Let’s turn to Isaiah, chapter seven.
And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, the king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but they could not prevail against it (7:1).
Now I meant to tell you, and I failed to do so, so blame it on the teacher. I meant to tell you with the reading of Isaiah, seven and eight, I wanted you to also read II Kings, chapter sixteen. So do make a note of that, and also, II Chronicles, chapter twenty eight. In II Kings, chapter sixteen, and II Chronicles, chapter twenty eight, we do have the historic background for this prophecy.
He, in those chapters we read of the reign of Ahaz, and the wickedness of Ahaz. He was an extremely wicked, evil, king. His evil reign brought destruction to the nation of Judah. He was a godless man. In fact, he was anti-God. He was opposed to God. He closed the temple, and stopped the temple worship during his reign. He built an altar that was modeled after the Assyrian altar, and placed it in the temple, and ordered the priests to offer the sacrifices on this model of the Assyrian altar, that was made for the Assyrian gods. He worshiped Baalim, he worshiped Molech, in fact he sacrificed his own children in the fires to Molech, in the valley of Hinnom. He was an evil man, a wicked king, and a wicked reign.
As the result of it, during his reign the enemies began to prosper against Judah. Israel came against Judah, and in one day they killed a hundred and twenty thousand of the front line troops of Judah. They took away two hundred thousand hostages, who were later returned as the intervention of God, as the result of the intervention of God. During his reign the Edomites began to attack the cities in the south. During his reign, the Philistines began to take the coastal cities. It was a time of national deterioration and peril, as the result of the sin that he committed.
As we were sharing this morning, sin is always destructive. That is the character, and nature of sin. If you are living in sin, you can be sure that sin is destroying you. It is destroying you spiritually, it is destroying you emotionally, and it will ultimately destroy you physically, because the effects and the result of sin are always destructive. “The wages of sin is death.” The final consequence of sin. But there is the spiritual death, long before the physical death. For a person who lives in sin is dead unto God and the things of God. That’s eternal death, that is that separation from God.
So it came to pass during the days of this very wicked king, king Ahaz, that an alliance was made between Syria and Israel, the northern kingdom. Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah. Now Pekah will only be called the son of Remaliah from now on. Why he didn’t like to refer to Pekah, I don’t know. But from now on he doesn’t even honor him by calling him by his name, but just says, “The son of Remaliah”, from this point, on.
And it was told the house of David, [Now that is, the house of David is Judah, because David was of the tribe of Judah, and that’s the southern kingdom, and so, “it was told the house of David”] saying, Syria is confederated together with Ephraim (7:2).
Ephraim of course was the major tribe of the northern kingdom. So Judah, the major tribe of the southern kingdom, Ephraim the major tribe of the northern kingdom. So Syria had confederated together with Ephraim.
and the heart of Judah, the people of Judah, was moved, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind (7:2).
The shaking of the hearts of the people. Like quaking aspens when the wind blows the leaves shaking. So the people were trembling. They were frightened because Syria was a powerful nation, Ephraim was a powerful people. They confederated together to attack Judah.
And then said the Lord to Isaiah, Go now and meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub (7:3)
Now that was the name of one of his kids, and he really tacked some interesting names on them. Shearjashub, or, Jashub, actually means, “a remnant shall return”. Now they were going to go into captivity, and that was basically the message that Isaiah was warning them of, their destruction, and going into captivity. But, a remnant would return from that captivity. In other words, God was not going to just forsake them utterly, and forever. God would bring back a remnant, the nation would be kept alive. A remnant shall return.
So the name of his son was a constant witness of, of what was going to happen. It was, whenever he’d call out the door for his son to come for dinner or something, his neighbors would always know, “Well a remnant’s gonna return. You know, we may go into captivity, but a remnant will return.” And so, “take your son with you”…
and meet the king at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field (7:3);
So this upper pool that supplied Jerusalem with water, there at the highway. “Go and stand there and meet the king.”
And say unto him, Take heed, now be quiet; [That is, an inner quietness.] don’t fear, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands (7:4),
That is for the Ephraim, and Manasseh confederacy, I mean, Ephraim and Syria confederacy. “Don’t be fainthearted because the two tails of these smoking firebrands.”
for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, Let’s go up against Judah, let’s vex it, let us make a breach therein, [That is, let us tear down the walls of Jerusalem.] and let’s set a king in the middle of it, even the son of Tabeal (7:4-6):
So what they were planning is to come down and destroy the city of Jerusalem, to kill Ahaz, and to set up a vassal king upon the throne in Judah. But…
Thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass (7:7).
