The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. – Isaiah 40:3-5
God is the author of history. Because history is really HIS STORY. God is also the inventor of time. He is eternal, with no beginning and no end. Yet, for the sake of our salvation, He set up a perfect timeline that is recorded in the Bible, from the beginning of creation to the Millennial Kingdom and beyond. As we walk through this Advent season, we can look back over 2000 years, and further, another 700 years before Christ, to the book of Isaiah the prophet.
Isaiah gives the message of another, known as the “last of the old testament prophets”, John the Baptist. John had a simple message: Repent, prepare your parched heart. Jesus is coming! In my early teens I was fascinated with the character of John the Baptist, a real “man’s man” who told it like it is, no matter the cost. A few years later, at age 17, John’s voice broke through the wilderness desert of my heart. I understood the true meaning of repentance and asked Jesus to be my Lord and King, forever. And I have never looked back.
Friend, have you heard the voice? Have you prepared your heart? God’s timeline is nearing the end. And Jesus is returning for His bride. Will you be ready? He is thinking of you now, even as you read these words. He loves you so much. ❤️
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:4-6
What is the MOST important question?
An educator might say, “what should we do with knowledge? A businessman might say “what shall we do with money?” The philosopher might say “what is the meaning of life?“
These are valid questions. But they are not the right question. The most important question in the world is:
“HOW CAN I BE RIGHT WITH GOD?”
That’s the most important question. How can a sinner be right with God? How can a perfectly Holy God declare a sinner righteous? This is the question. This is the great moral dilemma that exists in the world.
Friend, it is precisely to answer that question that the Bible was written. It is precisely to answer that question that Isaiah 53 was written, hundreds of years before the ANSWER hung bleeding and beaten …on a lonely Cross.
Perhaps that is why so many copies of Isaiah 53 were found intact in the Dead Sea Scrolls, matching copies scribed 1000 years later, word for word. Perhaps that is why Isaiah 53 is considered the “5th gospel“; Why the writer of this astounding piece of literature was said to be martyred, literally sawn in half for his faith. This message was preserved for us, at great cost, for one purpose. To answer that question.
Friend, a priceless gift lay before you. The gift of eternal life. Many lives have been given and many taken throughout history for the sake of this gift. But there is only ONE SUFFERING SERVANT who poured out His own life to make YOU right with God… so that YOU might live eternally with Him. ❤️
He was beaten, He was tortured, but He didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, He took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and He was led off— and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for His own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried Him with the wicked, threw Him in a grave with a rich man, Even though He’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. STILL, IT’S WHAT GOD HAD IN HIS MIND ALL ALONG, to crush Him with pain. – The plan was that HE GIVE HIMSELF AS AN OFFERING FOR SIN so that He’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through Him. – Isaiah 53: 7-10
The Prophet Isaiah penned these infamous lines some 70 years before Jesus walked the earth. But the verbs are in past tense. Isaiah was really LOOKING BACK from a future time, near the end of the age, when the NATION OF ISRAEL will finally recognize the Suffering Servant, Yeshua Jesus, as their King. Isaiah 53, in fact, is the lament; the repentance of the Nation Israel. These are words which the nation will speak in their brokenhearted confession of the worst sin imaginable, the SIN OF REJECTING THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
Friend, are you tired of running? Is there a “Lament” that you need to recite in your own heart? Yeshua once looked upon the city of Jerusalem and offered His own mournful lament,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!”
A week later, His face marred beyond recognition, His body torn and lifeblood draining, Jesus was suspended by cruel nails from a wooden cross. He looked down from His agony, at those who were torturing Him, and spoke these words…
“Abba, selach ‘ethon la nakhru mah h’mon pelalin” – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
You see, my friend, Jesus wants to pardon you. There is no sin to great for Him to bear. Just like the Nation of Israel, you too can repent. I pray you do so now, before your last breath, when YOUR SIN becomes UNPARDONABLE. ❤️
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and to cause Him to suffer; …His soul is made a guilt offering… Isaiah 53:10
WHO KILLED JESUS? I awakened today with this question on my mind. Like anyone else, I did a quick google search on my phone to find out! The top result was Wikipedia: “According to the canonical gospels, Jesus was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin, and then sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally crucified by the Romans.”
But there are many more results. Most of them blame the Jewish Sanhedrin, but, since it was Pontius Pilate who actually sentenced Him, some put the blame on this unfortunate Roman magistrate. A few purists say it was the Roman guards… After all, they performed the actual execution. And then I remembered when I was 17 years old, a brand new Born-Again believer, sitting in the pew in the Catholic Church looking up at the Crucifix. I was overcome by emotion as I thought… “I am responsible. My SIN put Jesus on that Cross!”
