Isaiah

09/23/2011 07:51
  No more appropriate is the warning not to miss the forest for the trees than it is for the book of Isaiah. We travel through it as we may in Europe, not so much intent on finishing the trip at a destination, as we are on enjoying the sights, sounds, and scenes along the way. It is not...
09/30/2011 11:37
  While sectional divides are debated for the book of Isaiah, few will argue against classifying the first five chapters as a sort of general summary preface of Isaiah’s message. Those first five books are what we will examine first, and from them acquaint ourselves with the prophetic...
10/07/2011 08:15
  I call verses 4 through 9 of chapter 1 God’s lament.  In verse 4, we see God as he grieves. He begins calling out “Oh sinful nation.” In that “Oh” we find a Father brokenhearted over the waywardness of his children.  The Hebrew is an elongated expression of two words combining...
10/15/2011 10:31
  The fourth section of Isaiah 1 is contained in verses 16 through 20. These verses speak to the call of Judah. Here God calls his people not only to dutiful obedience, but to a reasoned choice of faith. The outline or structure of development in chapter 1 so far has not been haphazard. It...
10/21/2011 10:29
  Isaiah 2 begins with a superscription similar to the one starting off chapter 1. This structural detail serves a couple of purposes. First, it lets us know that chapter 1 is done. Chapter 1 stands alone as a separate section that actually provides an overview to the whole book. It...
10/29/2011 09:42
  Isaiah 3 begins with a call to the people to “Observe!” The Lord God of Hosts (read that, Sovereign Master) grabs their attention so that they will focus on his words. He is turning now from the general descriptions of the previous chapter to specifics. The support structure of their...
11/04/2011 08:40
  Isaiah 5 begins with an allegory of a vineyard. The allegory is not that difficult to understand. But it is usually true that with fairly straightforward allegories, we often miss some of the nuanced fullness. Biblical interpretation certainly goes beyond a surface level read....
11/11/2011 07:21
  With the end of the preface (Isaiah 1-5), we begin the book proper. However, we should not forget the message of the preface because it will come into play even before Isaiah’s call is begun. I see the book as divided into four major sections. The preface, of course, was the first. The...
11/18/2011 09:04
  Chapter 7 begins telling us that Ahaz is on the throne. We have just left Isaiah’s call in chapter 6 that began with Uzziah’s death. However, 16 years transpire between Uzziah’s death, when his son Jotham ascends the throne, and Jotham’s death, when Ahaz begins his reign. The time lapse...
01/21/2012 10:24
  We don’t know how long it is after chapter 7’s prophecy that the Lord instructs Isaiah in 8:1 to write a name on a parchment. But it can’t be long. The activity and statements of the first few verses of chapter 8 is similar to the beginning of the Immanuel prophecy in 7:14-16. Isaiah is...
02/03/2012 06:48
  To understand Isaiah well, we must keep the flow of the book in mind. After the preface of the first five chapters, the book begins with God calling Isaiah to prophesy in chapter 6. In chapter 7 Isaiah begins his prophecy first with his son Shearjashub who’s name means “a remnant will...
02/10/2012 13:26
  Following the Messiah discussion of the first 7 verses of chapter 9, God and Isaiah present four strophes explaining why Israel deserves judgment. The first of these, from verse 8 to 12, highlights self-reliance—the trust Israel placed in itself apart from God. Verse 8 tells us that the...
02/24/2012 08:39
  From the middle of Isaiah 10 until the end of the section (through Isaiah 12), we see God’s care specifically for his remnant—the heaven-dwellers, those of faith. Verses 20 through 23 provide the prophecy of the remnant’s return. This is an interesting introductory phrase for this whole...
03/02/2012 10:48
  Isaiah 6 through 12 presented an interesting contrast between faith and works. We noticed that God faulted those of Judah as well as Ephraim and Assyria for their works of unrighteousness. As God, then, extends blessing to the remnant, you would think that they are people who exhibited...
03/19/2012 07:56
  Even a quick read through Isaiah won’t shake the impression that the thirteenth chapter begins a new section. Chapters 11 and 12 gave such a dramatic description of the Messiah’s gift of peace and joy to the remnant that renewing the other of Isaiah’s twin themes of judgment and hope...
03/30/2012 10:43
  The major outline of Isaiah so far to our current position—beginning chapter 13—is as follows: I. Isaiah 1-5 – INTROCDUCTION TO BOOK II. Isaiah 6-12 – REMNANT PROMISE III. Isaiah 13-39 – REMNANT PROVIDENCE      A. Isaiah 13-24 – Nations...
