Fri, Jan 30th - 9:01PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Isa 10:16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
Isa 10:17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;
Isa 10:18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth.
Isa 10:19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
Back in verse 12 God said that He was going to punish “the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria. How is this destruction represented? It shall be, First, as a consumption of the body by a disease: The Lord shall send leanness among his fatnesses, or his fat ones. His huge army, that was like a body covered with fatness, shall be diminished, and waste away, and become like a skeleton. Secondly, as a consumption of buildings, or trees and bushes, by fire: Under his glory, that very thing which he glories in, he will kindle a burning, as the burning of a fire, which shall lay his army in ruins as suddenly as a raging fire lays a stately house in ashes. Some make it an allusion to the fire kindled under the sacrifices; for proud sinners fall as sacrifices to divine justice. Observe how this fire shall be kindled, Isa 10:17.
What would be the effect of this great slaughter? The prophet tells us, First, that the army would hereby be reduced to a very small number: The rest of the trees of his forest shall be few; very few shall escape the sword of the destroying angel, so few that there needs no artist, no muster-master or secretary of war, to take an account of them, for even a child may soon reckon the numbers of them, and write the names of them. Secondly, that those few who remained should be quite dispirited: They shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. When he either falls or flees, and his colors are taken by the enemy, this discourages the whole army, and puts them all into confusion. Upon the whole matter we must say, Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth (10:20).The same God that is a rejoicing light to those that serve Him faithfully will be a consuming fire to those that mess with Him or rebel against Him. The light of Israel shall be for a fire to the Assyrians, as the same pillar of cloud was a light to the Israelites and a terror to the Egyptians in the Red Sea. What can oppose, what can extinguish, such a fire? What desolation it shall make: it shall burn and devour its thorns and briers, his officers and soldiers, which are of little worth, and vexations to God's Israel, as thorns and briers, whose end is to be burned, and which are easily and quickly consumed by a devouring fire. “Who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? They would be so far from stopping the fire that they would inflame it. I would go through them and burn them together (Isa 27:4); they shall be devoured in one day, all cut off in an instant.” When they cried not only Peace and safety, but Victory and triumph, then sudden destruction came; it came surprisingly, and was completed in a short time. “Even the glory of his forest (Isa 10:18), the best troops of his army, the veterans, the troops of the household, the bravest regiments he had, that he was most proud of and depended most upon, that he valued as men do their timber-trees (the glory of their forest) or their fruit-trees (the glory of the Carmel), shall be put as briers and thorns before the fire; they shall be consumed both soul and body, and therefore we should fear Him more than man, who can but kill the body. Great armies before Him are but as great woods, which He can chop down or fire when He pleases.
Here we are being given the picture of that remnant that survived this captivity and remained faithful to God. But we are also being given a vision of the end times when there shall be a Jewish remnant during the Great Tribulation. Isaiah is looking at both the immediate and beyond to future circumstances which concern the “Assyrian” to “that day.” There was the immediate “day” and then there is that “day” that is yet to come. And Assyria would seemingly be involved in both events, even though they may be separated by thousands of years.
Let’s stop there for today. Next time we shall finish up verses that bring us to the battle of Armageddon. Until then, love one another unconditionally.
Thu, Jan 29th - 8:55PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
We have now come to the key to this whole passage. God makes one of the strangest statements in the Bible, and it really bothers a lot of people.
O Assyrian, the rod of My anger, and the staff in their hand is My indignation (10:5).
This is the key verse, and it sheds light on the entire purpose of God, for it says He will use Assyria as a rod to chasten, discipline, His people Israel. It is an amazing thing. Just like when you pick up a switch to discipline a willful child, so God used Assyria as a switch to chasten, or teach, Israel a lesson. The utter destruction which Assyria unleashed upon Israel is what the hand of God will do one day to all of us. This concept is difficult for us to swallow because we have mistakenly thought that God is just about love.
I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of My wrath will I give him charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets (10:6).
God states unequivocably that He is the One who sent Sennacherib, the Assyrian, against Israel with the resulting captivity.
Assyria is a symbol of another kingdom in the north whom God will use in the “last days.” Many scholars believe this verse is a reference to the “beast” which will come out of the sea as mentioned in Revelation 13. It could also be a reference more specifically to a nation, such as say, Russia. Or maybe Iran. It is not specific enough here to make more of a determination. God has used several nations over the past forty years to humble America. Just as He used Assyria on Israel He has used others to chasten America. Have we heard the message? Have we changed our ways?
Howbeit he means not so, neither does his heart think so, but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
For he says, Are not my princes altogether kings? (10:7-8)
Did the Assyrian think he was being used by God? I think not. Did the Vietnamese think they were being used by God? I think not. The terrorists? I think not.
The Assyrians were having great victories on every venture. Their pride blinded them to their true status. Since they rested upon their own abilities and supremacy and were victorious everywhere they went, they were like Little Jack Horner. God may use a nation today to drive home his judgment upon another nation, but tomorrow He may very well bring judgment upon the first nation whom He used.
Isa 10:9 Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?
Isa 10:10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
Isa 10:11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
Isa 10:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
Isa 10:13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:
Isa 10:14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
Verses 9-10 continue on with the Assyrian’s belief that he is in control of his actions. Verse 12 brings us back to God speaking. Once God’s purpose is accomplished against Israel He will then judge Assyria. They do not escape God’s hand of judgment. History records that fact for us. God is the Judge of all of the nations.
Shall the axe boast itself against him that uses it? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that uses it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift itself, as if it were not made of wood (10:15).
We are asked to picture an axe chopping down a tree all by itself, or a saw cutting a log in half by itself, or a rod being used to strike someone all by itself. Sounds crazy, huh? It is. God uses nations and we all must realize that fact, that reality. America is a divided nation today, my friends, more divided than most realize. We wish to empower so many minority groups that we have risked the very solidarity of our nation. The most important minority that is being sadly overlooked is God. God runs the universe, He appoints the times when events will occur, the times when people will die and be born. We need to align ourselves with God. We need to do this before it becomes too late to do so at all.
Well, that ends this particular passage. Next time I will continue studying this concept of God using a nation to bring judgment upon another nation. Until then, mercy, peace, and grace of Christ be yours.
Tue, Jan 27th - 8:59PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Here is another great chapter in God’s Word, it includes great principles and tremendous programs instituted by God in dealing with men and nations being set down. The chapter begins with a look at the injustice of the national courts; unrighteous decrees handed down that burden the common people.
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed (10:1).
Instead of representing justice, judges were handing out decisions based upon personal greed, personal preference, personal grudges. God’s great principles were no longer being presented as the basis for making court decisions. Kind of sounds like what we are seeing in America today, does it not? At the end of the day, it is always God’s justice that is behind human justice. The judge and the throne down here are to reveal His justice and are ultimately answerable to Him.
To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! (10:2)
Doesn’t this sound eerily like what happens more and more frequently today? This entire concept is still being worked out in our societies today. Instead of the courts handing down justice they are increasingly abounding in lawlessness. The very idea of freedom is actively being distorted. Each and every criminal arrested ought to receive a fair trial but in order for us to walk our streets in peace and safety, the criminals will have to be incarcerated. Too many who ought to be punished for their actions walk free because of a softhearted, softheaded judge. Those judges are not handing out justice to any of us when they act in this fashion.
If justice were being handed out in our courtrooms, then women could walk any street in any city in safety. In fact, it is unsafe for even men to walk many of our streets in safety at night. The problem stems from within our courts. Our courts are not administering justice when they incarcerate a person, who shoots an intruder in their home in self defense, for the use of excessive force. That is a distortion of law.
