Pastor James J. Barker

Text: ISAIAH 46:8-13


  1. The Bible teaches that God is sovereign.  By sovereignty, we mean that God is in complete control of all things.
  2. God could never be surprised, defeated, or uncertain.
  3. The sovereignty of God means that He has total control of all things past, present and future. Acts 15:18 says, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."
  4. Nothing happens that is out of God's knowledge and control.
  5. All things are either caused by Him or allowed by Him for His own purposes, and through His perfect will and timing (cf. Acts 2:23).
  6. Ephesians 1:11 says God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." ).   This does not interfere with man's free will.
  7. “Sovereignty must not obliterate free will, and free will must never dilute sovereignty” – Charles Ryrie.
  8. “Nothing God planned interferes with human freedom…Nothing humans do frustrates God’s sovereign plan” – Richard Halverson.



  1. This is one of the great themes of the book of Isaiah.
  2. The first eight verses of Isaiah 46 deal with the foolishness of idolatry.
  3. And then in Isaiah 46:9, the LORD says, "for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (cf. 46:5-8).
  4. Isaiah 44:8 says, "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."
  5. Isaiah 45:5 and 6 says, "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me...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."
  6. Isaiah 45:21 says, "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me."
  7. There is none like God -- "He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou?"
  8. The Psalmist said, "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Ps. 115:3).
  9. Psalm 22:28 says, "For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor (ruler) among the nations."



  1. The false gods of Babylon could not "declare the end from the beginning," but the true God of the Bible can.
  2. Allah and Buddha and the other false gods of the heathen cannot "declare the end from the beginning," but the true God of the Bible can.
  3. The LORD says in Isaiah 41, "Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen..." (Isa. 41:22, 23).
  4. One of the great claims of Bible Christianity is its claim to posses predictive prophecy (cf. Isa. 7:14; 9:6, 7; 53:1ff).
  5. One of the most amazing things, and one of the most significant things is the fact that in the Old Testament it has been said that there are over 300 prophecies of Jesus Christ, which have been minutely and accurately fulfilled.
  6. We can be confident that all of the many prophecies that remain unfilled will also be minutely and accurately fulfilled (cf. Isa. 63:1-6).
  7. Peter Stoner (1888 – 1980) was the Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College. He also taught math and science at Westmont College.
  8. In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies (keep in mind there are over 300 fulfilled prophecies) regarding Christ.
  9. He says, “The chance that any man might have...fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.” (one hundred quadrillion).
  10. That is 1 with 17 "0"s!
  11. To illustrate his point, Stoner suggested that “we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover the entire state two feet deep in silver dollars!
  12. Stoner then said, "Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly...Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up (that one marked silver dollar). What chance would he have of getting the right one?”
  13. Only the true God of the Bible can infallibly foretell the future.
  14. The Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly predicted his death, burial, and resurrection because the Lord Jesus Christ is God.
  15. There is no religious book or holy book except the Bible that has genuine prophecy. Mohammed and Buddha and Confucius and all of the others never predicted the future.



  1. God's "counsel" refers to God's purpose. Everything God does has a specific purpose.
  2. The Hebrew word translated "counsel" is translated "purpose" in Isaiah 14:26 -- "This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations."
  3. The "ravenous bird from the east" (46:11) is Cyrus, and the "far country" is Persia. His military standard was an eagle.
  4. Cyrus is called a "ravenous bird" because he would descend forcefully and swiftly on Babylon.
  5. Cyrus the Persian general is referred to in Isaiah 46:11 as "the man that executeth my counsel from a far country."
  6. One way that Cyrus executeth God's counsel (purpose) was by allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild their temple (II Chron. 36:22; Ezra 1:1-4.)
  7. Furthermore, Cyrus gave them back the vessels that King Nebuchadnezzar had plundered from Solomon's Temple.
  8. And Cyrus contributed financially to the construction of the new temple. About 50,000 Jews responded to Cyrus' royal proclamation and returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel.
  9. This is how King Cyrus executeth God's counsel (purpose).
  10. Cyrus was born more than 150 years after Isaiah's prophecy. And in Isaiah 44, Isaiah calls Cyrus by name (cf. 44:28--45:1).
  11. It is fascinating that the LORD refers to this Gentile king as his "shepherd" (44:28) and His "anointed" (45:1). These are two terms that are used in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
  12. Therefore, this great Persian king is a type of Christ.
  13. Cyrus is one of the most remarkable figures of history. One preacher said, "He is the only great personality treated with sympathy by both the Bible and Greek literature" (S. Lewis Johnson).
  14. Regarding Cyrus, God says, "I have purposed it, I will also do it" (46:11b). Regarding everything that happens, God says, "I have purposed it, I will also do it." God either decrees it or He allows it.
  15. God sees everything -- past, present, and future -- in a perfect presence. Man is finite, but God is infinite. God is not bound by the limitations of finitude, and God is not bound by the succession of events, which is a necessary part of time.
  16. God's eternality extends backward from our viewpoint of time as well as forward forever.
  17. God sees the past and future as clearly as the present. One preacher put it this way: "The entire panorama of history from the beginning to the end stands before God in a perfect presence. He sees all history now before Him. The hand of God in sovereign grace guides the great movements of time, tide, and history throughout the generations and the aeons" (W.A. Criswell, Isaiah, An Exposition).
  18. We can grasp an eternal future, but it is hard for man to comprehend that God has no beginning. Psalm 90:2 says, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."
  19. God has a plan and God has a purpose (cf. Isa. 14:26, 27).
  20. I have been reading the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, and the book begins with this well-known statement, "Man proposes and God disposes."
  21. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln said, “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”
  22. And in his second inaugural address, Lincoln quoted Psalm 19:9, “The judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”
  23. In Shakespeare's great play, Hamlet says to his good friend Horatio, "There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will."
  24. King Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, disguised himself, and went into the battle wearing the robes of King Jehoshaphat. The Bible says, "And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness" (I Kings 22:34).
  25. "A certain man," some unknown soldier, may have drawn that bow, but the LORD directed that arrow.
  26. The LORD had already sentenced King Ahab to death. The LORD told Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel... And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD...In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine" (I Kings 21:19).
  27. Above the earth and its rulers and its wars and its kings and rulers and generals presides the sovereign God of Heaven. He "is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Timothy 6:15).
  28. The Lord guides and directs the events of time and tide according to His foreknowledge, and His infinite wisdom and choice.
  29. We have seen this over and over as we study the book of Daniel. Men come and go. Nations rise and fall. Great generals like Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great march across the pages of history, but God is always in control (cf. Daniel 4:34-37).
  30. Those who deny the Bible is the Word of God are "stouthearted" (Isa. 46:12), that is "stubborn-hearted."



  1. God has a plan for each and every one of us. The greatest joy in life is finding God's will and doing it.
  2. Second Peter 3:9 says, the Lord is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
  3. So we know it is not God's will for anyone in this room to go to hell.
  4. If you are settled on salvation, then make up your mind you are going to live for God and seek His will for your life.
  5. The certainty and immutability of God's counsel is a very comforting doctrine for God's children.

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