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ISAIAH 56:10-12


A scathing indictment of Judah's False Prophets during the day of Isaiah!

"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." Isaiah 56:10-12


 A Preacher in his Study







The Prophet Isaiah was a versatile Preacher!

His evangelistic style is unequaled among Old Testament Preachers. Listen to Him report the Words of God. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

Then he could also denounce, at God's command, the wicked Gentile nations surrounding Israel. He knew how to rebuke and proclaim impending judgment! "Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate." Isaiah 47:1

He handled Bible Prophecy pretty well too! Here, in the first verse of his sixty third chapter, Jesus' Second Coming to earth is described. This is the conquering Jesus, by the way! "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save." Here the Lord has again returned to earth, placing His feet squarely on the Mount of Olives, and has begun His mop-up campaign at Armageddon! The dyed garments are no doubt blood spattered, results of the tremendous death toll. John in Revelation says that the blood will flow as deep as the horses' bridles!

But in Isaiah 56:10-12 our Prophet "takes on" the false teachers and false preachers of his hour. He begins by calling this crowd "watchmen." Yes, they are supposed to be God's watchmen. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."

The word pictures the Holy Spirit uses here are not very flattering at all!

We just must remember that we are dealing with inspired inerrant Scripture. We are required to preach it!

If an urban night guard, or a sentry on duty around the sheep fold, or a policeman on patrol were to be heavy, overweight, his job performance might not be impaired too much. On the other hand, if he was blind ... his ability to do the work would be virtually impossible!

That's the exact condition we have here in Isaiah 56:10. Isaiah compares God's Preachers to "watchmen," sentries or policemen or body guards, who can't see a thing! At least some of the Preachers fit this description.

Again, let Isaiah speak: "His watchmen are blind."

What's the duty of God's watchmen?

"Tzsphah," the Hebrew word for "watchmen" means "one who looks or observes or spies or waits" for any impending problem or danger! The "root" of this verb means "to lean forward," peering into the distance!

That's the job of a Prophet of God! In the Old Testament they were often called "seers." By definition, that one who "sees" something, thus a "see-er." The Hebrew word for seer is "chozen" and means to "gaze" at or to "perceive" something.

The first Watchman in Scripture is the Lord God Himself! Using our exact verb, Genesis 31:49 records the words of Laban to Jacob: "The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another." We Preachers are given a serious and heavy obligation, one which the Lord originally chose for Himself, and still retains ultimately! In fact, Psalm 66:7 says that God "beholds" the nations, using "tzsphah" too! "He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah." Solomon in Proverbs adds to the Divine picture as well. I'll underline "tzsphah" for you. "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."

Ezekiel is twice called a watchman ... by the Lord! See Ezekiel 3:17 and 33:6 both.

There are consequences to not being a good watchman, to not sounding the warning when danger approaches! Read this carefully: "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." Bloody hands are seen here in Ezekiel 33:7-8.

Habakkuk also is a watchman! "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved." Habakkuk 2:1

By Jeremiah's time, the watchmen of Israel were so rebellious they boldly said no to God's summons! "Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken." Jeremiah 6:17

Now Isaiah's watchmen, here in chapter 56, are merely blind!

"Blind," is "ivver" in the Hebrew. This noun is derived from a verb that means "to put out," obviously referring to one's eyes! That word, previously, meant "to cover or to hide," indicating apparently a veil over one's eyes.

But what brings about this blindness?

Zephaniah 1:17 provides one answer. "And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung."

Sin does!

Sin dulls one's vision!

Sin blinds!

Even Christians can be effected.

Peter tells us: "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." 2nd Peter 1:9

Blind Preachers, spiritually blind!

With such leaders, there's no telling where a nation might go!

Sounds a lot like our world today!

Lord, help us we pray.

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I want to be respectful to the Men of God, the Preachers who love the Lord and faithfully preach His precious Word!

I am going to do so!

So I shudder within myself when the Bible, even the Bible, calls a bunch of Preachers "ignorant!"

Yet that's exactly what Isaiah the Prophet does ... in no uncertain terms!

Referring to men who at least professed to be God's spokesmen, Isaiah 62:10 says: "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber."


They are ignorant!

All of them, of this particular group!

