Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah the son of Amoz which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah kings of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters forty-nine through fifty-four of this Old Testament prophetic book. Before we get into the words which are found within this particular section of the book of Isaiah, I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to an invitation that was given in the forty-eighth chapter of this prophetic book. If you turn and direct your attention to the final three verses of this chapter you will find Isaiah the son of Amoz speaking unto the people of God, and inviting them to do something very specific—something which is quite intriguing when you think about the fact that they hadn’t even seen the Babylonian Empire rise to power on the world stage. The final three verses of the forty-eighth chapter of this prophetic book is something which must be strongly considered, for before the people of God would experience the captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans there would be an invitation given to depart from the midst of it. I feel it is absolutely necessary when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture to consider the words of the prophet—not only in the forty-eighth chapter of this book, but also words which would be found again in the fifty-second chapter. What so fascinates and astounds me when you think about and consider these words and this invitation is when you consider just how much this is a theme that is found within Scripture—a theme that is not only found in the Old Testament, but also a theme that is found in the New Testament. As I sit her this afternoon I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that much of what you find in the New Testament has its root and foundation in words which are present within the Old Testament. In all reality, when you read the words found in the forty-eighth chapter of the book of Isaiah you will find the people of God being instructed—even before they would enter into the land of the Chaldeans—to depart, to go forth, and to flee from the midst of her. What adds even more weight and significance to this is that this wouldn’t be the first time there would be an invitation and clarion call to depart in order to avoid being consumed and swept up in the judgment, the devastation and the destruction of the living God. I am convinced that in order to truly understand the weight and significance of what is found in the forty-eighth chapter of the book of Isaiah—as well as in various other places within the Old and New Testaments—it is first necessary to turn our attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis.
As surely and as certainly as the book of Genesis is a book of beginnings—the beginning of creation, the beginning of human race, the beginning of the making of the nation and people of Israel—it is also an apocalyptic book which has distinct undertones and currents within it which Jesus would reference when speaking concerning the Last Days. What’s more, is that if you want to understand the Last Days prior to the return of Jesus Christ it is absolutely necessary to examine the Old Testament book of Genesis—specifically the narrative of Noah and Lot, for it is the narrative of these two men which helps shine a great deal of light on to what the culture and society is going to be like in the days leading up to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament book of Genesis is a powerful book of beginnings, however, directly linked and connected to those beginnings is also a narrative of ending—the ending of all life upon the face of the earth save that which was upon the ark during the days of Noah, and the ending of all life in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah during the days of Lot. It is this narrative of the days of Lot which I am absolutely convinced sets the tone and stage for the powerful and clarion invitation which was given in the prophetic literature found in the Old Testament. If you want to truly understand the full weight, the full significance and the full meaning of the words which are found in the prophetic literature of Scripture concerning the land of the Chaldeans, and the clarion call and warning to flee, to depart and to essentially run for your life from the midst of Babylon that you not be caught up and swept away in the devastation, the destruction and the judgment that would come upon and consume it. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the narrative surrounding the days of Lot, for the same warning, the same word of caution, and the same invitation to flee, to depart and to run for your life is found during those days—days in which the LORD was going to completely and utterly destroy the cities of the plain with a great destruction of fire and brimstone that would come upon the cities. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the language which is found in the nineteenth chapter of this Old Testament beginning with the first verse:
“And there came two angels to Sodom at even, and Lot say in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; and he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compasses the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my root. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door” (Genesis 19:1-11).
“And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? Son in laws, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, BRING THEM OUT OF THIS PLACE: for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to d estrogen it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, UP, GET YOU OUT OF THIS PLACE; for the LORD will set Roy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, ARISE, TAKE THY WIFE, AND THY TWO DAUGHTERS, WHICH ARE HERE; lest thou e consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; and the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, ESCAPE FOR THY LIFE; LOOK NOT BEHIND THEE, NEITHER STAY THOU IN ALL THE PLAIN; ESCAPE TO THE MOUNTAIN, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. HASTE THEE, ESCAPE THITHER; for I cannot do any thing till Thou e come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cites, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and behold, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cites of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt” (Genesis 19:12-29).
