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

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Isaiah Chapter 6

This chapter starts by giving us a historical time frame for 
Isaiah's famous vision of the throne room of God.In verse 6:1, It says; "In the year of king Uzziah's death...."  In 2nd Chronicles 29, we get the story of King Uzziah.
He became King when he was 16. He followed the Lord until his pride became too great. One day he tried to enter the temple and do the priests job. The temple priests banded together to stop him.When he became enraged, his forehead broke out in leprosy in front of every one in the temple. He quickly rushed from the temple once he realized that the Lord had struck him with leprosy. Unlike Miriam, Moses's sister,(Num.12. Read this it's a very eye opening account of the closeness of the Lord when the people were in the wilderness.) he was not healed of his leprosy, he lived a secluded life until he died. His pride had swallowed  up his very existence. The Lord held him accountable for his pride and his sin.
 **side note **According to  Zech. 14:5, there was a major earthquake during the reign of Uzziah. The prophet, Amos, (Amos 1:1) uses the earthquake to date his visions. Geologists have found evidence of a major earthquake, (8.2) which took place 760BC, (plus or minus 25years) in the ruins of ancient Israel.  I Love it when we have parts of the bible proven by historical facts! 
**side note to the side note** Tradition and Josephus, say that the earthquake happened in conjunction with Uzziah's attempt to disregard the Lord's rules for sacrifice in the temple.  

Throne behind the altar, St Peters Basilica, Rome

The rest of verse 6:1 starts to describe the incredible vision that Isaiah lived through. He says he saw the Lord sitting on His throne, lofty and exalted, lifted up. (kings in those days would build their thrones at the top of a high platform that would have stairs leading up to them. It would put them above everyone else even when they were sitting down and would make them appear larger than their subjects below.) and the train of His robe filled temple. (Per Eerdmans, a better translation of the word temple would be palace). 

In Verses 6:2-7,We get a glimpse into the eternal. It starts with a  description of the Seraphim (fiery ones). With the description given to us by Isaiah, it is hard for us to imagine what he was actually seeing. I did a search on  Google Images of  Seraphim.  The pictures that  people have drawn are all very different from eachother.

  People describe what they see through the lens of their own finite memory. Isaiah, although  allowed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, is no different. John's description of his vision of the throne room  of God in Rev. 4:2-9 is similar but with more detail. The angels are doing the same thing. They are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy",( 3 times for the trinity) "is the Lord God almighty". In Isaiah it says they say" heaven and earth are full of your glory". In Rev.4, they say "who was and is, and is to come"   
 Verse 6:6 is particularly interesting. One of the Seraphim flew to him with a burning coal in his hand. The Lord makes sure that we know that the Angel used tongs to remove the burning coal from the fire. The fire was real and  possibly, too hot or too holy for the Seraphim to touch with his bare angel hand. Compare this to Rev.8:3-4. The angel in this passage is holding a golden censer (also not touching the hot coals with his bare hands). He takes the prayers of the saints and  a large amount of incense and mixes them together.  (I envision him kneading them together like bread dough) He takes the mixture and adds it to the burning coals from the altar that is ,"before the throne of God". He then uses the censer, which is in his hand, to hold the incense mixed with the prayers of the saints and the burning coals from the altar, to present the beautiful aroma which rises before our Lord. In the reality of eternity, our prayers are tangible, touchable, able to be mixed with eternal incense and heated with the fire of heaven. (Psalm 141:2)

All of this brings up some very important considerations about our eternal destination. We tend to think of heaven and our eternity in the light of what we consider a spirit world. We think of our eternity and the place where God dwells as a foggy, misty, ghostly place that if we were to enter with our fleshly bodies we would fall right through vapory streets and walk through substance-less walls but that's not what the scripture teaches. I think the problem is that we, with our finite minds, have difficulty imagining another reality that is just as tangible as the one our  human flesh can experience. 

Scientists have felt for a long time that there are other dimensions, other spatial realities that we can't comprehend. We, as Christians, know that there is more to life than what our eyes can see. While scientists are not equating any of their findings to proof that God and heaven do exist, they are now willing to admit that something else is going on. 
I found this article on the NOVA website. This is a "briefed up" version of the article: 


  • By Rick Groleau
  • Posted 10.28.03
  • NOVA

"For most of us, or perhaps all of us, it's impossible to imagine a world consisting of more than three spatial dimensions. Are we correct when we intuit that such a world couldn't exist? Or is it that our brains are simply incapable of imagining additional dimensions—dimensions that may turn out to be as real as other things we can't detect?
String theorists are betting that extra dimensions do indeed exist; in fact, the equations that describe superstring theory require a universe with no fewer than 10 dimensions. But even physicists who spend all day thinking about extra spatial dimensions have a hard time describing what they might look like or how we apparently feeble-minded humans might approach an understanding of them. That's always been the case, and perhaps always will be".