Elijah thought there were no prophets, no true ones, left in his day! But God quickly reminded him that several thousand "had not bowed their knees unto Baal." 1st Kings 19:19

However, in Isaiah's day, things might not have been so "good!"

Few Preachers stayed true to God!

It appears from our Text that "all" had become ignorant!

The adjectival expression "ignorant" is composed of two Hebrew words: "lo yada." The particle "lo" just means "not" or "no" or "none." It is definite and absolute.

The verb "yada" means just what it says: "to know."

Therefore "ignorant" here clearly translates as "not knowing!"

Now more specifically, "yada" means to know surely, to know certainly ... as if by seeing!

These so-called Prophets or Watchmen did not know anything for sure!

They were not positive that God's Word was authentic!

They did not know how God was leading the nation!

They could not even discern any difference between right and wrong!

They apparently were unable to sense the signs of the times!

In fact, they really didn't even know God!

Unsure Prophets invariably will produce vague and purposeless preaching, if any preaching at all!

That's the kind we have in America today, at least as far as most "mainstream" denominations are concerned!

Folks, we ought to be so thankful that there are some things about which we can be sure!

We can KNOW we are saved! "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1st John 5:13

We can KNOW that the Holy Spirit lives within us! "And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." Then, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." 1st John 3:4 and Romans 8:17

We can KNOW the Truth! "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

We can KNOW God's Voice! "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." John 10:4

We KNOW where Jesus is, right now! "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." John 14:4

We KNOW that God is at work in our lives, no matter what comes our way! "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

We also are aware that the longer we serve the Lord, the greater will become our knowledge and assurance. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18

And, thank God, real Preachers KNOW whereof they speak! "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." So says John 3:11.

Oh, the blight of being unsure!

The curse of being ignorant!

But, Brother Bagwell, what could possibly be so very dangerous about such "ignorance?"


Read with me Hosea 4:6. It's shocking in light of today's verse. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."

Yes, plenty!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The false prophets of Isaiah's day were once called "dumb dogs!"

Called that by Isaiah himself, mind you, under the direct inspiration of God the Holy Spirit too!

Here's the verse: "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark ...." Isaiah 56:10

Interestingly, the Hebrew noun for "dogs" is spelled "keleb." Really it's the Old Testament name "Caleb." The word is used 32 different times in the Bible.

The first time is early in Scripture. In Exodus 11:7 we are told: "But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." Amen!

Maybe with these religious hypocrites in mind, Psalm 22:17 prophesies of Jesus dying on the Cross and saying: "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet."

The Bible's attitude towards dogs can easily be discerned by reading Texts like Proverbs 26:11. "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."

But more than just dogs, Isaiah labeled these apostates "dumb" dogs!

The adjective "illem" is translated "dumb" all six times it appears in the Bible. It means speechless. It's from a root verb, "alam," meaning "to tie," hence "tongue-tied!"

In Exodus 4:11 we see our word clearly: "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?" God is Lord ... over all!

Oh yes, Scripture recognizes one more thing that is "dumb." Enter Habakkuk 2:19 now. "What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?" Dumb idols!

And since Psalm 115 says that idol worshippers will become just like their gods, their rock or wood or metal images, we read: "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them." See the capitalized clause!

Here are a bunch of dumb Preachers, who positively do NOT walk with the Wise God!

Next we are told they "cannot bark" either! The Holy Spirit here has used three Hebrew words, "lo yakol nabach." The negative or prohibitive particle is "lo," meaning "no" or "not." The verb "yakol" means "to be able." Put them together: "not with the power or strength to do something!" Then "nabach," used only here in all of Scripture, obviously means to make noise like a dog, to bark.

However I did find two occurrences where men were named "nabach!" In Numbers 32:42 we read: "And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name." I have underlined Nobah, "barking" in Hebrew! And it's the same as Judges 8:11. "And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure."

There are three kinds of Preachers!

The right kind, Biblical and bold and edifying!

The wrong kind, dangerous and misleading!

And the silent kind, men with not even enough courage to say a single significant word!

God, give to us Bible Preachers strong voices, stronger backbones and the ever present fullness of Thy Holy Spirit!

