A few days ago the Lord spoke to me in a dream (a rarity in my life) more clearly than ever before. In the dream Anne and I were (for an unknown reason) spending the night in a homeless shelter. In the morning I discovered my backpack had been stolen containing all of my physical necessities (except my phone). I left the room and found Anne in the hallway sitting in a chair, incapacitated by mental confusion caused by a bad reaction to her medication. I went looking for my backpack in a large storage room and there was confronted by hostile homosexuals who recognized me as a pro-family leader, but did not find my pack and so I left. Back in the hallway I discovered Anne had disappeared and I did not know where to look for her. I then found myself in another part of the city that was run-down and damaged. My phone was in my hand – its casing broken, the glass a web of cracks, and the display screen all distorted and flickering and I felt dismay. Suddenly the phone rang and I answered. It was the host of a Christian radio show, someone unknown to me, who said just one thing: “What to you think of Psalm 25?” I couldn’t remember the theme of that Psalm, and just answered, “I like all the Psalms.” And then I woke up.
When I read Psalm 25, the part that jumped out at me was verse 8-13 “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He shows sinners the way. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way….Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the path chosen for him. His soul will dwell in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”
I realized this was an Old Testament grounding of the Third Beatitude (Matthew 5:5), offering God’s definition of the “meekness” of those who inherit the earth: humble God-fearers.
This raised two questions, the first being “WHEN do the meek inherit the earth?” and reminded me that nearly all New Testament teachings have an Old Testament root that provides insight into meanings. “When” can only be the Millennial Kingdom since that is the only time in history or prophecy when the whole earth is literally in the possession of humble God-fearers.
The second question being “WHERE is the Old Testament root of the Beatitudes?” And the Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 61, all of it, but especially 61:1-2: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD anointed me to bring good news to the humble; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to captives, and freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God;”
Which reminded me that Jesus invoked this very passage in Luke 4:16-21 (just a few weeks before He preached the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount) – but stopped reading after reciting “the favorable year of the Lord,” before announcing this Jubilee proclamation of liberation was His fulfillment of messianic prophecy. I have long known that Chapter 61 is a prophecy of both the first and second coming of Christ. He stopped in that spot because the next phrase “the day of vengeance of our God” relates to His second coming.
I have long known that the “the day of vengeance of our God” references the 1000 year “day” of the Millennial Kingdom (which begins with events described in Revelation 19:11-21), and is prophesied in Hosea 6:1-2: “Come, let’s return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.” The Millennial Kingdom is the 7th “day,” the Sabbath, in the pattern established at the Creation. The “two days” of Hosea 6 (the 5th and 6th days of Creation) are the 2000 year Age of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25), begun by Christ at His first advent.
The “third day” is the third of the “last days” referenced by Peter in Acts 2:14-21, specifically when he said “this [outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost at the birth of the Christian church] is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘and it shall be in the last days, God says, ‘that I will pour out my spirit on all mankind.”
Thus the imminent “third day” of Christianity in Hosea 6 is a reference to the 7th and final day of the Creation, “the great and glorious day of the Lord” when Christ will literally rule on earth from Jerusalem on the Throne of David for one full millennial “day.”
I then recognized that Isaiah 61:3-9, specifically this portion… “To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning” …is a foundation to Romans 11:25-29 “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not be conceited: A hardening in part has come to Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion; He will remove godlessness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”
In other words, the second coming, on “the day of vengeance of our God,” is the day of salvation for the Jews, who will finally recognize and receive Jesus Christ, when “[God says] I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look on Me, the One they have pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son” Zechariah 12:10.
As I reread Isaiah 61, I noticed all of the specific thematic links with the Beatitudes (e.g. the “poor in spirit” theme of the first Beatitude aligning with Isaiah 61:1 and “those who mourn” in the second Beatitude with Isaiah 61:2) – but then it suddenly struck me that these nine themes are the same themes of the nine Hebrew religious feasts that were in practice at the time of the Jesus’ earthly ministry. I know this set of thematic connections intimately after having shown how the Gospel of John tracks them precisely (see colored charts below). Following is what I discovered about the Beatitudes:
All of this that I have shared with you was revealed to me over the course of about two hours, one step at a time.
Let me encourage you to open your Bible to the 18th chapter of the gospel of Luke, Luke chapter 18. And here is a familiar and wonderful and rich parable told by our Lord Jesus Christ, the master of the story with a spiritual point, the master of the simple story with a profound spiritual message. Luke chapter 18, we begin at verse 1.
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart, saying, ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. And there was a widow in that city and she kept coming to him saying, “Give me legal protection from my opponent.” And for a while he was unwilling. But afterward, he said to himself, “Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection lest by continually coming she wear me out.” And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge said.’ Now, shall not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night? And will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Now the heart of this text is this great story that begins in verse 2, and ends in verse 5. I want us to direct our attention, first of all, to the story and then we’ll consider the surrounding material. Let’s call it the Lord’s illustration, the Lord’s illustration. Verse 2: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.” This is simply a city that Jesus fabricates in the story. But we can assume that since He’s talking to people in the land of Israel, it would be typical of a city in Israel. And what follows would be all too familiar to the people of Israel, for Israel, frankly, had much experience with widows and much experience with unjust judges. And here we meet such a judge, a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.
And while that seems a rather simple characterization, it is a very well chosen characterization because you find such references to people in literature from ancient times outside the Bible and this kind of description is used to describe the most wicked person, someone who has absolutely no reverence for God and no interest in people, no concerns regarding the law of God, the will of God and completely indifferent to the needs of people and their just causes. This man is ultimately and finally wicked. There is no way to penetrate this man’s wickedness either from the viewpoint of the law of God or from the viewpoint of the need of man. He is not moved by reverence or worship and he is not moved by compassion or sympathy. He has no interest in the first commandment, loving God; no interest in the second commandment, loving his neighbor. He is the most wicked man.
His wickedness is obviously toxic, it is compounded because he is in the role of a judge and he renders his judgments in regard both to the law of God and the needs of people and since he is not moved by either, he is, as Jesus characterizes him, an unrighteous judge. The word “unrighteous” would mean dishonest, corrupt, unjust. Not only is he this evil but he knows it and he’s comfortable with it. In verse 4 he said to himself, “Even though I do not fear God nor respect men.” This is not simply a definition of the man that has been placed upon him by those that know him, he agrees with it in full. Here is the worst possible human being in a very, very important position of responsibility whose disregard for God and man has massive implications in regard to all the people who come into his court.
Now the kind of court that a judge like this would be a part of would be a civil court. In towns and villages, or in large cities, these civil courts were in a lot of locations. Every little town had to have one and a place like Jerusalem would have many of these civil courts. This is not a position of national responsibility in a religious court where they were interpreting the religious things, or the traditions, or the law of the Old Testament. This is a civil court, but nonetheless the judge would have a very serious responsibility before God to uphold the law of God and to uphold sympathy and compassion toward people. Any judge in Israel would be very familiar with Old Testament instruction regarding being a judge. Second Chronicles chapter 19, Jehoshaphat is the king of Judah. It says in verse 4, “Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers. And he appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city. And he said to the judges, ‘Consider what you are doing for you do not judge for man but for the Lord who is with you when you render judgment.’ “Now then,” verse 7, 2 Chronicles 19:7, “let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be very careful what you do for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or injustice, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe.”
Everyone who was ever appointed to any judicial responsibility in Israel would know that passage very, very well. But even in the Old Testament, in spite of the clear instruction of God, judges were corrupt. Amos the prophet, chapter 5 verse 10, “They hate him who reproves him in the gate. They abhor him who speaks with integrity. Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor and exact a tribute of grain from them, though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, you will not live in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards; you will not drink their wine, for I know your transgressions are many, your sins are great, you who distress the righteous and accept bribes and turn aside the poor in the gate.” The gate is normally where the civil law was adjudicated. These judges that Amos mentions are corrupt and will know the judgment of God.
But this kind of judicial corruption was not limited just to the Old Testament. It was also true in the time of our Lord Jesus. Alfred Edersheim, who has written the classic Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, the great history of that period of time, describes the judges in Jerusalem as being so corrupt that the people changed their title. They were known as dayyaney gezeroth. That was the term used to describe a judge and his responsibility to deal with the prohibitions of the law. The people called them dayyaney gezeloth. They changed one letter in the Hebrew which turned the expression “a judge dealing with the law” to “a judge who is a robber.” “Robber judges” became their title because they were so corrupt. They did just exactly what the Bible said not to do, what God said not to do. They showed partiality. They were unjust and they took bribes. The Talmud said they were so perverted in some occasions that they would actually pervert justice for one meal, for one meal. And so, when our Lord says this is an unrighteous judge, adikia, meaning no sense of justice, dishonest and corrupt. He is defining what everybody would know by the description in verse 2, that he didn’t fear God and he didn’t respect man.
