Isa 40.1-31 now begins a change in the message of Isaiah. Having prophesied about the coming Babylonian captivity, Isaiah and the prophets were to comfort the people of Israel. Eschatologically, Isa 40 through 66 is part of what is called the “Servant Passages.” Prophetically, we have been through three and a half years of the birth-pains and we are coming up to Nisan 10 of the fourth year, the exact mid-point of the birth-pains or “tribulation.” We will see mission and message of the Two Witnesses who will come in the spirit (“cut out of the same cloth”) and power of Moses and Elijah, and we are going to see a picture of the Abomination of Desolation. The eschatological and prophetic message of the Two Witnesses is going to be set forth in Isa 40 through 46 as the Abomination of Desolation is being set up (the timing) and it will be contrasted with the greatness of Yehovah. Idols and the False Messiah will be a theme also. This is the basic message of Eliah and Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist). Isa 40 through 66 will be in a chiastic structure, with Isa 49 through 57 being the focal point, and Isa 58 through 66 finishing it off. The middle chapters and middle verses will be the theme (Isa 52.13 through 53.2).
v 1…Comfort, O comfort my people (with the Babylonian captivity predicted in the last chapter, now a deliverance is promised for the people to take comfort in; “comfort” or “comforter” is a term for the Messiah in Lam 1.16 and John 14.26. Messiah is coming to the people-Isa 51.3, 51.12, 19, 52.9, 54.11, 57.18), says your God.
v 2…Speak kindly to Jerusalem and call out to her, that her warfare has ended (they have peace with God), that our iniquity has been removed (prophetically by Messiah in one day, Yom Kippur going into the fourth year when Gog/Magog/Russia was defeated and they now know the Lord-Ezek 39.22; Isa 66.7-9; Israel has been redeemed), that she (Israel) has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins (Yehovah’s complete satisfaction and redemption).
v 3…A voice (this is the messenger of the covenant and a concept that can be seen in a Sukkot Machzor. The “voice” is a major eschatological character) is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness (this begins the message of Yochanon Ha Matvil and the Two Witnesses. The wilderness is an allusion to the Exodus story of redemption. This message will go all the way to Isa 66. Isa 40 through 46 will describe the Abomination of Desolation and we will point out the verses as we come to them. The prophetic message can be seen in such verses as Mal 3.1-3; Matt 11.8-9, 11.12; John 1.19, 10.3; Isa 62.10-12; Mal 4.5; Mic 2.12-13); make smooth in the desert a highway for our God (the custom before the festivals was to clear the roads of all obstructions so that the people can travel to the Temple).
v 4…Let every valley (alludes to the humble) be lifted up, and every mountain (the proud) and hill be made low (humbled); and let the rough ground become a plain (sin and all obstructions to the Lord’s movement removed). And the crooked shall be made straight (all injustices corrected and replaced with truth).
v 5…Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed (Messiah), and all flesh will see together (the truth); for the mouth of the Lord has spoken (the call to repentance has been sent out first by Yochanon and will be later by the Two Witnesses).”
v 6…A voice says (a “bat kol” or the voice of the Lord giving a commission); “Call out.” Then he (the herald of the Lord) answered, “What shall I call out (now from here to Isa 66.24 we have the message of the “voice” or herald. He is the messenger of the covenant. This was the role of Yochanon and will be the role of the Two Witnesses in the birth-pains)?” “All flesh is grass (life is temporary, short) and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field (outward show but not long lasting).
v 7…The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it (John 3.8); surely the people are grass (even Israel).
v 8…The grass withers, the flower fades (it is repeated because it is important; so what should we pat attention to in this short life?), but the word of our God stands forever (the word in Isaiah’s time was the Torah and the Tanak).
v 9…Get yourself up on a high mountain (in the open and public) O ZIon, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news (this is also the calling of Israel, Yochanon Ha Matvil and the Two Witnesses. The “good news” here is the Hebrew “basar” means “gospel.” But what is the “gospel?” The concept of the Basar is an ancient concept and it includes the following: the golden age of Israel, David’s throne is restored, Messiah has come, God reigns through him over the earth, peace has come to man and nature, resurrection of the just has occurred, righteousness is on the earth, the Day of the Lord has come, the Torah goes forth to the nations, idolatry is gone, the exiles have returned, the true worship of God is restored and the non-Jews believe. The Messiah is the agent of God empowered to bring all of the above to pass. His task is to redeem man and creation. This is called the Redemption. We enter into this by emunah, or faith. The “gospel” message is that Yeshua has come to initiate the redemption. The message of the basar is not Messiah, he is the agent of the basar-Isa 52.7; Matt 28.19-20; Mark 16.15-18); lift it up, do not fear, say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
v 10…Behold, the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah) will come with might, with his arm (a term for the Messiah) ruling for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him (this is a Hebrew parallelism-Isa 62.1-11; Rev 22.12).
