For those in deep darkness, a great light has dawned


Wednesday 03/30/22 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – For those in deep darkness, a great light has dawned

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For those in deep darkness, a great light has dawned

Isaiah 8:1-22,

“(1) The LORD told me, “Take a large tablet and inscribe these words on it with an ordinary stylus: ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.’  

“(2)  Then I will summon as my reliable witnesses Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah.”  

(3)  I then approached the prophetess for marital relations; she conceived and gave birth to a son. 

The LORD told me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz,  (4)  for before the child knows how to cry out, ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”  

The meaning of his name was “speedy is prey

“(5)  The LORD spoke to me again:  

(6)  “These people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and melt in fear over Rezin and the son of Remaliah.  (7)  So look, the Lord is bringing up against them the turbulent and mighty waters of the Euphrates River – the king of Assyria and all his majestic power. It will reach flood stage and overflow its banks.  (8)  It will spill into Judah, flooding and engulfing, as it reaches to the necks of its victims. He will spread his wings out over your entire land, O Immanuel.”  

“(9)  You will be broken, O nations; you will be shattered! Pay attention, all you distant lands of the earth! Get ready for battle, and you will be shattered! Get ready for battle, and you will be shattered!  

(10)  Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted! Issue your orders, but they will not be executed! For God is with us!  

(11)  Indeed this is what the LORD told me quite forcefully. He warned me not to act like these people:  

(12)  “Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word. Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.  (13)  You must recognize the authority of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. He is the One you must respect; He is the One you must fear.  

(14)  He will become a sanctuary, but a stone that makes a person trip, and a rock that makes one stumble – to the two houses of Israel. He will become a trap and a snare to the residents of Jerusalem.  (15)  Many will stumble over the stone and the rock, and will fall and be seriously injured, and will be ensnared and captured.”  

This of course had its prophetic fulfillment in Jesus.

Matt. 21:42-44, “(42) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes? (43)  Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its fruit. (44)  [Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder!]”

Rom. 9:30-33, “(30) What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness–namely the righteousness that comes from faith.  (31)  But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has not achieved the law.  (32)  Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.  (33)  As it is written: Look! I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over, and a rock to trip over, yet the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

1Peter 2:1-12, “(1) So rid yourselves of all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.  (2)  Like newborn infants, desire the unadulterated spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it in your salvation,  (3)  since you have tasted that the Lord is good. (4)  Coming to Him, a living stone–rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God–  (5)  you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (6)  For it stands in Scripture: Look! I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and valuable cornerstone, and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame! (7)  So the honor is for you who believe; but for the unbelieving, The stone that the builders rejected–this One has become the cornerstone, and  (8)  A stone that causes men to stumble, and a rock that trips them up. They stumble by disobeying the message; they were destined for this.  (9)  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  (10)  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  

Isaiah 8…

“(11)  Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.  (12)  Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do evil, they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation.”

“(16)  Tie up the scroll as legal evidence, seal the official record of God’s instructions and give it to my followers.  (17)  I will wait patiently for the LORD, Who has rejected the family of Jacob; I will wait for him.  

(18)  Look, I and the sons whom the LORD has given me are reminders and object lessons in Israel, sent from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, who lives on Mount Zion.”

Like Hosea, yet perhaps not as blatant, Isaiah and his children were object lessons. Their very birth and existence taught a lesson – all the way down to their names.  

“(19)  They will say to you, “Seek oracles at the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, from the magicians who chirp and mutter incantations. 

Should people not seek oracles from their gods, by asking the dead about the destiny of the living?”  

(20)  Then you must recall the LORD’s instructions and the prophetic testimony of what would happen. Certainly they say such things because their minds are spiritually darkened.  (21)  They will pass through the land destitute and starving. Their hunger will make them angry, and they will curse their king and their God as they look upward.  (22)  When one looks out over the land, he sees distress and darkness, gloom and anxiety, darkness and people forced from the land.”

