Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1-25

Michel de Nostredame was born in 1503 and he died in 1566. He was a French physician and astrologer. In 1555 he authored a book of rhymed prophecies called “The Centuries” that became very popular. It was a collection of vague prophecies based on astrological signs and it is still heard from today. With enough imagination you can make it appear as though he predicted some of the events of today, how accurately or how vaguely depends on your own imagination.

My personal comment on his accuracy and whether it is actual prophecy is that it takes a lot more imagination and faith in astrology than I am able to generate to believe there has been any exact fulfillment of any of his prophecy.

On the other hand, we have the Biblical book of Isaiah and it’s multitude of prophecies, many of which have come true already with such stunning accuracy that it leaves little room for skepticism about anything in the Bible that is prophesied but not yet fulfilled.

ISAIAH 44:28 AND 45:1-25

The Bible prophecy we will look at is in Isaiah 44-45. It’s about the coming of a Persian ruler named Cyrus who would be born almost 200 years later.

Old Testament chapter and verse divisions were made by men. In the final verse of chapter 44 of Isaiah, God is speaking and He continues in chapter 45. Isaiah 44:28 "It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire. And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' And of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.” NASB

ISAIAH 45: 1. “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” KJV

Cyrus was born in Persia over 150 years after this was written and he didn’t appear in the pages of history until two hundred years after Isaiah spoke of him. The reference to Cyrus as “My shepherd” is remarkable. Notice, in verse 1, that God calls Cyrus "his anointed." That title usually applies only to the Lord Jesus. God gave Cyrus that title because he carried out the will of God and delivered the Israelites from captivity and permitted them to return to the land of promise, a picture of our Lord Jesus delivering us from the captivity of sin and death.

Cyrus encouraged the Israelites who didn’t return to Jerusalem to support those who did with money and material gifts. In that respect Cyrus was a gentile messiah of Israel. Here again we can see the wonderful pictures in the Old Testament of the coming of Christ and the eventual restoration of Israel back to God in the thousand year reign of Christ.

Cyrus was named and identified almost two centuries before he was born and critics of this prophecy claim the writer of this section of the book was another “Isaiah” who lived much later in history than the actual Isaiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls tend to prove otherwise. They prove there was only one writer of Isaiah and he wrote this book at the time stated.

The fact that Isaiah named a gentile ruler two centuries before he appeared is not unique. He also named the Lord Jesus and was accurate in his prophecy that He would be born of a virgin and be called Immanuel, which means “God with us” 700 years before Christ came to earth. Jews who read the Old Testament scriptures should have been prepared for Christ’s coming.

The big question here is, why had God chosen Cyrus, a Gentile, as a benefactor to the Jews almost two hundred years before he was born? Surely the Gentile nation of Persia didn’t read and study Isaiah’s book and wouldn’t have named a possible heir to their throne to correspond with the prophecy of a Jew. Isaiah was a prophet of the God of Israel, and Israel was not exactly a nation friendly to Persia. The Persians had their own god and beliefs. God named Cyrus well ahead of his time so that when Cyrus appeared on the scene there would be no doubt that he was the one Isaiah wrote about.

Cyrus would capture Babylon and be responsible for a decree that would return the nation of Israel to her land after the 70 year Babylonian captivity. This revelation of God, where He even named the man, is proof of Isaiah’s prophetic accuracy. If Isaiah would be accurate about Cyrus, he would also be accurate in the prophecy of the coming Jewish Messiah.

Notice in chapter 44, verse 28, God names Cyrus and says “He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.”

God used Assyria to take the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity in 721 B.C. Then He used the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take the southern kingdom into captivity in 595 B.C. The men God used to do this were wicked, and God judged them for what they had done. But Cyrus is different. God would use him, too, but in a different way. God allowed Cyrus to take the kingdom from the Babylonians and He calls him "my shepherd" who shall "perform all my pleasure."

Isaiah 45:1-5. “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. 4: For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5: I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:”

Verses 4 and 5 state that “thou hast not known Me.” Cyrus would be used to carry out God’s plan, even though he personally didn’t know God. There are inscriptions existing where he gave credit for his victories to the “great gods.” One in particular that is mentioned was his victory over the Babylonians and their god, Marduk.

If we believe, as every Christian should, that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, that the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” there should be no difficulty in understanding that God foretold the rise of King Cyrus and what he would do for God’s people.

Isaiah also foretold the coming of the Lord Jesus into the world, and the redemption that He would accomplish. His first coming and His second coming and the effects, both of His rejection and of His final acceptance by the people of Israel is also foretold. All this was hundreds of years ahead in time just as God, through Isaiah, foretold the rise of Cyrus.

Cyrus was the nephew of the king of Media. Media and Persia were, as a rule, very closely related. The Medes and the Persians marched against Babylon and Cyrus eventually captured it by diverting the waters of the Euphrates River into another channel and the troops entered Babylon through the river-bed under the two-leaved gates of the river itself. God foresaw all this. Cyrus was not just some mythical figure.