BRING THEM OUT OF THIS PLACE! GET YOU OUT OF THIS PLACE! ARISE! ESCAPE FOR THY LIFE! ESCAPE TO THE MOUNTAIN! HASTE THEE! ESCAPE THITHER! Please don’t miss the awesome and wonderful significance of what took place within this chapter, for the LORD had purposed to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and all the cities of the plain by raining down upon them fire and brimstone from heaven. The earth had already experienced cataclysmic devastation and destruction as a result of the great flood the LORD sent upon the earth, and despite the promise the LORD made to never again destroy the earth with a great flood, the LORD would destroy the cities of the plain by casting fire and brimstone down from heaven. Before the LORD even sent the two angels before His face unto the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah He warned Abraham of the coming judgment and destruction that would be unleashed upon those cities. Of course the narrative goes on to reveal how Abraham stood before and within the presence of the LORD and interceded on behalf of the cities of the plain—and not only the cities of the plain, but on behalf of the righteous that might be found within the city. Abraham stood before the LORD and interceded on behalf of the cities, and appealed to the righteousness of the righteous which would be in the city as means to abstain from overthrowing the city. The account would go on to reveal how Abraham would intercede before the LORD to such a degree that the LORD would have spared the cities of the plain on account of ten righteous who would be within the city. What’s actually quite interesting is when you think about the fact that within these cities you not only had Lot and his wife, but also their two daughters, and their sons in law, that totaled six people. Assuming these six individuals were righteous before and within the sight of the LORD that would mean that there would only need to be four more righteous souls in the midst of these cities. THE LORD COULDN’T EVEN FIND FOUR! THE LORD COULDN’T FIND FOUR! THERE WEREN’T EVEN FOUR! The very fact that the LORD wound up destroying the cities of the plain suggested the tragic reality that even if Lot, his wife, their two daughters, and perhaps their sons in law were righteous in the sight of the LORD, there was a deficit of four righteous in the midst of the city. THE DEFICIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS! WHEN RIGHTEOUSNESS IS SCARCE IN THE MIDST OF THE CITIES! WHEN THE LORD LOOKS BUT CAN’T FIND ANY! This reality is one that is actually found within the prophetic literature of Scripture—not only within the prophetic book of Isaiah, but also the prophetic book of Ezekiel as well. Consider if you will the words which are found in the prophetic books of Ezekiel and Isaiah, as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles:
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the LORD God” (Ezekiel 22:30-31).
“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no Intercessory: Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, is sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke” (Isaiah 59:16-17).
“And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: Therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth” (Isaiah 63:5-6).
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places therefore, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely. O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved: thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great man, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds” (Jeremiah 5:1-5).
“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the LORD God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen likes, therefore, behold, I am against you saith the LORD God. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD God. Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a. Wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untemperred morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a storm wind shall rend it” (Ezekiel 13:-11).
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
It is quite clear from the words which are found within these passages of Scripture that the LORD is not only seeking after and looking for those who will stand in the gap, and those who will make up the hedge, but the LORD is also looking for those who are righteous in the midst of the land. What was true during the days of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel was also true during the days of Lot, and the LORD declared unto Abraham that He would not destroy the cites of the plain on account of ten righteous within the city. The interesting and tragic reality is that although the LORD declared that He would not destroy the cities of the plain on account of ten righteous souls living within it, He would still end up raining fire and brimstone upon them. We know that the apostle Peter referred to Lot as “righteous Lot” in the second epistle he wrote unto the Christians which were scattered, however, nothing at all is said about Lot’s wife, nor his two daughters. What’s more, is that when the time came to escape from the city of Sodom only Lot, his wife and their two daughters were the only ones who escaped with and for their lives. Neither of Lot’s son in laws departed from the city—despite the warning Lot issued before and unto them—and there is not a doubt in my mind that they were both swept away and caught up in the judgment which the LORD rained upon the city. Even more than this we find Lot’s wife turning back to look upon and behold the destruction and devastation that came upon the city, and would become a pillar of salt. Taking all of this into considering you will find the absence of four more who might have been considered as being righteous, you will find two mocking Lot for his words of warning and caution, and you till find one who turned back upon the destruction, and as a direct result became a pillar of salt in the midst. When it was all said and done there would be four who would escape the destruction and devastation which would come upon the cities of the plain, and yet only three of them would actually arrive at the destination. Stop for a moment and think about this, for although there would be four who would indeed escape the destruction which came upon these cities of the plain, there would be three who would not only escape, but who would also arrive at that place which was designated as safety and shelter from the destruction and devastation.
