Sunday, September 30, 2012

Should Christians Particpate in Politics?

I feel strongly impressed to bring this lesson on this subject because it has such a profound effect on our current daily lives and the future of our children.

Let me begin by stating that I do not believe that it is a sin to vote for people running for political office.  Neither do I believe that it is a sin not to vote for people running for political office.  However, I do believe that if you do not study to prepare yourself to vote for the most qualified person to hold political office, you miss an opportunity to resist evil.  When I vote for a person, I am not endorsing everything the person believes.  I am choosing a person whom I believe will do the greater good for our country. 

I do not believe in the concept of the “separation of church and state.”  I do not believe that you can take religion out of man or his activities.  God created man a two-fold being, both spiritual and physical.  The spiritual side of man is always religious.  It is what he believes about his relationship with his Creator.  Everything that a person does is influenced by what he believes about God.  The atheist is religious.  The humanist is religious.  They will govern and influence others by what they believe.  School teachers are religious,  Mayors, Governors, Congressmen and Presidents are religious.  Every politician is religious. 

In the perfect will of God, the Israelites would never have had a King.  They would have listened to the instructions of the man of God and kept the commandments of God and all their social needs would have been taken care of.  In our day, the same plan of God would work, if everyone would listen to the instructions of the man of God and keep the commandments of God.  But God allowed the Israelites to have a King and God has allowed the United States of America to have a Republic as the form of a democratic government by which we regulate our society.   

Someone has made the following political observation.  I believe it is a valid and wise statement.  Some say this statement was made by Alexander Tyler a 19th century Scottish historian.  Others say it was compiled from his teachings and not an exact quote.  “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.”

The United States of America was given a Republic form of government and it is on the very verge of losing that form of government.  In fact, it may already be lost.

I believe that some people use words and don’t even know what they mean.  They throw around the word “politics” as if it was a vulgar and profane activity.  Some people treat the word “religion” with the same disdain, as if it was a undesirable thing. 

Webster Dictionary definition of politics:  1 a : the art or science of government b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government   2 : political actions, practices, or policies

Many people have expressed to me that we should not get involved in politics.

This means we should not get involved in our nation’s government. 
We should not get involved in guiding or influencing governmental policy. 
We should not get involved in who wins and holds control over our government.
Do we really believe that we should not be involved in politics?

Some years ago, I met a group of people called “The Church.” 
They did not believe that Christians should be involved in politics.  They did not use social security numbers and they did not pay taxes or vote.  They only worked for employers who would pay them for their labors without requiring or establishing any connection to the government.  They literally avoided politics.

I have met other people who pay taxes and participate in governmental programs such as government funded entitlements, benefits, insurance, etc.; but, they may not vote and they dislike discussions about governmental affairs and policies.  They defend their position with the statement that they do not believe that Christians should participate in politics.  In reality they are participating in politics.   They have self-proclaimed boundaries which they expect you to honor. 

It is human nature to want everyone to believe what we believe.  We want people to accept what we accept and reject what we reject. 

We all must admit that we live in a wicked world and it seems that it is largely controlled by wicked and ungodly people.  So, should Christians participate in understanding and influencing governmental policies of our nation?  Should we be concerned with who wins and holds control over the government of our nation? 

It is my personal belief that being involved in government is part of resisting evil.

James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  There are many ways in which we can “resist” the devil.  Being involved in our community, state and national governmental policies is a way of resisting evil.  We need to stand against the evildoers who would corrupt our government, our schools, our congregations and our children. 

I have been told that Jesus and the New Testament do not provide any record of being involved in politics.  Let us examine that position and see if it holds true.

First we must recognize that the politics of our day are structured somewhat different than they were in Jesus’ day.  The religious leaders of the Jews in the first century after the birth of Christ exercised political authority over the Jewish people.  It is true that the Roman government was the supreme power of the day; but, we can easily find evidence that the Roman government allowed the Jewish leaders great liberty in judging and ruling over their own people. 

John 18:28-32
28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.
31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

Pilate gave the Jews permission to judge and punish Jesus according to the law of the Jews.  However, the Jews wanted to put Jesus to death and they were not allowed to put people to death.  They could beat them, imprison them and cast them out of the temple; but they were not allowed to execute capital punishment. 

John 8:1-11
1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

The Jews wanted to test Jesus to see if He would honor the law of Moses which was the law of the Jews.  They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus and condemn Jesus for being a law breaker. 

