Sun, Jan 31st - 8:39PM
Book of Isaiah Study
In this chapter 56 Isaiah returns to the nation Israel and is speaking to his own people. We have here a victory march through the arch of triumph into the Millennium. It is specific to Israel and radiates out into an ever widening circle of global benefits. It all rests on the New Covenant which God has made with Israel. It is the blessing for the earth in the future. At that time the Mosaic Law will be enforced on the earth because Christ will be reigning. It will be His will and it will be His law.
I believe we will see an emphasis on ethics, not on events. An emphasis on practice, not prophecy. And this ought to influence how we live today. The study of prophecy is to encourage holy living, not to entertain the curious or to intrigue the intellect.
When Christ Jesus is reigning on earth there will be no kidnapping, hijacking, no murders, no muggings. We will be able to leave our front doors unlocked without any fear of burglars. Anyone will be able to walk down the street, at any time of day, without fear of being mugged or held up in any fashion. Everyone, whether or not they accept Christ as Lord, will dwell in peace under his own roof on his own property. There will be no taxes to pay. There will be no insurance premium to pay. It will be a great day!
Thus says the Lord, Keep judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed(56:1).
Seemingly the prophets expected the kingdom to be established immediately. They interpreted God as meaning that it would be very soon. Very soon to God may not mean the same thing in our minds. This anticipation of the coming salvation was to be an incentive, a means of motivation, to do justice; just as our hope of the coming of the Lord is an incentive today to lead a holy life and be ready for when Christ comes again. Of course, we know today via historical perspective and the lnstruction of the Holy Spirit that God was telling Isaiah that Jesus Christ was soon to be revealed to mankind in the flesh.
Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold on it; that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil(56:2).
This refers to the time when the Israelites were under the sabbath. It seems that God shall restore the Sabbath to this earth during the Millennium. Colossians 2:16 states, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days." Much debate goes on over this verse. Are we to observe the Sabbath on Saturday, or not? Or does this verse speak of the other sabbaths that the Isrealites were to observe in addition to the seventh day one? To find any answer to this question we are forced to go to the Book of Hebrews. There in chapters 4-7 we read about how Christ is much better than the old Levitical priesthood. We can also discover the definition of a priest, who our Great High Priest is, and how the New Covenant makes the Old Covenant obsolete.
To understand what chapter 4 speaks of, we must not forget what chapter 3 ends upon. There we find that God did not allow any to enter into His rest, the Promised Land, if they held unbelief. Then in chapter 4 we are then told that this promise of entering His rest still stands. And then in verse 3 it states that a seventh day has been previously spoken of. In verse 6 we see that some will enter that rest, and some who had the gospel preached to them did not go in because of their disobedience. Jumping ahead to verse 9 we then find that to enter into God's rest also rests from their own work, just as God did from His back in Genesis. We see then that the sabbath rest is to be entered into, not to be observed. Jesus Christ has become the Sabbath rest which we are to enter into, He gives us respite from all of our burdens and efforts. Upon accepting Him into our hearts we stop striving to implement our works and begin to do our Father in heaven's works.
At any rate, the sabbath day is an entire topic all of its own and I shall not use up space in this study trying to cover it.
Neither let the son of the stranger, that has joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord has utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree(56:3).
The Gentile in the future is not to feel that he/she is a outsider because of God's peculiar arrangement with Israel. On the contrary, you are invited to step up and share the blessings. Eunuchs could not serve as priests under the Mosaic Law. Physical handicaps will not shut anyone out of the future kingdom, nor shall mental handicaps do so either.
That is all for tonight my friends. God willing we shall meet once more to open God's Word and study it seriously. May His grace and peace by yours today!
Sat, Jan 30th - 9:20PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Now God says,
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord(55:8).
God's way is vastly different from that of mankind. The gospel is God's way. No man would ever devise something like the gospel. The gospel came down from heaven. "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ(Galatians 1:11-12)." It is God's gospel.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts(55:9).
We cannot conceive what God's thoughts can possibly be, unless we read His Word and find out what He has revealed of what He thinks. God's ways are of such higher ethical and moral degrees above mankind's that none of us can comprehend how or when He shall do anything. Does God actually require any natural catastrophe or nuclear weapons in order to destroy this entire world? Somehow I don't think so. He spoke this entire universe into existence, He can speak this world out of existence. It is that simple.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.
So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it(55:10-11).
Here we find a beautiful comparison being made. God allows us the means to comprehend the power of His Word. Precipitation falls upon the ground and aids seeds to germinate, sprout, grow, and mature to produce a multitude of fruit and seed. In the same fashion the gospel, and all of God's Word, falls upon our ears and aids the germination of faith within our hearts. Faith sprouts, grows, and matures. Upon maturity our faith bears much fruit in that we impact the lives of those who live around us and hopefully many are lead to accept Christ in their hearts. God declares here that His Word will not return to Him empty of results. It will do exactly what He intended for it to do. Mankind is told here that we cannot prevent it from happening, nor can any of us alter its intended results.
Mankind must recognize this fact: The only place where the gospel is found is in the Word of God. Salvation is a revelation of God, and the Word of God is likened to the rain that comes down from heaven. The gospel does not ask any of us to do something. Neither is the gospel something that man has thought up. Man cannot work his way up to God but God has sent His gospel down to us from heaven.
For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands(55:12).
What promises to have! Assurances that we shall go out with joy, and peace. During the coming Millennium the earth will respond with a note of praise to the Creator and Redeemer. It shall be so, for up until that time we only find what is spoken of in Romans 8:22.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off(55:13).
Again, this verse looks forward to the Millennium when the earth will be released from its groanings and travails. The thorn and the brier represent sin in our world. When Christ died He redeemed both sinful mankind and sin-cursed earth.
Well, that completes our study of chapter 55 of Isaiah. It began with an invitation to the entire world to come and quench its spiritual thirst with the living waters of Christ. It finished with the Way of God and the unshakeable certainty of the Word of God.
Next time, God willing, I shall begin chapter 56 which is a chapter following a pattern going back to the 53rd chapter. It tells of the salvation of the Lord provided for lost mankind by the sacrifice of His Son upon the cross of Calvary. Until then, may grace and peace clothe you each and every day.
Fri, Jan 29th - 12:39PM
Which Should It Be?
Which sort of worship meeting ought believers in Christ be attending? What sort of meeting ought it to be? I will give you two choices here, you are to consider them and decide for yourself.
The New Testament Way of Meeting
"How is it then, brethren? When you come together, everyone of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two or at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge,. If anything be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church. What! Came the word of God out from you? Or came it to you only?
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently, and in order(I Corinthians 14:26-40)."
And now a perspective presented by someone else.
Our Modern Way Of Meeting
"How is it then, brethren? When you come together, the pastor has a doctrine, and the minister of music has psalms. Let all things be done unto worship.
If anyone besides the pastor has a doctrine, let him not speak; let him hold his peace. Let him sit in the pew, and face the back of the neck of the person which sits ahead of him.
Let the people keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says church tradition. But if they will learn anything, let them ask their pastor after the service, for it is a shame for a layman to speak in the church. For the pastor, he has a seminary degree, and the layman, he has not so lofty a degree.
If any man desire to remain a church member in good standing, let him acknowledge that what I write to you is the command of the denominational headquarters. But if any man ignore this, he shall be promptly escorted out the door by the ushers. Wherefore brothers, covet not to speak in the church. Let all things be done decently and in the order in which it has been written in the church bulletin."
Do I agree with all that Mr. Entrekin said? Of course not. But he has some very valid points. Are our church services too organized, in effect leaving no room for the influence of the Holy Spirit? Are we adhering closely to the Scriptural example given to us in Corinthians? I do not think so beloved. There is no interaction in the vast majority of worship services held every Sunday.
This post also points out how we are to handle the speaking of tongues. This is not being done to large degree in our churches either.
How about the teaching of God's Word? Do our churches encourage two to three saints in standing up and giving their interpretation on specific scripture? This would give everyone two to three different perspectives on any scripture. We would gain additional insight into entire passages AND we would discover how other members of our congregation have been studying God's Word and where their thoughts are being directed by God. Of course, this anticipates that a majority of the membership are regularly studying their Bibles each week. One cannot stand up and teach any passage in God's Word IF they do not read and study God's Word. This aspect of worship leads all to greater understanding of the entire Bible. This practice leads newer members to more quickly understand how they ought to be perceiving different passages in the Bible and how these passages interrelate with one another.
But, as I began declaring in this post; you the reader must decide which is the most Biblically accurate method of worshipping publically each week. And if you and I conclude that we are not currently worshipping as we have been commanded by Christ, then what should we now do? Now, that is truly a hard question to answer, itsn't it?
Grace and peace be yours this wonderful day! Those in jeopardy of the approaching snowstorm, be safe, be prepared, be at peace. Enjoy the wonder and the beauty of the snowflakes as they fall to earth tonight and tomorrow. Be amazed at their intricacy and individuality. It is the work of God.
Thu, Jan 28th - 9:58PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David(55:3).
