During the reign of Christ, Israel and other nations will follow a literal highway of return to God and interconnection. It also symbolizes the spiritual path they will take--a path we walk today as forerunners. This is the roadmap to world peace.
[Tom Robinson] ... ends up here, right? That's how it works. Hey, I know them. My family is actually staying with their family. And that was awesome. And they're able to sing here about peace and joy. And those girls lost their dad right after the last feast. And Beth, there, lost her husband Jonathan, a friend of ours, and I miss him very much. But we're here remembering the fact that we're going to see him again. We're going to see all our lost loved ones again. That's why we're here remembering. And we certainly ask for your continued prayers for them. So, that special music was fantastic. Just really appreciated that.
I've been looking for the creature. And I hope you know about the creature from Jekyll Island. I have seen a little bit of him. Wait, here's a sign of him. It says, "A Federal Reserve Note." The creature from Jekyll Island is the Federal Reserve system. It was actually born here on Jekyll Island in a meeting by some bankers. And it's probably one of the biggest thieving enterprises in human history because they can control the value of this money that's in your pocket, very easily manipulate what it is for their own uses. This is a part of the confusion and darkness of this world.
We also see all the strife, and pain, and suffering that people go through, and especially, if there's this long age-old dream that people have for world peace. And many have sought a way to bring peace to all nations, but especially, in the, you know, last century to the Middle East, which is perceived as the key to world peace. The idea that if you could just bring these disparate peoples together there, you'll have solved a great conflict. There's a supposed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is offered. Major powers of the world, for some years, spoke of a roadmap to peace.
Now, there was more developed on peace with other Arab states through the more recent Abraham Accords during the Trump administration, but much has now fallen through, even though there's still been some progress there. But even if it makes strides, it is not going to work out in this age. The real problem is spelled out for us over in Isaiah 59 if you look over there in Isaiah 59. And we'll spend a lot of time in Isaiah today, Isaiah 59. And I would just refer you to this whole section verses 7-11. But I'm going to read verse 8.
Isaiah 59:8 Says, "The way of peace, they have not known. And there is no justice in their ways. They have made themselves crooked paths. Whoever takes that way shall not know peace."
This is the way of the world. Is the way of warfare and strife. It is not the way of peace. It is crooked paths of injustice.
Isaiah 59:9 "Justice is far from us. Righteousness does not overtake us. We look for light, but there is darkness."
And it talks about in the next verse, "Groping for the wall like the blind." Everybody's walking in darkness and confusion. But brethren, there is a way to peace, a way that will take us above the ways of this world, an elevated highway known, as we will see, as the highway of holiness.
This morning, let's consider what the Bible tells us about this highway. The vital pathway to peace. And the title is "Roadmap to Peace, the Highway of Holiness." There are seven aspects to this. So, I'm going to jump right in with number one, is a great light along the way of the sea. Turn over to Isaiah 9, a great light along the way of the sea.
You know, Middle East warfare has been going on for centuries, thousands of years, actually. There's an ancient struggle that lasted for a long time in the ancient world between north and south, cutting through the land of Israel as part of the Levant, or the Eastern Mediterranean seaboard, as the land bridge between three continents. So, you had these powers up in the north like Assyria and Babylon, and they would come, you know, against the Egyptians. And you had to get... Either way, you had to come through the land of Israel. That was also a major highway and trade route from Egypt through Israel to Assyria. And it existed, you know, up through Roman times. And even after it was called the Via Maris, which means the way of the sea. We see it mentioned also here in Isaiah 9:1-2.
Isaiah 9:1-2 It says, "Nevertheless, the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first he esteemed the land..." lightly esteemed. So, you know, put down. "The land of Zebulun, the land of Naphtali," or Naphtali, that's up in the northern part of Israel around Galilee. "And afterward, more heavily oppressed her by way of the sea." That's the Via Maris in Latin. "The way of the sea beyond the Jordan." That's on the other side. "In Galilee of the Gentiles..." Because there was a lot of Gentiles that were settled in that area before many of the Jews moved up there. And then, of course, it was a cosmopolitan area that was used by the Romans as administrative center. "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of shadow and death, upon them a light has shined."
Well, what is this talking about? We can see, you know, that it's, ultimately, a messianic prophecy. Israel was placed here, though, at the crossroads of civilization on purpose by God. Israel was to be an example to all nations to be a light. And then Jesus came as the light to shine in the darkness, and also, sent His followers from here to spread the gospel to the world. That was a central hub to be able to go out from, and everything to come through. But the ultimate realization of the purpose that God put His land there is going to be experienced in the kingdom yet to come, a kingdom that will bring regional and world peace. And I'll just mention here verses 6-9, of course, that's where it says, "Unto us, a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and he will inherit the throne of his father, David."
