PRI Articles

Guest Article- Rod MacArthur on Isaiah 2-4- #3

This is article #3 in a series by Rod MacArthur. These are great articles so be sure to read the entire series!

 

Isaiah 2: Mountain of the Lord’s House

Building on our last article, Isaiah predicted events which would occur in the Last Days for the remnant whom the Lord intended to leave (19). Let’s see what they had to look forward to. He says in 21–4:

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

When we think of the mountain of God’s house, let us not think about the geographic structure upon which the temple was built. Isaiah used “mountain” as a metaphor for the kingdom, the house of the Lord. That kingdom would be the chief of all the kingdoms and all nations would flow to it.

That’s an interesting picture. If a mountain is raised up above all the mountains, how does anything “flow” into it? Here in the PNW we have Mt. Rainier. Imagine water flowing up to the summit. Naturally, water flows from the top down. But here Isaiah speaks of Yahweh’s mountain, elevated above every nation, with all nations flowing to it. There must be some energy involved in drawing and attracting and causing them to flow uphill. All nations would come and take part. This reminds us of Rev. 222 where the leaves of the Tree of Life, which is in the New Jerusalem, are for the healing of the nations.

Jumping ahead to Isa. 496, God said to his servant Jesus:

“It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

So in chapter 2, we not surprised that beginning, as it does in the Last Days, there would be a call, not simply to Judah and Israel to repent and return to the Lord their God, but to the nations as well to come and be healed. “Many people will come and say, come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob that he may teach us concerning his ways.”

To see God finally regathering his family around him in the way He wanted on this earth is what fulfillment is all about. It can be challenging to keep one’s balance, though. It’s exciting to see the development of God’s plan to bring His people back as well as to draw all people into relationship with Him. But the other piece of the balancing act is this: What does He want us to be, or what does He want us to become; how does He want us to behave? What are the moral, ethical expectations as we dwell with Him in His Holy Mountain? Did Isaiah perceive universalism: “All nations” meaning everybody? Did he envision a certain quality of life for Zion’s citizens; or is it just do as you please?

During the transition from the Last Days into the new order, Paul said “walk in a manner worthy of your calling” (Eph. 41). So, there is the calling into relationship, and there is the walking worthily of it. Thus in Isa. 23, the nations would come so that “He may teach us concerning His ways.” Solomon said, “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is the way of death” (Prov. 1625). How sad it is to watch people who have access to the ways of God choose to do it their own way, and then watch their children suffer, watch their marriages suffer. “Why is this happening to me? Why is my daughter going astray?” they wonder or even ask. “Well, why don’t you have you daughter learning the ways of God? Why not have your son see you walk the ways of God, you have a great life,” I want to shout.

Being with God is more than just having a grand understanding. We not only have this marvelous view of fulfillment, we have a wonderful relationship with God. He teaches us how to live and have a great life. That part of the message needs to be emphasized, perhaps even more than fulfillment!

We must lay the foundation for the teaching to stick, but once we learn the basics (see Heb. 61ff), we must learn the ways of God, into whose presence we’ve come. That message must be thundered. Learn His ways; learn how to live in the presence of God.

Now consider Isa. 24

And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

Ask the piercing question: “Has this great mountain of the house of the Lord been established; is its presence with us?” If you say, “Yes”; then ask, “Why is there so much unrest in Egypt and Libya and throughout the world? Why does the US have troops stationed in hot spots throughout the world?”

Here is the disconnect between what Isaiah said and what many think he said: Isaiah was not talking about universal, worldwide peace. He spoke about in the new order the people who belonged to Yahweh who would never have to depend upon war to defend their borders, the way Israel and Judah were doing in the days of Isaiah. The people in Isaiah’s time were taking their plowshares and/or their pruning hooks to the blacksmith who forged them into spears or lances or swords.

They used these to defend their borders. But, why did they even need to fight for their borders? It was because Yahweh wouldn’t fight for them. They were unfaithful to Him, so He let them be overrun by the enemy. But in this famous passage He promised that He was going to have a city in which righteousness would dwell; and His people—whoever would hear the call and enter, from whatever nation—would never again have to take their agricultural implements and turn them into warring implements. As He said in Zechariah, “I will be a wall of fire about them” (Zech. 25). They wouldn’t need a brick wall; He would be their Divine wall. They wouldn’t need a sword, He wouldn’t let anyone invade. They wouldn’t need to defend themselves because He wouldn’t allow any nation to attack them.