The scripture teaches that we are not going to a vapory place when we die. The description of the millennium in Zechariah 14, talks about celebrating the Feast of Booths and the bells of the horses being inscribed with "holy is the Lord". All the cooking pots (cooking pots?) will be holy to the Lord. 

The beginning of that chapter talks about Jesus's feet standing on the Mount of Olives. It goes on to describe the actual transformation of Jerusalem, describing places that we can go see now with our inferior human eyes that we will see transformed when we are in our perfected state.

The description of where we will live for all eternity in Rev.21, is full of very familiar objects and ideas. We are also given concrete measurements of heaven. I believe this is by God's very design to convince us of the tangibleness of where we will be when we go to be with Him. 

The gold and jewels are described in great detail. The appreciation of gold and jewels for their beauty is universal among human beings.
I believe that this desire to own and gaze upon what the world would describe as "precious", is a God given desire in the heart of man. We are all desiring heaven. We are born desiring to live forever on the streets of gold surrounded by the walls of jewels. The Lord did not decorate heaven to satisfy our desire for jewels. Rather, He put the desire for heaven in our hearts. 

 Those rocks, oyster coated specks of sand and ,bright yellow dirt are so beautiful to us because God says they are beautiful. He has built His GLORIOUS city out of the heavenly version of these earthly substances. 

 I have thought a lot about the next part of this passage. In verse 6:7, it says Isaiah's mouth was touched with the burning coal and his iniquity was taken away. I still have a lot of questions about this but the one thing that has impressed me regarding this verse is that, Isaiah was touched and cleansed in the very area that he felt most vulnerable and sinful. Remember in verse 6:5, he says "Woe is me, I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips," And now this would be the part of him that the Lord would use to fulfill his calling as the Lord's prophet. 

I have always loved verse 6:8. The Lord says "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (notice the Lord doesn't say Who will go for me? He speaks of Himself in the plural, Father, Son and Holy Spirit) He speaks this almost the way that a Father might speak a question out loud to get an expected response from a child. And, Isaiah, presumably being the only human around, responds as a young boy would.

 "Here I am, send me". The Lord then gives him his marching orders; He tells him to go and challenge them in their own behavior. 
In verse 6:9 The Lord says, "Tell them keep on listening but do not perceive.  Keep on looking but do not understand." The Lord Himself explains this to the disciples in Matt.13:14.

Verse 6:10, says;  Render or make (by his preaching) the heart of the people  Insensitive, 
(lit. fat).

Their ears dull, (lit. heavy) and their eyes dim (lit. be-smeared). The point here is that the Lord is saying, that the people would find a way to become even duller and more insensitive to Him. The very preaching of this prophet will drive the people farther away instead of calling them closer. Even still, Isaiah was to fulfill his calling.
Then, verse 6:11, Isaiah innocently asks how long is he to preach this warning to them.

The rest of this chapter the Lord once again speaks of the devastation that will come upon Jerusalem and the people. The last verse contains the message of hope in the promise of the coming devastation. 
As in chapter 5, the fire is promised again. The fire that in a strange way will cleanse, leaving a stump which is the Holy seed. In Isaiah chapter 11, we are told that "a shoot will spring from the root of Jesse (Jesse was king David's father), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.

Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. It also ties all of this information together.

 Chapters like this one give us an incredible look into eternity. It is a place where our prayers are tangible, fire is too holy to touch and the angels are mighty male beings, not chubby babies or beautiful women. God's word is so amazing. We just have to keep reading. Time for chapter 7.

God bless you ladies. I'm praying for all of you........


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Isaiah Chapter 5:24-30

From verse 5:24 to the end of the chapter, a general judgement is pronounced on the people for all the forms of wickedness that have plagued their society and angered the Lord. 
He uses the tradition, that the farmers had of burning the fields to clear them, to give an example of what was going to be happening to their beloved home land. .
 He uses the scorched grass and rotting roots to tell them that there would be judgement inflicted upon them as well as judgement that would come in the form of consequences which would be a direct result of their wickedness. The fire was going to take care of the surface problems and then the roots, which would usually be spared by the fire, would rot  of their own accord. 