Even as Jehovah was merciful to King David He will be merciful to you and I. King David's example is to tell all of us that if God was willing to forgive him God will forgive us too. In order for us to have our souls live we must go to God and listen to what He has to say. We cannot only partially listen, we must turn all of our attention to God.
Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people(55:4).
Jesus Christ is called the true Witness for us in our time. He is the one in charge of everything, He is the one to whom we turn for leadership.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and nations that knew you not shall run unto you because of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you(55:5).
Perhaps, just perhaps, this verse speaks of the time to come when the United States of America came to Israel's aid. And then other nations came to give support to the newly formed nation of Israel in the 1940's. It is not ironclad, but just maybe.
Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near(55:6).
The way of God and the way of mankind are two totally different things. An objection is often made these days that this verse is not a legitimate gospel call for us today since man is not asked to seek God, but rather that God is seeking out man. This most certainly true, but this call is still for today, as the human aspect is in view here. Human responsibility is not defeated by the sovereign purposes and election of God. Thus Christ Jesus could say, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out(John 6:37)." You and I can sit on the sidelines and argue that we are not one of the elect; but the second you come, you are elect. And the coming to God is up to us. We must choose to seek Him out.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon(55:7).
When I first read this verse I thought that it was strange that the Lord would have mercy upon the man who returned to God and also upon God. But it is simply the structure of the verse that gives the initial feeling of this perception. What it is saying is that when the unrighteous and/or wicked man returns to Christ that person will experience the mercy of the Lord and of God. It is a double helping of mercy that that person shall receive!
Now the problem most people have today does not seem to be mental. One might say, "I have great intellectual hurdles to scale before I can come to Christ." No you don't. You have only one hurdle-and that is the sin in your life that you don't want to let go of. "Let the wicked forsake his way," and you will be ready to turn to Christ. That is when you really get thirsty!
That is all for tonight my friends. God willing, I shall attempt to finish up this chapter the next time we meet here. Until then, mercy, grace, and peace be yours!
Wed, Jan 27th - 8:51PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Let us delve into this next chapter!
Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price(55:1).
This chapter opens with a heartfelt cry of God to every one to stop and consider His offered salvation. "Ho" is kind of like "Hey!" God wants every soul to look upon His mighty revealed arm of salvation.
This invitation is part of God's ecumenical plan, or movement. It is not related to the ecumenical movement of mankind. God's plan is for the gospel to go out to the entire world. The catch here is: It is limited to only those who thirst. It means that every man, woman, and child, from every station in life, from every strata of life, from every race, tribe, tongue, condition, and color are included in the invitation.
This invitation from God is to drink long and deeply from the waters which can never be quenched. If you say, "I am not interested. I am not thirsty. I am satisfied with the things of this life," then this is not for you until a time when you are thirsty. God has put up a sign: "THIRSTY?" at the crossroads of life. In this life of ours bottled water can cost a fair amount. In the future it will most certainly cost even more. But God's offer here is without money. Why? Because, as we read earlier, in chapter 53 Christ Jesus paid the entire cost for it on that cross at Calvary. Not only does He offer you drink, He also offers you bread to eat.
I hope that you noticed that there are three kinds of drink offered: (1) "Waters" - the plural form is used here. In Hebrew the plural expresses a superlative degree. It also speaks of abundance, of quantity as well as quality. This water is for our soul. Here is the kind of water Christ offered to the Samaritan woman at the well and that he offered in the temple area one day in John 7:37. So now we know where the fountain is; it is Christ Jesus, who is the Water of Life and our Savior.
(2) "Wine" - symbolizes joy. In Proverbs 31:6 we can read, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts." Joy is what you have when Christ is not only your Savior but when He becomes the Master of your life.
(3) "Milk" - is essential for growth and development, especially for babies. Today, the milk associations have been trying to convince people that everyone needs milk. Well, the milk of the Word of God is essential for spiritual growth. I guess that means that I am a milkman! In I Peter 2:2 we see, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." And just as an infant desires his mother's milk we ought to be desiring the Word of God! The greatest problem in our churches today is that we seek to entertain, we are giving banquets and dinners, and we are creating committees. If we are not careful, we do everything except give them the Word of God. Too many church members are spiritually stillborn.
Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which does not satisfy? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness(55:2).
Too many people today are spending money for so-called Christian enterprises that in actuality don't feed anybody. The Word of God is "bread." A lot of Christians put their money into that which is not bread, although they think it is. We all need to do a better job of investigating where we give our money. Not all charitable organizations are putting the money where they tell you it is going to go.
The pleasures of this world are expensive, and are getting ever more expensive. Not only are they expensive, they do not satisfy. So then, where is your happiness? You do not find it in money. Jay Gould, an American millionaire, had plenty of money but when upon his deathbed he said, "I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth." Lord Byron had fame, genius, and money, lived a life of pleasure but still wrote in his poem, "On My Thirty-sixth Year": "The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone."
So why not come to the table where you can get some water, wine, milk, and bread that satisfies? It is where we all need to be.
God willing I shall blog again tomorrow when I will cover the next several verses. Until then, may you rest assured in Christ's love and not worry about that death which awaits us all one day. It is appointed unto us all to die once, some of us are simply choosing to die a second time later on.
Wed, Jan 27th - 2:23PM
A Pastor's Authority?
This question arises in dialogues between believers and atheists, and believers with other believers. In America it is of paramount importance for our culture is fraught with the belief of the individual's right to be free and the entitlement to do what ever one wants. This cultural tendency collides head-on with God's meaning of authority within His church of saints.
We can study the origin of power and authority through Greek terms used in the New Testament. We would find a difference between who has dunamis and who has exousia. One means "power" and the other means "authority." Nowhere in the Bible can one find God telling us that we are to have authority over other saints of Christ. Paul did speak to us of having authority to build up, and not tear down other saints. That then is all about authority "for" something rather than authority "over" someone or something.
Hebrews 13:17 would be a verse that supporters of a church hierarchy point to. "Obey your leaders" seemingly settles the issue, does it not? But upon studying the verb used as "obey" it is seen that it means "persuade." So if the leaders of my congregation can persuade me that they are correct, then I am to obey them. There is another verb in this verse which reinforces this concept of persuasion. The verse goes on to urge us to "submit" to our leaders. The Greek used here is only found in the New Testament. Hupeiko means a battle after which one yields. This infers that after we and our leaders have engaged in serious discussions over a matter that one party gives way to the other. It could be the leaders, or it could be the congregation. Upon conclusion all move forward in unity.
This also makes sense when considering the criteria for elders, deacons, bishops and the like. The single most important characteristic of such people is that they are to be "respectable." If they are to be persuaders then it is perfect common sense that they be able to command respect of others.
And yet there is even more to this. The persuasiveness of leaders depends upon truth. Church leaders are bound to the truth and serve it above all in their service of others. "Seek the truth and the truth shall set you free" and "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" cement this foundational concept into reality. If leaders do not follow the gospel or the apostles' teachings then they are not to be listened to by the body of Christ. Obedience to the truth of the gospel must be linked to service to the body whole. The desire for truth must be the basis of leadership in the body for the trust engendered by service becomes another , more subtle form of dunamis, or power, and comes in the form of manipulation.
Persuasion infers dialogue, and dialogue requires active participation of the entire congregation. Dialogue is the arena for church leaders to guide their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Thus, genuine leadership in the church is based upon service, truth, and trust, not authority. Leaders are called by truth to lives which are worthy of imitation, and thus respectable, and to lives of service. But leaders, as well as the entire body of Christ, are always in subjection to the truth which is in Christ Jesus.
So as I gaze around at all of the various denominations and "church" leaders I now have a standard against which to measure their trueness to God's intended use of leadership positions. Do they use heavy handed measures to get things done? Do they announce edicts that all are to immediately follow? Do they do the very things which they denounce others of sinning? Do they expect mindless adherence to their beliefs? Do they teach things other than Biblical truth, the Gospel, and the teachings of the apostles? If so, then they are not acting as true leaders of the body of Christ, they are leading as if they were bosses, judging others and not themselves. I refuse to name names here, these things are self evident. Just look around. Who serves their congregation and puts their needs above their own? Who serves the truth of Christ and does not compromise it when preaching and teaching? Who defends the Gospel and the apostles' teachings? These are the ones who are biblically leading their flock of saints given to them by Christ. Are they persuading them to grow in spiritual maturity? Are they persuading them to leave more and more sinful things behind in order to serve Christ more and better? They are the true leaders of the body of Christ then.
I hope this aids some of you to see more clearly what your relationship really ought to be with the leaders of the church which you attend each week. God willing, later today I shall continue the study in the Book of Isaiah. Keep me in your prayers, dear brothers and sisters. Pray that God will strengthen me and give me clearness of sight and clarity of thought. Pray that He gives me the words which He desires me to use to persuade others of His truth. May Christ be with each of you and His angels watch over you in all that you endeavor to do.
Mon, Jan 25th - 6:02PM
Book of Isaiah Study
O you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with fair colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires(54:11).