As you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find multiple times the angels which were sent by the LORD unto Lot instructing and warning him to not only escape from the midst of the city, but to escape for their lives. Their escaping from the midst of the cities wasn’t merely about them escaping, but it was a matter of life and death, as if they had made the decision to remain in the midst of the city they would have been consumed in the devastation and destruction that would come upon it. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize the narrative that is found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, for it helps set the stage for what we find in the prophetic literature of ancient Hebrew prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah. In all reality, it’s something worth considering when you come to realize that it wasn’t simply Isaiah who issued the clarion call and warning to escape and to flee from the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, but it was also other Hebrew prophets who would also hear the same warning, and would sound that warning and alarm in the hearing of the people of God. The words which are found in the nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis are words which are truly powerful when you take the time to truly mediate upon them, for three different times when speaking unto Lot the angels warned him of the coming destruction that would come upon the cities of the plain, and would instruct him to escape for his life. What is truly gracious of the LORD is that not only would the LORD send these two angels to warn Lot, his wife, their two daughters, and even their sons in law of the coming judgment, but even when Lot and his family hesitated in departing from the city, the two angels laid hold of the hands of Lot, his wife and their two daughters and brought them forth out of the midst of the city. It was truly the divine grace and mercy of the LORD that caused Lot, his wife and their two daughters to actually be brought forth out of the city, for Scripture reveals how they would initially hesitate in actually rising up from their place and leave the city. It would be because the LORD remembered Abraham, and because of the covenant the LORD entered into with Abraham that Lot, his wife and their two daughters would be spared from the judgment, the destruction and devastation that would come upon the cities of the plain. If we are to truly understand the language that is found in the prophetic book of Isaiah—and not only in this prophetic book, but also various other prophetic books, as well as the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthians, and the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ—-we must understand just what this fleeing and escaping actually looked like.
Although the angels had to physically lay hold of the hands of Lot, his wife and their two daughters to bring them forth from the midst of the city of Sodom, and to bring them into the place where they would and could escape for their lives, the words and warning which are found in this passage help us understand just how severe and how important the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied and spoke unto the people of God truly were. Generations and decades before Babylon would become the dominant empire and kingdom on the world stage, and years before the people of God would actually be captives in exile in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, the LORD had already given them the warning to rise up from that place, to depart from the midst of it, and to essentially “escape for their lives.” Their departure from the midst of the land of the Chaldeans wasn’t merely about escaping the culture, the society, and the wickedness that was so pervasive within it, but it was about something much deeper and something much greater—namely, the people of God escaping for their lives that they not be swept away and caught up in the destruction and devastation which the LORD would unleash upon it. How truly powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that the LORD would indeed and would in fact warn His people through His servant Isaiah—and would do so decades and generations before they would even enter into captivity and exile—and instruct them to depart from the midst of it. The LORD through His servant Isaiah would issue a powerful and clarion call unto His people that they not remain and abide in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, but would indeed move forth from the midst of that place and escape for their lives. The prophet Isaiah saw a great need that would be before the people of God, for he saw the LORD judging Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans—this land which their father and patriarch Abraham would be called and brought forth from. Pause for a moment and think about this reality, for not only would Abraham be brought forth from Ur of the Chaldeans centuries and generations earlier, his descendants and offspring would find themselves in the midst of that same land, and would have the warning and cautious invitation to depart from the midst of it. With that being said, consider if you will the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah beginning with the final verses of the forty-eighth chapter:
“Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; Say ye, The LORD hath redeemed His servant Jacob. And they thirsted not when He led them through the deserts: He caused waters two flow out of the rock for them: He clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isaiah 48:20-22).
“Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; Go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: For the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward” (Isaiah 52:11-12).
Twice within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah—generations before the people of God would even find themselves living as captives in the midst of the land the Chaldeans—the LORD would warn His people to depart from the midst of the land that they be not swept away in the destruction and devastation that would come upon it. Stop and consider just how truly powerful these words would have been—particularly if during the seventy years of captivity and exile there were those who actually read, studied and considered the Law and the prophets. We know and understand that Daniel discerned the appointed time of captivity and exile as being seventy years according to the words which the prophet Jeremiah had spoken previously. It would be through the words which Jeremiah prophesied and spoke unto the people of Judah and Jerusalem concerning seventh years being appointed for captivity and exile that Daniel would come to understand the appointed time of the people of God living as captives and exiles in the midst of the land. With that being said, it might very well be that there were others who gave themselves to reading, to studying, and seeking to understand the language of the Law and the prophets, and would hear the invitation and warning the LORD had given unto His people to depart from the midst of the land. It is actually astounding to think about and consider the fact that we find this warning in the midst of the prophetic book of Isaiah—and not only in the midst of the book of Isaiah, but also in the midst of the book of Jeremiah—for when the appointed time for departure actually came and was manifested in the midst of the captivity and exile, the people of God would recognize the words of the LORD’s servants who had warned and prepared them generations earlier. How absolutely captivating it is to think about the fact that the living God would prepare and make ready His people to rise up, to depart, and to go forth from the land of the Chaldeans—the land of their captivity and exile—generations before they would even find themselves sitting by the rivers of Babylon and weeping. Even before the people of God found themselves living as captives and exiles in a strange and foreign land there was not only the promise of an appointed time of end, and an appointed time of departure, but also a warning and word of caution calling them to go when the time came.
What gives this even more weight and meaning is when you consider the fact that the LORD moved and operated the same way when the children of Israel were slaves in the land of Egypt. The LORD would declare and reveal unto Abraham that His descendants would serve a nation that would oppress them for four hundred years, and yet there would come an appointed time when not only would they come forth from the midst of that land, but the LORD would also judge that nation and people which oppressed and mistreated them. What’s more, is that when you come to the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find the LORD through His servant and friend Moses speaking unto the people of Israel as He would prepare them for their departure from the midst of the land. The LORD would speak through His servant Moses unto the children of Israel and would call them to make themselves ready and prepare themselves for that appointed time when they would need to rise up with haste from their lodging places and depart from the midst of the land of Egypt. They would have already witnessed nine of the ten plagues and judgments of the LORD which came upon the land of Egypt, and yet the tenth plague was going to come upon the entire land of Egypt as the angel of the LORD would strike down the firstborn son within and throughout all the land of Egypt. Only those houses which had the blood upon the sides and top of the door post would be spared, as the angel would pass over them and not strike down those within it. It is this reality that is the very heart and foundation of the feast and celebration of the Passover, for on the night when the angel of the LORD would strike down all the first born in the land of Egypt, he would pass over the houses of the children of Israel because of the blood upon the door posts. It is in the twelfth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus where you find the LORD preparing His people through Moses His servant of the need for blood upon the doorposts of their houses, and how they needed to make ready and prepare themselves for that moment and that time when they would need to arise with all haste and depart from the land of Egypt. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the words found in the twelfth chapter of the book of Exodus beginning to read with and form the first verse:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall e unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep. It up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain unto the morning; and that which remaineth of it unlit morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins birdied, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beasts; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth unleavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:1-17).
