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Snapshots of the Kingdom: Isaiah, part 2

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Issue #381April 2020

Snapshots of the Kingdom: Isaiah, part 2

The last half of Isaiah (chapters 40-66) shift the focus from the destruction of the Kingdom to the restoration of the Kingdom, from warning to comfort, from the casting away to the regathering of God’s people. It is here where the prophecy in Isaiah’s name emerges clearly, for it is all about the salvation of the Kingdom and its people.

The introduction is seen in Isaiah 40:1, 2,

1 Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. 2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”

This is a reference to judgment for theft in Exodus 22:4,

4 If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.

In other words, the first half of Isaiah was a warning that Jerusalem (and Israel as a whole) would be judged, not with a burning “hell,” but by paying restitution “for all her sins.” This has occurred historically. First, Israel was exiled to Assyria in 721 B.C., and later Jerusalem was exiled to Babylon for 70 years.

When Cyrus freed Judah and Benjamin to return to the old land and rebuild Jerusalem, their captivity did not end. They remained under the authority of Persia for another two centuries. Then they were transferred to the authority of the Grecian empire, and finally to Rome and its extensions, or “horns” up to the present day.

Two Types of Yoke

Scripture shows that there were two ways in which the people could be taken into captivity. These are described as a wooden yoke and an iron yoke. An iron yoke is mentioned specifically in Deut. 28:48 and described in terms of being deported to a foreign nation (Deut. 28:64, 65).

The law also describes a lesser form of captivity, where the people would serve foreign nations by paying tribute to them. In this type of captivity, they would remain in their land and not be deported or exiled. The law gives this no name, but Jer. 28:13 describes it as a wooden yoke.

Jeremiah told the people of Jerusalem that if they would submit to the judgment of God, He would give them a wooden yoke, allowing them to remain in the land during their 70-year captivity. However, if they resisted, God would put them under an iron yoke, as the law describes, and they would serve their sentence in Babylon.

Of course, the people decided to fight the Babylonians, so God put upon them an iron yoke. At the end of 70 years, God removed the iron yoke and gave them a wooden yoke in its place. Hence, Cyrus the Persian allowed them to return to the old land to serve out the rest of their sentence.

The sentence was long. The first 70 years was served under Babylon, but Daniel received further revelation that the Babylonian empire was only the first of four empires that Jerusalem was to serve. Hence, we must understand that Jerusalem was not really set free under Cyrus. His decree only removed the iron yoke and gave them a lighter yoke that was made of wood.

This wooden yoke lasted until the people revolted against Rome (66-73 A.D.) In other words, Jerusalem’s wooden yoke lasted about 600 years (534 B.C. to 66 A.D.). Then, because the people again resisted the judgment of God, the iron yoke was reinstated, and they were once again scattered into foreign lands, as the law demanded.

The history of this captivity is written in the book of Revelation, which is seen by those who have studied the Historicist view of Revelation. But our “snapshot” cannot explain those details here. (See my 8 books entitled, The Revelation.) For our present purpose, it is enough to know that 2017-2020 appears to be the climax of this captivity.

The Great Tribulation, which many thought would be a future 7-year period, was actually a long 7 x 360 year time of captivity, beginning with the capture of Jerusalem in 604 B.C. This might have ended 2,520 years later in 1917, when General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Turks toward the end of World War 1.

However, Jerusalem was independent for the final century of the Grecian empire (163-63 B.C.), depriving the beast empires of a hundred years of their 2,520-year contract to rule under the Mandate of Heaven. Hence, this had to be added to the end, bring us to the year 2017.

The year 2017, then, was comparable to the fall of old Babylon at the hands of Cyrus the Persian and Darius the Mede. Darius ruled for three years in Babylon, and then Cyrus returned from his other conquests and took direct rule over Babylon in 534. One of his first acts was to issue an edict allowing the displaced Judeans to return to their land.

This three-year cycle is seen again in 2017-2020. We are now at the time comparable to the edict of Cyrus, as God is moving now to set the earth free from the oppression of Mystery Babylon.

Hence, the year 2020 can be viewed as the transition from the judgment described in the first half of Isaiah to the “comfort” and restoration in the second half of Isaiah. The mayhem from the coronavirus and the economic chaos that has resulted from this in 2020 is clear evidence of the major changes coming to the world as Babylon falls and the Kingdom of God arises.

Most people, even Christians, do not understand what is going on, because they are looking for a future tribulation and a rapture just before the rise of an Antichrist. Their view instills fear that they may have to face tribulation, unless they are able to escape in a rapture. We, however, have hope, for we see that the tribulation is ending and Babylon is falling. This is bringing chaos, of course, but God’s purpose is not to judge us but to judge Babylon.

Babylon is being destroyed. We are being delivered. So Isaiah’s message of “comfort” is specifically for us today, we who live in the time of transition from beast oppression into the glory of God’s Kingdom. Those who believe the word of God have faith while the world remains in fear.

The Restoration of Jerusalem

Isaiah 40:2 speaks comfort to “Jerusalem,” but this does not tell us which Jerusalem will be comforted. None of the Old Testament prophets clearly distinguish between the two Jerusalems, leaving it to us to discern with the help of the New Testament.

Recall that the Hebrew name Ierushalayim literally means “two Jerusalems.” The “ayim” ending is a Hebrew dual—precisely two. The rabbis debated this long ago but never figured out that it referred to earthly and heavenly cities. Paul and John, however, clearly show this distinction in their writings, as we have shown elsewhere.

Isaiah 65:17, 18 speaks of “new heavens and a new earth” and links this to “Jerusalem,”

17 For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness.

Here the prophet does not specifically use the term new Jerusalem. That was left to John in Rev. 21:1, 2,

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

We should notice first that neither Isaiah nor John limit their prophecy to one small city on earth. This is a world-wide prophecy. The new Jerusalem is not limited by geography, for it is a spiritual city that is made of people, not stone, brick, and wood. Those people are scattered throughout the entire earth.

We may take Rev. 21:1, 2 as John’s interpretation of Isaiah. Whereas Isaiah said, “the former things will not be remembered or come to mind,” John interprets this, saying, “the first heaven and the first earth passed away.”

Whereas Isaiah speaks of “Jerusalem” as “rejoicing,” John shows that the new Jerusalem is a bride, giving us the underlying reason for rejoicing over it. Rev. 21:4 also says,

4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.

In other words, the mourning, crying, and pain of the “first things have passed away,” being replaced, as Isaiah says, by rejoicing and gladness. On a broader level, this also follows the law of death and resurrection, where the death of the old man is followed by the resurrection of the new man. The resurrection does not raise the old man to life, but a person is raised up as a new creation.

The old soulish man of Adam is raised as a spiritual man from Christ. The old man is not being reconstituted in a perfect state. The old man’s sentence of death cannot be reversed. The new man is begotten by God, not by man, and he is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). The old is replaced by the new; hence, we must reckon the old man to be dead, for our identity has shifted to a new Being.

So also is the death of the earthly Jerusalem compared to the resurrection of the city as the new Jerusalem. It is not the same city, any more than our old man is the new man. This is the law of death and resurrection.

Therefore, when the prophets speak of the restoration of Jerusalem, we must understand that the new Jerusalem is not the old Jerusalem. The heavenly city is not the earthly city. Paul, in fact, tells us that the earthly city must be “cast out” (Gal. 4:25, 30), and that it is not our “mother.” Our mother is the New Covenant (“Sarah”), not the Old Covenant (“Hagar”). Our flesh (or old man) was of Hagar and of the earthly Jerusalem; our spiritual man (or new man) is of Sarah, the heavenly Jerusalem.

The “comfort” spoken by Isaiah is directed toward the new Jerusalem, not the old earthly city. There is no comfort (Holy Spirit) apart from the New Covenant, and there is no New Covenant apart from Jesus Christ, its Mediator.

Preparing the Way

Isaiah’s first message after his word of comfort was prophetic of John the Baptist, who was called to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Isaiah 40:3 says,

3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.”

So we read in Matt. 3:1-3,

1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!”’”

John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy by preparing the way for Christ’s first coming. There is a secondary fulfillment as well in regard to Christ’s second coming. This makes the prophecy complex, but if we understand what John did, we can also see the parallel that was to come later.

But we are showing mere snapshots of the Kingdom and cannot go too deeply into each of these matters. Details will be forthcoming in my study of Isaiah as a whole.

Do Not Fear

In the time of transition, as the world heaves and cries out in fear of what is happening, Isaiah’s message is one of comfort and faith, not judgment and fear. Isaiah 41:10 says,

10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

The prophet shows that the nations at large who do not know God and who are being overthrown will certainly be thrown into confusion and fear. However, “Israel, My servant” (Isaiah 41:8) has no reason to fear, because this is God’s deliverance.

Most people apply this prophecy either to the Jewish state that men call Israel, or to the so-called “lost tribes of Israel” who were never called Jews but were lost in Assyria. The latter is closer to the truth and indeed have a measure of deliverance coming to them. But there is a bigger picture here. Just as the true “Jews” in Rom. 2:28, 29 are those who have received heart circumcision (by God’s definition), so also the true “Israelites” are those who follow the pattern of Jacob in his transformation to Israel.

See my books: Who is a Jew? and Who is an Israelite?

The point is that the message, “Do not fear,” is not only directed to those who might trace their genealogy to the man named Israel—or even to the nation of Israel—but to all who have recognized the sovereignty of God after wrestling with the angel.

The difference between a Jacobite and an Israelite is the same as the difference between the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem. It is the difference between flesh and spirit, or between the old man and the new man.

Jacob was a believer who thought God needed help in fulfilling the promise given before he was born, that “the older shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23). So when Isaac announced his intention to give the blessing to the older son, Esau, Jacob (and his mother) panicked and took matters into their own hands to help God fulfill His promise.

Their fleshly efforts, however, only caused trouble later. Jacob was a believer, but he did not yet understand the sovereignty of God. He was an Old Covenant believer, where the decisions, vows, and works of men were needed to secure blessings from God.

But then he met the angel Peniel, meeting God face to face. He wrestled and lost when the angel put his hip out of joint. Yet it was by losing that he won, for at that moment he recognized that he was not fighting Esau but an angel.

At that point, the angel gave him a new name, not to reflect that he had beaten the angel at a wrestling match but to reflect his victory in reaching a new level of spiritual understanding. Israel means “God rules.” All Hebrew names ending in el indicate an act of God, not an act of men.

Hence, Jacob received a new name as a testimony that he had been given a new nature, a new understanding that God does not need man’s help in fulfilling His word. From then on, his name testified of the sovereignty of God.

So also is it with all true Israelites (by God’s definition). One’s ethnicity may define Israelites under the fleshly Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant an Israelite reverts back to its original meaning as seen in the story of Jacob.

So when the prophet says to Israel, “Do not fear,” all who believe the sovereignty of God will walk in such faith. Their faith is based on the promise of God, while those who walk in fear see only the chaos and uncertainty around them.

At this point in time, it is quite rare to be an Israelite.

Isaiah 43:1, 2 says also,

1 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”

Jesus Himself commented on this in Luke 21:25-28,

25 There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

We might say that the judgment and destruction of Israel and Judah gave comfort to the world (beast nations), for they then received the Mandate of Heaven to rule the earth. But the reversal of this was inevitable, and we are alive to see this happen. Now we are the ones comforted and the world is in fear, because God is redeeming us from our long captivity. We are that generation of whom Jesus spoke.

The great shaking is now upon us that was prophesied in Haggai 2:6, 7, which is interpreted in Heb. 12:26, 27,

26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which cannot be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

We are not the ones being “shaken,” unless there is some carnality or lack of faith in us that needs to be shaken. The purpose of the shaking is to remove anything that is not of the Kingdom. The shaking is for our benefit. Do not fear.

God’s Sovereignty

Isaiah 45 is the classic passage showing the sovereignty of God. It really begins earlier in Isaiah 44:24. The foremost prophecy is about King Cyrus of Persia, mentioned by name in Isaiah 45:1, where he is called God’s anointed (i.e., “messiah”). Earlier, Isaiah calls him “His servant” (Isaiah 44:26) and then God calls him “My shepherd” (44:28).

Cyrus was not a believer but followed false gods. How, then, could he be given such exalted titles? How could he be a messiah? Yet God says in Isaiah 45:4,

4 For the sake of Jacob My servant and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name [Cyrus]; I have given you a title of honor, though you have not known Me.

The proof of God’s sovereignty is in the fact that He does not need believers to accomplish His will. To accomplish His purpose and plan in the earth, He does not need men to know His will or even to agree with Him. All are subject to God’s will and purpose. God is truly sovereign, and there is no other god whose will can thwart His plan.

Knowing the sovereignty of God is the basis of our comfort, for if God should lose control of a situation, this would indeed be reason to fear. But we walk in faith, simply because we believe that our God will never lose control of the world and because His plan will be accomplished each step of the way to the end of time.

For this reason, we need not place faith in any man, any leader, king, or president. We must only know that God has the ability to use any man to accomplish His purpose, even if those men do not know God or His plan. True Israelites, then, observe world events and remain unshaken. They walk always in faith, never in fear. That is our present snapshot.

Cover Letter for April 2020 FFI

Dear friends,

Well, it appears that we have finally come to a climax in history and the transition into the age to come. Things will never be the same after 2020. Some are even calling it “Year Zero,” implying that we will date all things from this world-changing year. Most of the world views this as a Year of Disaster. Those who believe the word of God and have faith in His ability to accomplish His will have a very optimistic view of the future. The world has fear; we have faith.

For many years I have taught the word, including that which is prophesied about the fall of the beast empires of Mystery Babylon. Since 2014 especially, I have shown how Babylon’s Mandate of Heaven began to expire in October 2014 and was completed in October of 2017. From a legal perspective, 2017 was the end of Mystery Babylon. However, it has taken three years for this to manifest outwardly in a practical way.

It was a similar situation when the original city of Babylon fell in 537 B.C. Darius the Mede took over for the next three years before Cyrus the Persian returned from his conquests to take control of Babylon personally in 534 B.C. We know it was 534, because that is when he issued his decree allowing the people of Judah and Benjamin to return to their old land. We know this also because that is when their Sabbath years were reinstated and began to be counted once again. The law instructed that Sabbath years should begin to be kept when they entered the land (Leviticus 25:2).

This pattern is being seen again in our own time. Mystery Babylon fell in 2017, and three years later (2020) we are being set free to rebuild the Kingdom. We are called to rebuild it under the New Covenant, not the old one, so it is built upon the promises of God, not the vows of men.

We have held many prayer campaigns since November 1993 to prepare the way for the time in which we now find ourselves. Always keep in mind that the fall of Babylon is a disaster for all Babylonian citizens, but it is a time of rejoicing for citizens of the Kingdom of God. So do not be inspired by the fear of the world around you, but get your inspiration from knowing that God answers prayer. This judgment upon Mystery Babylon is not directed at you, but at the world.

The great shaking is now taking place, which Hebrews 12:26-29 tells us is designed to cast everything to the ground which is not of God’s Kingdom. By the time this ends, only that which is of God will remain standing. So know this: If you are of God, you will not be shaken, “since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken.”

When the world cries out in fear, not knowing what is happening, we have the solution and the understanding of what is going on. If we know the timing of these things, as prophesied in the word, we can have confidence that God’s plan is being accomplished. More than that, if we believe that God is establishing His Kingdom and that the beast empires have ended, we can look to the future with confidence, knowing that we are not seeing the rise of Antichrist, nor are we seeing the start of tribulation. No, we are seeing the end of the antichrists and the end of tribulation.

In this, we have an advantage over most evangelicals and Pentecostals, whose vain faith in a rapture is soon to be exposed. Our faith is in God’s ability to fulfill the Autumn feasts, not a rapture as they envision it. The catching away (“rapture”) is to be understood in terms of fulfilling the feast of Tabernacles. Those who do not understand this will soon see their beliefs shaken.

The government is ready to throw a lot of money at this problem. So far they are allocating $4 trillion, much of it in give-aways, to anyone who is affected by the lockdowns. Millions of people have suddenly been thrown out of work, and so the government has no choice but to soften the landing for as many people as possible.

Small businesses that have had to shut down or who have lost customers can apply for grants at the Small Business Association. Health care companies and workers can apply at their State Health Department and ask them what programs they have available.

Those who pay rent can have their landlords apply to the SBA to have the government pay the rent on their behalf. Mortgages can be deferred without interest or penalties by calling the bank or mortgage company. (Bank policies can be different, so you will have to ask to get specifics.)

By calling the utility companies, you may not need to pay electric or gas bills for the next few months at least. The government will reimburse the power companies for their losses, and they are not allowed to cut off your electricity or gas.

This government funding plan started on March 18, 2020. That was a watch date for us ever since 1986, when it was revealed in a dream that: “This is the beginning of a lot of money.” That word popped up on March 18 in various years and in different contexts, but in 2020 it turned out to be the day when the government decided to spend “a lot of money” to help people in lockdown.

Prophecy seen ahead of time gives us confidence that God has not lost control of the situation. There may be panic on earth, but there is no panic in heaven. Neither should there be panic in those whose “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

On another note, the Passover Conference in Knoxville, TN which had been scheduled for April 10-12, has been cancelled because of the lockdown. The governor of Tennessee is forbidding large gatherings, so we must comply with his orders. I am hoping to do an online livestream that weekend, so keep up with my weblogs, where I will be giving details as they develop.

I don’t think that this lockdown will last more than a few weeks, because shutting down the entire economy beyond that time is not feasible. I believe that the government will use this time to nationalize the Federal Reserve and to re-tool the entire Central Bank system and put it on a new foundation. Trump proclaimed a national emergency, which gives him almost unlimited power to do things not normally permissible under the Constitution. While some think he will use this to establish Mystery Babylon, I believe from my understanding of prophecy that he will use it to overthrow Mystery Babylon.

Daniel 7 says that the final beast empire will persecute the saints until the saints possess the Kingdom. No more beasts are coming. Their time has ended. It is now time for the saints to be given the authority that they lacked during their time of captivity. That means YOU!

God bless.