Last week we studied Isaiah 48, which vindicated Jehovah as the one true God who could foretell the future and bring it to pass. It dealt with Israel, and specifically Judah. Tonight we'll review chapter 49, which deals with the Gentile Bride and the 144,000 who are all "born and named in Zion" under the New Covenant.
Psalm 87:1-7 is our text, "His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob," [through them came pilgrims from all nations to observe the feasts of Passover and Pentecost and Tabernacles, typing the Bride from all nations who enter the gates of Zion that is Above]. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah".
[Indeed they are, and in the Millennium, Zion and heavenly Jerusalem will be on earth. Joel 3:17, "So shall you know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then Jerusalem will be holy, and strangers not born in the family pass through them no more." Revelation 22:14-15, "Blessed are they who do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the City. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie"].
"I will make mention of Egypt and Babylon as among those who know Zion: behold Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia; all boast, "this man was born there" (Isaiah 13 27). And of Zion it shall be said, "This and that man was born in her: and the Highest Himself shall establish her".
Revelation 20:11-13, 9, "I saw a great white throne, and He who sat thereon, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to his works."
"And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city: and Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them".
Isaiah 4:3-4, "It will come to pass, that he who is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion [Christ's Bride], and purged the blood of Jerusalem [the 144,000] from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning".
"The Lord shall count, when he writes up the people, that this man was born there. Selah." [A new register of those whose names remained on the Book of Life after the second resurrection and belong to Zion].
"And in the festivals the singers and the players on instruments shall sing, All my heart is in Jerusalem".
Now let's turn in our Bibles to Isaiah 49. Verses 1-13 survey the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, called "the Servant of the Lord." Although for a time the object of contempt and aversion, abhorred by His own people, He shall become the object of highest veneration, even for kings. He is raised aloft and made the mediator of a New Covenant, in consequence of which the Gentile Bride will be gathered and the Holy Land restored in the Millennium. Verses 14-26 describe how Zion personified (Isaiah 59:20-21; 60)not Israel or Jewrywill arise from deepest forsakenness, rebuilt of the "lively stones" of the predominantly Gentile Bride of Christ, and like Him finally soar aloft to the highest elevation and glory (Zechariah 14:9-11; Revelation 21:16). Isaiah sees the distant future and the exaltation of Mount Zion to unparalleled, supermundane and everlasting glory, through the overcoming of future history from at first weak beginnings to the realization glory in the restoration of the kingdom to Israel and Zion crowned with the new Jerusalem overshadowed by the Shekinah.
God opposes Zion and the Servant, indicating the connection between the guilt of Israel and the suffering of the Servant, and the deliverance from the former by faith in the latter. Isaiah chapters 49 – 57 focus upon the Great Deliverer, the Messianic Servant of the Lord (of whom we learned last week, Cyrus was a type). The parallel between the Servant of the Lord God and Zion is that each begins small and ends great. As Brother Branham said, "the way up is down".
Isaiah 49:1, "Listen, O isles [Gentiles], unto Me; and hearken, you people from far [Gentiles]; the Lord has called Me from the womb; from the bowels of My mother He has mentioned My Name".
In chapter 48, Isaiah addressed Israel. Here he speaks in the first person, as if he were the Lord Jesus Christ. His Message is not to Israel but to Gentiles in far-off lands. He speaks of Christ's call from birth. (Verse 5, "And now, says the Lord who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him"). Like the call to Jeremiah and Paul, God mentioned His Jesus' Name because He had chosen the Servant for a special task (Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15-16; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6), and a Hebrew name indicates 'reputation.' Thus the Angel told Mary, "You shall call His name JESUS [Jehovah Saviour]: because He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
Isaiah 49:2, "He made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hid Me; He made Me a polished arrow, and in His quiver He concealed Me;"
Christ is characterized as a Prophet whose whole person stands for the Word that proceeds with the power of a sharp sword in invincible authority, its polished shaft like an arrow piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, will not return without accomplishing what was spoken because it is the expressed mind of God (Isaiah 55:11). If we have the mind that was in Christ, His Words will not fail when they pass through our lips.