Isaiah 9:1-21, 

“(1) The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious. In earlier times He humiliated the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali; but now He brings honor to the way of the sea, the region beyond the Jordan, and Galilee of the nations.”  

The humiliation of Zebulun and Naphtali was the deportation of their inhabitants under Tiglath-pileser, which we read about in 2Kings 15:29, which happened just before the giving of this prophecy through Isaiah.

In future times this area was known as the district around the sea of Galilee. North of this, above the land allotted to Naphtali was inhabited by half-jews bordering the land of the Phoenicians [Judges 1:30; 1Kings 9:11]. 

After the Assyrian deportation it was colonized with heathens [2Kings 17:24]. As such, it was held in contempt by the “pure blood Jews” of the south. for it on the part of the southern Jews of purer blood. Which is why we hear phrases in the New Testament like, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” – John 1:46 and “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you?” they replied. “Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”John 7:52  

From this same region once so filled with spiritual darkness came the Messiah – light of the world! In fact, it was in that most despised area of Galilee that Jesus made His ministerial debut, conducted a great deal of His public ministry and was the location from which most of the Apostles came. 

Isaiah 9…

“(2)  The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.”  

This is recorded by Matthew of Jesus in Matt. 4:12-17,

“(12) When He heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee.  (13)  He left Nazareth behind and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.  (14)  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:  (15)  Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, along the sea road, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles! (16)  The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned. (17)  From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Even the mention of the Gentiles in connection with Messiah should have offered the Jews an awareness that though salvation was of the Jews it was for the entire world. As God promised Abraham, “Through you ALL THE NATIONS of the earth will be blessed.”

Isaiah 9…

“(3)  You have enlarged the nation; you give them great joy. They rejoice in your presence as harvesters rejoice; as warriors celebrate when they divide up the plunder.  (4)  For their oppressive yoke and the club that strikes their shoulders, the cudgel the oppressor uses on them, you have shattered, as in the day of Midian’s defeat.  (5)  Indeed every boot that marches and shakes the earth and every garment dragged through blood is used as fuel for the fire.  

(6)  For a Child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. 

He shoulders responsibility and is called: Amazing Adviser, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  

(7)  His dominion will be vast and he will bring immeasurable prosperity. He will rule on David’s throne and over David’s kingdom, establishing it and strengthening it by promoting justice and fairness, from this time forward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will accomplish this.”  

No direct mention of the time of the Gentiles, of a spiritual salvation, of the great tribulation is mentioned. It just goes right from the coming of Messiah to His rule and reign which was part of the misunderstanding of the Jews. Though these things were brought up in many other places in scripture, they did not always appear in one place. So it wasn’t that the knowledge was not available, it was that their eyes were blinded due to their sin. Their pagan ideas regarding Messiah, obscured their vision of Him when He came and the same can happen to us today if we do not seek Him for Who He is rather than for Who we want Him to be.

“(8)  The Lord decreed judgment on Jacob, and it fell on Israel.  (9)  All the people were aware of it, the people of Ephraim and those living in Samaria

Yet with pride and an arrogant attitude, they said,  

(10)  “The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with chiseled stone; the sycamore fig trees have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.”  

(11)  Then the LORD provoked their adversaries to attack them, He stirred up their enemies – (12)  Syria from the east, and the Philistines from the west, they gobbled up Israelite territory. 

Despite all this, His anger does not subside, and His hand is ready to strike again.  

(13)  The people did not return to the One Who struck them, they did not seek reconciliation with the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  (14)  So the LORD cut off Israel’s head and tail, both the shoots and stalk in one day.  

(15)  The leaders and the highly respected people are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.  

(16)  The leaders of this nation were misleading people, and the people being led were destroyed.  (17)  So the Lord was not pleased with their young men, he took no pity on their orphans and widows; for the whole nation was godless and did wicked things, every mouth was speaking disgraceful words. Despite all this, His anger does not subside, and His hand is ready to strike again.  

