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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Is. 33:15

2/28/13 V. 15, To the wicked God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). His glory is unbearable to them. However, that same glory is bearable to the pure in heart (Matt 5:8). The previous verse asks Who can live with consuming fire and everlasting burning? Rev 6:17 ask the same question, Who can stand? The answer is that the wicked cannot but the righteous can. The same glory that is death to the wicked is life to the righteous. Those who not only will be able to stand but even now are able to stand are:

Those who walk righteously: To walk righteously is to do right. Righteousness is right-acting. The postmodern concept that right is whatever is right for each particular person is nonsense. The definition of right is absolute and originates in God. Those who live by what God says is right find life in his glory.

Those who speak honestly: Jas 3:2, 8 says that the tongue is nearly untamable, but if we are able to tame our tongue we are able to control our entire body. Jesus said that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no and all else comes from the evil one (Matt 5:37). He wasn’t primarily speaking of swearing and cursing but about manipulating others by our extravagant promises and swearing oaths in order to prove we are sincere. It should be clear that we are always sincere in what we say.

Those who reject unjust gain: The Bible is replete with warnings against oppressing others and gain for ourselves at the expense of others. This would mean, in light of the previous item, that we speak honestly in order to avoid unjust gain. For instance, if someone is willing to pay more than a car is worth it would not be righteous to dishonestly not tell them and thereby unjustly benefit by their loss.

Those who keep their hands from accepting bribes: Bribery is often equated with dishonesty. If we refuse to do something illegal or wrong even for a financial incentive, then we are keeping our hands from accepting bribes. It’s common in corrupt societies, too, that bribes simply get people to do the right thing and the work they are supposed to be doing anyway. The people of God won’t participate in that kind of activity either, even though their activity isn’t illegal, because then they are benefiting at the expense of another by forcing them to pay extra for what they are supposed to do already. We are to be content with our pay, as John the Baptist told the Roman soldiers.

Those who stop their ears from hearing about bloodshed: This is an interesting one. It doesn’t say those who stop their hands from bloodshed, though that would certainly apply. Clearly this isn’t saying that if someone tells us their friend was murdered we should cover our ears and say, “Don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear about bloodshed.” Mal 2:16 God says that he hates it when we cover ourselves in violence. The picture is one of participating in violence as entertainment. When we participate in violence that way are not stoping our ears from hearing about bloodshed. In the days of Rome the gladiator games were big. Today violent movies and video games are big. Those who find life in God’s glory will shut their ears to such gratuitous violence.

Those who shut their eyes from looking at evil: We will also shut our eyes to that same violence and every other kind of evil. The three monkeys “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” are right on track according to this verse.

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 33:10-14

2/27/13 V. 10, The Lord will arise. Clearly he is on the move to rescue his people. The world will see that he is the Lord to be exalted and lifted up.

V. 11, The Assyrians, for all their might, made plans that were like chaff and their actions like stubble. Both are fuel for a flash fire. Most translations say, “Your breath is a fire that consumes you.” NASB says, “My breath will consume you like fire,” which fits better with v. 14 where God is the consuming fire. In the first case, the Assyrians would self-destruct. In the second, God would destroy them. Either way the end is the same.

V. 12, The people of the earth, like the Assyrians, who do not choose to be loyal to the God of heaven and who war against those who are loyal, will ultimately be burned to lime, which, when burned turns to ash-like powder. Thorns, in the same way, burn away to fine ash. Commentators like EBC-R recognize Isaiah’s shift here from the specific to the general indicating eschatological implications as well. This is a picture of judgment and hell (Rev 14:10-11, 20:10). In the end, those who reject God will be quickly burned into non-existence.

V. 13, God calls on the people of the earth to pay attention and acknowledge him as God.

V. 14, Even those who call themselves God’s people, those who believe they are part of end-time spiritual Israel but are not (Rev 2:9, 3:9) will be terrified of the great day of the Lord. There are many who have a form of godliness but deny its power (2Tim 3:5). In spite of their claims to godliness, they will be seized with trembling and will cry out with the “Assyrians” for the rocks to fall on them (Rev 6:15-17). No one can bear the consuming fire of God (Rev 14:10, 20:10-15, 21:8). Again, we see the “forever and everlasting” figure of speech so common in the Bible. In v. 12 the people were burned to ash after which the fire goes out. The effect is in fact everlasting. The justice and the mercy of God, working together as always, accomplish the complete destruction of evil.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 33:5-9

2/26/13 V. 5, The destruction of evil is cause for rejoicing (Rev 19:2-6). The current condition of things isn’t the way the rest of the universe operates and God will not allow this cosmic cancer to continue forever. He has allowed injustice and unrighteousness to exist for a limited time in order to resolve any question whether  or not Satan’s way might be better than God’s. The answer to that question has been clearly demonstrated, and now before bringing an end God seeks to save as many as possible.