When the Sword materialized in Brother Branham's hand as he prayed in Sabino Canyon, God signified that at the opening Seven Seals the FULL Word would come into effect, that Christ would no longer be a Mediator for PART-Word, and as the first mature Son at His 'parousia' Coming he would have authority to speak the Word (I Corinthians 13:10; Revelation 1:16; 19:15).
A polished shaft is an arrow purged of imperfections; a metaphor for a divider, describing Christ's ability to judge and discern. In Luke 12:51 He said, "Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? Not at all, I tell you, but rather division . . . faith will divide father against son, and the son against his father. . ." Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart".
As the sword is hid and protected in the grip of the hand as the shaft of an arrow is hid and protected in the quiver (Psalm 127:4-5), God hid and protected His servant 'til His hour came to be delivered for our salvation. Isaiah 49:3, "He said to Me, You are My Servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." The sword, shaft, or Servant is hid or protected and under God's control, like the angels to the seven Church Ages (Revelation 1:6, 20), because it is by the instrumentality of Abraham's Royal Seed and His offspring that God brings redemption to mankind and reveals His glory.
Isaiah 49:4, "But I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain [because Israel rejected Messiah]: yet I leave judgment with the Lord, [all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose. Israel had to be blinded for our sakes in order that we Gentiles could be called], and My reward or wages with My God." Like Boaz, Christ's reward is His Bride, and all things. Christ had to redeem Israel before He could marry the Gentile Bride just as Boaz had to redeem Naomi before he could marry his Gentile bride, Ruth.
Isaiah 53:10, "Yet it is the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He put Him to grief. When His soul is made an offering for sin, He will see His offspring [born of His Spirit], He shall prolong His days, and the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand".
Isaiah 49:5-6, "And now, says the Lord who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, "Though Israel is not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength." And He said, "It is too light a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you as a Light to the Gentiles, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth".
The "preserved of Israel" are the 144,000 who survive the judgments upon Israel. These were not restored in the days of His flesh and are not restored at this day. But this Scripture will soon be fulfilled. Revelation 7:4-8, "And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty and four thousand out of every tribe of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed. Of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed . . . and so-on" (Daniel 12:12; Revelation 14:12-13).
The Lord Jesus Christ will accomplish this through the ministry of two prophets with the anointings that were upon Moses and Elijahafter the Light of Christ has been received by Gentiles "to the end of the earth".
Isaiah 49:7, "Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, to Him whom men despise, abhorred by the nation [of Israel] and the Servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and stand up; princes also shall pay homage, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen You".
Jesus was regarded as a servant, not only of kings, but of lesser officials, because He was abhorred by His Own people. But Isaiah 66:23 says, "It shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another [i.e. 'continually'], all flesh come to worship before Me, says the Lord." Philippians 2:10, "At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth." Revelation 1:6, "He has made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen".
Isaiah 49:8, "Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time I have answered You, in a day of salvation I have helped You: I will preserve You and make You a Covenantal pledge to the people, to establish the earth, and reassign the Holy Land lying waste".
God protected the Lord Jesus from premature harm until the "acceptable time" or Pentecostal Jubilee and the "day of salvation": Calvary. II Corinthians 6:1-2, "As God's fellow workers, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For He says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to You and on a day of salvation I have helped You. Behold, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation" (Isaiah 61; Luke 4:4; Galatians 4:4).
Isaiah 42:6-9, "I the Lord have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand and will watch over You, and give You as a Covenant for the people; as a Light for the Gentiles to open blind eyes, to bring captives out of prison, and those who sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images. Behold, the former prophecies have come to pass; now I declare new things; before they come forth I tell you of them".
Until the acceptable time, Christ could suffer no physical harm, so He could say, "My time is not yet come" (John 7:6-7). And, "I lay down My Life that I might take it up again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. . ." (John 10:17-18).
Christ's atonement is the Seal to God's Covenant that He will restore the earth and Israel's inheritance in the Millennium. He was to be the Covenant of the people by His Own blood. The kingdom will be restored to Israel and Jesus will have dominion from sea to shining sea.
