitypical Assyria is to come to its end. We might naturally expect Babylon to follow next, because that period comes after the fall of Assyria. But that is not correct, for Christ's Kingdom must also come in Its proper time. That is the child -- His people when they have become mature, born-again Christians. The burden of Babylon, therefore, is not mentioned until the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah.
Now we may ask ourselves why the symbolization of the government of God s Kingdom as given in Isaiah 11 is in the form of the rod and the Branch and the root? Other figures might have been used that would be just as fitting, but God chose these. Why? -- It must be noticed that the eleventh chapter starts with the word "and," showing that it is a continuation of the tenth chapter. Now let us read
Isa. 10:33, 34 -- "Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And He shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one."
Isa. 11:1 -- "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots."
The people are illustrated as trees. The Lord is first to take out the people -- clean the land -- and then a Branch shall stand. In other words, one set is to be taken out completely and a new set is to stand in its place. The land of our fathers, Palestine, then will be clean from all wicked and wickedness, and Christ's people will be there with Christ's principles and influence ruling over them.
You see, then, that these chapters are arranged in their correct order, and put in other terms, it can be said that when this association of Isaiah 8 is urged, the leopard-like beast of Revelation 13 is about to pass off and the other period represented by the scarlet-colored beast of Revelation 17 is about to come on the stage of action. With the fall of Assyria, the land of promise is also prepared for God's people to come and there set up a place for those who are to be called out of Babylon, to come where there are neither sin nor sinners. Those are God's plans.
The rest of chapter 11 describes the condition of God's Kingdom and the way His people are brought there, and continuing on with the praise of the righteous in the Kingdom, chapter 12 commences with the word "and." Let us read through this chapter and make a few comments as we proceed.
Isa. 12:1 -- "And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise Thee: though Thou wast angry with me Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortedst me."
In the church purified, Christ's Kingdom described in the preceding chapter, God's people will praise Him though He had been angry with them. When was He angry with them? -- When He had to use the Gentile nations to disperse them because of their rebellious and idolatrous ways. When they are brought back into the Kingdom and are comforted, then they will understand all God's dealings and will praise Him for it.
Isa. 12:2 -- "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation."
This is the testimony God's people will bear in His Kingdom.
Isa. 12:3 -- "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
Now the Lord speaks. When God's people are safely and peacefully situated in the land of promise; when they bear their testimony of faith and trust in God, then God says that they with joy shall draw water (Truth) out of the wells of salvation.
Isa. 12:4 -- "And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted ."
The 144,000 will do this very thing when they go to all nations.
Isa. 12:5 -- "Sing unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth."
All the earth is to know of the Lord's excellent things.
Isa. 12:6 -- "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
The 144,000 standing on Mt. Zion with the Lamb will cry out and shout for joy.
How plain it is that God is about to do a great thing in the earth that all will know about. Before this message came we were unable to place all of these events, but how clear they are now!
We already learned that with the fall of Assyria God sets up His Kingdom and then Babylon comes on the stage of action. Therefore the burden of Babylon is mentioned in the next chapter, which we shall now study.
Isa. 13:1, 2 -- "The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand that they may go into the gates of the nobles."
In presenting the burden of Babylon, God first commissions His Own people to lift up a banner, meaning that they are to make known what they have. They are to exalt the voice or message by letting it do for them what it ought to do. God's people, the 144,000, are to do this for those in Babylon who will constitute the great multitude of Revelation 7:9, "that they may go into the gates of the nobles." The Bible declares that it is at Mt. Zion where the nobles will be. "Gates" and "nobles" would indicate territory and rulers, showing that God's Kingdom at that time is in existence and it is this Kingdom that the sincere will go when they leave Babylon -- the world, in the time of the image of the beast.
Isa. 13:3 -- "I have commanded My sanctified ones, I have also called My mighty ones for Mine anger, even them that rejoice in My highness."
Two groups are here mentioned: (1) His "sanctified ones" -- His sanctified ministry; and (2) His "mighty ones" -- the unfallen angels. In other words, He is here telling us that He is recruiting His church and His angels for His anger.
Isa. 13:4 -- "The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle."
Joel, speaking of this event, says that the heathen will be brought to the Valley of Jehoshaphat where the Lord is afterward to judge them. When this happens it is the great day of the Lord.
Isa. 13:5 -- "They come from a far country from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of His indignation, to destroy the whole land."
The Lord also comes.
We have seen in these first five verses of this chapter the description of God's army which is to "destroy the whole land."
Isa. 13:6 -- "Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty."
The day of the Lord is at hand. And the Lord is telling you and me to howl even now because of it. People can know only what they are told; therefore the command comes to howl, for certain destruction is coming. It is at hand.
Isa. 13:7, 8 -- "Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: and they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames."
A great and sudden surprise is coming to the nations, and all who are unbelievers shall faint, for the great day of God shall suddenly bring trouble and destruction that they are not expecting.
Isa. 13:9 -- "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it."
The day of the Lord is at hand to lay the land desolate and to destroy sinners out of it.
Isa. 13:10 -- "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."
This verse gives the signs that are to precede the final great day of the Lord.
Isa. 13:11, 12 -- "And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity: and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir."
At this time God's people will be without guile and perfect in His sight, and therefore more precious than fine gold.
Isa. 13:13, 14 -- "Therefore I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger. And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land."
Every man turning to his own people and fleeing into his own land does not mean that they will migrate to their native land. It shows a separation in which every man must choose whether he will go to the land of the righteous and be with righteous people, or whether he will choose to dwell in Babylon where, according to Zephaniah 5, all wickedness is to be carried.