V. 6, Then God will be the sure foundation for everything in the universe once again. Foolishness will no longer survive as though it is wisdom. True wealth will then be salvation, wisdom, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.

V. 7, But this order of things isn’t yet the reality for us. Our planet and even those who call themselves God’s people, are still in rebellion. Therefore, God must continue his work of discipline and purification.

Israel had already been devastated by Sennacherib, and when the envoys from Jerusalem asked for terms of surrender, those terms were so harsh that they and the brave men with them tore their clothes and wept (2Kg 18:14-16). All seemed lost for the remnant of Jerusalem, whether they surrendered or not.

V. 8, The Assyrians had destroyed everything and were completely devoid of compassion. The roads weren’t safe for traveling, the cities around the region had been destroyed.

V. 9, Everyone and everything where the Assyrians had been were in a state of fear and desolation. This is how it will be during the end times. It will seem that all hope is lost for the remnant of God’s people. The forces of evil will be in control. But v. 10 offers hope.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 33:1-4

2/25/13 V. 1, The destroyer who will be destroyed in Isaiah’s day was Assyria. In an end-time context it’s clearly Babylon. General cross references cite Rev. 13:10, 16:6, 17:12-14, 17 and could cite others as well.

The picture is that God is allowing injustice and treachery to go on right now, and at the end Babylon will be a terrible force against God’s people, and will be allowed to succeed in her plans. However, in the end Babylon will be treacherously dealt with herself and ultimately be destroyed (Rev 17:16).

V. 2, God’s people, in the meantime, look to God for their strength to endure and for their ultimate salvation from the injustice and treachery against them by their enemies.

V. 3, The nations flee at the sound of the multitude. most translations render this differently, like “terrible sound” or “loud noise” or “sound of the tumult.” However, the sound of the multitude would make complete sense in relationship to prophetic theophanies (Dan 10:6). NIV’s rendering “thunder of your voice” also fits (Rev 1:10). Often the voice of God is compared to the sound of a great multitude, sound of thunder, the sound of many waters, etc. Interestingly, in Rev 19:6, the people of God are described in the same way when we shout “Hallelujah…”

V. 4, This refers to after the destroying angel wiped out the Assyrian army just outside of Jerusalem. As caterpillars and locusts eat everything that is green leaving nothing, so the people of Jerusalem would spoil the Assyrians. In an end-time context, the spoils in a different sense will go to the people of God. We will have no more use for earthly treasures, but we will have been laying up treasure in heaven (Matt 6:20) and when Christ comes to save his people he promises that his rewards will be with him (Rev 2:12).

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 32:15-20

2/24/13 V. 15, This is interesting. In v. 14 it says that the city, hill, watchtower, etc. will become caves “forever.” And now in v. 15 it says “until the Spirit is poured out.” At that point the wilderness is transformed into a fertile field.

As happens time and again in modern and ancient literature alike, the author uses a figure of speech. Forever doesn’t always mean without end, it can also mean until the time is accomplished. (i.e. That sermon lasted “forever!”) This fact is particularly important in the context of Rev 14:10-11 and Rev 20:10 because many believe these verses about hell fire indicate that hell will burn without end. That simply doesn’t work out on a number of levels. First, how would God re-create the earth as a home for his people if hell continues to burn here? Second, the word forever is clearly a figure of speech. More examples of similar instances are Jude 7 and Is 34:9-10. And third is the impossible-to-answer question, how could a forever burning hell be considered loving, just, or merciful–three important attributes of God? Hell clearly has a beginning and an end. Compare Ps 37:10, Ob 15-18, Mal 4:1, Phil 3:18-19, 2Th 1:9, Rev 21:8.

Getting back to v. 15, when the Spirit is poured out from God upon his people we will be changed and the land as well. He will re-create the world and what we humans have destroyed he will make into new fertile fields and forests.