I'll talk about that in the Bible study a few days from now. But, this shows it's a messianic prophecy, this light that would shine there along the way of the sea. Number two, I want to move to a straight highway in the desert. We'll be talking a lot about highways. And there's many mentions in the scripture, but if you turn over to Isaiah 40, we'll see one that we commonly turn to. Actually, we were in Isaiah 40 this morning. I'm going to read a few other verses here. "A straight highway in the desert." We're talking about number two. So, Isaiah 40, we'll read verses 1-5.
And, you know, we often go to this at the feast. And we used to have a song about this back in worldwide about the voice of one crying in the wilderness. We know that also applies to John the Baptist.
Isaiah 40:1-5 But it says, "Comfort. Yes, comfort my people, says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. 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 should be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low, the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed." And we just heard about that. "And all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
So, there's going to be an end to warfare, but of course, there will be hard times before that, as we read here as well. And then there's this statement about all the... or every hills and mountain being brought low, the valleys raised. What does that mean? You know, I think sometimes we read more into that than is actually being talked about here. Does it mean no more rocky mountains? No more Grand Canyon, just perpetual Kansas everywhere? Maybe you like Kansas. Kansas is not a bad place, but it's flat. Not everywhere. I saw a little bit of hilly areas there before. But anyway, with no beautiful mountain scenery at all? That is not what this means. For one thing, the world would be flooded if everything was totally flat. It would not be a very good topography out there. Also, we're told in other places, like, it says in Joel 3:18, I'll just give you as a reference.
Joal 3:18 It says, "The mountains will drip with new wine."
Well, how can that happen if there's no mountains? Now, perhaps there could be a flattening of some land and raising of some land for more area for crops and settlements to remove some barriers between people, which is actually getting at what we're talking about here in Isaiah 40. It's something very specific that is meant here. It's talking about the building of a highway. Now, perhaps, also, included is that mountains can represent kingdoms in various prophecies. And if you think of that, then valleys in that picture would be the low peoples, the oppressed, and the downtrodden. It's true that earth's kingdoms will be brought low, and that the lowly will be exalted. That is a very common message here.
But again, the more obvious reference here is to the building of a highway. The passage is quoted in Luke 3:2-6 about John the Baptist's message, where it says that, "Every valley will be filled." As in filled in. Now, what are we talking about again? Picture the building of a highway, and you encounter obstacles as you're building that highway. Maybe you run into a mountain, or maybe come to a deep canyon, a chasm. What do you do? Well, if you've got a mountain, I guess you'd go over it. You could dig under it, you go around it. Maybe that's really hard to do. Or the valley, you raise it up, you fill it in so you could get over it. Maybe you build a bridge. Or if you had all power, maybe just get rid of the mountain. Fill in the valley. Make it so that you can easily get through with no problem at all. So, we're talking about the building of a literal highway. Remember, smoothing out the crooked places. We don't want to go around. We want a straight direct route that's immediate access.
So, this verse is not talking about every mountain and every valley in the world. It's talking about every mountain and every valley that is blocking that highway that is being built. And so, we have to make a way through or over to get to where we're going.
Now, it does also have a figurative meaning, symbolizing something that is more significant. There are many things in scripture that are both literal and symbolic. Like for instance, the two trees in the Garden of Eden. But the literal helps us to see what's being represented. Highways are important. I would imagine that most of us would not be here if it wasn't for highways. Without highways, we wouldn't be able to meet together as we do now. Or even congregationally. Imagine no roads, good roads, you just wouldn't go anywhere. You'd be stopped. But the very fact that God wants us to congregate, not just locally, but internationally, you know, shows you that God intends for us to travel distances to be with His people. That was true in ancient Israel.
You need good roads for smooth transit, to make it faster. It's easier to see where you're going, and the progress you're making is less arduous. Makes the trip worthwhile. You see more people going back and forth. These elements spread in our physical, but they also represent spiritual realities, as we'll see going forward. And that brings us to number three. Number three is Israel's highway of return. Israel's highway of return, which is both literal and figurative. Both literal and figurative. Turn over to Isaiah 49, a few pages over. Isaiah 49, we'll look at verses 11 and 12. And this is talking about the return of the exiles, the Israelite exiles in the end time.