God mentions the poor, the widows, and the fatherless in this opening of chapter ten. Every program put forward by our national government designed to elevate the poor of our country ends up hurting more than it helps. Why? The lack of justice being handed down. Judges in all actuality are supposed to be representing God when they sit at the bench. Today godless men and women are judges, they have no business sitting in judgment on anyone until they come to understand that they represent God.
Thomas Jefferson may have been a free-thinker, but he sure had great respect for the Bible. He held God’s Word in great esteem even though he was not a Christian. How far we have come from those humble beginnings where even non-Christians listened respectfully to God’s Word when it came to governing people. Today our courts and government don’t even recognise God. Why put your hand upon the Bible and swear to tell the truth so help you God when you do not even believe? The judges do not believe, the lawyers do not believe, and neither do most of the plaintiffs and defendants. We all might as well take oath upon a JC Penny cataloge.
Some of you will most likely think that I am way off base to write any of this. That’s okay, it is your opinion.
And what will you do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory? (10:3)
In essence, God has told these judges of Isaiah’s day, “You are to represent Me, and the day comes when I am going to judge you.” The same thing is expected of judges today. God is going to require an accounting from each judge, they will have to answer for their actions while behind that legal bench. The rich ought to be judged the same as the poor, there ought to be no respect of persons in the courtroom.
Without Me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still (10:4).
We see here how justice was being distorted as it was being meted out in all levels of society. It affects all people and brings about deterioration, depravation, and degradation. Morality falls to new lows under these conditions.
That is all for now, my friends. Next time we shall see how God judges Assyria even as He uses her to execute His judgment against Israel. Until then, walk in peace, walk in light, and walk in Christ.
Sat, Jan 24th - 1:08PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Let’s continue our study.
Isa 9:14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
Isa 9:15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
Isa 9:16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Isa 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
Isa 9:18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.
Isa 9:19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.
Isa 9:20 And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:
Isa 9:21 Manasseh, Ephraim; and Ephraim, Manasseh: and they together shall be against Judah. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
The leaders of Israel were leading the people into error-filled ways. The prophets spoke lies that turned the people away from God and His love for them. They were held to account for their actions by God back then and so will leaders of nations today. America has been given much by God in the past and much is expected of her due to that. Her leaders have strayed away from God and the resultant judgment shall come down upon the nation. Perhaps it has already begun over the past eight years and shall continue several more years, depending upon our leaders’ choices moving forward from here.Wickedness was universal, and all were infected with it (Isa 9:17): Every one is a hypocrite and an evil doer. If there be any that are good, they do none, they dare not, for every mouth speaks folly and falsehood; every one is profane towards God (so the word properly signifies) and an evil doer towards man. These two commonly go together: those that do not fear God do not regard man; and then every mouth speaks folly, falsehood, and reproach, both against God and man; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
In general, by their leaders’ choices they exposed themselves to the wrath of God, which should both devour as fire and darken as smoke. It should devour as fire (Isa 9:18): Wickedness shall burn as the fire; the displeasure of God, incurred by sin, shall consume the sinners, who have made themselves as briers and thorns before it, and as the thickets of the forest, combustible matter, which the wrath of the Lord of hosts, the mighty God, will go through and burn together. When the fire consumes them, it shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke, so that the whole land shall be darkened by it; they shall be in trouble, and see no way out. God's wrath fastens upon none but those that make themselves fuel for it, and then they mount up as the smoke of sacrifices, being made victims to divine justice.
God would arm the neighbouring powers against them, Isa 9:11, Isa 9:12. At this time the kingdom of Israel was in league with that of Syria against Judah; but the Assyrians, who were adversaries to the Syrians, when they had conquered them should invade Israel, and God would stir them up to do it, and join the enemies of Israel together in alliance against them, who yet had particular ends of their own to serve and were not aware of God's hand in their alliance. Note, when enemies are set up, and joined in confederacy against a people, God's hand must be acknowledged in it. Note further, those that join with each other in sin, as Syria and Israel in invading Judah, must expect to share in the punishment of sin. No, the Syrians themselves, whom they were now in league with, should be a scourge to them (for it is no unusual thing for those to fall out that have been united in sin), one attacking them in the front and the other flanking them or falling upon their rear; so that they should be surrounded with enemies on all sides, who should devour them with open mouth, Isa 9:12. The Philistines were not now looked upon as formidable enemies, and the Syrians were looked upon as firm friends; and yet these shall devour Israel. When men's ways displease the Lord he makes even their friends to be at war with them.
Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, though they be combined against Judah. Those that could unite against Judah could not unite with one another; but that sinful confederacy of theirs against their neighbour that dwelt securely by them was justly punished by this separation of them one from another. Or Judah, having sinned like Manasseh and Ephraim, shall not only suffer with them, but suffer by them. Note, Mutual enmity and animosity among the tribes of God's Israel is a sin that ripens them for ruin, and a sad symptom of ruin. Today we see in America one political party tearing apart the members of the opposing political party. One segment of society is blaming other segments of society for all of their ills, without accepting responsibility for their own sins placing them in such a position to begin with. Israel was invaded and defeated because they turned their backs on God and fought against each other instead of uniting against their common enemy from the outside. So it goes in America today, my friends. We tear away at each other, weakening ourselves so that we can be defeated by our enemies on the outside of our borders. Be assured, we do have enemies overseas who are watching, and waiting, for the most opportune moment to attack us on various fronts. Shall Americans continue to fight amongst ourselves, or shall we put aside our differences and stand united once more? Time alone shall tell us the outcome of that question.
In these internal broils, men snatched on the right hand, and yet were hungry still, and did eat the flesh of their own arms, preyed upon themselves for hunger or upon their nearest relations that were as their own flesh, Isa 9:20. This speaks, of great famine and scarcity; when men had pulled all they could to them it was so little that they were still hungry, at least God did not bless it to them, so that they eat and have not enough, Hag 1:6. Jusque datum sceleri - iniquity is established by law. The hedge of property, which is a hedge of protection to men's estates, shall be plucked up, and every man shall think all that his own which he can lay his hands on (vivitur ex rapto, non hospes ab hospite tutus - they live on the spoil, and the rites of hospitality are all violated); and yet, when men in this fashion grab at that which is none of their own, they are not satisfied. Covetous desires are insatiable, and this curse is passed on to that which is ill got, that it will never do well.
That brings us to the end of chapter nine of Isaiah. Next time I shall begin chapter ten which speaks to us about the judgment of Assyria after that empire executes God’s judgment on Israel. There will also be some things about the Great Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon at the end of time. Until then, strive to put an end to fighting with others. Try to put aside differences in order to attain unity of purpose. Do not forget to forgive others for did not Christ forgive you of everything? Didn’t Christ give His own life for you, and me? And so we should never become offended by what others do or say since Christ did not become offended either.
Thu, Jan 22nd - 8:01PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Here are terrible threatenings against Israel:
Isa 9:8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
Isa 9:9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
Isa 9:10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
Isa 9:11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
Isa 9:12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
Isa 9:13 For the people turneth not unto Him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
These threats are directed primarily against Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes, Ephraim and Samaria, the ruin of which is here foretold. The Lord knows full well that the people will stubbornly refuse to repent of their sinful ways and that they shall attempt to rebuild their structures and replant the trees. But God’s mighty hand was stretched forth in judgment and nothing could forestall His purpose. But these threats look further, to all the enemies of the throne and kingdom of Christ the Son of David, and read in them the doom of all the nations that forget God, and will not have Christ to reign over them.