Jesus stood against these evil political leaders of the Jews.  He identified them and put judgment on their wickedness.  He resisted the evil political moves of the Jewish leaders. 

Matthew 23:1-7
1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Were these scribes and Pharisees which sat in Moses’ seat not political leaders of the Jews?  Did Jesus get involved in guiding and influencing the political deeds of the rulers of the people?  Was Jesus not concerned with who wins and holds control over the people of God?  These were the leaders and rulers of the Jewish nation and government.  Jesus was putting judgment on the politicians of that day.

Matthew 23:13-15
13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

The Jews had the authority to demand a temple tax, a tithe of mint and anise.  They had the authority take possession of widow’s homes.  They had a debtor’s prison and exercised great authority and power over their people. 

Matthew 23:23-24
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Jesus put judgment on the “blind guides” which were leading the people down the road of social and religious destruction.  The word “guides” means leaders.  These were Jewish leaders.  They were very much involved in the politics, the government of the people. 

The Scriptures tell us what kind of people Jesus dealt with.  In Luke 5:17, “And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by.”  Whom was Jesus dealing with?  Who was Jesus trying to influence?  There were “doctors of the law sitting by.”  Many of them were there to find fault with what Jesus had to say. He dealt with them.  He did not avoid the politicians and leaders of the Jews.

Some will say, “Well, Jesus did not vote for them or vote against them.” 
The democratic process of voting as we know it was not in place in their society.
They did “cast lots” which is a political action to influence and determine who would be the successor to Judas Iscariot. 

Acts 1:24-26
24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two [Joseph and Matthais] thou hast chosen,
25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The disciples indicated who they thought was the right person by making some mark on a stone or piece of paper, put all the stones in a pot and drew one of them out and it was decided.  Say what you will, but that is essentially voting and participating in a political process. 

The simple fact is that the leaders of our congregations today do not have the authority to make and enforce laws for the community like the Jewish leaders did in that day. 

We have a different political process.  In the framework of our society today, we ought to resist evil and endeavor to influence righteousness.  We can not fully control the process, but we can influence it.  And that is what politics is all about.  We can influence and guide the selection of leaders of our nation by standing up for what we believe.

Jeremiah 5:30-31
30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Proverbs 29:2
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Burden of Africa


THE BURDEN OF AFRICA

As seen by Jim Storts (Spring 2006)

 
I have earnestly prayed, seeking the help of God, to effectively express and convey “The Burden of Africa” from my heart to your heart.  My recent visit to the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) has increased my burden to share this message with every citizen of every African Nation.  I have made six missionary journeys to the land of Africa since the year 2000.  Each year my burden and vision for Africa has increased in intensity and scope.  I firmly believe that not one word, not one promise and not one prophecy of the Word of God can fail.  Each must be fulfilled according to God’s predetermined time and design.  He is an unchanging God with no shadow of turning or variableness.  His Words are forever settled. 

As I set before you these chapters from the book of Isaiah, I have herein endeavored to couple the tools of reductionistic translation with symbolic interpretation to give you a true understanding of Bible prophecies concerning Africa, in particular the Sub-Sahara region.  I appeal to your kindness and forgiveness for every semantic error and violation of the principles of formal and dynamic translation.  I am not an academically trained Bible scholar; however, as an earnest and diligent Christian student of the Bible, I have sincerely sought to hear and understand that greatest of all teachers, The Holy Spirit.  I would be most happy if this humble work could become the mere “springboard” for others whose more competent minds could embrace the vision of God’s revelations concerning Africa and thus proclaim it more effectively than I have done.  May God bless Africa with the loud sounding of the Seventh Trumpet before the second coming of Jesus Christ our Lord, our Savior and our Judge.

Africa!”  The ancient explorers called it the “Dark Continent.”  Africa is the second largest continent on earth and home of more than one-third of all the languages of the world.  As I endeavor to set before you the magnitude of diversity contained in this continent, you will be compelled to fully stretch your imagination to comprehend this subject.  A large part of Africa’s history has never been recorded.  It is doubtful that it can ever be discovered and documented.  Like this mysterious continent, its history has been also shut up and sealed by the passing of many millenniums of undocumented generations.  The thousands of tribes, each with its own distinct language, lived and died without any literary preservation of their history.  For thousands of years, generation after generation, passed into eternity with little trace of their existence.  Their beginnings and their endings were enshrouded in dark mystery and superstition.  Unless, God should choose to unlock the door of understanding and reveal some portion of their story. 

