Isaiah 41 – God Will Help Israel & Freewill and Predestination

I’m not sure, but I think people get confused by the Predestination and Freewill they put Predestination and The Chosen in one category and the problem there is that Predestination is a noun and past tense. 

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa 55:11).

After You created our spirits it appears that You then decided who would become a human being on Earth and then You created it.

The Chosen is a verb and is past tense, present and future.

Cyrus the Great
Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.

Predestination stands alone, the only element that would fit with it would be Grace, Your Grace.  The Chosen doesn’t stand alone, because You give us freewill so the element that goes with it is Faith.  Without Faith then The Chosen is without life.

1 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

“Renew their strength” – the nations and their gods are challenged to display the same power and wisdom as Israel’s God.

2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?  He gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

“The righteous man from the east” – Cyrus the Great, king of Persia (559-530 B.C.), who conquered Babylon in 539 and issued the decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem (see Ezra 1:1-4, 6:3-5).  Cyrus is called “righteous” because, like the servant of the Lord in 42:6, Cyrus was chosen to carry out God’s righteous purposes.  Cyrus is referred to also in v. 25, 44:28-45:4, 13, 46:11.

“Called him to his foot” – raised him up and empowered him to rule.

“Made him rule over kings” – such as Croesus king of Lydia in Asia Minor.

“His bow” – the Persians were renowned for their archers.

3 He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.

4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning?  I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

“The first…with the last” – since the Lord was present when the first generations were called and will still be there with the last of them, He’s the eternal Lord of history and nations (see Heb 13:8; Rev 1:8, 17, 2:8, 21:6, 22:13).

5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.

41:5-7 – by 546 B.C. Cyrus had fought his way victoriously to the west coast of Asia Minor, where his leading opponent was Croesus king of Lydia.  Sarcasm and satire are used in the description of the frantic efforts in vv. 6-7, all of them futile.

6 They helped everyone his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.

7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

Croesus king of Lydia
According to the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, king Croesus of Lydia was a very powerful man, whose dominion included all the people to the west of the river Halys.

He was the first foreigner so far as we know to come into direct contact with the Greeks, both in the way of conquest and alliance, forcing tribute from Ionians, Aeolians, and Asiatic Dorians, and forming a pact of friendship with the Spartans.

This is a bit exaggerated. The first king of independent Lydia, Gyges, had already captured a Greek town, Colophon, and Croesus’ father Alyattes had taken Smyrna. He also concluded a peace treaty with Miletus. So Lydian involvement in the Greek world was nothing new.

What did matter, however, was that Croesus captured nearly all Greek towns along the west coast of Asia. Even more important, when he was defeated by the Persian king Cyrus the Great, these towns became part of the Achaemenid empire. According to Herodotus, this was the cause of the great conflict between Greeks and Persians in the first quarter of the fifth century.

8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

41:8-9 – “My servant” – a significant term in chs. 41-53, referring sometimes to the nation of Israel and other times to an individual.  In these passages the title refers to one who occupies a special position in God’s royal administration of His kingdom as in “his servant Moses” (Ex 14:31; Num 12:7), “my servant David” (2 Sam 3:18, 7:5, 8), “my servants the prophets” (2 Kgs 17:13; Jer 7:25).

“But” – in contrast to the nations of vv. 5-7, Israel does not need to be afraid (v. 10).

“My friend” – See Gen 18; 2 Chr 20:7; Jas 2:23.  Some believe, that “my friend” refers to “seed” (Israel), thus paralleling “my  servant” and “whom I have chosen.”

9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

“Ends of the earth” – see v. 5; probably a reference to Mesopotamia and Egypt.

“Called thee…thereof” – Lit. “called thee from its [earths] borders,” parallel to “ends of the earth.”

10  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

“Right hand” – a hand of power and salvation (see Ex 15:6, 12; Ps 20:6, 48:10, 89:13, 98:1).  God and Jesus always use the “left” for evil and “right” for good or righteous.

11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.

