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The text for our consideration this morning is the Old Testament reading from Isaiah 45 that begins like this:
Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings,
to open doors before him that gates may not be closed:
“I will go before you and level the exalted places,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” (Isaiah 45:1-3)
It is said that politics and religion make for strange bedfellows, but here you have it. God is directing the course of human history, not through His Church and its theologians, but through Cyrus, the King of Assyria.
Cyrus is still the FUTURE king of Assyria. Isaiah writes what the Lord spoke to him, 200 years before Cyrus is born.
A lot of people have a problem with this. Predicting world events and the rise and fall of nations is something that political scientists and economists are trained for. And with a lot of skill and little luck, their predictions may be amazingly accurate.
But to identify the name of a king 200 years before he’s born? And to spell out in such detail what will happen during his reign? That’s too much. God may be OMNISCIENT, but He’s not that ALL-KNOWING.
And if you don’t believe that the Scriptures are really the INSPIRED, INERRENT Word of God, but are only the speeches and stories of wise and clever men passed down from generation to generation, added to and subtracted from along the way, then its easy enough to assume that some clever scribe added Cyrus’ name into the record after it all happened.
Which defeats the whole purpose of PROPHESY. God broadcasts His FOREKNOWLEDGE so that when things actually happens the way He said they would, we might say, ‘aha, His Word really is true and worthy of my trust.’ Continue reading