04/06/2012 12:13
  The introduction (Is 13-14:23) to the judgment section (Is 13-24) ends with verses 3-23 of chapter 14. In this passage we look at Babylon’s king from the perspective of the rescued at rest. In this introduction, Babylon is mentioned because of the specific arrogance displayed by this...
04/13/2012 10:29
  The judgment of Moab covers two chapters—a much longer treatment than that given to Assyria and Philistia. With the greater coverage we learn additional aspects about the judgment of God. Chapter 15 begins by emphasizing the extent of Moab’s judgment. The city Ar, mentioned in verse 1,...
04/27/2012 07:07
  In Isaiah 17:12, the prophecy of judgment begins to reach beyond the nations that were part of the direct interaction with Judah covered so far in regard to Assyria’s attack. The binding of this expanded circle to the judgment story is not so much the nation of Judah as previously, but now...
05/04/2012 07:43
  In chapter 21, the oracle against Babylon, we read in verses 6 through 9 of a watchman ordered to look for horses and riders. This is more of a lookout than a watchman, specifically tasked with looking for riders with news from Babylon. In Isaiah’s emphasis on paying close attention, he...
05/16/2012 10:59
  The oracle against Jerusalem includes an extra warning beyond the oracles against the other nations. In verses 15 through 25, Isaiah concentrates on the activity of the leaders. Verses 15 through 19 help us understand that Shebna, the court secretary (2 Kings 18:18) was particularly...
05/25/2012 09:37
  Chapter 24 broadens the judgment beyond the specifics of the Mediterranean economy to encompass the world. As in the other specific nation judgments, this general judgment of the world has elements both of current devastation and ultimate destruction. The first three verses of the...
06/01/2012 07:52
  The first verse of chapter 25 transfers focus from God’s judgment to God’s sovereignty, but it is a focus built on and not replacement of the prior subject. Isaiah’s vision of judgment is the cause of the praise that wells up within him. He praises because that which God has done—the...
06/08/2012 11:26
  Chapter 25 introduced us to the remnant perspective. Judgment was still in view, but our perspective (Isaiah’s actually) shifted from that of the judged to that of those who, though living amid judgment, had their trust in the caregiver God. That chapter ended with a contrast of those...
06/15/2012 07:57
  The second half of verse 9 in chapter 26 explains that the longing for God includes looking for his judgment on sin. But the desire is not one of revenge. To make those who act wickedly suffer is not the goal. The objective is to have righteousness take its rightful place. Notice that in...
06/25/2012 09:45
  In verses 7 through 13, God shows how this weeding of his vineyard is done. He begins by saying that God’s treatment of Judah the nation was different from that of—in our particular spot in history—Assyria. How did they differ? We must be careful about looking for some empirical evidence...
06/29/2012 09:09
  We have to keep in mind, in chapter 9 of Romans, that Paul is speaking particularly to the Jews in this portion of his argument. It is the Jews’ contention that because of their ancestry through the patriarchs that they belong in everlasting relationship with God. They are counting on...
07/06/2012 08:28
  We have been reviewing the book of Romans because of its relationship to a principle from Isaiah 27. Once more we’ll begin by briefly outlining the first 10 chapters of Romans.   I. We are all guilty      a. God revealed himself and morality (Ch...
07/13/2012 08:21
  Our side trip into Romans was to emphasize the unity of the Bible. It is God’s storybook, not his reference book. We look to it not as a manual for the appropriate thing to say, think, or do, but rather as a progressive revelation of God’s plan of redemption and restoration to realize...
07/20/2012 10:21
  Continuing in Isaiah 28 from our last discussion, an irony exists in verse 15 as one realizes that the deal with Death is made by the people who had the covenant of life from God. And their disregard for God is the very thing that brings on the judgment terrors. Their sin was the same...
08/06/2012 07:34
  Before discussing Paul and authority, it may be good for us to look at Isaiah 29 as a whole. We find in Isaiah 29 some abuses of authority in Judah at which God directed his wrath. We have already discussed the use of Ariel in referring to Judah. Ariel, in a different spelling, meant...
08/10/2012 08:36
  We have noticed not only in Isaiah 29 but also in several passages of the book so far that God is displeased with those who abuse authority. And it is in regard to his covenant people that we view this displeasure. But what exactly does he dislike? How exactly is authority abused? And...
08/17/2012 10:55
    In our last discussion, we spoke of three heresies that evolve from emphasizing an aspect of Godhood to the detriment of others. Modalism loses sight of the three Persons, emphasizing the oneness of his essence only acting in three ways. Tritheism loses sight of the one essence...