Let me look at that word “respect” for just a moment in verse 2, Entrepōmi, interesting verb, it means to be put to shame, to be put to shame. In other words, this man had no shame. Now remember the Middle Eastern culture then and even now is a shame-honor culture. You do what brings you honor at all cost, you avoid all things that produce shame, you avoid shame like the plague. That was typically the way life was lived. And so the way to understand that expression “did not respect man” would be to understand it this way: He is not ashamed before people, he has no shame. He cannot be put to shame. In fact, if you were to study Middle Eastern translations of this verse in Middle Eastern language, New Testament Syriac and Arabic, they never translate it any other way over the centuries than “he was not ashamed before people.” He had no shame. He could not be shamed no matter what he did. Good social behavior in those cultures basically was encouraged by an appeal to shame. I understand that. As a kid growing up, I remember vividly my mother saying to me on numerous occasions, “Johnnie, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” My mother made constant appeals to my sense of honor and my sense of shame. “Shame on you,” I can hear her say, “Shame on you.” I’m not sure anybody even says that anymore. I’m not sure that we can appeal to a sense of shame in the culture we live in, but in that culture you could. And to say about someone that he had absolutely no reverence for God and could never ever do anything that would make him feel shame in his behavior toward people is to say he is impervious to any appeal to justice or righteousness. This judge was shameless. He had no spark of honor, no sense of character, no point apparently…no noble point to which he could be appealed. Neither for God’s sake nor for man’s sake would he be moved to do what is right. This is the worst possible human being and his wickedness has all kinds of tragic implications because he is making decisions that affect people’s lives.
This woman we meet in verse 3 who is the widow. “There was a widow in that city and she kept coming to him saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’” Someone has defrauded her. In fact, someone has so seriously defrauded her that she is destitute. Not only is she destitute by virtue of the fact that she keeps coming and keeps coming and keeps coming, which is our Lord’s way of pointing out that she really was in a situation where she had to have what was rightfully hers, but we know that her destitution goes beyond the financial, she apparently has no man in her life, no man in her family, not a brother, not a brother-in-law, not a father, not a son, not a cousin, not a nephew, not any man who could come to plead her case, because courts belonged to men. They did not belong to women, they belonged exclusively to men. Men came to court. Women did not come to court. The courts belonged to the men. The only time a woman would come to court was when there was no man to plead her case. This woman is alone. She represents the destitute, the powerless, the helpless, the deprived, the lowly, the unknown, the unloved, the uncared for, the desperate. And it’s wonderful to use the illustration of a widow because her case is clear-cut, as far as the Old Testament goes, if not on a legal basis, purely on the basis of mercy that he should have done something to care for her. Exodus 22 verses 22 to 24 talks about the responsibility to show mercy to a widow. Deuteronomy 24 verses 17 and 18, Isaiah 1:16 and 17, and many other places, widows were to be cared for. Their needs were to be met. This judge is utterly indifferent to her on a sympathetic side, on the side of compassion, but apparently she had the law on her side as well because she is asking for legal protection. She has been defrauded. Property, money which was life to her has been taken from her.
By the way, as a footnote, there are a number of interesting widows that Luke focuses on both in his gospel and in the book of Acts as well. They were an important part of the ancient world. Corrupt judges, there were plenty of them; and there were even more needy widows.
She comes, back to verse 3, and kept coming and kept saying, which means she’s relentless, she’s there every day and she’s saying, “Give me legal protection,” give me what is mine. “Vindicate me,” is a way to translate that verb there. Vindicate me, justify my complaint, render it a righteous complaint and give me what is mine.
Well consistent with his utter disdain for the commandments of God and any sense of justice and his utter disinterest in showing compassion to anyone, even a lowly widow, verse 4 says, “And for a while he was unwilling.” He was just outright indifferent. He is the worst kind of human being who is then the worst judge imaginable. Just as the prodigal son was the worst possible profligate sinner and the older brother was the worst possible hypocrite. Jesus is into painting these extreme pictures in his stories with just a minimum of language. But if you can fill in the gaps, the people would understand that. But it says in verse 4, “Though he for a while was unwilling, but afterward he said to himself…” Now we get a soliloquy like the soliloquy of the prodigal son who came to his senses and talked to himself. So this man speaks to himself, “Even though I do not fear God nor respect man.” He’s a self-confessed wretch, he holds nothing back. He has no noble motive. He is first to admit he has no noble motive whatsoever. But he says, in spite of that, verse 5, “Yet because this woman bothers me.” In the Greek, “She causes me trouble, she is irritating me.” Every day she’s there. Every day she’s pleading her case. It’s becoming very troublesome. I will give her legal protection “lest by continually coming…” “Continually” is eis telos, sometimes translated in the Bible “forever.” She will come forever if I don’t get rid of her and “she will wear me out.”
He has no regard for God. He has no regard for man. But he has regard for himself. He cares not for what pleases God. He cares not for what pleases men. But he cares a lot for what pleases him and this does not please him. This is an irritating, troubling harangue that he hears out of this widow every single day that is intrusive and interruptive. And by the way, I like that little phrase, “She will wear me out.” But it’s a little more benign than the Greek. The Greek is a verb hupopiazo, which means it’s a boxing term and it means to strike someone with a full blow in the eye. She is punching me silly day after day after day. She is beating me up. Some translations would be, “to blacken the face,” to indicate the severity and the strength of the blows. She’s giving me a black eye, she’s beating me. It’s used in 1 Corinthians 9:27 where Paul says, “I buffet my body, I punch my body with a fierce blow to beat it into submission.” This woman is not just troublesome, this woman is painful. This is more than I can stand and she’s going to do it eis telos, forever, if I don’t get rid of her. So the powerful and impervious judge is defeated by the weak widow through her persistence.
Now you need to know something else, a little bit more about the Middle Eastern culture. Women were really powerless. I guess that’s a good way to say it. They were powerless in the male-dominated culture; still largely true in Middle Eastern culture today. But they were respected and they were honored. And while they had no power, they did have honor and they could get away with things that men couldn’t get away with. I was reading one Middle Eastern scholar who said, “A woman could scream and complain at the top of her voice relentlessly and get away with it because women are to be honored and respected. And if a man did the same thing, he would lose his life.” And so, even today sometimes you see pictures in the Arabic world of women who are pleading their case by screaming and yelling and this would be the crying day and night kind of relentless approach of this woman that is characterized here. The crying day and night comes in the explanation in verse 7. So she’s driving this man to destruction in his own mind. He’s got to get rid of her. And so he rules in her favor. Go back to verse 5, “I will give her legal protection.” That simply means I will vindicate her. I will vindicate her. It’s got the word dikēo in it, from which we get the word dikaiōs, righteousness, justice. I will execute justice, righteousness on her behalf. I will vindicate her. I will avenge her. I will do justice to her because I cannot tolerate her…her harangue any longer. So that’s the story. That’s the illustration.
Now what is the Lord’s intention? That was the Lord’s illustration. What’s the Lord’s intention? What’s the intention of this story? Go back to verse 1. Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart. So here we find that the key to the parable is hanging on the door. Before you even get inside to the parable, the key is out there. This is a parable designed by our Lord to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart. They…them…He was telling them. Them…Who is that? Back to verse 22, “He said to His disciples.” He’s talking to those who are His followers, those who belong to Him at this point, those who have secured their place with Him now at the end of His life and His ministry and He has just been giving them this great discourse on the Second Coming. He has been talking about the fact that the Son of Man is going to come, that He is going to come in a way that is visible and the whole world will see His coming. It will flash across the sky like lightning from one end to the other. And He’s going to come in horrific judgment as it was in the days of Noah, as it was in the days of Lot. He’s going to come in a way that’s going to divide marriages and families, one taken, another left. He’s going to come in a way that’s going to create death and devastation and carcasses all over the earth so that vultures will gather as we see in verse 37 to devour the flesh of those that have been destroyed. He’s been talking about His Second Coming in judgment. Yes He’s coming to set up the kingdom. Yes He’s coming to glorify Himself. Yes He’s coming to establish His rule of righteousness and peace in the world. But before that, there’s going to be this great judgment. Then will come the glory of the kingdom, then will come the Son of Man establishing His kingdom. In verse 22, the days shall come when you shall long to see one of the days of the Son of Man. We long to see Him come, not only to judge, but we long to see Him come to judge and then to establish His glory and His kingdom.
And so, He’s been talking about the Second Coming. He’s been talking about the fact that there is a return for the establishment of the kingdom so that you have to understand He’s saying to His disciples there will be two comings. Once He comes to die and pay the penalty for sin, and again He comes later to establish His glorious kingdom, to judge the ungodly as well. So that’s what He’s talking about. He’s been talking about the future, eschatology, the Second Coming. Along that line, nothing changes, you notice in verse 1, no scene change, no audience change. “Now He was telling them” takes you right back to the same people He was talking to in verse 22, “that they” the disciples “ought to pray and not lose heart.” What do you mean? In the time between the first and Second Coming, in the time between the first and Second Coming we are not to lose heart but rather we are to pray. We are living in that period of time now. Yes there is the invisible kingdom the Lord is building through salvation as He comes to take up His royal throne in the hearts of those who put their trust in Christ. There is that invisible kingdom being built. But the visible kingdom, the kingdom of righteousness, the destruction of the ungodly, the binding of Satan, the end of the reign of Satan and sin, the establishment of the glorious kingdom of righteousness, joy and peace and finally the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth are all associated with His Second Coming, which will be triggered by the rapture of the church. That’s all in the future. And so He is saying you need to view that event with prayer and not to lose heart. That’s the key to unlocking the meaning of the story.