You see, Isaiah was not talking about whether the United States of America would ever be attacked. He promised that Zion would never be attacked. Her inhabitants would never have to build a weapon to defend her. She was to become a place in which righteousness dwells. She was to become a sanctuary in which people yearn to know the ways of the living God. The mountain of the house of the Lord has never come under siege, is not now under siege and never will be. There is no war that man can pose against the mountain of the house of the Lord, so its residents don’t have to build any weapons to defend it.

Keep this in perspective: Isaiah’s audience was building weapons of war to defend themselves, perhaps even when he uttered this promise! “New Jerusalem is coming in the Last Days,” He promised. “My people won’t need weapons.” (Also, consider what Paul said: the weapons of our warfare are conceptual and ideological, for casting down imaginations and philosophies; 2 Cor. 104–5. That is, they are not physical; because the threat isn’t from any nation or army.)

Lastly, consider Isa. 25–6

Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with influences from the east,
And they are soothsayers like the Philistines,
And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners.

Please note the parallel between: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…That He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths” (23); and “Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (25). His ways are His light!

Isaiah complained: “You have abandoned your people.” See the roots of this abandonment in Deut. 325.

They have acted corruptly toward Him,
They are not His children, because of their defect;
But are a perverse and crooked generation.

“They” referred to God’s people. But watch more specifically. Moses was designating a specific, single generation. Did you see the singular: a crooked and perverse generation? Moses forecast, “They are not my people.” Compare that now to Isaiah 26: “You have abandoned your people” because of their defect. Not until the days of Jesus, Paul, Luke and Peter was this phrase ever applied to the nation of Israel. It was never applied to Israel (or, anyone else) in any of the prophets throughout Israel’s history. As corrupt as they became, this phrase was never applied to any single generation. But in the days of Jesus, He applied it frequently of His current generation (see Matt. 1116; 1239–42; 164; 1717; 2336; 2434; Mark 812, 38; 919; 1330; Luke 731; 941; 1129–32, 50–51; 1725; 2132). Paul and Peter also referred to their generation as the one of whom Moses spoke (see Acts 240; Eph. 35, 21; Phil. 215; Col. 126). They were the crooked and perverse generation. It’s what Moses and Isaiah predicted.

Do not look at the Babylonian invasion, captivity and restoration as the event Isaiah was describing. Rather, see the final, Last Days invasion as that which would bring forth God’s wrath and His own new nation. This is clearly the application Jesus and His apostles made of it. So should we.

Guest Article: Rod MacArthur on Isaiah 2-4-- The Last Days

Be sure to read the first installment of Rod's current series on Isaiah 2-4. This is good stuff!

Don K

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Isaiah 2: “In the Last Days”

As we suggested in the previous article, Isa. 2–4 is one continuous speech; a single prophetic discourse regarding the last days. This is seen in its opening: “Now it will come about that in the last days…” (Isa. 22). Starting here we can lay down a daisy chain of verses that connect chapters 2, 3, and 4, like beads or pearls on a string. First, consider these from chapter 2:

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it (v. 2).

For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased (v. 12).

In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship (v. 20).

Note these connections. Verse 2, reads “in the last days” and verse 12, “for the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning.” Adding verse 20 we understand that He was going to have a day of reckoning; “in that day.” So Isaiah announced “the day of reckoning” was to come “in that day,” “the last days.”

Chapter 3 continues the picture. Check out these verses:

When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying,
“You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler,
And these ruins will be under your charge,”
He will protest on that day, saying,
“I will not be your healer,
For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
You should not appoint me ruler of the people” (vv. 6–7).

The Lord arises to contend,
And stands to judge the people (v. 13).

In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments… (v. 18).

Please note these three points: 1) in that day Israel would be desperate for someone to lead them (vv. 6–7); 2) it was to be a time of the Lord’s judgment against them (v. 13); and 3) in that day even the women would be reduced to desperation.

Finally, showing that these three chapters all spoke of the same event and the same time, please note that chapter four continues with the plight of the women in that day and carries the drama all the way to God’s solution in the Branch, in that day.

For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach” (v. 1)!

In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel (v. 2)

The women of chapter three would join themselves to one husband in that day (v. 1). But, this was to be the same day in which, “…the branch of the Lord will be glorious…” (v. 2). Thus the discourse, from the beginning of this section to its end, is all connected by the formulae: in that day, on that day, the day of reckoning. The whole of it is joined by these clear time statements. It is a united prophecy.

