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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. 65:11-14

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. 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. 64:1-4

6/21/13 V. 1, Isaiah gives voice to all of God’s people who want this time of sin to be finished and for God to come to redeem his people. Even though Messiah had not come yet, Isaiah was clearly speaking of the Second Coming because the tearing apart of the heavens and the mountains quaking are associated with the parousia (Rev 6:14, 16:20, 20:11).

V. 2, The LXX also says that the mountains will melt as wax melts before fire and the fire will burn up the enemies, which is consistent with the picture even though it’s not in the Hebrew (Rev 14:11, 18; 19:3; 20:9, 14).

Just as fire kindles and grows so the name of the Lord will become known to God’s enemies. In other words, they will acknowledge him and will tremble in his presence (Rev 3:9, 11:11-13).

V. 3, Any time that God works his awesome deeds it is beyond anything that we are prepared for or expect. In the presence of God even the mountains tremble and quake before him (Rev 16:18).

V. 4, There never has been another God besides the living God of heaven. Nothing else that anyone has ever worshiped has been anything close to a god. And his enemies will see the way that he acts on behalf of those who trust and wait loyally for our God (Rev 3:9).

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Is. 63:13-16

6/19/13 V. 13, We ask where is the one who in the past has led his people through the depths of whatever experience they passed through. Because of his leading they didn’t stumble and fall. They were able to press forward by his strength and guidance.

V. 14, Like cattle in green pastures, without anxieties and worries, the Spirit of the Lord gives his people rest. It’s only when we will not be content with the Lord’s leading and try to make our own way that we end up in trouble. But when we follow where he leads our lives, through whatever kind of experience, are filled with peace. And, again, he does this not only for our sake but for his own, for his reputation, for the vindication of his character.

V. 15, And so, like the saints under the altar in Rev 6:9-10, we call upon our God to look down from heaven and see us. We want to know how long he will wait to avenge our blood. We want to see his compassion for us. We want to see his love and zeal for us exhibited in miracles on our behalf.

V. 16, As a child has a right to expect such compassion and care from his earthly father, so we have the right to expect it from our heavenly Father. We have the right to call out to him in our distress. Even when our earthly fathers or our family or our friends refuse to recognize us, our heavenly Father will always be there to hear and redeem us. Redeemer is his name, redemption is his character.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 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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