To understand the story of Africa, we must bring together the various parts of the portrait which can be found in Holy Scripture and secular history.  Without any intention to fabricate fiction or fantasy upon the minds of men, we submit this portrait for all to see and judge.  Open your mind and heart to these wonderful words.  My desire is that they will be as wise as they are wonderful.  I believe them to be not only my burden and vision, but that also of Isaiah, Zephaniah, Zechariah and the Beloved disciple John, who saw in a vision the Revelation of Jesus Christ and His church. 

A foundational fact must be established at the beginning of this story.  The continent of Africa must be divided into two geographical and social regions.  First, we must identify the northern part of Africa as that which lies between the great Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea.  The second part is that which is commonly called the Sub-Sahara, or that part which lies south of the Sahara desert.  These two regions of this great continent are entirely separate in their history and their future. 

For about 4,000 years the Sub-Sahara Africa was fenced in, cut off and separated from the rest of civilization and the world.  As an act of God, the inhabitants and the interior of Africa was isolated and set apart from the world.  It must wait until the fullness of time, when God should declare its time and place in His divine plan. 

On the continent of Africa with a population of about 790 million, the people speak 2,110 distinctly different languages, which is 30.5% of the world’s total. Only since the mid-1800’s has this immense language barrier decreased with the influx of various European languages.  The increased use of European languages in education has facilitated the removing of this barrier.  In only six nations is an African language officially used as the main means of conducting the nation’s business.  Africa is the greatest remaining challenge for Bible translators with only 130 languages having an entire Bible translation; 237 having the New Testament only; and, 250 having a portion of the scriptures.  There is work in progress for 373 languages and a definite need for translators in 297 more.

Black Africa’s isolation from the rest of the world ended in the “Scramble for Africa” by the European colonial powers in the 19th Century.  Religious freedom has increased over much of Africa during the 1990s, but persecution of Christians by Muslims has also increased in the nations of Egypt, Northern Nigeria and Sudan.  Protestant religions have conducted extensive revival movements in some of the nations of Africa.  However the true gospel of Jesus Christ which delivers people from all their sins and empowers them to live holy, justified, sanctified and unified with the whole body of the church has yet to be preached to the majority of the nations of Africa.  The concept most Africans have of Christianity is grossly deficient in true holiness as they have received their instructions and impressions from the popular TV evangelists and mega-churches which broadcast their false doctrines across the airwaves of Africa.  The Church of God has a great duty and opportunity to reach these un-reached souls with the true doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

If the words of Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet of God who wrote and spoke extensively of the “Gospel Day,” can be accepted as a prophecy concerning Africa, then we can glean much understanding about the history and the future of Africa.  Isaiah 17:14 concludes the report of the “Burden of Damascus.”  Isaiah 18:1 begins the report of the “Burden of Egypt” as it communicates with chapter 19:1.  The land which lies “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia” must be understood to identify the interior of Africa.  Isaiah 19:1 begins with the sober declaration that it is the divine utterance and prophecy concerning Egypt and the land beyond the Nile River.

Additionally, we will be greatly assisted in our understanding if we will keep in mind that the name and noun “Africa” was not in use during the days in which the Holy Scriptures were written.  The Land of Africa is generally and specifically referred to with such expressions and titles as “beyond the rivers of Ethiopia”, Egypt, Cush, Canaan and Ethiopia.  Cush and Canaan were descendants of Ham and this prophecy clearly pertains to this lineage of Noah which descended from Ham. 

Without further amplification, let us proceed to examine the chapters in Isaiah which tell this great burden.  I have prepared notations and paraphrased verses to provide a clear analysis of my understanding of this message.  Synonyms for significant words from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (SEC) have been provided in parenthetical notations in blue type.  A paraphrased reduction follows each verse in red type. 

ISAIAH’S “BURDEN FOR AFRICA

 
ISAIAH CHAPTER 18

1 Woe to the land shadowing (SEC 6767: whirring of wings; rattling; clanging as a cymbal) with wings (SEC 3671: edge; a part of a garment or the earth), which is beyond (SEC 5676: a region across; opposite side) the rivers of Ethiopia (SEC 3568: Cush and his territory):

“Listen to these words concerning the Land which is surrounded with rattling and clanging like the sounds of locusts and cymbals: which is located in the region beyond the Nile River in the territory of Africa which belongs to the descendants of Cush, the son of Ham.”

