Return with Singing unto Zion

Good evening, and God bless you. Let's turn to Isaiah 51:11 for a text.

'Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away'.

Jerusalem was founded by the Jebusites—Serpent's seed—descended from Canaan following the Flood. Like Phoenix and Mesa, Jerusalem was a twin city comprising Upper and Lower cities on Mount Zion and Moriah. When Joshua conquered Canaan and slew Adonizedek King of Jerusalem, it was divided between Benjamin and Judah. However, the Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. Later, David brought the head of Goliath thither (I Samuel 17:54), and afterwards drove out all the Jebusites still residing within its walls, fixing his own dwelling on Zion which he called 'the City of David' (II Samuel 5:5-9; I Chronicles 12:4-8). It became Israel's capital, and the place of God's dwelling.

During the tribulation, natural and spiritual Serpent's seed will rule Jerusalem under Satan incarnate in "that man of sin, the son of perdition," ruler of Rome, the denominations and all nations. When David's greater Son slays the Serpent's seed, Jesus Christ and the saints will descend upon Zion as New Jerusalem, which will be the dwelling place of God, and in the new heavens and new earth, capital of the saints of ALL nations. "And in that day there shall be no more Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 14:21).

Now we're going to study Isaiah 48, starting with verse one. 'Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came forth from the loins of Judah, who swear by the Name of the Lord, and profess the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in rightfully".

Jacob, the natural name of the nation's father means 'supplanter'; God gave him the new spiritual name of 'Israel,' a meaning 'contender with God' or 'overcomer' (Genesis 35:10). The Northern kingdom of Israel is already subject to an exile of immeasurable duration. God defines Judah as part of Israel but addresses this prophecy to the people of Judah, the semen from his loins. Judah swears by the Name of the Lord but not in truth and sincerity, nor in righteousness (which is living faith, the Token on display).

"For they call themselves citizens of the holy city and depend on the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is His Name."

They identify with God as the people of His Covenant, desiring the blessing and honour, but are not willing to give Him Lordship. Only Israel belonged to God and possesses the holy city where the temple was located. Thus Jesus spoke of impersonators "who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan"  (Revelation 2:9).

"I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an [unbending] iron sinew, and your brow [obstinate and impenetrable] brass, therefore I told you long ago; before it happened I warned you [from Mount Sinai, Israel worshipped the golden calf as the god which brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 32:8-9)]; lest thou should say, My idol did these things; my graven image, and my molten image ordered them".

From ancient times God had vindicated Himself as the one true God and superior to idols as evidenced by prophesying the future and accomplishing new things (Isaiah 41:22-23; 42:9) such as Israel's future deliverance from a future captivity by a future king called Cyrus (Isaiah 44:27 and 45:1). God's words went from His mouth and into Israel's ear, but Israel did not pay heed.

"You have heard My predictions and seen them fulfilled, yet you will not declare it? Henceforth I am will tell you new things I have not mentioned before, secrets you have never heard."

Israel had been defeated in 721BC and carried away by Shalmaneser. Nine years later, in 712BC, Isaiah is foretelling the defeat of Judah, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the Babylonian captivity in 606BC—106 years before the event; their release by the edict of Cyrus in 536BC, calling him by name 150 years before his birth!

God had told the defeat of the world's first superpower 100 years before its rise to power. Stupendous! Yet Israel claimed to 'know it all'. How like false spiritual Israel today who says she is rich and in need of nothing, ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. So we have a shadow and type. Unlike their idols, God was able to foretell the future, sustain His people, and even rescue them from calamity.

Let's notice the likeness between natural Babylon and spiritual Babylon, natural Israel and Spiritual Israel brought out in Isaiah 47. The first three verses show the shame and humiliation Babylon shall suffer.

"Come down and sit in the dust, virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne [for you], daughter of the Chaldeans: for you shall no longer be called dainty and delicate".

Babylon is called a "virgin daughter" because no enemy has been able to break her walls (hymen). Although she would not be destroyed or raped; under Cyrus, the Medes and Persians will humble her and her days of glory will be over.

"Take the millstones, and grind meal, doff your veil, uncover your locks, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through rivers".

Like a poor household maid, Babylon will be subjected to menial tasks. Instead of her hair made up and adorned with gold and costly pearls, it should hang down. Instead of fine clothes of purple and scarlet, her leg should be bared in order to wade through streams as a slave to draw water and wash laundry.

