New birth

76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus

Sermon 35 - Isaiah’s hope of an ideal kingdom for Israel.

July 14th, 1960

Received by Dr Samuels

Washington D.C.

 

I am here, Jesus.

And one shall see that later the prophet Micah spoke in the same vein. I wish to conclude these sermons on Isaiah, at least for now, with the final period of Isaiah’s life, which was beset by the turmoil of political affairs. I have referred to the Assyrian threat of 701 B.C. in my other sermons on Isaiah, but with different viewpoints in mind. I have shown, then, that Hezekiah had continued to adhere to the prophet’s insistence upon neutrality in the power struggle between Egypt and Assyria, but in 701 B.C. the pro-Egyptian group, favoring rebelling against Assyria, gained the King’s favor. Isaiah pleaded in vain for a continuation of his peace policy, but now Hezekiah made a secret alliance with Egypt, purchased quantities of military equipment from her, and became the target of attack from Assyria. In a short time all of Judah was overrun and Jerusalem alone was left to face the might of Assyria. Hezekiah was able to avert disaster once more by paying 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold.

At this time Hezekiah fell very ill, due to an aggravated form of carbuncle that was poisoning his blood. His physicians could do little to relieve him. Isaiah told him he was going to die. Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall of his chamber, praying and weeping at all his sins and schemings, repentant in his heart for the base things he had contrived, and seeking by direct prayer to God for recovery. And he prayed thus:

“Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a noble heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight.”

(Isaiah 38: 2 - 3)

And the truth is, as I have said, that the King had undertaken a reform of the religious rituals to eliminate the fertility symbols and other abominations. And thus may I point out and emphasize one of the real tangible instances of God's quick help in direct answer to prayer, for God heard and took pity on his sincere repentance, and through His messengers told Isaiah how to treat the infection. Then came the word of the Lord saying:

“Go, and say to Hezekiah; thus saith the Lord, The God of David thy father; I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; Behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.”

(Isaiah 38: 5)

This is a misquote, for actually Hezekiah lived five years more, from 701 to 696 B.C. And this cure took a form, I should like to stress, of spiritual healing, for Isaiah, who was on a high spiritual plane, was able to catch the words of God’s helping messenger:

“Isaiah said, Let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover.”

(Isaiah 38: 21)

And he did. The reason, though unknown to the physician or to Isaiah either, was that the figs in the palace, lying about without refrigeration produced molds which contained the curative substances, somewhat like the penicillin of your day. Hezekiah’s death in 696 B.C. at the age of 42, due to excesses, unsuitable foods, and lastly illness which his constitution could not master, caused the worst internal and domestic troubles that ever plagued Judah through accession to the throne of that Manasseh whose name is spoken by Jews only with shuddering and heaviness of heart. One of the evils he resuscitated was the ritual murder of infants, including his own son, and innocent blood flowed in the streets of Jerusalem and in the cities of Judah. Isaiah could not live in that atmosphere of barbarianism, cruelty and obscurantism, and by the same token the adherents of his savage policies would not, and could not, tolerate the prophet’s accusing finger against them. Therefore, with Manasseh’s approval, they seized Isaiah and, as the old Hebrew tradition states, slipped him in a hollow log and sawed it in two. Thus ended the prophetic career of the great successor to Amos and Hosea.

Many passages from Isaiah have been quoted constantly to demonstrate his command of language to describe God as powerful, holy, filled with glory and majesty and the Ruler of the Universe, but I wish to remind you that in New Testament times Isaiah was quoted as bringing to his people a foreknowledge of events up to my own days. Thus my disciples turned to Isaiah 9: 2:

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

This light, to my disciples, alludes to me, or was in me, bringing with this light the conquest of death through belief in my person, in that I came with a soul filled with God’s Divine Love, and who taught prayer for possession of this Love for eternal life.

Of course, Isaiah’s words, as Isaiah himself would tell you, had no reference to me, but were introductory to the stanzas rejoicing at the birth of Hezekiah. This rejoicing at the birth of the “Heir Apparent” took the form of beautiful poetry in Isaiah, lyrical and exaggerated, to conform to the great significance of the event for the well- being of this Oriental nation, prone always to hyperbole and exuberance. This Isaiah meant by the lines above that Hezekiah’s birth heralds light and prosperity, as well as a closer relationship to God, for the people who had suffered under Ahaz. Isaiah then goes on to exult:

“For a child is born unto us; a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulders; and his name is called Pele-Joez-EI-Gibbor-Abi-Ad-Sar-Shalom.”

(Isaiah 9: 6)

The Hebrew means, “God, the Mighty, is wonderful in counsel, God, the Everlasting Father, the Ruler of Peace.” This did not mean that Hezekiah was to be considered God the Mighty, or raised to the level of the Deity, as the translation of some Bible versions erroneously imply, with the purpose of making the poem of rejoicing refer not to Hezekiah’s birth, but to me, who would be called “God the Mighty” and the rest of this tremendous name. However, if you recall the names of Isaiah’s two sons, “A remnant shall abide,” and “The spoil speeds, the prey hastens,” you will realize that, while such names may sound fantastic to you, they were not so fantastic to the Hebrews of those days, especially to Isaiah, who fathered all three, although they were unquestionably “blown up” to please a royal house of which Isaiah himself, you may recall, was an older member. Actually Isaiah tells me he meant by this name that God, the ever lasting and wonderful God of the Hebrews, had been gracious to the Hebrew people for giving them such a fine lad as Hezekiah, who turned out to be an excellent king.

Thus Isaiah went on to relate:

“That the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end. Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom To establish it, and uphold it, Through justice and through righteousness, From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts doth perform this.”

(Isaiah 9: 7)

In short, Isaiah was giving vent to a fond hope that, through Hezekiah, the throne of King David would be lifted to an ideal state of righteousness, which would continue forever. The Jews, wherever they are on earth, are still waiting for an ideal state, if not under a kingdom of the House of David, then under a democratic form of government, dispensing justice and conducting itself with righteousness as an example to the nations. It is still imbued with the ideals of the prophets and the law of human love, righteousness and mercy, and will give all its attention to such a course wherever compatible with the earth plane functions and ideology of embattled nations, on earth, but the light of God’s Love will eventually permeate into the land of the prophets, my land, and will possess the hearts of men, in Erez Israel, as elsewhere on earth. Amen.

Jesus of the Bible

and

Master of the Celestial Heavens