2 That sendeth (SEC 7971: let depart; push away) ambassadors (SEC 6735: messengers; a hinge, pressed in turning) by the sea (SEC 3220: noisy surf, Mediterranean, locally west, rarely south, sideward), even in vessels (SEC 3627: prepared, implement, utensil) of bulrushes (SEC 1573: absorbent, papyrus) upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift (SEC 7031: rapid, light) messengers (SEC 4397: dispatch, angel of God, prophet, teacher), to a nation (SEC 1471: foreign nation, gentile, heathen) scattered (SEC 4900: to draw, remove, delay, defer, extend, forbear) and peeled (SEC 4178: obstinate, independent), to a people (SEC 5971: tribe) terrible (SEC 3372: frighten, dread) from their beginning(SEC 1931: before Pentateuch and Moses) hitherto (SEC 1973: far away, back beyond); a nation meted (SEC 6978: combined with “out” 4480, i.e. loss of strength or loss of holding place) out and trodden (SEC 4001: trampling, treading) down, whose land (SEC 776: earth field, world) the rivers (SEC 5104: stream, Nile) have spoiled (SEC 958: cleave, cut off)!

“Listen to the messengers who have pushed forth along the Mediterrean Sea with prepared and written messages.  Take this message quickly to the heathen and gentiles who have been removed and separated.  Speak to those tribes who are dreaded and frightening; those who have been deferred since before the time of Moses.  They are a people who have lost their strength and inheritance.  They have been cut off beyond the Nile River 

 

(Note:  These first two verses, along with Chapter 19, v. 2, give the distinct impression that God sent the descendants of Ham into the southern part of the continent of Africa and then shut them in.  God cut them off from the rest of the world.  Historians and scientist concur that there is evidence that the Sahara Desert has evolved into a severe barrier between the southern and northern part of Africa.  Reference:  “Historical Atlas of Africa” by J.F. Adeajayi and Michael Crowder: Chapter 6: “Past Climate and Vegetation Change.”  Quote:  “When attention began to be paid to the prehistoric past of Africa, it was found that here, too, there was geomorphological evidence for climate having been different in the past; in particular, there were signs in a number of areas that climate had been wetter than at present.”)

3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign (SEC 5251: standard, flagstaff) on the mountains (SEC 2022: country, promotion); and when he bloweth (SEC 8628: slap hands together) a trumpet (SEC 7782: cornet, clear sound), hear ye.

“Let everyone who lives upon this earth and this world take notice of this act of God and hear what He has spoken.  When God exalts the standard of holiness and righteousness in Africa, this country will be promoted to become His country and His holy mountain.”

 

(Note:  Let this question be asked and answered: When have the citizens of any African nation witnessed the work of God exalting the standard of holiness and righteousness in Africa?  When has Africa testified of having the glory of God in its midst as His Holy Mountain, which is the Church of God, the pillar and ground of truth?  I have not found anywhere in the pages of history any account of Africa experiencing a continental Christian revival.  The historians have only recorded the corruption and fierce wickedness of past generations of Africans.  There has been perpetual war between the tribes.  The time has come for peace and righteousness to be obtained through the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.)

4 For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest (SEC 8252: repose, appeased), and I will consider (SEC 5027: scan, look intently, regard with pleasure) in my dwelling (SEC 4349: abode, habitation) place like a clear (SEC 6703: bright, evident) heat (SEC 2527: enflame) upon herbs (SEC 216: illuminations, morning sun), and like a cloud (SEC 5645: envelope, darkness, dense cloud) of dew (SEC 2919: dew covering vegetation) in the heat of harvest (SEC 7105: severed, crop or limb).

“The Lord has spoken unto me with these words:  “I will be appeased.  I will regard with pleasure those things that are now happening.  In My assembly where I abide, My truth is evident and hot as a flame.  The message is as the morning sun, brightly revealing the way of God.  My people have been enveloped in the water of life.  The cleansing fire has prepared them for harvesting.  They are ready to be gathered into My Kingdom.”

 

(Note:  Remember that these words have been spoken and written as the “Burden of Africa.”  These words were prophetic, for the future and for a time which is perhaps now near at hand.)

5 For afore (SEC 6440: the face; forefront, as the part that turns) the harvest (SEC 7105: reap, severed), when the bud (SEC 6525: bloom, blossom) is perfect (SEC 8552: complete, accomplished, made whole), and the sour grape (SEC 1155: immature grape) is ripening (SEC 1580: wean, to treat, reward) in the flower (SEC 5328: blossom, protected, concealed), he shall both cut off the sprigs (SEC 2150: worthless, tremulous, shake) with pruning hooks (SEC 4211: pruning knife), and take away and cut down the branches (SEC 5189: offshoot).