12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

“Hold thy right hand” – to strengthen them and keep them from stumbling.

14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

“Worm” – a reference to their feeble and despised condition (cf. Job 25:6).

“Redeemer” – the Hebrew for this word refers to an obligated family protector and thus portrays the Lord as the Family Protector of Israel.  He is related to Israel as the Father (63:16, 64:8) and Husband (54:5).  As Redeemer (or Family Protector) he redeems their property for He re-gathers them to their land (54:1-8), guarantees their freedom (35:9, 43:1-4, 48:20, 52:11-12), avenges them against their tormentors (47:3, 49:25-26, 64:4).

15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

“Mountains…hills” – probably represents the nations.

16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

“Fan” – or “winnow,” a figure of judgment used also in Jer 51:2.

Herodutus
Herodotus (c. 484 – 425/413 BCE) was a Greek writer who invented the field of study known today as `history’. He was called `The Father of History’ by the Roman writer and orator Cicero for his famous work The Histories but has also been called “The Father of Lies” by critics who claim these `histories’ are little more than tall tales.

Reliability
Criticism of Herodotus’ work seems to have originated among Athenians who took exception to his account of the Battle of Marathon (490 BCE) and, specifically, which families were due the most honor for the victory over the Persians. More serious criticism of his work has to do with the credibility of the accounts of his travels.

One example of this is his claim of fox-sized ants in Persia who spread gold dust when digging their mounds. This account has been rejected for centuries until, in 1984 CE, the French author and explorer Michel Peissel, confirmed that a fox-sized marmot in the Himalayas did indeed spread gold dust when digging and that accounts showed the animal had done so in antiquity as the villagers had a long history of gathering this dust.

Early Life & Travels
While little is known of the details of his life, it seems certain that he came from a wealthy, aristocratic family in Asia Minor who could afford to pay for his education. His skill in writing is thought to be evidence of a thorough course in the best schools of his day. He wrote in Ionian Greek and was clearly well read. His ability to travel, seemingly at will, also argues for a man of some means. It is thought he served in the army as a Hoplite in that his descriptions of battle are quite precise and always told from the point of view of a foot soldier.

17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

“Poor and needy” – Israel in exile or on the way home.

“Will hear” – God will provide water for the returning exiles in the same way that he provided water for Israel in the wilderness under Moses (cf. Ex 17:1-7; Num 20:2-11, 21:16-18).

18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:

These trees will beautify the wilderness.  Several are named in 60:13 in connection with adorning the place of God’s sanctuary.  Acacia wood was used for the tabernacle (Ex 25:5, 10, 13).  The pine tree and myrtle replaced thorns and briers in 55:13.

20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

“Created it” – these fruitful conditions are part of God’s new creation in behalf of His people.

21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.

41:21-22 – God takes the nations and their idols to court (see v. 1).

“Former things” – earlier predictions or accomplishments.

“Declare us things for to come” – the Lord is superior to the gods of the nations in his ability to predict the future (cf. 41:2-3, 24-26, where the Lord predicts the rise of Cyrus).

22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.

23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.

24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.

“Nothing…nought” – like the nations that worship them.

“Abomination” – like those who marry idolaters.

25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treadeth clay.

“From the north” – Cyrus came from the east but conquered a number of kingdoms north of Babylon early in his reign.  From the perspective of a writer in Jerusalem, the north is generally the point of origin for Israel’s oppressors (see 14:31; Jer 1:14, 6:1, 22, 10:22, 46:20, 50:3, 9, 41, 51:48).  Now, Israel’s deliverer comes from the north.

“Call upon my name” – Cyrus used the Lord’s name in his decree (Ezra 1:2) but didn’t acknowledge Him (see 45:4-5).

“Come upon…mortar…clay” – similar to Assyria in 10:6; cf. Mic 7:10; Nah 3:14.

26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know?  And before time, that we may say, He is righteous?  Yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.

“From the beginning” – before these events began to unfold.

“Your” – referring to idols or their worshipers.

