Picture this! Seated in his perch high above the courtroom, the Judge barked out the command, “Bring in the Jury” and as the twelve men and women seat themselves;
the Judge asked the jury foreman, “Have you reached a verdict.” Hearing an affirmative response, the Judge then proceeded to set down the charges.
Peering over the rim of his spectacles, the Judge spoke, “As to the charge of selfish greed, how do you find?” The jury foreman responded, “Guilty as charged.”
“As to Frivolous pleasure seeking?” – “Guilty!
“As to Cynical Materialism?” – “Guilty!”
“As to Reversing the standards of morality?” – “Guilty!”
“As to Intellectual pride and self sufficiency?’ – “Guilty!”
“As to Alcoholic indulgence?” – “Guilty!”
“And as to Corruption?” – “Guilty.”
The judge then addressed the Defendant, “It seems incredulous to me that you are standing h
ere guilty of all seven counts. Imagine, you who have had every possible advantage given you, every blessing, so to speak, and yet you have chosen to act in a despicable manner. When I think of your selfish greed, I wonder why it was so important to you to acquire house after house and field after neighbouring field until the entire world is wanting. Do you not understand that a day of reckoning is coming where all these things will be stripped from you? Or the frivolous pleasure seeking? You turned your back on values, and on your God, and you went from pleasure to pleasure, seeking indulgence in every party and event. Yet, soon others will feast on what you have and all you will have to look forward to is destruction.
For some reason, you think even God is powerless to intervene in human history and exercise his sovereignty, so you just drag along your cart of possessions as you bathe in a cynical materialism. There is a great lesson awaiting you. Perhaps saddest of all is the way you reversed the standards of morality in calling evil good and good evil; you proclaim depravity of character as manly strength, and sensuous impurity as true virtue and strength. But the piper has yet to be paid for your transgression. Then, as I reflect on your intellectual pride and self-sufficiency, I am appalled that you set yourself up as wiser than God Himself or even wiser than your past generations. Remember, pride goeth before a fall.
Your alcoholic indulgence gives you false courage as you see yourselves as mighty heroes at the mixing bowl. And to be sure, you are guilty of corruption. You no longer have integrity as you have sold it in the discharge of your public service and your responsibilities toward your fellow man. And you feel nothing in depriving the innocent poor of their legal rights. Have you not thought that you would be found out?
This is a true story! You will find it properly recorded in Isaiah Chapter 5. The Judge and
Jury is the Almighty God and the Defendant is the House of Israel. The timing is around 760 BC, a few years before the invasion began upon the ten tribes by the Assyrians, who not only conquered Israel but carried the people away to a northern territory between the Black and Caspian Seas. The verdict was in, and the invasion and defeat of Israel was their pitiful sentence. God’s patience had come to an end and the sentence was carried out, beginning in 745BC. Read how the NIV interprets the carrying out of the sentence.
Therefore the LORD’S anger burns against his people;
his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
The mountains shake,
and the dead bodies are like
refuse in the streets.
Yet for all this,
his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.
He lifts up a banner
for the distant nations,
he whistles for those
at the ends of the earth.
Here they come,
swiftly and speedily!
Not one of them grows tired
not one slumbers or sleeps;
not a belt is loosened at the waist,
not a sandal thong is broken.
Their arrows are sharp,
all their bows are strung;
their horses’ hoofs
seem like flint,
their chariot wheels
like a whirlwind.
Their roar is like that of the lion,
they roar like young lions;
they growl as they
seize their prey
and carry it off
with no one to rescue.
In that day they will roar over it
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks at the land,
he will see darkness and distress;
even the light will be darkened by the clouds.
Thus, the House of Israel was punished and banished from their homeland. But that was twenty-seven centuries ago, what is it to do with us? Well, sadly, this chapter of Isaiah has a dual fulfillment. We know from Hosea 1 that a divorce of the marriage depicted in Exodus 19 took place at the time of this banishment, but that Hosea 1:10 prophesied a return to God by these Israelites, this return being possible through the Blood of Christ and taking place beginning shortly after His Crucifixion and Resurrection. Great blessings began to be bestowed upon the ten tribes as they inherited fabulous lands and resources around the world. Yet, these blessings seemed to go hand in hand with the closeness in Christ and a good effort to following God’s Laws. Somewhere, particularly over the last couple of centuries, a breakdown of our faith began to take place and with it, an acceleration of the ills which came upon the House of Israel preceding the Assyrian captivity.
Today, we are guilty of the same offences. Take monopoly capitalism, for instance, when people, primarily through corporations, are trying to control every aspect of our nations’ land and resources,
bringing great financial pressure on Israelites everywhere and forcing many to live in a desperate state. These men and women are well advised to read James V, particularly verses 1-6. Still, you can go through the list of charges brought against the House of Israel in Isaiah’s time and clearly see the resemblance; for example, our society today is driven by pleasure seeking events, whether sex, entertainment or sports, and we have reached a new high in calling evil good and good evil. Society has pushed God to the background and as Deuteronomy 8:17 suggests, the majority of Israelites think their wealth and possessions have been earned through their own power and might. Corruption amongst corporations and government seems to have no end as well as dependencies, whether alcohol or illicit and prescription drugs. Indeed, it is a society with all the earmarks of the House of Israel of old.
And so, if we are indeed True Israel and if we are so alike Israel of old, then we should ready ourselves for a replay of Isaiah 5:26, that is, “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.” Joel tells us we shall not go unpunished so we should expect severe retribution. And who might the ensign be. Well, Ezekiel 38 throws light on this and when you analyze the names in verses 3, 5 and 6, it is a frightening prospect as Russia, the Asian nations, the Arab nations, the black nations and the Islamic nations of the old Ottoman Empire as prophesied to come against us. It is to be a fearsome force, brought together by an historical hate, a hate exacerbated by our aggressive military undertakings over the past number of years. When you consider Isaiah’s “hiss unto them” you can certainly see the similarity with Ezekiel’s “put hooks into thy jaws and I will bring thee forth.” (Verse 4).
The Assyrian invasion forced the migration of Israel peoples to countries destined to be theirs. The Gog & Magog invasion will herald the end of the age just before the return of Christ, who comes to save Israel and bring in the Millennial Kingdom. It seems to be designed to bring God’s chosen people to their knees in repentance and to bring home to them their identity as Israel. Still, both invasions were/will be the result of an Israel sinking to the depths of wickedness. From the evidence of Mid East events, the second invasion is already on the horizon. (Reference material employed from Auth. King James Version, Knox, Amplified and NIV versions, Wycliffe Bible Commentary and our weekly Bible Study – For selfish greed, Isaiah 5: 9-10 – Frivolous pleasure seeking verses 11-17 – Cynical materialism verses 18-19 – Standards of morality verse 20 – Intellectual pride verse 21 – Alcoholic indulgence verse 22 – Corruption verse 23 – Sentencing verses 25-30)