Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Monday, March 25, 2013

Isaiah chapter 2

Isaiah Chapter 2  doesn't seem to have any connection with chapter 1. It is another record of a vision that Isaiah saw. As we progress through the book, we will see chapters in this book that will actually record history for us. But much of this chapter is taken up with a prophetic vision involving the Millennium.

The Millennium is the word given to the thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth. It will be a time after, the anti-christ is revealed, and after, people will be required to choose or resist the mark of the beast. I will not go into too much detail about when and how this will all take place because many people disagree about the sequence of these events.  I would like to simply explore what a wonderful time it will be for all who claim Christ as savior.  

The Millennium is the time on earth when the "wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lay down with the kid, and the calf, the young lion and the fatling, and a little child will lead them" (Isaiah 11:6-9).

.. It is when the "They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks" (Micah 4:3)..
This is long awaited time of "Peace on Earth"

It is the time that one of the most recognized scripture in the United States is describing, " For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government shall rest upon His shoulders; And His name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal father, Prince of Peace " (Isaiah 9:6)..

It is a time when there will be peace on Earth. Most people Know about these ideas, especially at Christmas time and embrace them as wonderful ideas and wishful happenings but they have no idea where these ideas came from or that they are all attributed to the reign of Christ upon the earth during the Millennium. They do not know or understand that Christ needs to rule as king of their lives for them to be able to participate in these wonderful days.

In order to get a good mental picture of the millennium, we will have to look at scriptures scattered through out the old testament. It is kind of like a glorious puzzle that rewards us with a beautiful picture of our future with Jesus. 
The way that I'm going to explain this study is to write the verse and then list corresponding verses that support and clarify this information in Isaiah. The  verses may not include every verse that corresponds to the verse in Isaiah, but it will help clarify what the verse in Isaiah is talking about.

Chapter 2:2  Now, it will come about in the last days,
The mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as chief of the mountains, it will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.
Read, Micah 4:1-4 (starts the same way) , Zech.14:3-4 and Zech. 2:10-11.

2:3-4 and many people will come and say, "come let us go up to the  mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob.
That He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths".For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many people, . And they will hammer their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.(peace on earth)
Read; psalm 72:11, Zech. 2:10, and Micah 4:2-3 (these verses are very similar to this)

Here  in verse 2:5, we leave off the millennium for a little while, but there are so many more fascinating scripture passages that deal with the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth. Here are a few if you want to do further reading on the subject. 
Ezekiel chapters 40-48 are a detailed description of the temple that will stand in Jerusalem during the millennium. It will literally be the Lord's house. There will be no Holy of Holies because the Lord will finally be dwelling in His house. There will be animal sacrifices again.  And precious water will flow from the new temple (Ezek.43) This water is also mentioned in Zech. 14:8. It is amazing and fascinating reading. Also, Zech. 14 is incredible. You get a real sense of God's heart for us and the promises of that wonderful time.

Ok, so back to Isaiah chapter 2. In verse 2:6 he Tells them that the Lord has abandoned them because they are filled with the influences from the east, and they were involved in getting predictions about the future like the Philistines. We have a brief mention of the Philistine diviners in 1Sam. 6:2. We know that Uzziah conquered 3 of the Philistine cities, (2Chron. 26:6) which put the Israelites  in closer contact with the Philistines.** Apparently the Philistines had a big influence on them instead of the other way around. **

 Verse 2:7 speaks of the land being filled with silver, gold and horses. This verse is the Lord expressing His distaste of luxurious, ostentatious living. They had been warned in  Duet. 17:16-17  not to multiply silver and gold, wives or horses  to themselves. The Lord knew that they would have to bargain and become friendly with other nations to get these things and in the natural progression of man, they would adopt the ways of these foreign people.

Verse 2:8 says that their land was full of idols and they worshiped the work of their hands, that which their fingers had made. This verse is interesting because both  kings, Uzziah and Jotham, forbade idol worship and and maintained the worship of Jehovah (2Kings 15:34) but idol worship continued on the high places and in the peoples hearts.

In verses 2:10-11 He tells them to enter the rocks, hide in caves from the terror of the Lord. There will be a humbling of man in that day. He was warning them.

The Isrealites were very familiar with this idea of hiding in caves. They had hidden in caves many times when they were oppressed by their enemies (judges 6:2, 1sam. 13:6, 22:1). As a matter of fact. There is a 5 acre, underground Limestone cavern that runs below the ancient part of the city, Jerusalem. It has been carved out over a period of thousands of years. 