God always warns before He wounds. He sent notice what He would do, that they might meet Him in the way of His judgments; but they would not take the hint, took no care to turn away His wrath, and so it lighted upon Israel; for no word of God shall fall to the ground. It fell upon them as a storm of rain and hail from on high, which they could not avoid: It has lighted upon them, that is, it is as sure to come as if come already, and all the people shall know by feeling it what they would not know by hearing of it. Those that are willingly ignorant of the wrath of God revealed from heaven against sin and sinners shall be made to know it. There is no way out, no way to avoid facing up to it.
Note the arrogance and pride of the people: Their insolent defiance of the justice of God, thinking themselves a match for Him: “They say, in the pride and stoutness of their heart, Let God Himself do His worst; we will hold our own, and make our part good with Him. If He ruin our houses, we will repair them, and make them stronger and finer than they were before. our Landlord shall not turn us out of doors, though we pay Him no rent, but we will keep in possession. If the houses that were built of bricks be demolished in the war, we will rebuild them with hewn stones, that shall not so easily be thrown down. If the enemy cut down the sycamores, we will plant cedars in place of them. We will make a hand of God's judgments, gain by them, and so outbrave them.” What utter arrogance and foolishness! To believe that one can stand up to God in defiance and come out of it better off than before, prideful arrogance.
The people turn not unto him that smiteth them (they are not affected enough to reform their lives, to forsake their sins, and to return to their duty), neither do they seek the Lord of hosts; either they are atheists, and have no religion, or idolaters, and seek to those gods that are the creatures of their own fancy and the works of their own hands. Note, that which God designs, in “smiting” us, is to turn us to Himself and to set us to seeking Him; and, if this point be not gained by less judgments, greater may be expected. “Smite” means “to strike sharply or heavily especially with the hand or an implement.” God’s hand will strike these people sharply or heavily, unless they repent of their ways and turn to Him once more. This same principle is at work in our world today, beloved. God has warned the nations of this world, judgment can come at any time now. It will come at God’s appointed hour and not a minute sooner.
That is all for today, my friends. I will explore the last several verses of this chapter next time. We shall see that our national leaders will be held to stricter responsibility because of greater power having been given to them. If they mislead us, then they shall answer for it to God Himself. Until then, bask in the knowledge that Wonderful has come, He has set us free from the chains of our bondage. The gates of our prison stand open. All we need do now is to come and see. And then to believe.
Wed, Jan 21st - 8:02PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire (9:5).
Years ago when fine young Jewish athletes were killed during the Olympic Games in Munich it was a very sad thing. Murdered by terrorists; their bodies sent back to Israel, and their families and the entire nation mourned. Why? Israel has a Messiah whom they have rejected.
This verse begins to look forward to the future time when the Great Tribulation Period is upon all of us. The end of our world will be with fire and burning, just as is implied here.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (9:6-7).
How will all of this come to pass? Through the zeal of God it will be done. Traditionally, this scripture is used at Christmas time and gets linked up with Christ’s first advent. In reality, these titles do not fit Christ while He walked this earth ministering to the lost and to the sick. These are the titles that He shall have when He returns the second time. Yes, Jesus was born as a child, and as God’s Son He was given. But the titles will come after He comes the second time. At that time Christ will in truth become Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He shall usher in peace.
Actually, these two verses speak of a time when the nation of Israel will experience a “new birth.” This time will be when Christ returns physically to earth. Israel will see who He is in truth and conversions shall take place in large numbers.
“The government shall be upon his shoulders” speaks of the fact that when Christ returns He shall become the only government upon this earth. “Shoulder” speaks of power, strength. At His first advent the government was against Him and He chose not to address the issue directly through judgment. Not so when He returns the next time.
“Wonderful” is not used as an adjective in this verse. This word is His name. In Judges 13:18 we find the word “secret.” The exact same word translated as “secret” is translated here as “Wonderful.” No one knew it during His first advent but Wonderful was here. There are too many people today who do not understand that Wonderful has offered them salvation. Christians today too frequently really do not know how wonderful He truly is.
“Counsellor” speaks to the fact that while walking this earth He never asked for human counsel. He never asked for human advice (Romans 11:34). Christ never gathered His disciples together and asked of them, “Well, what do you think we ought to do now?” Christ always told them what He was going to do, and what He wanted them to do. I am not very smart, I must go to Him for instructions.
“The mighty God” comes from the Hebrew word El Gibbor. God is the one to whom “all power is given.” While just a newborn infant resting upon Mary’s lap, Christ held the entire universe together.
“The everlasting Father” speaks to Him being Father of eternity, Avi-ad. The Creator of space, time, the ages, cause-effect, gravity, physics, the speed of light, and the far-off purpose of all things. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3), speaks to this aspect of Christ. Paul too, spoke of this in Colossians 1:16: “For by Him were all ting created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him.” Hebrews 1-2 also speaks to this aspect of Christ.
“The Prince of Peace” comes from Sar-Shalohim. There can not be any lasting peace on this planet until Christ is reigning from Jerusalem. His government will not be static, non-growing. It shall grow and encompass the entire world. Justice shall be dominant in His rule.
That is all for tonight, my friends. Next we shall study what the remaining verses hold. Until then, ponder how your life ought to change once you accept Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior. Then compare this to how your life has/hasn’t changed since you say you became a Christian. Are there some glaring discrepancies? Are there some amazing similarities? May mercy, grace, and peace abound in your heart!
Tue, Jan 20th - 8:35PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
In verses 1-7 of chapter nine we find that the hope of Israel is in the Child in both His first and second comings.
Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations (9:1).
People find contrary meanings in this verse. They are suggested by the way it is written. I would say to the reverent soul this verse poses no problem but instead reveals a divine purpose in permitting more than one possible meaning. One translation would refer to the near fulfillment when God did bring affliction to the northeastern portion of the land from Syria and then later, heavier suffering came when they were carried away by the Assyrians into captivity.
The other translation refers to the far away fulfillment in the first coming of Christ. Galilee was the despised area because it was a place where Gentiles had congregated. Jesus passed by Jerusalem, the center of religious snobbery. Nazareth was Jesus’ hometown; and when they rejected Him He went down to Capernaum, which is on the edge of the kingdom. Naphtali was along the west bank of the Sea of Galilee and Zebulun adjacent to the west. Nazareth was in Zebulun and Capernaum was in Naphtali.
Matthew 4:12-16 tells us that Jesus left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum. This was so that what Isaiah had spoken might be fulfilled. The double meaning found here in the opening verse of chapter nine is intended by the Holy Spirit of God, I believe.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shone (9:2).
No matter which way verse one is translated or interpreted, it is obvious that the people in despised Galilee were in the darkness of paganism and religious tradition. When Christ began His ministry in that area the people did see a great light. So it is quite safe to say that the first two verses refer to Christ’s first coming.
You have multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before you according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil (9:3).
To what period of time does this, and the following verses, refer to? Some students of the Bible feel that there is an implied interval of time between verse 2 and 3.
The nation was greatly increased in population and they were definitely more religious, but their joy was completely gone. They had all kinds of religion but they missed Christ completely.
The period of time implied here? Perhaps at least two thousand years? Christ has been calling out the church which was virtually unknown to Isaiah. Perhaps this is why Isaiah wrote nothing about this interval of time which is implied here. In Romans we find this:Rom 16:25 Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
Paul made it very clear that the prophets passed over that which they did not see for it was hidden from them by God on purpose. But now these things are made manifest, and to all nations for the obedience of faith.
So we should now be able to understand that historically that the rest of this chapter refers to the nation Israel over which king Ahaz ruled. The revelation of the church was for a different congregation, Isaiah was speaking only to one nation, his own.
For you have broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian (9:4).
When will this burden for you and I be broken? When Christ comes again. Why can’t Israel today enjoy peace? They are experiencing this because they rejected their own Messiah, Christ Jesus all those centuries ago. The oppressor is sin and Satan and they shall not finally be broken until Christ’s second coming.