Isaiah elsewhere taught the Men of God: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isaiah 58:1

I say "amen!"

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Lord again and again describes lazy Preachers and Prophets in the Bible. It is as if God particularly despises slothfulness!

One Text specifically, Isaiah 56:10-12, is devastating!

Listen to just part of it. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." Isaiah 56:10

Their laziness is most apparent in the last two phrases ... "sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber."

Three terms are used here, all graphic in scope.

"Sleeping" translates "hazaz" and is a hapax legomena. That just means it occurs here alone! It's not used anywhere else in the whole Bible! That makes any word "special" in some ways! It is believed that our word is derived from "chazah," to "gaze" at something or to "dream" about it! See the connection?

Paul exhorts his young preachers to be "vigilant" in their service for the Lord. Peter asks for "diligence." Neither can be offered while a person is asleep!

"Lying down" is "shakab" and means "to rest" or "to recline." This word is used 212 times in Scripture. Using this same verb, Amos the Prophet describes backslidden Israel. "That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments ...." One can just sense the lethargy and apathy of the folks described by Amos. Sounds a lot like America I think. I've used most of Amos 6:4-6 here. The verb often has a sexual connotation in the Bible too. It's first appearance, Genesis 19:4, proves that. I'll just say that the context of the Genesis Verse is in Sodom!

These false Prophets may here actually be accused of immoral living. Usually bad belief leads to bad behavior!

"Loving" is "ahab" in Hebrew and means anything from a fondness to a passionate affinity! The context must decide. "To have affection" for someone is the lexicon definition. It is here expressed as a participle, suggesting on-going habitual action. These men, these so-called preachers, are not aggressive workers! They are not profitable servants!

"Slumber," in Hebrew "num," means to rest from drowsiness! Tired! Liberal theology is always listless, insipid, bland! Boring!

Nahum 3:18 also mentions these shepherds that slumber, using "num" for his main verb.

Now here's some good news.

I know a Shepherd, a Prophet, a Priest Who never slumbers! In fact, He never sleeps. He does not have to recline and refresh His strength!

That's Jesus!

Listen to His description in Psalm 121. "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." Our divine Guard never sleeps, an eternally alert Watchman!

Now, in contrast to these sleeping servants, the godly teachers and preachers of the Bible offer the following advice.

Young preachers, especially take note. Born again Christians, you do too! These are profitable verses.

Work while you're alive! Work hard! "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Listen to Paul the Apostle. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24

Stay awake! "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Revelation 16:15

Jesus was a Worker!

His Men, his Disciples, His followers will be too!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The false prophets, the useless watchmen whom Isaiah described in his Prophecy are not only blind, ignorant, dumb, and lazy ... they also are greedy!

Read with me Isaiah 56:11. "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter."

Look at that first clause! I mean the initial thrust of Isaiah's attack: "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough."

The adjective "greedy" is simply spelled "az" in Hebrew. Found 23 times in the Bible, it is translated several different ways. In the King James Bible it's "strong" 12 times, "fierce" 4 times, "mighty" 3 times, "power" 1 time, "greedy" 1 time, "roughly" 1 time and "stronger" 1 time.

As you can see, these are mean men! Actually the Hebrew Bible includes another descriptive term for these men, "nephesh" or souls!

"Dogs" is again "keleb" and here carries its literal meaning, a term of disgust and debasement to the Jewish mind. Occasionally in ancient literature a "dog" was understood figuratively of a male prostitute, in the homosexual sense. Likely that's the best way to explain Deuteronomy 23:18 too. So, if this is right, these men are morally bankrupt also!

Now ... they "can never have enough."

The verb used for "have" is here "yada." It is a "perfect" verb in its sense of timing. This indicates completed action. These men are gone now. They are no longer craving everything the world has to offer! In fact, they didn't last too much longer even in Isaiah's day. God killed them!

"Enough," here being used as a noun, "sabah," means fullness or satisfaction or satiety! They have never enjoyed the feeling of contentedness! They are restless!

We have all heard the phrase used about certain men, maybe a doctor or a lawyer or a politician even. "Why, he's in it for the money." That's exactly the sentiment being projected by our Text toward these wicked men!