The language that is found within this message is such that must be understood when seeking to read the words found in the prophetic book of Isaiah, for the words Moses spoke unto the people of Israel is the very heart and foundation of the same type of message that would be given unto them while they were captives and exiles in the land of the Chaldeans. It’s important and worth noting that while the LORD would judge the land of Egypt—along with its gods—through judgments and plagues of devastation and destruction that He might bring them forth out of the midst of it, He would not do so in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans. The LORD would call for His people to rise up and depart from the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, and yet there would be no plagues, no judgments, no devastation and no destruction other than the Medes and the Persians marching against the city and capturing it. This is something which must be recognized and understood, for although there would be no plagues and although there would be no devastation and destruction as was in the land of Egypt, the people of God would still need to rise up and get themselves up out of the midst of the land of the Chaldeans that they be not swept away in their destruction, their devastation and calamity. This language is absolutely wonderful and powerful when you consider it in light of the clarion warning and word of caution that was spoken unto the people of God in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, for even before they would enter into that land the LORD already called for them to prepare themselves to depart from the midst of it. Through the prophet Isaiah we find the living and eternal God preparing and making His people ready for a second departure—a second exodus if you will—from the land of their captivity and exile that they might return unto the land which was their inheritance, their possession and heritage within the earth. The prophet Isaiah would be the first ancient Hebrew prophet who would provide a message of warning and caution to depart from the land of the Chaldeans, however, he would not be the only prophet who would call the people of God to depart from the midst of it. The prophet Jeremiah would issue three different words of caution and words of warning unto the people to depart from the midst of it, and the prophet Zechariah would himself issue a similar warning during his days and generation. Consider if you will the following words which are found within these two Old Testament prophetic books:
“Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks. For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall e taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain. And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD. Because ye were glad, because ye rejoice, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat sat he heifer at grass, and bellows as bulls; your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: Behold the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert” (Jeremiah 50:8-12).
“Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: Be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD”s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: Howl for her; talk balm for her pain, if so she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: Forsake h ear, and let us go every not into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: Come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God” (Jeremiah 51:6-10).
“My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and delivery ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD. And lest your heart fain, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler. Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon; and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her” (Jeremiah 51:45-47).
“Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. Deliver thyself, O Zion that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me” (Zechariah 2:6-9).
Within each of these prophetic passages of Scripture we find the word of the LORD coming unto the people of God warning them to flee from the midst of the land of the Chaldeans that they might not be swept away and consumed in her judgment, her devastation and her destruction. Through the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah the LORD would warn His people concerning Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans, and instruct them to depart from the midst of it, lest they be carried away and swept up in her judgment and her destruction. What we must understand and recognize is that while there was in fact a literal Babylon in the Old Testament during the days of the Hebrew prophets and people of God, there is a Babylon which was still found and still present in the midst of the earth. If you turn and direct your attention to the second New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints and congregation you will find the apostle appealing to the words of the ancient prophet when instructing the Corinthians to not allow themselves to get caught up in the things of the world. Just as surely as the LORD instructed His people to depart from Babylon which was a physical place in the midst of the earth, so also did the apostle Paul instruct the Corinthian saints—and not only the Corinthian saints, but also each and every saint and Christian throughout history who would read his words that this same warning and word of caution still exists in our generation. We cannot and must not ignore the words which are found in this epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, for not only did the apostles warn against the filth and stains of this world, but the apostle Paul warned them to flee from the midst of it, to deliver themselves out of it—and not only to depart, but also to touch not the unclean thing. As surely as the people of God were to come out from the midst of Babylon, they were to touch not the unclean thing and be like Achan of the children of Israel who saw the accursed thing in the midst of the city of Jericho, who coveted that which he saw, who also took of it, and proceeded to hide it under his tent in the midst of the congregation. Please pay close and careful attention to this particular reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the awesome warning and word of caution that it is not enough to depart and to escape for our lives, but also we are not to touch the unclean thing. Consider if you will the words which are found in the second New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul which he wrote unto the Corinthian saints:
“O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath He that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” “(2 Corinthians 6:11-18).
