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Prophets of God - Solomon, Elijah, Jonah and Isaiah**


In our first of a two part study on some of the Prophets of God between David {Dawood in Arabic} and Jesus {Isa in Arabic} we read what God taught us concerning himself and his plan for all peoples.   In this first part we shall study some of the things that God has revealed through prophets such as Solomon {Suleman in Arabic}, Elijah {Ilyas in Arabic}, Jonah {Yunus in Arabic} and Isaiah.   In the past study we have studied the story of the prophet David {Dawood in Arabic} and what God inspired through him in the book of Psalms {Zabur in Arabic} We begin this with the story of his son Prophet Solomon.

Before we begin about Solomon, let us consider if God appeared to you and said to you, "Ask for whatever you want, and I will give it to you," what would you choose? A long life? Great riches? Fame? Or something else? One day God appeared to Solomon, the son of David, in a dream and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Do you know what Solomon chose?  The Holy Scripture says:

(Prophets - 1 Kings 2) 1When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2"I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, 3and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways…as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. 10Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. 11He had reigned for forty years over Israel… 12So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.

(Prophets - 1 Kings 3) 3Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David…the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 6Solomon answered, "…O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties… 9So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" 10The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for, both riches and honor, so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." 15Then Solomon awoke, and he realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord's covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

16Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17One of them said, "My lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. 18The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. 19"During the night this woman's son died because she lay on him. 20So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21The next morning, I got up to nurse my son, and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn't the son I had borne." 22The other woman said, "No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours." But the first one insisted, "No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine." And so they argued before the king.

23[Then King Solomon] said, "This one says, 'My son is alive and your son is dead,' while that one says, 'No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.'" 24Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword for the king. 25He then gave an order: "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other."

26The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, "Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don't kill him!" But the other said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!" 27Then the king gave his ruling: "Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother." 28When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

(Prophets - 1 Kings 4) 29God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31He was wiser than any other man…And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 34Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.

Next, the Scriptures record that at that time there was a queen, the queen of Sheba, who had heard of the profound wisdom and great majesty of Solomon. The queen made plans to go to Jerusalem to visit Solomon, to know whether what she had heard about him was the truth or not. This queen lived in a land very far from Jerusalem, in the land of Sheba, which lies south of Saudi Arabia. The country of Sheba is known today as Yemen. Between that country and Jerusalem is a distance of about two thousand kilometers. However, that great distance did not discourage the queen of Sheba from traveling to visit Solomon.  In chapter ten, the Scripture says:

(Prophets - 1 Kings 10) 1When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. 2Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan, with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones, she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

6She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness."

However, what the Word of God says about the queen of Sheba does not end here. Less than one thousand years after that time, the Jesus the Messiah {Isa Al Masih} had something to say about the queen of Sheba and King Solomon. He said, "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here." (Injeel - Matt. 12:42)

Did you read what the Messiah said? He said that the queen of Sheba's investigation of the glory of Solomon will condemn all those who refuse to investigate the glory of the Messiah. The queen of Sheba did everything in her power to discover the glory of Solomon and listen to his wisdom. She even traveled four thousand kilometers, round trip, to know whether what she had heard was the truth! There is an important lesson for us here. The Messiah (Al Masih) , who came from heaven, far exceeds Solomon in glory, in wisdom, in knowledge and in power, yet most of the children of Adam do not recognize His glory, nor are they willing to investigate the matter to know the truth! That was why the Messiah said: "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here!" (Injeel - Matt. 12:42)

You who are studying the truth from the scriptures, do you recognize the glory of the Messiah whom God sent? Or do you put Him on the same level as the prophets? Do you know what the title Messiah means? It means the One whom God has selected. The Messiah is the One whom God has selected as the Savior and Judge of the world. Yet, to this very day, most people ignore the Messiah. They do not know who He is, because sadly they have never searched for Him in the writings of the Prophets.

The prophet Solomon, who also was a king, was inspired by God to write three wonderful and profound books which are a part of the Holy Scriptures. Those books are: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes {Lit. the Preacher}, and the Song of Songs. Like his father David, Solomon wrote some hymns which are part of the book of Psalms {Zabur}.  We conclude the story of Prophet Solomon from the Psalms in which he predicts that the Messiah will return to earth one day to judge mankind in righteousness.  Concerning the Messiah, we read:

(Zabur - Psa. 72) 2He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. 8He will rule from the sea…to the ends of the earth. 9The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. 10…the kings of Sheba and Seba [in Arabia] will present him gifts. 11All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. 15Long may he live!… 17May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun! All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. 18Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds! 19Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen.

