Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ethiopia Isaiah 18

Isaiah 18:1 "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:"

Ethiopia, also the land of Cush (son of Ham) is not just desert as the many television images show. It is also mountains and higher land than Egypt. It was once a great kingdom and even held sway over Egypt. It was conquered by Rome.

v3 "All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye."

This chapter speaks of a time of little harvest. When there was little to eat and instead of the people eating the harvest, the animals feasted on it.

v5 "For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the springs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches."

v6 "They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them."

This chapter should, in my opinion, be read with the surrounding chapters to get a picture of the judgment that is coming (and did come) upon the area. Next chapter is about Egypt.

I think whether we can understand what or why exactly, all this is happening, we can see clearly that the LORD is over all the earth and his mighty power can touch even the greatest and the smallest things.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Damascus Isaiah 17

Isaiah 17:1 "The burden of Damascus, Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."

Referring to the invasion of Sennacherib, son of Sargon, king of Assyria. The chapter also has reference to the final battle of Revelation in verses 12-14.

Damascus is located 133 miles from Jerusalem and was known as the 'Pearl of the East'. It is also located not many miles from the sea. It has been conquered a number of times and has been under many different rulers including Rome.

Jeremiah talks about it in chapter 49 verse 24" "Concerning Damascus, Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.

Amos sheds some light on the judgment: Chapter 1 verse 3 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:"

Syria had been conquered by Joshua and was under the rule of David and Solomon but later became a state and at one time Israel was under their rule.

The Mideast has a very complicated history.

For this study, we will accept that Damascus was being punished for the deed which angered God. I think they were under the same judgment as Israel of the time. I have difficulty keeping the descendants of Abraham separated.

v4 "And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean."

The nation will not be utterly destroyed but they can hardly be recognized as who they once were.

v9 "In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which the left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation."

So WHY is all this taking place:

v10 "Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shall set it with strange slips:"

We could take heed to this verse in our own country. We have been blessed but as we turn away from God as a nation, we put our country at risk.

Then we come to the balance of the chapter which is most likely referring to future events of the last days: v12 "Woe to the multitude of Many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Moab 2 - Isaiah 16:1

Isaiah 16:1 "Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion."

Going back to II Kings 3:4 we can see the significance of this verse: "And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool."

The reference to only one lamb could be a reference to Christ who is the lamb of God but it does not say. We do know, however, that Jesus descended, after the flesh, from Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was from Moab.

v2 "For it shall be, that as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon." Arnon is on the border of Moab. See Numbers 21:13.

Moab is to be brought low, down from their high position in the region. v6 "We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud; even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so."

haughty, haughtiness : disdainfully proud, insolent, lordly, overbearing, arrogant.

We know that that is one thing the Lord hates: a proud look. Proverbs 6:16-17 : "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, v18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, v19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

We find also a reference to the coming Christ in this chapter. v5 And in mercy shall the throne be established; and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness."

It would be good to study Daniel, for there many of Daniel's visions are explained.

One thing is clear, if nothing else is, and that is that judgment will be executed on the nations. Although some times are hidden from us or at least shrouded, verse 15 is very specific: But now the LORD hath spoken, saying Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moab Isaiah 15

Isaiah 15:1 "The burden of Moab, Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;"

When I think of Moab, I think of where Ruth came from. She was the woman who married Boaz who was in the line of David and therefore in the in line of Christ after the flesh.

Moab has several areas with distinct names: Land of Moab-east of Jordan, The Field of Moab-district east of the Dead Sea, Plains of Moab-district in the Jordan valley. It is said that in one of the areas the final battle will be fought. Revelation 19:17.

v4 "And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz; therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him."

Again, these prophecies are for the immediate future but also carry hints of the final days. One writer advised that it was three years later when this prophecy concerning Moab was fulfilled.

v9 "For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim."

This area must be suited for the type of warfare they had in those days for there other kings have met their death.

The why of this destruction can be further explained by this passage. Also as a footnote, the people of Moab were the children of Lot and his eldest daughter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Golden City Isaiah 14

Isaiah 14:11-12 "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"

Well, you can't sleep through reading this chapter. I, in fact, have had difficulty deciding how to approach it. On the one hand, we have more encouragement for Israel that the captivity would end and the promise fulfilled.

v1 "For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob."

On the other hand we see Babylon compared to Babel from Genesis 11 and compared to the fall of Satan in our text verses. It would be impossible for me to separate the powers of the world, that would usurp God's authority, from the power of Satan to deceive.