We discover here that Jehovah begins to comfort nation Israel. He begins to inform them of what He shall do for them in the future.
And I will make your windows of agates, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your borders of pleasant stones.
And all your children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness shall you be established: you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near you(54:12-14).
Jehovah describes how the new Jerusalem shall look. It's foundation shall be composed of precious stones, its windows made of agate. Those future generations shall be taught of the Lord and they shall have peace forever. There will no longer be any oppression, fear, or terror. This comforting promise applies to everyone who has accepted Christ on faith for we then become children of Abraham, his children of faith. First comes righteousness and then freedom from fear.
Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me: whosoever shall gather together against you shall fall for your sake.
Behold, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, says the LORD(54:15-17).
Jehovah speaks of the oppressors who wish to strike fear into the hearts of the people of God. They will inevitably gather themselves together but it won't be God who gathers them so. Promises of safety are given to Israel, and to us today. Our righteousness is not of ourselves but from Christ, our Lord and Savior. Our heritage as servants of the Living God is that we are held in safety by God Himself from our enemies. Anti-semitism and anti-christian acts are addressed here in these verses. Those who choose to raise a hand against Christians and/or Israelites will be dealt harshly with by God.
That completes chapter 54 of Isaiah. We come now to chapter 55 whose theme is an invitation to the world, some words about the ways of God, and some words about the institution of the Word of God. Let us begin:
The work of the suffering Servant, of whom we read about in chapter 53, makes possible the offer of salvation in this chapter before us. In chapter 54 the invitation initially was limited to Israel. But in this next chapter the invitation is extended to the entire world. This is how it ultimately played out once Jesus Christ came in the flesh to present the Gospel. First to the Jew, then to the Gentile. This does not mean that the Jew has top priority with God today. But he doesn't have the bottom position either. The Jew received the gospel first, Peter preached to an all Jewish crowd on Pentecost. But later on the gospel went out to the rest of the world.
God's invitation to the world has yet to reach its complete fulfillment in Israel, or the world. This is not a mechanical offer, but rather it rests on the free-flowing will of each hearer. The hearer is urged, commanded, to seek the Lord.
God willing, we shall begin with verse one next time. May grace and peace be with you the remainder of this day!
Sun, Jan 24th - 9:40PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For the Lord has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused, says your God.
For a small monent have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you(54:6-7).
Israel today is as a wife that has been divorced for adultery. But a shall come when a gathering will take place. In that day not only Israel, but all believers are going to look back at what we have thought was terrible down here on earth, and it will seem "a light affliction, which is but for a moment" as Paul described it. We need to get our eyes focused on things which are not seen rather than the things that are seen.
In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the LORD your Redeemer.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with you, nor rebuke you(54:8-9).
God admits that in His wrath He did hide His face from Israel for a time but a time would come in which God would shower mercy on them with eternal kindness. That depicts Jesus Christ and His grace. That is how God is Israel's redemption; it is through the work of Christ on the cross. Just as God promised Noah that He would never again wipe mankind off the face of the earth via flood waters so God promises here that He shall not be angry with Israel or discipline them once Christ returns. God did not promise Noah until after the Flood was over with. Israel will not see their promise until Christ returns a second time and removes all sin from the world.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord that has mercy on you(54:10).
We can find parallel passages in the Book of Revelation which speak of the time when the hills and the mountains will be removed. The physical natural world will dissolve and be replaced with a new creation free from sin but God's covenant and His kindness will never leave us or be removed. God promises us that. We should never believe that God is going to break His covenant which He made with Abraham. That particular covenant shall stand through eternity.
Next time I shall begin covering the verses which speak of the rejoicing and righteous restored wife of Jehovah. God willing, we shall meet here once more and open up His glorious Word. Grace and peace be yours this day!
Sat, Jan 23rd - 11:30AM
Book of Isaiah Study
Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes(54:2).
Israel has never occupied the entire land given to them by Jehovah. The land marked out for them in Joshua 1:4 is about 300,000 square miles. During their golden era of Kings David and Solomon they occupied 30,000 square miles. God has said that they are to occupy the larger area and occupy it they shall. Will it happen today? I doubt that it will. They will be safe in their dwellings, free from fear and worry. Is that the case today with all of the Arab nations not wanting them there? No, it is not. This then speaks of the promise being kept during the Millennium when Christ reigns supreme over all the earth. At that time all of the promised land shall be Israel's. It shall also be the place where believers in Christ shall live, work, and worship God. The only Israelites there shall be believers also. This is why the Millennium literally existing is important within the Word of God. When it comes to pass it will permit God to fulfill His promise to the Israelites so long ago.
For you shall break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited(54:3).
The Gentile peoples have occupied most of the Land of Promise, they have it today. But a time comes when they will have to withdraw to their own borders. The problem in our world today is not only that individuals try to overstep into others' property, but entire nations are trying to expand their borders or their spheres of influence. This causes problems. People continue to want more and more and more, which is what produces conflicts and wars.
Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be you confounded; for you shall not be put to shame: for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.
For your Maker is your husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The god of the whole earth shall He be called(54:4-5).
God informed the Israelites to hold their heads up high. They were not to be ashamed of their past deeds, they would be redeemed. This pictures a truth for all believers in Christ today. Once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are to not be ashamed of those deeds we did before. We are to not remember the reproach of the time before becoming betrothed to Christ. The God of Creation is our husband and He is the Lord of hosts and the Holy One of Israel. Jehovah is our Redeemer and He is the god of the whole earth. The Lord of the Old Testament is our Redeemer in the New Testament. We are His, the redeemed souls of the earth. He bought us with His blood on the cross at Calvary. He died willingly, once, for all people to be redeemed if they will only accept His salvation gift. No one need change before accepting His gift of love. The changes come upon acceptance of redemption, for then the heart is reformed and understands its position relative to God.
We must not forget that God looks at us from the position of being our "husband." He is the head, the One in authority, the One who looks out for our best interests. God gives us this personal, intimate relationship repeatedly for He wishes us to understand our personal relationship with Him. Husbands may discover insights into their wives' position in their marriage by studying their relationship to Christ within their "marriage" to Him. They are His "bride." Husbands must submit to Christ as His "wife." Husbands must turn to Christ to gain understanding of His Word, and be silent in His court. Wives must submit to Christ and to their husbands, but this is not an excessive thing at all. They will come to understand that they are to take their lead from their husbands just as their husbands are to take their lead from Christ. We all are to serve Christ in love, and to serve each other in love. We are to not esteem ourselves to be better than others. We are to share sorrow and joy with each other. If the least member of our congregation is in pain, then all of us are to be in pain with them. If the least member is honored, then we all are honored. That is how Christ declares it shall be. He is our "husband" and we are to follow His lead.
That is all for today, beloved. I know that men have trouble dealing with the concept of being married to Christ. I am one of them. But it is something which we must wrestle with on a daily basis. It is important for one day we all shall attend the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and before attending this event it would be good to understand some its implications. It would help men to live better Christian lives and raise better sons and daughters. God willing we shall meet again to study more of God's Word. Until then, continue to pray unceasingly for God's wisdom, God's guidance, and God's unconditional love to infuse your life each and every day!
Fri, Jan 22nd - 2:23PM
Just want to post a brief item on this. I have been studying Ekklesia and this came up. I am curious as to the thoughts of others on this site to this question. Should there be any discipline within the church?
Discipline is a blessing and a privilege provided by the Lord to assist in the restoration of sinning members. This is something that of necessity must be attempted by every congregation as commanded in Matthew 18:15-20, I Corinthians 5, II Thessalonians 3:14, II Thessalonians 3:6. Too many faithful object to practicing this however. Here are a few common objections given to not practice discipline.
* "Discipline is not loving." God, who is Love, is the very One who commands that discipline be practiced in the church(Matthew 18). Jesus said also in Revelation 3:19 that those whom He loves He rebukes and disciplines. Since we are to imitate the love of Christ, do we not then have to reprove them whenever they are found to be in sin? Yes, we must.
* "To implement discipline on someone would be judging them." Matthew 7:1-5 gets cited often for support of this objection. What must be seen here is that to move on to verse 6 explains the application. In order to obey Christ to not cast sacred things to the dogs and to the swine of this world we each must make a decision (judgment) as to who qualifies as dogs and pigs. We most definitely are not allowed to make hypocritical judgments. There is a huge gap between hypocritical judging and restorative acts of judging and reproving, as we find in I Corinthians 5:3-5, 12-13.
* "Church discipline could cause divisions." Unity is highly valued within the church. But we cannot have unity at the expense of obedience to God. I feel that the majority of the church today is more concerned about not offending its tithing members than it is about obeying Christ's commands. Leaders are worried about people becoming offended and leaving for elsewhere rather than desiring that they all grow in maturity in Christ and achieve "unity" in that fashion. I think that discipline done properly will strengthen the church and create biblical unity(Ephesians 4:13).