"Your nakedness shall uncovered, and your shame shall be seen: [how like Revelation 3:17 where Christ charges Mystery Babylon, the great harlot who has made kings and nations drink the wine of her fornication, as "wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked"]: I will take vengeance, and I will spare no man". [I will not be seduced and meet you for love, but for judgment. In other words, I will not change my mind]. "Thus says our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His Name, the Holy One of Israel".

Isaiah 47:5-11, "Sit in silence, and enter obscurity, daughter of the Chaldeans: for you shall no longer be called, "The mistress of kingdoms" (Revelation 17:1-5; 18:7). I was wroth with My people, I profaned My heritage; I gave them into your hand: you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made the yoke exceedingly heavy. [Babylon was a beautiful and wealthy city. Part of her wealth resulted from God using her to plunder Jerusalem (Isaiah 42:24) and she was filled with pride over her accomplishments (Daniel 4:30)]. And you boasted, I shall remain mistress forever: so that you took none of these things to heart, nor did you remember their end."

"Now hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sits securely saying to yourself, I am mistress, and no one equal to me; I shall not sit as a widow, or experience the loss of children"! But these two things shall come upon you suddenly, in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in full measure in spite of your sorceries, and the great abundance of your enchantments. For you have trusted in your wickedness and said, "No one sees me"; but your wisdom and your knowledge have seduced you, for you said in your heart, "I am mistress, and there is no one equal to me." Therefore disaster will come upon you, which you will not be able to charm away; and ruin shall befall you, which you will be unable to avert; and desolation shall suddenly come upon you, of which you have no expectation."

In Isaiah 47:5-11 we have a contrast between Babylon's lofty opinion of herself and the lowly position assigned to her by God. Compare her fall with that of Mystery Babylon:

Revelation 18:7-8, "As she hath glorified herself, and lived sensuously, so match it with torment and sorrows. Since in her heart she boasts, "I sit as queen; I am no widow, and shall never see sorrow." Therefore shall her plagues will come in a single day, pestilence, mourning, and famine; and with fire she shall be burned up, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her".

Babylon was the world's first superpower, and the spirit which made her what she was will incarnate the man of sin in spiritual Babylon. Jesus used almost identical words to Isaiah in describing Mystery Babylon.

"Persist with your incantations and your many enchantments, with which you have laboured from your youth; and see you can succeed, or inspire terror. You are exhausted with your many counsels. Let the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up and save you from what shall come upon you." [None of these dubious individuals or their dubious methods will be able to prevent disaster].

"Behold, they shall be like stubble, the fire will consume them. They will be unable to save themselves from the power of the flame. Such coals are not for warming, not as a fire to sit by. Such to you are they with whom you have laboured, with whom you have dealt from your youth. Each one shall wander off in his own direction; not one will save you."

The Babylonian's ability to read the stars would not delay the judgment that was coming upon the astrologers and the nation. They would be destroyed as rapidly as stubble. And so will it be with those identified with Mystery Babylon (Malachi 4:1; Matthew 3:12). The beast cast alive into the Lake of Fire without judgment in Revelation 19:20 is not the man of sin alone but his whole church and their (once) Protestant daughter churches which are his body because they are identified with him through spiritual fornication (I Corinthians 6:16-17).

All of Babylon's resources: sorcerers, astrologers, and their merchants who supplied her, would be as helpless as their idols; and no one would be able to rescue her.

Revelation 18:9-11, "And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived wantonly with her, shall weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her conflagration. Standing afar off for the fear of her [nuclear] torment, exclaiming, "Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is her judgment come." And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys their merchandise any more".

Once again, Jesus describes the fall of Mystery Babylon in almost identical words to Isaiah who prophesied the fall of natural Babylon.

Isaiah 48:7, "Things created now (i.e. This instant. . . 'suddenly', see verse 2), and not long ago; and before today you knew nothing about them, otherwise you would say, "I knew all about them." [They were spoken into being by the prophetic Word now, and not previously, so Israel cannot say, "We knew it all the time"]. "You have never heard, you have never known. For I knew how treacherous you are, rebels from earliest childhood".

Like denominational false Spiritual Israel, natural Israel did not foresee the future as God, and will be punished for her deafness, for refusing correction, and for adultery with strange gods by the Babylonian Captivity.

"For My Name's sake will I defer My anger, and for My Praise I will restrain Myself from cutting you off. Behold, I have refined you, but without finding silver, and tried you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I must do it, for how should My Name be polluted? I will not give My glory to another".