27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.

“Behold, behold them” – words about the deliverance from Babylon.

28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counselor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.

Freewill and Predestination

The Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BCE), sometimes known as First Persian Empire, was an empire in Southwest Asia, founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation. It expanded to eventually rule over significant portions of the ancient world which at around 500 BCE stretched from the Indus Valley in the east, to Thrace and Macedon on the northeastern border of Greece making it the biggest empire the world had yet seen.

The Achaemenid Empire would eventually control Egypt as well. It was ruled by a series of monarchs who unified its disparate tribes and nationalities by constructing a complex network of roads.

Calling themselves the Parsa after their original Aryan tribal name Parsua, Persians settled in a land which they named Parsua, bounded on the west by the Tigris River and on the south by the Persian Gulf. This became their heartland for the duration of the Achaemenid Empire. It was from this region that eventually Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II of Persia) would advance to defeat the Median, the Lydian, and the Babylonian Empires, opening the way for subsequent conquests into Egypt and Asia minor.

At the height of its power after the conquest of Egypt, the empire encompassed approximately 8 million km2 spanning three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. At its greatest extent, the empire included the modern territories of Iran, Turkey, parts of Central Asia, Pakistan, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Afghanistan, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.

It is noted in Western history as the antagonist foe of the Greek city states during the Greco-Persian Wars, for emancipation of slaves including the Jewish people from their Babylonian captivity, and for instituting infrastructures such as a postal system, road systems, and the usage of an official language throughout its territories. The empire had a centralized, bureaucratic administration under the Emperor and a large professional army and civil services, inspiring similar developments in later empires.

Traditional view is that the Persian Empire’s vast size and its extraordinary ethnocultural diversity would prove to be its undoing as delegation of power to local governments would eventually weaken the king’s central authority, causing much energy and resources to be wasted in attempts to subdue local rebellions explaining why when Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) invaded Persia in 334 BCE he was faced by a disunified realm under a weak monarch, ripe for destruction.

This viewpoint however is challenged by some modern scholars who argue that the Achaemenid Empire was not facing any such crisis around the time of Alexander, and that only internal succession struggles within the Achaemenid family ever came close to weakening the Empire. Alexander, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, would eventually cause the collapse of the empire and its disintegration around 330 BCE into what later became the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time. The Iranian Culture of the central plateau, however, continued to thrive and eventually reclaimed power by the 2nd century BCE.
The historical mark of the Achaemenid Empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social, technological and religious influences as well. Many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange, some being employed by, or allied to the Persian kings.

The impact of Cyrus the Great’s Edict of Restoration is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts and the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China. Even Alexander the Great, the man who would set out to conquer this vast empire, would respect its customs, by enforcing respect for the royal Persian kings including Cyrus the Great, and even by appearing in proskynesis, a Persian royal custom, despite stern Macedonian disapproval.

The Persian empire would also set the tone for the politics, heritage and history of modern Persia (now called Iran). The influence also encompasses Persia’s previous territories collectively referred to as the Greater Persia. A notable engineering achievement is the Qanat water management system, the oldest and longest of which is older than 3000 years and longer than 44 miles (71 km.)

In 480 BCE, it is estimated that 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire or about 44% of the world’s population at the time, making it the largest ever empire by population in percentage terms.

Many people say that we have to choose between freewill or predestination.  That makes no sense at all.  God gives us freewill which is to believe in Jesus or not; to spend eternity with Him or with the devil.  That is our freewill, that is our choice.

Predestination pertains to God’s creation not to our salvation.

Many think that certain people are predestined to go to heaven or hell.  As John Calvin said:

We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which He determined with Himself what He willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others.

And John Bennett said:

Predestination is doctrine which teaches that God predetermined who would go to heaven and who would spend eternity in hell.

Furthermore, it teaches that each person has absolutely no choice in accepting or rejecting salvation through Christ.  Every move you make and everything that happens to you, good or bad, was predetermined by God.  If you reject Christ it is because you never had a chance or option to believe.