These are all valid answers to the question of who killed Jesus. BUT THEY ARE ALL WRONG. Yeshua Jesus made a clear statement about who had the actual power to take His life:
“The Father loves me because I SACRIFICE MY LIFE SO I MAY TAKE IT BACK AGAIN. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” – John 10:17-18
On the Cross:
Then Jesus shouted out again, and HE RELEASED (DISMISSED) HIS SPIRIT. – Matthew 27:50
From His grave:
His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for HE IS RISEN… – Matthew 28:3-5
Just as He said.
The book of Leviticus describes five offerings of Old Covenant Worship. One of these is called the GUILT OFFERING. The guilt offering focuses on the need for PAYMENT for SIN. The sacrifice of a pure, innocent lamb was considered restitution. The idea is that it’s not enough to be forgiven, we need to make things right to clear up our GUILT.
Let’s look again at Isaiah 53:10 – “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and to cause Him to suffer; …His soul is made a guilt offering…” Isaiah 53:10
The word used for “offering for guilt” is the exact same word used in Leviticus 5:15 to describe the compensation or guilt offering of the innocent lamb.
Friend, Yeshua Jesus made things right between you and God. He gave His sinless life as an offering; a PAYMENT IN FULL for YOUR SIN. Once you receive it, you are declared righteous. NO LONGER GUILTY. If you have ears to hear, believe and receive Him now. He is waiting. He loves you.
JESUS IN THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH – OUR BLOOD COVENANT
In the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we learn of a Priest named Zachariah. Zachariah became famous for being stricken mute after his disbelief in God’s promise that he and his wife Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, would be blessed with a son in their old age. And after the birth of his son, he regained his voice after naming him John. He became the father of John the Baptist, making John the cousin of Yeshua Jesus. The Priests in those days performed a BLOOD SACRIFICE that fulfilled a COVENANT with God and cleansed the sins of Israel, a foreshadowing of the atoning death of Jesus on the Cross.
The Prophet Jeremiah lived during the most crucial period of Judah’s existence as a kingdom. He predicted, “This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years”, in Jeremiah 25:11. And he saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the holy Temple. And when the catastrophe finally overwhelmed his people, he was the one who bitterly lamented Israel’s terrible fate in the Book of Lamentations. Although Jeremiah was most certainly a type of Jesus Christ in many ways, let’s focus on just one:
Jeremiah Prophesied, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the people… “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God… and will remember their sins no more.”
About 600 years later, a Jewish Rabbi named Yeshua Jesus gathered with His disciples in an upper room. He took the bread of the Passover meal, gave thanks and broke it, gave it to them and said these now famous words:
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the NEW COVENANT in my blood, which is poured out for you.” — Luke 22:19-20
What is the NEW COVENANT that Jeremiah spoke of 600 years before? It was the blood of Christ. John the Baptist called Jesus the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). There are many references to blood in the Old Testament, like the sprinkling of innocent BLOOD on the Hebrew doorposts when they were held in bondage by the Pharaoh of Egypt.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of BLOOD there is no forgiveness.” – Hebrews 9:22
After centuries of the shedding of the innocent blood of a lamb, Yahweh God provided a NEW COVENANT, a way to finally make us right with Him, by the BLOOD OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD.
Friend, are you covered by the Blood? Have you met Jesus in that upper room? Has HE poured Himself out for YOU, for YOUR SIN, so that once and for all, you may be FORGIVEN? He drank from the cup, the cup of the wrath of Yahweh God, to pay your debt. Go to Him now, friend. Repent of your past… and become NEW in Him.
Jesus in the book of Lamentations – OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS ✝️
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling. Look, your house is left to you desolate. And I tell you that you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ – Yeshua Jesus, from Luke 13:34-35
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. – Lamentations 1:1-2
The Prophet Jeremiah, believed to have written Lamentations, was a type of Jesus Christ. When you read the first chapter of Lamentations, you can feel the anguished Heart of our precious Lord in the words. Yeshua Jesus had a deep, deep love for His culture, His people, Israel. Although He was fully God, Jesus was also fully man. Although as God, He knew his people deserved judgement, He wept for them as a man.
Isn’t that just like our Lord? He knows we deserve judgment. The Bible says in Romans 3:10 that “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’”. Paul is quoting Psalm 143:2 which says “…no one alive is righteous before You.”And in Romans 3:23, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Paul is quoting from Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Surely there is no righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”
None righteous. Not Abraham. Not Paul. Not me. We are all guilty of Sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23
So how can we be justified before Yahweh God? In an act of PURE LOVE, Jesus took our place, our punishment, our death, on the Cross. He is our justification before the judge, before God. Justification means that God sovereignly declares the repentant, believing sinner righteous in His sight. You are declared to be righteous in your standing before God. You stand acquitted of your sins.