Isaiah 49:11-12 And God says, "I will make each of my mountains a road, and my highways shall be elevated. Surely these shall come from afar. Look, those from the north and the west, these returning Israelites and these from the land of Sinim."
I won't go into all what that means, but I'm just saying that the Israelites are coming back from these different places, and God says, "My highways shall be elevated." You know, the mountains become like a road, elevated, traveling above the problems of the world. And remember that mountains symbolizing the nations of the world that, you know, belong to God now. All the nations then lead the way back to God. From everywhere, the Israelites are coming as they're returning, and they see the way to God. God's leading them. Turn to Isaiah 11. Isaiah 11, another passage we often read through. The beginning here is talking about... I'll just reference in verses 4-12.
Isaiah 11:4 It says that, you know, "With righteousness, God's going to judge the poor. Christ will be ruling the world."
And of course, get down to verse 6.
Isaiah 11:6 You start reading about, "The wolf dwelling with the lamb and the leopard with the young goat. And these animals are at peace."
Isaiah 11:9 "And they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
Isaiah 11:11-12 And it says, "It will come to pass," in verse 11, "in that day, that the Lord will set his hand again, the second time to recover the remnant of his people who were left from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea, where His people will be in captivity and scattered in the end times. And He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
They're coming from everywhere. And also, it's going to be a time when they are joined together. In verse 16, what does it say? Well, actually, back to verse 15, how are they going to get there?
Isaiah 11:15-16 "The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt." So, like He did in the past with the Red Sea. "And with His mighty wind, He will shake His fist over the river." That's talking about the Euphrates up in the northern part where they'll be coming and crossing over there. "And strike it in the seven streams, and make men cross over dry shod. There will be a highway, a highway for the remnant of his people who will be left from Assyria as it was for Israel in the day He came up from the land of Egypt."
So, it's a second exodus, like the first exodus, only bigger. They're going to be coming from north and south. And one note, something here about the peace of the animals. There is going to be peace in nature. There's going to be beautiful, and natural world, animals getting along. And that is literal, but it is also symbolic of the nations of the world getting along because nations are pictured as wild beasts all through the prophecies. And here, the beasts are going to be at peace and getting along. And we know that's talking also about humans because it says in verse 9 that…
Isaiah 11:9 "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
That's why there'll be peace. It doesn't mean that the lions will know the truth. It means that the people will know the truth, and everybody in all these nations will be getting along. So, we've got both elements happening here. The natural world being changed to represent what's being changed in the hearts of men. And is going to be an awesome time.
But the highway we see here is an unimpeded path. The sea itself will not be an impediment. The sea will be a highway. The sea will be the way to God, as in the 1 Exodus. You know, God made the seabed a highway at that time, way back when, as well, as it will be later. Turn over to Isaiah 51. We see here in Isaiah 51, we're told in verses 10 and 11.
Isaiah 51:10-11 It says, "Are you not the one who dried up the sea? The waters of the great deep that made the depths of the sea a road for the ransomed to cross over?" Look at that, a road for the ransomed. We'll see that again in a minute. "So, the ransomed of the Lord shall return." That's coming. "And come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, sorrow and sighing, shall flee away."
So, that ancient road for the redeemed pictures a future road for the redeemed. The highway back to God. Turn over to Isaiah 35. And I'm having you turn over to a lot of verses, but this is mentioned frequently in the scriptures. It's amazing to see this. Isaiah 35:1-6. Here's where it's talking about the deserts rejoicing and blossoming as the rose.
Isaiah 35:3-6 "Strengthen the weak hands. Make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, be strong and do not fear. Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come to save you." So, this is, you know, be courageous. Strengthen the lameness in your spiritual walk is, ultimately, what we're talking about. And verse 5, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing, for waters will burst forth in the wilderness."
And I want to say, again, this is a literal picture. We know, there's going to be mass healings of people, like, has never been seen. People will, literally, that are blind will be able to see, people that cannot hear they'll be able to hear, people that cannot walk they'll be able to walk. It's going to be an awesome time. But this is also spiritual, brethren. It is also spiritual. Those who are spiritually blind will at last be able to know the truth. They'll be able to see. Those who right now they can't hear it, you tell it to them and they just don't get it. They don't get anything you're saying. But they will because their deafness will be unstopped. And the lameness, they can't walk in the way of God now. They're not able to do that, but they will be able to do that in the future. Why? Well, first of all, we have literal and spiritual. Again, it says, "This water is bursting forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of waters."
