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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Is. 66:23-24

7/7/13 V. 23, In the re-created heavens and earth there will be consistent reason for all to come before God in worship. There will be monthly reasons and a weekly reason to come. The monthly reason is reminiscent of the ceremonial sacrifices of Old Testament Israel. This does not indicate that the sacrifices will be restored. Jesus died and therefore the prophetic symbols are no longer necessary. Could it be, however, that God has plans for new kinds of celebration? That’s not at all beyond the realm of possibility.

The weekly reason to come before God will be the seventh-day Sabbath. The Sabbath was originally instituted in the Garden of Eden. God created the Sabbath to be the culmination and eternal celebration of God’s perfect creation. For that reason alone it would make sense that the Sabbath will continue in the new earth.

In addition, at the exodus of Israel from Egypt, God deepened the meaning of the Sabbath so as to memorialize their redemption from slavery. This is no way negated the original significance of Sabbath, but it did add even more significance to it. It would follow that the Sabbath would also continue in the new earth as a reminder of our redemption from slavery to sin.

This brings to a close this devotional study. Find devotional commentaries on other books of the Bible at www.scoggins.biz. Also find information about my book on Revelation.

On these celebrations of worship all “flesh” will be come and bow before the Lord (Rev 15:4). Some translate this as all mankind, but flesh may easily include other beings like angels and inhabitants of other worlds as well.

V. 24, Rev 14:10-11 speaks of the punishment of the wicked in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. Several other instances in Revelation including Rev 19:17-21; 20:10-15; 21:8 also tell of this final destruction by fire. This is a description of hell.

Often, people understand the second half of this verse to mean that hell will burn forever. However, that’s not what it says. The first part of the verse says that they will be dead bodies, corpses. The wages of sin really is death, not eternal life of torment.

So what does it mean that their worm will not die? The word worm is singular not plural. It is “their worm.” Each dead corpse doesn’t have a worm there is one collective worm for all. In each instance, (here and Mark 9:48) the worm that doesn’t die is parallel to the fire that cannot be quenched. Therefore, this worm must be regarded as a means of destruction similar to the fire, as it was in Gehenna.

Gehenna comes from the Hebrew word Hinnom, which was a valley south of Jerusalem (see Jer 7:32-34) where trash and even corpses of criminals were thrown and burnt. Worms and constantly burning fire were both a part of the destruction there. Gehenna is most likely in the background of the statement, which is a warning to us of the consequences of the final judgment, which will end in the destruction of evil.

In Isaiah worm is a term that relates to judgment (cf Is 14:11). There’s no biblical reason in this context or any other context to equate the worm with a disembodied soul or that it’s a part of a human that lives forever.

The fire is unquenchable in the sense that nobody can quench it until it has done its work. For example, in Jer 17:27 Jerusalem was destroyed by fire. That fire could not be quenched, but Jerusalem isn’t burning today. It burned until it had consumed everything burnable.

The dead corpses that are being affected by worm and fire are consumed (compare Isaiah 9:18; 10:17; 24:6; 26:11; 30:27, 30; 33:11, 14; Ezekiel 15:7, 22:31, 28:18; Nahum 1:10; Zephaniah 1:8, 3:8; Hebrews 10:27; Revelation 18:8). Thus, neither the fire nor the worm are eternal.

According to 1Tim 6:14-16 God alone is immortal. He bestows immortality as a gift on those raised in the first resurrection (1 Cor 15:51-54).

The Bible clearly teaches that the soul can and will die (Eze 18:4; James 5:20; Rev 20:4; Ps 89:48; Job 36:14; Lev 19:8; 21:1, 11. These texts all contain the term soul.

See also comments on Isaiah 32:15.

