"The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah
, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward" — Isaiah 1:1-4
"The Point of No Return"
Isaiah defines the part he is about to attempt; he first of all will accuse the age of degeneracy. Isaiah was characterized by intense and invincible reality. God will have nothing to do with unreality. God hates the sacrifice that is offered without the heart. In our day we witness a repeat of Isaiah's time. The want of our time is a Preacher of righteousness. Greater evils than those of war threatened the stability of the Nation. In Judah as in Ephrain drunkenness was a national vice, and the nobles abandoned themselves to debauchery. Perversion became open and rampant. There was a general demoralization of the people more fearful in its consequence than idolatry. Into this debauched perverted state there was a man sent from God, Isaiah, preacher, statesman, and prophet. Modern writers and historians have compared him with Savanarola of Florence. In his powerful preaching and denunciation of sin he foreshadows John the Baptist: "unless ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." Centuries later Savonarola makes Isaiah the model of his own preaching. "Thy crimes, O Florence! Thy crimes O Rome! Thy, crimes O Italy! Are the causes of these chastisements. O Rome! Thou shalt be put to the sword, since thou will not be converted! O harlot Church! 'I will stretch my hand upon thee, saith the Lord.'" The burden of the soul of the Florentine monk was sin, especially sin in high places. He sees only degeneracy in life, and alarms the people by threats of divine wrath. All rebellion must be punished. The curse never comes causeless. In such times it is not a time for the preacher to be nice; it is time to be real to deal with the condition. So Isaiah cries out for the people to seek the Lord while He may be found. He denounces all classes alike, even the women are not spared. Even more harshly he rebukes the men over whom women rule and children oppress. The 'secret sensitive' must have had a heart attack. Had Isaiah lived in our time headquarters would have told him not to use the pulpit to make people feel bad. Isaiah does not buy the humanistic approach; he never consulted the psychologist, or polled the people. He denounces corrupt judges, and usurers; he pronounces judgment on all who are conceited in their own eyes; on those who are given to wine; on those who call good evil, and evil good, that put darkness for light. He shows what a worthless thing is sacrifice (prayer, worship, and service) without virtue. "To what purpose" said he "is the multitude of sacrifice? Bring no more vain oblations (offerings). Incense (prayer) is an abomination to me, saith the Lord." Isaiah does not preach dogmas, he preaches against sin and demands repentance, and predicts the wrath of God. There are two points in his preaching which stand out with great vividness; first, the certain judgments of God in view of all sin, retribution on all offenders; and secondly, the mercy and forgiveness of God in case of repentance. The transition between preacher and prophet is very sudden with Isaiah. In his prophetic office he predicts the future of all the people of God. He commits his prophecies to writing for the benefit of future ages, (you and I) in which he gives reasons for the judgments to be sent upon wicked nations, so that the great principles in the moral government of God may remain for all time. These principles center around the great truth that national wickedness will certainly be followed by national calamities. Any preacher of the gospel who ignores this great truth renders himself spiritually useless in these evil days.
So uniform is this great law that it is safe to make deductions from it for the guidance of statesmen and the preachers of righteousness. National effeminacy (womanish quality unbecoming a man.) which always follows luxury, great injustices which cry to heaven for vengeance, and practical atheism and idolatry are certain to call forth divine judgments. In exact conformity with this settled law in the moral government of God, we read the fate of Nineveh, of Babylon, of Tyre, of Jerusalem, of Carthage, of Corinth, of Athens, of Rome. It must have seemed absurd to the readers of Isaiah's predictions twenty-seven hundred years ago that Babylon and Tyre should fall, as it would to the people of 2005 should someone predict the future ruin of western civilization. Which is precisely what I am about to do. I make no claim to be a prophet, but my prophecy is based upon the settled law of the moral government of God. When peoples and nations reach a certain depth of infamy and depravity, at that point there is no return judgment is certain. Repentance can, and often does delay the wrath, but wrath will follow judgment. Isaiah predicted woes which came to pass, since the cities and peoples against whom he spoke refused to repent of their iniquity and atheism. He held out no hope unless they turned to the Lord; nor did any of the prophets. Jeremiah was sad because he knew they would not repent, even as Christ Himself wept over Jerusalem. We note that these terrible calamities were not uttered in wrath. They are not maledictions (to speak, to curse). They are divine revelation to the gifted prophet, or logical deductions which the inspired statesman declares from undeniable facts. In this latter sense, all profound observations on the tendency of passing events partake of the nature of prophecy. When a nation is wholly given over to lying and cheating, or to hypocritical observances in religion, or to practical atheism, or to gross superstitions, or abominable perversions in morals, or to the rule of amoral leaders who are slaves to their passions, is it presumptuous to predict the consequences? In the light of what I have said, I believe that this could very well be one of the most important messages of our time. God has revealed some things that the true Church must know. In