Isaiah 35:8-10 "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others, whoever..." Because it's not going to be, you know, the people that are sullied by sin and wrong. "...whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray." What does that mean? It means that it'll be so obvious where to go. Everybody will know this is the way to walk in. "No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it. It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there." The road for the ransomed, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return. Verse 10, "And come to Zion with singing with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow, and sighing shall flee away."
So, they're going to come back on this highway. And there's going to be no more beasts on there. Now, that of course, there's not going to be harmful animals in that sense, they'll be changed. But also, again, remember the beasts of the earth in the sense of the evil people and the evil nations that are represented. No more beast power. It's not going to be menacing God's people, the Israelites, as they're returning on this highway to God on the way back. And this is also accomplished through the waters. I said there was a mention of waters in the desert. Look over at Isaiah 43. It's a little bit after this. Isaiah 43 mentions in verse 19.
Isaiah 43:19 God says, "Behold, I will do a new thing. Now, it shall spring forth, shall you not know it. I will even make a road in the wilderness."
They say, "Well, people build roads out in the desert. I mean, I see it being done. It looks like hard work." But the way it's able to be done is because people who are working on it have water. They have nourishment. They're able to do that work out in the hot desert. What if they didn't have that? They would not be able to build that road. But here's what God says is new. "I will make the road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." So, there's going to be rivers that burst forth in the desert that makes it possible to build this highway that is being constructed. And again, there's literal here, and there's, also, symbolic, and spiritual.
To build and even travel this road requires an ample supply of water. And of course, that is mainly spiritual even for us, brethren. We are in a wilderness following and helping to forge a spiritual path across the wasteland of this world. But we can make it there because there is a river in the desert that flows from God. Turn over to Isaiah 44, next chapter here. It says in verses 3 and 4.
Isaiah 44:3-4 "For I will pour water on him who is thirsty and floods on the dry ground. I will pour my spirit on your descendants and my blessing on your offspring. They will spring up among the grass like willows by the water courses."
And willows take a lot of water. Talking about a drenched landscape that was desert, but now it is drenched with water. And what is that water? God just said it. "I will pour my Spirit on your descendants." That's what we're, ultimately, talking about, God's spirit poured out like these waters that are going to bring the nourishment that is needed, and the power to be able to travel and build this highway. We'll come back to this shortly, but, again, we're talking also about a literal highway. We've been talking about Israel's returning exiles. And that brings us to number four, the way for the Gentiles to follow. The way for the Gentiles to follow. Again, this is both literal and figurative. I'd like you to turn over to Isaiah 19. Isaiah 19. Isaiah 19, and let's look at verses 19-22.
Isaiah 19:19-20 It says, "In that day..." This is talking about after the return of Christ, "...there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. For they will cry out to the Lord because of the oppressors."
And the beast power from other prophecies we know is going to come down and occupy the Middle East. And the Egyptians are going to cry out for deliverance. And it says that, "God will send them a savior and a mighty one. And He will deliver them." They're going to build an altar there in memorial of this.
Isaiah 19:21 "Then the Lord will be known in Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering. Yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it.” They are going to serve God.
Isaiah 19:22 "And the Lord will strike Egypt. He will strike and heal it."
So, there's going to be initial punishment. Maybe also it says in Zachariah 14 that if they don't come up to keep the feast, they're going to get no rain. And there may be a time that it takes for them to get in line with things, but, ultimately, God is going to heal them. He's going to deliver them. And this amazing picture that we see here is likely that they won't understand Christ's coming at first. But once they're helped to understand, they will cry out to God as deliverer. They will see that God, through Christ, has taken away their occupying enemy, and they will worship Him, offering sacrifices to Him. They will entreat Him and He will heal them. Continuing on in verses 23-25.
Isaiah 19:23-25 "In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. And the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria. And the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day, Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land."
You know, again, the highway so many times. Here, it's said to be for the Egyptians and the Assyrians. These enemies are brought together to serve God. Now, think about the picture we have here geographically. You know, you had Israel returning via the highway of return from the north and south, from Assyria and Egypt. And by the way, Assyria is Northern Middle East. But also, we've traced the ancient Assyrians up in the central Europe. And it does appear that that's also talking about the European beast power. And we're talking about people coming from captivity up in all those lands. But either way you've got north and south between Assyria and Egypt.