Thus Prophet Solomon predicted that one day all the people of the world will submit to the Messiah, the King of kings and the Judge of the world!

 

 

 

As we study further the writing of the Prophets, Scriptures tell us that after Solomon died, there was fighting and strife within the nation of Israel. The twelve tribes of Israel which came from the children of Jacob Yakub in Arabic}, split in two, just as God had told Solomon. They were no longer one nation; they became two nations, Israel and Judah. The ten tribes of Israel in the north of the land formed the kingdom of Israel. The tribe of Judah, joined by the little tribe of Benjamin, formed the southern kingdom of Judah. Judah was the tribe of King David and the lineage through which God had promised to bring the Messiah into the world.

The Scripture relates how those two nations had many kings. Most of the kings of Israel and Judah were wicked leaders; they turned their backs on the Lord and followed the religions of the nations around them. Among all those kings of Israel, one was more evil and wicked than all the others.  It was King Ahab. Ahab was the eighth king after Solomon.  Concerning Ahab, the Scripture says: "Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him." (Prophets - 1 Kings 16:30) He also married Jezebel, an evil woman who rejected the Word of the Lord. Furthermore, Ahab built in Israel a temple to the name of Baal whom the surrounding nations considered to be God. Thus Ahab greatly angered the Lord by leading the Israelites to follow an empty, false religion and its lying, false prophets.

However, in that time there was a man in Israel, a prophet of God. His name was Elijah {Ilyas in Arabic}. One day, God sent Elijah to King Ahab. "Elijah…said to Ahab, "As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." (Prophets - 1 Kings 17:1)

Thus, for three and a half years no rain fell on the land of Israel. The famine became severe throughout the land. In chapter eighteen, the Scripture says:

(Prophets - 1 Kings 18) 1After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." 2So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.… 17When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" 18"I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the Baals. 19Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table."

20So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him!" But the people said nothing.

22Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the Lord's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24Then you call on the name of your God, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The God who answers by fire, he is God."

Then all the people said, "What you say is good." 25Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your God, but do not light the fire." 26So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." 28So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which was in ruins. 31Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." 32With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench round it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."

34"Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

38Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!"

40Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered them there. 41And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain." 42So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 45Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on.

This amazing story is full of the glory and power of God, and does not really need our comments. However, we ought to take note of what the prophet Elijah said.  Before he challenged the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal, Elijah said to the people, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him!"

At first, the Israelites gave no response. However, when they saw how the Lord God answered the prayer of Elijah in causing fire to come down from heaven upon his altar, the whole crowd fell down prostrate and cried, "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!" Thus, in a single day, God's prophet, Elijah, exposed and discredited the false prophets of Baal before everyone and turned the hearts of the Israelites back to the Lord their God!

Why did God answer Elijah's prayer? Because Elijah loved the Lord God and believed His Word. Why did God ignore the prayer of the prophets of Baal? Because they were not praying to the one true God who had revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.. The prophets of Baal ignored God's Word and followed their own religious traditions. They were zealous in observing their rituals, but they did not serve the living God--therefore, all their religious zeal was meaningless. The prophets of Baal had plenty of religion, they made a lot of noise with their prayers and sacrifices, but it was all in vain--because it was not founded upon the Word of the Living God.

What would be your response to Elijah's question: "How long will you waver between two opinions?" How long will you waver between the true Word of God and the worthless traditions established by men? You cannot mix serving the Lord God and serving an empty religion. "How long will you waver between two opinions?"

Next we look at another prophet by the name of Jonah {Yunus in Arabic} and what happened when God ordered him to go and preach to foreigners who were enemies of the Israelites.  The Scripture says: (Prophets - Jonah 1) 1The word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai: 2"Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."

Did you read what the Lord commanded Jonah? God told him to go and warn the people of the city of Nineveh to repent of their sins-even though Nineveh was the capital of the nation of Assyria, and the people of Assyria were a wicked people who wanted to destroy the Israelites!  Why did the Lord God want to send Jonah to those foreigners who despised and hated the Israelites? Did God also care about Israel's enemies? Yes, He did! God was about to judge the people of Nineveh because their sin had reached to heaven. However, God takes no pleasure in destroying sinners. God wants everyone to repent of his sin, believe God's Word and be saved. That is why the Lord commanded Jonah to go to the people of Nineveh, and warn them so that they could repent of their sin, turn to God, and be saved.