(18)  For evil burned like a fire, it consumed thorns and briers; it burned up the thickets of the forest, and they went up in smoke.  (19)  Because of the anger of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the land was scorched, and the people became fuel for the fire. People had no compassion on one another.  

(20)  They devoured on the right, but were still hungry, they ate on the left, but were not satisfied. People even ate the flesh of their own arm!”  

Eating the flesh of their own arm was a reference to fighting against their brethren, which is made clear in the next verse…

“(21)  Manasseh fought against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh; together they fought against Judah. Despite all this, His anger does not subside, and His hand is ready to strike again.”

Isaiah 10:1-34,

“(1)  Beware, those who enact unjust policies, those who are always instituting unfair regulations,  (2)  to keep the poor from getting fair treatment, and to deprive the oppressed among my people of justice, so they can steal what widows own, and loot what belongs to orphans.  (3)  What will you do on judgment day, when destruction arrives from a distant place? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your wealth?  (4)  You will have no place to go, except to kneel with the prisoners, or to fall among those who have been killed. Despite all this, his anger does not subside, and his hand is ready to strike again.  

(5)  Beware, Assyria, the club I use to vent my anger, a cudgel with which I angrily punish.  (6)  I sent him against a godless nation, I ordered him to attack the people with whom I was angry, to take plunder and to carry away loot, to trample them down like dirt in the streets.  (7)  But he does not agree with this, his mind does not reason this way, for his goal is to destroy, and to eliminate many nations.  (8)  Indeed, he says: “Are not my officials all kings?  

(9)  Is not Calneh like Carchemish

Hamath like Arpad

Samaria like Damascus?”  

All of the cities offered for comparison were conquered so this was simply saying that the unconquered city will be conquered.

“(10)  I overpowered kingdoms ruled by idols, whose carved images were more impressive than Jerusalem’s or Samaria’s.  (11)  As I have done to Samaria and its idols, so I will do to Jerusalem and its idols.”  

(12)  But when the Lord finishes judging Mount Zion and Jerusalem, then I will punish the king of Assyria for what he has proudly planned and for the arrogant attitude he displays.  

(13)  For he says: “By my strong hand I have accomplished this, by my strategy that I devised. I invaded the territory of nations, and looted their storehouses. Like a mighty conqueror, I brought down rulers.  

(14)  My hand discovered the wealth of the nations, as if it were in a nest, as one gathers up abandoned eggs, I gathered up the whole earth. 

There was no wing flapping, or open mouth chirping.”  

(15)  Does an ax exalt itself over the one who wields it, or a saw magnify itself over the one who cuts with it? 

As if a scepter should brandish the one who raises it, or a staff should lift up what is not made of wood!  

(16)  For this reason the Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will make His healthy ones emaciated. His majestic glory will go up in smoke.  

(17)  The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One will become a flame; it will burn and consume the Assyrian king’s briers and his thorns in one day.  

(18)  The splendor of his forest and his orchard will be completely destroyed, as when a sick man’s life ebbs away.  

(19)  There will be so few trees left in his forest, a child will be able to count them.  

(20)  At that time those left in Israel, those who remain of the family of Jacob, will no longer rely on a foreign leader that abuses them. Instead they will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.”  

When all your other options are taken away and shown to be the weak and beggarly things they always were, God’s people turn back to the only sure strength of man – the Lord God of Israel.

“(21)  A remnant will come back, a remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.  (22)  For though your people, Israel, are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, only a remnant will come back

Destruction has been decreed; just punishment is about to engulf you.  (23)  The Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies, is certainly ready to carry out the decreed destruction throughout the land.  

(24)  So here is what the Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies, says: 

“My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of Assyria, even though they beat you with a club and lift their cudgel against you as Egypt did.  (25)  For very soon my fury will subside, and my anger will be directed toward their destruction.”  

(26)  The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is about to beat them with a whip, similar to the way he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb. He will use His staff against the sea, lifting it up as He did in Egypt.  

(27)  At that time the LORD will remove their burden from your shoulders, and their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be taken off because your neck will be too large.  