Isaiah 49:9, "Say to the prisoners, "Come out!" and to those in Spiritual darkness, "Show yourselves." My sheep shall feed along the roadside [wherever they go], and there will be pasture on all the bare hills." [This is addressed to the Church: elect Israelites imprisoned by Jewish fables, but primarily Gentiles who step into the Light of the Sun of righteousness. Jesus said, "Other sheep I have that are not Israelites" (John 10:3, 15-16). We are the sheep of His pasture, He will lead us along fruitful paths and we shall feed in the greenest hills (Psalm 23)].
Isaiah 49:10, "They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He who has mercy on them shall lead them, even by springs of water shall He guide them." [This verse speaks of the Gentile Church. It thrilled my heart when I saw the Old Testament confirmed in the New. Revelation 7:16-17, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." The language of promise, of comfort and assurance is the same in both Testaments.
You've probably seen photographs of Bedouin herdsmen with their flock of sheep and goats out in the sand hills. Imagine yourself a sheep in the Palestinian deserts or outback Australia, searching for food and water. I had prospecting authorities north-east of Broken Hill up the Tibooburra Road; desert country where properties carry maybe one sheep to the square mile. You wonder what they eat. There is no grass or weed, and barely a tree. Rivers are dry sand until it rains—perhaps once in five years—producing a flash flood. Within two days the land is covered in grass and flowers and Sturt's desert pea. Within a week the sun will have dried up the vegetation and the rivers will once again be dry sand. That's pretty much a picture of the denominational desertification we came out of, where we sat for months at a time before the minister let slip something which would delight our soul. Praise God, we recognized His Voice.
Isaiah 49:11, "I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted." All of His guidance will be positive and progressive by the clear direct route of faith which knows no denominational detours like the mountains and valleys of creeds and traditions but takes us directly to the heart of God, making the high places low and the low places high (Isaiah 40:3-5; John 1:23).
Isaiah 49:12, "Behold, these shall come from far: and these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim [east]." This is the promise of Acts 2:39, Israelite and Gentile will come to God by the direct "strait way" of faith which knows no obstacle (Matthew 7:13).
Isaiah 49:13, "Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; let the mountains break forth into song: for the Lord has compassion on His people, and will show mercy to His afflicted ones".
This verse signifies the end of the Gentile dispensation. Revelation 11:15-16, "The seventh Trumpet sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on thrones, fell on their faces, and worshipped God. . ." the Bride of all Ages will go to the Mount Zion rapture, and Christ will redeem Israel to Himself.
Isaiah 44:23, "Sing, O heavens; for the Lord has done it: shout, O depths of the earth: break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel".
Isaiah 54:7-10, "For a brief moment I forsook you; but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of indignation I hid My face from you; but with everlasting mercy I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer. For this is as the days of Noah to Me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should never again cover the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For though the mountains depart, and the hills be removed, My lovingkindness shall never depart from you, nor the covenant of My peace be withdrawn, says the Lord who has compassion on you".
In the second half of this chapter, nothing more is said of Jesus Messiah, and instead of the Servant of the Lord we see the restored Zion as His married wife, together with His offspring "as countless as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore" (Genesis 22:17). Zion's loss of motherhood was occasioned by the crucifixion of Messiah whereby the priesthood abrogated its mediatorial office and severed God's dealings with the nation; although apparently forsaken following the destruction of Jerusalem, Zion is yet tenderly His beloved.
Isaiah 49:14-16, "Zion, forsaken and repudiated by her husband, is sorry for herself, imagining she has been deserted by God and debarred from bearing children. But God says, I have not forgotten you, it is you who have forgotten Me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, she may forget, yet I will never forget you. Behold, I have graven you upon the palms of My hands; your ruined walls are continually before Me."
Zion's lamentation follows the lament of Jesus Messiah in verse 4, "I have laboured in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain." As Israel repudiated and divorced Him, He cried, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kills the prophets, and stones those that are sent to you, how oft would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. You shall not see Me henceforth, till you say, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:37-38). "When you see the legions of Titus, prophesied in Daniel 9:26 stand in the holy place, let those who are in Judaea flee into the mountains: let he who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let he who is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray that your flight is not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day [when the city gates are shut]: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:15-21).
