Text: Isaiah 65, 66
In Isaiah 65, God says that though he has revealed himself and initiated relationship with Israel, they have blatantly rejected him. These people were not ignorant of God, they knowingly chose evil. God says he will not let this evil go unaddressed but he will punish sin and rebellion. But God will not completely destroy Israel, he will leave a remnant of people, through which to work restoration to the nation.
God makes a distinction between his servants and those who reject him by blessing the servants and removing his provision and protection from those who reject him, resulting in their death. This causes God’s name to be properly known and respected in the land.
In vs 17 to the end of the chapter, we see a picture of God’s plan for a future time when the heavens and earth are created anew. There is radical wholeness, peace, and prosperity. God is shown as the sovereign creator over all. He esteems those humble enough to acknowledge and respect him but there are grave consequences for those who willingly reject him.
We see a picture of God’s promise of a sudden re-birth of the nation of Israel as a prosperous nation and the Lord’s judgment, resulting in death, for those who rebelled.
The book of Isaiah concludes with a picture of God’s fame and glory spreading month by month, week by week as more and more people gather to worship him in Jerusalem. Meanwhile there is increasing death and judgment for those who opposed him.
Generally speaking, these chapters paint a very clear picture of distinction between those who follow God and those who reject him. There is new birth, new beginnings and renewed hope and joy for the remnant few on the earth who acknowledge God as Lord and commit to him. There is a clear warning of judgment and death and yes, eternal suffering for those who do not belong to God and do not have his favour.
Many people believe the prophecy in Isaiah 66:8 was fulfilled in May 1948, when Israel was officially declared an independent state. Many believe this event in history is a sign-post to mark the nearness of the end of the church age.
At the conclusion of Isaiah, we see a beautiful picture of a great end-time revival: a growing number of people bowing down before God, acknowledging him as Lord and King.
I’d like to encourage us all about the time we are in…worldwide pandemic…but I personally believe it’s just a set up for what God is about to do. Well known and respected prophet, Bob Jones (who passed away in 2014), spoke about the year 2020 as the beginning of a massive revival; he called it the “billion-soul harvest”. Furthermore, he prophesied, “When the Kansas City Chiefs go to the Super Bowl and win, this will be a sign-post of that billion-soul harvest and a sign that God will raise up his Apostolic Chiefs in all the spheres of influence” (quoted as recalled by Shawn Bolz). Last year, on 02/02/2020, the Chiefs did in fact win the Super Bowl.
If this piques your curiosity, you can hear and read more about these prophecies here:
1. Billion Soul Harvest: https://youtu.be/jGD_OimVazg
2. Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl: https://www.charismamag.com/blogs/a-voice-calling-out/44262-james-goll-my-prophetic-perspective-on-bob-jones-chiefs-prophecy
In this time where things in the world seem to be shifting in a major way, globally, the question should be asked, “where are we on God’s timeline?” In a world that desperately needs Jesus, will we shine bright as his witnesses so that many can come to faith in him and avoid an eternity without his protection? What might revival look like in your life and circumstances?
Lord, though I don’t know how you are moving and working in all the world right now, I pray and ask you for revival in my life, in my city, in my nation and in the world! Come set hearts on fire with the love of Jesus! Let us, as your people, shine with boldness so that many people can come to know you. Give us wisdom, great love, and a holy audacity to be the labourers in your vineyard. Amen.
Song: Days of Elijah (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.