Zion Brings Forth: The Birth and Progress of the Church
Chapter 66: Isaiah 66 contains a Gentile prophecy that can only be fulfilled spiritually. Let us look at a few of those predictions and see that they could never be fulfilled literally.
The future nation of Zion is to be born in one day! "Shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." The blessings of that nation are pictured as though a new born is sucking the breasts of his mother for full satisfaction. (Isa. 66:11) "That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." The glory of the Gentiles is then mentioned to be a part of this messianic time: (12) "For thus says the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream." At least one song writer has set these poetic expressions to music to refer to the blessings brought to the Gentiles through Jesus. He continues the mother-child symbol, then goes into poetic figures to show the spiritual battle when the LORD will use his people of Zion to conquer the Gentiles. "And the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. (15) For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. (16) For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many." In the third chapter of Joel this figure of the slain of the Lord is also used to refer to the victory when God's people and the Gentiles trust in him, and where in the valley of Jehoshaphat a similar destruction to this in Isaiah is predicted in the same spiritual terms. In Isaiah the figure goes on to include evangelism. "I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. (19) And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles." This passage can not be fulfilled literally but has been marvelously fulfilled through Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah goes on to say that an army of evangelists, captured from among the Gentiles, will bring their brothers back to Jerusalem as an offering and they, the Gentiles, will become priests and Levites! Thus: (21) "And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, says the Lord." They will then keep the religious practices of the nation of Israel. (23) "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me." These passages can only be seen as fulfilled spiritually or only able to be fulfilled spiritually.
1. Thus says the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build to me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, says the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word. 3 He that kills an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrifices a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offers an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burns incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yes, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations. 4 I also will choose their delusions for them, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none answered; when I spoke, they did not hear: but they did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. 5. Hear the word of the LORD, you that tremble at his word; Your brothers that hated you, who cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
Verse 5: Your brothers that hated you: The whole of this verse is paradoxical and can only be fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. "Your brothers" are the unbelieving Jews who cast him out of the synagogues and who falsely called on the name of the LORD. Those that tremble at the word (the few believers in the Remnant) find joy in his appearance while the ultimate end of the enemies of the Messiah will be their own shame. This verse is the proposition for what follows.
6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that renders recompense to his enemies. 7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
Verse 7: She was delivered: "She" is Zion or The church of all ages, figuratively pictured as a woman with child, "She" is Jerusalem; the mother of us all as below in verse 10. This and other passages corresponds to Revelation 12:1,2,5: Here in Isaiah and in Revelation 12 The pregnant woman is seen at the event and after the event,-- that is: we are looking at a woman with a Jewish root bringing forth the "man child."
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. ... 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
(See also Zechariah) where the prophet sees the same Jewish root for the Messianic kingdom from before the event.
Objection is made to the fact that the Zion is pictured as a woman and that she represents the true church of all ages. Some object because of the Jewish rejection of messianic Zion. But this is just the point: The "true remnant" at any time in history is seen biblically as Zion whether in prospect or reality. To "dwell in Zion" describes those who are faithful in this life throughout all the ages; before Christ it represented those in the Jewish nation who did not "look to the earth" but had their hope in the future of Zion. Others object to the woman of Revelation 12 representing the Zion of all ages because the church of Christ is seen as the true Zion and it has a finite birthday, i.e. The day Of Pentecost A.D. 30 or so. But this is just the point. Zion is not only the church, the remnant, and the perfected condition to which the Messiah is to bring us. She is also the woman who "brings forth the man child." See further explanation of this in Zechariah 10.
8 Who has heard such a thing? who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause one to bear? says the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? says your God. 10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her: 11 That you may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that you may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12 For thus says the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall you nurse, you shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
Verse 11: suck the breasts: This section sets the tone of the whole chapter. It is not possible to look for a literal fulfillment of these images of what was then the future. When one sees the spiritual blessing of the Gospel and the glories of the church age these passages come into focus. Otherwise they are not decipherable. There are too many contradictions for these thing to be harmonized unless they refer to Jesus Christ and the evangelization of the world following his first advent.
13 As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14 And when you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. 15. For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. 17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, says the LORD. 18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. 19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send them that escape of them to the nations, to Carthage, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Siberian Tubal, Javan (Greece), to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
Verse 19: Escaped: The word "escaped" in English is properly translatesthe Hebrew word "peleytiym" . The LXX: Instead of using the words "those who have escaped of them" which is in the Hebrew text (and clearly refers to the Gentiles who are to be taken captive by the armies of Zion and then escape to Zion), the LXX translators used an entirely different word. They made it absolutely certain that they understood that the Gentiles were to become converts to the true religion of Zion and participate in it as leaders. For "those who escape" they used the word "sesosmenous" "those who have been saved." Their opinion of what the text meant is illustrated here as is their method of translating and embellishing. The prophecy is clear here that the Gentiles were to be saved and become religious leaders in a Zion that was to be rejected by Jews. The LXX makes it clearer.
Verse 19: "that draw the bow" This must be a mistranslation since the words are in a list of nations to whom the converted heathen themselves are to be sent. The words probably refer to another nation and not the war skill of the preceding nation. The words here translated "that draw the bow and Tubal" are: "moshkey qeshet tubel"
The LXX translates the phrase "Mosok and Thobel" relating it to "Meshek and Tubel" of Genesis 10. The LXX does not mention anything about "drawing a bow" and does not translate the word qeshet at all. This is supported by the following word Tubal in this verse with which Meshek is most always coupled as in Gen 10 and Ezek 38 and 39. The two nations are also coupled frequently in Herodotus' descriptions of the area north of the Black Sea. Incidentally the New American Standard Bible is alone among the modern translations in assigning these words to nations. The pre-1996 NASV version says in Isaiah 66:19:
And I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant coast lands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations."Incidentally the word Rosh is left out of the 1996 update of the NASV and no attempt is made to translate "qeshet". The Hebrew word meaning "those who escape" translated "survivors" in the NASV and "those who have been saved" in the Septuagint Version refers to the captive Gentiles who now are sent to the nations to bring them back to Zion and worship according to Jewish traditions. What else can be seen here but an army of gentile evangelists adopting Jewish customs and converting the Gentile world. This is obviously meant to be a first coming of Christ and Christian era fulfillment.
The only other place that Rosh is mentioned as a nation is in Ezek 38 and 39 where the "prince of Rosh, Meshek and Tubal" is marked as the leader in the battle of the latter days when all nations are to be gathered against God's Israel.. Is there a connection between "rosh" and "qeshet?"
For a full description of the relationship of all Slavic peoples especially Russians to Meshek and Tubal see Revelation: A Panorama of the Gospel Age; by Fred P Miller chapter 19: "Origins of the Russian People."
20 And they shall bring all your brothers for an offering to the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levies, says the LORD. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the LORD. 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh.
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