“Before the turning of the seasons to the time of The Harvest; when the blossom is maturing and before it is made whole; when the immature grape is being nourished, God will cut off the worthless branches with the pruning knife of His word: and the fruitless offshoots will be taken away.” 

 

(Note:  When truth is preached it accomplishes many things.  Error and false doctrine are exposed.  False prophets and sinners who have claimed to be part of the church are discovered, identified and cut off with the two-edged-sword of God’s word.  Those branches, religious hypocrites, which do not produce the fruit of holiness are cut off and burned in the furnace of fire which is in Zion. 

6 They shall be left (SEC 5800: loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, leave destitute) together (SEC 3162: unit, alike, likewise) unto the fowls (SEC 5861: bird of prey, ravenous) of the mountains (SEC 2022: hill country), and to the beasts (SEC 929: dumb beast) of the earth (SEC 776: wilderness world): and the fowls shall summer (SEC 6972: clip off; spend the harvest season) upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter (SEC 2778: pull off, expose, strip, betroth in shame, blaspheme) upon them.

“Those offshoots which have been removed will be bundled together and shall likewise be left destitute.  Then shall the ravenous birds of prey which come forth out of the hills with the dumb beasts of the wilderness and they will devour them and expose their shame and their nakedness.” 

 

(Note:  This is divine symbolic language which God commonly employs to conceal His message until He is ready to reveal it.  “Birds of prey” and “dumb beasts of the wilderness” are used in an analogous sense to represent false prophets and false teachers who consume one another and those who hear them in their religious crusades, making them two-fold more the children of Satan.) 

7 In that time shall the present (SEC 7862: gift, available) be brought (SEC 2986: flow, lead or bring forth) unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place (SEC 4725: standing spot, a condition) of the name (SEC 8034: definite, consipicuous position, a mark, authority, character) of the LORD of hosts, the mount (SEC 2022: hill, country, promotion) Zion (SEC 6726: Jerusalem).

“But the time is coming when a people will bring the gift of a broken and contrite heart to the Lord.  The heathen and gentiles who have been removed and separated; those tribes who are dreaded and frightening; those who have no strength and those who have been cut off will take their stand and receive the mark of holiness which is the authority, power and character of God.  These shall come to Mount Zion which is the city of the Living God, the church of God.”

 

(Note:  It is my belief that this time is now dawning upon the nations of Africa.  The Holy Spirit has begun to move over the continent of Africa to raise up a people for the glory of God.  These people will not be religious sinners, but rather true converts of righteousness.  They will hear, believe and obey the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit sends forth holy men of God to preach the everlasting gospel.)

 

ISAIAH CHAPTER 19

 

1 The burden (SEC 4853: utterance, prophecy) of Egypt (SEC 4714: upper and lower Egypt). Behold, the LORD rideth (SEC 7392: vehicle, place upon, dispatch) upon a swift (SEC 7031: light, rapid) cloud (SEC 5645: envelope, darkness, density), and shall come into Egypt: and the idols (SEC 457: vain, no value, nothing) of Egypt shall be moved (SEC 5128: waver, scatter, shake, wander) at his presence (SEC 6440: face, the part that turns), and the heart (SEC 3824: interior, midst, to be enclosed) of Egypt shall melt (SEC 4549: liquefy, waste, faint) in the midst (SEC 7130: nearest center) of it.

“This is the divine utterance and prophecy concerning Egypt and the land beyond the Nile River.  Look and see that the Lord has dispatched His messengers of light and living water.  These messengers shall judge the false doctrines and false gods as nothing and of no value.  The people of Africa shall be shakened as they come face to face with God’s truth.  The very interior places of Africa will faint at the sound of the message.” 

2 And I will set (SEC 5526: entwine, fence in, protect, shut up) the Egyptians (SEC 4714: Upper and lower Egypt)  against the Egyptians: and they shall fight (SEC 3898: consume, feed on, battle, devour) every one against his brother (SEC 251: kindred, widest sense, citizens), and every one against his neighbour (SEC 7453: associate, friend); city against city (SEC 5892: encampment, town), and kingdom against kingdom (SEC 4467: King’s country, dominion, realm).

“This is the act of the Lord.  He will fence in and shut up Africa; and they will war against each other to devour and consume their own citizens and friends.  Villages will do battle against neighboring villages.  Kings and rulers will conduct war against each other.”