Restoration is not only a biblical commandment but it is also a right and privilege of every member of the church. It ought not to be withheld. The church that refuses to follow God's plan for church discipline can expect to be disciplined themselves by God(I Corinthians 11:31-32). This thought shows up again in the Book of Revelation where named church congregations are put on alert that Christ will come and judge them.
So, are we all willing to place ourselves under rebuke and reproof? Are we willing to accept discipline in those times when we have sinned? Are we willing to be our brother's keeper? Or are we to fail, like Cain? Will we ignore our brother or sister's warning signs and allow them to stumble? That is always the question for believers in each generation. It is not always a matter of us shoving our neighbor into trouble, but that we clearly see him/her headed for trouble and we do nothing to prevent it. To do this means we do not have the love of Christ within our hearts.
Wed, Jan 20th - 9:13PM
Book of Isaiah Study
He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities(53:11).
God's Servant would see that the troubling of His soul ultimately would be satisfying. He took our hell that we might have His heaven. God is happy for down through all of the ages multitudes of people have come to Him and found sweet release from guilt, pardon for wickedness, and healing from the illness of sin. Christ said that there is joy and celebration in heaven over each sinner that repents.
You, if not saved, can bring additional joy to God's heart by accepting the gift of eternal life that He longs to give to you. God does not ask anything of you, He wants to give you something. Romans 4:5 comes to mind here. All you have to do is accept Him right where you are. He invites you to the foot of the cross, there you can discover forgiveness for your sins and healing for your heart.
Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors(53:12).
We see here that Christ bore the sin of all of us. He makes intercession in heaven on our behalf. He identified Himself with the sinnrs and emptied His soul out for our benefit. God the Father declares that He has given a position of honor to Himself in Christ among the great and the strong believers in heaven.
That is the end of this short, but powerful, chapter. I trust that you have found more reason to love God. Chapter 54 logically follows 53 in content for it is a song that accompanies salvation. One day the Redeemer is coming back to Zion, and that day all will behold Him in His glory.
Sing, O barren, you that did not bear; break foth into singing, and cry aloud, you that did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, says the Lord(54:1).
Jehovah speaks directly to Israel saying that they should sing. Can you sing? I am able to sing somewhat, but am not the best singer by any means. Whether you and I can sing well is moot here. One day we shall sing, and sing very well. Redemption brings a song into this world of ours. The world produces the blues; the redeemed sing of blessings. The world has its rock and roll; the redeemed sing of redemption. The world plays jazz; the redeemed have the reality of joy overflowing. Revelation 5:9-10 speaks to us of how the redeemed shall sing a new song in heaven. In Revelation it is the church spoken of, but here in Isaiah it is nation Israel being spoken of by God. In scripture the church is called a chaste virgin while Israel is pictured as the restored wife.
I will stop here for now. God willing, I will pick up this study next time with verse two and try to figure out what it and the next couple of verses mean. May the blessings of Christ be as a cornucopia to you and your family. May His abundance fill your life to overflowing with blessings.
Tue, Jan 19th - 10:15PM
Book of Isaiah Study
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (53:5-6).
"With His stripes we are healed" may cause some questions to enter your mind. Of what are we healed? Are we healed of physical diseases? Is this the primary meaning of it? How about we let Simon Peter declare to us the meaning of it. I Peter 2:24 states, "Who His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed." Healed of what? Peter made it very clear that we all are healed of our trespasses and sins against God. Now look again at 53:6. It begins with "all" and ends with "all." All of mankind has gone astray, all of mankind has turned to his/her own way. Our basic problem is, and always has been, having turned away from God and chosen to go our own way. Proverbs 14:12 declares it for us: "There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Inspite of Christ Jesus having said, "...I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6), we all have proceeded to turn away to our own ways. We can deny this truth all that we want to, but the truth remains: each and every person to ever live upon this planet has turned to follow their own way rather than accept God's Way.
Isaiah makes it plain that when Christ died on the cross He was simply taking your place and mine. He had never sinned. He had never done anything wrong. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. He was the Substitute whom the love of God provided for the salvation of you and me, just as He provided for Abraham when offering up Isaac, his son.
For us to remain unmoved by the pain and suffering that Christ endured in our place would mean that we are cold-blooded. But Christ does not want our sympathy. He did not die to sign us up to defend Him. While on His way through the streets of Jerusalem to Golgotha He informed the weeping women to not weep for Him, but to weep for themselves and their children. He did not seek their sympathy and He does not seek ours today.
Did He die a martyr's death? No He did not, for He did not proclaim a lost cause. He did not die as martyrs who in their death sang praises of joy and confessed that Christ was standing by them. Merely compare Christ's death with that of Stephen. Stephen proclaimed to see heaven open up and to see Christ standing at the right hand of God. Christ died alone, the sins of the entire world upon Him.
Some attempt to paint Christ as an unhappy man all during His ministry due to what is said in verse three of this chapter. But a close reading of that verse clearly points to the fact that He bore "our" sorrows and grief, not His.
I want to put this to you: man has gotten this world into a very sad predicament today. The wisdom of man has failed miserably to settle the problems of this life. Evolution is a strong delusion that many have given in to. Vain philosophy and false science do not solve any of our problems, they merely create powerful positions for men to rule from.
Suppose for a moment that God did give his Son to die for you and that He did make a tremendous sacrifice. Grant that the cross is God's remedy for the sin of the world and that it is the very best that even God can do. Suppose also that you go on rejecting this gracious gift of salvation. Do you honestly think that you can reasonably expect God to do anything for you in eternity upon your death? If God exhausted His love, His wisdom, and His power in giving Christ to die and patiently has waited for you to turn to Him, what else can He do to save you? What else can God do for anyone who rejects His Son? Oviously He could come and die again for you, but why would you believe Him then, if you do not believe now?
He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opens not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken(53:7-8).
As anyone can discover through reading the Gospel accounts of His arrest and crucifixion Christ never became offended or angry at His accusers. Here again, we find that Christ died for our transgressions.
And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when You shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand(53:9-10).
We see consistency with New Testament passages in which eyewitness accounts verify that Christ was buried with the wicked and the rich upon His death on the cross. Christ had done no violence against any man and had shown no deceit in His speech. And yet, God was pleased to bruise Him for it meant that God would not have to do so to those of mankind who would accept the gift of salvation being offered freely. We find here declared to us the knowledge that Christ's very soul was an offering for sin, and that God verified that through Christ's resurrection that His pleasure would prosper.
That is all for tonight my friends. God willing we shall continue our study when next we meet here. May your pursuit of God be sucessful and fruitful!
Mon, Jan 18th - 7:57PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him(53:2).
At the time of the birth of Christ the family of David had been cut off from the kingship. They were no longer princes; they had become peasants. The nation of Israel was under the heel of the Roman Empire. They were not free. The Romans did not produce a great civilization so much as they were very good imitators of great civilizations. They had mediocre achievement and a pseudoculture. Their moral foundation was gone. Virile manhood and virtuous womanhood were replaced by debauchery and pleasure-loving. The Israelites' religion had become a shell, filled with empty rituals and cold, indifferent hearts. This is the situation that Christ entered into. The most fragrant and beautiful flower arose from a people, place, and time which were spiritually arid in nature. For such a person to arise at this was humanly impossible, however, He came nonetheless, for He came forth from God. Evolutionists try to get rid of Christ for their theory cannot produce Him.
"He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." Some have drawn the conclusion from this verse that Christ was an unattractive man. Some have even dared to say that He was repulsive to look at. That defies common sense when reading other verses that describe Christ as being the perfect man. Repulsive perfection? I think not. After His arrest, torture, and crucifixion we find Him depicted as being covered with cuts, bruises, and stripes. A crown of thorns was crushed down upon His head. After that cloak of darkness lifted up from the land upon completion of satisfying the debt of sin Christ was indeed physically misshapen and unrecognizable. Death by the cross was not a pretty sight. His suffering was unspeakable and unimaginable. He endured, willingly, what no other man endured. He did not even look human after the ordeal of the cross. Naturally, we are eager to learn why His death was different and horrible. What was the meaning of the depths of His suffering?
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted(53:3-4).
God was so concerned that all who were to read this prophecy afterwards might not get the message that He made Isaiah write it three times: "He has borne our griefs," "He was bruised for our iniquities," "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
I do not understand it, and I am led to ask why God should treat Him in such manner. What had Christ done to merit such treatment? We must look at that cross. Christ was on that cross for six hours, hanging between heaven and earth from nine o' clock in the morning until three o' clock in the afternoon. In the first three hours man did his worst. He piled on ridicule and insults upon Christ, spit upon Him, nailed Him without mercy to the heavy rugged cross, and then sat down to watch Him die. At twelve o'clock noon, after He had hung there for three hours in agony, God drew down a veil over the sun, and darkness covered that entire area, shutting out from human eye the transaction between the Father and the Son. Christ became the sacrifice for the sin of the entire world. God made His Son an offering for sin. Christ Jesus was treated as sin, for we are told that He who knew no sin was made sin for us . You want to know if God hates sin? Look to the cross of Calvary. Will God punish sin? Look at how He treated His only begotten Son upon the cross of Calvary. By what conceit can you and I hope to escape if we ignore, reject, or trivialize such a great salvation? That cross became an altar where the Lamb of God took away the sin of the world by shedding His blood. He did not die for Himself, He died for us.