08/24/2012 10:06
  Moving from the study of authority in the Trinity, we now look to its place in the community of Christians. Our anchor verse has been Matthew 28:18 in which Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” The question that now comes to mind is whether Jesus...
08/31/2012 14:33
  To wrap up our side study of authority, we need to look at certain New Testament texts that mention authority. Returning first, however, to Philippians 2, we see once again what our hearts should be. We are to “make [our] own attitude that of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). We are to imitate...
09/08/2012 07:36
  Having left the discussion of God’s plan using Israel in Isaiah 29, we are confronted in Isaiah 30 by a plan that is not God’s. The Jews are in rebellion—the same kind of rebellion that they have been in throughout their history. It is a rebellion of choosing their own way without...
09/15/2012 10:10
  We have already mentioned the command in Deuteronomy urging Israel not ever to return to Egypt for dependency. Yet in Isaiah 30 we see Judah doing just that. And it seems that Isaiah has the Deut 17:14-16 injunction in mind as he relates the disobedient attitude of the Jews because he...
09/21/2012 09:53
  The tone of Isaiah changes beginning with chapter 32. Prior to this chapter, greater emphasis was placed on the rebellion by Judah, Israel, and other nations. We saw God’s heart of longing for their return; we read of the judgment on each nation and the use of Assyria as the tool of...
09/28/2012 11:27
  Chapter 34 begins with a demand that all nations pay attention. We can imagine the cheering that had been going on with God’s judgment on Assyria. But Isaiah delivers a blast to turn their concentration to a greater matter. All of them are guilty. All the nations have turned from...
10/05/2012 11:57
    The Assyrian Rabshakeh (advisor to King Sennacherib) came to Jerusalem with a large contingent of the Assyrian army on orders from Sennacherib who remained with the rest of the army finishing up the battle of the last Judean forces at Lachish and then at Libnah. Judean officials...
10/12/2012 10:20
  In chapter 38 we read that Hezekiah became ill. This was probably in his 14th year just as the Assyrian conflict is beginning. Isaiah came to him and told him to put his affairs in order because he would die from the illness. Hezekiah, in tears, prayed to God recounting his faithful and...
10/20/2012 10:58
  Several theories of the atonement have been advanced over the centuries of this present age. A few of the more notable ones include the following: Recapitulation theory – Irenaeus, one of the 2nd century church fathers, articulated this theory that argues Jesus succeeded where Adam...
10/25/2012 09:53
  The Penal Substitution theory of the atonement refers to the doctrine that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. God imputed the guilt of our sins to Christ, and he, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins, which satisfied both...
11/06/2012 07:56
  The OT portion of Isaiah (chapters 1-39) may be called “God Calls for Return to Faith.” The next 27 chapters (the NT portion) may be called “God Provides Restoration.” Chapter 40 begins with a word from God to comfort his people. Our minds must recognize a huge divide between chapters 39...
11/09/2012 09:36
  Isaiah 41 presents God as the one—the only one—able to rescue. The prophecy is meant, in its immediate context, for God’s people, Judah, while in captivity to Babylon. The entire second half of Isaiah (chapters 40-66) concerns God’s rescue. The first of the three subsections involved...
11/16/2012 08:00
  In Isaiah 41:21-24 asks the nations who don’t follow him to state their case for their gods. He asks, in verse 22, whether those idols can prophesy. It is more than merely being able to predict the future. God phrases it in such a way as to understand control of the future. As he asks them...
11/30/2012 13:32
  In verses 1 through 4 of Isaiah 42, we saw the Servant’s mission as bringing the truth of God to the world (“justice to the nations”). That truth or justice is both the realization that God is the caregiver and that he will provide care in rescue (or, for those who refuse, judgment). In...
12/09/2012 11:10
  In verses 10 through 16, we see the normal order of activity and victory reversed. Normally, we would view God acting, and then in victory, we would rejoice. But we view this scene from God’s perspective. In keeping with his declaration that he is able to “announce [these events] to you...
01/18/2013 11:23
  The central points of the three chiasms that we discussed in chapters 42 and 43 make clear God’s purpose in his interaction with Judah at the time of the Babylonian captivity, but they also highlight God’s intention at all times. God created for relationship. God rescues for relationship....
01/25/2013 08:37
  Verses 26 through 28 of Isaiah 43 complete this mini-section that actually started back with verse 14. This whole section (14-28) emphasizes that the rescue of Jacob (Judah or Israel) will be by God without any contribution toward that rescue by Jacob. In these last verses of the section,...
02/01/2013 07:25
  In the section of our study called Rescue Revelation Shown (Isaiah 42:17 – 43:13), we encountered three ideas about God’s caregiving revelation that were presented in chiasms. The caregiving ideas and the chiastic emphases are as follows: 1. Caregiving revelation among the distrustful...
