198: Isaiah 40:3-4
365 Prophecies: Prophecy 198
Before the Messiah arrives, the Lord will send a “Forerunner” to prepare the way.
Old Testament Prediction:
Isaiah 40:3-4 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth…”
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 1:19-23 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD,” ’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Matthew 11:7-14 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.”
When John the Baptist is questioned by the Jewish leadership—whether he is Elijah, he tells them he is not. Instead, John designates himself as the one whom Isaiah described as: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make straight the way of the LORD…’
Isaiah does not say that Elijah will be the voice crying in the wilderness; this prediction comes from Malachi.
Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
When Jesus chronicles the ministry of John the Baptist, He reveals that John is the last Old Testament prophet and he is “Elijah who is to come.”
Matthew 11:14 And if you are willing to receive it, John is Elijah who is to come.
Isaiah’s prophecy describes a Forerunner who will come ahead of the Messiah to prepare the way for Him. The term “Forerunner” is an archaic term in which the true meaning has been lost in today’s vernacular. For most people, a Forerunner is a particular variety of SUV made by Toyota. A modern term for Elijah is “Harbinger.”
One hundred years ago, a forerunner was generally understood as someone who was an advance man; a person to prepare the way. John’s ministry was to bring the hearts of the people into a place of repentance from their old life of sin and make their minds receptive to the message Jesus would bring: A plan centered on the sacrifice that He would make for all people and the redemption that is available to anyone who desires it. All that God requires for salvation is sincere repentance and a willingness to turn from an old lifestyle of sin, to a new life centered on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
When Jesus returns physically to earth, He will arrive at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period—as described by the Book of Revelation. At the midpoint of these seven years, God will send his two witnesses to the nation of Israel. They will recount every Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah and how Jesus fulfilled each one. It is interesting that most of these Old Testament prophecies, which the two witnesses will describe, will come from the list found in this book. The identity of these two witnesses, although heavily debated; are likely Moses and Elijah. Moses representing the Law and Elijah representing the Prophets. See Prophecy 195 for more information on this subject.
Jesus said that every requirement of God originates from the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the lord your god with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
It was the common practice of great kings in this area of the world to send an entourage before their arrival. The job of the advance team was to shout out loudly, an announcement that the king was coming. I find it interesting that Jesus chose John the Baptist—the final Old Testament prophet, who is observed—shouting from the Jordan river, a message of repentance.
John had no social status. He wore the clothes of the destitute and lived in an area of the Jordan river that was some distance from the city of Jerusalem. In order for the people to hear the announcement of God’s coming Messiah, a person would need to exert great effort in order to come out and hear John’s message.
What was true then, is still true today: All those who will know God and understand His message of salvation—must come to Him and make an effort to find Him. Salvation is not for the casual hearer; it is for the diligent and the sincere seeker. Most of the world today is so busy with their own life that they will miss the eternal life which Jesus has made available to them. At the arrival of many in eternity, those who have lived their lives only for themselves will realize that they have wasted their life on empty and meaningless things.
Matthew 16:26 What good is it if a person should gain everything in the world, but in the end, lose their own soul. What is a person willing to give up for their soul? (RCR)
Acts 17:26-27 And God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…
The fact that Isaiah predicted a voice in the desert announcing the coming of the Messiah; should have given many who were present, great cause to consider John’s the Baptist’s call for repentance. The testimony of both the Apostles—John and Matthew, describes very few in the leadership of Israel who did take notice of Jesus’ arrival. When these men made inquiry of John the Baptist as to his identity, did not see him as the
Those who had sent their questions to John—inquiring who he might be, were apparently not moved to conviction that the Messiah had arrived, or was about to arrive. We do not read that many in the leadership of Israel were ready to receive Jesus as the Messiah when He arrived in Jerusalem. Not many seriously considered the enormous evidence of Jesus—in His fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.
Though God informed Israel long in advance of Jesus arrival—what they should look for in the coming of their Savior, the scribes and Pharisees were more concerned about their careers than the were whether God was revealing the Messiah.
Ashamed to follow Jesus
Sadly today, there are many people who care more about their relationship with family and friends—than their relationship with God. There are a multitude of people who fear their employers more than they fear the Lord.
As Jesus hung on the cross, most of those who had been following Him and had made confessions of faith in Him, stood at a distance. They were afraid to be identified with Jesus, fearing that they might also suffer the same consequences that He was suffering.
How many times do we stand at a distance and watch Jesus without allowing ourselves to be identified with Him and the sacrifice that He made for our sins? When we fail to acknowledge Jesus before those we meet, we are also denying Him. When we act in a manner that is improper for a person who claims to be a follower of Jesus, we are denying Him His rightful place in our life.
Jesus instructed us to be watching and ready for His return at any moment. He said that He would come again on a day that most people would not expect Him. Jesus said that all those who eagerly watch and wait for His return—will be ready when He comes for His church at the Rapture.
If we truly believe that Jesus could come for us at any moment, it will drastically affect the way in which we live. Our language will be cleaner, the things we say and do will be pure, the love and forgiveness we show other people will be real, alive, and fervent.
Isaiah wrote this 198th Prophecy to warn every generation that the Messiah was about to make His entrance into the world. Today, these 365 prophecies can be read and studied by any person on the planet. I have the unique privilege of living on the earth during a time when I can upload this book to an online book publisher when it is finished, from anywhere an internet connection is available. In just a short time, it will be published and available for download anyplace in the world where a computer or eBook reader is located. The question is: will there many who will care to read it? I have discovered that very few give much thought in their daily lives to the coming of the Lord.
Books which herald the return of Jesus are largely ignored. The words of those who write to reveal Jesus and His plan of salvation to the world are not ever on a bestseller list. On the day the Rapture takes place—this will all change. After Jesus returns for His church, books which detail and describe the coming of the Messiah will be downloaded and read by millions of people. It is to these dear souls that this book is primarily written.
The Lord is coming soon and the time of our departure is at hand. Whatever it is that people will be doing after Jesus arrives and they are caught unaware—they should be doing those things right now.
As Isaiah predicted the coming of a harbinger who would prepare the hearts of people for the coming of the Messiah the first time, we have been given a similar task in these last days before Jesus returns. Let us speak of Jesus, and tell those that we meet that they can experience the forgiveness of their sins and find true and lasting peace if they will only call upon the name of Jesus and be saved.