 

(Note:  Is this not the history of the nations of Africa whose people have waged civil war against each other for centuries.  Archaeological and historical evidence indicate that the Sahara was once wetter and more easily transited than it is today. The descendants of Ham entered the Sub-Sahara via the Nile and also along the costal countries.  After the descendants of Ham entered the Sub-Sahara region of the continent, God fenced them in and shut them off from the rest of the civilized world.  The Sahara desert became more severe and the coast of Africa on the southern region was not easily approached by explorers in ships.  With a vast, severe desert on the north and marshy low-lands along the coast, Africa was fenced in, shut up.)

3 And the spirit (SEC 7307: breath and life) of Egypt shall fail (SEC 1238: pour out, depopulate) in the midst thereof; and I will destroy (SEC 1104: make away with, swallow, eat up) the counsel (SEC 6098: plan, prudence, advice, purpose) thereof: and they shall seek to the idols (SEC 457: nothing, no value), and to the charmers (SEC 328: necromancer, soft incantations), and to them that have familiar spirits (SEC 178: mumble, ventriloquist), and to the wizards (SEC 3049: conjurer ghost).

The very breath and life of Africa will be poured out and wasted.  Their land will be depopulated by war.  God will do away with their plans and purposes.  They will turn to lifeless and worthless idols.  They will seek answers from those who speak softly to the dead.  They will seek help from those who mumble and speak as a ventriloquist.  They will consult with them who bring up the ghost of the dead.

 

(Note:  God makes it very clear that before He heals Africa, He will first curse and punish them with severity.  After they have suffered, then will He come and heal and reconcile them to Himself.)

4 And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand (SEC 3027: open one, power) of a cruel (SEC 7186: severe, obstinate, stubborn) lord (SEC 113: sovereign, controller, master, owner); and a fierce (SEC 5794: strong, harsh, roughly) king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts.

God will appoint a severe and obstinate ruler over the people of Africa.  His sovereign control will be harsh and rough.  The king will have dominion over the people because the Lord has decreed it to happen. 

5 And the waters (SEC 4325: waters) shall fail (SEC 5405: dry up, be eliminated) from the sea (SEC 3220: Mediterranean), and the river (SEC 5104: Nile) shall be wasted (SEC 2717: parched) and dried up.

The Nile and the streams which run to the Mediterranean shall dry up and become a parched land.  The Nile and its territory shall become desolate and made waste.

6 And they shall turn (SEC 2186: push aside, forsake, reject) the rivers (SEC 5104: Nile) far away; and the brooks (SEC 2975: channel, canal, Nile and tributaries) of defence (SEC 4692: hemming, mound, bulwark, fortress) shall be emptied (SEC 1809: slackened, dry up, made thin) and dried up (SEC 3001: ashamed, confused, wither): the reeds (SEC 7070: rod, esp. for measuring, branch) and flags (SEC 5488: papyrus) shall wither (SEC 7060 wither, hew down).

Likewise, as the streams in the desert are dried up, so will the people turn aside and reject the living water of truth.  Every avenue of truth will become confused and dried up.  The measuring rod and the written record of God’s word will be cut off. 

7 The paper reeds (SEC 6169: plot, papyrus) by the brooks (SEC 2975: channel, Nile, tributaries), by the mouth (SEC 6310: speech, edge) of the brooks, and every thing sown (SEC 4218: plant, field, the planted field) by the brooks, shall wither, be driven (SEC 5086: shove, thrust down, disperse) away, and be no more.

The printed word which first entered into the land and every seed of truth which had been planted will dry up and cease to exist.  This famine of truth will work to scatter and break down every principle of righteousness. 

8 The fishers (SEC 1771: fishermen) also shall mourn (SEC 578: lament, groan), and all they that cast angle (SEC 7993/2443: throw out a hook) into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread (SEC 6566: break apart, disperse, scatter) nets (SEC 4364: conceal, dark) upon the waters shall languish (SEC 535:  sick, feeble).

The ministers of the gospel, who have been sent to be fishers of men, shall cry out with great lamenting.  The Christian ministers will be shoved out of the country and their teachings cast down.  But false teachers shall remain among the people and they shall cast their nets of darkness over the people.  The people will become spiritually sick and feeble. 

9 Moreover they that work (SEC 5647: serve) in fine flax (SEC 8305/6593: piercing, combing and the comminuting of linen; dividing, reducing and carded as thread), and they that weave (SEC 707:  plait, weave) networks (SEC 2355: white linen), shall be confounded (SEC 954: ashamed, disappointed, become dry).