Next time we shall continue on in this chapter. We shall find many of the names for Christ, titles actually. Verse six gives us the object of our faith, and of our eternal hope. Until then, beloved, do not practice religion. Practice faith in Christ. Do not go through the motions of tradition. Place your faith in Christ and get moving towards sharing your salvation with others. For each and every failure in trying to live your Christian life, ask Christ for forgiveness and the power to improve in the future.
Sat, Jan 17th - 6:03PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Today we are witnessing a resurgence of spiritualism. People claiming that they are spiritual, meaning that they believe in spirits and not the Holy Spirit. Or else they mean that they do not take anything in the Bible as literal. They take everything as if it were not talking about the physical world at all. This is a very dangerous path to embark upon for it can very easily lead to the occult and all things abnormal.
Isa 8:15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.
Isa 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
Isa 8:17 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Isa 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.
Isa 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
Isaiah decides to wait upon the Lord, to look for Him rather than run after his contemporary crowd. He claims that he and his two sons were given to the people as signs and for wonders.
In verse 19 we see what the people of Judah are going to do for help. They intend to seek out those who are mediums and those who are wizards. We see this type of response happening in our “scientific world” of today. People looking to the occult, to the spirit world, and to demonology. There are churches of Satan in Southern California and in the San Francisco Bay area. Not just out there in the western states of America, but all over. Even Christians are dabbling in the occult. Many talk about casting out demons and how that is something that all believers ought to be doing. I do believe that we are to be preaching the gospel of the grace of God and the Word of God and not getting sidetracked into chasing after demons. If we go about our proper business then the demons will be taken care of in good order. Let’s just leave the occult alone because it is dangerous. Some do not believe there is any reality in it, but it sure is real, just as Satan is real. God warns us against going there so let’s heed that warning.
Isa 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Isa 8:21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
Isa 8:22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.
These final three verses of this chapter reveal to us the endpoint of pursuing a life of disobedience which will lead into spiritualism of some sort. The result is dimness, darkness, and despair. Fretting and cursing will occupy your time; you will seek for something to make you feel better but will not find it. Disobedience will drive a person into darkness every time. Each of us must choose to obey God and walk in the light otherwise we are on a slippery slope leading to despair and darkness where anguish and pain are waiting gleefully for us.
Next time I shall begin chapter nine of Isaiah which is one that speaks about things that Christians generally are familiar with. It deals with the prophecy of the coming Child, who is Christ. I became familiar with this section of scripture when a teenager for I loved listening to Handel’s The Messiah.
Until then, beloved, pray for our incoming President and Vice President to be led of the Lord in all of their decision making. Pray that the path that they are about to take us upon will be a good and successful one.
Fri, Jan 16th - 9:11PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Now we read about a pronouncement given against a confederacy made as a substitute for God:
Associate yourselves, O you people, and you shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all you of far countries: gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces (8:9).
God gives a warning against any nation who forms an alliance against God’s land, Israel. Later on in this book we are going to find a series of messages to those nations that are contiguous to Israel, or at the very least had dealings with them in Isaiah’s day. God will never be deterred from His purpose by anything that any of the nations can possibly do. It is interesting that no nation today is terribly interested in seeking wisdom or counsel from God. And yet, God has a purpose and it shall prevail. For those nations who choose to go against His chosen purpose, judgment will come upon them.
Take counsel together, and it shall come to nothing; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.
For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
Do not say to them, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy; neither fear you their fear, nor be afraid (8:10-12)
Judah is not to be afraid, alarmed, or scared by the alliance of Syria and Samaria. Fear is what caused those to the north to unite together and God warns His people that they are not to be likewise fearful. They are to rely upon God and not join with another nation to defend themselves. At first Judah does not ally itself with any nation, but later on they caved in and became allies with others which ends tragically.
Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (8:13-14).
Verse 13 of chapter eight is like what Peter said: 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
The same message given to these people back then aptly applies to all of us today, beloved. We are not to rely upon our pastor, teacher, deacon, elder, or anyone else for our protection and teaching. We are to fear God, we are to allow Him to be our teacher and protector from all threats.
Here we see a reference to Christ that was alluded to by Paul:
1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. You see, my friends, you have two options: you can either accept Christ or you can reject Christ.
Today I see too much light heartedness about God, a lack of true reverence for Him and for His Word. Each time someone ridicules things in the Word that are sacred they show lack of reverence and understanding. We need to sanctify Christ in our hearts for there are very many people all around us who are not convinced in the least of that Hab 2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. If they believed that Christ was in your church on Sunday morning, they would not be at the beach, at the casino, or at some picnic. They would be there in the seat next to your’s. You and I have not convinced them, have we? We must do a much better job of it, don’t you say?
That is all for today, by friends. We have seen that God gave out warnings to Ahaz and the surrounding nations. God desired for Judah to rely upon Him for their protection, and for their counsel. God’s expectations for us are the same. He wants us to rely upon Him and not upon other men or women. People always think that they are just so wise in their trumped up ideas of how they think things actually are. They are foolish and conceited. Do not follow after them and believe what they tell you. Believe what Christ tells you in the Bible. Live it out in your daily life. Next time I shall write some about God’s warning about substituting spiritual things for Word of God. Mercy, grace and peace be with you till then, God willing.
Tue, Jan 13th - 8:04PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
And I went to the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz.
For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of of Assyria (8:3-4).
Isaiah went in to be with his wife, “the prophetess,” she conceived and bore him a son. God gave him the name of the child before his birth. We also see that before this second son grows old enough to speak “Dada” and “Momma” the Assyrian armies will invade Syria and Samaria. God will remove the enemy from the north via the Assyrians. Release from this outside threat is not due to any brilliant strategem devised by Ahaz or his military advisors. It is due to the sovereign grace of God.
The Lord spoke also unto me again, saying,
Forasmuch as this people refuses the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son;
Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks (8:5-7).
Shiloah means “sent.” The people refused to accept what God had sent to them. God had offered peace and they refused to accept His gift of peace which here is pictured as softly flowing waters. In contrast, we see in the following verses the waters of the strong river, flowing vigorously and aggressively. The river Euphrates is being alluded to here, the place where the Assyrians lived. God’s judgment is pictured here as being akin to flood waters coming down an engorged river.
Shiloah doesn’t amount to much today. It flows between Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. The gentle stream sings a song about grace, of Mount Zion, which stands in contrast to Mount Sinai, which symbolizes the Mosaic Law. Moriah is where Abraham offered up his son, where David bought the threshing floor of Araunah, and where Solomon put up the temple. And lo, and behold, down at the end of that line of rocks is Golgotha, where Christ was crucified. It all speaks of grace. Moriah, where God provided Himself a Lamb. God spared Abraham’s son, but He did not spare His own Son.
And so, God speaks grace to Ahaz here. God is saying to him, “Turn to Me and I will spare you.”
And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel (8:8).
The Assyrians would invade and overflow the entire land but would not take Jerusalem itself.
Next time we will study the next verses which talk about confederacies and spiritualism being made substitutes for the Word of God. Until then, walk in peace and spread the Good News wherever you go.
Mon, Jan 12th - 9:58PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
We begin chapter eight:
Moreover the Lord said unto me, Take you a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz (8:1).
Chapters 7-12 of this book are composed of a series of prophecies given during the reign of king Ahaz. Some scholars have tried to identify the virgin’s son of the previous chapter with the prophet’s son in this chapter. It is an impossibility, and the information that we shall find in the next chapter makes it certain that the prophet’s son is a sign.
