Bible Study: Isaiah 46:1-13
God continues to challenge nonbelievers to consider Him to see if His words are true.
Isaiah Chapter 46
Lessons from the text
The Purpose of Prophecy
Prophecy serves two purposes: to prepare believers for the future and to be a witness to he nonbeliever that God is real.
Prophecies concerning the end times are meant to help us. Jesus tells us about false prophets that will come so that we do not believe and fall victim to false christs (Mt 24:23-26). That is, God tell us what will happen so that we are not caught off guard and unable to correctly respond to new situations. All the prophecies about Jesus' life on earth are given to us so that people can identify who is the true Christ. If we study prophecy, then we know God’s plan and can thus follow it.
To the nonbeliever, God’s predictions seem just like any other fortune teller’s. There are many religions and “prophets” who claim to know the future. However, there is only one religion that’s predictions are one hundred percent accurate: Christianity.
Any prophecy found in the Holy Scriptures about times of the past have been fulfilled historically. For instance, all the prophecies about Cyrus King of Persia happened just as Isaiah predicted. Even the person who rejects God cannot disprove the accuracy of the Bible; to get around the dilemma of prophecy they claim that the Scriptures were written after the historical events occurred, a position that is quickly undermined by the Dead Sea Scrolls. As events in Daniel and Revelation unfold in the future, it will be impossible for people to claim that the Bible was written after the fact.
That is the point: God is leaving undeniable proof that He is real though His word. To the believer, this truth is a comfort, guiding us through the uncertain future. To the nonbeliever, it is a dreadful fact exposing their sin and lost condition. Even if all the believers are gone (which may occur if you believe the Rapture will occur pre-tribulation), the Bible will be God’s witness to the world that He is sovereign over all creation.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 False gods are a burden to their believers. Only the Lord actually lessens one’s load. See Matthew 11:28-30.
2 Even if one is obedient to all the rituals of a false god, that god is still not able to deliver. Salvation can only be attained through God. Any other means will lead one into spiritual captivity.
3-4 God takes responsibility for those in His care. Once one enters into a covenant relationship with God by accepting Him as one’s Lord, then God takes full responsibility for caring for, providing for, and delivering one. From one’s birth to death, God will perform His duty towards His people. However, to receive this promise, one must take Him as one’s Lord.
5 God encourages His people, reminding them that the one who they have trusted to deliver them is the one who is above all others. A person can rest assured that God will take care of His people.
6-8 In stark contrast to God’s ability to deliver, false gods cannot even answer the cries of their believers (see I Ki 18:18-19 for an example). Jesus, even after His death, came and spoke face to face with His believers (Lk 24:36-45) and is still speaking today to born-again believers through the in-dwelling of the Holy Ghost. No other religion has a god who can speak with its believers. God wants idolaters to recognize this so that they can forsake the false god and turn to Him.
9-10 In chapter 44, God also uses the accuracy of prophecy to prove that He alone is God. While others may predict the future, only God’s predictions come true. One of the purposes of prophecy is to demonstrate to the lost that God is real.
11 Cyrus is the fulfillment of this prophecy. His emblem was an eagle, and his kingdom, Persia, was to the east of Israel. As chapter 45 predicted, Cyrus performed God’s will towards Jerusalem.
12-13 There is no excuses for the sinner. God has made plain His salvation through Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection in Jerusalem. God has never hid the path to righteousness or salvation. One merely has to look for God, and one will find Him for God is never far away.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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