Here we are reminded of the pain caused when a great power strips the nations they conquer to make their golden cities and fill the treasuries of their government.

v17 "That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?"

Although the king of Babylon was used to discipline Israel, they became puffed up and arrogant in their own conceit and for that they were brought low.

v32 "What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it."

II Thessalonians 2:3-4 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."

It is best, when studying prophecy, to try to establish whether the passage covers the immediate future or some distant future or whether it does both. That is sometimes hard to determine.

But here Isaiah is telling of the fall of the nation that took Israel away and their return. I think it safe to say that a nation that is against Israel is against God for He will determine Israel's path.

I would like to make a note of the passage concerning Lucifer that the space he occupies in hell is not the center of attention but he is found clinging to the sides of the pit. He is not king there and is helpless as anyone else.

v15 "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. v16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Judgment

Isaiah 13:1 "The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see."

Once those who took away Israel into captivity are judged, Israel will have a different attitude toward the Lord.

Babylon is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Babel. You might remember the city started by Nimrod where the language was confounded.

Babylon is a very large subject and we will no doubt discuss it often. Here Babylon is the instrument of punishment for Israel but they too will be judged perhaps because they carried the punishment beyond what the Lord intended.

v5 "They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land."

This chapter comes after the 'chapter of hope' and tells of the coming destruction of Babylon.

Babylon was an actual city of about 200 square miles. It grew into a far reaching kingdom. At this time it was built on both sides of the Euphrates River. Babylon also has a spiritual application in that it represents Satan's kingdom on earth. It sometimes refers to Rome and is mentioned in the book of Revelation.

This chapter is about the city's total destruction to the point of being inhabited by animals.

v21 "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there."

I saw one picture of the city that showed it appear to be a raised up place in the desert. I'm not sure what the former dictator of Iraq did there but we know his fate.

In the next chapter, three is an eerie mention of Lucifer in connection to this city.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Promise

Isaiah 12:1 "And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me."

In the midst of judgment, here is a message of comfort that someday the Lord's anger would be turned away and Israel would rest in the promise land.

It reminded me of an oft quoted passage in the New Testament. John 14 came to us between the birth of Jesus and his death on the cross. It was a time when it must have seemed to Jesus' disciples that all was lost.

And for us, as Christians, we are between the birth of our redemption and the promise of our rest in heaven.

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me." The chapter of comfort begins. Then he promises: v2 "...I go to prepare a place for you. v3 "...I will come again, and receive you unto myself..."

Here we see those comforting words to a people that were going into captivity: v3 "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."

They knew about wells. Their forefathers had gone about digging wells to give people water and to water their flocks. One of those wells was an important part of Jesus' ministry. Remember, the woman at the well. John 4:6 "Now Jacob's well was there, Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well; and it was about the sixth hour."

We know the story of how Jesus used the well to illustrate the plan of salvation to the woman of Samaria.

So, we could call this chapter the chapter of hope. We can endure many troubles if there is hope of relief at the end. It is when there is no hope that people despair.

v4 "And it that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted."

v6 "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."

What was the hope? For one, the LORD would be in their midst. Israel would honor him as in the beginning. They would have joy again and sing as before. That's a lot to look forward to.

Psalm 119:75 "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Branch Isaiah 11

Isaiah 11:1-2 "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;" See also Isaiah 9:6

Lately, I've also been reading some in the gospels. To read about the life of Jesus, as well as, going over the prophecies here, it is truly amazing how accurate they are. In the gospels, we can see this wonderful person who reached out to the hurting and was unafraid to speak the truth even when it caused him problems.

We know that Jesus was rejected by his own people but accepted by many others. The prophecy of his rule and reign from David's throne and those of the tranquility between the animals themselves and mankind, are yet to be fulfilled. Isaiah's words apply to several time periods.

v6 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

For an understanding of the joys of the thousand year reign, one should study Daniel and Revelation. Hosea, Habakkuk and Zechariah as well should be looked at.

We have to remember that the words of Isaiah were unclear to the people of his time. As Jesus said, many had sought to know the things He taught his disciples. Matthew 13:11 "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." Enter the mystery of the church and salvation to the Gentiles.

Then the chapter talks of gathering the remnant 'again'. We know they went off into captivity and a remnant came back to build the wall and that at the time of Jesus there was a working government in Jerusalem under the supervision of the Romans. Again they were disbursed as history tells us but in 1948 the nation was reborn and the children of Israel continue to return.

v11 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt and from pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea."