And it’s understandable. The Lord knew then that a long time would go by, by our measurement, not by His. A day with Him is 1,000 years, 1,000 years is a day because He is eternal. But for us it’s a long time. It was probably a long time for some of the disciples when it was just years and then when it was centuries and now it’s a couple of millennia, 2,000 years. And continually Christ is dishonored and Christ is denied His rightful place. And the Word of God is unappreciated and assaulted and attacked. And Christians are treated with rejection and persecution and hostility and even martyrdom through these two millennia. We suffer at the hands of Satan and the world and we suffer the persecution of a hostile environment and we long for Christ to come back and destroy the ungodly and destroy sin and the reign of Satan and set up His kingdom. We want all that. We long for all of that. But in the intervening time the message is very clear from our Lord: Don’t lose heart. Keep praying to that end. This is instruction for us that it’s unmistakable: at all times, at all times. That simply means through all the events and all the seasons and all the eras and all the sweeping years that go by, we are to pray and not lose heart. “Lose heart” comes from a Greek verb egkakeō, which means “to become weary,” “to give in” or “to become a coward,” turn coward. It’s used only here by Luke but five times by Paul and it always has that…that meaning. Don’t give up hope that Jesus is coming. Mockers will come, as Peter says. Where is the promise of His coming? Denying the Second Coming. We will be a…ridiculed for saying Jesus is coming, but He is coming. Don’t lose heart. Don’t become cowardly. As Matthew 24:13 records, our Lord says “he that endures to the end shall be saved.” It’s that enduring faith that marks the true believer. So this is not a call to prayer in general like, “Pray without ceasing.” That’s a call to unceasing prayer in general. This is a call to eschatological prayer, pray that the Lord will come and pray for the strength to endure until He arrives, to endure the flesh, the world, the devil, the hostility against the gospel, persecution, rejection, and even martyrdom. This is eschatological praying.
There’s a similar call by our Lord in the 21st chapter of Luke and verse 36 as well. “Keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place and stand before the Son of Man.” You need to pray that Christ will come. You need to pray that you’ll have the strength to endure to the end; the end of your life and the end until the Lord Himself comes, should you live until we are gathered to Him.
Now you say, “How do you know this is a Second Coming section?” Well verse 8 is the key to that. It says at the end of verse 8, “However, when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?” Will He find this kind of persevering faith? Will He find this kind of persevering prayer? Will He find this kind of enduring confidence? This is definitely eschatological praying. No one of us knows the time of the rapture. We don’t know when the events that are the Second Coming will be launched. We don’t know when the day of the Lord is going to come, but 2,000 years have passed by. Believers have been waiting and waiting, and suffering at the hand of sinners. Sin escalates. Evil men grow worse and worse and worse. We see the pollution inside and outside Christendom. False teachers abound everywhere. We’re endeavoring to endure true and faithful, trusting in the Word of God. We have been promised that He will come. We believe that He will come. And here He says, “Keep praying for that event.” He will come but part of the means of His coming is our prayer life. Prayer moves God to accomplish His work and therefore having accomplished His work, bringing it to its great culmination in His Second Coming. He will come. He promises He will come. He will be faithful to His elect. He will bring judgment to the ungodly. He will vindicate the saints. He will exalt Himself. He will establish His throne on earth. He will reign in a kingdom on earth and He will establish the new heaven and the new earth. And that is what we are to pray for relentlessly.
This takes us back to Matthew 6:10 and Luke 11:2. “When you pray, pray like this: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Thy kingdom come.’” This is kingdom pray…praying. This is praying for the kingdom to come, for the Lord to punish the ungodly, reclaim the earth, mete out righteous judgment, vindicate His elect, establish His glory on the earth, vanquish Satan, take His throne, and establish the glorious fulfillment of all His promises. So again I say: The key to the parable hangs at the front door. We know what this story is about. We are to be living our lives saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
I was reading a book this week that is a world view book of great note and a significant and helpful book on the world view. I couldn’t find one place in the book where it referred to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You can’t even begin to have a proper world view unless you understand how it all ends. That backs up to affect everything. Just think about it. Paul writing about the Second Coming to the Thessalonians, about the rapture of the church aspect of it says, “Comfort one another with these words.” That’s where we find our comfort in the midst of the issues of this life. It’s just…It’s not just comfort, John says, “He that has this hope in Him purifies himself.” It’s a purifying hope as well. Paul says, “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” We evangelize because we know the Lord is coming. We’re comforted because we know He’s coming. We’re purified because we know He’s coming. And there are many more. This has tremendously critical implications. It has implications about how we view everything we own. Everything we possess, what we do with our time, what we do with our money, what we invest into the lives of our children and our acquaintances, how we live our lives should all be powerfully influenced by a strong and constant prevailing, persistent prayer that Jesus come. And when you pray that way constantly, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” that defines your life. That defines your life.
So we saw the Lord’s illustration and the Lord’s intention. Let’s go down to verse 6 and hear the Lord’s interpretation. Let the Lord explain the story in the context of His return. “And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the righteous judge said.'” That’s kind of a vernacular way to say: Let’s think about the meaning of this story. Think about the wicked judge in the story. Think about it. He was cruelly indifferent to God. He was cruelly indifferent to people. But he finally did what was right for purely selfish reasons. He did what was right for a woman for whom he had no feeling, no emotion, and to whom he had no attachment. That’s what we’re going to start with as we hear the interpretation of the Lord. But let’s go to verse 7 and see the contrast.
Now, “Shall not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night? And will He delay long over them?” Listen, what’s the point? This is a “much more than” kind of comparison, this is a “lesser and greater” kind of comparison. This is extreme. You have the most wicked, impervious, impenetrable, indifferent human being doing what is right for someone about whom he has no feeling or interest. And if a judge who is like that will do what is right for someone for whom he has no affection, do you think God will not do what is right for those who are His eternal elect, who are loved by Him before the foundation of the world? And who cry out to Him day and night pleading for His glory to come and for them to be glorified with Him?
The elect are represented by the widow. We are, in a sense, helpless. We are, in a sense, at the mercy of our judge. But this judge is not like God. This judge is the opposite of God. He is as unlike God as you can get. God always does what is right by His own law. God is always compassionate, merciful, gracious, tender-hearted, and kind. And God will do what He says He will do to bring about the glorious manifestation of His own children who are loved by Him from before the foundation of the world. The wicked, unjust, unloving judge will do what is right. What will a righteous, loving, holy God do?
The answer: verse 7, “Now shall not God bring about justice for His elect?” Literally, “Make the vindication,” make the vindication.” Again “the vindication” comes from that same verb, dikēo, which is related to the word group “justify.” Will He not justify? Will He not vindicate His elect, those whom He has chosen for salvation? First Peter 2:23 says, “God is the one who judges righteously.” Romans 12:19 says that, “God has said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’” Revelation 19:2, “True and righteous are His judgments.” He will do what He has promised for His elect because His Word is at stake and He’s faithful to His Word, He’s faithful to His law, because He’s merciful, because He’s compassionate, and because He loves those whom He has eternally chosen.
And the key here is this, verse 7: “Who cry to Him day and night.” That’s us. And that takes us back to verse 22 in chapter 17. “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man.” That’s us again. We’re longing for Christ to come. We’re living with the blessed hope and glorious appearing of that great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We live longingly, we live pleading like those under the altar in Revelation 6, we’ve commented on, “How long, oh Lord?” How long are You going to allow this evil until You come and establish righteousness and glory? We are those like the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, who wait for His Son from heaven, who wait for His Son from heaven. I don’t think you can live your Christian life the way the Lord wants you to live it unless you live it in the light of the Second Coming. You can’t remove the Second Coming out of the constant discourse of the church, out of your vocabulary or the theology of the Second Coming, out of your life with having…without having massive implications on how you view everything.
Let me give you an illustration of this, and this is really just an add-on, but it’s worth a moment. Turn to 1 Thessalonians. If you were to go to a brand new place where the gospel had never been and you were going to teach and preach there, what would your message be? Let’s say you’re going to go into a place where there’s no knowledge of the gospel at all. There’s a…There’s a Jewish synagogue there so there’s some knowledge of the Old Testament, but predominantly you’re going to a pagan city. That’s the case in Thessalonica. And Acts 17 tells the story about the apostle Paul going there. What are you going to preach when you go there? What is the message you’re going to give?
Well if we asked that of a contemporary group of evangelicals today we’d probably get everything but the right answer. Probably get everything but the right answer. What did Paul do for these people? Now we’re told in the book of Acts that He was there three Sabbaths, three Sabbaths, that he was teaching three Sabbaths. That’s the minimum, three weeks. Little deeper study and some conclusions drawn from these epistles would say that maybe he actually stayed beyond those initial three Sabbaths. Maybe he stayed a little longer but somewhere between four and six months, absolutely the terminus point, so somewhere in there. If you only had a few weeks, if you only had a few months with a group of people, what would you teach them? What would be the theology that you would give them?