If we thought that Shear-jashub was a strange name to give to a boy, then try this one on for size! I know that I would not want to labor under such a lengthy name. Why give his second son such an unusual name? The answer to that question will come later on in this chapter. Maher-shalal-hash-baz means “hasten booty, speed prey.” God is against those who are against His people. It is similar to what Paul wrote down in Romans 8:31.
Both of Isaiah’s sons’ names are attempts by God to reach king Ahaz and get him to repent of his ways. If he is remains unrepentant, then perhaps he will come to understand what is to come. The second son’s name is to assure Ahaz that God fully intends to take care of the enemies of His people all through time.
And I took to me faithful witnesses to record. Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah (8:2)
Uriah means “Jehovah is my light.” Zechariah means “Jehovah remembers.” Jeberechiah means “Jehovah will bless.” Their names combined constitute the grace of God; God will never forget His people.
In all of Isaiah’s God-directed actions there is a message for the people. It is being acted out and written out so that they will understand it. I suppose it could be said that this book is a picture parable. People will look at pictures. It is akin to our television sets today. Isn’t it amazing how many of us will sit in front of the TV set and watch things on that idiot box that we wouldn’t normally waste any time upon? I am guilty just like you. I freely admit it. Because God knows the inclination of us all, He tries to get a message across to people by using a picture.
I will stop right here for now, my friends. Next time I shall pick up our study with verses 3-4 and we shall discover what will happen before Isaiah’s second child becomes old enough to talk. Until then, peace, and grace be with you all.
Sat, Jan 10th - 1:41PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH
When the liberal theologians say that the Bible does not teach the virgin birth of Jesus, they deny that they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, but they cannot deny that Isaiah and Matthew are talking about the virgin birth of Jesus.
Notice what the prophecy says in Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” We cannot find any place in the Gospels where He is called by this name. Immanuel means “God with us.” He is called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. But listen to this, He cannot save anyone from their sins unless He is first Immanuel, “God with us.” Every time we call Him Jesus, we are saying, “God with us.” He is God with us and God for us. He is our Savior born of a virgin. Have you put your trust in Him yet? Come on, give it a try!
When Isaiah gave out this prophecy I just bet someone came up to him and said, “When will this happen?” And I bet the prophet looked down through the oncoming centuries and replied, “It will be a long time.” So how could anyone at that time know the prophecy would come true? They knew that the prophet had already given out several prophecies that had come true. They had a foundation to work with. The prophet also gave out more prophecies after this that came true, so the people could deduct that this particular prophecy probably would come true also.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good (7:15).
Jesus was raised as a poor peasant in Palestine, this food was the simple diet of the poor.
For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that you abhor shall be forsaken of both her kings (7:16).
Isa 7:17 The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.
Isa 7:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
Isa 7:19 And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes.
Isa 7:20 In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.
Isa 7:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep;
Isa 7:22 And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land.
Isa 7:23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.
Isa 7:24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.
Isa 7:25 And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.
We have the prophecy that Judah and Israel will lose their kings before Immanuel comes. They will be shaved off by those from out of Assyria. Everyone who is left behind in the Promised Land shall eat only butter and honey, the diet of the poor.
The judgment threatened is very great, Is 7:17. It is very great, for it is general; it shall be brought upon the prince himself (high as he is, he shall not be out of the reach of it), and upon the people, the whole body of the nation, and upon the royal family, upon all thy father's house; it shall be a judgment restricted on posterity, and shall go along with the royal blood. It is very great, for it shall be unprecedented - days that have not come; so dark, so gloomy, so melancholy, as never were the like since the revolt of the ten tribes, when Ephraim departed from Judah. The enemy that should be employed as the instrument of this judgment is the king of Assyria. Ahaz reposed great confidence in that prince for help against the confederate powers of Israel and Syria, and ignored what God said to him by His prophet for his encouragement because he overly relied upon his interest in the king of Assyria, and had promised to be his servant if he would send him some help; he had also, made him a present of gold and silver, for which he drained the treasuries both of church and state, 2Ki_16:7, 2Ki_16:8.Isa_7:20): The Lord shall shave the hair of the head, and beard, and feet; he shall sweep all away, as the leper, when he was cleansed, shaved off all his hair, Lev_14:8, Lev_14:9. This is done with a razor which is hired, either which God has hired (as if he had none of His own; but what He hires, and whom He employs in any service for Him, He will pay for. See Eze_29:18, Eze_29:19), or which Ahaz has hired for his assistance. God will make that to be an instrument of his destruction which he hired into his service. Ahaz openly invited into his nation the agents of his ultimate destruction on the premise that they would help him fight his enemies.
The kings of Assyria were, for a long time, grieving thorns to Judah, and gave them a great deal of trouble. Note, the creature that we make our hope commonly proves to become our hurt. The king of Assyria, not long after this, made himself master of the ten tribes, carried them captive, and laid their country waste, so as to fully answer the prediction here.
Enemies that seem as contemptible as a fly or a bee, and are as easily crushed, shall yet, when God pleases, do his work as effectively as lions and young lions. Though they are as far distant from one another as the rivers of Egypt and the land of Assyria, yet they shall punctually meet to join in this work when God commands their attendance; for, when God has work to do, He will not be at a loss for instruments to do it with. We today need to remember this salient fact, when God has ordained for something to happen He will move whomever He desires to come and do His bidding.
The country generally depopulated (Isa_7:22), there shall also be such a lack of men that the few cattle that are left shall have such a large acreage of ground to feed on that they shall give abundance of milk, and very good milk, such as shall produce butter enough,that the milk of one cow and two sheep shall serve a whole family, which used to keep abundance of servants and consume a great deal, but is now reduced
Where there used to be a thousand vines planted, for which the tenants used to pay a thousand shekels, or pieces of silver, yearly rent, there shall be nothing now but briers and thorns, no profit either for landlord or tenant, all being laid waste by the army of the invaders.
And see what folly it is to set our hearts upon possessions of lands, be they ever so fruitful, ever so pleasant; if they lie ever so short a time neglected and uncultivated, or if they be abused by a wasteful careless heir or tenant, or the country be laid waste by war, they will soon become frightful deserts. Heaven is a paradise not subject to such changes.
That concludes chapter seven of Isaiah. Next time I shall begin our study of chapter eight, a chapter that speaks of the birth of the prophet’s second son as a sign. Until then, may the Son shine warmly upon you, may you walk in His grace freely.
Thu, Jan 8th - 7:30PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Now we come to Ahaz’s assurance from God:
And say to him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against you, saying,
Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:
Thus says the Lord God, It shall not stand , neither shall it come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established (7:4-9).
Ahaz was told to not live in fear of this alliance between his two enemies. God had already determined that this alliance would fail. Ahaz needed to know that it would fail. How can he know this when he is a skeptic, a doubter, and an unbeliever? How can he be convinced?
God has never asked anyone to believe something that does not rest on a foundation. Faith does not mean to move blindly into some area and say, “Oh, I am trusting God.” That would be very foolish. We are not asked, nor commanded to do that. For example, in our salvation we do not bring a little lamb to offer as a sacrifice; our faith rests upon the historical facts of the death, the burial and the resurrection of the Son of God. We are not asked to take a leap into utter darkness. Those people who claim that they cannot believe in Christ are just not being honest. No one’s eyes are blindfolded to the truth unless they have chosen to be blindfolded. If a person wants to know God and will give up their sin and turn back to Christ, God will make Himself known to them. The problem is that way too many people do not seriously want to find God and salvation.
That was the problem with king Ahaz here, he wasn’t serious in his dealings with God.
Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above (7:10-11).
God knows that Ahaz does not have any faith, and God is willing to give the king faith; but Ahaz is a fraud. We have them all around us as well today. Religious people who have false piety.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord 7:12).
Ahaz sounds so nice, so reasonable, doesn’t he? But he is a hypocrite.
