2000-12-02 - God's Command to His Church
Messiah: His Final Call to Israel Series, Part 15
Last week, we started a segment of the Final Call Series which deals with God's command to His Church to bring the Gospel to Israel. I would like to say this: It is an important thing to do in light of the passages of Scripture which we will be discussing in weeks to come. Onward to our devotion for this week, which sheds light on a message of comfort I have prayerfully sought to bring forth to Israel for a very long time in my walk with the Lord.
Isaiah 40:1-2 "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of Jehovah’s hand double for all her sins."
In verse 1 of this quotation, the Prophet, speaking to a certain group, declares that their God commands them to comfort His people. In this passage, two groups are presented, concerning both of which God states that they are His people: those who have a message of comfort and those who need this message. Those standing in need of comfort are obviously the Jewish people, for in the next sentence the Prophet urges, "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem. . . . " By the term Jerusalem Isaiah means both the literal inhabitants of the city and the Jewish people who think of Jerusalem as their mother city. After urging the people of God who have the message of comfort to speak comfortably to Jerusalem, Isaiah foresees and announces the glorious coming of Messiah, heralded by a forerunner, Elijah the Prophet.
Isaiah 40:3-5 "The voice of one that crieth, Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah; make level in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made lo. And the uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain: and the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it."
All of God's people are not fully surrendered to do the will of God. When He, therefore, issues the proclamation to His people to comfort the people of Jerusalem, some of them in substance reply "What is the use?" implying that it is futile to do so, for they will not listen.
Isaiah 40:6-8 "The voice of one saying, "Cry." And one said, "What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever."
The Prophet urges those who are willing to carry out the divine injunction saying, "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up on a high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid. Say unto the cities of Judah, 'Behold, your God!'" (vs 9). From this verse it is clear that the cities of Judah are included under the term Jerusalem. In the light of all the facts, it is certain that God commands one group of His people to proclaim a message of good tidings to another group of His people.
Who constitutes the group commanded to comfort Israel? Obviously those who have a message of real comfort. Those constituting this group are the ones who know God in Christ, who have been born again (regenerated people), and who have an intimate knowledge of God's scheme of redemption and the prophetic Word. Those qualifying on these points constitute what is known in the New Testament as the body of Christ, the Church of Christ.
The gist of the message of Comfort which the people of God are to give the Jewish people is found in Isaiah 40:2 "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of Jehovah’s hand double for all her sins, " They are urged to speak comfortably to Jerusalem, or to speak to the heart of Jerusalem. One must be kind and considerate of those to whom he speaks.
The messengers are to cry to Jerusalem "that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of Jehovah's hand double for all her sins." Jerusalem's warfare which has extended over many centuries -- throughout the Christian dispensation -- will come to a close when Messiah at the end of the Tribulation suddenly returns, wins the war of the great day of God the Almighty, and establishes a reign of righteousness throughout the earth. So long as warfare continues, Israel will need the message of comfort; when it ceases, there will be no need for such a message. The Prophet therefore sees the time when Israel will be enduring the sufferings and persecutions brought on by their enemies. In what sense then can the messengers declare that the warfare is over while war is still being waged? The true explanation is to be found in the fact that there are two usages of language -- the relative and the absolute. A person can have $4.93 and say he has $5 -- the relative use of language -- meaning that he has approximately $5. But if he makes an absolute statement, he would say he has $4.93, the exact amount.
Since the messengers are to bring comfort by saying that Israel's warfare is accomplished, there is but one way to interpret this language: namely, that the time yet to endure the ravages of war is very short compared to the sufferings of the past centuries. The Bible is very clear in many places where it describes the Time of Jacob's Trouble and the events that traverse through it to the end.
In order to take this message to Israel one must have a thorough knowledge of prophecy -- both of the Old and New Testaments. The thinking Hebrew will demand logical proof of the message before he will receive it. In doing so he is correct. The second item of the message to be proclaimed to Jerusalem is that her iniquity is pardoned. Note the word "iniquity" -- in the singular number. This statement undoubtedly refers to the iniquitous act of the nation of Israel, which was discussed in our devotional "Messiah: His Final Call to Israel - 2000-10-21." We have already seen in a previous devotional within this series, that Israel as a nation will be forgiven at the Second Coming of Messiah, at the end of the Tribulation.
The third and last item mentioned in this prophecy is that Jerusalem receives double for all her sins. Increased light and advantages bring added responsibility. No nation has enjoyed the advantages and opportunities that the people of Israel have received at Jehovah's hand. Since they have sinned against greater light, the punishment to be meted out to them is correspondingly increased. They, therefore, receive double for their sins at the hand of Jehovah.
If you wish to have a more thorough knowledge of Israel and would be blessed to lift this nation in prayer I urge you to review the "Final Call Series" on the CFDevotional Website.
I am well aware that there is very little teaching on this subject of real peace and the establishment of it in Israel. I'm also well aware that often times I am a boring, long-winded writer who can put you to sleep, missing the mark of helping your faith to grow in my exegesis. This is a very difficult subject to write upon. I pray you may see past my faults and ignorance, and that the Series week by week would help you to a deeper knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and His plans for His brethren the Jews. I encourage you to share the Series with a friend, with your Bible study group, with your Church, with your pastors, teachers and elders, coworkers, classmates. Shalu Shalom Yerushalom (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem).
In His Service,