However, Jonah did not want to go and warn his enemies! Jonah did not want to be a prophet to the city of Nineveh! God wanted the people of Nineveh to repent so that He could have mercy on them, but Jonah wanted God to punish them! Thus, Jonah refused his assignment and tried to run away from the Lord God. But where could he flee to get away from the presence of God?  Let us read the story to see what Jonah did. The Scripture says:

(Prophets - Jonah 1) 3But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish (that is, a place very far from Nineveh). He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. 4Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own God. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your God! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." 7Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

8So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" 9He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." 10This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) 11The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" 12"Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." 13Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.

14Then they cried to the Lord, "O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased." 15Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. 17But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

Let us pause here. To this point, we see how God pursued Jonah, His fleeing prophet! Jonah could run, but he could not escape the hand of God. Why did God pursue Jonah? God pursued him because He loved Jonah and wanted him to do His will. That is why God sent a huge fish to swallow him but not kill him.  Poor Jonah! Now he found himself in the belly of a great big fish! What could Jonah do to save himself? Nothing! Nothing except call out to the Lord God. Only God could save him. In chapter two, the Scripture tells how Jonah prayed to the Lord from inside the fish and confessed his sin of refusing to obey God. For three days, God protected Jonah inside the sea creature. What an important lesson Jonah had learned! On the third day, Jonah cried out, "Salvation comes from the Lord!" (Prophets - Jonah 2:9) When Jonah said, "Salvation comes from the Lord," the Scripture says: "the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." (Prophets - Jonah 2:10).  The Scriptures continues:

(Prophets - Jonah 3) 1Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2"Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." 3Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city, a visit required three days. 4On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned!"

5The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." 10When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

There is much that we can learn about the nature of man and the nature of God in the story of the prophet Jonah.   Jonah's heart was full of favoritism, but God's heart is full of compassion for all people. Jonah loved his own people and hated his enemies, but God loved the people of Israel and the people of Nineveh. Jonah wanted the people of Nineveh to perish because they were enemies of Israel, but God wanted them to repent of their sin, accept His word, and be saved. God does not show favoritism. Whoever you are, whatever you are like, God loves you. He does not love your sin and rebellion, but He loves you. God loves every individual in every nation and wants everyone to confess their sin to Him, to hear the Truth, understand it, believe it and be saved.

Some people think that God doesn't care about each individual on earth; that He has (arbitrarily) chosen some to burn in hell and others to bask in Paradise. While it is true that most people will die in their sins and face God's righteous wrath, it is wrong to think that God doesn't care about those who are perishing in ignorance. The Holy Scriptures tell us that God "wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth!" (Injeel - 1 Tim. 2:4) "The Lord [does not want] anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (Injeel - 2 Pet. 3:9) However, for those who refuse to repent-God will judge them, because they "refused to love the truth and be saved.…All will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness!" (Injeel - 2 Thes. 2:10,12) That is what the word of the Lord God declares. God is good and merciful and has provided a way of salvation for every person. But God is also holy and righteous and will judge every person who does not accept His righteous way of salvation.

As we continue in the study of the prophets, we next study about a prophet who came after the time of Jonah and whose name is well known in the Holy Scriptures. This is the prophet Isaiah who lived seven hundred years before the Messiah was born.  Prophet Isaiah was also a priest who worked for God in the temple which Solomon had built in Jerusalem. Every day, Isaiah and the rest of the priests had to present to God animal sacrifices on the altar. These sacrifices were symbolic of the Messiah who was to shed His blood for the sin of the world.  Read what happened to Isaiah one day when he was offering sacrifices in the Temple of the Lord. In the book of Isaiah, chapter six, Isaiah writes:

(Prophets - Isa. 6) 1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." 6Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Thus the Lord God revealed His glory and His holiness to Isaiah and called him to announce His Word to the Israelites, that is, the Jews, and to write it in a book for the benefit of generations to come. The book of Isaiah is lengthy and profound and we do not have time to look into all it contains. However, we can summarize the prophet Isaiah's message with two important thoughts.

First, Isaiah told the Jews the bad news about their sin and the punishment that they deserved.

Second, Isaiah presented to them the Good News concerning the Messiah who was to come into the world to bear the punishment of their sin.

