ISAIAH 16:1 – 18:7 and HEBREWS 1:1–14
The pronouncement of judgements against Moab continues in this chapter. In verse one there is the instruction to send a lamb to the ruler of the land. Apparently, lambs were sent as a tribute offering from Moab to Samaria up until the time of King Ahab. Isaiah gives them these instructions so that judgement upon Moab would be avoided. It would now be in Moab’s interest to send a lamb (tithe) to Judah as a means of protection. I also feel there to be another meaning to this verse. The Lord speaks of himself as the Lamb of God. When we initially think of going to war against a nation we would envision a lion as opposed to a lamb. We think of the Lord as the king of kings and the one who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. When He comes at the time of the 2nd coming He will be a triumphant king conquering and going forth to conquer. This is our king and we are called to rule with Him as kings. Here is a truth I would like to elaborate upon in this first verse. It is the lamb, not the lion that is to be sent to the ruler. What is the key to victory over the forces of the enemy? What was the key to having victory over sin and the power of Egypt? It was the Passover Lamb (Exo 12:3). God moved in bringing forth profound judgements throughout Egypt but it was the Lamb that was slain which ultimately broke its power. When Jesus was introduced into the fullness of His Ministry He was introduced by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God on two occasions (John 1:29, 36). At the great scene in heaven where John had the revelation of the Lord he saw him as both a king (lion) and a lamb.
Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Do you notice that the Lord as the Lion was not sufficient in being able to open the seals? It also took the Lord as the Lamb in being able to have the authority to open the Book. The Lamb speaks of the priestly qualities of Christ. The Lamb speaks of the crucified nature being worked out in one’s life. What we see here is that before one can rule and reign effectively as a king one must know the nature of the lamb. Have you ever considered the number of years it took before God even thought of Israel having a king to reign over them? It first took the development of the priestly (Lamb) role to prepare the people to one day be ruled by a king. It is the nature of the Lamb that enables the Lord to rule and reign as Lord over our lives. Once our lives are fully surrendered to the lordship of Christ we are in a position then to effectively rule and reign with Christ as kings. This whole portion is drawing from the truth from verse 1. Before we reign as kings we must know the nature and power of the lamb which speaks of the crucified life. If we send the lamb to the ruler, we are actually coming with greater authority and power. If we want to rule and reign with the Lord during the millennium as kings, we must first be true priests. The key to reigning with the Lord during this period is found in the following verse:
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The balance of chapter 16 is further elaboration of the future judgments to come upon Moab.
This chapter will primarily deal with Samaria/Syria or the northern territory of Israel. This fulfilment will take place during the reign of Ahaz. Damascus is thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world. Here again is another dual fulfilment because it speaks of a greater destruction upon Damascus than what they previously experienced. It is said that it will become a ruinous heap. It is interesting to take note as to what is happening around Damascus, Syria today. There are NATO forces gathered to try and take down the current government of Bashir Assad while supporting the opposition forces. You have Russia who has put in place an air strip within Syria and together with the Chinese are supporting the Assad government in direct defiance to the USA and NATO. It could well be ground zero for the commencing of WW3. Is it possible that we are beginning to see the fulfilment of Isa 17?
In verses 6-8 we see the fruits of what captivity can produce in the lives of those who go through it. Israel was cleansed from idolatry as a result of 70 years of submitting to the idolatrous Babylonians (Jer 24:6-7). Jacob was cleansed from deceit as result of spending about 20 years with his Uncle Laban (Gen 32:27). Once again we need to know the mercy of God and see how he can work all things for good. Most people can quote the following verse but few understand its context:
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
The judgements of God can in effect be the mercies of God when weighed from an eternal lens. The Lord’s thoughts were ultimately for Israel’s good as he was speaking concerning their upcoming activity. Do we know what the Word of God says in the previous verse in that which is shown above?
Jer 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
The highlighted verse above is an inconvenient truth to many. The thought of 70 years of servitude to the Babylonians is not a pleasant one but when weighed against eternity it is God’s mercy. He also promised that he would allow them to flourish if they were to submit to what God was doing. This is why the doctrine that is taught today is so important. Much of today’s doctrine would lend itself to by-passing Babylon which was the God-ordained instrument of purifying and preparing of a church.