v 11…Like a shepherd he will tend his flock (to feed, gather be carried with love and to lead. Ezek 34.1-10 tells us about the bad shepherds); in his arm he will gather the lambs (young, weak) and carry them in his bosom (with great affection), he will gently lead the nursing (gradually, not too fast; God will not give us the milk of the word too fast, but according to what we can take).
v 12…Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand (v 12-17 talks about the greatness of God and in v 18 it begins to talk about idolatry. This will go back and forth), and marked off the heavens by the span (the measure between the thumb and middle finger), and calculated the dust of the earth by measure (third part of an ephah), and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales (God can hold the water od the earth and beneath the earth in his hand; he carries a scoop and an hold all the dust of the earth, and on a scale he can weigh all the mountains. Can man do that?).
v 13…Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord (understand him), or as his counselor has informed him (to instruct him)?
v 14…With whom did he consult and who gave him understanding? And who taught him in the path of justice and taught him knowledge, and informed him of the way of understanding (God has absolute wisdom and knowledge)?
v 15…Behold, the nations (in comparison to Yehovah) are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, he lifts up the islands like fine dust (a little thing; in other words, there is an immeasurable distance between God and man).
v 16…Even Lebanon is not enough to burn (to supply a fire for korbanot worthy of God), nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering (the animals in that forest would not be a fitting honor to God).
v 17…All the nations (in comparison to God) are as nothing before him, they are regarded by him as less than nothing and meaningless.
Now we begin a section that goes to Isa 46.5 that not only deals with idolatry, but it alludes to the Abomination of Desolation. An idol cannot even begin to be compared to God.
V 18…To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with him (an asherah is going to be described now and we will have a direct application to the Abomination of Desolation, and it will literally be described for us-Ezek 8.3, 5,14; Matt 24.15; Rev 13.14; 2 Chr 33.7. King Manasseh set up an idol in the Temple and is the first Abomination of Desolation. His asherah had the four faces of the Maaseh Merkavah in Ezek 1. An asherah is a wooden idol).
v 19…As for the idol (notice it is a particular idol), a craftsman casts it (in molds), a goldsmith plates it with gold (to make it valuable), and a silversmith fashions chains of silver (to be worn around the neck, for example. Verses 19-20 were censored out of a Jewish prayer called the Oleynu because the Catholic Church said these verses were pertaining to the crucifix, and they felt it was an attack on Catholics and the crucifixion-Hertz Daily Prayer Book, Bloch Publications, P. 550-551). The cross was also the symbol of the Babylonian Messiah according to “The Two Babylons” by Alexander Hislop).
v 20…He who is too impoverished for such an offering (who cannot purchase a gold or silver idol) selects a tree that does not rot; he seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman to prepare an idol that will not totter (he will fasten it in a good spot, but this worthless idol cannot even stand up on its own, so how can it help anyone? An asherah is being described here, and it is a picture of the ABomination of Desolation).
We are beginning several chapters in Isaiah that will be describing an idol, and this idol is a picture of the Abomination of Desolation (we will abbreviate this term with Abom/Deso at times). As a result, we are going to take some time to develop this. In ancient paganism Baal had dominion over the sea, so Leviathan is Baal and Leviathan is the False Messiah, so the False Messiah is Baal. Keep that in mind. The Term “Abomination of Desolation” is “Shikutz Somem” in Hebrew. The word “shikutz” is related to “sheketz” meaning detestable or desolate-Lev 11.10-11. Shikutz Somem is a contemptuous equivalent to “Baal Samem” or “Lord of heaven, a name for God. He is not of “samem” or heaven but he desolates or “somem.” It is a play on words. Antiochus Epiphanes IV set up a statue in the Temple called “Zeus Kyrios” or “Zeus is Lord.” He is a biblical picture of the False Messiah.
Matt 24.15 talks about the Abom/Deso, or an “idol that causes horror.” So, let’s bring in the Shroud of Turin here. The Shroud of Turin is believed by many to be the burial shroud of “Jesus” in Christianity. First of all, the shroud is not Yeshua because this is not consistent with Jewish burial customs of the first century. If it was, it would be faceless (John 20.7). The shroud is a picture of the False Messiah and it has been proved to have the face of Antiochus Epiphanes IV on it. He put a statue of Zeus in the Temple with his face on it on top of the Altar of Incense and called it Zeus Kyrios.
To further illustrate this concept, we would like to quote from an article called “The Shroud of Turin provided model as early as 31 A.D., expert says” from the Scripps News Service, and it appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise,
“A Shroud of Turin scholar says new research indicates the facial image on the shroud, considered by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, provided the model for depictions of god-like figures as early as 31.A.D. These findings date the shroud to the time of the Crucifixion, set by many historians and theologians at 30 A.D., and refute claims that the controversial cloth is a 14th century fraud, said Alan D Whanger, A Duke University professor of psychiatry and memebr of the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud of Turin.
