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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. 61:9-11

6/10/13 V. 9, On the idea of offspring and descendants in the new earth see the entry for Is 60:22. Exactly what God’s plans are for our eternal future is unclear to us. The statement, “All who see them will recognize them,” seems to indicate that we who have gone through this era of sin in the universe will be known by all of the universe. Jesus chose to become one of us and lay down his life for us and because of this we will be a marvel to everyone for eternity.

V. 10, Here Isaiah switches to first person so that he is responding personally to God’s revelation. Earlier in the book in nearly every case the only one to speak in first person is the Lord. There are a few examples of Isaiah speaking, but they are rare enough that when he does it’s notable. Here he responds not only for himself but also for all of us who are heirs of these promises.

This section is filled with end-time imagery of God’s people rejoicing in the Lord because of his salvation. He has clothed us in clothes of salvation like we see the 24 elders wearing in Rev 4:4, and like the redeemed are wearing in Rev 7:9-14, 19:7-8.

As someone who is getting married takes the greatest care to prepare himself and herself for the wedding, so we are being prepared and God is preparing for the great day of the Lord when he comes to take us home (Rev 21:2).

V. 11, And we can make no mistake. It is God who brings all of this about. We can claim no credit beyond our cooperation with his designs. He is the power behind all that happens. As he makes the earth grow its food, even so God makes righteousness and praise to grow up on the earth. We are the fruit of his works, which he does so that all may know that he is God, and not just any god but a God who is love.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 61:4-6

6/8/13 V. 4, When we receive this glory from our God we have a work to do to rebuild and repair the ancient ruins and desolations. This was the work Ezra and Nehemiah were engaged in as they tried to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple after the exile, but on a deeper level there is a rebuilding of spirituality, obedience, faith in God that also must happen.

The word for desolations and devastations used here is the same one Daniel uses for the abomination that causes desolation (Dan 11:31, 12:11). Even though physical desolation results from unfaithfulness to God, even more devastating are the spiritual results. That is the truly frightening part about Daniel’s prophecy. The abomination that causes desolation that stands where it ought not be standing is a spiritual reality. It stands in the place where only God should stand making itself to be God.

The work Jesus and those who follow him must take up is to rebuild the ancient ruins of spirituality and relationship with God.

V. 5, This is our primary work. When we engage wholeheartedly in it, God ensures that our other needs are taken care of. Others will pasture our flocks and take care of our vineyards. In other words, God will free us up to do the work of spiritual restoration he has called us to do.

V. 6, As promised in Ex 19:6 and Rev 1:6, 5:10, and 20:6 we will be a kingdom of priests serving our God. This is true now and it will be true into eternity. Particularly in Rev 20:6 we see the millennium theme again. This work of building up the ancient walls is a work that will also be done during the thousand years.

We are called to be ministers of our God, and the privilege of serving so close to God comes with its rewards illustrated by eating and boasting in the wealth of nations. In other words, all the best that the universe has to offer will be ours because of our connection to God just as Joseph’s family had the best that Egypt had to offer because of their connection to Joseph.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 54:11-17

5/11/13 V. 11, One gets the sense of God’s longing to fulfill his promises to his people. He doesn’t like to see us afflicted, driven before the storms of life (Rev 12:13-17), and not be able to comfort us. As a parent wishes to shield a child from such things, even so God want to shield us. For reasons we don’t fully understand, though, he must let allow us to face suffering and difficulties, but he makes great promises of the extravagance he plans for us.

He describes his plans using jewels as an illustration of the outrageous way he wishes to treat us. He’s not just giving us jewelry, he’s building a city for us out of jewels. Instead of mortar the stones of the wall will be set in antimony (silvery-white metal, chemical element Sb). Instead of concrete the foundations of the wall will be sapphire (lapis-lazuli).

V. 12, The battlements on top of the wall be built of rubies, the gates will be crystal, and the entire wall will be built of precious stones (Rev 21:18-21).

V. 13, And our children, the most precious thing to us on earth, we will not need to worry for their well-being, especially spiritually. They will grow up knowing God in peaceful conditions. There will be no temptations to steer them into rebellion.

V. 14, Our lives will be lived in righteousness for eternity and we will no more fear those who would oppress us because all such evil will be long gone.