Paul, writing to his "preacher-boys," realizes the dangers of greed and comments: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1st Timothy 6:10

Or, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11

And "Godliness with contentment is great gain." 1st Timothy 6:6

Men of God, beware!

Gehazi, servant to Elisha, once got a case of greed, a bad one. And his subsequent lying and deception led him to disobey the Lord, resulting in his getting leprosy!

The Lord surely does not hold these false teachers in very high regard!

Every true servant of God longs to obey 2nd Timothy 2:15 where Paul writes: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Let's decide!

Money ... or Jesus!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The preachers mentioned in Isaiah 56:10-12 were first called "watchmen." Then later they were named "shepherds." The latter term is the one used often for New Testament Pastors too!

Listen to Isaiah. "They are shepherds that cannot understand." Of all the critical needs a spiritual leader has, a godly Bible preacher I mean, "understanding" is central!

But more about that in a minute.

Let's study that word "shepherd" first. In Hebrew it is spelled "raah" and means one who feeds a flock! But more is involved. Tending and guarding the sheep are implied too!

These false shepherds of Isaiah 56 "simply cannot understand" the things of God! The verb "understand," as used here, needed to incorporate two Hebrew terms to express its full meaning. "Yada" means "to know," often to know assuredly, certainly! And "biyn" is added by the Holy Spirit because it expresses the idea of "discerning or perceiving or seeing the different shades of meaning and significance" in a spiritual matter.

I believe these men of whom Isaiah speaks are lost unsaved! Remember, they have absolutely "no understanding!"

Paul best explains this in 1st Corinthians 2:14. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." This verse has the names of these blind watchmen written all over it!

Here's the kind of Pastor God wants.  In fact, He trains them! "And I will give you Pastors according to Mine Heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." Jeremiah 3:15

Today professional pastors, watchmen, are writing books denying the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the inerrancy of Scripture, the creation of man, Blood Atonement, salvation by Grace, and the Second Coming of Jesus!

These indeed are shepherds that cannot understand!

And dear Men of God, here's one more thing. The wisdom and understanding we so badly need are found only in one place. Jesus told us. "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." John 16:13

Oh, how we need men unlike these spiritual renegades Isaiah has been describing. We rather need Brethren like those described in  1st Chronicles 12:32. "And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do."

Increase their tribe, Lord!


                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell 




The word is "individualism."

In bygone years America did not emphasize such a concept, seeing it as selfish much of the time!

The key word back then was "community" or "collectively" or corporally!"

It's not all about "me!"

This is true in nearly every area of life ... but especially in the Christian realm, among born-again Blood-washed Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Virgin-Born Son.

But the false teachers and preachers and prophets and pastors Isaiah described in the 56th chapter of his great Prophecy were individualists if any ever lived!

"They all look to their own way," writes the inspired Prophet. See Isaiah 56:11.

Notice that "all" of them are guilty!

Guilty of following their own paths!

"Kol," the "all" of our Text in Hebrew, means "the whole of" any group. "Any, each or every" are good definitions too. No one is omitted! This is obviously a group trait. Thus, what's coming is important!

The verb "look" is unusually spelled "panah" and means "to turn and face" something or someone. There is a hint of rebellion in this word, at least at times. Twice our King James Bibles renders it "turned away" and two more times "turned back!" Jeremiah 2:27 illustrates the point well. There God accuses Judah: "Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us." The "stock" is a wooden idol!

Their own "way" translates "derek," a "road or path or course" of travel. It implies such a permanent direction of travel that 8 times our Bible renders it as "manner!" It does not speak of a day trip nearly as much as it suggests a life's journey!

Again I use the word "individualists," or if you prefer, here actual "rebels" against God's plans!

Whereas ... a born again Preacher, Spirit filled and obedient to God, cannot look to his own way. He must follow God's Way!

Paul would have us, even at our own personal peril, serve the Brethren! "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." Romans 12:10

Timothy, Paul's young protégée, did not look to his own way. Listen to Paul as he dispatches Timothy to Philippi. He tells the Church there: "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." Forgetting his own welfare, including his shaky health, this young Man of God will even be anxious and troubled when it comes to promoting the godly interests of the Philippian Brothers and Sisters.