02/08/2013 07:26
  In his Romance of Bible Chronology, Martin Anstey attempted to show that the Ptolemaic dating system was off by 80 years during the Neo-Babylonian-Persian time period. But do any scholars agree with him? On page 24 of his The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, Phillip Mauro wrote that...
02/15/2013 08:44
  The major Cyrus prophecy in Isaiah 44b through 45 is actually the central them to a chiasm that has been building since the servant rescuer had been introduced in chapter 42. The chiasm is developed as follows: Is 42:18-43:13 – God rescues rebellious Israel      Is...
02/22/2013 08:03
  Isaiah 48:12-16 divides into three specific addresses. The first (verses 12-13) calls to Jacob and Israel to listen to God. The call is singular addressing the group as a nation rather than individuals among that nation. It is interesting and telling that God addresses the nation as both...
03/01/2013 16:18
  Isaiah 49 begins with the Servant speaking. The Servant calls out to the world to listen. We understand this as a universal call because he speaks to “coastlands.” Some translations use the word “islands,” but the meaning is the same. Coastlands are those areas that are at the extreme edge...
03/08/2013 10:34
  Isaiah 49:8 tells us that the Servant will be the covenant and, by the covenant, restore the land and make them possess the desolate inheritances. We see definite Abrahamic covenant language in this verse. Land, as an inheritance promised to God’s people, always signifies his secure...
03/15/2013 09:02
  The major covenants we find in Scripture provide the framework of God’s interaction with his image bearers. These covenants include: The Covenant of God – This covenant is God’s own, made with himself before the world began. In love and foreknowledge, he determines to create. His purpose...
03/22/2013 08:06
  After God explains that the break with or cutting off of Jacob was not something God had wanted but was due to Jacob’s own faithless iniquity, the focus shifts to the faithful Servant. In verses 4 through 11 of chapter 50, the Servant is speaking. He begins with a curious statement: “The...
03/29/2013 06:00
  In the first 8 verses of chapter 51, God first calls for covenant faithfulness (1-3), next he promises covenant faithfulness on his end (4-6), and finally based on this covenant faithfulness, he tells those with whom he’s joined in covenant to rest in that covenant. Starting with verse 9 and...
04/05/2013 08:57
  In climactic fashion, Isaiah 52 brought together Israel the nation, Israel the Messiah, and Israel the Messiah’s offspring in explanation of God’s redeeming plan that would bring about Zion—God and his image bearers dwelling together in love forever. This plan is actually what the Abrahamic...
04/12/2013 08:28
  What if the story had gone slightly differently? What if most of the incidents had taken place as we know them—Jesus arrested by the temple guard in Gethsemane, taken to Caiaphas for the mock trial, marched at daybreak across Jerusalem to Pilate, Pilate asking Jesus where he was from, Jesus...
04/19/2013 07:39
  The suffering is over. The victory is won. The triumph is complete. Isaiah 54 presents a picture of the blessing realized from the accomplished mission of the Servant. In the chapter, God speaks to the Servant, not about him. It is written in 2nd Person. But taken as a whole, we may think...
04/26/2013 08:09
  Although the Mosaic covenant faded, God did not give up on the Jews. They too are invited to become offspring of the Servant. In Romans, Paul speaks of the Jews being grafted back into covenant relationship. And thus we see the pattern of all of Scripture: union—fall away—restoration. Isaiah...
05/03/2013 08:12
  When discussing God with atheists, the traditional sticking point is the problem with evil. However, in our current discussion—one we are having with Christians only—we’ve identified a problem with love. If true love must be given from a will that is free to choose to love in order to reach...
05/10/2013 07:37
  A slight shift occurs in the first five verses of Isaiah 55. In verse 1, God is clearly speaking to people who may come take advantage of the work of the Servant. By verse 5, God is clearly speaking to the Servant who will “summon a nation” and who has been glorified by the Holy One of...
05/17/2013 08:37
  As we enter the last major section of Isaiah (chapters 56 through 66), we should keep two overall, background ideas in mind. One is that, although in the last three or four chapters we have concentrated on the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, there are two fulfillments—a more...
05/24/2013 07:21
  These last eleven chapters of Isaiah actually can be broken into two major sections. The first is chapters 56 through 59. These, rather than all of 56 though 66, would more appropriately be labeled “Entering Sabbath Rest” on their own. As we have discussed before, the idea of Sabbath rest...
