I was sitting in our car at lunch time as Jill went to buy a meal from a restaurant for our daughter. I took the Bible from the passengers glove compartment, opened it at random and started singing the Words from Isaiah 55:1-5 (NIV) out loud to the Lord:
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendour.”
I have put this scripture in Red, for these are the Words of God himself. Oh what wonderful words He spoke to us! So I sang, and sang loudly. Even with the windows closed and the engine running, passersby turned their heads to look at me. But I just sang.
When I finished, I read forward in the Bible to see what had caused the Lord to write these sweet words to us. I found Him speaking to His people, telling them to come out of Babylon and come home to the Promised Land, to Jerusalem. God offered them in Isaiah 54:11-15 saying:
“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli.
I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.
In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.
If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”
Imagine hearing these words from the Lord just like that today! What solace it would be for the millions of persecuted Christians around the world today to hear god say to them directly: “Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.” Do you know how many hundreds and hundreds of Christians are being martyred each and every day? How many hundreds of thousands of Christians are imprisoned and tortured daily? How many millions of Christians live in fear of daily persecution, unable to openly display their Christianity?
Then I read Isaiah 54:16-17,
““See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.”
By the time I read “it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc,” the singing of 55:1-5 was past. The Destroyer? That name struck a chord with me. “The Destroyer”, is how the NIV translates the KJV “I have created the waster to destroy.” The NKJV says “the spoiler to destroy.” The translation from the original Hebrew of שׁחת shâchath (spoiler/waster) and חבל châbal (destroy) are pretty self explanatory. The question was, is this the same Destroyer as Revelation 11:18?
“And the nations were full of wrath, and Your wrath came, and the time of the judging of the dead, and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to the ones fearing Your name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those destroying the earth.”
Then I recalled the words from Pastor Brian Hay of Omega Times in his 19th March “Christian Yoga: Is There Such A Thing?” on Death as he wrote: ” … this angel is addressed by name in the book of revelation his Hebrew name is called Abaddon his Greek name is Appolyon which interpreted in either language means the destroyer.”
Unlike many, I cannot quite get my head around eschatology and all the end-times scenarios, and even in my NKJV Bible, there are 9 such charted out to choose from. However, John Gill’s Exposition of the whole bible says of this verse, Isaiah 54:16:
“… and I have created the waster to destroy: military men, soldiers that use the above weapons of destruction for that purpose; these are God’s creatures, and he can destroy or disappoint them, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. Some understand this also of the devil, who is by way of eminence the waster of mankind; others of tyrannical princes; I should choose to interpret it of the Romish antichrist, that waster and destroyer of the souls of men, and of the antichristian states that destroy the earth, and shall be destroyed themselves; or of the Turk, the locust, whose king is called Apollyon and Abaddon, which signifies a waster and a destroyer, Revelation 11:18. These are said to be “created” by the Lord, not only because they are his creatures, the work of his hands, but because they are raised up by his providence, according to his secret purpose, as Pharaoh was, to show his power in them; and are permitted by him to continue for awhile to fulfil his will, being entirely dependent upon him, and subject to his influence, direction, and overruling providence; and therefore his people had no reason to be afraid of them.”
However, interestingly and prophetically, when reading Gill’s writings on the corruption which the destroyer brings, Gill says of Revelation 11:18 cited above:
“.. and to destroy those destroying the earth ” or “corrupt it”; meaning antichrist and his followers; who destroy the bodies, souls, and estates of men, and not only the inhabitants of the earth, but even the earth itself; for through that laziness and idleness which they spread wherever they come, a fruitful country is turned into barrenness; who corrupt the minds of men with false doctrine, idolatry, and superstition, and the bodies of women and men with all uncleanness and filthiness, with fornication, sodomy, &c. Revelation 19:2; and are the cause of their own destruction, and the destruction of others; which, upon the blowing of the seventh trumpet, will come swiftly and irrecoverably. Now will Babylon sink as a millstone into the sea, never to be seen more; both the western and eastern antichrists are intended; the former is called the son of perdition, because of his destroying others, and going into perdition himself; and the latter is called “Abaddon” and “Apollyon”, which both signify a destroyer, Second Thessalonians 1:4.”
Sadly, oh how that describes much of the developed world today.
Then in John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes, I began to see the significance of the words of the Lord as Wesley wrote, “The smith – Both the smith that makes warlike instruments, and the soldier that uses them, are my creatures, and totally at my command, and therefore they cannot hurt you without my leave. The waster – To destroy only whom and when I please.” In other words, God is saying clearly, “I am in control!”
Then in the JBF commentary I read “The repetition of the “I” implies, however, something in the latter half of the verse contrasted with the former understand it, therefore, thus: “I have in My power both him who frames arms and him who destroys them (arms)”. This is a great example of the Jewish use of a contrast idiom, which we in the 21st Century need to understand when reading the Bible.
What this is, is an absolute confirmation of Wesley’s comment, that God is saying clearly, “I am in control!”
What does this mean for Christians? It means that as God is ultimately in charge of all things, we need only to concentrate on Him and let go of all our worldly attachments. Everything that exists was made by the hands or words of God. The old Anglican children’s hymn “All things Bright and Beautiful” says it all:
“All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.”
Yes, whether great or small, good or bad, wise or not, The Lord God made them all!
And as Pastor Brian Hay goes on to say of the Destroyer later in his article, “…. This is the same angel that Jesus asserted authority over and who had to cede power and ownership over to the Lord concerning the keys and authority controlling death and hell and who will be subject to them.”
Now these are the same keys and the same authority of which Jesus says in Matthew 16:19 to His disciples and to His Church,
“… I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven to you. And whatever you may bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven, and whatever you may loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven.”
Yes, sing to the Lord for that which He has done for us, and is doing for us, and will do for us!
The Lord Jesus Christ has given us the keys and authority to act in His name. As Jesus said in John 14:12 and which bears repeating here:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.”
In closing, let us remember as we sing to the Lord just who He is and what He has given us, for as First John 4:4 says:
“You are of God, little children, and you have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”