Numerous Scriptures in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel address the house of Israel with dire warnings. Do any of those prophecies apply to us today?
The astounding truth is, YES! There are a multitude of prophetic statements throughout the Word of God that very specifically speak of our day–the generation living just before the promised return of Jesus Christ! However, many who claim to be ministers, teachers or students of the Bible dismiss much of the Old Testament as irrelevant and outdated–especially when it comes to prophetic sections.
Isaiah prophesied before the FIRST national captivity of the ten tribes who bore the name, House of Israel. These ten tribes were led into captivity around 722-721 B.C. 2 Kings 17 provides details about how God removed these rebellious tribes from the land of Israel by the hand of the king of Assyria. However, Isaiah prophesied about this captivity years earlier, at the time of King Uzziah. There is a generally accepted date identified by the death of King Uzziah [Azariah] of 740 B.C., and we find that Isaiah mentions this event in association with his calling as a prophet (Compare Isaiah 6:1). Furthermore, Isaiah begins his book: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isaiah 1:1). These kings reigned in Judah from approximately 792 to 686 B.C.
Although Isaiah evidently lived in Judah, he, nonetheless, also prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel–the ten tribes of the House of Israel. His prophecies went far beyond his lifetime. They transcended the ancient captivity of either the House of Israel or the House of Judah! The remarkable Messianic prophecies from the Book of Isaiah served as a basis for what Jesus read concerning Himself in His hometown of Nazareth. Luke 4:16-20 recounts this occurrence, and in verse 21, Jesus is quoted: “‘… Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'”
Another account in John 12:37-40 quotes some of Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus, and in verse 41, John states: “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.” We should note that these events were over 600 years following the lifetime of Isaiah. So we see by these examples that Isaiah’s prophetic work was intended for times far ahead of his own life.
But did it all stop with Christ’s first appearance when He came in the flesh to die for mankind? Do the prophecies in Isaiah apply in our time?
One poignant example is found in Isaiah 2:2-4:
“Now it shall come to pass in the LATTER DAYS that the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
The time and events spoken of in this marvelous prophecy have not come to pass–there is yet a future fulfillment to occur!
Just as Isaiah warned of captivity for the houses of Israel and Judah in the past, and those events occurred, so he speaks of a future captivity for the modern houses of Israel and Judah. Note this sobering prophecy given in Isaiah 11:11-12: “It shall come to pass IN THAT DAY That the LORD shall set His hand AGAIN THE SECOND TIME To recover the remnant of His people who are left… He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.”
The Biblical term “In that Day” ALWAYS refers to a time just prior to the return of Jesus Christ (even though it can include a time subsequent to the return of Christ). For proof, read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.” Just as in the former times, so now, in our generation, the words of warning that God has inspired are rejected by nations that should know better! Please consider what God has so powerfully recorded for our day through Isaiah:
“Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, THAT IT MAY BE FOR TIME TO COME, FOREVER AND EVER: That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ And to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us'” (Isaiah 30:8-11).
By contrast, the prophet Ezekiel began to see visions from God when he was among the Jews taken captive by the Babylonians. That Jewish captivity occurred many years after the captivity of the House of Israel: “On the fifth day of the month which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar…” (Ezekiel 1:2-3).
The date described in these opening verses of the book of Ezekiel is approximately 593 B.C. The temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed in 586 B.C. This destruction occurred following several years of plundering wars fought in the land of Judah.
With this background, take note of the remarkable commission given by God to Ezekiel: “And He said to me: ‘Son of man, I am sending you TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day'” (Ezekiel 2:3); Also, “Then He said to me: ‘Son of man, GO TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL and speak with My words to them'” (Ezekiel 3:4).
As we have already established, the House of Israel had been taken captive by the Assyrians more than 120 years earlier! In effect, the House of Israel at that time had ceased to exist as an identifiable nation that Ezekiel could then contact with this message from God. Moreover, Ezekiel was himself a captive of the Babylonians, incapable of going to the House of Israel.
Chapter 33 of Ezekiel adds even more instructions from God: “‘So you, son of man: I have made you a WATCHMAN FOR THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me'” (Verse 7; Compare Ezekiel 3:17).
To some extent, Ezekiel’s message was heard among his fellow captive Jews, but throughout his writings, the people of Judah, Israel and the nations are being warned! This warning includes the message that God will again punish the modern Houses of Israel and Judah and that they will again suffer national destruction and horrible captivity! This is for an impending future time, and that time is closing upon the modern nations of Israel (especially Ephraim and Manasseh–descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob, or “Israel”. The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh have been identified today as the modern nations of the British Empire and the United States of America). Ezekiel’s message is also addressed to the modern nation or House of Judah, which man calls Israel today. (Please read our free booklet, titled “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” for a much more detailed account of what is prophesied to happen to these nations.)
Another momentous prophecy awaits fulfillment, and we find it recorded in Ezekiel 39:22-23:
“‘So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward. The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into CAPTIVITY for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.'”
And, in Ezekiel 37, we see a prophecy that has never found fulfillment concerning the Houses of Israel and Judah once again becoming one nation–with one king:
“‘Then say to them, “Thus says the LORD GOD: ‘Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them ONE NATION in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and ONE KING shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again'”‘” (Verses 21-22); Verse 24 adds: “‘”‘David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.”‘”‘
Biblical prophecy points to these future events with absolute certainty! Many prophecies are finding fulfillment in our day–prophecies that herald the looming end of this age and the emergence of the glorious Kingdom of God.
As we consider these prophecies–both watching and preparing for the times we now live in as well as future events, let’s pay close attention to what God IS REVEALING.
In Isaiah’s time, the people who heard his message said: “‘…Tomorrow will be as today. And much more abundant'” (Isaiah 56:12); When Ezekiel prophesied, here is how his message was viewed: “‘”…The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off”” (Ezekiel 12:27).
Here is how Peter sums it up: “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
For the scoffers, the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel and all of God’s prophets will have little impact! But will they have impact for us?
Lead Writer: Dave Harris