The words of the prophet Isaiah were filled with pathos as he received divine revelation concerning the future of his nation due to unbelief and rejection of the Messiah. It was a burden that was shared by many of the prophets, for they were called to the forefront to warn the people of God’s inevitable judgment for having forsaken their God. Their neglect of Truth and a vibrant relationship with the true God had been replaced by mere formality. Their rituals and religious observances were devoid of personal meaning and faith.
The Apostle Paul would later describe such individuals and outward practices as … “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:5 NIV). The Israelites, as with peoples of any nation, fell prey to the subtle devices of evil which promoted an outward acknowledgement of religious belief, but lacked an inward manifestation of faith in God’s Word. Again, it was Paul who urged believers to … “let the peace of Christ rule [umpire] in your hearts (Col 3:15 NIV).
Times had not changed from the time of Isaiah to that of Paul’s day. Israel was not at peace nationally, for its people were not at peace with God. Evil marked the reign of many of the kings who failed to set the pace of spiritual fervor in the nation. Thus looking down the annals of history some seven hundred years and even further to a time yet awaited, God’s prophet grieved over the people of his nation. Unbelief, motivated by the evil schemes and tactics of the Adversary would result in her rejection of Messiah.
John would write in his gospel … “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11 NIV). His answer mirrored the sad words of Isaiah … “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed” (Isa 53:1 NIV)? Though the Jews had an abundance of prophetic messages concerning Messiah, they failed to apply its truths, when, at the right time in God’s Divine plan, the Savior came to fulfill every facet of what had been first promised since the Garden of Eden. God’s arm had been revealed to Israel in the deliverance of the Jews out of Egypt. Prior to his death, Moses wrote … “yet they [Jews] are Thy people, even Thine inheritance, whom Thou hast brought out by Thy great power and Thine outstretched arm” (Deut 9:29 NASB) … “and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders; and He has brought us to this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deut 26:8-9 NASB).
However, the same “arm of the Lord” that spoke of deliverance, also declared judgment. Rejection of Truth by the stubborn nation would cut off Messiah. God would turn toward the Gentiles and establish His Church, the Body of Christ, composed of individual peoples [Jews and Gentiles] who by faith placed their faith in the crucified and risen Savior. Upon the completion of the Body and the rapture of the Church, the “arm of the Lord” once ignored by Israel will be manifested again. In a time known as Jacob’s Trouble, the nation will consider the Very One whom they rejected and respond in faith.
Ezekiel prophesied those days of darkness prior to Christ’s return to establish His kingdom ... “As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face” (Ezek 20:33-35 NASB).