That is all for tonight my friends. God willing, I shall continue with the next two to three verses as we move rather deliberately through this chapter. Until then, grace and peace be yours. May you and I, in our prayers, ask God for forgiveness for forcing Him to have to take such drastic measures in order to reconcile our sin. May we always remember our position relative to Jehovah, He is our God and we are His creation.
Sun, Jan 17th - 4:13PM
Book of Isaiah Study
If you aren't aware, Isaiah 53 along with Psalm 22 describe vividly the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is arguably the most vivid depiction to be found within the Bible. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit has drawn a veil of silence over the cross of Calvary, and none of the lurid or gory details are set forth for the curious throngs to gaze upon and leer at. That original crowd of onlookers sat down and watched Him die. You and I are not allowed to join them. Even they did not see all for God placed over His Son's agony the mantle of darkness.
Very likely God does not want us to become familiar with that which we need not know. We should remind ourselves constantly of the danger of becoming familiar with holy things. Isaiah 52:11 comes to mind from the last chapter, "Be you clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord."
God gave the prophet Isaiah glimpses of how much Christ would suffer that we cannot find anywhere else. Seven hundred years before Christ was even made manifest in the flesh God gave prophecy to Isaiah concerning His death.
How can we know that Isaiah is referring to the death of Christ? Over in Acts 8:32 we find that Philip taught the Ethiopian eunuch that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah was about the Messiah Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ Himself quoted from this chapter as accounted in John 12:38. Apostle Paul in Romans 10:16 quoted from this same chapter in regards to the gospel of Christ. This chapter is a photograph of the cross of Christ as He was dying there.
I think that you will discover, as I have, that there are two themes to be found within this chapter. They are this: suffering and satisfaction. Suffering always comes before satisfaction. There are no shortcuts. God does not offer us any shortcuts. Even He did not go the shortcut route. There can be no salvation without suffering first. Perhaps you are sitting in the shadows of life today. Problems confront you on every side. Difficulties threaten to overwhelm you. You have tried very hard to figure it all out. Let me say to you that you are upon the same path that Christ walked and it leads at last to light if you walk with Him. Psalm 30:5 tells me that this will be the case for each and every person who calls upon the Lord in their time of dire need.
Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed(53:1)?
That which had been revealed to the prophet had not been received by the people. This is what the Lord had warned Isaiah would happen back in chapter 6.
Christ's messengers have not been welcomed with open arms by the world. Prophets have spoken and have been stoned, tortured, and murdered, the message unheeded. After World War I it was very unpopular to talk about the fact that there would be wars and rumors of wars so long as there was sin in the world. War was not a skin disease but a heart disease. All of those preachers were proven to be correct in their assessment of humanity when just a few short years later World War II erupted into existence. Claims of Christ being a pacifist ignore the words of Christ where He claimed that a strong man armed keeps his palace. Christ also pointed out that He had come to set brothers at odds with one another, husbands against their wives, brothers against sisters. His message clearly divides people into those who accept/heed His message and those who reject His message. Peace cannot exist in that sort of environment, can it? In the world in general we find that the majority of people believe those who voice the thought that everything is going to be all right for mankind is always getting better and better, that science will figure out how to solve all of our problems. Historical evidence dictates otherwise.
Paul said that the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness. Many today claim that Christianity is pure foolishness, the concoction of weakminded people. Admittedly, there are a lot of foolish preachers, and I do not defend any of them. I would merely point out what I Corinthians 2:14 says, "But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Those preachers do not truly know Christ and thus cannot preach spiritual matters from out of God's Word.
The reason why men do not believe in the gospel of Christ the way that it is written down is that men like to think of God as sitting somewhere on a throne, far far away. It is foreign to religion that God has come down to this earth among men and that He suffered upon that shameful cross. That is just too much to comprehend in natural man. The modern mind calls that defeatism and they do not care to embrace it. A suffering deity is opposite to man's thinking today.
Today people all over the world are witnessing the pain and suffering of the Haitian people in the aftermath of an earthquake. We are drawn to such pain and suffering. Christ has that affect on us for He suffered unlike any other person. Pain places all of us on the same plane. It is a common bond that unites all of us frail, finite beings.
One other reason why men do not believe in salvation is that it is free. For man it is free for man can pay nothing, nor does he have anything to offer for salvation. It is free for man since it cost God everything. He "bared His arm" in that He gave His Son to die upon the cross. Redemption is an infinite task that no man can accomplish for we are all finite beings. Salvation is free, but it certainly is not cheap.
That is all for today beloved. Next time we shall move a little further along in this short but immense chapter of Isaiah. God willing, we shall meet again to study His Word. May He grace your heart with peace, joy, and contentment!
Sat, Jan 16th - 8:37PM
Book of Isaiah Study
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Your God reigns!
Your watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem(52:7-9).
Yes, the feet of Jesus Christ are beautiful in that He brought the Good News of salvation to us in person. He made it possible for us to obtain redemption for all of our sins without our having to physically die.
One thing about Jerusalem today is that there is a lack of a joyful song. Around the Mosque of Omar everything is low key. By the wailing wall no joyful song may be heard for all of the wailing. The Jewish people knock their heads against that wall even. But in the coming Millennium everybody who lives there will have fun. All shall burst out in joy and sing together in praising God! There will be no wailing, no head banging, no kowtowing to the east many times each day.
But I think that God does not want to see us walking around today with long faces on. We shouldn't be complaining or criticizing. We should be filled with joy. The apostle John wrote to us, "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (I John 1:4)." Are we to be joyful one day out of the week? No! Every day, all day long! Our joy is to be full, not just in part.
The Millennium is the fulfillment of the prayer which Christ has taught us, His disciples in Matthew 6:10. Tears and sorrow will be gone. Weeping and despair will be gone. Instead there will be joy, and all shall know that the Millennial kingdom has come at last.
The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Depart you, depart you, go you out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go you out of the midst of her; be you clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward(52:10-12).
Here again is declared Christ's redemptive work upon the cross of Calvary. We also learn that when Christ comes again He shall be seen of every person alive upon this planet. This is consistent with passages from the New Testament which speak of His second Coming, or Advent. We see admonishment to remain clean spiritually. People of belief in Christ are to not go about in fear or haste since Christ shall be going in front of us and He is our Reward.
Behold, My servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high (52:13).
How often have we heard from the American Congress the word "prudent?" We must be more prudent in our use of miltiary might. More prudent in our use of foreign aid. More prudent in our application of democracy. More prudent in whom we appoint to leadership positions in our government. More prudent in their conduct. The question is whether those leaders ever became more prudent in their hearts, in their words, and in their actions. But the day is coming when Christ, God's Servant, shall come and deal prudently with all of us. Because He will deal prudently with all He shall be exalted and extolled. We cannot ask anyone in Washington D. C. who has been prudent for very few, if any, have been prudent.
As many were astonished at You; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men(52:14).
Here we find a picture of Christ after being tortured by the Roman soldiers and then the crucifixion. He had been beaten bloody, His flesh ripped and flayed. My intent is not to dwell overly long upon the sufferings of Christ since to do so is to tempt crudeness.
During that time of darkness when men could not do anything, the Son of God was working up on that cross. During those three hours of darkness that cross became an altar and the Son of Man, the Lamb of God, paid for the sins of the entire world. After those three hours of inky blackness, the throng must have been startled as the light broke upon the cross. Jesus did not even look human, He was just a piece of bloody flesh. It must have been unspeakable to look upon. It is the reason why God placed a covering of darkness over all. There was nothing there to satisfy the morbid curiosity of man.
So shall He sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider (52:15).
A time comes in many lives when the death of Christ startles them when they finally understand it. Christ's death should never become a commonplace thing to anyone. His death was different from anyone else's and believers have not explained it properly if it does not startle others.
That concludes chapter 52 and prepares us for the amazing chapter 53 of Isaiah. Next time, God willing, we will delve into the twelve verses of this next chapter and make some discoveries. Until then may joy flood your soul and grace be ever upon your lips.
Thu, Jan 14th - 7:59PM
Book of Isaiah Study
I just want to offer a few words of condolance for the people who are forced to suffer through the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. I hope and pray that relief workers and supplies are able to be distributed to those who need it the most. I pray that all nations responding to this disaster will be able to work closely and efficiently in meeting the needs of these people. I pray that God will use this time of turmoil and chaos to touch hearts all around the world, for none of us are certain that we shall never experience such disasters in our parts of the world.
To resume this study of the Book of Isaiah I direct attention to chapter 52.
Awake, awake; put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean(52:1).
