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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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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 65:21-25

6/30/13 V. 21, We will build houses to live in in the new earth. We will plant vineyards and not have to leave before being able to enjoy the fruit.

V. 22, The way it often works in this sinful world now we work hard and someone else reaps the benefits because we move away, or someone takes it, or we die. But in the earth made new that won’t happen. We will build and plant and enjoy our work ourselves. Even in life now, those who obey the laws of God and the laws of health live longer. Then, of course, since we will have access to the tree of life, which will prolong our lives forever.

The last phrase says literally that God’s people will “wear out” the work of their hands. Most translations render the Hebrew word bala as “long enjoy.” That captures the intended idea well enough but wearing something out does give a slightly different impression concerning length of days. We won’t just enjoy the work of our hand for a long time, we will be there long enough to wear it out.

V. 23, Our work won’t be fruitless or useless. Neither will bear or bring forth for trouble or calamity. Most translations add the word children to this phrase, which is correct both because the way the word yalad is usually used in the Old Testament is in genealogies and because the next phrase clarifies this. So when we have children we will not need to fear for them because they will not be in danger. Our children will be blessed and our children’s children after them.

Concerning having children, in Mt 22:30 Jesus said that things will be different in heaven in that we won’t be marrying and giving in marriage, which must also affect having children. This part of the prophecy would have been fulfilled for Israel, but since God’s promises always comes to pass we can only speculate as to what he has in mind for us. Could it be that during the millennium the situation will be one way and when the earth is re-created then could God’s original plan for marriage be restored at that time? We can do nothing else but wait and see and be pleased by the fact that we cannot imagine the wonderful things God has in store for us. (See also discussion in Is 60:22).

V. 24, We often read and use this verse alone, separated from the context, and we apply it to our situation now. This probably does no violence to the spirit of the text, and yet the verse does seem to indicate that this is a promise for the future. Particularly if one translates the beginning of the verse, “And it shall come to pass…”

Translators seem to be pretty evenly split on how to begin this verse. Is it, “And it shall come to pass that before they call…” or simply  “Before they call…?” The first way seems to indicate that one day in the future this will be the situation, while the second way (when used out of context) may be more easily understood to be the situation now.

Either way, God promises that his relationship to us will be so close that he will anticipate every need even before we ask. Of course he is able to do that now as well as later.

V. 25, This is an amazing picture of life in the new earth. Violence even between animals will be gone. Carnivorous creatures will return to being vegetarians.

But even while all of God’s creation is restored, the curse placed upon the serpent in Gen 3:14-15 will remain forever. This does not mean that Satan will continue to exist. That he will be destroyed is clear. However, this could be looking at the millennium in particular. In Rev 12:7-9 and 20:2-3, the serpent/dragon is bound for a thousand years. While in heaven most things will have been set to right again. But there will still be the problem with the serpent that must be dealt with after the thousand years.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 65:17-20

6/29/13 V. 17, This promise of creating a new heavens and a new earth John, in Rev 21:1-5, sees in vision being fulfilled. The former things, particularly sin, God again promises, will pass away forever.

V. 18, For eternity we will be filled with gladness and joy at God’s new creation because God originally created us for joy and gladness in him. Rev 11:15-18 and 19:1-6, examples of this rejoicing, are cross-referenced with this verse.

V. 19, God himself will also rejoice and be glad in us. Nowhere in all of God’s vast creation will there be sorrow and weeping, which reminds us of the promises to wipe away every tear Rev 7:17 , 19:1, and 21:4. And this is in contrast to Babylon, in Rev 18:22-23, where the merchants weep and mourn over her and it is promised that the sound of music and the voice of celebration “will never be heard in her again.”

V. 20, Clearly the preceding verses deal with the end of time from our perspective, but had Israel fulfilled the purpose for which God had predestined it, these preceding promises would have been fulfilled to great degree even before the Second Coming.

This verse shows some of the things that would have come about had Israel remained faithful. Infant mortality would have disappeared. No one would die accidentally, and instead everyone will be able to live a full life of at least 100 years.

Even though this promise was not fulfilled, God’s promises always come to pass eventually. And this promise will not only be fulfilled but will be fulfilled on an even grander scale because we shall live forever, reigning with God (Rev 11:15, 22:5).

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 65:15-16

6/28/13 V. 15, Throughout eternity this time of evil will not be forgotten, and the name of the wicked will live on as a curse. They will be destroyed by God. However, the people of God shall receive new names (Rev 3:12).

Names in Scripture are often connected character. In Rev 14:1 and 22:4 we see that they have the Father’s name written on their foreheads. In other words, God’s people have become in character like God. We were, after all, originally created in his image.

The wicked, on the other hand, have the name of the beast on their foreheads and hands (Rev 13:16, 14:9).

V. 16, In the new earth there will not be any of the former evil. Everyone who blesses or swears (makes an oath or promise) will do so in the God of “amen.” It’s possible that this is judgment language, which would tie in with Rev 20:4 where God’s people are given judgment and reign with God.