   He is making a point when He told them to hide in the caves. He wanted them to understand that it was going to get bad for them. That, as in the past, He was going to bring judgement on them to the point of oppression and misery. 

Now that Isaiah has announced  that God is about to visit His people in anger, in verses 2:12-16, he starts to describe all of the things that His anger will be focused against. 

Cedars of Lebanon
 The day of the Lord will be against everyone and everything who is proud, lofty and lifted up. He says that the trees that they are so proud of , that are desired by the rich, and prized among the people, will be destroyed (2:23). These trees were a source of pride to the Israelites. Solomon used them to build the temple (1Kings 5:9-10) . The wood from these trees is mentioned in  the scripture mourning the destruction of Tyre in Ezekiel 27:5-6. In Isaiah 37:24, we read of the words of Sennacherib as he brags about cutting down their beloved trees.

In verse 2:14 he says His anger will be against the lofty mountains, against all the hills that are valued by the people of Israel. This is amazing. The mountains and high places were very important to them. Read Chapter 19 of the book of Exodus, and take special note of the importance of the mountains in that chapter.
 Also, as a side note...Solomon built the Temple for the god Chemosh on a mountain to please his foreign wives (1Kings 11:7).  Worship of the god Chemosh involved putting their little children through fire.

Verse 2:15 says against the towers and fortified walls. King Uzziah and King Jotham, were big builders and built many fortified towers  (2nd Chron 26:9-10, 27:4).  Their trust was not in God, but in their towers. Which of course, could not save them from the judgment of God.

 This brings up a very important question for all of us, are we wisely preparing for our future or are we trusting in our own strength?

Verse 2:16 God is still listing, in great detail, all of the ways that His children have disappointed Him. These are not lofty metaphors, it is an actual list of things they treasured, trusted in and idolized.

He was going to act against their fleet of ships. The biggest and most powerful of the fleet.
According to Eerdmans, the "ships of Tarshish", were originally ships built to withstand the trip to Tarshish, which was especially long and dangerous. Ezekiel 27:25 talks about these ships. In 2nd Kings 14:22, it says Uzziah built "Elath" (Errdaman's says : should say "rebuilt") . Elath was a massive ship taken from Edom. Ist Kings 22:48, says that it remained with the Jews until the reign of Ahaz and then it was taken by Rezin and given back to Edom. Their fleet of  big ships was a source of pride and security for them

The second part of this verse is very interesting, "And against all the beautiful craft". Eerdmans says that this is referring to the beautiful things that they decorated their homes and palaces with. Wall mosaics and paintings, carvings and beautiful pottery.

Verse 2:17, all the things that man takes pride in, including himself, will be humbled before the mighty God.
In verse 2:18, He is referring to idols they worshiped being wiped away in every way, physically and from their hearts.

Then in verse  2:19, He brings them back to the original thought starting in verse 2:10 That things will be so bad for them that they will once again be desperate enough to go into hiding in their caves. He again talks of their idols and possessions  becoming worthless to them and how they will  cast them away for the privilege of making it into the caves alive. The Lord will again take center stage in their thoughts as they witness His awesome power and judgement.

Verse 2:22 ends this chapter but it is obvious that this break in the text was not put there by Isaiah.
This verse is the beginning of sentence which starts chapter 3.

This verse has been very special to me since early in my Christianity. "STOP REGARDING MAN, WHOSE BREATH OF LIFE IS IN HIS NOSTRILS FOR WHY SHOULD HE BE ESTEEMED?"

wHy InDeeD? aNd YeT IsN't ThAt WhAt kEePS Us fROM sHaRiNg JeSuS WiTH aLl wHO NeEd TO hEaR. oUr WoRrY oF ofFeNdINg ThEM Or tHeM rEjEcTiNg us!!!!

We have to get over ourselves and them. Eternity is coming, we can't stop it or delay it. We are not in control and neither are they. They need Jesus above all things, even if they don't know it. The Holy Spirit is waiting to give us the power and the words. Pray for boldness. Pray to live out  verse 2:22!!

Ascribe strength to God;
His majesty is over Israel,
And His strength is in the skies.
O God, Thou art awesome from
Thy sanctuary,
The God of Israel Himself gives
strength and power to the people,
Blessed be God!
Psalm 68:34-35

Dear ladies, keep reading! Go on to chapter 3 and read it every day, over and over. The goal is to know Isaiah when we are finished. The ladies at church are going to help me come up with chapter remembering tools, until then, keep reading. I am praying for every one of you!






Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Isaiah chapter 1

One thing I want all of us to remember as we start the book of Isaiah, is that Isaiah was a man, a human being just like you and me. He was a man who, by the Holy Spirit, through obedience and faithfulness, spoke as God  directed him to speak. He had a choice, just like we do, to serve God and fulfill our calling from the Lord. He chose to obey the Lord and speak....