Let’s find out what Paul majored on. Chapter 1 verse 3, “Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.” Right away in the salutation he introduces the hope that we have: our future hope. And what is that hope? He tells you in verse 10, “To wait for His Son from heaven.” Right off the launch pad he instructs them with regard to the Second Coming. You come in to chapter 2 verse 12, “That you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” And now we know that he’s talking in terms that they understand. They understand the hope of the return of Christ. They understand that they’re waiting for Him to come back from heaven. They understand also that He is going to bring a kingdom and establish His glory.
If you drop down in this same chapter to verse 19, Paul refers again to the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming, the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming. You see this emphasis throughout this entire letter. I won’t belabor the point, but look at verse 11 of chapter 3, “May our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you. May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all men, just as we also do for you, so that,” there’s the reason, “He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God…our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” You’ve got to live in the light of His coming. It provides comfort, I said earlier. It provides purity. First 1 Corinthians 15:58 says it provides stability. It provides zeal in evangelism. You have to live in the light of the Second Coming of Christ.
You come into chapter 4 and he gets more detailed. In verses 13 to 18 he describes the rapture of the church. He says in verse 15, “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not precede those that are fallen asleep.” The people that are alive are going to go first, and then the dead are going to be…I should say, the dead are going to be caught up first and the people who are alive are going to follow. The Lord is going to descend from heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ rise first. The rest are caught up, going to meet the Lord in the air, always be with the Lord. Comfort one another with these words. This is a lot of eschatology for a baby church.
Come in to chapter 5 and he says…Listen to how he begins, “As to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.” Why? What do you mean we don’t have anything we need to know? Well you know already about the times and the epochs. What is he saying? I’ve told you the history of the ages. I have already taught you eschatology. Verse 2: “You yourselves know full well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” He told them about the suddenness of the Second Coming. When people are saying peace and safety, they won’t find that. They were also told in verse 5 that they were sons of light and sons of the day and won’t get caught in the night and the darkness. They were also told in verse 9 that God has not destined them for wrath but for obtaining salvation. You know because I taught you.
If you go in to 2 Thessalonians, look at verse 5 of chapter 2; 2 Thessalonians 5 chapter 2. “Do you remember that while I was still with you I was telling you these things?” If you only had a few weeks or a few months with a brand new congregation, a few Jews and assorted pagans who knew nothing about the Bible, would you give them a full-orbed eschatology? That’s what he did. Backing in to chapter 1 of 2 Thessalonians, he told them in verse 5 about God’s righteous judgment, about the kingdom of God that was to come and until which they were suffering. He told them in verse 7 that the Lord would be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing retribution out to those who don’t know God. He told them also that after that judgment, verse 10, He would be coming to be glorified in His saints on that day and to be marveled at among all who have believed. They’ve got a theology of judgment. They’ve got a theology of the Second Coming glory, the establishment of the kingdom, the judgment of sinners. You go into chapter 2 and he says this, this is amazing, verse 3, “The apostasy will come first before the Day of the Lord.” The Day of the Lord is mentioned in verse 2. Apostasy comes first, the man of lawlessness is revealed. They also knew about Antichrist, they knew about escalating lawlessness. They knew about the apostasy and they knew it all. They knew that he would establish himself, this Antichrist, as a god, as an object of worship. He would take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God, verse 4, and that’s when he says in verse 5, you remember all this, I told you all this. And you know about him — verse 9 — that he’s going to come in the power of Satan with signs and false wonders and deception of wickedness. That is amazing…amazingly comprehensive eschatology. It encompasses the rapture of the church. It encompasses the suffering of believers until that time. It encompasses the Kingdom, the establishment of glory, the glory of Christ, the glory of His own, the manifestation of the saints, the judgment of the ungodly. It’s all here. It was critical. It was foundational. It always is foundational to know the end of the story. It produces stability, as I said. “Be ye,” Paul says, “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Because when He comes He’s going to reward you for it.
So look at this time and remember there’s a reason for it. One of the reasons is so that you can labor to earn an eternal reward. But there’s another reason. Let’s go back to the text of verse 8. And this is the one to which our Lord points us…verse 7, rather. “Shall not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him night and day?” Of course He will. Of course the true elect are going to continue to believe, continue to hope, continue to pray that Jesus will come soon. And will He delay long over them? That probably could be better translated. It should say, “and be patient over them.” Yes, “Is not God exercising patience?” is what this means. How do you know that? Makrothumeō is the word. It means to be patient. Do not we expect a delay because God is being patient over His people? What does that mean? It’s really a profoundly important word. The long interval between the first and the Second Coming of Jesus is a period in which God is exercising patience, “patience over them,” it says, patience over them. “Them” is in this text, back to verse 22 of 17, the disciples, His own, being patient over them.
Now there are three New Testament words for patience that are used in reference to God. One is anecho. It means “tolerance.” One is hupomone. It’s the patience of the sufferer, as Christ patiently suffered. But this is makrothumeō or makrothumia. It’s from two Greek words. Makros; we know what “macro” means as opposed to “micro.” The technical meaning of “macro” in the Greek, makros, is “far distant.” It means “long” with regard to space, or “long” with regard to distance, remote. And that’s makro, makrothumos. Thumos is anger. The word makrothumia means remote anger, anger removed far, far away. And our Lord is saying He is coming, He will come, He will vindicate His own, He will glorify Himself, He will judge sinners. But He has removed to a far distance His wrath for a long, long time. This describes what Exodus 34 says about God, that He is slow to anger.
God has a right to judge, but He also has a right to be merciful. God will judge in His own time. But Peter tells us the answer to this little dilemma, 2 Peter 3:9, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” So in 2 Peter 3:15 Peter says this, “The makrothumia of God is salvation.” What’s He waiting for? He’s waiting for the salvation of His elect. He’s waiting until they’re all gathered in. You don’t want Him here any sooner than that. And when the last of the elect are gathered in, then the end will come. Yes, He will satisfy his wrath, but not until He has satisfied His grace. This, by the way, is the meaning of makrothumia every time it is used with reference to God. It is used with reference to God in Romans 2:4, Romans 9:22, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 3:9 and 15, 1 Timothy 1:16. In each of those cases it means that God withholds His wrath at a distance.
T.W. Manson told a story that came from the old rabbis and this is the story. There was a king who was a very compassionate king. He wanted to rule his people with compassion and so he determined that his army would be stationed many miles from the city. And when he was asked by the wise men of the city why he would station his army many miles from the city, because they would be so far removed from civil disobedience that people would get away with things and they wouldn’t be able to get there in time, he said this, according to the rabbis. That on any occasion of such rebellion in the city, it will take a long time to bring the soldiers here and this will be time for the rebels to come to their senses. And so said the rabbis, it is argued that God keeps His wrath at a distance in order for Israel to have time to repent. And not just Israel, but Gentiles as well. That’s again 2 Peter 3:15, “Consider the makrothumia of the Lord as salvation.” God will send Christ to judge and set up His kingdom and vindicate His elect, but not until His mercy in salvation is satisfied in full and all the elect are in.
So verse 8, “I tell you that He will bring about justice, He will vindicate,” literally, make the vindication of the elect. He will make the vindication of the elect speedily, en tachei, quickly, suddenly. When it happens it will happen suddenly. And he will do it, but you keep praying and praying and persisting in prayer and don’t lose heart because He’s waiting to gather in all His elect.
So, the Lord’s illustration, intention, and interpretation; a final thought: the Lord’s inquisition. He closes with a question, verse 8, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” What does that mean? Jesus is just pensively asking the question that when He does come, given that it’s going to be a long time, will there be anybody left persistent like this widow? When He does come, and He will, will He find people praying for His return? I kind of think that if He were to come now He would find a whole lot of people who call themselves Christians with very little interest in that. Genuine Christianity never loses its grip on God, never loses its trust in Christ, never loses its hope. But we get easily distracted, don’t we? And the Lord is trying to nail this down in a practical way. When He comes, will He find His people still crying day and night eagerly waiting for His return? Will we love His appearing? Will we be crying out “Maranatha”? First Corinthians 16:22, even come, Lord, come, Lord. Or will it be like in Noah’s day with just a few, or Lot today with just a few?
We live in hope, beloved, we live in hope. We…We are true Christians and we have been given a tremendous promise. This is how it’s all going to end. In the meantime we suffer and we’re rejected and persecuted and alienated and the gospel is resisted and Christ is dishonored and sometimes maybe we think it’s going on too long and too long. We continue to pray and plead for the glory of Christ, the honor of Christ. And when you live that way and pray that way and plead that way, it changes everything about your life. How you view every part of your life. Yes it’s been 2,000. But our hope burns shining bright, and our love for Christ is still true and pure and our confidence that He keeps His Word is fast and firm. And so we pray persistently calling on Him to come, to glorify Himself, to vindicate Himself, to punish sinners, dethrone Satan, establish a righteous kingdom and peace on the earth, reign as King of kings and Lord of lords and create the eternal new heaven and the new earth. We say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” and it ought to be on our lips day after day after day, says our Lord. Live in that kind of anticipation until He comes. And watch how it changes your life. Let’s pray together.
