THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Isaiah: Jahweh Is Salvation
Part LXVI: God's Call That His People Testify Of His Greatness As The Only Prophecy-Fulfilling God
A. In ancient Israel, there existed the constant lure of God's people to turn from the Lord as the only true God to serve other gods of the pagan nations around them, a temptation we might not face in our country today.
B. However, we need to defend our faith before others who deny the Bible's God as the only true God (Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense, 1991, p. 271-402), and Isaiah 43:8-13 offers that defense in showing how no other deity but the God of Scripture either can or has perfectly fulfilled His Scripture prophecies (as follows):
II. God's Call That His People Testify Of His Greatness As The Only Prophecy-Fulfilling God, Isa. 43:8-13.
A. The Lord summoned and charged Israel and the nations of His greatness among alleged deities as the ONLY God Who predicts the future and makes it come to pass, Isaiah 43:8-13, Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1097:
1. In Isaiah 43:8, God summoned those who were blind but had eyes and those who were deaf but had ears, and these in the context (Isa. 42:18-19) are the people of Israel still seen as God's spiritually dull servant.
2. Along with spiritually insensitive Israel, the nations of the world were summoned together and challenged of the Lord to produce witnesses (Isaiah 43:9a) to try to prove that they could predict the future, or have their gods predict the future (Isaiah 43:9b with Isaiah 41:21-23); Ibid.
3. The Lord then claimed that Israel's people were His witnesses, His servant He had chosen (Isaiah 43:10a), that they might know and trust Him and understand that God was Himself the only true deity, that before Him was no god formed nor would there be any after Him, for He alone is the Eternal God, Isaiah 43:10b.
4. Repeating this theme, the Lord in Isaiah 43:11 ESV stated emphatically, "I Myself, I Myself, am Jahweh" ('anoki, 'anoki Jahweh, Kittel, Bib. Heb., p. 668), and besides Me there is no Savior!"
5. Continuing this thought, God said, "'I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,' declares the Lord (Yahweh, Ibid.), and I Myself (emphatic pronoun) am Elohim,'" the Creator God of Genesis 1! (Isaiah 43:12)
6. The Lord continued, claiming, "'Also, from this day onward [henceforth], I Myself am He; there is none who can deliver from My hand; I work, and who can turn it back?'" (Isaiah 43:13). God is fully, eternally sovereign in that what He always predicts He will do He does, and no one can stop Him from doing so!
B. This insight matches the Deuteronomy 18:20-22 directive on defining true from false divine prophecies:
1. Moses said that if a prophet predicts an event to occur that does not come to pass, that is the claim that the Lord did not speak or have him speak, but that the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, Deut. 18:20-22b.
2. Of such a prophet the people of Israel were not to fear or respect, for he was not from God, Deut. 18:22c.
3. However, the opposite is true of the prophet of God: if all of his predictions come true as it did in the case of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:19, then all Israel was to know he was a prophet of God as they did regarding the boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3:20), for only Israel's true God perfectly predicted and fulfilled His predictions.
C. A great example of fulfilled prophecy is the Ezekiel 26:3-21 prophecy about Tyre, Ibid., McDowell, p. 59-63:
1. Nebuchadnezzar was to destroy the mainland city, Ez. 26:8. Nebuchadnezzar did destroy it, Ibid., p. 62.
2. Many nations would come against Tyre, Ezekiel 26:3. Successive waves of nations indeed came against Tyre, including Babylon, Greece and multiple nations after the nation of Greece, Ibid., p. 62.
3. Tyre would be made a bare rock; flat like the top of a rock, Ezekiel 26:4. Alexander the Great scraped the old city clean of its debris to build a causeway out to the island of Tyre so he could destroy the island, Ibid.
4. The city debris would be thrown into the water, Ez. 26:12, what Alexander did in building the causeway.
5. Tyre would never be rebuilt, Ezekiel 26:14. Tyre still has not been rebuilt! (Ibid., p. 62-63)
6. She would not be found again, Ez. 26:21, a better translation being that men would not seek to restore her to her former wealth and splendor (Ibid., p. 63), what has occurred and still occurs to this day.
Lesson: God challenged Israel and the world's Gentile nations to witness that He alone among all the alleged gods could and has perfectly predicted the future and sovereignly made it come to pass as grounds for holding that He alone is the Sovereign Eternal God. This truth is verified by the test of the true prophecies of God in Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and by the witness of fulfilled prophecies in history.
Application: May we believe in Scripture's Eternal God by His capacity alone perfectly to fulfill His prophecies.