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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PROPHECIES OF ESAIAS (ISAIAH)

John 12:37-43 But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Immediately after Jesus' dissertation about His soon-to-come death by crucifixion, He departed from their presence. Because of their rebellious disbelief, these Jews remained in a state of spiritual confusion. From the beginning of His earthly ministry, and starting with the miracle in the village of Cana, of Galilee, at which He turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), Jesus performed numerous miracles before various audiences of the Jews, which served as undeniable proof that He was the Son of God. Though a few believed Him to be the promised Messiah, yet even they did not fully understand where His kingdom would be established and what it was to be. However, the nation of Israel, as a whole, even those that heard His gospel message of salvation, believed not on Him. One must be extremely careful when studying the prophecies of Esaias (Isaiah) cited in the lesson text. They can be easily misinterpreted without referring to the times of Isaiah when they were written. On the surface, that is, their literal wording, one could say that these Jewish religious leaders, and their followers, rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah and Son of God in order that Isaiah's prophecies might be fulfilled. This is definitely not the meaning of the quotation from Isaiah 53:1, quoted here in this manner: Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? It is a rhetorical question that carries the meaning that no one believed God's message that was delivered to them through His Son, Christ Jesus, even after they were revealed and proven to be true by the mighty arm of the Lord through the miracles He performed in their presence. The true comparison was that, just as the Jews rejected God's message during the time of Isaiah, they likewise rejected the teaching of His Son on this occasion.

Their disbelief is further demonstrated by another prophecy from Esaias (Isaiah), the essence of which is taken from Isaiah 6:9-10. Quoted here it says that He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. Again, we cannot understand the literal sense of this quotation. God is good, just, and merciful. To say that God's word through His prophetic messenger, Isaiah, caused the Jewish nation to become so evil that there was no avenue of repentance, by which they could return to Him, and find grace in His sight is inconceivable. It was not the prophecy of Isaiah that caused these Jews to disbelieve God then, or reject Jesus at this particular time in biblical history. Rather Isaiah merely foretold of their evil ways and their refusal to accept Jesus as the Son of God. Of His prophecy, which proved to be true, it is said that their eyes would be blinded and their hearts would be hardened.However, it was not due to this prophecy, but, rather, it was the result of their own stubborn disbelief. And as long as that unbelieving state existed within them and guided their ways, it was impossible for Jesus, and His gospel message of salvation to convert and heal them. Reading Isaiah 6:1-10, we know the meaning of verse 41 of the lesson text. These prophecies of God came to Isaiah in a vision when he saw the Son of God sitting upon a throne within the Most Holy Place of the Temple of God, reigning as an eternal King.

With this most convincing evidence presented, many chief rulers ...believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Just as the parents of the young man blind from birth feared being put out of the synagogue for believing Jesus to be the Savior, so were these rulers of the Sanhedrin (John 9:22). Only a fool, knowing Jesus to be the promised Savior, would deny Him for the praise of men.