(28)  They attacked Aiath, moved through Migron, depositing their supplies at Micmash.  

(29)  They went through the pass, spent the night at Geba. Ramah trembled, Gibeah of Saul ran away.  

(30)  Shout out, daughter of Gallim! Pay attention, Laishah! Answer her, Anathoth!  

(31)  Madmenah flees, the residents of Gebim have hidden.  (32)  This very day, standing in Nob, they shake their fist at Daughter Zion’s mountain – at the hill of Jerusalem.  

(33)  Look, the Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies, is ready to cut off the branches with terrifying power. The tallest trees will be cut down, the loftiest ones will be brought low.  (34)  The thickets of the forest will be chopped down with an ax, and mighty Lebanon will fall.”

This next portion of prophecy is fulfilled in two or three separate time periods. I will read through it and then you tell me when these things will happen.

Isaiah 11:1-16, 

“(1) A shoot will grow out of Jesse’s root stock, a bud will sprout from his roots.  (2)  The LORD’s Spirit will rest on Him – a Spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom, a Spirit that provides the ability to execute plans, a Spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the LORD.  (3)  He will take delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by mere appearances, or make decisions on the basis of hearsay.”

“(4)  He will treat the poor fairly, and make right decisions for the downtrodden of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and order the wicked to be executed.  (5)  Justice will be like a belt around His waist, integrity will be like a belt around His hips.  (6)  A wolf will reside with a lamb, and a leopard will lie down with a young goat; an ox and a young lion will graze together, as a small child leads them along.  (7)  A cow and a bear will graze together, their young will lie down together. A lion, like an ox, will eat straw.  (8)  A baby will play over the hole of a snake; over the nest of a serpent an infant will put his hand.  

(9)  They will no longer injure or destroy on My entire royal mountain. For there will be universal submission to the LORD’s sovereignty, just as the waters completely cover the sea.  

(10)  At that time a root from Jesse will stand like a signal flag for the nations. Nations will look to Him for guidance, and His residence will be majestic.  

(11)  At that time the Lord will again lift His hand to reclaim the remnant of his people from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the seacoasts.  

(12)  He will lift a signal flag for the nations; He will gather Israel’s dispersed people and assemble Judah’s scattered people from the four corners of the earth. 

(13)  Ephraim’s jealousy will end, and Judah’s hostility will be eliminated. Ephraim will no longer be jealous of Judah, and Judah will no longer be hostile toward Ephraim.  

(14)  They will swoop down on the Philistine hills to the west; together they will loot the people of the east. They will take over Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be their subjects.  

(15)  The LORD will divide the gulf of the Egyptian Sea; He will wave His hand over the Euphrates River and send a strong wind, He will turn it into seven dried-up streams, and enable them to walk across in their sandals.  

(16)  There will be a highway leading out of Assyria for the remnant of His people, just as there was for Israel, when they went up from the land of Egypt.”


  • What shoot was to come out of Jesse? Jesus
  • Who is Jesse? King David’s father
  • When does this happen? A Messiah’s birth
  • When will He strike the earth with the rod of His mouth? At the last judgment at the end of the tribulation. Rev. 19:15
  • When will the lion lay down with the lamb and nations look to Him for guidance? During the Millennial reign of Christ

Isaiah 12:1-6, 

“(1) At that time you will say: “I praise you, O LORD, for even though You were angry with me, Your anger subsided, and You consoled me.  (2)  

Look, God is my deliverer! I will trust in Him and not fear. 

For the LORD gives me strength and protects me; He has become my deliverer.”  

Isn’t it wonderful that when God sends destruction it so often comes in the form of sending natural enemies, but when He delivers it is HE Who BECOMES our deliverer.

“(3)  Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of deliverance.  

(4)  At that time you will say: “Praise the LORD! Ask Him for help! Publicize His mighty acts among the nations! Make it known that He is unique!  

(5) Sing to the LORD, for He has done magnificent things, let this be known throughout the earth! (6) Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel acts mightily among you!”


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!