And then we now see a mention of the highway that goes from Assyria to Egypt, and from Egypt to Assyria, for these gentile peoples. Well, that's got to be the same highway. The same highway that comes from Assyria to Israel, then it comes from Egypt to Israel, is the same highway that goes from Assyria to Egypt and Egypt to Assyria. It's the same highway, and it goes through Israel. Notice that, it goes through Israel. For these age-old enemies to have interchange with each other, they have to go through Israel where God, in the person of Christ at that time, and where His people will be. That is significant, not just in a geographic sense, but in a figurative sense, in a spiritual sense.
The people of these other nations have to come through Israel, following the same path as Israel. Israel leads the way, the way of return to God, and the rest of mankind follows, and they are able to meet with each other. But to do that, they have to be mediated through Israel and through Christ. Consider that this, generally, follows the path of the ancient Via Maris, the way of the sea, that went through Israel as the crossroads of the world. And so, what we see in the ancient positioning of Israel's promised land is going to be fulfilled...Its purpose is going to be fulfilled in the age to come. Keep a play-marker here in Isaiah 19. We'll come back to one more point here about that. But let's look at something concerning number five, building the highway, preparing the way. Building the highway, preparing the way.
Isaiah 62:8-11 It's talking about, "At first, that enemies are no longer going to be given the people's food, and that they harvest." Verse 9, "But those who have gathered it shall eat it and praise the Lord. Those who have brought it together shall drink it in my holy courts." They're going to come to God's feast, is what that's talking about. Verse 10, "Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway. Take out the stones. Lift up a banner for the peoples." Think about that. This is talking in verse 11. It says, "Say to the daughter of Zion, your salvation is coming. Behold his reward is with him and his work before him."
We're talking about taking out the stones. These are the obstacles that are in the road, preparing the way for salvation, making way for the Savior. We see more about that in Isaiah 57. Turn over there, please. Isaiah 57. And this is the end of verse 13. It's talking about His people inheriting His holy mountain. So, we're talking about the kingdom.
Isaiah 57:14-15 "And one shall say, heap it up, heap it up, prepare the way, take the stumbling block out of the way of my people. For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit to revive the spirit of the humble and revive the heart of the oppressed ones. So, those who are low will be exalted."
All the low peoples, those who humble themselves before God, and the proud will be brought down. And so, certainly, this is what we're also talking about in bringing down the mountains and raising up the people. But here we also see building a highway and removing obstacles, removing a stumbling block from out of the way of God's people.
Remember, brethren, it was the mission of the voice of one in the wilderness to proclaim, "Prepare the way." Now, when was he to do that? After Christ's return? No, we understand that it's before Christ's coming. In preparation before it. It was, you know, before Christ came that John the Baptist was preparing the way for Him. And it's before Christ comes that we are to take out the stones, to take the stumbling block out of the way, to clear out the obstacles in preparation for the coming of the Lord. It's a picture of, like, a royal visitor coming to an area. Everybody's going to do everything they can to clear the path, clear out the way to make it easy for his visit to come. And that's what we're talking about. John the Baptist came in partial fulfillment of these verses.
So, in his message, where was the way to be prepared? Where were the obstacles to be removed? Well, I'll just reference for you.
Luke 1:16-17 It says that "He was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
To make ready a people prepared for the Lord. The obstacles must be removed from the people of God. Today, in the wilderness of spiritual confusion, certainly includes sins of the people, what they're stumbling over. What are we stumbling over? What needs to be removed? What is impeding our relationship with God? These things need to be cleared out of the way, out of our path, out of the road on which we walk. It also signifies barriers between the people, these obstacles, these stones in the road. Any obstacle between the peoples need to be removed. All these things are barriers to our progress. Or we might think of it as a barrier to God's continuing entry into our lives.
We must be prepared for His coming, not just in the future, but for His coming into our lives now. Unless, you know, Zachariah, John the Baptist Father said, and I'll also refer to you to verses 76-79, "That the voice of one was coming to lead the people's feet into the way of peace." And that's what we're talking about, the way of peace, as he was building that highway. So, now, we see this, to prepare the Lord's ways, the way of the Lord, to give knowledge of salvation. That's what He said, "To guide our feet into the way of peace, not conflict." We're talking about peace through reconciliation, people learning to get along with one another. John came as the forerunner of an end-time work to proceed Christ's second coming. Mr. Armstrong did this work, and we're continuing in it today. So, we must keep this same focus. The United Church of God does have this focus, as we see on our seal, preaching the gospel, preparing a people... Preparing a people for the return of Christ, preparing the way of the Lord. Turn to Hebrews 12. Hebrews 12, gives us, really, the mission of every Christian here.