“So don’t be afraid, don’t be fainthearted.” Because God is promising that it won’t happen. Though they had plotted this, it’s not going to happen.
For the head of Syria is Damascus, [That is the capital, and the capital, or,] the head of Damascus [Or the ruler over Damascus] is Rezin; and within sixty five years, Ephraim will be broken, and not even be a people (7:8).
Of course that was literally fulfilled. The Assyrians took the northern kingdom, Ephraim and the northern kingdom, carried them away captive, and they ceased to exist as a nation. Never did rise again as a nation.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, [That is the capital city of Ephraim is Samaria.] and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you will not be established (7:9).
Now here is the promise. God says, “Don’t be afraid, they’ve plotted this against you, but it’s not gonna stand. Their, their plot is gonna fail.” But, here is the condition, “If you will not believe, you will not be established on the throne.” Now he was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned only for sixteen years. He died at the age of thirty six. So he was an evil king, and his reign was really cut short.
Now moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above (7:10-11).
So when Isaiah gave to him this message, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be fainthearted, though they have conspired together, and confederated together to attack you, their plot is not going to succeed. They won’t be able to destroy you.” The king probably looked a little incredulous at this, and so Isaiah said, “Well ask the Lord for a sign!” In other words, the questioning, or the doubting whether or not Isaiah was really giving him the word of God. The questioning of this was actually God’s promise being related to him by the prophet. So Isaiah said, “Well ask for a sign, either in the world around you, or the heaven above!”
Now there are many times that God gave miraculous signs. Hezekiah, who is the son of Ahaz, and we’ll come to him as we move along in Isaiah. He was dying, and the Lord promised to give him fifteen more years of life, and as a sign of that promise, the Lord moved the sun dial back so many degrees, so that the sun actually went back in the sky. Rather than setting, it sort of moved back a little bit before it set, just as a sign to him. So, “a sign in the heavens above”. “So what kind of a sign do you want? You want the sun to stand still as in the days of Joshua? You want it to go back on the sun dial? Ask for a sign. You want God to do something spectacular in the world around you?”
However Ahaz was so wicked, that he refused even to seek a sign from God. He really wasn’t interested in the help of God. He was fearful that if he relied upon God for help, and God delivered him, then he would be obligated to serve God. His heart was so against the Lord, that he would rather be destroyed than serve the Lord.
It’s difficult to conceive a person whose heart can be so bitter against God, and the things of God. But he is not alone. I have met many people of the same ilk, whose hearts are so against God that they’re afraid to ask God to do anything for them, lest they be obligated to God, and feel an obligation to God. Now you’re obligated to God whether you like it or not. When Daniel was rebuking that wicked king Belshazzar, he said, “The very God in whose hand your breath is, you have not glorified”.
Now the lungs are one of those involuntary muscles of the body. It’s not attached to the body’s skeleton, and it doesn’t take a conscious thought to cause your lungs to work. You have voluntary, and involuntary muscles in your body. Many of the muscles of your body are voluntary muscles. That is, they are controlled by your brain. Your brain sends a message for the muscles to contract and all, and you have those voluntary muscles. But you have involuntary muscles too. They’re not attached to your skeleton, not controlled by a conscious effort of the brain. Your heart is an involuntary muscle. Your lungs are involuntary muscles. Those muscles upon which your life and survival depend, God keeps control of those. He doesn’t put those in your feeble brain to control. He knows that you wouldn’t last long, if you had to think for your heart to beat. Or, if you had to think for your lungs to work. So He, He keeps control.
That’s basically what Daniel was saying to the king, “The God in whose hand your very breath is.” He’s the one that controls the lungs, those involuntary muscles, to keep them working, to keep them bellowed. You know, like bellows working to inhale the air, to exhale the air. To take in the oxygen, and to exhale the carbon dioxide, to keep that fresh supply of oxygen for your blood, that it can feed all of the cells of your body, keep you going. “The God in whose very hand your breath is.”
So you’re obligated to God whether you’d like to acknowledge it or not. You’re obligated to God for every heartbeat, for every pant, as God controls those involuntary muscles of your body. And, yet he didn’t want to feel that sense of obligation to God, and thus he refused to ask for a sign.