And he said, Hear you now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? (7:13).
My friends, don’t think that you are being ever so pious when you say, “Oh, I won’t test God.” God has always said, “Test Me. Try Me, and see if I am not good.” This is simply wearying speech by these sorts of people. We can’t simply step out in “faith” upon some project of ours if we have not first gotten some sort of leading from God in the first place. We would be doing “our” work and not His work. He may or may not bless it. We would run the risk of appearing quite foolish if it were to utterly fail.
So God told Ahaz that He was willing to give him a supernatural sign so that the king would know without a doubt that this message was from Him. But Ahaz refuses to ask for any sign. What happens then? God gives a sign to the whole house of David.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (7:14).
I guess we can thank king Ahaz for our receiving of this promised sign. Of course, confirmation of the sign coming to pass can be found in the Gospels of the New Testament.
This verse in Isaiah has been one of the most controversial verses in all of the Scriptures because of this prophecy about the virgin birth. The battle centers around the Hebrew word almah, which has been translated as “virgin.”
The angel’s quote to Joseph of this verse as the explanation for Mary’s being with child before her marriage to him is evidence that the prophecy referred to an unmarried woman who had a son without any physical contact with any man. Matthew used the Greek word parthenos, which definitely means “virgin.”
That is all for tonight, beloved. Next time I will finish up this chapter. Until then, rest assured of God’s promised sign having been given in due time. Christ Jesus was given to us as the means to salvation from our sins.
Wed, Jan 7th - 8:23PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
As we begin this chapter we will notice that verses 1 and 2 speak of the civil war that is going on between Judah and Israel with Syria allies with Israel. Isaiah and his son will meet with King Ahaz of Judah and give encouraging words to him.
And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it (7:1).
In II Kings 16:2 we can read: Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.
2Ki 16:3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.
2Ki 16:4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
As can be seen, God’s Word is consistent within itself. Verse one preceding this passage mentions this same Pekah who was king of Israel at this time. Ahaz’s father, Jotham, was a good king as was his father before him, Uzziah. But ole’ Ahaz did that which was evil.
Ahaz reigned for 16 years and was a very bad king. Civil war will exist during his reign. Ahaz did that which God abhorred, and now he was scared because Israel had allied itself with Syria against him. Ahaz was able to fend them off at first, but they never leave his borders.
And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind (7:2).
God will not bless Ahaz nor nation Judah. As a result, the alliance of Rezin, king of Syria, with Pekah, king of Israel, terrifies Ahaz and his people. Separately neither nation had been able to subdue Judah, but together the picture had changed dramatically. God was not ready to send Judah off into captivity to Assyria for their destiny was yet to come at the hands of the Babylonians.
Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field (7:3).
God desires Ahaz to be encouraged so that he will not seek out an unwise and frantic alliance with Egypt. We ought to look at some things in this verse. The first is where they are to meet with king Ahaz. This conduit supplies the life-giving waters to Jerusalem. But one cannot simply receive the water at any point along the pipe, one must reach the end of the pipe and open a spigot to receive water to quench your thirst. This pipe is symbolic of the fact that you are not going to get any blessing out of the house of David until you reach a point way down at the end of his line when One comes as the “water of life.” That person is none other than Christ Jesus.
The word used for “pool” is berekah from the root word meaning “blessing.” So this was a place of blessing. And any pool of water in a dry, thirsty land would truly be a blessing. We see this also in Psalm 84:6.
Also, notice that it is “the upper pool.” Upper is the word used over thirty times for the Most High. In Genesis 14:18 Abraham was ministered to by a priest of the Most High God, the Upper God. Now the blessing of the Most High God was given “at the end of the conduit” when Christ Jesus came into the world.
They were going to meet in the highway of the fuller’s field.” The highway is a path that is elevated above the adjacent land to keep the traveler’s feet clean. The spiritual application is found in Proverbs 16:17: The highway of the upright is to depart from evil… Isaiah will use this same figure again later on in this book of his. This interesting symbolism refers to Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
“The fuller’s field” was the place where folk went to wash their clothes. It was the laundromat of their day. Spiritually, if we want to get ourselves clean, we must come to the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “…you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).
Thus it is no accident that Isaiah is sent to this specific place for his meeting with Ahaz. It is rich with meaning for all of us today. But let’s not forget Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub. His name means “a remnant shall return.” God always has planned for a remnant of His people to come back to Him. This is simply another signpost along the path of history for us to discover when we choose to study God’s Word.
That is all for today, my friends. Next time I shall cover verses 4-13 which will show us that God is in charge of events, not us nor our enemies. Until then, be confident in Christ. He is the author of our faith, and He will finish the good work that He has started in each one of us.
Tue, Jan 6th - 9:15PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
We come to see the seraphim in action now:
Then flew one of the seraphims to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar (6:6).
This coal has come from the burnt altar where sin had been dealt with. In a later chapter we will come across the prediction of the birth of Christ, but it is not the incarnation of Christ that saves us, it is His death upon the cross. This is why Isaiah has need of the coal from off of the burnt altar, which symbolizes Christ’s death. This coal represents the cleansing blood of Christ that keeps on cleansing us from all sin.
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this has touched thy lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged (6:7).
Isaiah has already freely admitted that he is a man of unclean lips. The condition for being cleansed is confession of sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). We could go so far as to say that this coal represents Christ Jesus Himself. He was lifted up high on the cross and is now lifted up high on the throne of the universe.
We can assume that this act of putting the coal upon his lips was just an external expression of what happened in his inner man.
Another man in the New Testament was also “undone.” Paul was his name, and he cried out from the depths of his soul, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Paul was not a lost sinner, but a saint of Christ when he uttered those words. He had come into full knowledge about himself, no self-deception clouding his ability to see the truth. He understood that to live for God meant walking in the Spirit, it required divine grace. Even today, we must confess our sinfulness and our inability to please God with our actions. We need the redemption of Christ applied liberally to our lives again, and again, and again.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me (6:8).
As far as we can know, up until this exact moment in time, Isaiah had never heard the call of God. How many of us can honestly say that we have felt like we were called to do anything for God ? If not, could it be due to the fact that we have not been cleansed yet? How many of us that claim to be Christians have not accepted the “coal” upon our lips? God does not use dirty vessels for holy things. True, God will use His Word as it is given out by those who do not really believe it to be true. But He will judge them severely in time.
Equally important to “hearing God’s call” is to respond to His call. The Trinity of God asks the question and then Isaiah responds. The prophet raised his hand and said that he was ready to go. In our churches today I think that there are too many people who are asked to do things for God before they ever get cleansed of their sins. If they do not get straight before God then their service will be frustrating to them.
And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not (6:9).
Here is Isaiah’s commission from God. He must go and tell nation Israel that they are spiritually blind and spiritually ignorant. That is the same message that we are to deliver to those around us, except that we are to do so lovingly, tenderly. We are not to bash them over the head with these words, but we are directed to point out the contradictions in their lives and offer up the truth to them.
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed (6:10).
Is God making these people patsies? Are they scapegoats for Him? I think not. God is simply bringing to the surface the inner tendencies of these people, the things that they would conceal from their neighbors. For those people who are willing to seek out truth God will never blind them. But those who have already hardened their hearts He will guarentee that hardness shall remain.
Isaiah’s job was taking a message of light into a dark world. Light simply reveals the blindness of people for while they are in darkness they do not know that they are blind or not.
If I take a flashlight and go outside during the night and then turn it on, I am very likely to witness creatures of the dark scurrying off to hide in the surrounding darkness. Rats generally run away from the light. Did the light suddenly turn them into rats? No, they were rats before the light and they would be rats after the light. But the light revealed them for what they were. That is what Christ Jesus did when He came to earth and ministered for 3.5 years. He shown Light into the darkness and the “rats” scurried away to avoid being revealed for what they were.