His great mercy God delayed the outpouring of His wrath giving the Church and the World a space to repent, and to do the things that He has commanded us to do. The Church's repentance and obedience will not avert the wrath to come, for we have reached the place that the prayers of Samuel or Moses could not prevent wrath to come. The Word of God and history shows clearly that when the cup of iniquity was full God's wrath was soon to come. In the days of Noah, Sodom, Nineveh, Jerusalem, Greek, Rome, the New Testament Church, etc. when corruption reached a certain state God said 'it is enough,' and His Wrath was poured out. "Whatsoever things were written aforetime was written for our learning and admonition on whom the ends of the world has come." Also there is revealed in this same history the fact that, if there was a remnant that truly repented and sought after God, His wrath was delayed, giving opportunity for others to come into the ark. The flood was an accomplished fact with God when He instructed Noah to build the Ark. Peter tells that it was the long suffering of God that held back the flood while Noah built the Ark. How can we know when the day of God's wrath has come, and there is no turning back the storm? Can we the Church know when the world's cup of iniquity is full, and society, not individual sinners, has gone beyond the possibility of redemption? The Word of God is clear on this frightening subject. God knows that man in his nature is evil, and that the whole bent of his life is toward evil. God says, "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked." Yet God still reaches out in His mercy to evil man. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us." But we must know that there is a limitation to God's mercy! "God's Spirit will not always strive with man." At what point does the Spirit cease to strive with man and with a society? It is imperative that the Church know this truth. John 3:19 sets the point of no return, "men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil." This says that man recognizes the Holiness of God, and the sinfulness of his own being. Because he fears God he does not openly display his wickedness. Though man, in his unregenerate state, is totally depraved he still retains the fear of God, and this
fear is actually a form of worship. As long as this is true of sinful man the 'cup of iniquity' is not full. It is when man defies the Almighty God and openly practices his immorality and perversion God's mercy ends. Before a society can reach the point of no return the Church must first be corrupted. The trademark of a corrupted Church is the loss of her love for truth. Having lost the love for truth the then corrupted system changes the truth into a lie; "Who changed the truth of God into a lie; For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." (Rom 1:25-27). Every civilization from Noah until the present day has ended with rampant homosexuality. The modern Church began her walk into this dark night in the mid fifties with the first gathering of the first so-called charismatic renewal, a mixture of truth and error. The Nation followed the Church into the night. America's cup of iniquity reached its fullness during the eight years of the Clinton presidency. Other presidents were perhaps as corrupt. Jefferson, F.D.R., Kennedy, Johnson, to name a few. The difference with them was they kept their wickedness in the dark. We learned of their corruption long after they left office. The fear of God, and the respect for the office kept them from going public with their wickedness and immorality. Mr. Clinton, like the people of Sodom, opened the closet and allowed the grossest immorality to walk out into the light. The first year of his rule hundreds of thousands of homosexuals marched in the nation's capital performing, in public, the vilest immoral acts, and the police were forbidden to stop it. During his eight years in office it became politically incorrect to speak out against perversion, and our school children were taught that such action is normal. He is the only president in our nation's history to attend a homosexual convention, and certainly the only one who practiced perversion in the Oval Office. In eight years the nation was totally corrupted. The cup of iniquity was full; the wrath of God was sure. God gave a space for repentance, that repentance never came. The very week that Katrina blew across the gulf leaving thousands dead and tens of billions of dollars in destruction News Orleans was to begin a week of what was called 'Southern Decadence.' 'Southern Decadence' has a history of filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars. Last year a local pastor sent video footage of sex acts being performed on public streets during the celebration to the police, mayor, city council, and the media. City officials simply ignored the footage and continued to welcome and praise the week long celebration as being an exciting event. However, Hurricane Katrina has put and end to this annual celebration of sin. New Orleans was also known for its Mardi Gras parties where thousands of drunken men would revel in the streets to exchange plastic jewelry for drunken women to expose their breasts and to engage in other sex acts. Furthermore Louisiana had a total of ten abortion clinics with half of them operating in New Orleans, where countless numbers of children were murdered at the hands of abortionists. Additionally, New Orleans has always been known as the "Murder Capital" of the world with a rate ten times the national average. We must reach out in compassion to those who have lost everything in this our nation's worst disaster. But, at the same time we must ever be mindful that there is a limit to God's longsuffering, when the "cup of iniquity" gets full His wrath will come. May God help us in this awful time to reflect upon the words of Jesus Luke 13:2,4,5; "Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." It is time to seek the Lord while He may yet be found!