April 21

Isaiah 9-12, Psalm 111

It's easy to gloss over how amazing prophecy is because we approach it from a position of reading about it after it has already been accomplished. If in the year 1850, I were to have prophesied that one day an African-American man would one day be president of the United States, not only would I have been laughed at, but if it was recorded, then when it came true 150 years later it would have been an amazing prophecy considering how they were still largely enslaved at that time. If in the year 1900 I predicted that a woman would be president, again it would appear ridiculous considering they didn't even have a right to vote. But we almost witnessed this in the last election and it no longer would seem a stretch now. So we can't miss how far-reaching Isaiah's prophecies concerning the future Messiah were written over 700 years before their fulfillment at the time of Jesus' first coming.

We read in Isaiah 9:1-2, "...The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined." This prophecy was fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus as written in Matthew 4:13-16, where Capernaum in Galilee became the center of His ministry. When Isaiah wrote this, this was a dark and despised area. In John 7:52, the Pharisees laughed at the idea of any prophet coming from Galilee. In the very well known prophecy recited every Christmas season in Isaiah 9:6, we read, "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder, And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Again we take this for granted because we now realize that Jesus is both God and Man. Jesus was crucified for the apparent crime of blasphemy, when He clearly stated that He was God. We read this in Matthew 26:63-65, "...And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy!...". Interestingly, this same term, "Mighty God" which was used to describe the child who was born, the future Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 is also used in 10:21 , "The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, To the Mighty God." This will occur when the Jewish people one day see Jesus for who He is during the Tribulation. We read again this prophecy in Zechariah 12:10, "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as One grieves for a firstborn." In Isaiah 11:1, the word Branch is the Hebrew word, "nester" from which the term "Nazarene" comes from. Again, Jesus was a Nazarene (from Nazareth) which was a hick-town which was regarded as insignificant. When Nathanael, one of his disciples was first called, we see his initial response in John 1:46, "And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Lastly, don't gloss over the amazing prediction in Isaiah 11:10, "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." If you were not Jewish, you were Gentile. Therefore most all of us filling churches all across the world are recipients of this prophecy. Realize in that day, Gentiles were considered dogs, unclean, unworthy, etc. This prophecy probably seemed inconceivable to those hearing the message, but here we are!

It is said that prophecy is God's fingerprint on the Bible. Reading of prophecies already fulfilled may not amaze us as much because we look at it from the position of already being fulfilled. These prophecies seemed incredulous at the time. What this means to us as we approach "the latter days" or "end times" is as inconceivable as they might seem they will come true exactly as prophesied, not might come true. Just step back and look at the news through this lens and you can't mistake the coming together of events. Recently, Turkey, Russia and Iran just got together for a summit meeting, this screams Gog and Magog from Ezekiel 38-39. We, in Christ, must wake up and sound the alarm to a world who is blind.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster