The Prophet From Isaiah 48

 

 

Isaiah 48:14-16

Assemble, all of you, and listen!

Who among them has declared these things? Yahweh loves him.

He will perform his purpose on Babylon,

and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.

I, even I, have spoken and called him; I have brought him,

and he will prosper in his way.

Draw near to me, hear this! From the beginning I have not spoken in secret;

from the time that it came to be, I was there.

And now Yahweh GOD sends me and his Spirit.

 

 

September 29, 2006

Background

 

This prophecy is so unique, and so intimate, I feel I must describe my relationship to it.

 

One can see that there is the theme of a Guiding Spirit from God, a special relationship between a unique human personality, and Yahweh.

 

Late in 1967, after a series of discoveries about celestial affairs now surrounding our planet, and after recognition of a Great Planetary Judgment, I suddenly realized that God was residing in the Universe, and that he had a particular interest in this planet. That realization immediately led to a deep and unusual spiritual experience. For months I felt as though I walked with the angels. I saw the world as they saw the world, and I understood as they understood. For details see:

 

http://www.world-destiny.org/gvd.htm

 

In 1970 I published a book I called God, Man, and the UFOs. While the book was being printed in the presses I was deep into study of biblical prophecy. One day, while perusing Isaiah, I ran across this passage. I looked at, then I looked at it again, and then I fell down on my knees, trembling before God.

 

I knew what it meant.

 

I had described a Great Babylon in my book, quoting Jeremiah 51, and John's Revelation 17 and 18. While I did not specifically mention the United States as that Great Babylon I gave necessary clues that any reader could understand this Babylon as the United States. I listed the praise of the whole earth, the nations shall no longer flow to her, fortify her heights with ABMs, and mounting up to heaven with her nuclear missiles.

 

In other words, this prophecy was not about ancient Babylon, but about a modern Babylon. Elsewhere I have listed the many particulars that show this Babylon is the United States. See

 

http://www.world-destiny.org/babel.htm

 

The symbolism is important because so many of the descriptive adjectives of the Babylon prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Revelation are amazingly predictive of this modern country.

 

More importantly, there was an intimate connection of a human personality to the unfolding of the Babylon prophecies. He would give warning to God's people.

 

In 1993 I wrote a paper in which I described my link to this prophecy. See:

 

pertest.htm

 

At that time I felt I should make known my understanding of the allusions to a human being, and his declarations against Great Babylon.

 

With this background I shall now delve into the prophecy.

 

Analysis of the Prophecy

 

Invariably, the commentators will assign this short passage to the historical Cyrus. He is described in Isaiah 44:28 and in Isaiah 45. We know from the Dead Sea copy of Isaiah that the text as we have it is the same as that which Jesus knew. The passages referring to Cyrus appear to be authentic. Without getting into an evaluation of the timing of the Isaiah prophecy about Cyrus, whether before or after his appearance on the world scene, we must accept that the biblical historic passages were descriptive of his actions. He returned the Jews from ancient Babylon to their homes in and around Jerusalem. However, the language in Isaiah appears so flowery one could doubt the assignment.

 

But this does not transform all references to Babylon in the prophecies to that ancient country and city. We know from the Book of Revelation that prophecies about Babylon certainly could not refer to the ancient land. That is why so many interpreters have understood John's Babylon references as Rome. Since virtually all of the Babylon prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Revelation refer to the United States we should understand this short passage in that light.

 

I turn now to an exposition of the individual phrases within the prophecy.

 

Assemble, all of you, and listen!

 

1. The people of modern Babylon are asked to come together and listen to this Prophet. These are not doubters and godless people, but people who are devoted to God. The implication is that you had better listen, otherwise you will pay a terrible price. Refer to my discussion on the Prophet of Deuteronomy.

 

Who among them has declared these things? Yahweh loves him.

 

2. Of all the prophets in the land who has declared such things? Who has so well described Great Babylon? This is the reason Yahweh loves this Servant. If God had openly explained all His symbolism there would be no need for an exercise in faith. This is the reason why this Prophet is so prominent in God's mind, and in His plans. The Prophet works by faith. He teaches by faith. And he exhorts God's people to listen by faith.

 

He will perform his purpose on Babylon.

 

3. The Prophet will exercise his purpose on Babylon, and hence God's purpose on this land of many tongues. The tenses of the verbs and the structure of the phrasing do not permit one to distinguish between the purpose of the Prophet and the purpose of God. We cannot separate the meaning of the personal pronouns. He and His may refer to either the Prophet or to God.

 

His arm shall be against the Chaldeans.

 

4. Since this is an emphatic assignment of purpose, the Prophet, or God, will have his strength, denoted by his arm, against the Chaldeans. The inhabitants of that land will not be able to defeat the purpose of God in the exposition of the prophecy. He, the Prophet or God, will express the Will of God against this godless land.

 

I, even I, have spoken and called him; I have brought him.

 

5. Repetition of the first person pronoun, I, even I, shows the emphasis on the hand of God in bringing this Prophet. God's power will do it. God is the one who has spoken these things, in all of the prophecies. God is the one who has called this Prophet. No one else, no pretender, has called him. God is the one who has the power to bring the Prophet, no one else, no pretender.

 

He will prosper in his way.

 

6. Here the pronouns are clear. The Prophet will accomplish the purpose of God. He will bring the voice of God. Amid all the gross confusion of manmade theology, all the foolish notions of the generations, the Prophet now will bring the call of God to God's people. He will prosper.

 

Draw near to me, hear this!

 

7. Again the pronouns are clear. This is God speaking. Let your hearts draw near to God and to the Prophet. Listen to Him.

 

From the beginning I have not spoken in secret.

 

8. God has never spoken in secret. From the times of Moses He warned His people of the consequences of their actions if they did not obey Him. But the masses did not understand because their hearts were not tuned to God.

 

From the time that it came to be, I was there.

 

9. God is not some time-bound personality who is limited by the processes of the Universe. He knows all time. He can bring His power to bear on any moment of time. He is continually present in all moments of time. He is there, at all times, and whenever His people call upon Him he can hear their appeals.

 

And now Yahweh GOD sends me and his Spirit.

 

10. We come now to a very important change in expression. Up to this point God is speaking. Now the Prophet speaks. He has a commission from God. God sends him. But He does more than send the Prophet; He sends His Spirit.

 

The structure of the remark does not permit us to separate whether God sends both the Prophet and his Spirit, or if God and the Spirit both send the Prophet.

 

The Septuagint translates the text this way:

 

Isaiah 48:

And all shall be gathered, and shall hear: who has told them these things? Out of love to Thee I have fulfilled Thy desire on Babylon, to abolish the seed of the Chaldeans. 15 I have spoken, I have called, I have brought him, and made his way prosperous. 16  Draw nigh to Me, and hear ye these words; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: when it took place, there was I, and now the Lord, even the Lord, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

We can see the important difference. If both God and his Spirit send the Prophet then we do not see the Spirit working directly with God's people. But if God sends both the Prophet and his Spirit it means that the Spirit of God reaches out to God's people and is available to them. This is the sense immediately apparent from the original statement, and the one that has the greatest import. God's people can receive God's Spirit just as well as the Prophet.

Plainly, this is a statement of the Spirit of God moving with his people. He does not openly speak to them in human language. The human agent is the vehicle by which God comes to them.

 

On the other hand, we can ask, would God send his Spirit without the human agent? Why would God use the human agent to bring His Spirit? Why would such a trigger be needed? This wrapping up of God, His Spirit, and the Prophet shows that all are intimately intermixed for the benefit of God's people, to help them with their decisions.

 

These are Faith-Decisions.

 

This is the method by which God brings salvation to His people, and to His world.