When God does blind someone (Paul) it is to prepare them for what is to come. He does not blind them spitefully out of anger. The light of the Gospel revealed that people were blind, and they rejected Jesus. He did not make them blind, but He surely revealed their blindness to them.
Many boast of the number of souls being saved. I would rather boast of how many are hearing the Word of God. My business is sowing seeds, the Word of God. It is God’s business to touch the hearts of those who hear.
Well, that ends chapter six, beloved. It was a short chapter but a powerful one nonetheless. Next time we shall begin chapter seven whose themes are that of predicting the virgin birth of Immanuel, and of Assyria’s future invasion of the kingdom of Judah. Until then, may the mercy, peace, and grace of Christ be with you this day.
Sun, Jan 4th - 1:15PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
The question we ought to always keep in the front of our minds is the one about what can always be found around God’s holy throne. Is it just empty air space? Does God sit upon an uncovered throne?
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly (6:2).
A wealth of information is given to us in this verse, my friends. First, we are told that more than one seraphim stand above God’s throne in heaven. Second, we are told that each one has six wings. Third, we are told that they are male in gender. Fourth, we are told that they do not look upon God and His throne in this vision, they do not leave their feet uncovered in His presence, and they fly. These creatures are not mentioned overly much in scripture, same as their fellow creatures the cherubims. Seraph means “to burn.” It is also used in connection with the sin offerings and judgment. Apparantly, the seraphim search out sin, and the cherubim protect the holiness of God. Seraph is never connected with the sweet incense or sweet savor offerings, those offerings which speak of the person of Christ. It seems that the seraph are active, and the cherub are passive. Both are to be found in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation as the “living creatures.”
Another truth is that God does not compromise with evil and wickedness. These two things along with sin have brought all of the sorrows in this world of ours. Sin is the thing that breaks up homes and lives, and fills up the grave. God says that He hates sin and He intends to destroy it utterly on the final day. He intends to drive sin completely from His creation. When Isaiah saw God on the throne of heaven, it brought him down upon his face and it will do the same with each of us one day. How desperately the church body needs another vision of God, not just of His love, but of His holiness and righteousness! Yes, God is love. He is also pure and holy and righteous. He is all at the same time and we must learn to accept Him on those terms. We cannot divorce God from His holiness and righteousness and leave only love. It cannot be done. It is grave error to attempt to do so.
God also says that He is our Friend and shall save us. We must come His way however. Not our own way that we have figured out using all sort of calculations. We must put our faith and trust in His Son, Christ Jesus (John 14:6).
And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory (6:3).
Jehovah is high and lifted up, showcasing His glory and holiness. If we would only focus upon that we could then stop living lowly lives, could we not? It would also deliver many people from an “easy” familiarity with Christ. They talk as if He is their “good buddy” and they talk about Him as if He was their cousin or something. No one is able to come into the holy presence of God unless they have dealt with the sin issue beforehand. We must come to God while being in Christ. Christ Himself made that abundantly clear. If you are His child of grace then you can come boldly to His throne, but you cannot come to Him any other way.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke (6:4).
This is the voice of the seraphim as they proclaim God’s holiness.
Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts (6:5).
Isaiah understands his position before God. He clearly understands why he ought to be condemned. Too bad more of us today do not understand our positions in relation to God. I am right there with Isaiah, I am a man of unclean lips living in the middle of a people who have unclean lips. I am undone, condemned. Being in the presence of God allows us to clearly see ourselves as we really are, unclean. We all need to walk in the light of the Word of God just as we are told in I John 1:7---”But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Job had a similar experience to Isaiah’s. He could maintain his integrity while in the presence of his so-called friends who attempted to tear his faith apart. But he was not perfect, and he knew this. When Job came into the presence of God he did not want to talk about his righteousness (Job 42:5-6). The closer you become to Christ the clearer you will see and understand yourself, and others. You will not necessarily become happier, but you surely will become more sober and joyful in the Lord.
Others in the Bible had the exact same reaction when they came into the presence of God. John, on the Isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:17); Daniel in his vision (Daniel 10:8); and Saul of Tarsus came into the presence of God on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6). All fell down upon their faces and understood exactly who they were in the presence of. We need to be doing this today, beloved. We need to be humbling ourselves regularly before God.
That is all for today, beloved. Next we shall read the calling of Isaiah, and it is the same clarion call made to each and every person on this planet. What we choose to do with it, now that is the important thing to ponder. Until next time, enjoy today for you do not know if you will have tomorrow! God willing, we will meet here tomorrow.
Sat, Jan 3rd - 5:59PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
Here, beginning with this chapter, the book of Isaiah begins time-wise. What we’ve read thus far was a prophecy that was recorded for our benefit. Now we begin to read about the crisis in Isaiah’s life which brought him into the prophetic office. Before this we have absolutely no record of his life nor his relationship to God. His ministry began at the death of King Uzziah.
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple(6:1).
Beginning with this verse we are given the time, place, person, glory, and holiness of the Lord in Isaiah’s vision. The time is the funeral of king Uzziah. He was a good king. Many scholars feel that he was the last great king of the kingdom of Judah, and that upon his death the glory of God was no longer seen. Perhaps this is true. This king had brought the Philistines, Arabians, and the Ammonites into subjection. He ruled for 52 years, and the nation was blessed materially during that span of time according to God’s promise. The national glory of Israel died the day of Uzziah’s death and has not been seen since.
So what is on Isaiah’s mind at this time? Maybe he’s thinking: “The good king is dead, the nation is going into captivity, prosperity will cease, depression will soon follow. Things are going to the dogs here.” But where is Isaiah to be found here in verse one? He is in the temple. This vision would appear to be unfolding around him in the temple. Isaiah needed some answers perhaps, and he was in the temple praying to God for some guidance upon the good king’s death. It is there in the temple that he finds the true King of the nation is not dead.
The prophet has already told us not to put our trust in any man, whose breath is in his nostrils. A man can have a heart attack and die in a matter of seconds. The throne looked pretty empty to Isaiah before this vision, but he is being shown who actually sits upon the throne, it is God. It has always been God upon the heavenly throne and this is something that all of us need to remember.
In our current times I see no reason to be pessimistic. Leaders may fail us, or be forced to step aside due to personal problems but we can be optimistic that God knows what He is doing. I would rather be living right now than in any other period of time. Someone will say, “Oh, look at the condition of our economy! Look at all of the misery and joblessness afflicting our nation!” Well, God told us it was going to be like this. He told us that tares were going to be sown in among the wheat. And He would allow both of them to grow together before the harvest. Well, my occupation these days is to sow the seed of the Word of God. I am confident that it is going to bring about a harvest. And its outlook is bright without any question. You and I need not be disturbed. God will take care of the harvest in good time. Our business is sowing seed, that is, to get the Word of God out to needy hearts.
So Isaiah goes into the temple and finds that God is still upon the throne. You and I need to remember that He is still on the throne today. God still hears and answers prayers. God is still working miracles among His people. Isaiah found out something else, that God is still high and lifted up and fills everything. Sin has no room with God present.
That is all for today, my friends. Next time we shall see what else was there with God in Isaiah’s vision, and we shall also see Isaiah’s reaction to this vision. I often have thought that this vision is akin to virtual reality as seen in our science fiction movies. Right up in your face! Jumping off of the screen right at you! Until then, make this to be your primary resolution for the coming year: be a good steward of God’s things. I know that I am pressing myself to be a much better steward of God’s things than I have been in the past.
