By The Rev. Ron Purkey
Read: Isaiah 42:1-25
“I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:8-9)
To show the difference between human guessing and a prophecy from God is very simple to do. When a poll is taken, or when a politician in Washington surveys the nation and predicts coming in November of 2024 so-and-so is going to be elected, that is political guessing, not prophecy.
But suppose the same politician were to stand up in Washington and name the man who will be elected in A.D. 2180. That would be prophecy. To stand up and call the name of the president of the United States 200 plus years later is prophecy.
In the 45th chapter of Isaiah, God foretells the coming of Cyrus 200 years before he came into history. That is prophecy as it can be known only by the Lord, the holy one of Israel, the one who could say to Cyrus before he was even born, “I have called thee by name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.”
In Isaiah 42:1-9 we are introduced to Jesus Christ (see Matthew 12:18-20) as we see his first coming in humility and grace, and his second coming in power and judgment. Between these two events we have the present age of the church.
God had permitted the Jews to be captured and exiled to chasten them for their sins (Isaiah 42:18-25), but their captivity would not be forever. He would come in judgment and destroy Babylon (Isaiah 42:10-17), using Cyrus as his tool. Isaiah chapter 43 again assures Israel, “Fear not — I am with thee.” Their deliverance would make them witnesses to the world of the grace and power of almighty God (Isaiah 43:10, 12).
But Isaiah rebukes the nation of Israel for having forgotten God (Isaiah 43:22-27); and yet in his grace and mercy the Lord would forgive their sins (Isaiah 43:25). It’s possible to apply these promises of pardon to the future Jewish remnant during the coming Tribulation period.
For God sees the whole consummation of the age, “declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10). Only the Lord can prophesy, and that is what he has done in his word, the Bible. We should read the Bible, believe the Bible and respectfully obey the Bible.
The Lord has given us everything we need to know about this life and eternal life. You can trust the Lord!
Read Ron Purkey’s Bible study outlines free at rcpbibleoutlines.com. Purkey has been an ordained Baptist minister for 50 years.