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Is. 66:21-22

7/6/13 V. 21, From an eternal perspective the coming of God’s people out of spiritual Babylon and to spiritual Jerusalem will be a wonderful thing, a glorious exodus, illustrated in v. 20 as riding in royal fashion. And God has plans for his people in New Jerusalem for making us priests, as stated in Rev 1:6, 5:10, and 20:6. The incredible thing about this is that the very people who were separated from God by our rebellion in sin, God places the closest to himself. Because of what we’ve done we might hope simply to be saved and relegated to the lowest position of all creation. But God, in his great love and amazing grace, not only saves us but gives us the greatest and most honored post in the universe (Rev 7:15).

V. 22, And thus we shall live and reign with the Lord forever (Rev 22:5). Sin will not rise again. God’s renewed creation will endure forever and so shall we. Our offspring (see comments on Isaiah 60:22) and our name will endure as well. The idea of our name enduring gives one the impression that what we have been through will not be forgotten. We will be forever known to the universe as the people who rebelled, were ransomed by the love and sacrifice of God (Rev 1:5, 5:9, 7:14), and overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 12:11; 21:7).

 
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Is. 66:18-20

7/5/13 V. 18, The Lord says to the wicked, like he says to each of the seven churches in Rev 2 and 3, that he knows their deeds and also their thoughts, which is a problem because their deeds and thoughts are evil and anti-God. Therefore, warns God, the time is coming when he will gather everyone to see his glory. This would have been fulfilled for Israel had they followed the divine plan, but will still be fulfilled in an end-time scenario. This eschatological gathering is a major theme in Revelation (Rev 14:18, 16:14-16, 19:17-19, 20:8).

V. 19, However, before the great gathering for the Day of God Almighty, there’s another gathering when people come out of Babylon as the gospel goes to the world. God promises to set (leave in LXX) a sign among the rebellious. That sign will be those who have escaped from Babylon. In other words, it seems like the scenario is that those whom God called out of Babylon will be left as an ongoing message to those still in Babylon who haven’t yet come out because they haven’t yet heard of the Lord or seen his glory.

The reason Babylon seems to figure here is because Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal, and Javan and the islands or coastlands are also listed in Eze 27:10-13. In that context the message is to Tyre, which we have already seen in the comments on Isaiah 23:1 is synonymous with Babylon.

So God’s true and loyal people will declare God’s glory among the nations.

V. 20, And this gospel initiative will convince many to leave Babylon. They will come to worship God as he commands, borne in celebratory fashion to Jerusalem. This surely has connection with the Armageddon scenario in Revelation where the three angels’ messages in Revelation 14 go out to the world and the warning goes out in Rev 18:4 to “come out of her my people.”

In Rev 16:13-16, which is the primary Armageddon passage in Revelation, the three evil angels go out to gather the world for war on the great day of God Almighty. This is the counterfeit side of the three angels going out in Revelation 14. There is a spiritual war between the true people of God and the rebellious. The point of the war is to bring as many to one side or the other as possible. Many will be convinced by God’s “sign” of his people and will exit Babylon, but many will also remain in Babylon.

 
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Is. 66:15-17

7/4/13 V. 15, When he comes it will be in fire and storm as a conquerer coming to take vengeance. God’s wrath, as discussed before in the comments for Isaiah 30:30 and 34:2, is a planned and calculated wrath. God doesn’t lose his temper because he’s finally had it with the wicked. God’s anger is described this way mostly because it’s something we can identify with. But God’s wrath, although it is called his strange act in Is 28:21, is entirely consistent with love, mercy, and justice.

V. 16, When he comes in judgment upon the earth, his judgment will be executed by cleansing fire and by sword. In Rev 2:16 Jesus is pictured with a sword coming from his mouth and in Rev 19:15, 21 this sword is his judgment. Ezek 38:21-22 presents the same picture. Those who will fall before the Lord will be many. Satan has been effective in deceiving and leading away many from the Lord.

V. 17, Those who will be judged by God are those who piously pretend at godliness (but deny its power), or follow someone among them into brazenly worshipping other gods in groves and gardens.