V. 15, Because God is all powerful and could stop evil, he accepts the blame for the things that hurt us. He even allows them sometimes as a form of discipline. But in that day, says the Lord, if anyone causes us any trouble he will not have anything to do with it and he will take care of the situation on our behalf. At the end of the 1,000 years that will be the case, according to Rev 19:19-21, 20:8-9. When the armies of Satan attempt to take the New Jerusalem, God will destroy them once and for all.

V. 16, The LXX presents a different view on this verse. The original Hebrew seems to be more accurately translated with the message that God has allowed this situation with evil, where destruction is at work. He has created this. The LXX says that what God created is us, not just as a tool for his work, and not for destruction. In a way the LXX seems preferable.

V. 17, Nothing that the devil can bring against us can stand because we are covered by the blood of our Savior. Anyone who accuses us will be condemned (Rev 12:10). This is the future we can look forward to. God will vindicate his people.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 43:14-21

4/5/13 V. 14, Earlier he said that he will rescue his people it was for the sake of his reputation as God. Now, when God rescues his people from captivity in Babylon he says it will also be for their sake that he does it. He will turn their Babylonian captors into fugitives and slaves in the ships in which they took pride.

The meaning of this phrase concerning the ships is obscure in the Hebrew. The LXX says they will be bound in ships. The Babylonians weren’t big ship traders, but Tyre was. And prophetically speaking, Tyre is largely synonymous with Babylon. In Rev 18 the nations lament over the fall of Tyre and particularly her ships of trade. There it’s clear that Babylon is the parallel. So perhaps the prophetic symbolism  is the connecting link here, particularly because the passage will continue with the sea, which we know is symbolic for nations, peoples, multitudes (Rev 17:15).

V. 15-16, The Lord, the Holy One, the Creator, the King, the deliverer through the sea speaks. As he speaks he intends for us to remember the Red Sea crossing in Exodus when he made a path through the sea to deliver his people because this was a symbol of how he did and will again deliver his people from end-time Babylonian captivity. He will dry up the end-time Euphrates River in order for the end-time Cyrus to take the city (Rev 16:12).

V. 17, Nothing and no one will be able to stand against him. Every war machine, every army, every mighty man will be stopped cold, quenched, extinguished (Rev 17:14, 19:17-21, 20:8-9).

V. 18, Then all of these terrible things will pass away and will not need to be recalled.

V. 19, Because, according to Rev 21:5, God will make everything new after evil has been destroyed. He will turn the planet, which will have been burned with fire and turned into a wasteland, back into a living garden of Eden as he originally created it.

V. 20, The sea has been conquered, which is why there will no longer be any sea in the new earth (Rev 21:1). The fact that the sea is a symbol in prophecy and it’s used that way, doesn’t rule out the possibility that the new earth will have literal large bodies of water.

God’s new creation will rejoice in him because of the waters he has given us. This too, is symbolic, tying in with Rev 21:6 and 22:17, where God invites us to come and drink freely of the water of life that flows from the throne of God.

V. 21, And we, God’s people, will spend the rest of eternity enraptured by God himself, declaring his praises, serving him night and day (Rev 7:15).

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 33:20-24

3/2/13 When evil is finally vanquished we will look upon the New Jerusalem and we will see a place of peace and stability. The same picture is presented in Rev 3:12 for those who overcome. We will be pillars in the temple of God and will not go out again. Obviously that’s a figure of speech illustrating the idea that we will dwell with God forever.

It’s an incredible thought that the one planet in the universe that rebelled against God and that deserves to be destroyed or at best exiled to some place as far away from God as possible, is the planet where God chooses to move his capital city to and bring the people as near to himself as possible. What amazing grace!

V. 21, The Lord of majesty will be for us a place of wide rivers, which is a picture of a fertile land and particularly the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev 22:1-2). Large rivers became things to fear when enemies used them for war, but that will not be an issue in the new earth.

V. 22, There will be but one ultimate King of kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16). He will be judge, lawgiver, high king, and Savior.

V. 23, This day of victory for God’s people will be the same day of shame and destruction for those in rebellion. The implements of war are nothing to God. In the fulfillment of this prophecy in Isaiah’s day, the Assyrians were decimated in one night and the starving people in Jerusalem went out and plundered the camp, including the weakest among them. Obviously, there will be no plunder at the destruction of the wicked that the people of God are going to want to hang on to, but the sentiment of the prophecy is clear.

V. 24, Disease will be erradicated and along with it death (Rev 21:4). And all of our sins that we committed during our separation from God will be forgiven and wiped away. The wages of that sin was death, but Jesus Christ has died in our place and has set us free to live forever with him. Again, amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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