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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. 65:21-25

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. 65:15-16

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. 64:5-7

6/22/13 V. 5, He will meet those enjoy doing works of righteousness. It’s one thing to grudgingly do what is right, it’s entirely another to rejoice in it. In everything God’s people must remember his ways. That is to say that we consider what God would have us do, we think of what is the right thing to do and do that.

Unfortunately, we don’t always do this. We have done the opposite and have sinned. Not just once, either, but for a long time. How, asks Isaiah, can we possibly be saved?

V. 6, We are unclean people. Every act of righteousness we may do is like a filthy garment. Rev 19:8 says the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints, but this fine linen is given to the saints, which is why John sees them in Rev 7:13 wearing white robes. But this not the result of our own works, it’s the gift of God. We are, instead, like Rev 3:17-18 describes us as pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore, we wither like a leaf and we are blown away by the wind of our own sinfulness.

V. 7, We do not call upon the name of the Lord as we should. If we did he would answer us and come to our aid. But since we do not call upon him with our whole hearts he hides his face from us. In other words, he withdraws his presence to some degree and allows the consequences of our choices to afflict us.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:7-10

6/17/13 V. 7, Now Isaiah becomes the speaker, responding to God in praise on behalf of the redeemed as we will do on the day of our salvation (e.g. Rev 14:3).

The form of praise is the recounting of the mighty acts of God on our behalf, which demonstrates the depths of his love for us. He has compassion and long suffering toward us.

V. 8, He has claimed us as his own people, sons even, who will not rebel against him. He believes this of us in spite of our rebellion. Therefore, he was willing to become our Savior. He could see a different future for us.

V. 9, His compassion and love is so great that he became a human being and came to join us in our suffering, going even so far as to shed his blood for us (Rev 1:5, 5:9). And because of his love and mercy he redeemed us, ransomed us, lifted us up out of the pit of sin and carried us through this entire time of sin (e.g. Rev 12:14).

V. 10, Incredibly, we were so ungrateful, so blind, so ignorant, so rebellious, that we grieved away his Holy Spirit. So he turned away from us and fought against us. Not that he ceased loving us, as the next verse shows, but because he will not force himself on anyone who rejects him. He allows us to have our own way, which he knows will bring disaster upon us.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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