He starts by saying that this is a vision that he saw, not just a word that he heard from the Lord. In some way, he saw what he is conveying to us.

In verse 1:2, he calls all creation to listen because the God of the universe is speaking. The Lord says, "Son's I have reared and brought up (literally, as a parent) but they have revolted against me"  I have found this verse comforting in a sad sort of way.

This verse has shone me that , if the Lord can raise wayward sons, then so can we. I have comforted friends with this verse. Sometimes, our sons grow up and do not live as we have raised them to live. They do not serve the Lord. They have chosen their own way. We have to continue to love them, continue to pray for them knowing that all the while the Holy Spirit will continue to call them and convict them and eventually, bring them back to a life with the Lord.

In verse 1:4 Isaiah describes the children of Israel as a "sinful nation". He goes on in this verse to describe their spiritual state. He concludes with the real problem causing the whole situation. "They have turned away from Him." it is important to point out here that the children of Israel were not  acknowledging the fact that they had turned away from Him. They probably didn't even realize that there was actually any problem.

Verse 1:5, he asks them a question... "Where will you be stricken again?" He was asking them, what did they have left? What's next as you continue in your rebellion? He was trying to get them to look at the situation that they were in.

He says" The whole head is sick, the whole heart is faint" Their intellectual and moral thinking and values were all wrong... "sick" 

There are so many things in the world today that do not make sense. 
The world is sick. 

Common sense seems to have taken  moral decency by the hand and just walked away.

He says in verse 1:6 that the nation was sick from head to toe, "only bruises welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged nor, softened with oil"

I want to point out the end of this verse with a little side note. Today in the church we "anoint with oil"
and pray for people with illnesses. There are whole church bodies that shun Dr care and perform only this ritual for seeking a healing from the Lord.
When the people of biblical times used oil to treat illnesses or wounds, that WAS their Dr care. It wasn't a ritual they performed. It was a way of cleansing  and cauterizing wounds, they used different oils to perform different medical treatment. As late as the Civil war, Drs used boiling oil to treat gunshot wounds. It was  terribly painful, but it was actually a  form of medical treatment.  We have made it into a ritual, when actually when they used oil on a sick person, they were utilizing the medical treatments available to them at that time in history. Isaiah is saying here in the end of  verse 1:6 , that they hadn't even seen a Dr to have their problems treated. They had not acknowledged their problem, they were not on their way to a healing.

In verse 1:7 Isaiah now speaks plainly to describe the troubles they have been having. "your land is desolate. Your cities have been burned with fire, (a common plight for a besieged city, many Assyrian sculptures show their conquering heroes putting the torch to a conquered city)  The crops from their fields were being eaten by foreigners.
Verse 1:8 Is referring to Jerusalem itself. All of the troubles described in verse  1:7, were happening to the villages, fields and small cities that surrounded the big city Jerusalem. He goes on in verse 1:8 to describe how frail and unprotected Jerusalem was at this point. He says it is like a shelter in a vineyard, or a hut in a cucumber field.
The vineyards and the cucumber fields only needed protection for a short time every season. Only when they were ripening was someone posted to watch them day and night. They would construct weak, flimsy shelters for the watchmen to stay in while they watched the ripening crops. This is what Isaiah is comparing Jerusalem to. The weak flimsy watchmen's huts.

In verse 1:9 he is saying that because of a few faithful, their land had been spared the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. ( What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah?  Find out in Genesis 19:1-29, very interesting reading)

In verse 1:10, the language gets very strong. The Lord has had enough. He goes on to command them to listen. He calls them rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah, which if you have read about Sodom and Gomorrah you will know, that to call them rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah, is  probably about the most insulting thing that the Lord could address them as.

In verses 1:11 and 12, the Lord says that He has had enough of the sacrifices and burnt offerings of rams and cattle. He says He takes no pleasure in the blood of Lambs and goats. He refers to their goings and comings in His temple as a trampling of His courts. The Lord had ordered these sacrifices. He had carefully  instructed them on what should be done to carry out every sacrifice and sin offering.
(quickly skim the book of Leviticus to get an idea of what the Lord commanded in the way of sacrifices and sin offerings)

Why was He saying this? Because, He knew that their hearts were far from Him. It had all become witless, heartless, ritual to them.