Zion was left desolate, the Temple was razed and her natural children dispersed and forbidden entry to Jerusalem. Throughout the Gentile dispensation Zion has been forsaken, and Jerusalem will be ruled unto the consummation of life by non-Semitic Gentiles (Daniel 9:27). However, as the names of the tribes were engraved on the stones of the ephod worn over the breast of the high priest, the names of 144,000 elect Israelites are engraved on the palms of His hands by the nails of His Cross.
Zechariah 13:6-7, "One shall ask Him, "What are these wounds in Your hands?" Then He will answer, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends. Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man who is My fellow," says the Lord of hosts: "Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." Thus Zion's broken walls are constantly before the Lord.
Amos 9:8-11, "Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful northern kingdom of Israel's ten tribes. I will destroy it from the face of the earth; but I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord. For I will command and sift the house of Israel among all nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet not one kernel will be lost. All the sinners of My people who say, God will not harm us, shall die by the sword. In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches in Zion; and I will raise up his ruins, and build it as in the days of old".
At the close of the Gentile dispensation multitudes of so-called Jews will desert Israel and return to their homelands following the rape of their women and the looting of Jerusalem in its overthrow (Zechariah 14:1-2). Then Jacob's descendants, recognizing the Scriptural signs of the time, will return to their homeland for their redemption after 2,500 years of exile in the Muslim lands of the ancient Assyrian empire (Psalm 17:7; Isaiah 6:10-13; 11:11-16; 27:13; 49:17; Jeremiah 3:12, 18; 16:15; 23:8; 31:8; Ezekiel 37:14; 39:27; Micah 5:3; Zechariah 10:9-12; Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 12:14, etc.,).
Zion's broken walls will be rebuilt with the precious stones of 144,000 elect Israelites by Spiritual restoration of Jacob's seed not Israeli Jews (so-called) after the Gentile dispensation (Acts 15:16). Revelation 21:10-21, "And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and lofty mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, with the glory of God, its lustre like a most precious gem, like a jasper, clear as crystal. Its walls were broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There are three gates on each side, east, north, south, and west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And He who spoke with me had a golden reed to measure the city with its gates and wall. The city is laid out foursquare, with its length equal to its width and height: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height are equal. And He measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, by the angel's human measure. Its wall was built of jasper: and the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall were inlaid with precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. [These were the birth stones of the twelve tribes]. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each gate was made of a single pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass".
Isaiah 49:17, "Your children shall make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall depart from you." Forsaken, repudiated and put in ward by Her Husband since the investiture by Titus, Zion, supposing herself barren and bereft, is suddenly surrounded by the richest blessing of children. However this crowd hastening to Zion as their maternal centre are not Israelites who are as yet unregenerate; this is Christ's Gentile Bride, the daughters of Zion born in Jerusalem which is above, is free, and is the mother of us all.
In the midst of the Seventieth Week, Rome will break her anti-Christ covenant with the Jews. Rome and her allies will send their troops to destroy all God-fearing, Word-abiding Israelites. But as they come against the city to destroy it, the sign of the Coming of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens, with His mighty armies to destroy them who have been destroying the earth (William Branham, An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, p. 41).
Isaiah 29:6-8, "You will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Jerusalem, with all their armaments and men who distress her, shall be like a dream, a night vision. It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams he is eating and wakes with his hunger unsatisfied; or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking, but when he awakes he is faint and craving: so shall it be with all the multitude of nations that war against Mount Zion".
Revelation 11:13, 19, "And the same hour [as the two witnesses resurrect and ascend visibly into heaven] there will be a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city will be destroyed, and in the earthquake seven thousand men will be slain: and the terrified survivors will give glory to the God of heaven. . . And the temple of God in heaven will open, and the ark of His Covenant [the sign of God's Presence with Israel]: will be seen, and there will be lightnings and voices and thunderings and an earthquake and great hail." Not until this time will the 144,000, catch the revelation of Christ's second or 'parousia' Coming to Israel (Revelation 19:11-17) and be gloriously redeemed. Then they will be martyred and Armageddon will set in. Meanwhile, Zion is ignorant of the Gentile dispensation and Israel's redemption until the millennium when the Lord reveals her children.