Considering that many believe that the health laws have been nullified, it’s interesting that here in this end-time context, that eating swine’s flesh and other unclean animals is specifically included among those who will be destroyed. However, it’s not simply the fact that these perhaps believe it’s just fine to eat impure non-foods that is the big problem, but the fact that they do so as a way of thumbing their nose as God.

 
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Is. 66:10-14

7/3/13 V. 10, Because of these sure promises of God we can know that soon our mourning over the apostasy of the church of God (Jerusalem) will be changed to joy. God will redeem a final remnant and will re-establish his holy city.

V. 11, All will be peace, safety, and abundance, illustrated as an infant snuggling in to nurse with his mother. The land that God will recreate will be such a land as to delight and satisfy his people.

V. 12, God will grant peace that flows like a river, which recalls the river that flows from the throne of God in Rev 22:1. The glory of the nations will also pour into the city (Rev 21:24-26). And we, God’s people, will be loved, cared for, and enjoyed by God himself.

V. 13, Clearly God is looking forward to the time when he is able to comfort and care for us like this. His heart aches in his separation from us due to sin. He longs even more than we do for reunion.

V. 14, When we see all that the Lord has prepared for us we will be glad. That’s a tremendous understatement. When we are placed in our new situation we will flourish like grass that grows quickly.

The statement that the hand of the Lord will be made know to us, could be a hint that we will be able to find out and understand the ways that the Lord led us during this terrible time on earth.

But God’s wrath will be kindled against those who rebelled against him.

 
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Is. 66:5-9

7/2/13 V. 5, For those who do listen and tremble (respect) the word of the Lord, he has some words of encouragement. He knows that the fact that his people honor him, that others, even among Israel, hate, exclude, and mock them for that reason. In the end, though, God promises to put them to shame. Rev 3:9 says that they will bow before us and admit that God has love us.

V. 6, In that day there these be an uproar in the city and a voice from the temple because it is judgment day. We see this happening in Rev 14:15 and Rev 16:1, when judgment falls it is commanded by God’s voice from the temple.

V. 7, Israel is personified here as a woman in labor, however, her labor is not prolonged. So quickly does she give birth that it’s painless. God had planned for this to be the way that Israel was restored from her captivity. Had they all obeyed their restoration would have been fast and dramatic. In the final fulfillment of the prophecy, though, it will happen as God intends.

V. 8, In one day (or hour) God’s promised judgments fall upon the great prostitute (Babylon/Tyre) in Rev 18:8, 10, 17, 19. And this is also the rescue of God’s people. So in one day Babylon is destroyed and in that same day God’s people are vindicated and saved. Can a nation be brought forth all at once? Absolutely, when God is engineering the situation.

V. 9, God doesn’t make promises that he doesn’t fulfill. He never goes back on his word. What he has said will happen.

 
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Is. 66:1-4

7/1/13 V. 1, In Rev 4:2 and 20:11 John saw God sitting on his throne in heaven as king and judge of all. God is so exalted that the entire created universe isn’t enough to contain him. So for human beings to imagine that we could ever make a place worthy of him is ridiculous.

V. 2, Everything that exists does so because God created it by his own power. And even though God did give us directions for building him a house and rituals for worshiping him, what he is actually looking for are not the house and the rituals. He is looking for humility and submission and respect for his word.

V. 3, Those who participate in the rituals of worship without humility, submission, and respect are actually being sacrilegious. To kill an ox for sacrifice when our hearts are disloyal to God is like murder. For the insincere to sacrifice a lamb is as much an insult to God as sacrificing a dog. For the impenitent to offer God a gift is a desecration to his temple. Why? Because rather than choosing God’s ways, the wicked, even while purporting to be loyal to God, in fact choose their own ways. Their delight isn’t in the Lord it’s in their own abominations.

V. 4, Therefore, since they have chosen their own ways God will choose for them their punishment. The very things they dread God will bring upon them. God has called but they refused to answer or even listen, choosing instead to do evil and everything displeasing to the Lord. This is the picture we see in Rev 3:20 where God is standing at the door knocking. If we will listen he will come in.

 
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