One cannot assert that 21–4 forecasts the day of Pentecost (when the “Last Days” begin), and then circle back to the material in 25 – 46 and say it’s talking about the intrigue occurring in the days of the Babylonians. No! This is an inseparable prophecy. It’s just like Matthew 24, which cannot be divided into two distinct time periods which are separated by thousands of years. This is one united prophecy, and the verses that we’ve strung together clearly show that this was Isaiah’s intention: “In that day,” “in that day,” “in that day,” “on that day,” “in that day.”

Of course, that means that everything Isaiah predicted in this united discussion were things destined to occur when Jerusalem came to her final days. We’ll pick up this discussion in the next installment.

 

Check out Don K. Preston's book: The Last Days Identified, for more on this critical issue.

Was John The Baptist a "Last Days" Sign? New Video!

John the Baptist is clearly one of the most important, yet ignored, eschatological figures in the New Testament. He was, after all, according to Jesus himself, "The Voice" crying in the wilderness to prepare for the coming of the Lord in judgment. He was likewised "The Messenger" to prepare for the coming of the Lord to his temple in judgment when non one could stand before him, at his coming! He was also Elijah!

I just posted the first in a short series on John. There is much, much more to be found in my book Who Is This Babylon.

http://youtu.be/UIQRlTL-oZ4

What About Gog and Magog? Guest Article

I am happy to offer our visitors the following excellent article by William Bell. The dispensationalists claim that we are on the verge of the emergence of Gog and MaGog, which they identify as Russia. In this fine article. Bell completely dispels the dispensational claims.

Take a look and be sure to share it!

 

Gog and MaGog-- Russia, Iran-- or Who?

By William Bell

Memphis, Tn.

Allthingsfulfilled.com

 

Perhaps one of the most exploited prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures, i.e. the O.T., is Ezekiel 38–39, which speaks of Gog and Magog. Who is represented by Gog and Magog, Russia, Germany, USA, or Iran? You may be surprised to find the answer. However, if you’re listening to John Hagee you maybe mislead to believe that Gog & Magog represents a league between modern day Russia and Iran against the modern state of Israel.

Such a notion has no place in Bible prophecy. It is a figment of Dispensational imagination. To properly understand the meaning of Gog and Magog,

one must correctly interpret the nations of Ezekiel 38–39. Once this is done a proper exegesis of the chapter is in order.

The net result of that process will eliminate any nation of the modern era from the parameters of biblical prophecy, the United States included. Dispensational authors almost unanimously assign Rosh, Gog, Magog, Mesheck, and Tubal as being Russia.

This resulted from the influence of such men as Herbert W. Armstrong and John Walvoord. The problem with identifying these references to Russia and Germany is a linguistic one. It is that of reading modern place names into the original Semitic terminology.

Etymology of Gog and Magog

Similarity in sound for these words is only superficial. When words migrate from one language to another, vowels may change but consonants not only remain the same, but retain their same order. See “The Nations of Ezekiel 38–39 by Fred G. Zaspel.” (The conclusions expressed here are in no wise to be attributed to that author.)

Many modern “would be prophets” will use any current “evil” nation as the subject of their end time scheme to give the appearance of Biblical fulfillment.

This coupled with a few statements from the Bible that Christ is returning soon and they have the “magic formula” for sensationalizing end time prophecy, and terrifying the living daylights out of most otherwise sensible people.

Of the nations mentioned in Ezekiel, three are Libya (Put) which remains today. Also there is Persia, (modern day Iran) and Biblical Ethiopia which is the land just to the south of Egypt or Northern Sudan.

Togarmah, a descendant of Noah through Japheth, then Gomer, is known to Assyrian records as Tilgarimmu. It was a city state in Eastern Anatolia (Asia Minor, or modern day Turkey) a fact generally accepted.

Gomer, often mistakenly referred to as Germany because of the supposed similarity of lingustic construction. Rather, Gomer is well known to the ancient world as Gimarrai of north central Asia Minor (Cappodocia). They are also known as Cimmerians.

Rosh, is never listed as a place in the Bible and it was never associated as a place with Meshech or Tubal. It is believed to refer to the chief prince of Mesheck and Tubal.

Meshech is often erroneously referred to as Moscow. Rather, it refers to Mushki of western Asia Minor, and is known as Phrygia, which fits very well geographically with the other terms.

These were all people known to Ezekiel the prophet. Further, they were known to the N.T. writers. Peter addresses the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Asia Minor,(1 Peter 1:1). John wrote Revelation to the seven churches which were in Asia [Minor], (Rev. 1:11).