Hebrews 12:12-13 "Therefore..." Again, this is quoting Isaiah 35, we read while ago, "...strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees, and make straight pass for your feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed."
He's talking spiritually, brethren. That's what he's talking about here. He is talking about don't be lame in your walk before God. You need to make straight paths. And what does this involve?
Hebrews 12:14 "Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."
Think about that. "The way of peace is the highway of holiness." This is the road we are to walk every day walking to God on the way of return to Jerusalem, to the kingdom of God. What we read in these verses is the mission of every Christian. The health of the body, the body of Christ, demands we walk together in harmony on a straight path toward the kingdom of God. And the highway symbolizes that.
For point number six is very quick. It's about coming together. Coming together. The removal of alienation and separation. I told you to hold place there in Isaiah 19:23. And I'd like to look at that very quickly. Isaiah 19:23. And what it says here is something we read already, but I want to draw your attention to a word. And that is that it says, "In that day, there..."
Isaiah 19:23 "In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. And the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria. And the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians."
That's the key. With. They're together. Together. The highway allows for a meeting of the minds, greatly facilitated by people actually, physically getting together, so they can learn to get along. And for the ancient enemies in Isaiah 19 to be reconciled, we see they must come through Israel, following the path that the Israelites have already walked themselves. They will have walked the path of return to God. Both figuratively and literally. And here's the big point for us to consider. Israel will have followed a spiritual path of obedience and reconciliation that we will have walked before them as an example. We're preparing the way today. It starts today. It's not just for the millennium. Now, is the beginning with greater fulfillment to come. As has been said, Christianity is not a destination, but a way of traveling. The Bible compares living God's way to a walk and following a pathway. In the New Testament, Christianity is called the way, the right way of life, the way of living. Of course, we do have a destination. It's called the kingdom of God. But what do we do when we get there? We keep on traveling, walking the walk, living the same way of life.
Finally, number seven, the narrow way becomes a highway. The narrow way becomes a highway. Today, the way of God is a narrow, difficult path. In Matthew 7:13-14, you don’t need to turn there. Jesus said, "Wide is the gate, broad is the way that leads to destruction. There are many who go in by it. How narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Turn to Proverbs 15, if you would. Today the world is against us. There are ravenous beasts everywhere, especially, in the spirit realm, led by our adversary, the devil, who stalks us as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Yet in walking this now narrow and difficult way, it becomes a highway.
Proverbs 15:19 It says, "The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns. But the way of the upright is a highway."
That is not a contradiction of Matthew 7. The right way presents challenges, heard that earlier, but once you're on the road, you know where you're going. It's not a confused path through the woods. And when you live the right way, you won't have all the difficulties that come from living the wrong way. You won't run into all the problems that carelessness and sin bring. Living the wrong way will get you off of God's road and leave you in a hedge of thorns.
Proverbs 16:17 It says, "The highway of the upright is to depart from evil. He who keeps his way preserves his soul."
The highway of holiness is, ultimately, living according to God's laws. Having God's righteous character developed in us, that will save our lives, ultimately. So, we must start the process today, brethren, and God will miraculously help our efforts. If we prepare by striving to clear the obstacles with God's help, God will miraculously crush the mountains in our way of our spiritual interchange, and fill the valleys that divide us from Him and one another. You know, Matthew 21 speaks of faith to move mountains. Speaking of whatever stands in our way, clearing out the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, for with God, all things are possible. We have walked out of captivity and confusion to the spiritual promised land, walking out of darkness into the great light, shining along the great connecting highway, the light of Christ. And we must be filled with Christ. He who is the personification of the highway of return to God, who said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." He is our peace, breaking down the middle wall of separation, as well as our righteousness, our justice, the one the Father sends to make things right. In and through Christ, we come to the Father and find peace with God and each other.
As we clear out the obstacles with Christ's help, the way of the Lord is being prepared in us, within us, and through us, with the rest of the world to then follow on that same way, being guided into the way of peace, the highway of holiness. As lives are changed, the world is changed. This is the future we wait for. This is the roadmap to peace. Let us do our part in heeding the call now to build up, build up the highway, take out the stones, make straight in the desert a highway for our God, and walk the highway of holiness, the way of peace through Christ to salvation in the Kingdom of God together. Brethren, may you all have a richly rewarding remainder of this wonderful feast that pictures the world at long last, living the way of peace.