Isa. 13:15 -- "Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword."
It will indeed be a terrible, a cruel day for those in Babylon.
Isa. 13:16 -- "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished."
This is the work of wicked men and happens when finally the ten horns of Revelation 17:16 shall destroy Babylon the Great.
Isa. 13:17 -- "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it."
What happened to ancient Babylon is a type of what is to happen to modern Babylon. The "horns" or heathen nations will destroy her. Her gold and silver will be of no consequence to them.
Isa. 13:18, 19 -- "Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah."
Babylon will never rise again.
Isa. 13:20 -- "It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there."
If Babylon (the "woman on the beast" of Revelation 17) is to extend over much of the earth, and at her fall is to be left with no inhabitant, it would suggest the period of the millennium. It is true that when the millennium begins the whole world goes down, but that is not in the period of Babylon. The millennium comes after the falling of the plagues, the wrath of God. The verse we are now studying is talking about Babylon. The ancient capital city of Babylon fell in the type and is not in existence today. Therefore, in the antitype whatever modern Babylon is, her capital city is likewise to come down.
Isa. 13:21, 22 -- "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses and dragons in their pleasant palaces; and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged."
Elsewhere in the message it teaches that Babylon will rule but one hour, and this verse says that her time will not be prolonged.
We have come to the end of the thirteenth chapter, and the next verse starts with the word "for," indicating that it is a continuation of the thirteenth chapter.
Isa. 14:1 -- "For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob."
God is doing this all because of His mercies on Jacob. Of the two kingdoms -- the Kingdom of God and the kingdom Babylon, God of course will destroy the latter and save the former forever.
God will have mercy on Jacob and Israel and set them in their own land -- Palestine. Heaven could not be their own land yet, for Jacob and Israel have never been there. Moreover, if this were speaking of the period on the other side of the millennium, it could not speak only of the house of Jacob, for that would exclude Abraham and all the righteous who lived before him. And what "strangers" could be joined to the house of Jacob after the millennium? -- None. It is clearly evident from all these facts, therefore, that this verse applies before the millennium, before the close of probation, and that the "strangers" that are to join the house of Jacob could be only the Gentiles which will constitute the great multitude of Revelation 7:9 and Isaiah 66:20.
Isa. 14:2 -- "And the people shall take them and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors."
This verse hardly needs explanation, for it plainly tells us that those who will then be taken as captives will be under the rulership of those over whom they formerly ruled.
Isa. 14:3, 4 -- "And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!"
In the day that Jacob's bondage under the Gentiles is ended, in the day that "strangers" have joined themselves to Jacob, in that day Jacob will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon.
Isa. 14:5-20 -- "The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned."
The antitypical king of Babylon is called Lucifer because Babylon is an institution of the Devil.
Isa. 14:21 -- "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities."
Babylon's expectations of what they will do will fail and reverse the destruction upon themselves just as Haman s gallows at last was the instrument of his own destruction.
Isa. 14:22-25 -- "For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant and son, and nephew, saith the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction saith the Lord of hosts. The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saving, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: that I will break the Assyrian in My land, and upon My mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders."
Why is Assyria brought in at this point when all through the chapter it has been talking about Babylon? For the reason, let us read the next verse.
Isa. 14:26 -- "This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations."
God is here telling us that what He will do with Assyria He will also do to Babylon. He declares that He will surely do it and we must not doubt it. J ust as God was able to lead His people into their land of promise anciently so He can now also today lead His people back and take from them their yoke and make of them a nation that shall never be given to other people, but which will stand forever.
Isa. 14:27 -- "For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?"
Who is able to tear down His purpose? His hand already is stretched out to do it, and none has power to turn it back -- no one can stop it now.
Isa. 14:28 -- "In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden."
This gives the time Isaiah saw this burden.
Isa. 14:29 -- "Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent."
Here the subject again changes, this time to Palestina, the promised land. Anciently the rod that smote Palestina was Israel who came into the land and became a nation of its own. But because of her disobedience Israel was broken down and scattered and has remained so to this day. This verse tells Palestina, however, not to rejoice over Israel's broken condition, because something worse is coming upon Palestina, for we read this in
Isa. 14:30 -- "And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant."
It is the firstborn of the poor that shall feed and live in safety in Palestina, and God says that He will kill with famine the root of the heathen that are now planted there, and the remnant will He slay. He is utterly to clean out the land of all the heathen that are there and give it to His people.
Isa. 14:31 -- "Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times."
Palestina is to be completely dissolved. Through our study of the Bible we have come to expect the heathen to be dissolved out of Palestina in the Assyrian period. "Whole Palestina art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke." Smoke does not creep along the surface of the ground, but travels through the air, and as the smoke comes from the north, the phrase suggests that aerial attack will be waged against her from the north and pass on to the south. It will mean that those who now possess Palestina will lose out. The last phrase, "and none shall be alone in his appointed times," means that they will not be alone, for others will be with it "in his appointed times."
Isa. 14:32 -- "What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it."
This tells how Zion is going to be founded: the Lord is to accomplish it.
From all appearances it looks as though we are very, very close to the fulfillment of these prophecies. Only one thing hinders it and that is that we have not finished our work. Had we taken the message of warning to the church, this could all have been finished by now, for the nations are all ready. God will hold it until we get our work done. Another thing that is certain is that it is for our good whatever happens and whoever wins, if we are followers of God in Spirit and in Truth.