And Epaphroditus, another Christian from Philippi, spurned his own "way" and unselfishly followed Jesus. "Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me," writes Paul.

Two choices in Preachers exist.

The self-centered kind ... or the God-centered kind!

There's no need to declare which group God approves!

You already know!

Do you see any selfishness here in 1st Timothy 3:2-6? "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." Well, I certainly do not!

And just incase you think this "individualism," this "I'm doing it MY way" syndrome is not dangerous, better read Isaiah 53:6. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." As you can see, our "own ways" have consequences, deadly ones! By the way, Isaiah again here in 53:6 uses the same verb and noun as he did in our Text today, "panah" and "derek."

Yes, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12

Maybe better yet is Proverbs 10:29. "The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity."

I had better close for now.

More tomorrow, Lord willing.

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Gain, profit, remuneration, salary ... all are words that financially emphasize the idea of money. At least, that's generally so.

And the Bible certainly does teach us to pay a man after he has done a specified amount of work! And pay him the right amount, not poverty level rates!

Having said that, I must suggest to you that certain areas of labor are not built upon the idea of earning money.

And the preaching of God's Word is one of them.

For example, if one counted every hour each week that a skilled Pastor spent serving the Lord and caring for his people, he would likely receive about 5.00 an hour for his labor! In fact, many Preachers supplement their income by working a second job, so they can minister to those small congregations or those poor brothers and sisters in Christ.

For a Preacher to be "in it for the money" is an abomination!

That's part of what makes Isaiah's indictment of the "watchmen" of his day, the "spiritual leaders" of Israel, so shocking. They work solely "for their own gain!"

Read Isaiah 56:11 and notice the capitalized section. "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter."

The quantitative term "every one" is represented by "iysh," a mortal man. Its "root" suggests frailty or feebleness. This is the "lower" word for man, "adam" being the higher word. It seems that, based on 1st Samuel 2:30, these men do not have God's highest regards! "For them that honour Me I will honour, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed," saith the Lord!

And the noun "gain" is "betzsa" and means profit, but usually in an evil sense. Unjust gain is in view, acquired by violence or some such act. In the King James Bible "betzsa" is most often translated "covetousness!" Once in its 23 appearances it is written as "lucre."

Such a greedy attitude and vigorous response angers the Lord! So He says in Isaiah 57:17, the very next chapter to our Text. "For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart."

The first time our word is used in the Bible, Judah is discouraging such profit ... at the expense of one's own brother! "And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?" Genesis 37:26

Preachers, pray this Psalm 119:36 petition: "Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness." Here "coveteousness" is again "betzsa" in Hebrew.

Semantically "betzsa" is derived from a word that means "to cut off" or "to rip away," suggesting violence in acquiring this reward!

Then the closing words of the verse, "from his quarter," are a translation of "qatzseh." This is an expression that pictures inclusiveness. Every false preacher of Isaiah's era, from their very homes or quarters ... border to border and coast to coast ... fits this greedy money-grabbing description! In the King James Bible "qatzseh" is rendered "end" 56 times and "edge" 6 times and "border" 3 times and "utmost" 3 times and "coast" 2 times."

Greed prevails!

Aggressive profit taking!

Downright spiritual robbery really!

No wonder Paul forbids the young preachers around his ministry to seek money as a goal! In 1st Timothy 6:5 the Apostle mentions a group of preachers who suppose that "gain" is godliness!" In other words, they were "making" lots of money! And to their perverted way of thinking, God was pleased! That money would have been a sure sign of His blessing! Sure evidence of being in the Will of the Lord! Yet Paul warned Timothy to "withdraw" himself from such men! Stand away!

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to financially take care of a Man of God! In fact, it's a duty!

But such reward is NOT the motive for preaching!

Far from it!

Timothy, "The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows," writes Paul in 1st Timothy 6:10.

Focus on Jesus.

He will provide your needs!

Jesus taught it this way in Matthew 6:33. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Now the other "things" mentioned here include food, clothing, shelter and all the rest!


                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The false preachers of Isaiah's day have relatives yet alive! I mean in pulpits across the nation. Men who long ago lost their courage and convictions and determination, slipping into lethargy and compromise.

Isaiah 56:12 even tells us they are usually given to strong drink, to alcohol, to booze as the old-timers used to call it.

"Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."

Let's now study the first half of this compound sentence. Just the "drinking" part I mean.

"Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink."

The verb "fetch" is instructive. "Laqach" means to take or to get, but in this special sense; to seize, to capture, to overcome by force if necessary! These men are determined to have their alcoholic beverages, at any cost! Furthermore the verbal construction here implies on-going action. They did this repeatedly, drinking on and on!

The noun for "wine" is "yayin." It's derived from a "root" verb that means "to effervesce," to bubble! It's what that stuff does as it ferments! This is not grape juice here, folks.

Yes, these preachers drink intoxicating beverages, wanting it so badly they'll do nearly anything! By the way, listen to Scripture on this subject. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Here, in Proverbs 20:1, is our word "yayin" again.

But solo drinking won't do! The leaders, the pastors and priests here, must have others drink with them! A fellowship of wickedness!

"Come," they say!

"Athah" is the first word in this sentence, both in Hebrew and English. This location definitely gives the word strong prominence and great emphasis in its context. It means "to arrive or to come." But once in the King James Bible it means "to bring!" Sounds like a "come and bring your own wine" invitation!

And, yes, the verb is an imperative here. These preachers are not merely inviting the congregation to drink with them, they are demanding such behavior!

The verb "fill" indicates what kind of drinking they have in mind. "We will fill ourselves!" The word is spelled "saba" and means to heavily indulge, to completely imbibe! Twice in the Bible it's translated "drunkards." Once it's "winebibbers." One more it's "drunken." They are planning to get intoxicated!

The the final noun, "strong drink," which is "shekar" in Hebrew, means a potent mind boggling beverage, that which makes one inebriated. Of its 23 appearances in the King James Text, it is 21 times rendered "strong drink," 1 time "strong wine" and once more "drunkard."

God wants His Men to be alert!


Yes, Paul, what did you say?

About Preachers?

Go ahead please.

"A bishop then must be ... not given to wine!" 1st Timothy 3:1-3

Paul repeated this qualification to Titus too! Here's part of that Text: "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre ...." Titus 1:7

Now enough has been said!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Optimism is fine ... in its place!

But to be blindly optimistic in the face of certain judgment, judgment from God, is silly.

Jeremiah the Prophet particularly told us about Preachers who would come ... "Saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace." The Hebrew word used here for "peace" is the well known "shalom." It means peace, but in this sense; safety, welfare, prosperity, quiet, soundness and even health! In other words, things are fine, folks! And all the while the whole nation is ready to implode due to their unrepentant sin! See both Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11.

Some Preachers just want to be popular!

They have no desire to suffer the scorn of those Old Testament Men of God, real Prophets,  who spoke the Truth ... whatever the cost!

Listen to Isaiah describe these so-called "watchmen." Here's what they said according to Isaiah 56:12. "Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."

Did you hear that?

"Things are not going to get any worse," they lie to the People of Judah!

But things did, a lot worse!

The term "tomorrow" in Hebrew is spelled "machar" and is eight times in the Old Testament translated "time to come." It seems these false teachers are prophesying! And the scope of their vision exceeded the next 24 hours apparently! Short term, or even long term ... they assured the Jews that everything would be all right! Again, "Tomorrow shall be as this day."

Simon Peter records the very same kind of foolish thinking. "For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation," say more false prophets! See 2nd Peter 3:4.

"Tomorrow will be just like today. The cycle has been continuing for thousands of years, you know!"

Folks, we had better be careful predicting what tomorrow is going to be! Best be said, "the Lord willing" thus and so!  Like James 4:15 teaches us: "For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

To promise a people peace and prosperity and health and good times is unwise. To any nation who continues in sin, open blatant sin, judgment will come!

America cannot perpetually continue aborting thousands of babies a day and supporting deviant lifestyles and denying God Almighty! Psalm 9:17 still says: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."

But the "dumb dogs," Isaiah's graphic name for these blind watchmen, these undiscerning prophets say more than just "tomorrow shall be as this day."

They add four more words, which I shall now capitalize for you. "Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."

What good news these popular preachers have!

No matter that it is not true!

In addition to judgment not coming, hard times can be forgotten!

