THE IMPERISHABLE WORD
Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. 3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
When a jeweler would display his sparkling stones, he seeks out the blackest of velvet. For he wants the darkest and dullest backdrop to show the bright contrast of his gems. And so the Lord here in this passage would have that which is ever perishing to be the backdrop for that which shall never perish. So he displays The Imperishable Word upon the characteristics of the flesh of mankind, which perishes like the grass of the field, and whose goodness fades like wilting flowers.
We must first notice that the origin of this discourse from the prophet to the people of Jerusalem comes from the Lord God. Notice that in the very first verse we have the words, saith your God. For the true, effectual, and ever abiding word can come only from the Person of the Word! Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? The true gospel minister has a calling, not a vocation!
And the Lord God is the only one who can ‘make’ a true gospel minister! For he alone, who created man, can open the eyes, ears, and heart, to ‘set it upon’ all that is revealed. And the true God-called minister does not pick and choose to preach only that which he knows to be favorable to the denominational flavor of those who provide his salary. He declares all that God has shown him, trusting the Lord to sustain him in doing so. Ezekiel 40:4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.
And God alone can cause the mouth to be effectual in the declaration of that spiritual inspiration. Exodus 4:10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
Rest assured, dear Reader, if you have saving faith, it came from no other source than the very word of God Himself! Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; A preacher may have been the ‘conduit’ through which it flowed, but God alone provided the waters for those who thirst after righteousness! For salvation of the sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, requires a spiritual resurrection. And only the Lord God can accomplish that! John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (We tend to only view the resurrection as an event. But the resurrection is the very Person of the Lord Jesus Christ!)
It had to be thus, for the issue in this passage, as in every other thing in life, is the glory of the LORD! (v.5). Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. 1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
And the following phrase in our text makes it plain that God shall be glorified by the entirety of his creation! For after stating that his glory shall be revealed, he then clearly states, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it! (Someone said, “God said it. I believe it. And that settles it!” But if God said it, it doesn’t make any difference if one believes it or not. If God said it, that settles it! It is the truth that shall never fail!)
The Person of the Word shall be bowed to by every knee. And he shall be confessed to be Lord by every tongue! It is not a matter of ‘if’ your knee shall bow, or tongue confess, it is a matter of ‘when!’ Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
But since All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: how then shall ‘all flesh’ see the glory of God? Although men in their nations shall come and go, the word of God shall not rise and fall with them! God’s word is a constant! Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Therefore, being the Alpha and Omega, he shall be present throughout all generations. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Therefore our passage in Isaiah is found once again in Luke chapter three regarding the ministry of John the Baptist. You need only turn there and read verses three through five to see that they are of our Isaiah forty passage. The temporal matters of mankind change, but we can rely on the enduring stability of the word of the Lord. Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
The Apostle Peter addresses this fact as he relates of his obtaining the gospel from the writings of the Old Testament prophets. 1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. So you see, whether given to Isaiah some eight hundred years prior to John the Baptist, or quoted by this ‘greatest born of women’ in the wilderness of Judaea, or written by the Apostle Peter at the end of the Apostolic age, the word of God is changeless and strong as ever. And it is ever so today, though hidden from a Christ dishonoring nation!
Mankind’s opinions and statements may very well change from a “yes,” to a “no” from time to time, but never God’s word! 2 Corinthians 1:18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
The Person of the Word instructed us that the scriptures, the written record, only contain one purpose – to manifest him! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. They were never intended to produce all these organized religions! They were intended to bring a revelation of Jesus Christ to bear upon mankind, and even the elect angels as it is preached in their presence. (See verse 12 of that 1 Peter one passage, listed above.)
Therefore we should be able to find this testimony of Christ throughout the scriptures, even to their very last passages. First let us notice that he reveals to us three divisions of the written word. For in that last listed verse (see above), they are shown to be divided as, 1. the law of Moses, 2. and in the prophets, 3. and in the psalms. Now let us see if these three are to be found in the last Revelation of Jesus Christ.
First we have the law of Moses. Here is Revelation 15:3. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Here is the spirit of joy continuing even down to the end, of God’s vengeance upon the enemies of the true church! It is reflective of the children of God standing on the far side of the Red Sea after walking across its dry floor, while watching the entire Egyptian army, including pharaoh, being drowned in it!
And here that spirit of joy is again seen as the word continues to abide. Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
The second division Christ referred to was the prophets. And it is down at the ending of the last written record that we have manifest to us just what the motivation was for them. Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Every single bit of the spirit of prophesy was motivated by the testimony of Jesus!
Read it in the Amplified Bible: For the substance (essence) of the truth revealed by Jesus is the spirit of prophesy – the vital breathing, the inspiration of all inspired preaching and interpretation of the divine will and purpose [including both mine and yours.]
Even the very end of public gospel preaching, (the “mystery”), is connected to the prophets. Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
And though they are saints themselves, the prophets are listed separately in their being granted a reward at the time of the judging of the nations. Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Here is an important verse from the Apostle Peter in his witness (v.39), concerning the witness of the prophets: Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Then the third division our Lord gave of the scriptures is the psalms. And that portion of the scriptures also abides constant throughout the ages, and even down to the end. Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
And it is no difficult matter in find hymns of praise to the Eternal Son throughout the Book of the Revelation! Here is listed some of the examples:
Revelation 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Pastor Gene Breed, January 10, 2014