When writing his second epistle unto the Corinthian saints the apostle Paul warned against being unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Please note that the apostle Paul didn’t instruct them to have no communion, nor have any fellowship with unbelievers, but rather not to be unequally yoked together with them. Notice the key word in this statement and word of warning is “unequally,” which shines a tremendous spotlight on the fact that here is a healthy balance between interaction and fellowship with unbelievers and with the world, and that which is unhealthy, and that which is unhealthy, and that which is unequal in the sight and presence of the LORD. The apostle Paul would go on to speak of the disagreement between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial, and between righteousness and unrighteousness. This is important for us to understand, for it would be later on in the midst of this passage where the apostle Paul goes on to declare that we are indeed the Temple of the living God, as God declared that He would walk in us, and would be our God, and would be our people. Moreover, the apostle Paul would appeal to the words of the ancient prophet Isaiah when he instructed the people of Judah and Jerusalem to come out from among them, to be separate, and to touch not the unclean thing. The apostle Paul was issuing a clarion call unto the Corinthian saints that they deliver themselves from the filthiness, the corruptness, the vileness, the perversity, and the wickedness of this world. In fact, if you begin reading the first verse of the seventh chapter you will find the following words: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Consider also if you will the words which are found within the first chapter of the epistle which James the half brother of Jesus wrote unto his audience when he spoke of religion, of being religious, and of pure and undefiled religion. Beginning to read with and from the twenty-sixth verse of the first chapter of this epistle we find the following words which were written by James the half brother of Jesus: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself in spotted from the world” (James 1:26-27).
Before I bring this writing to a close and present you with the ultimate way in which we deliver ourselves from Babylon with all its wickedness, all its filth, all its perversity, all its idolatry and immorality and idolatry, it is imperative that we consider the fact that there is one more final warning given in Scripture to deliver oneself from the midst of Babylon that they not be swept away and consumed in the destruction and devastation that would come upon it. If you come to the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ you will find the following words which were spoken by an angel which came down from heaven and had great power. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the eighteenth chapter you will encounter this wonderful and powerful message which was spoken by this angel who came down from heaven, having great power, and who lightened the whole earth with his glory:
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of h ear plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double” (Revelation 18:1-6).
It is the message of the angel which came down from heaven that proclaimed how Babylon had fallen, and it was the message of the voice which spoke from heaven that called men to come out of the midst of Babylon—and not only called on people to come out from the midst of Babylon, but also referred to those people as “my people.” This voice which spoke from heaven called on the people of God to come out from the midst of Babylon that they be not partakers of her sins, and that they not receive of her plagues. This is in all reality the final warning, the final word of caution, and the final invitation to come out from the midst of Babylon that the people of God might not be partakers of her sins, and might not receive the plagues which would come upon her. With all of this being said the question must be asked how we actually come out from the midst of Babylon, and how we deliver ourselves from the midst of her. The answer is actually found in the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah—and not only the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah, but also in the sixth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we are truly going to deliver ourselves from Babylon and from the midst of her fornication, her idolatry, her immorality, her wickedness, her adultery, her transgression and sins, we can only do so through the Servant whom the prophet Isaiah prophesied and spoke of in the vision which he saw. If you turn and direct your attention to the fifty-third chapter of this prophetic book you will find a powerful description concerning this Servant who would suffer—and not only suffer, but would also suffer that we might be delivered from sin, from transgression, from iniquity, and even from the penalty and wrath that is directly associated with sin. As I bring this writing to a close I leave you with the words the prophet Isaiah wrote in the fifty-third chapter of this prophetic book, as well as the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman saints, as well as the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints, and the words which were written in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the churches of Galatia:
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath n o form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall. Declare his generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; he hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for in, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53:1-10).
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For He that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sun, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:3-14).
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dad: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then are we ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to new justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I though the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:16-21).