Under the Babylonian rule, the Jews had been forced to worship idols. When they arrived in Babylon they found that the punishment for refusing to worship a Babylonian image was death. They suffered until Babylon’s fall seventy years later when they were freed from idol worship under the Medes and Persians.

They may have escaped idol worship then but God's warnings and pleadings are still needed. There is going to be a severe test for Israel yet to come during the great tribulation. The son of perdition shall rise to “oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

The book of Revelation tells about a person who, during the Great Tribulation, will be able to persuade evil men to make an image, he will have power to give it life, the image will speak and will cause those who won’t worship the image to be killed. A lot of people are going to worship it for fear of death but they will suffer eternal damnation, others will refuse to worship the image and will glorify God's name.

God foretold that King Cyrus would open the way for the remnant of the Jews to return to Jerusalem but only part of them returned. This will occur a second time. God says here "I will set my hand a second time to recover my people" and that is what He has already begun. His people are returning to their land today.

Verses 6-7. “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. 7: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Evil here refers to the opposite of peace, which includes calamities as well as moral evil. God’s plans include all things, Ephesians 1:11b. “according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” although the responsibility for committing sin rests on the creature, not the Creator.

The Persians worshipped a good god and also acknowledged a bad god. Here, God, as though addressing King Cyrus, says “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” In other words, there is only one God, no other power that can share omnipotence with God.

The evil, in this sense, is calamity. In other words, if there is a damaging thunderstorm, God says, "I take full responsibility for it."

If everything is peaceful and beautiful, God says, "This is from Me"; if there is an earthquake, God permits that. Amos asks, in Amos 3:6 "Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it?" God takes the responsibility for everything that occurs, He may not always be working directly Himself, but He permits others to work. For instance, He permitted Satan to try Job. But the point here is that there are two great conflicting powers in the universe. God, who is Almighty, and Satan, who is the evil power working against Him.

Verse 8: "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it."

God is saying that He is behind all circumstances, blessing as well as calamity. Isaiah is setting forth the fact that God is in total control of all of life.

We should view the tragedy of 911 in the light of a verse like this. As the moral Judge of the universe, God says that He takes responsibility even for disasters but as the Savior of man he also provides the blessings that come our way. How can any man boast that he is in control of his own destiny? God takes that up in the very next passage, in Verse 9.

Verse 9: "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?"

That’s like a piece of clay telling the potter that the potter isn’t in charge, that he is powerless.

Verses 10-12. “Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?" As though these events were under human control.

Verses 18-19: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19: I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

When the Lord created the world, He formed it to be inhabited by men, and revealed Himself to men in clear, understandable language. He revealed Himself in truth and righteousness as the absolute and supreme God.

Verse 20-21. “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21: Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.”

He calls on the Gentiles, who have to carry their idols around and are praying to powerless gods, to produce evidence that their idols can create anything or foretell the future as He has done. Only He can do this-and He is the only just God and Savior. Then He states this in verse 22:

Verse 22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23: I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 24: Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: [even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.]"

What a marvelous declaration! God making Himself known in Old Testament times as a just God and a Savior, a God who will deal in absolute righteousness with the sin question, and yet who Himself has found a way consistent with His own infinite holiness and righteousness whereby He can be the Savior of the sinner who turns to Him in repentance and faith. He alone is a just God and a Savior!

If God is the moral governor of the Universe and if God is a righteous Judge, and all men are to come before Him to be judged for the deeds done in the body, how can He forgive our sins?

It isn’t up to a judge to forgive criminals but to pronounce sentence and see that the sentence carried out. How then could a righteous God forgive sins? Way back here in Isaiah, God declares that He is a just God and a Savior. And in Romans 5:8-9 we’re told how God can be just and the Justifier of him that believes in Jesus because Jesus took our place of condemnation. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9: Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

There is a wonderful gospel passage here in verse 22: "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." To "look” means to turn to the only One who can help us. The invitation is world-wide. Today God is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and these very same words can be used in connection with Him. John 14:6. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." And Peter stated; "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12.

God invites all men to come to Christ for salvation, and decrees that every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue confess Him. All men will acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the Almighty God either in this life or at the Great White Throne Judgment where all verdicts are guilty.

All His enemies will bow before Him and Israel will be justified and will give the glory to God. Philippians 2:9-11: “God has exalted Him and has given to Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow ... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Jesus was obedient to God the Father and did God’s will. He died on the cross for our sins and all men will confess Him as the Son of God.

Confessing his name now means salvation. Ultimately the whole universe will confess it, but at that time it will merely be an admission that He was who He claimed to be and there will be no peace for the un-believer for all eternity. This chapter ends with “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”

Isaiah’s prophecy is no vague statement conjured up using astrological signs.
This is God’s Word.
God spoke it and Isaiah wrote it down.
It will all come to pass exactly as it is written in the Bible.
God is waiting for your response to His invitation to believe
on His only begotten Son and be saved.
Make your decision today,
God doesn’t promise you tomorrow.