Friend, have you been acquitted? Are you ashamed and repentant for the sins you have committed before your Holy, Perfect Creator? Jesus loves you. He weeps for you. His Holy Spirit pleads for your very soul. He was fully God, yet fully man. He knows your struggles. He cares deeply for you. Sinner, come home. ❤️
Jesus in the book of Ezekiel – OUR RIGHTEOUS JUDGE
The prophet Ezekiel lived hundreds of years before Yeshua Jesus was born. He and his people were exiles, captives of Babylon. He was a prophet during hard times and he prophesied of more hard times for the nation of Israel. He predicted the DIASPORA –
I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you through the countries… Ezekiel 22:15
As an authentic prophet of Yahweh God, Ezekiel had a vision. Indeed, he was not only able to predict the diaspora, but he predicted the time when it would be ended, the time when Israel would be regathered to the land, to await the return of the King. He was able to see FAR into the future, into OUR future, when Christ returns to Reign on this earth!
Ezekiel encounters the Lord Jesus in the very first chapter:
“high above on a throne was a figure like that of a man… glowing… as if full of fire… and brilliant light surrounded him.” – Ezekiel 1:26-27
This is not the “suffering servant“ Jesus that is portrayed by Isaiah. This is not the Jesus we read of in the Gospels. This is the Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, when He returns in all His Glory!
Ezekiel’s vision is remarkably similar to another vision in the Bible, the vision that God gave the Apostle John, while a prisoner on Patmos. There are in fact OVER EIGHTY PARALLELS between the prophecy of Ezekiel and the prophecy of John in Revelation. For example, in his vision, John identifies the Lord Jesus as the:
“Alpha and Omega, now reigning in heaven” – Revelation 1:5-8
“…I turned and saw… someone like a son of man… his eyes were like blazing fire… his face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” – Revelation 1:13-17
“…there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it… from the throne came flashes of lightening, rumblings and peals of thunder…”- Revelation 4:2-5
Like John, Ezekiel finds it difficult to describe what he has seen. He speaks of “the figure like that of a man” who had:
“the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” – Ezekiel 1:28
The ”glory of the Lord”, here clearly refers to the presence of God revealed in a person. A person, who, in the fullness of time,
“became flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father” -John 1:14
The apostle Paul also describes this person in Philippians 2:
“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself even to death on the cross” – Philippians 2:6-8
Jesus in Ezekiel is revealed as God who became man.
Friend, do you know Him? Do you recognize Him? Hundreds and thousands of years before He was born, The prophets recognized Him. Abraham knew Him.
My friend, the final hour is near. Time is short. Jesus is coming…in flashes of lightning and peals of thunder! The nations of the earth will come against Him. And, the Bible says, EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess that HE IS LORD. Run to Him now, before it is too late.
600 years before the birth of Yeshua Jesus, the king of Babylon (now Iraq) and his armies invaded the Holy City of Jerusalem. Among the spoils they took was a young teen named Daniel. The story of Daniel is one of the most amazing tales in the Old Testament. The most enduring theme in this fascinating book is the steadfast faithfulness of Daniel to Yahweh God in the midst of the most extreme political circumstances imaginable. And in turn, God was faithful to Daniel.
I’d like to look at just one amazing prophecy that you will find in this book:
“The Lord has commanded 490 years…It will be 49 years plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes!…” – Daniel 9:24
Ezra 7 tells the story of when the commandment was given to rebuild Jerusalem on March 14th, 445 B.C.
Using the Jewish calendar, we can count 49 + 434 = 483 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem (March 14th, 445 B.C.) until Anointed One comes.
On that EXACT PREDICTED DATE, Palm Sunday, April 6th 32 A.D., Yeshua Jesus rode a donkey into the City of Jerusalem… and the people threw palm branches before Him, anointing Him King! (Matthew 21:7-10) With fulfilled prophecies like this, it is no wonder that so many trust every word in the Bible as TRUTH!
Daniel was an authentic Prophet of God. He lived in extreme political times. In fact, when his three friends were commanded to renounce their faith by King Nebuchadnezzar, they chose the fiery furnace instead. But God preserved them for His purpose. And as they stood in the fire, unharmed, there was a fourth man among them!
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” – Daniel 3:25
You see, friend, when YOU are in your darkest hour, when your situation seems hopeless, Jesus will be there with YOU in the flames. For your greatest sins He has already suffered. From the fiery pit of hell He has rescued you. Reach to Him now, friend. Jesus will NEVER leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Trust in Him today.