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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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Posted by on July 2, 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. 64:8-12

6/23/13 V. 8, God is our Father. We are like clay and he is like the potter who made us. But in the end his rod of iron, in Rev 2:27, breaks the vessels that are unfaithful.

V. 9, And so we plead with the Lord not to be too angry with us but to forgive our sins and look upon us once again as his people.

V. 10, Since God has turned away from us his holy cities have become a wilderness. Israel’s enemies conquered all of the cities of Israel, all of which would have been included a holy, since they were part of the inheritance given to Israel by God. However, the Septuagint renders holy city in the singular, which seems to fit the parallelism better since in the following lines it’s Zion or Jerusalem that has become a wilderness desolation. This is as Dan 9:26-17, 11:31, 12:7-11, Mt 24:15, and Mk 13:14 predicted would happen at the end of time, when an abomination that causes desolation would set itself in God’s temple. Rev 11:1-2 foretold the same situation.

V. 11, The holy and beautiful temple where God’s people used to praise him was burned and turned to ruins physically speaking. And spiritually speaking also, (if the reader will understand, Mt 24:15, Mk 13:14) this has happened and will happen in the future.

V. 12, And as the saints under the altar ask in Rev 6:10 we also ask if God will allow these things to happen. How long will God keep silent and allow his people, not to mention his temple, be trampled.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:11-12

6/18/13 V. 11, When God allows the results of our choices to fall upon us it is divine discipline. And eventually, God’s people remember the ways that God has led in the past, his miraculous diliverances in our lives and in the lives of others. And we begin to ask, where is God? Where is the one who brought his people up out of the depths of the sea?

Is appears that translators are unsure how this part of the verse should read. Should it be “brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd…” (NIV, NET, KJV) or “brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds…” (NRSV, ESV, NASB) or “brought them up from the sea the shepherd…” (LXX) or “bringing them up from the sea, the shepherd…” (YLT)? So it’s unclear who the shepherd(s) is/are. It might refer to God or it might refer to the leaders of God’s people like Moses. Both options would fit the verse, since Moses is mentioned at the beginning and the Holy Spirit is mentioned at the end.

In the midst of the trials we face as the result of our choices we also ask where is the one who, in the past, has put his Holy Spirit in among his people.? The Holy Spirit is the promised comforter, and when we don’t have peace we ought to wonder what happened to the comforter.

V. 12, We ask where is the one who guided by his glorious arm, his strength, to guide those like Moses in the past? He divided the waters before them not only for their sake but for his own sake, that his name would be glorified in the earth. In a way the drying up of the Euphrates in Rev 16:12 is a similar situation for God’s people at the end of time. And he does it not only for our sake but for his own sake, that his name will be glorified in the universe.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:4-6

6/15/13 V. 4, This day of vengeance is in God’s heart. That is not to say that because it’s in his heart that it’s something he enjoys, but rather it’s in his plans. And the reason is because of his people who are being persecuted and killed due to their loyalty to him. In Rev 6:9-10 they cry out to him for justice, asking how long he is going to wait before he avenges their blood. That judgment is promised to his people in Rev 18:20 and one of several examples of God’s vengeance is found in Rev 11:13.

In Isaiah’s poetic parallelism the day of vengeance is also the year of God’s redemption. Judgment happens at the same time as salvation. On a side note, we can see the day for a year principle at work here.

V. 5, This reminds us of Rev 5 where a search was made for someone worthy to open the scroll of judgment. That there was no one to help and support is shocking to God. That God can be shocked is, of course, a figure of speech. And because no one was found with the authority to exact judgment upon the wicked, God himself does it.

V. 6, The harvest as judgment is a common theme in biblical eschatology. The reason for the comparison, evidently, is because of the redness of the grapes compared to the redness of blood.

The symbolism involved in the wine presses, sickles, grapes, and wine is, at least for me, difficult to get to the bottom of. Not that the idea is unclear. It’s quite clear. But there’s a depth to the imagery that merits deeper study.

In Rev 14:10 God causes the wicked to drink of the wine of his wrath, which turns out to be judgment by fire. Because they poured out the blood of the saints God will give the wicked blood to drink (Rev 16:6-19). And because of their insistence upon their wickedness, symbolized by drinking the wine of immorality in Rev 18:3, God gives them his wine of judgment.

It sounds like what God is doing is allowing them to experience the full, unmitigated results of their choices. If we give the grapes of wrath to others that’s what we will receive ourselves.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 62:6-9

6/13/13 V. 6, God appointed Ezekiel a watchman (Eze 3:17). It’s God’s name for those who speak out to the world, warning others of the consequences of disloyalty to God. Like the four creatures around the throne of God in Rev 4:6-8 they never stop proclaiming the holiness of the Lord.  Also the souls under the altar in Rev 6:10 cry out in a loud voice for God to avenge their blood. And God encourages us to continue to seek him and proclaim him.

V. 7, We are not to rest from this work and neither are we to give him rest from our calling until he accomplishes what he has promised, which is to make his people “a praise in the earth.” In other words, we will be a living memorial, living praise to the character of our God when he finally takes full control over this rebellious planet (Rev 11:15).

V. 8, In the past, due to our unfaithfulness and/or to sin in general, God allowed trials and suffering to come up his people. Our enemies sometimes succeeded in taking that which we worked for, even our food and drink. But God promises that one day such things will never happen again.

V. 9, When we gather our food (probably grapes in this picture) we will get to eat and drink what we have worked for. And we will do so before God with gratitude for his goodness and provision.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 61:2-3

6/2/13 V. 2, We are also to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, which is reminiscent of the year of jubilee (Lev 25:9-13). The jubilee year was to be a major re-set for God’s people. Everyone who had sold his property and moved away was to return and his property would be returned to him. All debts were to be forgiven. All slaves were released. It was to be a year of vacation without working the fields because it was considered a Sabbath year.

Israel never did celebrate the year of jubilee as a nation, but we will and even are already. Jesus proclaimed the favorable day of the Lord. He is our jubilee. He freed captives, he forgave our debts of sin, he restored us to himself.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised one day to find that the millennium has some jubilee connections as well. When Israel was sent into exile for 70 years the land was given its Sabbaths (2 Chr 36:21). Could it be that the whole earth will receive its Sabbaths during the 1,000 years?

In addition to proclaiming the favorable year of the Lord, Jesus also warned us of the day of vengeance of our God. And we must warn the world as well that we will all be held accountable to God for our lives and the choices we made. Yes, there will be rewards for faithfulness but there will also be consequences for unfaithfulness (e.g. Mt 24:45-51).

We are to comfort those who mourn with the hope that we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been saved, we have hope beyond this life, our mourning will be transformed into joy.

V. 3, We who have suffered for the sake of Christ in this era of sin will be given a glorious crown instead of the ashes that now cover our heads. Ashes on the head was an ANE demonstration of extreme grief. Our mourning will be turned into gladness. Where now we faint with the burdens of sin and its consequences, then we will have spirits filled with praise (Rev 7:9-14).

We will be called “oaks of righteousness.” That must be a picture of strength, which we are anything but. And yet in the strength of our God we are strong though we are weak because the Lord is the one who planted us, so to speak. And he did it for the purpose of glorifying himself. And since God never fails he will be glorified in us.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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