Therefore, in brief, the message of the prophet Isaiah is:

1.) the bad news about sin and its penalty; and

2.) the Good News about a Savior who would pay the penalty of sin for sinners.

Let us first cite a few verses which show the bad news that God communicated to Isaiah, so that he might announce it both to the Jews and to anyone who has ears to hear. In chapter one, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

(Prophets  - Isa. 1) 2Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: "I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand." 4Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 13Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations-I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen!

That was how the prophet Isaiah rebuked the Jews because of their hypocrisy. He summarized their sin with these words: "The Lord says: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men!''' (Injeel - Matt. 15:8; Prophets  - Isa. 29:13)

After Isaiah rebuked the Jews for their stubbornness and sinfulness, he began to tell them the Good News, which has the power to purify the hearts of all who believe it. Let us read some of the wonderful words which Isaiah was inspired to write about the Messiah who would come into the world to save sinners. He writes:

"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool!" (Prophets - Isa. 1:18)

(Prophets - Isa. 40) 1Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 3A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." 9You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" 10See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power!

"The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel-which means 'God with us'!" (Prophets - Isa. 7:14; Injeel - Matt. 1:23).

God was revealing a great mystery through the prophet Isaiah! God planned to send His Spirit into the womb of a virgin-a woman who had never been intimate with a man! This is how the Messiah would be born into the world. As you know, Jesus the Messiah {Isa Al Masih} had no earthly father. Before He was born, He was in heaven, because He is the Word which was with God in the beginning. According to Isaiah's prophecy, the Messiah would be God in a human body. What an awesome truth! God, who is Spirit, planned to place His own Spirit and Word into the womb of a virgin and then to be born into the world as a baby! That is what Isaiah prophesied, saying: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel-which means, 'God with us'!"

In the chapters that follow, Isaiah writes much about the coming of the Messiah. In one place he says:

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!" (Prophets - Isa. 9:2,6) "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy!" (Prophets - Isa. 35:5,6)

In these verses, Isaiah prophecies that the Messiah would bring the holiness and mercy of God to the earth. He also foretold how the Messiah would do mighty miracles that no one had ever done, so that everyone could know that He was the holy Messiah who came from the presence of God! That is why the prophet Isaiah wrote that the Messiah would be called: "Wonderful Counselor! Mighty God! Everlasting Father! Prince of Peace!" Obviously, Isaiah was not like people today who attempt to put the Messiah on the same level as the prophets. The prophet Isaiah recognized the glory of the Redeemer, who would come forth from the presence of God.

We conclude the story of prophet Isaiah with what the most wonderful chapter among all that the prophet Isaiah was inspired to write, because in it he prophesies how the Messiah would shed His blood like a sacrificed sheep, to bear the punishment of the sin of the world. Read carefully to the Good News God gave His prophet Isaiah, seven hundred years before the time of the Jesus the Messiah.  The Holy Scripture says:

(Prophets - Isa. 53) 1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2He (that is, the Messiah) grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

That is what Isaiah wrote concerning the suffering, which the Messiah would endure to pay for our sins. Yes, the Redeemer had to suffer and shed His blood for all sinners so that God could forgive our sin without compromising His righteousness. That is why Isaiah wrote: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Prophets - Isa.53:5,6) This awesome passage summarizes the message of the book of Isaiah: the bad news and the Good News.

1.) First, the bad news is that we are all sinners and we have no way of saving ourselves! That is why Isaiah wrote: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way!"

2.) Second, the Good News is that God designed a plan to save sinners, and that plan is through the death and resurrection of the Messiah. That is why Isaiah wrote: "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Friends, do you recognize how great your sin is before God, the Holy One? Do you believe that the Messiah who was born of a virgin was "God with us"? Do you know why the Messiah had to shed His blood like a sacrificed sheep?  Meditate upon these life-giving words of the prophet Isaiah and other prophets.   Thank you for studying the truth from scriptures with us. God bless you as you think deeply about these scriptures:

"Salvation comes from the Lord!" (Prophets - Jonah 2:10)

5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Prophets - Isa. 53:5-6)

He [Jesus] said, "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here." (Injeel - Matt. 12:42)

21Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him!" (Prophets - 1 Kings 18:21)

 

 ** This concludes part one of our two part study of Prophets of God from the Holy Scriptures.   This teaching from the Scriptures is a compilation of Lessons 52, 53, 54 and 55 from “The Way of Righteousness” by Paul Bramsen.    Posted here by permission of copyright holder – Paul Bramsen.

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