Verse 1:13, Is such an important verse! The Lord says " Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me" This verse was a real "soul searcher" for me. In Rev. 8:3-4, we are told that our prayers are mixed with incense upon the golden altar by an angel, which is before the throne of God,  and the smoke of the incense and our prayers, rise before the Lord God out of the angels hand. Our prayers are a tangible ingredient of the pleasant aroma which rises before the throne of God. He doesn't want incense, He wants our prayers!!!

He continues to proclaim His hatred in verses 1:13-15,  for what their religious traditions had become. They were a burden to Him that He no longer wanted to bear.

Verses 1:16-17, He calls them to change."Wash yourselves, become clean, cease to do evil"
"Learn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, take up the cause of the orphan and the widow"

What is interesting about these verses is that they defy the thinking of today's society. When so many sins are called diseases or addictions, and people are convinced that they are unable to change because these problems are not their fault, the Lord says no. "Cease to do evil" If it were not possible to put away sin, the Lord would not command us to do it.

He not only tells us to put away our sin but He commands us to look to help the unfortunate and the helpless. ***This formula for repentance and service to others is not worked out in very many lives**

Now the tone changes in the words of the Lord. In verse 1:18, He invites His children to reconnect with Him. Things were bad but not hopeless. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow"  
Taking another side note here***
 I always wondered why the word 'scarlet' was used like a noun in many places in the bible. While looking into this I found that 'scarlet' was actually a substance that they used to die the fabric for the temple and the temple garments (Exodus starting in chapter 25). It was also what the threads were dipped in that were tied to the birds in Leviticus starting in chapter 14. It was also the substance that was thrown into the fire when the ashes of the red heifer were being created. In all of the scripture translations of Numbers 19:6, the word 
' material' is added after the word 'scarlet'. It is always in italics. Obviously it is added because the word scarlet is used like a noun. Actually, in their world, scarlet was a noun. 

It was produced by a worm called Coccus illicus. It crawls up a tree, attaches itself permanently, to the tree, wraps itself in a bundle and lays it's egg underneath of it's body. As it's body breaks down, it oozes it's body fluids of bright red scarlet, this body fluid feeds and protects it's eggs while permanently dyeing the tree. It is this 'scarlet' that was used, by God's command, to dye all of the sacred cloth and garments of the temple. As the body of the worm is eaten by the larvae , the color leaves the insect's shell and it becomes white as snow, it blows in the wind and resembles snow on the trees.

Now back to our verse. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow" I think that there is something more here. Also, Jesus calls Himself a worm in Psalm 22:6. I don't know if He is actually talking about the same kind of worm. I will look that up.  But, I encourage you to do some more research into this if this is interesting to you. You can go to and type in the word scarlet and see  all of the amazing references to this substance.

Starting in verse 1:21, the Lord applies the same disappointments to the city of Jerusalem as a whole, as he applied to the individuals earlier in the chapter. Once a faithful city, Jerusalem is now full of thieves, ungodly rebels and sinners. He makes the same reference to the unrepentant sinners caring for the helpless widows and orphans as He did in 1:17. The people did not care about the things that are close to God's heart.

In 1:24-26 He promises to take charge of cleaning up Jerusalem at their expense. It would not be pleasant. The literal of verse 1:25 is "I will bring my hand back upon you", and the rest of that verse " I will smelt away your dross with lye" 

The process of using lye to extract gold or fine metals, is used when the gold is very fine and very mixed with dirt, sand, and other metals and minerals. It is also used in circumstances when the gold is suspected of being there but not actually detectable when looked at. It is a very lengthy, exhaustive process to separate the gold from its pollution.
 These are the steps that the Lord has taken, and is taking, to get Jerusalem to the day when verses 1:26-28 will be fulfilled. He speaks briefly here of the millennium. Read Isaiah 66:10-24, these scriptures elaborate on the verses in chapter 1.


In verse 1:29, through the end of the chapter, He addresses the most prevalent sins of man. In verse 29 He says "Surely, you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, and you will be embarrassed at the gardens you have chosen". There were many lush gardens and high places that were used to "worship" other gods with sexual sin. These activities were given the stamp of approval by their kings and rulers. Some of these practices were even brought into the temple. Read chapter Ezekiel chapter 8.

He was telling them that the day would come when they would be embarrassed by their sin.

He then addresses the sin of pride in oneself and self sufficient strength. The Lord regards these things like tinder, wood that is easily burned up. The self indulgent sinner and the prideful arrogant man will both be burned up like tinder with no one to quench the fire. 
This is the end of  the chapter.  I don't have a way yet to remember Isaiah 1.
I'm still praying for the answer. This study is going to be intense, keep reading your chapters. Pray for remembrance. 

I will be praying for all of you!
God Bless
Love Nancy