Fri, Jan 2nd - 8:34PM
BOOK OF ISAIAH STUDY
We resume our study with verse 20:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (5:20).
Here is the fourth woe against the fourth sin. The sin is that of attempting to destroy the laws and precepts of God. It is purposing to muddy the waters as to what is right and what is wrong by substituting man’s values for what God has said. In this fashion our morality always tends to become lower and lower over time due to the confusion introduced.
In America we have this confusion in our standards of marriage today. For every woman and man that are living together outside of the union of marriage, they are committing adultery. He is an adulterer and she is an adulteress. It does not matter what you might think about it; God has already passed judgment upon these types of relationships.
We also need to be alert to those who attempt to interpret God’s Word improperly so that they may profit financially by it. These people would do so in order to create wealth and power for themselves and their immediate friends. We must be alert for those who attempt to rationalize pagan rituals into Christian worship services; this is making what is dark into light.
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (5:21).
This is the sin of pride. To think that one is ever so clever, and smart! God hates this above all else. Proverbs 6:16-17 tells us: “These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.” Pride was Satan’s sin according to I Timothy 3:6: “Not a novice, less being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” Beloved, stay far, far away from pride.
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (5:22-23).
We arrive at the sixth and last woe. Here are people who have become so addicted to alcohol that they have lost their sense of justice, time, and responsibility. Injustice and criminality prevail, and the good man is unfairly accused. No nation can survive once its morals drop so low that its sense of values becomes utterly lost.
Today we live in a time of situational ethics and morality. Depending upon what situation one finds themselves in will determine what actions one can assume to be okay to put into motion. This is a false moral position to assume since it allows one to act any way one wants to. It is a slippery slope allowing promiscuity, immorality, greed, and self-interest to squirm around the question of whether or not something is right or wrong. We see it today regarding Israel and Gaza. Who is right, who is wrong? To me it is rather clear-cut. Hamas and Hezbollah are wrong to be lobbing rockets at Israel. They do it whether or not Israel is retaliating. They do it to spur the Israelis into action and then use the artificially created scenario to further their cause. They are unethical in their actions and words. If they believe that Israel had no legal right to be created by the United Nations, then that is the body to be fighting against, not the Israelis. At least that would be logical in thought. The current fighting only reveals bigotry and racism on the part of Hamas and Hezbollah. To blame the Americans for this situation is faulty also, they are merely upholding what the United Nations sponsored. Again, bring your grievances to those who created this whole mess, the United Nations. The bottom line is that wrong is wrong and right is right. It always has been, and it always will be.
Therefore as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (5:24).
The very core of western civilization, at least, is rotten. The western nations have thrown away the Word of God and His Law. They deem it as so much childishness. And in so doing they have all set the stage for a funeral pyre to erupt into flames and sweep away everything before it.
Many of God’s judgments do not require Him to lift a finger. For instance, drunkenness and drug abuse work in the lives of those who engage in them, and the sins work in the families of those who engage in them. Homosexuality is another sin that does not require God to actively execute His judgment upon the practioners. Their actions set into motion their own judgments, and only time is needed for the fruits to become manifest before everyone’s eyes.
The sin of drinking alcohol is all around us, beloved. Why doesn’t God do something about it? He doesn’t have to. Being serenaded into continual drinking brings its own price tag, one that eventually must be paid by everyone who drinks too much. Judgment will come to the individual and to the nation. We are a nation of deniers of the law of consequences. For every action and inaction there are consequences. Every time. Many of us kid ourselves about our sins, but some of these sins touch all of us.
I cited Proverbs a bit earlier concerning a different aspect of sin, but let’s look at what it means to “shed innocent blood.” Most people will agree that it means to not murder people who have done nothing wrong. But who are the most innocent people of all? Unborn infants? How could we possibly get any more innocent than that? I suggest here that as a nation, America needs to stop abortion. The consequences of those acts of abortion are currently paid by each woman after her abortion. But America still has an unpaid debt hanging over its head. How long are we going to spend more money and emotion over saving puppies and kittens than upon our own offspring? I say adoption rather than abortion.
Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he has stretched forth his hand against them, and has smited them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the middle of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still (5:25).
This is a hard verse for those who feel that God is all about love and nothing but love. Oh, the love of God is very real and no one can prevent God from loving them; but God hates all sin. The anger of God is ignited against His people; not just the neighbors!
Some would try to convince us that once God acts in anger that that sort of “pops” the proverbial bubble of His anger and He is then much calmer than before. But the end of this verse contradicts such positions. God judged Israel, but His hand is out still. God judged England, but His hand is out still. God judged the drug addicts, but His hand is out still. God judged the alcoholics, but His hand is out still. If you and I continue to live in sin, if we refuse the grace of God, then we will know what the judgment of God is for it will come due and must be paid in full.
When God designs the ruin of a provoking people, He can send a great way off for instruments to be employed in effecting it; He can raise forces from afar, and summon them from the end of the earth to attend His service, Is 5:26. Those who do not know Him are made use of to fulfill His plans, when, by reason of their distance, they can scarcely be expected to have any ends of their own to serve. If God set up His standard, He can incline men's hearts to enlist themselves under it, though perhaps they do not know why.
Isa 5:26 And He will lift up a banner to distant nations, and will hiss to them from the ends of the earth; and, behold, it shall come with swift speed!
Isa 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none will slumber nor sleep; nor shall the waist cloth of their loins be opened, nor the thong of their sandals broken;
Isa 5:28 whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent; their horses' hooves shall appear as flint, and their wheels like a hurricane.
Isa 5:29 Their roaring shall be like a lion; they shall roar like young lions. Yea, they roar and seize the prey and carry it away; and no one shall deliver.
Isa 5:30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea; when one looks to the land, and lo, darkness! Distress! And light shall be darkened by its clouds.
God can carry them on in this service with amazing forwardness and fury. This is described here in very elegant and lofty expressions, in a storm; it roars and threatens to swallow up, as the lion roars and threatens to tear in pieces. There shall not be the least prospect of relief or salvation. The enemy shall come in like a flood, and there shall be none to lift up a standard against him.Is 5:27-30. Though their marches be very long, yet none among them shall be weary; so desirous they be to engage that they shall forget their weariness, and make no complaints of it. Is 5:29): Their roaring, or shouting, before a battle, shall be like a lion, who with his roaring animates himself, and terrifies all about him. Those who would not hear the voice of God speaking to them by his prophets, but stopped their ears against their warnings, shall be made to hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them and shall not be able to turn a deaf ear to it.
They shall not desire any rest or relaxation; they shall not put off their clothes, nor loose the girdle of their loins, but shall always have their belts on and swords by their sides. They shall not meet with the least hindrance to slow their march or oblige them to halt; not a latchet of their shoes shall be broken which they must stop to mend.
Their arms and ammunition shall all be fixed, and in good posture; their arrows sharp, to wound deep, and all their bows bent, none unstrung, for they expect to soon be in action. Their horses and chariots of war shall all be fit for service; their horses so strong, so hardy, that their hoofs shall be like flint, far from being beaten, or made tender, by their long march; and the wheels of their chariots not broken, or battered, or out of repair, but swift like a whirlwind. All the soldiers shall be bold and daring (They shall roar like the roaring of the sea Here is the future of America pictured IF the nation continues on its merry immoral way. Israel is a land of people who are still in darkness, spiritual darkness. They still wait for their Messiah to come the first time for them. Why are they living in such chaos? Because they still do not accept Christ Jesus as Lord. They do not live in peace and they desperately are in need of Christ. My heart goes out to them. It is the judgment of God handed out.
That is the end of chapter five, my friends. Tomorrow I shall start upon chapter six which generally is the call and commission of Isaiah to his prophetic office. Until then, peace, grace be yours.
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