Even though the time of evil will never be forgotten (we will always have the scars of Jesus, after all) the former troubles will be forgotten. In other words, we will be heal and the former things will not continue to cause us pain. These things will be hidden by God himself.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 65:11-14

6/27/13 V. 11, But some will not accept the rest that God offers. Some forsake the Lord and forget his holy mountain, which is a figure of speech for the dwelling place of God. Is it possible, too, that there could be an allusion to Mt. Sinai and, therefore, the Ten Commandments? The idea of forsaking the Lord by being disobedient to his commands is entirely consistent with the rest of Scripture.

Those who rebel against God are also pictured here as setting a table for “Gad” and serving wine to “Meni.” YLT keeps the Hebrew usage in translation, KJV translates the words as troop and number, while the NKJV has reverted to the original Hebrew words. Others like NIV, ESV, NASB, and NET translate them as Fortune and Destiny. The Septuagint uses devil and Fortune.

The meaning is clear enough. Those who forsake the Lord are relying on chance.

V. 12, But chance will have nothing to do with the outcome of their lives. Just as God has predestined everyone to be conformed to the image of God and be saved (Rom 8:29-30), those who choose not to avail themselves of so great a salvation will receive a new destiny. God will destine them for death and destruction.

And everyone who comes to this point will be without excuse for God has called but they refused to answer. They refused to listen to him and instead chose to do evil and live in ways displeasing to God.

V. 13-14, God makes a distinction between those who remain loyal to him and those are disloyal. In the end God’s faithful people will eat, drink, rejoice, and shout with joy, while the unfaithful will hunger, thirst, be shamed, and wail. Even when things are difficult and physical food and water and joy are in short supply for God’s people, spiritually speaking we will be filled with “food that you know not of” and filled with joy in the Lord.

Physically speaking, too, God always cares for his people. That doesn’t mean we don’t have wants. Jesus himself experienced hunger and thirst. But ultimately God will take care of our needs.

At the end of time, Revelation presents the scenario of apostate Christianity, in league with the nations of the world, attempting to force its system of worship upon everyone. God’s people resist and they are persecuted and killed for their trouble. They experience hunger and thirst and suffering and mourning. But then the plagues are poured out by God and the tables are reversed. Then it is the wicked who “gnaw their tongues in agony” (Rev 16:10), and who will mourn and cry “Woe!” (Rev 18).

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 65:7-10

6/26/13 V. 7, Because her sins are so many and because they have persisted in them for so long, God will eventually judge her. The sin of bold unfaithfulness to the Lord by following after other gods and blaspheming him is the theme of many OT prophets. The actions of the little horn power in Dan 7:25 and beast in Rev 13:1 and 16:11 are both cross-referenced with this verse.

V. 8, However, not all among apostate Israel have followed after other gods. Among the grape harvest (Rev 14:18-19) there are some good, which God will separate out. He will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. God, who is able to read the heart, will divide the good from the bad, as in Jesus’ parable of separating the good fish from the bad in the net and separating the sheep from the goats. In Mt 24:22 Jesus, speaking of the time of Jacob’s trouble, says that he will cut short those days for the sake of the elect.

V. 9-10, As always, God will have a remnant people that he shall bring through the trials and difficulties. His purpose is to bring from humanity a people whom he will call his own children as heirs to his kingdom. That means that God plans for us to inherit the place he has promised us, which, as we have seen before, is heaven itself. We will dwell with God (Rev 21:3) and rule with him (Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6) and we and the whole universe will have rest.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 65:5-6

6/25/13 V. 5, Then we have the arrogance to say to others and perhaps even to God himself to keep away because I am holier than you. Even paganism has its “holy” men whom others fear because of their witch-doctor powers. Evidently, having gone through some pagan rites, they felt themselves holy.

The LXX renders this, “Depart from me, draw not nigh to me, for I am pure.” This changes the tone to more of a rejection of God himself, saying essentially, “I don’t need you for purification. I’m good enough on my own.”

Young’s Literal Translation renders it, “For I have declared thee unholy,” which sounds more like they are declaring God or someone else unholy. Other translations use the word qedashti correctly, but YLT still captures the essence of the situation because to tell someone else that I am holier than you at the same time declares them unholy.

Those who do and say such things, God says, are like a fire that burns all day sending smoke into his nose. That’s an apt description. God’s reaction to such people is immediate and searing to his holy character. He must distance himself from them just as someone standing in smoke has to get out of the smoke in order to breathe.

The high priest of Israel has written on his forehead “Holiness to God.” In Revelation 17 the woman riding the scarlet beast is acting the part of a priest and on her forehead is written “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” It becomes clear in the story that this woman is claiming holiness and is pitting herself against God himself. In the end, she will be burned and the smoke of her torment will rise forever.

Also connect is Rev 2:20 where the woman Jezebel calls herself a prophetess, yet leads God’s people into sexual immorality and eating unclean foods. This ties in with the next verse.

V. 6, All these things are written before God in the books of heaven (Rev 20:12). And God promises that he will not keep silent about this situation. He will repay this people for the evil deeds they are committing. This is the same promise made to Jezebel and everyone who joins with her in Rev 2:23.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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