In verses 9-10 we catch a glimpse of the future assimilation of the Gentiles into the main branch. The Old Testament is chock full of examples of what would later come to be in the early church (Rom 11:17, 24).
The pronounced judgement upon Ethiopia is covered in this chapter. This is a nation that seems to sway between two extremes. There is a part of Ethiopia that reaches out its hand in helping Israel as seen in Psalms 68:31. It speaks of princes that shall come out of this nation as well. Today, it is very anti-Christian and yet there are pockets of those who are very God-fearing. In the last days the Ethiopians will give their allegiance to the antichrist but will stretch out its hand again to Israel during the millennium.
To understand verses 1-3 one must realize that Ethiopia aligned with Egypt over many centuries in the many of the battles that took place. They fought alongside each other when the Assyrians and Babylonians came against Egypt. In verses 4-6 the Lord speaks of taking Rest at the time when judgement comes upon the Ethiopians. It speaks of his allowing this judgement to take place. In verse 7 Isaiah speaks of a time when the Word and teachings of Jehovah would go forth beyond the boundaries of Egypt. The Old Testament was translated into Greek language which enabled the known world at that time to hear the scriptures. This took place around the 3rd century BC. The fact that the Greeks colonized a large portion of the world at that time opened the door for the scriptures to go forth to a larger region of the world. God has a way of working all things for good.
The Book of Hebrews is a most fascinating study that helps to provide a bridge between the Old and New Testament. It helps to explain the difference between the Old and New Covenant and to make plain as to whether the Law is still relevant. The author whom we assume to be Paul is extremely well versed in Old Testament typology. Before his conversion he was a strong advocate of the Old Testament types so he would know well their significance and meaning after encountering Christ on the Damascus Road. There will be many questions that will be addressed in this study. This letter was written to the Hebrews; the Jews whom Paul was once very much like.
One of the primary themes that can be given to the Book of Hebrews is “Beyond the Veil”. There is a progression in being able to enter into the Most Holy Place and Hebrews goes a long way in showing us how. In the Old Testament it was the priests who had access into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The study in Hebrews has much to say about the true priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of believers of which we are called to. If one can get a grasp of the truths as presented in the Book of Hebrews, he or she will have a good working understanding of the Old Testament.
The primary theme from chapter 1 is that Christ is so much greater than the prophets and angels. Paul emphasized the greatness of Christ in some of his other letters like the one to the church of Colossae (Col 1:15-19). To take this one step further Paul is going to demonstrate that the New Covenant is so much better than the Old Covenant which is what the religious leaders were still observing. In order to establish this truth Paul is presenting the author of the New Covenant who is the Son of God Himself. In verses 2-3 Paul presents the Lord as the heir of all things making Him superior to all of the prophets. Notice in verse 2 that He is the one who made the world. This truth is reflected in Eph 3:9 and John 1:3, 10. He is mentioned as the brightness of the Father’s glory in verse 3. It is a picture of the glory that resided upon Moses as he came forth from Mt. Sinai. It is one of the promises that God gives to the church of the last days (Isa 60). He is also the express image of the Father. Paul within the first three verses of his letter to the Hebrews has already authenticated Christ as being supreme above all things, including prophets.
In verses 4-14 he makes the case that Jesus is greater than the angels. Jesus issued the law of God which the angels had the responsibility of administering. One has never heard the expression “Thou art my Son” spoken to angels as it has been given to Jesus (vs 5). When the Son of God was brought into the world the command was for angels to worship Him not the other way around. The worshipping of angels was an issue with many churches in Paul’s day (Col 2:18). Even today we see ministries getting caught up in angel worship at the expense of being led by the Lord. The angelic realm is real but we must understand God’s order of rank. The Son is Supreme seeing that He is the co-creator of the universe. A true angel of God will never accept worship but instead point to the One who is worthy.
In verse 9 we see Christ distinguished as He is anointed by the Father above all others. He loves righteousness and hates wickedness which is what makes Him the candidate for the anointing from on high. It is not enough to love righteousness we must also have a hatred for wickedness. This is also echoed in Psa 45:7; letting us know how we too can come to know the Father’s anointing. Paul concludes this chapter by making the point that angels are sent forth to be ministering spirits. They help in the administration of God’s kingdom. Paul is only in the beginning stages of His presentation of Christ to the Hebrew Brethren. Christ is the fulfilment of all things.