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Monday, July 21, 2014

Chiseled in Stone

By Terry Livingston and David A. Sargent

    The 8th century B.C. religious leader Isaiah is a very prominent figure in the Old Testament.  Four kings – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah – ruled Judah during the period in which Isaiah served as prophet and spiritual guide to his people.  It was Isaiah who advised King Hezekiah that the invasion by Sennacherib and his Assyrian Army would not lead to the downfall of Jerusalem, and that Sennacherib would not enter the City.  He is also the author of the well-known book of Isaiah, including the prophetic chapter 53 concerning the life of the Messiah Jesus Christ.   Due to his accurate foreshadowing of Jesus in his writings, Isaiah is sometimes referred to as the “Messianic Prophet.”
    In the third chapter of the book of Isaiah, he gives another foreshadowing.   Here a vivid description is given of the fall of Judah.   Isaiah 3:25-26 states “Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.  The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.”
    In the year 70 A.D., four legions of Romans led by future emperor Titus surrounded Jerusalem and lay siege to the city and sacked it, including the beloved Second Temple.  Josephus records the earlier scene as adorned and pleasant, but the aftermath as a “melancholy thing for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country in every way.”
    To commemorate the accomplishment of his son and the Roman forces, the emperor Vespasian commissioned coins to be minted.  Below is shown one such coin in which he has depicted Judah as a Jewess in attitude of defeat and mourning, seated destitute beneath a palm tree, being overseen by a conquering soldier.  The caption reads “IVDEA CAPTA” (Judea Captured).  While Vespasian, as Roman emperor, would have little reason to validate the prophecy of Isaiah, his coinage etches in refined stone the truth of Isaiah’s prophecy.
    Interestingly, the Great Scroll of the Book of Isaiah, with the prophecies of Jesus and Judah, has been carbon-dated by the University of Arizona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and was given calibrated dates well before 100 B.C. *
    The eternal truth of God’s word -- His inspired Word, the Bible -- is “etched in stone.”
    Now observe what Isaiah said the Messiah would do for YOU and ME:

“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:4-6

This is EXACTLY what Jesus did for you and for me when He died on the cross for our sins.
We can accept the salvation from sin for which Jesus died by placing our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).
    There are myriads of evidences of the truthfulness of God’s Word.  And it is true: He will save you IF you will respond to Him on His terms.
    Won’t YOU?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* References:   www.Vcoins.comwww.Biblehistory.comThe Wars of the Jews by Flavius Josephus


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