God is speaking specifically of a physical location in this verse. "O Zion" is a geographical location in the land of Israel. It is the high point of Jerusalem. King David favored that point. Blessings are going to come upon Jerusalem and it will no longer be ruled or controlled by Gentiles. God declares that the day shall come when only the "clean" shall enter into the city. A day shall come when the Israelites will completely control Jerusalem. God's work of redemption is still ongoing. Christ will not only redeem people's souls He shall redeem our physical universe in total. Our universe is in travail, as a woman in the pains of childbirth, because of the effects of sin. Christ shall redeem our bodies and then all creation shall also be redeemed. Redemption is of the person and also of the property of God.
Shake yourself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose yourself from the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion (52:2).
Today Jerusalem is held captive by religion. All of the sacred spots are covered up with churches: Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Church of All Nations, and Muslim mosques. Jerusalem needs to be freed from all of these religions. Release is coming, the time has been appointed by God. For some 2500 years now the holy city has been captive and traveled through by the Gentile peoples of our world. But the day is approaching when the shackles of servitude will be removed by God.
For thus says the Lord, You have sold yourselves for nought; and you shall be redeemed without money(52:3).
Since His people in effect sold themselves into idolatry for nothing of value, God declares that He shall purchase them, and His holy city, for nothing. He shall simply take the city from them and restore it once more at the appointed time. I would like to point out here that this is our plight as lost sinners too. We sold ourselves to sin for nothing of value in return and Christ redeems us without any money, instead He used His precious blood to purchase our freedom from the bonds of sin.
For thus says the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause(52:4).
God reminds His people, through Isaiah, how they were made captive by the Assyrians through no aggressive actions towards the Assyrians on their part. God moved the Assyrians due to the unrepentence of the Israelites.
Now therefore, what have I here, says the Lord, that My people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, says the Lord; and My name continually every day is blasphemed(52:5).
God gained nothing from the years that His people spent in Egypt and in Assyria. His holy name was blasphemed every day by the peoples' captors.
Therefore My people shall know My name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that does speak: behold, it is I (52:6).
When Christ came in the flesh the first time His people rejected Him. When He comes the next time He shall ensure that everyone will know His name, that He most surely does speak, and that "it is I." The Book of Revelation, I believe, says that even those who pierced His side with the spear shall see and hear Him at His second coming to earth. Christ will not be sneaking back to earth when He returns, it shall be known by everyone on earth and those who have died. In essence, God is saying, "Here I am!" One day God will announce to the Christ-rejecting world that He is here and it will be too late for them to change their minds.
Next time we will explore some verses that speak of the restoration of Jerusalem and introduce us to the suffering Servant. God willing we shall meet here once more to open up His precious Word. Until then, may His grace and peace infuse your heart and soul!
Tue, Jan 12th - 9:42AM
Book of Isaiah Study
And I have put My words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, You are My people.
Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which has drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of His fury; you have drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out(51:16-17).
This reminder to Israel ought to serve as a reminder to all believers today. God has put His Word into our mouths and He has covered our sins through Jesus Christ. We are His people, His children. God exhorted the Isrealites to wake up and truly see reality before them. They had been judged at the hand of God and He desired them to wake up and repent of their sinful ways rather than continue to have to be judged by Him. The same goes for believers today. God desires us to repent of our wickedness and unfaithfulness to Him and return to walking a straight path before Him.
All we must do today is observe the condition of Jerusalem and we can see the results of unfaithfulness to God. The people living there still do not have eyes that can see spiritually. It remains a city of chaos and turmoil. It used to be King David's favorite spot, and it is also God's favorite spot on this earth. But God has not brought His people all of the way to Jerusalem as of yet. Gentiles also possess a part of that great city at this time. There is controversy over parts of the city. There is contention and strife internally in that city. It is not a united city, it is divided. And so God continues to shout to Jerusalem, "Awake! Awake! See the mighty things that I am about to do, just as in times of old!"
There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she has brought forth; neither is there any that takes her by the hand of all the sons that she has brought up.
These two things are come unto you; who shall be sorry for you? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort you?
Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of your God.
Therefore hear now this, you afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:
Thus says your Lord the LORD, and your God that pleads the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shall no more drink it again:(51:18-22)
Within these verses God continues to point out to the nation of Israel the reality of their situation. They had turned their backs on Jehovah and chased after all of the local idols. They created layers of restrictions which were applied to each and every commandment given by Jehovah. For a time God would pour out His cup of fury upon them in judgment, but then He informs them here that He would not do so forever. A time would come when they would not be forced to drink from His cup of wrath. That day comes when God will take away judgment and bless them. Some would argue that they have already been blessed by being allowed to return to their homeland today. Is it really a blessing? They must always be on guard against attack by Arab nations and/or terrorist groups. This sort of living arrangement is highly stressful when endured day after day. Peace in the Middle East only comes when Christ returns to reign over the entire earth, and He does so from Jerusalem.
But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict you; which have said to your soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and you have laid your body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over(51:23).
The enemies of Israel do not escape judgment. Every nation and group of people that has participated in anti-Semmitism has fallen: Egypt, Persia, Rome, Spain, Belgium, Russia, and Germany. All of these nations/empires have passed from being dominant, world makers and shakers. To all believers in the Word of God this chapter ought to alert us that God is not done working through Israel but rather God still has a plan of action that in its appointed time shall reach out to the Jew. Why is it so difficult to create peace in that region of our globe? It is simply because we have not come to God's appointed time for peace to exist there. We are living during the "times of the Gentiles" when non-Jewish peoples control the city of Jerusalem. Not until this time period has run its appointed course shall we see the Jews control the entire city once again. And even then my friends their control will be for only a season as the Anti-Christ shall betray them and take control of the city himself. And yet, God has stated that He shall place the cup of trembling into the hands of Israel's enemies. All of those who oppose the wishes of Jehovah shall experience His judgment, He has promised it of old.
This concludes this chapter of Isaiah. We have only some 15 chapters to go in this Book. In the next chapter we shall discover the Servant of Jehovah in the background of the text. He has been hinted at and has been as a shadow on the backdrop of the narrative up to this point. Last chapter we found to be like an alarmclock chapter. God was hollering to His people to wake up. Now in this next chapter Jehovah sounds the alarm somewhat differently as He also advises the believing remnant to turn its attention to their Redeemer.
God willing, we shall meet again here to open up God's Word and study it some more. May Christ bless you abundantly this day. Walk in the light and reflect the light of Christ out into this dark world in which we live.
Mon, Jan 11th - 12:50PM
Misuse of the Bible
"...his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction(II Peter 3:16)."
I am borrowing this from Days of Praise as it is something with which I heartily agree. I personally strive to not pick scripture out of context in order to create my own belief system. That would create a private interpretation of which we are all warned not to do.
We all need to realize that it is vitally important for Christians to study and use the Scriptures for they compose our only real authority. If you have any doubt, please review Matthew 5:18, John 10:35, 14:26, II Timothy 3:15-17, II Peter 1:19-21 to refresh your minds. But it is almost as important that we not misuse the Scriptures, for this can be almost as dangerous as ignoring them totally.
There are many people who twist and warp the Scriptures, looking to make them fit some opinion of their own, hoping to impart some biblical authority to their personal prejudices, instead of allowing God to say what He means. Distortions of such a nature have generated a great many cults and heresies, both past and present. This was the basic view of Christ concerning the Pharisees: "in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men(Matthew 15:9)." We see this in doctrines which aim at excluding people of unlike belief based upon very select items. For instance, the Catholics were unable to eat certain food items on Fridays. It was a manmade restriction, not God's. There are groups who claim that in order to be true believers of Christ you must speak in unknown tongues, or be able to withstand the poisonous bites of snakes. But Jesus Christ never said any of these things, men have.
Similar, perhaps even worse, is claiming to receive new Scripture, or perhaps new and more authorative insight on existing Scripture. We must be aware that God does not condone these sorts of acts: "You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it(Deuteronomy 4:2)." "Add you not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar(Proverbs 30:6)."
Most assuredly, cults and heretics distort and supplement the Scriptures freely, but still deadlier are the liberal thinkers who try to explain away the Scriptures. This act of distorting and then denying God's word was the very lie of Satan which brought sin into the world to begin with. Genesis 3:1-4 gives us the example and our warning for all of time. Do not condone, or even listen to, distortions of God's truth. But in order to recognize these incessant distortions one must be learned in the truth. If we do not ever read God's Word and study God's Word then we shall remain ignorant and ultimately gullible to Satan's schemes against our faith, and against our hope. The Bible clearly warns us against this danger, will we listen?
Sun, Jan 10th - 10:24PM
Book of Isaiah Study
I, even I, am He that comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
And forget the LORD your maker, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and has feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
The captive exile hastens that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.
But I am the LORD your God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is His name(51:12-15).
As we continue this study we can see in these verses that Jehovah reminds the Israelites of who He is. God reviews the past history. He lays out the deeds that He has performed on their behalf. And since God is the one who comforts us, who are we to then be afraid of some person that shall die just as us? Why fear other people more than the Being who has created everything around us, as well as the people all around us? It is He whom we should be fearful of disobeying, of rejecting. To reject that which created us is foolhardy. To embrace and return its love is pure wisdom.