Isaiah 49:18, "Lift up your eyes, and see your children gather themselves together and come to you. As I live, says the Lord, you will adorn yourself with them as jewels, as a bride displays her ornaments." Here are Zion's children, Israel's Queen, Messiah's many-membered Gentile Bride "New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:1-2).
Zion may regard all the saints as her own glorious ornament of children, and bind them to herself as with the splendid girdle of a bride. Isaiah 8:18, "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in mount Zion." Isaiah 45:23, "In the Lord shall all the [elect] seed of Israel [natural and Spiritual] be justified, and glory".
Zion's children are the New Testament Church. Joel 2:23, "Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He has given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month".
God has restored the former or teaching rain which is "the faith once delivered to the apostolic saints" by the Message of Brother Branham in the revelation of the Seven Seals preached between March 17-24, which was the first month of the Hebrew Calendar. The latter or harvest rain will fall after the close of the Gentile dispensation on about Nisan 14. As the Israelite high priest waved two loaves baked with leaven for acceptance before the Lord, from the commencement of Pentecost on Nisan 16 that quickening Spirit will be waved in Christ's end-time Bride in the manifestation of the Sons of God to develop experiential faith for translation grace. Our acceptance will be the body change and translation on about the fortieth day.
Isaiah 49:19-21, "Then your ruined and desolate places, and your devastated land will become crowded with your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. The children born in your bereavement, will yet say to you, This place is too crowded, give us 'lebensraum.' Then you will say in your heart, Who has borne these children for me, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who has brought these up for me? Behold, I was left alone; whence then have these come?".
The ideal Zion has become essentially an abstraction, devoid of meaning, having been destroyed by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans, and since the children now before her are not new-born, but grown up, she further inquires, "Who has brought them up for me?" And so numerous are Zion's children, the City is too small to accommodate them. The Lord explains her conundrum:
Isaiah 49:22-23, "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I have lifted up My hand [and sworn an oath of blessing] to the Gentiles, and signalled to the nations, that they shall bring your sons in their arms, and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am the Lord. Those who wait for Me shall never be ashamed." Zion will know her God is the true God, the eternally existent One, whose Divinity declares itself so that those who, even in deepest distress, do not lose their trust in Him, will not be brought to shame (Psalm 25:3).
Galatians 4:26-27, "Jerusalem that is Above is free, which is the mother of us all, for it is written, Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; break out with shouting, you who have no birth pangs, for more numerous are the children of the desolate woman than of she who has a husband" (Isaiah 54:1-17). The Kings and Queens are neither bowing to Jewry nor bearing Jews to Zion, whose countless children are certainly not self-styled Jews, and few are natural Israelites, but those converted to the Lord from the Gentiles have become Spiritual Israel, the holy nation and the sons and daughters of Zion (Ephesians 2:11-13; I Peter 2:1-10).
Like Zion the Prophet John was nonplussed when he saw her children, "a great multitude, which no man could number drawn out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, shouting, Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9-17). Like Zion, John could not say who they were or whence they came; had these been Israelites, the woman, Zion (Revelation 12:1-2; Isaiah 66:7-8), would have known and recognized them as the fruit of her own body.
Finally Zion asks, "Will all the heathen powers be converted, and if not, what is the prospect of escape for an elect held captive by hostile powers"? The prophet answers, that to begin with, a strong man will not allow his plunder or captives to be taken from him and is unlikely to be concerned with the justice or otherwise of their case (Luke 11:21-23). Nonetheless, as the Lord Himself is our Strong Man, He will redeem Zion's children. He will reduce the oppressor to a condition where they will "feed on their own flesh and make themselves drunk on their own blood, as with new wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob" (Isaiah 49:24-26).
During the siege of General Titus, parents ate their own children according to prophecy (Deuteronomy 28:55; Jeremiah 20:9; Lamentations 4:10). Soon the oppressors of God's people will metaphorically "eat their own flesh" and all flesh shall know that Jesus Christ is Lord. He who comes against God's elect comes against one who is "born and named in Zion" (Psalm 87:5-6).
God can arrange the release even of lawful prisoners. For when we were yet sinners He set us free from the Law of sin and death. And World Wars I and II, disunity provoked among the Arab nations and a multitude of events are all working together for the deliverance of His elect 144,000 Israelites. bb960221.htm
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