Gog, much more difficult to interpret ranges in suggestions from a king of Lydia in extreme western Asia minor to a god named Gaga, a ruler of the land Sakhi, north of Assyria, and others.

According to the Septuagint, Gog may be merely an official title or general designation for an enemy of God’s people. This seems a likely description especially considering the context that Gog and Magog would launch an attack against God’s people in the last days.

Magog, perhaps the most difficult to determine refers to some place in Asia Minor also. Now, when these names are viewed as those south of Israel, as in Biblical Ethiopia (Sudan), Libya, and Biblical Persia or (modern day Iran,) then to the north of Israel as in Asia Minor, we have the “farthest north” point for the prophecy.

The key is understanding the text from the ancient prophet Ezekiel’s point of view, not from modern day would-be prophets. Is there any justification to apply “Gog and Magog” to Russia, Germany, the USA or even Iran today?

Gog and Magog and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Here are the facts from the context of Ezekiel 38–39. The prophecy would find fulfillment when God poured out his Spirit. This places the prophecy under the purview of Joel 2:28–32, within the last days of the Biblical national Israel. This is not to be confused with the modern state of Israel today.

Peter affirmed Joel’s prophecy of the Spirit was being fulfilled in the last days, (Acts 2:16–20). Further, Joel mentions that “in those days and at that time,” God would bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, but also gather all nations in the valley of Jeshophat and enter into judgment on account of his people Israel, (Joel 3:1–2).

This battle is another description of the battle of Gog and Magog. It accords precisely with God’s promise to gather Israel into their land, not in 1948, but in the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Ezekiel 36:24–26; 37:12–14; 39:29; 38:80)

Compare with God’s promise of the Spirit in Ezekiel. He clearly says that when the prophecy of Gog and Magog is fulfilled, he shall have poured out “My Spirit” on the house of Israel. It would also be a time of judgment, (Ezk. 38:21–22)

How can this prophecy refer to the modern state of Israel who rejects Christ as the Messiah, thus cannot receive the gifts of the Spirit, even if they were poured out today!?! Yet those calling themselves Christians and maintaining Dispensationalism are supporting these atheists as people of God!

Acts 2:16–20, made it very clear that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Christ in the first century in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…”

The state of Israel formed in 1948 is anachronistic, an error in time, among others with respect to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. They do not have the Holy Spirit as prophesied by Joel and are centuries too late for that outpouring by the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

As Joel prophesies, Ezekiel likewise sees the destruction of Gog and Magog in the last days. They would come up against God’s people like a cloud to cover the land. “It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezk. 38:16)

Now, observe that God says “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog would come against the land of Israel.” (v. 18). These prophecies have nothing to do with modern day USA, Russia, Germany, Iran or Jerusalem. They all refer to the first century when God poured out the Holy Spirit.

Now within this time, Gog and Magog came against God’s people. Thus, we must look for a nation which comes to fight against God’s people within the last days of Biblical national Israel. A people who come out of the far north in Asia minor and from as far south as northern Africa, along with all the nations.

Gog and Magog and the Messianic Banquet

At this time, God would give Gog and Magog a burial place in the land of Israel. His people would gather together from all sides and eat his sacrificial meal of victory over their enemies.

Revelation 19 picks up this scene of the sacrificial meal. True to our time table, it is in the last days shortly before the end of the age, for God and Magog battle against the ascended Christ.

Gog and Magog – The Last Days’ Battle

Since we have demonstrated that this battle takes place during the time of the outpouring of the Spirit, then the battle of chapter 19, takes place after Christ’s ascension (John 7:39) but before the end of the Jewish age, for at that time, the Spirit’s ministry ends, (1 Cor. 1:7, 8).

The beast and the kings of the earth gather together to make war against Christ who sat upon the horse and against his army. This is the final last days battle of Gog and Magog.

In Revelation 20, Satan (the enemy) goes out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, God and Magog to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” (Rev. 20:9)

The object of attack for Gog and Magog is the “camp of the saints” and the beloved city.” In Hebrews we are told that the “city of the living God” is the “heavenly Jerusalem,” i.e. the general assembly and church of the firstborn ones.” (Heb. 12:22, 23).

This means that Gog and Magog, whose number was as the sand of the sea, attacked the church of Christ, the new camp of God’s saints, those considered as the Jews in the Spirit, (Rom. 2:28, 29) as opposed to Jews in the flesh, (Rom. 8:9), hence the new Israel of God, (Gal. 6:16), and true sons of Abraham by faith, (Gal. 3:26–29).