He said, I won’t ask for a sign, neither will I tempt the Lord. And so he said, [“Alright”, Isaiah responded to him, “You won’t ask for a sign, but tell you what, God’s gonna give you one anyhow, like it or not!”] Hear now, O house of David; [That is, he was, he was a descendant of David, sitting on the throne of David.] Is it a small thing for you to wear men, but will you weary my God also (7:12-13)?
Here the king had a reputation of just being a, a boar to man, he troubled men. He brought problems on the people. “But will you also weary God? You defied the people, are you gonna defy God too?”
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (7:14).
Which, being interpreted means, “God with us”, Immanuel. So the sign that God was going to give, a remarkable sign. “A virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and call his name Immanuel.”
When Jesus was born of Mary, according to Matthew’s account, Joseph, when he found out that she was pregnant, and they were in that period of engagement, waiting for the day of their wedding, and he found out that she was pregnant, and he knew that he was not responsible. So he was greatly troubled. He loved Mary, but yet he felt totally betrayed by her. “How could she do this? She said she loved me!” So, according to the Jewish law, for her to be pregnant out of wedlock, meant stoning by the people. So if he publicly would expose the fact that she was pregnant, and say, “Hey it wasn’t me, and yet we were engaged to be married.”, she would’ve been stoned by the populous of Nazareth. He thought about that, but he couldn’t bear the thought, his love was too deep. So he thought about just sending her away, sending her to relatives someplace else. While he was thinking on these things, the angel of the Lord came to him at night, and said, “Joseph don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she’s going to bear a son, and you’re to call his name, Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins.”
Matthew said, “Now all of these things came to pass in order that the word of the Lord, through the prophet, might be fulfilled. Which said, A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and call His name Immanuel.” So Matthew, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us that the birth of Jesus, by the virgin Mary was the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah. The sign that God promised that He would give. The virgin conceiving and bringing a son.
Now the word, “Immanuel”, means, “God with us”. Why didn’t then Mary and Joseph name Him Immanuel? Why is it that the angel told Mary, when he announced to her that she was going to have a son. “Mary you’ve been highly favored of the Lord. You’ve been blessed above all women. For you are going to bear a son, and you’re to call His name Jesus. And He’s going to sit upon the throne of David, and God is going to give to Him the throne of His Fathers, and He shall be great unto the ends of the earth.” And Mary said, “How can this be? I’ve never had intimate physical relationship with a man.” The angel said, “The power of God is gonna come upon you, the power of the Highest will overshadow you, so that the Holy One that is born of you will be called the Son of God.” But His name was to be called Jesus. The angel told Mary and Joseph both that His name was to be called Jesus.
Now the name, “Jesus”, is the Greek name for the Hebrew name, “Yeshua”. The Hebrew name “Yeshua” means, “Yahweh is salvation”. So His name “Yeshua”, signifies His mission. “Immanuel” declares to us what He is. “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, the word was God, the same was in the beginning with God, and all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made, that was made. And the word became flesh, and He dwelt among us.” “Immanuel”, God dwelling among man. So that is the reality of who Jesus is, “God dwelling among man”. But His name is “Yeshua”, which signifies the purpose of Him coming, to save the world from sin. Jesus later on declared, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.” So His name “Yeshua” represents His mission to the earth. Whereas, “Immanuel” is the declaration of just who He is.
So here is the prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus, which of course carries on from the prophecy of Genesis, three. Where God said that, “The seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.”
Now a woman doesn’t have a seed. She possesses the ovum that is fertilized by the male seed, in order for a child to be produced. But yet, the promise, “the seed of the woman”, is promise of a virgin born son.
Now through history, it is interesting that there are many who lay claims to being born of a virgin, knowing that there was this promise from the beginning. It is interesting that according to the claim of Simmaramus, her son Tammuz who was worshiped as Nimrod, and one of the gods of Babel, that he supposedly was virgin born. Satan’s counterfeit plan. He was there, he heard God’s announcement in the garden, and so he decided to set up counterfeits. Throughout history there were many who laid claim to being virgin born. Actually, Alexander the Great cast himself off as born really, he said his mother was a virgin, and that actually she was in this snake cult, and supposedly was, produced him as a result of this co-habitation with a snake. Philip, his father, supposedly looked in when she was going through the rites, and then in the next battle, his right eye was put out, supposedly in judgment for spying on her. I mean, that’s, history is replete with these kind of stories.