06/01/2013 07:22
  The mockers of chapter 57 verse 4 are those Jews who thought the more pious of the Jews to be wasting their time in their pursuit of God. But God floods light on their position. It was the mockers who, in love of themselves while trying to manipulate not only God but also local deities of...
06/14/2013 07:48
  In this section of Entering Sabbath Rest, we began reading about preserving justice. That justice was the balance of covenant obligation, which presents God as the Caregiver and us as those trusting in his care. That is our covenant relationship. Isaiah then goes back to recount Israel’s...
06/21/2013 07:02
  Before entering chapter 59, we must finish with 58. Although the rest of chapter 58 (verses 6 through 14) may seem self explanatory, they, nonetheless, require some focus of thought. Remember that God has just argued against the rescued Jews’ (and our) activity in fasting. The rescue has...
06/28/2013 10:28
  God was offended. Isaiah has just explained to his people that the prophecy he had just revealed over the last several chapters would befall the Jews because (1) although they had followed the Law, they did not care to look to God as Caregiver and (2) they didn’t concern themselves even with...
07/12/2013 07:07
  Two major theological systems dominate conservative Christianity: Dispensational Theology and Covenant Theology. Both attempt to explain the manner in which God interacts with his creation—particularly with his image bearers. Dispensational Theology views history as a sequence of seven...
07/19/2013 13:42
  As discussed last time, one of Kinship Theology’s three supporting pillars regards eschatology. Eschatology is the study of last things. Three (or four) primary eschatological systems dominate Christian thought. Premillennialism argues that Christ’s second advent will occur prior to a 1000...
07/26/2013 07:16
    We will begin our discussion about postmillennialism by letting some well-known postmillennialists define/describe it for us. In these statements, I emphasize certain ideas that truly separate amillennialists from postmillennialists and that mark the points with which I will take...
08/02/2013 06:43
  We continue our discussion about postmillennialism after talking about two of its problems last time. In this summary we discuss five others.   Problem #3 – The gospel is the proclamation that God has provided rescue through Christ for his image bearers to restore the three God-given...
08/09/2013 08:16
  After having presented problems with both premillennialism and postmillennialism, I want to insist that I am an amillennialist not because it is the only choice left, but because I do believe the amillennial idea ties in best with Scripture from the aspects of both purpose and plan....
08/16/2013 06:44
  Chapters 60 through 62 discuss Zion, each from different perspectives. But before we identify the perspectives, we need to know what God means when he speaks of Zion. The old city of Jerusalem (old, as in when David first captured it and made it his capital) was built on a ridge rising from...
08/23/2013 06:48
  Previously, I mentioned that Isaiah’s chapters 60 through 62 spoke of Zion—God’s Immanuel Purpose. I am going to modify that just a little. The first half of Isaiah 63 also belongs in this category. Isaiah 63a has to do with Zion’s Retaliator (obviously God), who will execute judgment on all...
08/31/2013 11:34
  In Isaiah 61 we take a step back. Chapter 60 was the realization of Zion. In chapter 61 we have presented to us Zion’s Rescuer. The first three verses are familiar. In Luke 4:16-21, Jesus enters the synagogue in Nazareth, reads Isaiah 61:1-2a, and then proclaims that he is the fulfillment of...
09/13/2013 06:18
  Zion’s Rescuer was Christ. Zion’s Restorer is God. Chapter 62 discusses the Restorer God in the backwards progression related to Zion that we have been reading since Isaiah 60. We started there with Zion’s realization; stepped back to understand Zion’s Rescuer; and took another step back...
09/20/2013 06:59
  From verse 8 of chapter 63 on through verse 14, the speaker contrasts God’s former care in rescue from Egypt with God’s seeming lack of care in their current situation. When his people were in Egypt, God felt their suffering; he suffered with them. Manuscripts actually carry a negative in...
09/27/2013 07:55
  Isaiah 64, especially verses 1 through 7, are a wistful reflection for what could have happened had God intervened. Most translations do a poor job in the English version of verse 1. It is not a hopeful plea that if only God “would tear the heavens open and come down.” Rather, the Hebrew...
10/07/2013 13:46
  Continuing with the discussion of Isaiah’s ending chiasm— B – The Jews are a rebellious people (idolatry) (65:2-7) Back to the forward leg of the chiasm, God’s next point is that the Jews were rebellious. And their rebellion was as all human rebellion—trusting in something else other than...
10/14/2013 12:26
  Finishing the discussion of Isaiah’s ending chiasm— E – God’s people are restored (65:17 - 66:2a) The chiasm’s central point is the glory of the restoration. The first thing we notice in this passage is that God declares creation of a new heaven and a new earth. Verses 17 through 19 parallel...

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