As Israel's spiritual treachery and fall would dishonour God's Name, she will be refined in the furnace of affliction, called "Jacob's trouble," not as silver, for there is nothing precious in her. So her restoration will cause His Name to be praised. And in spite of her sin, God will be faithful to His Covenant and will act for His Own sake. Were He to destroy Israel, the heathens would claim their idols had conquered Him. And He will not permit them to receive His glory.

Isaiah 48:12-15, "Listen to Me, O Jacob and Israel, whom I called! I am He; I am the first, I also am the last. [This is the same God who was manifested in the flesh of a virgin-born Man (Revelation 1:11)]. My hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens: I spoke and they came into being. This is the Creator who continues His work in the present. He made the heavens of which the astronomers enquire]. All of you, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among you foretold these things? The Lord has loved Cyrus: he will do His pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. [He calls upon the stars and asks which of them prophesied that Cyrus will conquer Babylon almost 200 years into the future?] I, even I, have foretold it; I called Cyrus and have brought him, and will prosper his way".

Isaiah protests to his congregation regarding his ministry, "Come near to me, and listen; "From the first I have not spoken in secret; at the time it comes to pass I will be there. For the Lord God has sent me and His Spirit." [Isaiah chides his congregation. He had always spoken openly and not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. And now he comes with THUS SAITH THE LORD].

"THUS SAITH THE LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God who teaches you for your profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh! that you had listened to My commandments; then your peace would be like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would be like the sand, and your offspring of your body like its grains; their name would not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me".

Isaiah expresses God's lament over Israel's unbelief and what might have been had they been righteous. Instead of God's blessings of peace and prosperity for obedience, judgment was necessary, and thousands would be cut off. Moses had prophesied Israel's captivity and dispersion in Deuteronomy 28 and 29 where he divided the tribes, putting their backs against Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim and enumerating the blessings and curses.

"Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Announce this with a voice of singing; proclaim it top the ends of the Earth. Say, "The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob"!"

The return from Babylon shall not be inferior to its type, the return from Egypt. Although Israel will not have to "flee" from Babylon, the Lord urges them to leave quickly (150 years in the future) because He is going to judge the Babylonians. And when they depart, to declare this prophecy to the glory of God.

Over a hundred years later, in about 595BC we find Jeremiah making the same prophecy. Jeremiah 51:6-7, "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; he will render her a recompense. Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad".

Brother Branham quoted Jeremiah and said that the world would go insane, and it has. And we find Jesus speaking almost identical words to those who will heed in this day and flee "Mystery Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth".

Revelation 17:4, 6, "The woman was robed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of the abominations and filthiness of her fornication. . . and I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of those who witnessed for Jesus: and when I saw her, I was astounded".

Revelation 2:21, "I gave her space to repent of her fornication; [almost a thousand years of Dark Ages]; and she repented not".

Revelation 18:3-6, "For all nations have drunk of the wine of her passionate immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her wantonness. [The Royal Court and many of the leading Jews did not return to Jerusalem, and seven hundred years after the death of our Lord Jesus, Babylon was still the centre of Jewish religious life]. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, My people, lest you partake of her sins, and that share in her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and give her double for what she has done: in the cup she mixed fill to her double".

Now let's compare today with the natural type of old Babylon. Jeremiah 51:8-9, "Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, perhaps she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: [natural Babylon had "space to repent"], forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment has reached up to heaven, and has been lifted up even to the skies".

Now Jesus: Revelation 18:2, 5, "And He cried mightily with a mighty voice, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, and a prison for every unclean and hateful bird. . . For her sins have piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities".

That's the "midnight cry" of the Lord's prophet to this day.

Jeremiah was prophesying in 595BC, 11 years after Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem, and 60 years before the command to release Israel. His warning to natural Israel to flee natural Babylon are almost identical to those of Jesus warning Spiritual Israel, His Covenant people, to flee spiritual Babylon.

Isaiah 48:21, "And Israel did not thirst when God led them through the deserts: He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: He clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out".

The command to flee Babylon recalls Israel's flight from Egypt. When Israel left Egypt, God miraculously provided water in the desert. Moses struck the rock and water poured out (Exodus 17:6). And on their return from Babylon, the Israelites would again have sufficient water. God promised it (Isaiah 43:19-20; 35:6).

Today the call to both wise and foolish virgins is Revelation 18:4 and 22:17, "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues . . . And the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come". And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely".

Isaiah 48:22, "There is no peace, says the Lord, to the wicked." For the wicked—Jew or Gentile—there will be no peace (or rest). bb960214.htm

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