He said he believes they also indicate that the facial image on the shroud was well known and represented the deity to the people of the time. Whanger said he and his wife and co-researcher, Mary, found 79 points of similarity, or congruence, between the shroud and a carved relief of Zeus Kyrios dated by its own inscription to 31.A.D., when he compared them through the polarized image overlay technique he developed in 1981. “In a court of law, 45 to 60 points of congruence are sufficient to establish the identity or same source of facial images,” Whanger said.
He said there is excellent evidence that the facial image of Zeus Kyrios was based on that of the Shroud of Turn, lending support to the belief ‘that the face on the Shroud was available, either directly or through excellent detailed copies, to the artist carving the relief.’ Whanger added that history indicates the shroud would have been geographically accessible to the artists of the area. There are historical references to the transfer of the shroud, folded into a frame showing only the facial image and called the Mandylion, from Jerusalem to Edessa. The shroud remained there, on public display, until 945 A.D.”
Now, we don’t believe that the shroud was used as a model for a statue of Zeus in 31.A.D., but we do believe that the shroud is a deception. It has the face of Antiochus Epiphanes IV on it according to this article because Antiochus put his face on all statues of Zeus and they reproduced them ever since. The shroud was allowed by God to prepare the way for the coming of the False Messiah. Pictures of “Jesus” are close to the shroud and what Antiochus looked like, and so it will, most likely, be what the False Messiah will look like. We have even heard of people who said they “went to heaven” and said they saw “Jesus” and he looked like the Shroud of Turn!
The wounds of Yeshua are not consistent with the shroud and that can be proved over and over again. What is being described in Isaiah 40.18 to 46.7 is similar to a crucifix, and it will have the face of the shroud that is already being used today, and we know it is the face of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who is a picture of the False Messiah. A summary of these passages in Isaiah will reveal that this idol is in the image of a man (44.13); fastened with nails (41.7); put in houses (44.13); worn around the neck and small (40.19); can be carried on the shoulder (45.20; 46.7); called an abomination (44.9); compared to God (40.18, 40.25); called God (44.17); is wooden (45.20).
We believe that the Abom/Deso spoken of by Yeshua will be a crucifix with the face of the False Messiah on it. He will claim to be “Jesus” of apostate, replacement theology Christianity and will promote a lawless “we are free from the law” theology. The world is being set up for both of thee issues today. People see a crucifix today and don’t bat an eye, but they are looking at the future Abomination of Desolation.
v 21…Do you not know? Have you not heard (Isaiah is appealing to the idolaters and their own knowledge of natural things)? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth (What he is going to say now is well known).
v 22…It is he who sits (is enthroned) above the circle of the earth (“globe” and this concept can also be seen in Job 8.27, 22.14; Psa 19.6-How could Isaiah know that unless the Scriptures were inspired), and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers (insignificant, small), who stretches out the heavens like a curtain (the firmament at creation) and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
v 23…He who reduces rulers to nothing (the great kings and rulers, the great nations; he controls their schemes), who makes the judges of the earth meaningless (their decrees and decisions to mean nothing).
v 24…Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but he merely blows on them and they wither and the whirlwind carries them away like stubble (Rev 6.15).
v 25…”To whom then will you liken me that I should be equal?” says the Holy One (the greatness of God cannot be compared to any idol, ruler, judge or anything in the universe).
v 26…Lift up your eyes on high and see who created these (sun, moon, stars, the heavens, etc), the One who leads forth their host by number (like a shepherd in their due time), he calls them by name because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his power not one is missing (contunue to exist-Job 38.31).
v 27…Why do say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel (by those being persecuted in captivity), “My way is hidden from Yehovah (he doesn’t care about us anymore and doesn’t see our suffering), and the justice due to me escapes the notice of my God?”
v 28…Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, Yehovah, the creator of the earth does not become weary or tired (this truth is well known, God will not abandon his people and will not fail). His understanding is inscrutable (he cannot be at a loss, he reaches all people, nor can any situation be unknown to him).
v 29…He gives strength to the weary (he notices), and to him who lacks might he will increase power (when promises are not fulfilled as expected; when there is no immediate deliverance. Yehovah strengthens our faith and enlarges our view of things).
v 30…Though youth (with all their vigor) grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly (fall, die, not be able to perform),
v 31…Yet those who wait (serve, hope in the promises knowing they will come to pass, obey the Torah where you are) for Yehovah will gain strength. They will mount up (towards heaven out of danger, that’s the focus of waiting) with wings of eagles (strong, swift); they will run (in God’s ways) and not get tired; they will walk (in God’s ways) and not become weary (finishing their race and victorious).