We know You keep Your Word. You’ve kept it perfectly throughout all history and You will keep Your word in the future, oh God. Give us this shining, bright hope, this blazing hope to live our lives knowing how it’s all going to end, to invest in what is eternal, to treat lightly the things that perish and to treat seriously the things that are forever. And that’s the difference between how we treat material things and how we treat people. People are forever. May we, knowing the terror of the Lord, persuade men! May we do our part to engage in the accomplishment of the patience of God leading to salvation that Peter talks about! Even so, Lord Jesus, we wait and we will wait until You determine You want to come and the time is right. But we plead with You to come, Lord Jesus, come soon, come suddenly as You have said. Take us to be with You, establish Your glory, and bring us all that You have promised that we might give you unfading and unhindered praise and worship throughout all eternity. That is our prayer. May You be glorified in the glory of Christ when He comes. And until then, may we be known as those who cry day and night and never lose heart that the Lord Jesus will come sooner than ever, even this moment. And we’re ready and eager. We thank You, Lord, for that eagerness that comes by a grace gift through the Spirit to us in salvation. We give You all the praise. Amen.
When we pray for God’s kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, what do we pray for? Peace? Prosperity? The revival of the Christian church? Or the advent of the latter times — the impending judgement that must come as prophesied by countless prophets throughout Biblical history?
For me, I see the formation of a global polity. I see the rise of global powers coming together in the name of peace. I see a day when all nations will set aside their differences, put down their weapons of war, come together to tackle issues that can only be solved if humanity comes together as a collective.
Got to admit, though, that if the Bible claims that the impending judgement on the earth in the latter days will be the work of the devil, then I think that our job as believers is to dance alongside the devil and to rise above him. To do this, we’ll need to be conversant with Biblical prophecies (because it is the sequence of events that must happen) and be kept up-to-date with current affairs. Let no one trick you to think that there is no need to read beyond the Bible. It is in the middle of the war when we’ll need to be well-versed with Biblical prophecies and then be able to link modern happenings with what we know must happen.
Don’t be fooled. The devil knows better than we do about what must happen — and shudder. Daily, the devil live out the vision of being swallowed alive due to the decision that he’s made earlier before the formation of the universe. The devil knew everything that must happen. The devil knew everything that lies ahead of him. Faced with the prince of the power of the air, it is in our every intention to work alongside him and to realise the purpose that he was called to fulfil. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling us to stand alongside him, but to rise above him. If we understand that the devil’s purpose was predestined by God to be fulfilled on this earth, we will understand that any action against the devil will be an act against God.
Don’t misunderstand me. Dancing alongside the devil is not accepting all the workings of the devil in this world. Rather, we are called to understand the works of the devil and to rise above him. Look, if the Bible says that there will be a global leader in the future who will unite global powers and the global economy, then we will work alongside him to achieve it. But if the Bible says that the global leader will cause people to worship him, then we will need the wisdom to consider alternatives to it. We can run, but we can’t hide. He is, after all, the prince of the power of the air. If we know that all the nations will turn to God and this is also the purpose of the devil, then work alongside him and be advocates of the Truth. But if we also know that the devil will pervert this to his own advantage and cause the world to worship him as theCreator, then we will need to stand our ground, one way or another — either by going into hiding or divorcing ourselves from the global economy.
Whether or not we put our faith in God, all of these must happen. But as Christians, when we pray for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, then we must be prepared that we’re inviting the devil into our midst. Therefore, we are called to ready ourselves for the war that is ahead of us.
In the stillness of my meditations, I have listed down a few pointers for our consideration as we prepare for the arrival of the latter days.
Do we know the prophecies in the Bible well enough that we can determine where we are on the Biblical calendar of end-time prophecies?
Do we know how to recognise true news sources from fake ones? Are we able to take decisive steps to determine the level of truth of the articles we read?
Are we grounded ethically to God’s original design? Or are we easily swayed by the waves of modern trends?
Are we prepared to divorce ourselves from the economy for the sake of survival? Going into caves and relying on agriculture to stay alive? Or are we overly reliant on modern technologies for our survival?
Is our definition of love, sin, and forgiveness, grounded on Biblical truth? Or are we overly legalistic, condemning every “sinner” that comes our way, forgetting that we are too, the needy sinner who has fallen short of the glory of God?
We are called to dance with the devil. But much more than that, we’re called to rise above him. We are not to be swayed by the waves of modern trends, but we are called to be rooted in our faith in Christ. Are we ready for the dance?
As we approach the 2020 election, and with impeachment news daily in the headlines, there are Christian leaders who prophesy that Donald Trump will indeed win. It is an untold story of prophecies and spiritual signs that is off the radar screen of the secular media, which would never cover it except to ridicule. Yet many Christians believe God still actively guides us not only through the Bible, but through the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts.
Most Americans are aware that our nation is deeply divided, and the campaign season for the 2020 election is bringing that to light as never before. Most pundits would say it’s between conservatives and liberals or maybe against progressive leftists and constitutional conservatives on the right. But all see it in academic or secular terms.
Should We Believe Modern-Day Prophets?
Many Christians believe in the existence of modern-day prophets — people with a spiritual gift enabling them to tell others what God is saying. Therefore, it’s no surprise that when various prophets have said God has raised up Donald Trump, many believe it’s true. Could God be speaking to us today, and does He still have plans and purposes for America?
Because I know many of these prophets and have reported on them and what they say from the Lord, I have tried to document them in various ways, including the books I’ve written. I understand the reasons that some might be skeptical or totally disagree. For one, some prophecies are obscure or mostly symbolic.
Add to this that the prophets sometimes seem to be wrong, and that prophecies given in earlier times just weren’t documented unless written down at the time.
The number of prophecies about Donald Trump, many of which have gone viral, is one of the reasons Trump received so much support from the Christian community, especially charismatics and Pentecostals.
I believe we can overcome these concerns, in part because of modern electronics and the fact so many church services where prophetic words are given are now recorded and available online. This gives us a chance to evaluate them after the fact and to try to understand what’s happening from a spiritual perspective. I believe there is a spiritual significance for the tumultuous times in which we live, because there were several prophecies spanning several years. And, they came true!
The number of prophecies about Donald Trump, many of which have gone viral, is one of the reasons Trump received so much support from the Christian community, especially charismatics and Pentecostals. Not only is Trump a champion of religious freedom who is keeping his promises, but there is also a sense that somehow, some way, God is behind this unlikely builder from Queens.
“A President That Will Pray”
One of the most talked about prophecies on YouTube, viewed by more than 1.2 million people (yet virtually ignored by the media) is by the late Kim Clement. In 2007, he prophesied in a service in Redding, California, that “Trump shall be a Trumpet,” and even more startling: “God says, I will put at your helm for two terms a president that will pray.”
Other than the mention of the Trumpet, there is no specific mention of Donald Trump. Only in hindsight have people latched on to this video as a prophecy about Trump and passed it around.
I first met Kim Clement in the late 1990s so I knew his story. He moved to America from South Africa where he had been trained to be a classical pianist and later played in a rock band. When he nearly overdosed on heroin, that crisis caused him to become a Christian in 1974. Gradually as he grew in his faith and ministry, he developed a reputation as a seer, a prophet. In charismatic worship services he would often accompany himself on the keyboards and sing or preach his prophecies. (Unless you were raised a Pentecostal, this form or worship may seem odd.) A sort of mystic, Clement would often shake his head of long dark hair as he spoke or sang.
This resulted in a very heavy “atmosphere” in the service — almost mystical — and most people in the room seemed to believe that God really was speaking through Clement.
In Redding in 2007, Clement also prophesied: “There will be a praying president, not a religious one. For I will fool the people, says the Lord. I will fool the people. Yes, I will. God says. The One that is chosen shall go in and they shall say, ‘He has hot blood.’ For the Spirit of God says, yes, he may have hot blood, but he will bring the walls of protection on this country in a greater way and the economy of this country shall change rapidly, says the Lord of hosts.”
Only in hindsight can we notice what he said about Trump having “hot blood” or that he would build walls of protection or help the economy boom. But most interestingly of all is that he said, “Listen to the Word of the Lord, God says, I will put at your helm for two terms a president that will pray, but he will not be a praying president when he starts.”
A Man After God’s Own Heart
Seven years later, on February 22, 2014, more than a year before Trump announced he would run for president, Clement prophesied that God had allowed a veil to be put on this nation “for in darkness, faith grows.” He went on to say he found a man after his own heart like King David who would be singled out for the presidency of the United States. Clement continued: “I have searched for a man … who would stand in the Oval Office and pray for the restoration of the fortunes of Zion (Israel).”
“Watch how I will change everything, for there shall be those who are in justice, and there are those who are in a strong position (I am just hearing this now) in the highest court in the land. The highest court in the land. The Supreme Court. Two shall step down. For the embarrassment of what shall take place. But I wish to place in the highest court in the land, righteousness. And they shall attempt to put others in to reach their endeavors.” But God says, ‘Hear me tonight. Hear me today. I have this whole thing planned out, according to My will.’”
For many conservative Christians who feel their nation is deteriorating before their eyes, such words bring hope. Even if they don’t know whether to believe, they want to.