I would have to refer you to those who have studied prophecy much more than myself to see if this was a prophecy of the returning to build the wall or a later time and event. There is a reference to some geography in this chapter that the water separating Israel from Egypt would be dried up.

v15 "And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. See also Revelation 16:12

Revelation 16:12 "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."

So we see how the Bible has been knitted together over the centuries. It speaks of one writer using the pen of many to tell the story that has happened and that will happen. It is so solidly bonded that it should greatly increase our faith as we study.

Psalm 119:163 "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Church Away from Home

If you are unable to attend church, you might enjoy going to the Country Church link on the right side of this page. There you can watch last weeks services and listen to various groups singing. It is from Eleventh Avenue Baptist Church in Dalton Georgia. Maybe you are in a foreign country and just need a pick-me-up spiritually. It is easy, just go to webcast and click on the service you want to watch and listen to.

The Remnant Isaiah 10

Isaiah 10:12 "Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the LORD hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks."

Assyria is the instrument used to punish the children of Israel but Assyria thought themselves to be more than that. So, in this chapter we are told that once the purpose of Assyria is fulfilled, their attitude will be dealt with.

v20 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth."

There were the very poor who were left by the conquerors to tend the vineyards and then there were those who returned from captivity to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. These are the remnant. Others did not return when given the opportunity because they were doing well financially in the land of captivity.

v21 "The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God."

I'd recommend Nehemiah and Daniel as study books here. We should keep in mind, as Christians, that all the prophecy concerning Israel has not been fulfilled. The gospel is still a mystery to those who do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. We live now in a time when redemption is come to the Gentiles, a time of grace, before the events of Daniel and Revelation fully come to pass.

We are looking from Isaiah toward the short term future events and the long term future events. I think there are some key words and phrases which should be considered: v12 "whole work" "remnant" "v25 "very little while" "indignation" .

v33 "Behold the LORD, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror; and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled."

We could say that the LORD is chastening Israel but he will not allow the punisher to exceed his bounds without cost.

Psalm 119:81 "My soul fainteth for thy salvation; but I hope in thy word."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Child Isaiah 9

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of Peace."

All along Israel was punished for rebellion during the reign of the kings. Finally, the nation split and Israel turned totally to idols and took league with other nations against Judah (their brethren). These great prophets are sounding the warning though out the land but we don't know how many heeded the warnings. As a nation though, the sin even entered the streets of Jerusalem and into the house of the Lord. So, a great punishment came upon the nation and they were scattered.

v1 "Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations."

Now we look beyond the scattering to a time when redemption would come to the nation and even beyond the time of Christ on earth the first time to another time when he would reign from David's throne.

v2 "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

Verse 1 mentions Galilee and then verse 2 refers to the work of Jesus in the area.

Matthew 4:14-16 "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the Prophet, saying, The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."

I found a verse and a phrase that sounded very said to me. I don't know where it applies but to me it sounds like Israel as Christ came there: v3 "Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy;.."

Then we come to verses that repeat a phrase several times: v12, v17, v21 and into the next chapter. The phrase reads: "...For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still."

Do you remember, or did it happen with your parents that they said "I love you but I have to punish you." or "This will hurt me more than it hurts you." I spanked my children. Not because I hated them but because I loved them. I would hit my own leg to judge the degree of punishment so I would not harm them in a permanent way. I think I always hit myself harder. So here we find that the Lord is still angry but also he has his hand stretched out in love.

I cannot help but think of Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

So we see the punishment of Israel and Judah being described by Isaiah but several times he tells us that the Lord's hand was stretched out during the process and was prepared to help Israel if they would only repent, which means to turn away.

v21 "...but his hand is stretched out still."

I'll relate a personal story here: I was very young as were my siblings. We had to, for some reason, separate some pigs from their mother. The mother pig did not like the idea and started chasing me. I ran as hard and as fast as I could but came to the fence which was too high for me to jump and there was no time to climb. I looked back to see the big hogs mouth wide open and ready to bite off my leg or worse. I raised my hands for help, not knowing if anyone was near. With my eyes glued on the wide open mouth, strong hands grabbed my up stretched arms and pulled me to safety. It was my dad. I did not know where he was but he knew where I was and helped me. I think the Lord helps us when we have gone as far as we can go in our own strength and wisdom and we are reaching up for help, knowing we cannot save ourselves.

v21 :,,,but his hand is stretched out still."