These religious leaders who profess to be skillful in rightly dividing the truth and forming right doctrines will become ashamed.  Those who serve the people with claims to produce the white linen of holiness will become disappointed and dry. 

10 And they shall be broken (SEC 1792: crumble, bruise, beat to pieces) in the purposes (SEC 8356: basis, political and moral foundation) thereof, all that make sluices (SEC 7938: wages, reward) and ponds (SEC 99: sad, stagnant water, marsh) for fish (SEC 5315: breathing creature, vitality).

The political and moral foundation of these false prophets shall crumble.  They build their own congregations and catch the souls of men for reward.  The people perish in the stagnant waters of their religious assemblies. 

11 Surely the princes (SEC 8269 chief, captain) of Zoan (SEC 6814: Egypt/Africa) are fools (SEC 191: silly, perverse), the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

Nevertheless, understand this one thing: The chiefs of Africa have become perverse.  The plans and purposes of their advisors are the thoughts of cunning and artful men.  But these advisors to the king are destroyers whose deliberations will consume the people.  Why do they lie, saying: “I am the descendant of Abraham.  My lineage is after the kings of Israel.” 

12 Where are they? where are thy wise (SEC 2450: intelligent, artful, cunning) men? and let them tell thee now (SEC 4994: I pray now, entreat), and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed (SEC 3289: advised, deliberate) upon Egypt.

Where are these cunning men?  I entreat them to respond to my words.  I proclaim to you what God has pre-ordained to happen in Africa. 

13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.

The chief leaders of all the major villages and clans of Africa have become foolish and caused the people and themselves to be deceived and led astray. 

14 The LORD hath mingled (SEC 4537: mixed) a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work (SEC 4639: transaction, activity) thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.

The Lord has mixed a perverse spirit in the very center of your communities.  These perverted leaders have caused Africa to err in every activity and transaction.  They have become like an intoxicated person who reels in his own vomit. 

15 Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush (SEC 100: marshy pool), may do.

When the Lord does this work in Africa, neither their priest, their poor man, their children nor religious committees, will be able to do any thing to recover. 

(Note: A “marshy pool” is symbolically opposite to the “river of life.” A marshy pool is not a healthy place to get a good drink of water. Therefore, the marshy pool represents false churches and religions which give people contaminated spiritual water.)

16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women (SEC 802: adulteress): and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking (SEC 8573: brandishing threat) of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.

When the day of the Lord shall come, Africa will be weak and defenseless.  The people will shudder under the judgments of God which He will lift up against it. 

17 And the land of Judah (SEC 3063: the descendants of the first; symbolically the remnant of the church) shall be a terror (SEC 2283: whirling motion, giddiness) unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention (2142: mark to be recognized, to be remembered) thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined (SEC 3289: resolved, deliberated) against it.

The remnant of God’s children will come with great force and activity in Africa.  Everyone who recognizes this work of God will rise up with sudden alarm.  It is resolved that the time of God’s counsel is come against all unrighteousness. 

18 In that day shall five cities (SEC 5892: watchful, waking post) in the land of Egypt speak the language (SEC 8193: natural boundary languages) of Canaan (SEC 3667: humiliated, Ham), and swear (SEC 7650: complete, make an oath, consecrate and sanctify to the Lord) to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city (SEC 5892: a watchful post) of destruction (SEC 2041: pull down, overthrow, demolition).

In that great day of reconciliation there will be five nations which understand the major languages of the humiliated descendants of Ham.  These shall consecrate and sanctify themselves to the Lord.  One of those countries will be the leader of the overthrow and pulling down of false religion.

 

(Note:  In the recent past, there was an African Union organization which reportedly consisted of five nations:  Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Dem. Rep. of Congo.  I have searched for documentation on this union and have not found it as of yet.  Will God use five nations, or does God mean five literal cities?)

19 In that day shall there be an altar (SEC 4196: a place of sacrifice) to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar (SEC 4676: a memorial stone, something stationed) at the border (SEC 1366: at the boundary of the territory) thereof to the LORD.

Then shall the people find the true altar experience of salvation wherein they are cleansed in justification and sanctification.  And there shall be a station in the boundary of that territory which is a memorial of God’s work.