In the same meeting, Clement shared a recent vision he had where he saw a group of people and a man emerged from among them that he sensed God had singled out for the presidency of the United States: “And the Spirit of God said, ‘This man will throttle the enemies of Israel. This man will throttle the enemies of the West. And there are highly embarrassing moments that are about to occur for many, many politicians in this nation. There will be a shaking amongst, there will be a shaking amongst the Democrats in the upcoming elections, but unsettling for the Republicans.’”
“They will shout, ‘Impeach, impeach!’ but this will not happen.”
Then he asks rhetorically, “Why is God doing this? For God said, “I am dissatisfied with what emerges from both parties.”
“And then there is a nation He showed me, He took me, itching for a new kind of war with America. They will shout, “Impeach, impeach,” they say. But nay. This nation shall come very suddenly, but it shall not come in the time of President Obama. It shall come when this new one arises. My David, that I have set aside for this nation … They will shout, ‘Impeach, impeach!’ but this will not happen.
“God says, ‘Once you recognize the man that I have raised up, pray. For the enemy will do everything in its power to put a witch in the White House.’ For Jezebel has chased away the prophets and even Elijah. Now I have said, ‘Go back.’ For this shall be dismantled so that there will be no more corruption in the White House,” says the Spirit.
For those who are wondering, Kim suffered a stroke in 2015 and passed away in November 2016, the same month Trump was elected. So there is no way someone could have recorded him saying these things after they played out during Trump’s presidency and post-dated it to look like he said them in advance. Both prophetic words were given before Trump had even announced he was running for office.
Clement said more, and not all of it has come to pass. But to me it’s interesting that between these two prophecies he touched on most of the significant issues at stake during Trump’s presidency, and he uttered specific words about Trump that have come true.
Stephen E. Strang is an award-winning journalist, founder and CEO of Charisma Media and author of the best-seller “God and Donald Trump.” This content was excerpted from his new book, “God, Trump, and the 2020 Election,” out Jan. 14.
A seemingly normal video of foxes in the Holy Land has some referencing an Old Testament prophecy.
The video, uploaded to a Hebrew-language YouTube account in early August, shows several foxes running around the area of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
For many, the video brought Lamentations 5:18 to mind: “Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.” While the King James version maintains the animal as a fox, other translations list a jackal as the animal.
While most videos on Western Wall News’ YouTube page have less than a hundred views, over 90,000 people have watched these foxes seemingly fulfill a biblical prophecy.
And to some of those viewers, this video is about more than a few animals scurrying across ancient ruins.
The ruins of the Temple complex can still be seen in Jerusalem, and they serve as a stark reminder of what Jews have faced for most of recorded history. Even in modern times, God’s chosen people still find persecution.
Some of that destruction is captured in the book of Lamentations, a collection of grief poetry, reflections and, you guessed it, lamentations for Israel and her people.
Although the somber verses in Lamentations often focus on the destruction and desolation of Jerusalem, the apparent completion of a prophecy has given some hope that other events are on the way.
Reactions to the video on Twitter and other sites ranges from doomsday prophecies to outright dismissal.
While some commenting on the matter were overjoyed simply to see a moment from the Bible in their lifetime, others think that the animals indicate a rebuilding of the Temple is imminent.
The importance of the moment was not lost on Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites Shmuel Rabinowitz, who commented on earlier photos of the creatures.
“One cannot refrain from crying,” he said, “at the site of the fulfillment of the prophecy of ‘foxes will walk on it.”
The Challenge of Anchoring the Charismatic Experience in Biblical Truth
“Kingdom Now,” “Demons and Deliverance,” “Prophets and Prophecy,” “Signs and Wonders,” “Confessing the Word,” “Healing and Prosperity” – these are just half a dozen of the emphases that sporadically ricochet through the charismatic movement. They delight proponents, dismay critics and provide fodder for innumerable questions and fiery suppositions. They also create serious concerns.
Those concerned generally point to a theological imbalance that many charismatics either fail to recognize or choose to accept as normative or even desirable. “It’s as though large segments of the charismatic movement are either indifferent to or unaware of the theological thin ice on which they skate,” one classical Pentecostal leader observed.
Both traditional evangelicals and supportive insiders from the Pentecostal/charismatic community are hoping that the blessing and spiritual advances being realized by advocates of these special emphases will seek to ground their teaching biblically. This doesn’t mean, as some charismatics fear, to ground in the sense of penalizing a careless pilot or punishing a reckless teenager. Rather, it means to ground in the sense of securing or adjusting certain teachings to more solid scriptural foundations—and to do so with a sensible perspective on history’s lessons, while insisting on solid ethics and practical holiness.
This appeal reflects a delicate tension between two realities, one affirmative and the other negative.
First, charismatic life abounds in vital New Testament living, joyous service and surging evangelistic impact. Convinced of the present power of God’s promises, many charismatics make faithful applications of the truth they hold and enter the marketplace of human experience with it. Objective non-charismatics agree that the vibrancy of charismatic meetings is not all “fluff.” They especially welcome the evidence of practical evangelistic impact made in many parts of the world where first-century faith with signs, wonders and transforming power are being displayed.
At the same time, however, we must note that the apparent absence of concern for biblical and theological substance that supports many charismatics’ practices cause observers to suspect the durability of such dynamism. Towers of practical truth rise splendidly, as people are healed, faith is made practical, demon power is broken and the glory of Christ’s kingdom is seen in flashes of momentary splendor. But amid the blessing, we find too seldom the ministry and practices secured on biblical footings. Balance seems to concern only a few, as participants revel in the thrill of God’s power.
Christians practicing certain emphases, such as those we first listed, seem each to have discovered a pillar of New Testament power, as though a theological “archeologist” has found out something about ancient church history. But now that these towering artifacts of functional truth appear to have been recovered, their discoverers haven’t yet uncovered the broad biblical and historical foundations that should lie beneath them. How can this be done?
A good beginning would be to trust more readily the intentions of sympathetic critics. Rather than judging appeals to greater carefulness in theology as a threat to our style or liberty, we might listen to them.
More and more, inquiries by our critics reflect a hunger—a desire to find out how to advance the spread of Bible-based, Spirit-filled renewal. They request a more clearly rooted theology so that the dynamics charismatics enjoy might be more broadly understood, received and applied. But too often the response of charismatic leaders and congregations, who have been burned by past criticism, is outright rejection of such suggestions. Part of the challenge before us is to cultivate a new tolerance and wisdom toward those who question us.
Listen to the Echoes of History
Church history flashes many warning signals about the penalties of extremism. We are not immune to such penalties, so we must resist the common ploy of mocking those who question us, reacting in kind to antagonists. Instead, we can learn from history.
Often it seems that groups with little knowledge of church history mistakenly suppose they are the sole discerner or recoverer of a given truth or practice. Pride and presumption enter subtly, confusion distracts and moves them off course, and often shipwreck results. A pillar, intended for raising up, crashes down instead—and the dust blinds the eyes of all who hoped to see its design and gain the strength of its support.
How can we gain without losing?
First, we must avoid the idea that supposes theology is arthritic or that history is a waste of time. We must take time to investigate the church’s history. We must bother to examine the theological implications of our experiences. If our experiences truly verify the Word, they’ll fit into sound theology. Remember, vital revivalists and reformers of church history—such as Luther, Wesley and Finney—were not theological wimps. Both distant and recent church history reminds us of the folly of freewheeling revelation without foundation.
Listen to the Voice of the Scriptures
No doubt each emphasis that has risen within the charismatic movement has some biblical claim for its thrust—whether, faith, signs, prophecy, deliverance, discipleship or whatever. But charismatic Bible interpretation exhibits a general propensity for looseness, an inclination to strain the limits of God’s “sure Word.” This frightens many Christian leaders who, while welcoming the refreshing that some of these emphases introduce, deeply regret the casual disregard of Scripture by some who claim “revelation” or “prophetic insight” as conclusive or authoritative of their teachings. Without a will to bend our private “revelations” to the plumb line of the Word, trouble is certain.
Protection against such error is assured when we don’t insist on supporting our own insights or emphases with selected proof texts. We must remain willing to accept honest inquiry into apparent weaknesses in our systems of doctrine. To do otherwise is to chart a path to short-lived spirituality.
Not Just Leaders
Meanwhile, the problems we’re describing aren’t limited to charismatic leaders and teachers. Most people tasting the Holy Spirit’s new wine show little interest in the relative durability of what they’re experiencing. Yet disillusion, division and disintegration occur when people disregard the wisdom of building strong foundations.
Sad to say, the practice of many charismatics is to “hitch their wagon to a star” rather than to anchor to the solid base of long-term growth in a trustworthy fellowship. Many pursue itinerant prophetic and healing ministries while neglecting steadfast, accountable commitment to the disciplines of continuity in a local, faithfully pastured congregation. The pastor may not be as exciting a personality as the more visible, eloquent or miracle-graced traveling preacher. But after the more mobile minister has left town, that pastor is the one to be counted on when believers face the tough realities of daily Christian living.
Countless scat-about, undisciplined believers “come for the show but refuse to grow.” Everywhere we see shallowness, unaccountability and a neglect of balancing wisdom. So where can we find the wisdom we need?