V. 16, And where injustice and unrighteousness (synonymous terms in the Hebrew) once reigned it will no longer.

V. 17, Instead righteousness and justice will reign and the results will be peace, quietness, and confidence forever. In this case it makes sense that forever isn’t just a figure of speech.

V. 18, In the earth made new the people of God will have peaceful homes. There will be nothing to fear. Security is not an issue. No one will disturb our peace.

V. 19, The destruction of the earth in preparation for its re-creation will be accomplished at least partly by hail, which follows the plagues of Rev 8:7 and Rev 16:21. The city, which in the original context is apostate Jerusalem and in an end-time context is Babylon, will be finally destroyed (Rev 18:21).

V. 20, Perhaps Isaiah had in the back of his mind Ps 126:5-6, which is the picture of the sower who sows in tears but reaps in joy. The waters in prophetic terms refer to peoples, languages, nations (Rev 17:15). That may be the background here, or perhaps it has some meaning in connection with the river of the water of life in Rev 22:1. Or perhaps is simply a picture of the person who made wise choices in being loyal to God.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 32:9-14

2/23/13 V. 9, A woman is often a symbol in the Bible of a spiritual group, for instance the people of God in Rev 12:1-6 or the apostate people of God in Rev 17:1-6. Whether the plural form “women” in this case in Isaiah carries this kind of significance, I’m not sure. It is clear, however, that this message to these women is a poetic message to everyone in Judah, not just the women. And we can easily apply the same message to the people of God today.

The call is to pay attention to what the Lord has to say. He is speaking to those among his people are are at ease (or as YLT phrases it “easy ones” which is an interesting take in a modern sense). He is also speaking to those who are complacent and overly confident. God has a message for us lukewarm people (Rev 3:14ff), those who are not serious about our relationship to him.

V. 10, Very soon we will face trouble because our prosperity will end. The basic necessities of life like food won’t be available.

V. 11-12, It will be a time to tremble in fear for the future, to lament and grieve because times of trouble have arrived. We do not expect such times because we are confident in our spiritual blindness. As the woman of Rev 17 said as she lived in ease and comfort, she expected never to be dethroned or see mourning. Yet in one day her plagues come and she is burned with fire (Rev 18:7-8).

V. 13, The same land that used to be so fruitful will become a place for thorns and briars. The city, Jerusalem that has become Babylon (Rev 17:5), because she has fallen (Rev 18:2) will no longer be a jubilant and joyful city (Rev 18:22).

V. 14, The city will be abandoned in her destruction (Rev 18:2-3). Only a small remnant will be left, as the next few verses show.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 32:1-9

2/22/13 V. 1, Once God rescues his people there will be a new world order. Wickedness will have been removed and kings and princes will from then on rule righteously and justly, which is often not the case today. Corruption and injustice are the order of the day. But in that day we will be kings and priests (Rev 5:10), and we will look to God as our exemplar for he is the King of kings (Rev 17:14). He is all about righteousness and justice as well as faithfulness and truth (Rev 19:11).

V. 2, So even today, not just someday in the future, instead of a leader being someone to be feared and mistrusted by those we lead we will be godly leaders who are a refuge for those whom we lead. We will shelter and protect and provide for those who look to us for leadership, like streams of water in a parched land. They will recognize in us a shepherd to cares for them as our Shepherd cares for all of us. The picture of the throne of God is a river flowing from it that provides life for his people (Rev 22:1).

V. 3, Previously in Is 6:9 the people of God were spiritually hearing but not listening, seeing but not perceiving; and that is still the situation today. But one day that will change and we will no longer be blind and deaf to spiritual things. We will be seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then God will be able to add all things unto us (Matt 6:33).

V. 4, Where we used to be rash and hasty, then we will understand and know. Where our tongues used to stutter and stammer, we will speak clearly.

V. 5, We won’t assign fools the place of nobility like we so often do today. We won’t flatter and respect the scoundrel. Because they are rich or good looking or talented or powerful we often not only allow such people to get away with their foolishness, we often encourage it.

V. 6, But such people speak nonsense, are filled with wickedness and ungodliness. They do not understand God, and therefore do not speak of him correctly. They oppress the down and out.

V. 7, He uses evil to accomplish his ends, his mind thinks up schemes, he mistreats the poor and withholds justice even when the other person is right.

V. 8, The noble man, on the other hand, operates differently. His plans are just and right and he stands by them in the face of opposition.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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