Just as God brought their father Abraham from Chaldea, God intended to bring Israel back to its homeland. This is what Jeremiah said, "But, The Lord lives, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries wherever I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land(23:8)." This prophecy does not concern their return from the Babylonian captivity but rather refers to the middle of last century when Israel became a nation once again after some 1700 years of non-existence. Jews had been dispersed to nations all over this planet, with little or no hope of ever going "home" again. God worked a miracle during the 1940's and His appointed time for the final return to their homeland arrived. This is the exact same God who brought His people out from bondage in Egypt and parted the waters of the Red Sea so that they might pass safely through to the other side. This is the exact same God who then led them with a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night through the wilderness. This is the exact same God who is going to judge this entire world of ours in the future, who is going to come and reign on earth, from Jerusalem, for a thousand years. And then this exact same God is going to usher in a new heaven and a new earth that are free of sin and we shall reign with Him for eternity. The magnitude of this must be allowed to sink into our awareness, sink into our minds. Are we prepared to accept this fact? Are our hearts fully prepared for the coming Savior who returns as King of kings and Lord of lords? I surely hope so.
That is all for tonight beloved. God willing, next time I shall cover some verses which indicate that a time is coming when the cup of judgment which has been pressed to the lips of Israel shall be passed to those who persecute and attempt to obliterate that small nation today. God has promised that He shall not afflict Israel forever. He has promised that He shall never forget them. But that is all for another time! May Christ's love and grace soothe your heart and mind. May you draw close in fellowship with His Holy Spirit.
Sat, Jan 9th - 11:08AM
Book of Isaiah Study
My righteousness is near; My salvation is gone forth, and Mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon Me, and on Mine arm shall they trust(51:5).
God told the people that Christ was near to coming. The appointed time was fast approaching and Jehovah wanted His people to know that salvation was imminent and that He was going to judge them. The "isles" refer to all of the continents of the world outside of Asia and Europe.
We need to understand what God's arm is since He declares that all the peoples of the world will trust on it. The answer will come to us when we reach chapter 53, if none of you have connected the dots at this time.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but My salvation shall be for ever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished.
Hearken unto Me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings(51:6-7).
Jehovah tells Isaiah to tell His people to look toward heaven and realize that all of it shall pass away. The earth upon which they stand will age like any clothng that they wear and that they too shall age and die in a like manner. Beloved, our physical bodies simply wear out over the years, more quickly the more we abuse them. Our eternal hope is that God's salvation and righteousness shall last forever. Those of us who do know righteousness, who have His law written upon our hearts need to listen closely to Jehovah. He instructs us to not fear the mocking and sneering of men at our faith in Christ. We are not to be afraid of their profanity and slanders which they may hurl upon us at every opportunity. When we are labeled as being ignorant, uneducated, close-minded, intolerant, unaccepting, weak, and unintelligent people we are to not be dismayed nor afraid. We are to be ready to answer confidently why we believe in Christ and why we know that we shall find ourselves in heaven upon our physical deaths. Anger is to be left behind. Love and longsuffering are to be wrapped warmly around us.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but My righteousness shall be for ever, and My salvation from generation to generation
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Are You not the one that had cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon(51:8-9)?
Has not God's salvation existed from generation to generation ever since Christ Jesus arose from the dead? In verse nine can be seen another reference to "the arm of the Lord." Reference is also made to someone who had previously wounded the dragon. We know from reading Revelation that the dragon represents Satan who strives against God's wishes.
Aren't You that which had dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that had made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?
Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away(51:10-11).
We see Jehovah reviewing past history in which He aided His people to escape from Pharaoh. We also see Him advising everyone that the redeemed in Christ shall return to Zion/Jerusalem in like fashion. A dry road shall be made available for all believers to come to worship Christ in Jerusalem during the Millennium. This is what is spoken of in the Book of Revelation and of which amillennialists do not believe to be literally possible. They prefer to choose a more spiritual/allegorical interpretation of what is written. I prefer to accept it for what it is. It is much less confusing. Zion is a geographical location on earth. We all need to understand that God means what He says in His Word. Either we walk in His truth, or we do not.
That is all for today. God willing, we shall continue with this study tomorrow. I hope that you are able to gain a greater understanding of God's truth through this study. I also hope that your faith will grow deeper and stronger as well. May Christ's grace and love grow ever more dominant in your heart and life.
Thu, Jan 7th - 10:17PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For those who are amillennialists this chapter translates into being all about today's church. Amillennialists feel that God abandoned Israel as a nation upon being crucified on Calvary. That final verse of chapter 50 can mislead one to believe this to be the case. But my friends, in this chapter God speaks to none other than the nation of Israel. To try and spiritualize this renders it to meaninglessness. God has not forsaken the Israelites, He merely has been working through the Gentiles.
God has been operating a dual track system since He manifested Himself in the flesh. On one slow track is Israel and on another, faster track are believers in Christ Jesus. Once the track of believers reaches its destination God will resume His program intended for the Israelites. All happens according to God's appointed times.
In this chapter God would appear to turn on the alarm to awaken those who are asleep. In Romans 13:11-12 we can read about how now is the time to awake out of sleep for our salvation is nearer than when we believed. We are instructed to get rid of our works of darkness and don the armor of light.
Hearken to Me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence you are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you are digged.
Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bore you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him (51:1-2).
Here God is sounding the alarm. "Hearken to Me" is a call to every sincere heart in Israel that wanted to be righteous and desired to want to know God. Jehovah reminded them that He was their Rock of nourishment while they wandered out in the Wilderness all of those long years. He reminded them of Abraham and of the fact that He called him out of Chaldea and idolatry to a life of service unto God. Separation was a result of God's call which believers must also heed and separate unto Christ from out of the darkness of this world.
For the LORD shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Hearken unto Me, My people; and give ear unto Me, O My nation: for a law shall proceed from Me, and I will make My judgment to rest for a light of the people(51:3-4).
Has God made Israel's wilderness like the Garden of Eden yet? Of course not. They struggle to survive against the Arab nations and some of the Muslim nations as well. Jehovah points towards the time when He would come as the Light of the world. God was preparing them to receive in the future their Messiah. Unfortunately the people were blind by the time Christ came and they rejected Him. God's promises to Israel remain to be fulfilled in the future. The time will come when Israel shall experience comfort and be able to have thanksgiving.
I will stop here for now, beloved. Next we shall find out about righteousness and the redeemed and how they relate to Israel. God willing we shall meet again to read and study God's Word. Grace and peace be yours.
Tue, Jan 5th - 9:25PM
Book of Isaiah Study
For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
He is near that justifies Me; who will contend with Me? let us stand together: who is Mine adversary? let him come near to Me.
Behold, the Lord GOD will help Me; who is he that shall condemn Me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.
Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God(50:7-10).
We see in these verses how Christ knew all along that Jehovah would help Him. It provided Him with confidence and inner strength to follow through with the Father's plan for salvation. It also provides us with the means to stay the course, to run our personal races all of the way to the finish line. God is near to us, He who justifies us. What do we have to fear from any person? Nothing. God invites us to stand together with Him for then no adversary can separate us from our Lord. The Lord challenges all those who condemn the believer in Christ, they all shall grow old and die. Those who condemned Christ in Jerusalem all grew old and died, and are no more. The Holy Spirit speaks a comforting and imploring word to trust and then rest in God's Servant, Christ Jesus.
Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This shall you have of Mine hand; you shall lie down in sorrow(50:11).
Hhhmmm. At first glance, this verse seems kind of vague. What could God be talking about here? This could be speaking of those people who incite strife, violence, malice, hatred, abuse, and other atrocities with their tongues. We are told elsewhere that the tongue is able to set the entire world on fire. These are people who whisper their preconceived ideas about life in the ears of any who are willing to listen. They cause sparks of contention and opposition. God informs these people that they shall live their lives out in the "fire" that they create, that this will light the path of their life, that they will not find the Light of the World. Their lives shall end in sorrow and not in eternal life spent in heaven. By pursuing their own personal light they have rejected Christ who is the light of this entire world. What is really important in all of this is to find out what God says that we need to know. Not what I think, nor what you might think. We need to live our lives in the light of Lord Jesus Christ. If we reject the truth concerning Christ then we are choosing to walk in the light of our own little fire that we have cooked up in our minds. The Holy Spirit today informs us that to choose thus means that we shall lie down by that miniscule fire and feel only sorrow in our separation from God.
That completes this short chapter in Isaiah. God willing, next time I shall begin chapter 51 whose general theme is one of calling to Israel to wake up. God wishes all of them to wake up and realize the error of their ways before it becomes too late to change at all. God still calls to us today to realize the exact same thing. Until then, grace and peace be yours.
Mon, Jan 4th - 9:09PM
Book of Isaiah Study
Thus says the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have you sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away(50:1).