Those who espouse predestination claim that if we have the free will to accept God’s salvation then we have earned our way into heaven.  Therefore we’re not saved by grace but by our own merit, we caused our own salvation, not God.

This is not true.  I don’t know how anyone that truly believes in God could think such a thing; he must have been smoking to much dope or something.

I can tell you who’s predestined; actually, Paul will tell you:

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:4-7).

So who did God predestine?  Everybody.  Remember, we are spirits, God chose us to be human beings on Earth.  He predestined that before He even created the world:

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Pet 1:18-21).

God does have His rathers, but He loves everyone the same, I will explain this tomorrow.

“For the LORD you God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward” (Deut 10:17).

Now don’t get confused with what Luke says in the Book of Acts:

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons:

But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35).

That has nothing to do with predestination, it’s all about faith.  Yet if you listen to people like Bennett that said:

…we’re not saved by grace but by our own merit, we caused our own salvation, not God (Eph 2:8).

What Bennett said is the same type of lie the devil said to Eve, different picture, same story:

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:4-5).

See how Satan twisted the facts around.  What he said wasn’t a complete lie, Eve did find out about good and evil, but we certainly are not gods.  God didn’t want us to know about evil and you can look at the world and know why.

God was looking out for our best interest, but He has given us freewill.  He knows that we are no match to the devil, that we would sin (Rom 3:23) and each and every evil person will go to hell.  That is why Jesus came; He came to die for our sins so through faith in Jesus our sins are forgiven.

Bennett is doing the exact thing the devil did, he isn’t telling a complete lie, we are saved by our own salvation, and we get our salvation from having faith in Jesus.  Yet, the only reason it works that way is because of God’s grace.

So since everyone spirit on earth was predestined does that mean there are other spirits in heaven or wherever, which God chose not to become humans?  That I don’t know, but it sounds likely.  I mean, why would God create all these universes just for us?

Back to Calvin, Bennett and any other idiots or fundamentalists (those that define a scripture without reading the entire Bible to understand example what God meant) that think God created human beings to go to hell is preposterous:

“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Eze 33:11).

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).

God didn’t even make hell for us; He made it for the devil and his demons:

“…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41).

I can understand how people cannot understand or even believe predestination IF they don’t spend the time to understand God.  But you can’t say you love God and also think that you could go to hell, that’s not how He works.

Believing in God and loving Him are not the same.  I believe Obama is our president (if that’s what you want to call him, I’d rather give him a different title) but I didn’t vote for him.  I believe in anchovies but you’ll never get me to eat them.

If you truly love God:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:28-29).

So who did God foreknow that he predestined?  Since God created all things He knows everything and everybody.  Therefore, everyone was predestined to become a human being.  And no one on earth was sent down here to later spend eternity in hell.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and sound mind.

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Who that saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

But is now made manifest by the appearing  of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:7-10).

How can anyone not understand this?  For a shorter version of the above scriptures:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9).

If you want to know God you need to read your Bible, or you can listen to what people say, but take it all as a grain of salt until you evaluate what they say, if what they say isn’t in the Bible then you disregard what they say. 

I’m not talking about just a scripture, but the meaning of the scripture, as I showed you above what Satan and Bennett and Calvin have done.  As Paul said:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (Rom 16:17).

I remember when I didn’t believe in You, but I didn’t believe in predestination then either, I thought it was a bunch of baloney, sorry about that.  But once I pulled my Ostrich size head out of the sand and realized that, “Yeah, You are real, You are more than just real,” I started looking at things.

I didn’t understand predestination at all, and since I didn’t understand it I didn’t go around making up stories like Calvin and Bennett and the rest do. 

Now I understand predestination, You’re just telling us that You have known us forever.  Predestination is a given, just like faith is a given:

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom 12:3).

Understanding You is much more difficult than understanding a computer, but the process is similar.  Every time I would learn something in the computer I found out there was something else that went with it or was attached to it in one way or another.