Now that doesn’t take away from the reality of Jesus. Satan always seeks to counterfeit the work of God. God’s plan was not secret. Satan was there in the garden when God said, “The seed of the woman’s gonna bruise your head, though you will bruise his heel.” Satan knew all about that, and thus he set up his counterfeits throughout history. But a counterfeit does not disprove the genuine, but in opposite, actually proves there is a genuine. Because you can’t have a counterfeit, unless you do have a genuine. There’s nothing to be counterfeited. So God’s genuine plan was revealed. Satan sought to counterfeit that plan of God many times in history. So knowing here the plan of God, the sign that God would give, “the virgin would conceive, and bear a son, call His name Immanuel”.
Butter and honey shall he eat (7:15),
They say that this refers to the simplicity of the lifestyle of Jesus. Not gonna be a great potentate sitting on a glorious throne, living on an ivory tower, completely isolated by people and all. But He was gonna be a common person, simple life, simple lifestyle.
that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. [Now] For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both of her kings (7:15-16).
This prophecy, and the difficulty of it is that, there is a two-fold fulfillment. This prophecy was set to be fulfilled in that time. And yet, in the dual fulfillment of it, it went on out to speak of Jesus.
Now in that time, it is possible that had Ahaz sought the Lord, and sought the sign of the Lord, it is possible that Christ could’ve been born at that time of history. But his refusal delayed the promise of God. One possibility.
We do know from Matthew that this prophecy does refer to Jesus Christ. There is difficulty here, because there seemed to be a prophecy that was to have an immediate fulfillment, within the next few years. This woman will conceive and bear a son, and before he is old enough to know good from evil, or to refuse good from evil, which would be about fifteen years, the age of accountability. Thirteen years or so, the time of Bar mitzvah. “The land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both of her kings.”
Now that is a possible interpretation of it. But let’s just leave it as it is. Both of the lands, of Syria, and Israel, their kings were removed by the time Jesus was old enough to refuse the evil, and choose the good. So leaving it with a far off fulfillment it still fits perfectly for Jesus Christ.
Now because he had refused the help of God, he then announces the judgment of God that’s going to come.
The Lord will bring upon you, and upon your people, upon your father’s house, [Some] tough days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria (7:17).
“God’s gonna bring against you the king of Assyria. You’re looking to him for help.” It is true that Ahaz took money out of the temple of God, and sent it to the king of Assyria, Tiglathpileser, to come and to help him. Tiglathpileser did come, he destroyed Syria, and the northern kingdom of Israel, but he didn’t stop. He moved right on down, and also took much from Judah. So the prophecy that, “The Lord is gonna bring upon you some evil days”. They haven’t been this bad since the civil war that divided the two nations.
It shall come to pass in that day, the Lord shall hiss [The word “hiss”, is whistle.] for the fly that is in the uttermost parts of the rivers of Egypt (7:18),
Now Egypt is known for its flies. Assyria was known for the number of bees. So God is gonna call for the Egyptians and the Assyrians, who will come swarming into the land, like flies, and bees. The, the whistling for them is sort of like you’d whistle for a dog or something, you know, and the dog knows how to respond to the whistle. So God will whistle for them to come against you.
And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, in the holes of the rocks, upon the thorns, and upon all the bushes (7:19).
I mean, they’re gonna cover the land! They’re just gonna move in like hoards of flies, and bees, covering the land.
And in the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor [those] that which is hired, [Now he had hired Assyria to help him.] by them that are beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep (7:20-21);
In other words, “the Assyrians and all are gonna come, and they’re gonna rape the land. All of your beautiful vineyards are gonna be destroyed. A vineyard that had a thousand choice bushes will become just thorns and briars.
About all that will be left in the land, a man will have a cow and a couple of sheep, and his diet will be extremely simple. Just curds and honey will all, be all that he has to eat. He won’t have any vegetables, he won’t have any fruit and all. Because the fruit and all of the land will be destroyed by these hoards. So…
It shall come to pass, that the abundance of milk that they shall eat butter: and butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. It shall come to pass in that day, that every place where there were a thousand vines worth a shekel apiece, it shall even be a place of briars and thorns. And a man won’t even venture out in a field, except he has, because of all of the wild beasts that have just taken over the land. [And so the land becoming utterly desolate.] On the hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither [They’ll not come thither] for fear of the briars and thorns: [The terraces, where they used to plant and all, they’ll be afraid to go out there.] but just the cattle will graze, and the sheep (7:22-25).
