Isaiah Declares Gods Judgment Upon the Nations
I am here, Jesus:
Now the fact is that when Hezekiah continued the neutralist policy of Isaiah, Judah became strong and prosperous, the tradesmen of Jerusalem flourishing in the period of peace. But when approached by Egypt and other principalities of the Palestine region, Hezekiah listened, and his decision was made in favor of the princelings and patricians of Judah who sought the occasion to enlarge their holdings and estates in war. In connection with Isaiah's reproof is his prophecy of Jerusalem's destruction -- not by Assyria, as would be logical to assume, but by Babylonia, a prophecy that was fulfilled partly in 597 B.C., and completely so in 586 B.C. , a hundred and fifty years later. This is so astounding that there are many students of the Bible who think this prophecy was never written by Isaiah, but is an interpolation inserted into the book of the prophet.
When I asked Isaiah how could he have foreseen these events, he replied that he could detect growing weaknesses in the Assyrian empire; the strain of maintaining many discontented vassals by force was such that it could not endure indefinitely and that while he prophecied that Judah would not be destroyed by Assyria, it would be conquered by the kingdom which should wrest the empire away from them -- and this was Babylonia. And when I asked why should Judah fall before this new power, he stated simply that the Hebrew Kings, lead by their warlike aristocrats, were unable to accept the Messages of the prophets for peace and submission to superior powers, and that one day the device of paying money ransom would be of no avail and the decision be made to have Jerusalem know the meaning of enemy might in the Temple itself. In short, he declared, his prophecy was based on the pattern of behavior of the Hebrew Kings and he read into the future the normal course of events steming from the past.
Isaiah, therefore, preached in 701 B.C. that Jerusalem would be safe against Assyria's armies, declaring:
"Look upon Zion, the City of our solemn gatherings;
These eyes shall see Jerusalem -- peaceful habitation,
A tent that shall not be removed;
The stakes thereof shall never be plucked up,
Neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.
(Isaiah: Chapter 33, verse 20).
Sennacherib left, and Jerusalem was safe, in accordance with Hezekiah's tribute money, but at the same time a pestilence broke out among the Assyrian soldiers, which hastened the invader's departure, and this was magnified very much into a great catastrophe in the account given in the Bible, in II Kings, 19th Chapter.
So great was Isaiah's insistance upon peace, which he felt sure was what God desired, as He did, that he declared there must come forth another King of Judah who would bring peace to the land, and at the same time rule the Kingdom with the righteousness and mercy demanded by Jehovah. This new King would appear in accordance with the Davidic covenant, a shoot out of Jesse:
"And the spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and might,
The spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord; ---
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the weak of the land; ---
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
And faithfulness the girdle of his reins"
(Isaiah: Chapter 11, verses 1 - 5)
Isaiah, as I shall show later, was thinking of Hezekiah, the new born child of the King of Judah, but, in the light of the passing centuries, what Isaiah predicted, was an ideal King of Judah, one who would be faithful to God's covenant and His commandments for righteous conduct, one who should put his trust in God and deal in all fairness with God's people placed under his rule. Isaiah did not know who this might eventually be in course of time, but he has told me his prophecy was not intended for the person who should be the Messiah of God, for the reason that he was not concerned with a spiritual King, who should govern men only in the moral, ethical and spiritual sense; and this concept of the Messiah did not come into existence until many centuries later. When I studied the Scriptures as a youth in Nazareth I understood that this prophecy could indeed refer to a spiritual Messiah, for, when I appeared in Palestine, the land was under the rule of Rome, and I agreed with Isaiah that the people must not rebel against its Roman overlords, but await in subjection and peace the passing of this ruler, as had the Babylonians, Persians and Greeks, before them. So I understood that a King of Judah, 'a shoot out of Jesse', must be interpreted in a spiritual sense as the Messiah to rule in the Celestial Heavens and to teach the people victory over the Romans through the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life through the Father's Love.
Jesus of the Bible
Master of the Celestial Heavens
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