Gog and Magog is then fleshly Israel who persecuted the saints of the first century. They are the enemies of Christ in Phil. 3, the objects of wrath in 1 Thess. 2:14–16, and the beast of Revelation who makes war with the saints.

1. There is no question that Jews were in Asia minor in the first century, Rev. 2:9, 3:9.

2. There is no question that Jews persecuted (warred against Christians) in the first century, (Gal. 4:29).

3. There is no question that Christians had the Spirit, while Jews did not, having separated themselves sensual persons, did not have the Spirit, (Jude 19).

4. There is no question that Jews gathered together with the nations, (Rome, etc Acts 4:23), to fight against the Lord and his Christ and the church.

5. There is no question that fleshly Israel was deceived into believing that God would bless them.

6. There is no question that fleshly Israel was numbered as the sand of sea, a designation used to refer to them repeatedly in scripture.

7. Fire, i.e. the judgments of God came down upon Gog and Magog, i.e. upon Biblical Israel in 70 AD, (Matt. 3:10–12).

John the Baptizer and the Rapture Doctrine!

Consider John The Baptizer– Elijah Has Come!
Don K. Preston

“I will send Elijah... before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord” (Malachia 4:5-6)

The role of John the Baptizer, as Elijah, is one of the most ignored themes and subjects in the entire field of eschatology. Yet, apart from Paul- and of course, Jesus– John is the most significant and important eschatological figure in the entire NT!

Jesus clearly and unambiguously identified John as the anticipated “Elijah” (Matthew 11; Matthew 17). In spite of this, our dispensational friends say that what Jesus actually meant in Matthew 11 is that John would be the promised Elijah, if they would accept him. However, if and since they did not accept him, then John would not be the anticipated prophet, and the world would have to wait for the “real” Elijah to come.

But wait! There is something horribly wrong with this scenario! Let me briefly explain. Please, catch the power of this!!

In dispensational eschatology, Elijah does not come until after the Rapture, and during the seven year Tribulation period before the second coming.

Do you see a train coming, with lights blaring and horns blasting? You should!

So, consider the significance of the appearance of Elijah to the doctrine of the Rapture.

If Elijah was not to appear until after the Rapture, then how in the name of reason could Jesus have said that John was Elijah, even contingently? Let me re-emphasize that in millennialism, Elijah does not come until after the rapture. Do you catch that?

So, if John was Elijah– even contingently– then of necessity, the rapture had to have already taken place! (And since the Rapture has to do, we are told, exclusively with the church, to remove her from the world, this is problematic, to say the least! The church did not exist when John ministered.)

You see, had the Jews accepted John as Elijah, and the rapture had not already taken place, then the entire (dispensational) prophetic time line would have been destroyed!

Furthermore, the anticipated Elijah was to appear before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, (not before the Rapture). Now watch this:

Mark identified John as the Voice crying in the wilderness (Mark 1:1-4). No contingency, no conditionality; He was “The Voice.” But, the Voice was to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord in judgment (Isaiah 40:1-12).

In addition, Jesus unambiguously and emphatically identified John as “the Messenger” who would prepare the way of the Lord for His coming to His temple in judgment: “This is he of whom it was said: “Behold, I send my messenger before your face who will prepare the way before you” (Matthew 17:10). Once again, no conditionality to who John was. No contingency demanding the Jews’ acceptance of John’s role. He was “The Messenger.” And that Messenger was to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord when no one could stand before him, in the Day of judgment that would burn up the wicked like stubble (Malachi 4:1-3).

If John was, unconditionally and un-contingently, The Voice and The Messenger, then upon what logic can we argue that he was only Elijah conditionally? This is eminently illogical.

The facts are indisputable. John was The Voice / The Messenger, and in the OT texts, the Voice /  Messenger was, as Elijah, to prepare for the Day of the Lord! Was The Voice / Messenger to prepare for a different Day of the Lord from that which “Elijah” was to prepare the people? There is not a word of scripture to suggest this.

So, since John was The Voice / The Messenger, then he was patently Elijah. There was no conditionality, no “if you will he is, but if you won’t he isn’t” identification of John as Elijah.

So, the identify of John as Elijah (The Voice / The Messenger) falsifies dispensationalism.  Actually, John as Elijah falsifies all futurist eschatologies. More on that later.

See my The Last Days Identified or my Who Is This Babylon book for much, much more on the significance of John as an eschatological figure.


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