Things are going to improve yet more!

That's the essence of "and much more abundant!"

The word "abundant" is "gadol" in Hebrew and means "high or mighty or great" in magnitude and extent!

The stock market will climb!

Weather will improve!

Enemies will disappear!

Life will be pleasant!

Man will solve all his own problems!

Technology will save us!

"Much more abundant," that's the forecast!

Bright days ahead!

It is astounding that each of those three words, "much" and "more" and "abundant," have corresponding Hebrew words to express their meaning. "Meod yether gadol" they would be written. "Meod" meaning "much" suggests "exceedingly" more than expected! "Yether" or "more" means plentifully and excellently! And "gadol" or "abundant" means superlative in scope or size or prominence! Super sized!

As the financial people would say, the whole clergy has gone "bullish" on the nation!

Projections look great!

Gone are the John the Baptist types, preaching their doom and gloom!

No more Elijahs either!

Their day has passed!

Give us a new breed of spiritual leadership!

A loving and inclusive crowd!

This ... while the anger of God and His impending judgment hang over the people of Judah ... like a sharp sword dangling by a frayed rope!

Such blind people will experience the following: "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." 1st Thessalonians 5:3

Nations of the world: "Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23

We Believers had best be praying as did Habakkuk of old: "Lord, in Thy wrath ... also please remember mercy!" The Prophet's exact words are: "O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."


                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Isaiah 56:10-12, the whole paragraph, from its opening thought to its final adverb, describes preachers, men who at least say they are prophets or watchmen or servants of Almighty God.

Yet one of the things that is so unusual about these men, one among many, is that no where in the whole Text do they mention the Lord's Name!

Not once that I can find!

Now that is strange, preachers who do not discuss the Lord!

Do not pray!

Do not study!

Maybe do not even worship!

Read it all with me one more time: "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." Isaiah 56:10-12

The only veiled reference to Jehovah is that first Pronoun. "His" watchmen, but that indicator flows from the lips of Isaiah the true Prophet of God, not these blind watchmen! It, the "His" I mean, lets us know that the group under consideration at least in theory is supposed to belong to God.

Oh, do not misunderstand me.

These apostates can talk.

They can't bring themselves to preach against sin, but they can talk. The inspired and descriptive clause "dogs that cannot bark" compares them to watch dogs who belong to some shepherd. And when a wolf approaches the flock, they do not even bark a sound of warning!

Maybe instead of praying these false prophets just sleep. The expression "sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber" is another descriptive clue we have! And although we know that only the Lord can give true sleep, real rest ... He is ignored here. These men can sleep on their own! Psalm 4:8 says: "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." And Psalm 127:2 adds: "He giveth his beloved sleep."

Here's a case of a crowd accepting God's blessings, but not calling His Name in thanks!

They can't talk about Jesus, but they can talk about their investments! How their stocks are doing! About retirement and their land holdings!

And while the Living God is not in their thoughts or words, longings for strong drink certainly demand expression! "Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink!" Their cravings for liquid refreshment are important. It's just not the Water of Life that appeals to them!

They can party too! "We will fill ourselves with strong drink." That can't be done solitarily. Revelry! Eating and drinking and being merry! When is the next bash?

Plus one more thing.

They can talk of the future. Listen: "Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." The prognosis is good! Things will continue to improve! More money, better benefits, national safety, good liquor, and stable times! No "changes" in the foreseeable future!

However, if they had been talking with God, they would have known better! Captivity lay just ahead! Seventy years of it!

Come to think of it, maybe then they talked about God!

Especially about His Hand of wrath and judgment!

I do know this. When we often fellowship around the things of the Lord, calling on Him frequently, He is thrilled! He even makes notes! "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name," says Malachi 3:16.

Even more so the next verse reveals God's heart in the matter. "And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." Malachi 3:18

Can you imagine a meal with Paul the Apostle? I can guarantee you if such would occur, all you would hear him discuss is the Lord Jesus Christ ... in one aspect or another!

That's the Paul who said: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Today, let's all talk about HIM!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



May the Lord bless you for studying Isaiah 56:10-12. It is a sad Text ... but a needed one. Thank God for the true Preachers who remain in our Land, boldly proclaiming the Word of God!




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