Moreover the Lord said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz (8:1).
Mahershalalhashbaz means, “Haste ye, haste ye to the spoil”. Now he was to write this on a huge scroll. Probably a big piece of leather. In large letters, “Mahershalalhashbaz”. He was to take this out in front of the people. He was to post this out where all the people could see it. “Haste ye, haste ye to the spoil!”
And so I took with me two faithful witnesses, Uriah who was the priest, and Zechariah [Who was the father-in-law actually of king Ahaz.] he was the son of Jeberechiah. [Son of, whatever that name is, ha, ha!] And I went unto the prophetess; [That is, his wife, “I went in unto her”.] and she conceived, and she bore a son. And the Lord said unto me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz (8:3).
Now that’s quite a name to put on a kid. I’m sure that they must have had some nick name for him, a shortened version of this. But later on he is to say that his children are for signs to Israel. You remember the first son, his name meant, “a remnant shall return”, and this son means that the enemies are gonna haste to the spoil. That it won’t be long before their enemies will be trodding down their land.
For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, [That is before the child is even a year old, can say, “mama, dada”.] the riches of Damascus [The northern Syria capital.] and the spoil of Samaria [The northern kingdom of Israel.] shall be taken away before the king of Assyria (8:4).
“Now before your child is old enough to say, “mommy, and daddy”, Syria, and Samaria will be captured by the king of Assyria.” And so…
The Lord spake also unto me saying, Forasmuch as this people refuse the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and they rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth upon them the waters of the river Euphrates, strong and powerful, even the king of Assyria, and all of his glory: and he shall come up over all of his channels, and go over all of his banks: And he will pass through Judah; and he shall overflow and go over, and he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of the wings, he shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel (8:5-8).
The name again, Immanuel. Now it was the land of Immanuel, the land of God, and God’s people. But Shiloah was just a small little rivulet, a stream near Jerusalem, and it was just a small, little rivulet of a stream. But it did provide for them. Water was life, the cities were always built near a supply of water. The city’s supply, and the city’s size always depended upon the amount of water. Here was this little rivulet that supplied Jerusalem with water. “But because you have despised this little rivulet, Shiloah, God will bring upon you the overflowing waters of the Euphrates.” Now the Euphrates of course was a mighty river, the Assyrians. “You really don’t respect the help that God is offering to you, and the help that God would give to you. But instead you’re relying upon that help which will turn against you, and will overflow you.” So…
Associate yourselves, O ye people, [That is, “Call on Assyria for help!”] but you’re going to be broken in pieces; give ear, all of ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces (8:9).
Twice he repeats that. The girding of yourself was taking a belt and tying your skirt up, so that you could fight. It gives you mobility. It’s hard to run with a long skirt, so they would take a rope and tie it up, and make a short skirt so they could run.
Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak the word, and it will not stand: [“Your, your alliances, your vows, the promises, they’re not gonna stand, you’re trusting in a broken reed!”] for God is with us (8:10).
Now there is the word in Hebrew, “Immanuel” once more. This time it’s translated. But in the Hebrew text that word there is Immanuel. This time translated. “It will not stand: for Immanuel”. “God is with us.”
Now, in rejecting the help of God, they have opened themselves to be destroyed by the enemies.
For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of the people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all of them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid (8:11-12).
Now because he was speaking against the alliance with Assyria, which the king was proposing, and had initiated, he was actually, in speaking against the actions of the government, was accused of being treasonist. This word, “confederacy”, could be translated, “treason”. This was the accusation that was being made against him. Later on, when Jeremiah was prophesying to the king at the time of the destruction of Judah, he was saying, “The Babylonians are coming, they’re going to destroy this place. It would be better to surrender to the Babylonians, and thus your life would be spared. Don’t try to fight the Babylonians, because you’ll be destroyed.” He was accused of treason, and put in the dungeon. Because he, they said, “You’re demoralizing the people by telling them not to try and defend themselves against Babylon.”
So the prophets of God were often thought to be treasonist to the government. I imagine if you know, our government would hear some of the things that I say, I could probably be accused of treason almost! Because, when they take a position that is contrary to God, contrary to the word of God, you would not be a faithful servant of God if you didn’t speak out against it!
