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What Lies Ahead

 

By Jack Kelley



Isaiah 63:1 - 6.......

God’s Day of Vengeance and Redemption.

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength?

“It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress?

“I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come.

I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.” (Isaiah 63:1-6)

Looking Eastward, Isaiah saw with His mind’s eye a powerful figure striding resolutely toward the Holy City. He challenged the figure, and the response could only have come from the Lord. Who else speaks in righteousness? Who else is strong enough to save us?

And yet His garments are obviously stained red as if someone had drenched them in wine. It’s the blood of His enemies. Standing alone against them He has defeated them all, powered by the wrath He has held in check for so long, now released in its full measure.

John saw Him too, and described Him this way:

His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (Rev. 19:12-13)

Today Edom is called Southern Jordan, and Bozrah is about 25 miles east of the southern end of the Dead Sea. Its Greek name is Petra, and it will be the refuge of the believing remnant of Israel. Two thousand years ago the Lord Jesus warned them to flee into the mountains as soon as they learned of the Abomination of Desolation. (Matt. 24:15) When it happens He’ll take them there, as if on eagle’s wings. (Rev. 12:14) He’ll protect them there for 3 ½ years, and will defeat the enemy forces that are arrayed against them.

Isaiah 65:17-25. New Heavens and a New Earth

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

John used this verse to open Revelation 21, and because of an incorrect understanding people have assumed for centuries that it applies to eternity. They’ve overlooked 2 details that in my opinion place Rev. 21-22:6 at the beginning of the Millennium, not at its end.

The first detail is that the context of Isaiah 65:17-25 is clearly millennial. People are living and dying, time is being measured and the effects of sin are still evident in their lives. The phrase “new heavens and a new earth” is intended to show us that all the effects of the curse have been removed, and the creation has been restored to its original condition, both physically and spiritually. (Jesus spoke of this time, calling it the restoration of all things, in Matt. 19:28.) And the second is that Rev. 20:7-15 is what we would call a parenthetical insert that John used to reveal the ultimate destiny of Satan and all of mankind’s unbelievers while he was on the subject of the second death.

Briefly, at the end of the Millennium Satan will be released from his 1,000 year prison term and will mount up a final rebellion that’s immediately crushed. He’ll be thrown into the Lake of Fire to join the anti-Christ and the false prophet who will already be there.(Rev. 19:20) Then the unsaved dead from all ages will be raised up for judgment, and they’ll be thrown into the Lake of Fire. As if to prove the point, John concluded the passage by saying that the Lake of Fire is the second death.

Then he began Rev. 21 with the quote from Isaiah 65:17 to show that he was going back to the beginning of the Millennium to give us details of our home, the New Jerusalem. Rev. 22:1-5 follows with a summary of Ezekiel 47:1-12, which gives us a glimpse of life in Israel’s Kingdom Age on Earth. The Bible, which chronicles the Age of Man, ends at the end of the Millennium and offers no specific description of Eternity. It only says that there is one...

"The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind."

Here’s God’s promise that in addition to making everything in creation new, all of the misery and suffering of this age will be erased from their minds, along with the memories of lost loved ones who refused to believe the truth and be saved. Anything they carry in their heads that would impede the steady flow of peace and joy in their lives will be taken away. It’s a little like virus infected software being deleted and then reinstalled to work the way it was originally designed to. (This will have already happened for us, at the Rapture).

Now let’s read the rest of the passage and see how Isaiah saw life on Earth in Israel’s Kingdom Age.

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD. Isaiah 65:18-25

The phrase “dust will be the serpent’s food” is reminiscent of Genesis 3:14 and tells us that out of the entire creation, only the serpent will retain the effects of the curse God pronounced upon him in the garden.

Isaiah’s contemporary Micah added a few details to this description of uninterrupted peace and prosperity.

Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. All the nations may (now) walk in the name of their gods; (but) we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. (Micah 4:4-5. I’ve inserted the words “now” and “but” to give you a better understanding of Micah’s intent.)

It was the Lord’s reference to Micah 4:4, by the way, that caused Nathaniel to exclaim upon first meeting Him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” (John 1:47-49) In effect, Jesus had said that He “saw” the perfected Nathaniel in the Millennium. Only God could do such a thing.

Peace For His People, Fury For His Foes

For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.

See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD. (Isaiah 66:12-15)

If you’re comparing this study with current trends in the Middle East, you realize that the Lord’s plan for Israel is the opposite of what the world is pushing for. This is because the world has been duped into adopting Satan’s plan, which calls for Israel’s demise. It will take the full measure of the Lord’s fury to convince them that they’re on the wrong side of the issue. By some accounts, fully half of the world’s post rapture population will die in the process.

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD. “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

In his book entitled “Biblical Basis For Modern Science” Henry Morris wrote, “When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle.”

As the mother died, she excreted a red fluid that was used to make the crimson dye used in Biblical times. This makes a powerful illustration of what the Lord has done for us. He attached Himself to the cross, and shed his blood there as He died. Because He did we can be born again and receive eternal life. It’s interesting that in Psalm 22:6 David quoted the Lord calling Himself a worm and not a man.

Perhaps Isaiah had this in mind as He wrote his last verses. If so He was saying that those who rebel against God do so by not accepting His death as payment for their sins. The “worm” they choose instead will not (can not) die for them, and there’s no other way for them to be born again to to escape the unquenchable fire. They’re physically dead, but their spirits have not been released, so they’re trapped in their dead corpses, tormented by the fire.

It’s no surprise that we learn more about the Millennium from Isaiah than we did from the chapter John devoted to it in the Revelation. It’s not called Israel’s Kingdom age for nothing. It’s on Earth and it’s for Israel. And that’s another good reason to take the Church off the planet to the New Jerusalem. This way each can enjoy its own destiny without distracting from the other.

From John 14:1-3 we learn that the Lord Jesus was going away to prepare a place for us, and would come back to take us to be with Him in Heaven, where He is. From Ezekiel 43:7 we learn that God would someday return to Israel to live among His chosen people on Earth, where they are. Both prophecies are true, making it clear that the Church and Israel are different entities with different origins and different destinies. To say that one replaced the other is to deny the obvious truth of the Scriptures.