Listen to the Heartbeat of the Cross
I believe that the charismatic movement must chart a fresh course to the central point of Christian truth: the cross of Jesus. The remedy for any imbalance is precisely there, where those two crossbars remind us of the need to balance heaven’s requirements (vertical) and human need (horizontal).
We certainly want to retain the vitality of our charismatic experiences, which ought not to be questioned simply because they are experiences. Like the arms of Jesus extended in saving, healing and delivering power on the cross, the charismatic approach in ministry that expects God to act in the now results in vital experience. This is a charismatic hallmark and a righteous goal.
Nevertheless, the cross not only reaches out with life and power, it also stands with authority and stability. It is at the vertical crossbar that we align with Christ’s head and His feet—majestic symbols of His Lordship and His dominion. Too often charismatics lay claim to the cross’s authority for ministry while either forgetting or minimizing the authority of that cross over us.
One recent study of the content of most charismatic worship music indicated that both Christ’s cross and His blood are scarcely mentioned. Does this drift from the biblical and historic center of Christian faith signal a warning? I think so. It’s hard to synchronize this tendency with the theme song of heaven, both now and eternally: “To Him (the Lamb) who loved us and washed us form our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5; see also 5:9).
The cross must command center stage in our lives, ever and always; and as participants in this revival, let us be certain it does in the charismatic movement as well. The cross is the fountainhead of all God’s wisdom, as well as the source of all His power (I Cor. 1:18-25; 2:1-40).
Let’s start signing again, “Jesus, keep me near the cross.” Humility is assured there, which will keep arrogance and pride from gaining ascendancy. Holiness is assured there, which will keep presumption and ungodliness at bay. Love abounds there, which will help us to hear each other and to keep the teachable heart of a child. Finally, the power is there, for the fountainhead of all Christ’s glory-workings toward all humankind was opened there. We must keep that fountainhead as our foundation—resting all our revelations and blessings on the footing Calvary provides.
Verse 1 JESUS CHRIST; GOD’S SERVANTWe should not be surprised at this title assigned to the Holy Messiah in the Sacred Scriptures, because there is a magnificent profusion of names and titles bestowed upon the Son of God by the inspired writers of the Bible. A mere glance at these cannot fail to impress any thoughtful student.
Of course, the above list is by no means all of the names and titles the Scriptures associate with the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind; but these are sufficient to indicate the comprehensive extent of them.
This chapter is concerned solely with the prophecies relating to that Ideal Servant, the True Israel of God, the Seed Singular of Abraham, who alone would bring the promise of redemption to fallen and sinful humanity and provide a way for the renewal of their lost fellowship with God. In Him is the life eternal, and “No man cometh unto God” except through Him (John 14:6).
We shall not engage in any defense of the interpretation of this chapter, which by unanimous consent of all scholars, Jewish and Gentile alike, was understood as descriptive of the sufferings of Christ for the first 1,150 years of the Christian era, at which time, Jewish writers began efforts to ascribe it to some other; and since then a very few so-called “Christian” writers have accepted some of the Jewish postulations.However, this defection of nominally Christian commentators to the Jewish interpretation is absolutely unworthy of any study whatever. The true interpretation is so obvious, so unanswerable, so absolutely certain, that it is a waste of time to explore allegations of Satan and his followers to the contrary.
The whole song of the servant includes the last three verses of Isaiah 52 and twelve verses of this chapter (Isaiah 53).
“It is unusually symmetrical. There are five paragraphs of three verses each. It begins and ends with the Servant’s exaltation (first and fifth stanzas); and set within this is the story of Christ’s rejection in sections two and four, which in turn frame the centerpiece (stanza 3,Isaiah 53:4-6), where the atoning significance is expounded. God and man, reconciled, share the telling. Note the `my’ and `our’ of the outer sections (one and five) and the `we’ and `our’ ofIsaiah 53:1-6.”
“The word `our’ in Isaiah 53:1 raises the question of who the proclaimers are. Hailey gave the same answer to this that Kidner gave in the quotation above: “The message is to be identified as the messianic message of God through Isaiah.”
“Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not.”
As Cheyne pointed out, there is a peculiarity in these three verses that one word in each of the three verses is quoted in the second half of each verse. “Thus: in (1), the word is `who,’ `whom’; in (2) the word is `he’; and in (3) the word is `despised.'”
In this paragraph, the surpassing glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is hidden behind obscurity, poverty, humiliation, misery, and shame; and this is the great example that “God’s thoughts and God’s ways are as much higher than those of men as the heavens are higher than the earth,” as Isaiah would more fully elaborate in Isaiah 55:8.
In Isaiah 53:1, the language suggests that “no one” believed the report, or hearkened to the Word of God; but the apostle Paul’s word shows that the statements here are hyperbole; for he said, “Not all hearkened to the good tidings” (Romans 10:16). Those who hearkened were the apostles of the New Testament Church and those who followed their leadership. Nevertheless, the very small percentage of the Old Israel who believed and obeyed the Son of God fully justified the hyperbole. A similar use of this figure of speech is seen in Luke 7:29-30, as compared with Matthew 3:5.
“As a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground …” (Isaiah 53:2), Here are given the conditions of Jesus’ earthly environment which seem to be revealed as the reason why he had no comeliness or beauty that would cause him to be desired by men.
We cannot believe that the physical unattractiveness or ugliness of the Son of God are meant by the lack of beauty or comeliness on his part. The tremendous attractiveness of Jesus for the great women of that era who knew him absolutely denies any denial of the power and magnetism of his personality (Luke 7:37,38; 8:1-4, etc.) Likewise the appeal that Jesus had for the rugged fishermen of Galilee, and the authority of his strong right arm with the whips when he drove the money changers out of the temple; none of these facts will harmonize with an unattractive countenance or any form of personal “ugliness.” No! What is meant is that none of the trappings of wealth, office, social status, or any other such things which are so honored among men, belonged to Jesus.
“As a root out of dry ground …” (Isaiah 53:2). What is the “dry ground” here? “This refers to a corrupt age and nation, and the arid soil of mankind.” Both the nation of Israel and all of the nations of the pre-Christian Gentile world were at this time judicially hardened by God Himself; and nothing could have seemed more impossible to the citizens of that dissolute age than the fact that God’s Holy Messiah would be born to humble parents in some obscure village, and that the salvation of all the world would be available through that Child alone!
The lack of beauty and comeliness spoken of here has been the occasion of all kinds of derogatory statements about Christ. For example, Wardle stated that the passage means: “He was despised, pain-stricken and diseased, so that men turned away from him in revulsion.” No word in all the Bible justifies such a statement as this. The emphasis upon the lack of beauty and comeliness refers not at all to the physical appearance of Jesus except during those terrible scenes of Holy Week, during which he was denied sleep, beaten unmercifully by a Roman chastisement, mocked some six times in all, crowned with a crown of thorns, tortured to death on the Cross, compelled to carry the cross till he fainted, being struck in the face with a reed, reviled and spit upon! This was the time when his visage was marred, and the last vestiges of his physical beauty perished under the venomous, inhuman treatment of Satan and his sons who put him to death.
“Despised and rejected of men …” (Isaiah 53:3). Archer rendered this as, “Lacking men of distinction as his supporters.” This harmonizes with the fact that a tax collector and common fishermen were among his apostles, whereas distinguished persons like the rich young ruler turned away from him. “Men still persist in avoiding facing the `real Jesus,’ preferring what they call `the historical Jesus’ who would not trouble them with the Cross.”
Verse 4 THE THIRD STANZA“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”
This is the heart of the Song of the Servant; here we learn why Jesus suffered, that it was not for himself but for us that he suffered. Note the emphatic recurrence of the word “our,” as in our griefs, our sorrows, our transgressions, our peace, and our healing. “The atoning significance of the suffering is expounded here.”
Right here is the vital heart of Christianity: The case of Adam’s race was hopeless. All had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. The penalty of sin is death, and the justice of God required that the penalty be paid; otherwise all of the human race would have been lost forever. But there was no one who could pay it. What was the solution? God Himself stepped into the human race; and, in the person of his Son, paid the penalty himself upon the Cross! Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! No wonder that Satan executed every cruelty possible upon Jesus; because without the sacrifice of Jesus in paying the penalty of human transgressions, Satan would have achieved his purpose of the total destruction of Adam’s race.
The words “borne our griefs” in Isaiah 53:4 in the Hebrew are literally “borne our sicknesses”; but this is not a reference to Jesus’ suffering from all our sicknesses, but to his healing all diseases. It was to make this point clear that the translators rendered the word “griefs.” Thus, “The rendition griefs is justifiable.”
“We did deem him stricken of God, and afflicted …” (Isaiah 53:4). There is an inadvertent condemnation of the whole human race in this. No tendency among men is any more prevalent than that of attributing all the sorrows on earth to the fault and sins of the suffering people. This unhappy trait of men is often noted in scripture. The parents of the man born blind, asked, “Who sinned this man, or his parents, that he should have been born blind?” (John 9); and the citizens of Malta attributed Paul’s snakebite to the supposed criminality of the apostle (Acts 28:4). This indicates that the terrible and unlawful punishments, even death, that befell Jesus were considered by the people as being the natural result of the sins of Jesus. How wrong and misguided were the people!