So, here he’s, he’s speaking out against this confederacy that they are relying upon. He’s telling that, “It’s gonna backfire on you. The very people you’re gonna trust, are gonna be the people that destroy you! Those that you hired to help you are the ones that are gonna turn against you.” So because he is going against government policy, he’s being accused of this treasonist action. “But don’t be afraid of them”, God is saying.
But sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; [That is, “Be honest with God, and be honor God himself, you don’t have to worry about man, honor God.”] let him be your fear, [“Be in fear of God.”] and let him be your dread (8:13).
Jesus said, “Don’t fear those who can kill your body, but after that have no power over you. But fear Him rather, who, after your body is killed, is able to cast both your soul and spirit into hell. I say unto you, fear ye Him.” Now God is saying to Isaiah pretty much the same. “Don’t be afraid of these men accusing you of treason. You be afraid of God, and sanctify God.”
And he shall be for a sanctuary (8:14);
That is, if you honor God, then God will be a place of defense for you. God will be your defense. That’s the glorious thing. God becomes a sanctuary for His people. But for the Jews…
he will be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the house of Israel, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (8:14).
Now we’re dealing with prophesies of Jesus Christ. Seventh chapter, He is referred to as, “the virgin conceiving, and bringing a son, his name be called Immanuel”. Here, in the eighth chapter, the prophecy of Jesus has to do with, “a stumbling stone. A rock of offense.” As you get into the new testament, you find Paul quoting this, in I Corinthians, chapter nine. How that, “Jesus, to the Jew is a stumbling stone, a rock of offense.” Peter makes reference to this in his first epistle. And Paul also makes mention of it in Romans, chapter nine. So this, “stumbling stone, rock of offense”, it is not chapter nine of I Corinthians, you’ll have to look that up. It’s Romans chapter, nine though. So Paul makes mention of it twice, how that, “Jesus is to the Jew, a stumbling stone, a rock of offense”. Peter speaks about Him, “The stone which was set of naught by the builders, that’s become the chief cornerstone. But to the Jew, He’s a stumbling stone.”
The interesting thing is that Jesus is still a stumbling stone to the Jew. They still stumble over Him. He’s still a rock of offense to them. But to us, who believe in Him, He’s a sanctuary. He’s our place of rest, our place of, of, of safety. Hiding in the Rock, finding refuge in the Rock, and it’s amazing how Jesus can be so many things to so many people. “To, preaching of the cross, to those that perish foolishness, but to us who are saved by, thereby it is the power of God unto salvation.” To the Greeks, foolishness. To the Jews, a stumbling block of offense. To us, glorious salvation!
So many of them will stumble, and fall, they’ll be broken, they’ll be snared, and they will be taken. So bind up this testimony, and seal the law among my disciples (8:15-16).
“So take and make the scroll, bind up the testimonies. Seal the law among the disciples.”
And I will wait upon the Lord, that hides his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him (8:17).
So the general rejection. But those that are waiting, looking.
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwells in mount Zion. [So he, and his children, were to be for signs and wonders, the names of the children, significant.] They shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and chirp, and mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? why would you seek the dead to find out about life (8:18-19)?
Now you say, “Well that sure applies to a different age, and a different people!” Oh does it? What about this new age channeling, where people pay several hundred dollars for a weekend, to listen to Rampha, a thirty five thousand year old wise man of the past, speak through the channeler? I mean, this stuff is big stuff in Hollywood, and around the world. The new age movement, this pagan invasion of our western world, is powerful, it is strong. It is infiltrated our nation deeper than you imagine, or suppose! You can’t dream how far reaching is the effect of the pagan invasion! In a pilot program last year, in the Los Angeles public schools, a pilot program that they’re testing its effectiveness with the kids. If it is successful, they plan to inaugurate it within the California state school system.
This pilot program teaches the children how to contact spirit guides. They tell the children to just relax, they turn the lights down low, and they say, “Now just start breathing deeply, and feel very relaxed, and very comfortable, and like you were lying on the beach, and it’s just a lovely day and all. Now as you are looking around, look within yourself, and you will find within yourself, there is a house, and in that house, there dwells a very wise old man. This wise old man has the answers for your problems. Whenever you’re in trouble, you can just stop and, and look in the house, and you can talk to this wise man, and he will guide you. If you’re having problems with your tests, just seek the guidance of this wise man who lives in the house, inside of you.” And they’re teaching the children how to make contact with spirit guides.