 

(Note:  Along the border of what nation is there a “memorial” of God’s work?  The only evidence I have found thus far is in Western Kenya where church of God missionaries built up the village and the Kima International School of Theology which continues to exist today.  It has a vast reservoir of church of God history, doctrinal and testimonial books and records.  Very few people associated with KIST have any experimental comprehension of the great truths and sound doctrine contained in the hundreds of books held in this library.)

20 And it shall be for a sign (SEC 226: flag, beacon, monument) and for a witness (SEC 5707: a recorder, testimony) unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

This memorial station shall be a beacon and a monument to the faithful God.  It shall be a recorder of the testimony of God.  The opposers of righteousness shall press against the church, but the Lord will give them abundant help to set them free and gain victory. 

(Note:  Let us pray that God will use this memorial station at Kima International School of Theology once again for His glory and His church.)

21 And the LORD shall be known (SEC 3045: seen, recognized) to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice (SEC 2077: make a sacrifice) and oblation (SEC 4503: give a gift); yea, they shall vow (SEC 5087: promise and consecrate) a vow unto the LORD, and perform (SEC 7999: complete it, make restitution) it.

The Lord shall be seen and recognized in Africa, because the people of Africa will see and recognize the Lord.  Then shall they give themselves wholly to God.  They will consecrate themselves with a promise; and they shall make complete restitution.

22 And the LORD shall smite (SEC 5062: inflict with disease)  Egypt: he shall smite and heal (SEC 7495: cure, make whole) it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

The Lord shall inflict Africa with diseases; but, He shall also cure them and make them whole again.  The people will turn to the Lord and He will hear them and heal them. 

23 In that day shall there be a highway (SEC 4546: pathway, staircase) out of Egypt to Assyria (SEC 804: the country of Shem), and the Assyrian (the descendants of Shem) shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve (SEC 5647: worship, husbandman, labor) with the Assyrians.

Again, in that day which the Lord has appointed, a pathway shall extend from Ham to Shem.  The people of Shem shall meet with the people of Ham; and the people of Ham shall worship and labor together with the people of Shem.

 

(Note:  “In that day” is a frequent Old Testament reference to the gospel day in which the perfect will of God will be accomplished in the hearts of His people.  It is very evident in the holy scriptures that one of God’s principle objectives is the union of His people.  Jesus prayed in the 17th chapter of St. John that the church would experience the same oneness which He enjoyed with His Father.  It is the will of God to bring His people together in holy unity.  Only God’s divine grace can make people one with each other, bringing peace on earth.  God hates division and the works of those who sow discord among the brethren.  So at some time in the gospel day, there will be a highway of holiness which shall reach from this African benediction unto the church’s early morning revival among the Jews on the day of Pentecost.  The church of God will come into Africa; and, Africa will come into the church of God.)

24 In that day shall Israel (SEC 3478: the posterity of Jacob, i.e. the church of God) be the third (SEC 7992: the third cell, the third time) with Egypt and with Assyria (SEC 804: the country of Shem), even a blessing (SEC 1293: a benediction, at the conclusion)in the midst of the land:

In that day of which we continue to speak, the Church of God will enter its third cell with the descendants of Ham and Shem.  They shall stand together as the concluding benediction. 

 

(Note:  In the beginning of the gospel day, God started a revival of holiness with the Jewish (descendants of Shem) apostles and disciples which went forth out of Jerusalem into all the world.  They turned the world up-side-down with their preaching the judgments and commandments of Jesus Christ.  This was the first earthquake which is spoken of in Revelation 8:5.  There was not another great spiritual earthquake until the turn of the 20th Century when once again the message of holiness and true deliverance from all sin was preached and anointed by the Holy Spirit.  The principal participants of this 20th Century revival were the Americans and Europeans which are the descendants of Japheth.  This was the second earthquake which is mentioned in Revelation 6:12-17 and Revelation 11:13.  However the book of Revelation contains the report of a third earthquake which shall be greater than the first two.  The third earthquake is described in Revelation 11:15-19 and in Revelation 16:17-21.  Isaiah prophesied that Israel (which is symbolicly used to represent the church of God) would enter its “third” phase with the descendants of Ham.  In the words of Isaiah, this third cell or third time would stand as a benediction or a conclusion.  The clear implication is that: then the end.)

25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed (SEC 1288: adoration) be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work (SEC 4639: product, property) of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance (SEC 5159: possession).

These people will the Lord adorn with His adornment; saying, Beautiful is Ham who is My people and Shem the product of My hands and the Church of God which is My possession. 

 

 

“MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT BE THE REVEALER OF ALL TRUTH AT ALL TIMES.”