“Chastisement …” (Isaiah 53:5). Little did Pilate know, when he ordered the chastisement of Jesus that his command caused the fulfillment of this specific prophecy of the Christ. That the chastisement was indeed for “our sins” and for “our peace” is certain; because the Roman Procurator declared upon the occasion of his command that it was not indeed for anything that Jesus was guilty of; and he declared him innocent on that very occasion!
“Stripes …” (Isaiah 53:5) is another reference to the chastisement; and modern treatment of criminals has no indication whatever of the terrible and sadistic brutality that accompanied such “scourgings.” Excavations of the old judgment seat of Pilate have discovered the very truncated pillar upon which our Lord might have been chained, while two Roman soldiers, standing one on each side, with the brutal whips made lethal and bloody by small pieces of bone or glass chips attached to the cords of the whips, applied the awful punishment, first to the back, and then after turning the victim over, to the chest and face, each soldier smiting the victim with all his strength, and taking time about with their blows, tortured the victim within an inch of his life. No wonder the Lord fainted under the weight of the cross. After that chastisement, Jesus presented such a pitiable spectacle, that Pilate actually thought the Jews would declare that he needed no more punishment; and so he brought Jesus out and presented him to the mob, saying, “Behold the Man”! How pitifully wrong was Pilate’s underestimation of the sadistic hatred of that Jewish mob screaming for his crucifixion!
“Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all …” (Isaiah 53:6). No greater declaration from Jehovah was ever given than this affirmation that Jesus Christ suffered for the sins of all men. The perfect, sinless life of Jesus was a sacrifice sufficiently adequate to atone for the sins of all mankind.
Note here that the prophecy states that Jehovah laid the sins of all men upon Jesus. This corresponds with Paul’s statement that “God set forth his son to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood” (Romans 3:25). Thus the initiative lay with God in the sufferings of Jesus upon the Cross. (1) God so loved the world that HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. God was not the only one, however, who had a part in Jesus’ sacrifice upon the Cross. (2) Satan did indeed bruise the heel of the Seed of Woman. (3) Christ himself engineered his death upon Calvary (Luke 9:31). (4) The Jews crucified him. (5) the Romans crucified him. (6) The human race crucified him. (7) Every man crucified him. Were you there when they crucified my Lord? See the extensive discussion of these seven under the question, “Who Crucified Christ?” in Vol. 6 (Romans) of my New Testament Series of Commentaries, pp. 117-122.
Verse 7 THE FOURTH STANZA“He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due. And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”
This stanza is a return to the theme of suffering on the part of the Servant, stressing in the first verse (Isaiah 53:7) his silence in the face of accusers, mockers, and the “judges” of the tribunals before which he was arraigned.
“The Septuagint (LXX) renders part of this passage, as follows: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away; who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth: because of the iniquities of my people he was led to death.”
It is evident at once that the declarations of our version (American Standard Version) and the Septuagint (LXX) vary considerably. Isaiah 53:8, for example, in the Septuagint (LXX) states that it was Jesus’ judgment of innocence pronounced by Pilate which was “taken away” through mob violence and the humiliation of Jesus; but in the American Standard Version it is Jesus who is taken away. We believe that both renditions are correct, because both are true. When Philip encountered the Ethiopian eunuch on the road to Gaza (Acts 8:29ff), the portion of Isaiah which the eunuch was reading and which formed the basis of Philip’s preaching Jesus unto him evidently came from the LXX.
“As a lamb that is led to the slaughter …” (Isaiah 53:7). This is an agricultural simile based on the truth that a goat slaughtered in the traditional manner responds with blood-curdling cries that can be heard a mile away; but a sheep submits to the butcher’s knife silently. The same phenomenon occurs when the animals are sheared. Jesus submitted to the outrages perpetrated against himself, offering no more resistance than a lamb, either sheared or slaughtered.
“In his humiliation … his judgment was taken away …” (Isaiah 53:7, as in LXX), The verdict of Pilate was one of innocence; but, swayed by the yells of the bloodthirsty mob, Pilate took away his judgment and ordered his crucifixion.
“His generation who shall declare?” (Isaiah 53:7, LXX). There are two understandings of this, both of which may be right, for both are true. (1) “Who shall declare the number of those who share his life, and are, as it were, sprung from him? Who can count his faithful followers?”
(2) Bruce, however, rendered the passage, “Who can describe his generation?” Who indeed could describe that wicked generation which despised and murdered the Son of God? What a crescendo of shame was reached by that evil company who resisted every word of the Saviour of mankind, mocked him, hated him, denied the signs he performed before their very eyes, suborned witnesses to swear lies at his trials, rejected and shouted out of court the verdict of innocence announced by the governor of the nation, and through political blackmail, mob violence, and personal intimidation of the Procurator, demanded and achieved his crucifixion? Who could describe the moral idiocy of a generation that taunted the helpless victim even upon the cross, that gloated over his death, and that, when he rose from the dead, bribed the sixteen witnesses of it with gold to deny that it had indeed occurred? Who indeed can describe that generation?
Bruce further stated that between the times of Isaiah’s promised “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) and Daniel’s “Son of Man” (Daniel 7:15), and the personal ministry of Christ, “No one identified the Suffering Servant of Isaiah with the Davidic Messiah, except Jesus.”
Christ did indeed identify himself as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah. “A Servant … who would give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “How is it written of the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be set at naught”? (Mark 9:12). “How indeed, unless the Son of Man be also the Servant of the Lord”?Thus Jesus Christ himself affirmed that the Son of Man and the Suffering Servant are one and the same!
In our opinion, Isaiah 53:8, as in the American Standard Version is much weaker than the Septuagint (LXX); and that may have accounted for the fact of the New Testament quotation’s following the LXX. In our version, Isaiah 53:8 becomes a rather long sentence, stressing the fact that Christ died instead of the Old Israel, to whom the stroke was due. Of course, this is true enough; but if this indeed is the correct rendition, why was not the vicarious nature of Jesus’ death stated in the previous stanza? It is the “sufferings” which are discussed here? We may read it either way; and it is true either way!
“And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death …” (Isaiah 53:9). This is the most amazing prophecy in Isaiah. The significant fact is that the word “wicked” here is plural, and the words “rich man” are singular.
“Those who condemned Christ to be crucified with two malefactors on the common execution ground, `the place of a skull’ meant his grave to be with the wicked (of course, that is the reason why so many soldiers were assigned to the task of crucifixion; they would dig the graves. – J.B.C.), with whom it would naturally have been, but for the interference of Joseph of Arimathea. The Romans buried crucified persons with their crosses near the scene of their crucifixion.”
This does not prophesy that Christ would be buried in two graves, but that “they” would make two graves. There is no way that this prophecy could have been fulfilled by one grave; two are absolutely required!
There is a great deal more than appears in the lines here. Jonah also, the great Old Testament type of Jesus, being the only one of the Old Testament specifically cited and identified as a type of Himself by the Lord, had two graves. There is hardly room in a work of this kind for a full account of that; but the reader is referred to Vol. 1 (Joel, Amos, Jonah) in our series of commentaries on the minor prophets, pp. 345-347.
Verse 10 THE FIFTH STANZA“Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
“He shall prolong his days …” (Isaiah 53:10). For one who was indeed put to death, this is undeniably a prophecy of his resurrection from the dead. By no other means, whatever, could it be said that of one who had poured out his soul unto death that he would “prolong his days.” As Christ himself stated it: “I am the first and the last and the Living one; and I was dead, and, behold, I am alive forever more, and I have the keys of death and of Hades” (Revelation 1:18).
This stanza points to the glorification which God appointed for the Suffering Servant after the sufferings ended, constituting the problem that remained insoluble for the pre-Christian prophets. See 1 Peter 1;10-12. Added to the exaltation prophesied in the first stanza, the eternity of The Lord Jesus Christ is clearly visible.
This last stanza makes the worldwide success of Christ the marvel of all ages. He shall see his seed, number his followers in the countless millions; he shall prolong his days, be raised from the dead; the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand, 1e., righteousness shall prosper in the world; he shall justify many, 1e., countless millions shall be saved from their sins through him; I will divide him a portion with the great, Jesus Christ shall attain worldwide and perpetual “greatness.” In connection with this it should be remembered that all history falls into A.D. and B.C, and that more great and beautiful buildings have been constructed and dedicated to his glory in a single century than were ever erected and dedicated to all the kings and potentates who ever lived in the previous millenniums of human history, etc.
“He was numbered with the transgressors and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). This prophecy was fulfilled by the Saviour himself when he prayed for those who nailed him to the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Once, as this writer traveled southward on the Missouri-Pacific from St. Louis to Little Rock, a Unitarian noticed my reading the New Testament; and he said: “You Christians have your arithmetic all wrong. How could the atoning sacrifice of one man wipe out the sins of billions of men'”?.
The reply was: “Indeed, you are right. The sacrifice of one man would not even wipe out that one man’s sins, much less the sins of all men. Your mistake, Sir, is in your failure to see that Jesus Christ was in no sense whatever only one man. He was and is The Son of God, God manifested in the flesh; and that Holy Being’s atoning sacrifice was more than sufficient to wipe out the sins of all the myriads of men who ever lived.” This answer left the questioner without reply.