As we can research, under the Mosaic Law a man could put away his wife on the slightest pretext. A cruel and hardhearted man would take advantage of this to get rid of his wife. God asks them here if they happen to know on what grounds He is putting them away from Himself. God is not cruel nor is He brutal. Israel is spoken of as the wife of Jehovah; this is what the theme of the Book of Hosea is. It was not on a whim that God set aside Israel, but God makes it very clear here that their sin brought about their divorcement from Him. They sold themselves to idolatry. The consequences of their actions resulted in God putting them away from Himself.
Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst(50:2).
We find here a verse that speaks of dual times. The first half seemingly talks of the time in the future when God would manifest Himself in the flesh as the Christ. The Israelites did not give Him welcome. When Christ called to Jerusalem and the nation, they did not hear nor come to Him. The nation did not recognize Him at His birth, nor did they recognize Him at the beginning of His public ministry. The nation ended up rejecting and killing Him. God will set aside Israel during their captivity in Babylon and then again for an extended period of time when later on they reject their own Messiah on whom they had been praying.
I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.
The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned(50:3-4).
We are continuing along with God's discussion with Isaiah. He informs the prophet that He is the One who takes care of the heavens above. We also see that two parts of the Godhead are being referred to here, The Father and The Son. "Lord God" is also translated as Jehovah Adonai. Christ is Jehovah Adonai. The Father gave Christ the speech of a learned man so that He could speak properly at the appropriate time to those who were in need. "He wakens My ear to hear as the learned" can only mean that He chose to read and study God's Word for that is where hearing comes from. We cannot hear God calling if we are not reading His Word. How else could Christ at the age of what, twelve, teach the elders in the synagogue? If Jesus came to know the Scriptures through study, what is wrong with us? As I see it, there is obedience, and then there is obedience! I happen to think that somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 God has a word or two for each of us. As God speaks to us we need to be listening.
The Lord God has opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back(50:5).
And here we find Christ telling Isaiah that He would be obedient unto death, that He would not forsake the cup of iniquity that He must drink in order to redeem the earth from sin. Christ spoke with the Father frequently, and so should we. This verse also speaks of the total submission of Christ to His crucifixion.
In Exodus 21:1-6 can be found an account of a servant who had married a slave girl and would not leave her behind. A master could make a slave permanently his by bringing him before the judges and bore a hole through the man's ear. This apparantly was done to hold an earring which denoted ownership of the slave. This particular slave loved his master and had married another slave. He did not desire to leave in freedom. He willingly became a permanent slave to his master. Join this with Hebrews 10:5 and we can see that Jesus did not just accept a hole through His ear for us, He accepted holes through both hands and both feet. He has taken that glorifed body back to heaven with nail scarred hands that remind Him of the fact that we are now His slaves forever more, once we accept His freely offered gift of salvation. Jesus loved us, His Bride, enough that He did want to return to heaven unless He could also bring us with Him.
I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not My face from shame and spitting(50:6).
Here we have a picture of what the Roman soldiers would do to Jesus Christ before crucifying Him. Matthew, Mark and John all record the fact that He was spit upon, scourged, buffeted, and smitten. The Roman soldiers were not kind-hearted individuals, they used full force in their applied blows to His body. Yes, it is not the kind of thing that most us like to dwell upon. It does not give us a warm fuzzy feeling and so we are tempted to push it aside into the background.
That is all for today, beloved. I hope that these verses speak to your heart. Consider the fact that Christ Jesus knew long, long ago what He would face once He manifested Himself in mortal flesh. And He still refused to veer away from the final goal. We need such comittment today. We need to realize that we must dedicate ourselves to studying God's Word and applying it correctly in our lives. We need to throw ourselves upon Christ and refuse to turn to the left or to the right of our goal. As Paul stressed, we must train ourselves in order to run a good race and finish strongly so that we achieve the goal that is out in front of us. That is what I pray for each and every one of you, as well as for myself. May grace and peace dwell in your homes!
Sat, Jan 2nd - 3:15PM
Book of Isaiah Study
And He said, It is a light thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give You for a light to the Gentiles, that You may be My salvation unto the end of the earth.
Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose You(49:6-7).
We are given a couple of verses in which the Father speaks to Christ, the Son, and gives us some tidbits which we also find in the Gospel accounts describing Jesus. The rejection of Christ, the Messiah, by Israel opened the door for the Gospel to go out to the very ends of our world. And yet, the day comes in the future when God will regather the remnant of believers from out of Israel.
Now comes a section in which Jehovah has a conversation with His nation Israel.
Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard You, and in a day of salvation have I helped You, and give You for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages(49:8).
God heard the prayer of Christ and gives Him as a covenant of His chosen people, Israel. Our desolate heritages become inherited by God when we accept Christ as our savior. That is woneerful news! That provides each of us with hope and joy! And now Jehovah turns His attention to the people.
That You may say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that has mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.
And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.
Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD has comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted(49:9-13).
These verses speak of the gathering of the Jews back to their homeland. They also speak to the time when the Lamb shall reign from Jerusalem. The faithful shall come from every compass point to worship the Lamb as He reigns supreme from His righteous throne in Jerusalem.
So what is wrong in our world today? The Jews are back in their land right? Only partially are they occupying their homeland. If they were in complete control of Israel's rightful land then both heavens and earth could rejoice. The church should be in heaven, but it is not. Satan ought to be chained up in the pit, but he is not. Christ should be sitting upon a throne in Jerusalem, but He is not. There are many things that must yet be shifted around and put aright before peace can reign upon this earth of ours. I do not claim that the Israelis, in total, are to occupy their homeland completely. Rather, I simply say that when the remnant of faithful believers come out from the rest of their unbelieving countrymen that there will be rejoicing in heaven and on earth for it shall be a sign that our Lord and Savior's return is imminent. Jerusalem must be restored to Israel and they must be the ones who control it. That is vital to future events. But that story can be read in the Book of Revelation.
But Zion said, The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you.
Behold, I have graven you upon the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me(49:14-16).
The Israelites complain that God has forgotten them. God points out to them that even though a mother may forget about her own children that she has given birth to, He shall never forget His children. Jehovah then declares how He shall not be able to forget them ever: We all have been graven into the nail printed scars of His hands as He hung from that cross upon Calvary. We may turn away and forget all about God, but He never will forget about us for He carries us with Him always. Perhaps Jehovah says here that He shall convert all Israelites upon the day of His Second Coming, perhaps He simply means that remnant that has always existed, those who truly believe in Him. We shall have to wait to witness the truth of this particular matter, I will not hazard a guess beyond what I have written here.
Your children shall make haste; your destroyers and they that made you waste shall go from out of you.
Lift up your eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live, says the LORD, you shall surely clothe yourself with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on yourself, as a bride does.
For your waste and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed you up shall be far away.
The children which you shall have, after you have lost the other, shall say again in your ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.
Then shall you say in your heart, Who has begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been(49:17-21)?
We find here Jehovah reminding His people that even though they suffer mightily during their captivity, He shall bless them with more children. He also shall bring into the same fold fellow children who believe on Christ but who were not birthed by the Jews. All believers shall journey to be in Jerusalem to worship the Lamb of God one day. Our tormenters will no longer be close to us, they shall be removed far, far away.
Thus says the Lord God, Behold I will lift up Mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up My standard to the people: and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders(49:22).
The Gentiles would be the ones to assist the Hebrews to regather into Israel at the appointed time. I believe that we witnessed this event when the nation of Israel was once more reinstated by our United Nations some years ago. Before this time Gentiles went about scattering the Hebrews over the entire planet. Great Britain did open up the land for the return of the Jews once it became clear to them that they could no longer control and govern it themselves. Today there are millions of Hebrews that dwell in their ancient homeland, defying the wrath of the surrounding Arab nations. Perhaps during the Tribulation Period even more Jews shall migrate back to their homeland to dwell, we shall have to await and see.
And kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: they shall bow down to you with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?
But thus says the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contends with you, and I will save your children.
And I will feed them that oppress you with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob(49:23-26).
These verses pertain first to what would occur upon the release of the Hebrews from Babylonian captivity. Their Temple would be revived, refreshed. Their outlook would be one of heartfelt worship and remembrance of exactly what God had done for them. Secondly, these verses speak of that time when Christ had delivered all of the captives of sin from its grip. Believers would be taken from their oppressors through mighty works and miracles. Jehovah declares that any who choose to contend with us shall find that they contend with Him. He is to be our Defender, our Advocate. He shall do these things in order for the world to know with certainty that He is our Savior and our Redeemer. That He is none other than Jehovah, the mighty One of Jacob.
We can also apply these verses to the Church. Even at those times when the numbers within the Church of Christ dwindle down to only a few Jehovah is capable of raising up more saints to fill the ranks and to flesh out His body of believers.
This completes chapter 49 and brings us to the fiftieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah. God voices the reason for the rejection of Israel at the time of Christ. The real hurdle here was their rejection of Christ. To this very day the Orthodox Jew still rejects Christ as the Lamb of God, the Messiah. Christ Jesus was one of them, and they still rejected Him. This fulfilled prophecy is found in John 1:11.
God willing, we shall gather round God's Word once more and share His knowledge and wisdom amongst us. Until then, grace and peace be yours.
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