Now that’s in modern day, USA! Los Angeles! In the present school curriculum! That isn’t twenty seven hundred years ago, in a group of people who were superstitious, and backwards and believed in spirits, and spirit guides and all! That’s something that is happening today! They are still seeking to the dead, to find wisdom for life. They’re going to those who chirp, and mutter, and peep, and they go into the gibberish and all. Then you know, these voices speaking out, supposedly with the wisdom of the past.
So the rebuke for those who are seeking familiar spirits.
You ought to be seeking the law of God, and to the testimony of God: and if they speak not according to the word of God, it’s because they have no light in them. [“They are living and abiding in darkness.”] And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and they will curse their king and their God, and they will look upward (8:20-21).
Now they’re gonna go into captivity. As they’re being carried away captive through the wilderness, and they’re hungry, and they’re thirsty, and here they are captives. Actually, when the Assyrians led them away captive, they put hooks through their noses, or hooks through their lips, and they pulled them like a dog on a leash, with this hook through their lip, so you weren’t tempted to bolt and run. So as they were leading them, no water, no food. Isaiah’s warning, “They’re gonna curse the king who led them into this sin, that brought their destruction. They will curse their king, but also they will curse their God.”
Now that’s the tragic thing is that so many times, when people have turned their backs on God, and God’s judgment begins to fall upon them, because of their sin, rather than repenting of their sin, they curse God for the misery and the woe that they’ve experienced, because of their sin. They start to blame God for the miseries.
We find that, that will be so in the great tribulation. When God begins to pour out His judgments upon the earth, and these horrible judgments begin to fall, the trumpet judgments begin to sound, and the subsequent events upon the earth, that men will curse the God of heaven. Neither will they repent of their fornications, and their sorceries, and their blasphemies and all.
So here is the prophecy of this time, when God’s judgment has fallen, and they are being taken away captive, they’re cursing their king and their God.
And they shall look unto the earth; and behold there’s nothing but trouble, and darkness, dimness and anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness (8:22).
The horrible result and consequence of sin. Leading them to despair, leading them to hopelessness, leading them to captivity. These are always, and you need to remember this, when you become attracted by sin, you become allured by sin, it seems so enticing, it seems so beautiful, it seems so pleasant! Remember that it will ultimately lead you into barrenness, it will lead you into captivity. It will bring you into misery, despair, and hopelessness! It will drive you ultimately into darkness. Jesus said, “The ultimate result, they will be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” Sin, and its consequences.
Now a person before he gets involved in sin, when he is at that stage of, of excitement, and curiosity, and you think, “Oh my doesn’t that look good!” You need to consider the end results. Because, they’re always destructive, it is always despairing, it’s ultimate darkness.
Father, we thank You for the light of Jesus Christ, and that we can walk in the light, and have fellowship with Him. Lord we pray that You will help us to flee youthful lusts, flee temptation. Turn our backs Lord against sin, and evil, and turn our hearts towards You. For we know Lord that sin is the ruin of every man who engages in it. We can see Lord, the destructive effects of sin in our society around us. Lord, we see how people who will not listen to You, are listening to wizards, listening to the voices of these demons that are channeled through these people looking for spirits, for guidance, and for direction, rather than looking to You, the God of this universe. Lord, how sad and tragic is the plight of man today, who has rejected the truth, and who does not have the love of the truth in his heart. Lord we thank You that You have brought us by Your Spirit, to the feet of Jesus Christ, where we humbly bow, and confess our sins, and acknowledge Him as our Lord. Our heart’s desire Lord, is to walk in the light, as You are in the light, that we might have this wonderful fellowship with each other, as Your blood cleanses us from all of our sin. Lord, make us righteous, even as You are righteous. Make us pure Lord, even as You are pure. Help us Lord, to forsake sin in every form, that we might follow hard after righteousness, that we might be pleasing Lord, to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The scripture said, “Let the wicked man forsake his ways, the unrighteous man, his folly, and the Lord will abundantly pardon.” God is so good! Even though your life may be on the ropes, so to speak, just a mess, shambles, sin has had its effect upon you. Yet, God will abundantly pardon. Not only that, He will restore to you the damage that sin has done. He will remake you, renew you! “If any man’s in Christ, he’s a new creature. The old things are passed away, everything becomes new.” You can begin a new life in Jesus. I would encourage you to seek that new life in Jesus.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7245