 Isaiah is also using this analogy to let them know that it would not be a quick process. It was going to take some time to see this judgement to its conclusion. (When Ezekiel was taken into captivity with the first wave of exiles it would be eleven years before Jerusalem fell and was completely devastated.)

When the children of Israel were taken into exile, the royal line of Judah looked like it would not be producing the messiah after all. Their royal roots had been rotten for a long time. The devastation seemed complete. Their way of life was gone. Everything they owned belonged to the enemy that marched in and obliterated their lives at God's command.

Of course they had the promise from Genesis 49:10 that said that Judah would remain the royal line, that the kingdom would not depart from the tribe of Judah until the messiah came, but now everything they saw would make them believe that the kingdom was gone. 

Here is where these encouraging words from Isaiah become important, "Then it will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glory".(Isa. 11:10)  

 If we look just at the prophesies of Isaiah, he tells them many times that "the root" will come back and save them, and their land. 
 He says "the root" because he needed them to know that just as a root lies dormant in the ground, unseen but still full of life,the Lord was still with them. They could not see Him in their terrible trial. They had to be faithful and trust Him, and some would.

 Daniel was a classic example of an Israelite whose faith in the Lord sustained him through the great exile. Many scholars believe that it was because of Daniel that the wise men (Matt. 2) were watching for the Lord's star and came to worship Him from the east. Daniel was a classic example of a man who waited to see the "root" come forth again.

In Isaiah 11:10-16, there is a glorious description of when the Lord will come and save them. It starts by saying that the "nations will resort to the root of Jesse" Jesse was King David's father.

In Isaiah 27:6 It says, "In the days to come Jacob will take root. Israel will blossom and sprout; (remember verse 5:24, "root will rot, blossom will blow away"), and they will fill the whole earth with fruit.

****side note, per Wikipedia, Israel is one of the worlds leading producers of fresh fruit and vegetables. They grow and incredible amount of fresh produce with a miraculously small amount of water.

 In the end of verse 5:24 we are given the core reason why all of this had to take place. "For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel"

Hints have been given to the people through Isaiah, that the Judgement will come through a war with a foreign nation (Isa.3:25, 5:13), But now the terrible invasion is announced. 

In verse 5:25, He starts to talk of the inevitable as if it's already happened. It is possible that he is talking of what had already happened to the northern kingdom of Israel.

 At one point in Israel's history the nation split in two and became 2 separate kingdoms with separate Kings. The North was know as Israel and the southern kingdom, including Jerusalem was known as Judah. Assyria invaded the northern country of Israel in 722BC. This could have been where    "corpses were laying like refuse in the middle of the street"(5:25). This would be a horrible idea to the Jewish people. To have their dead rotting in the street would mean a total breakdown of their society. 

In verse 5:26, It talks about the Lord lifting up a standard to a distant nation, and whistling for it from the ends of the earth.

 (the King James says "hissing" to them. In their day, bee keepers would hiss at their bees to get them to leave the hive in the morning and hiss to them to return in the evening. Not sure how that worked.)  At any rate, hissing or whistling, the idea is the same. The Lord was in control of the attack on Jerusalem to the point that the enemy  would respond to the direction of the Lord in the same way that bees, dogs or trained sheep would respond. The enemy was coming at His command and timing. 
Isaiah then goes on to warn them about the readiness of the army coming to destroy them.
It is possible that they had already seen this happen to the northern kingdom.

In 2kings 16:7-9 Ahaz, king of Judah asks the king of Assyria for help to fight the kingdom of Israel. The King of Assyria conquered the the kingdom of Israel and displaced all the people. Samaria was the capital city and the King of Assyria did not destroy it but kept it for his own. He filled it with non-Jewish foreigners however. This is what caused the bad relationship between Jews and the people of Samaria which was still evident even in Jesus's day. 

 In verse ,5:27-28, he says that none of them are old and tired. Their equipment is in tip top shape and they are well armed and  their horses are strong. The wheels of their chariots are like whirlwinds (a tornado is a whirlwind). (5:29) The enemy will be like a lioness. (they considered the lioness  to be more fierce than the male lion). No one can fight against or stop a lioness as she carries off her prey. 

 Verse 5:30, The lioness will protect its capture. It will growl over it with the volume and unceasing steadfastness of the sea. Everywhere the people may look, they will see darkness and destruction.
(another side note. I live in Vermont very near the Canadian border. Occasionally there will be fires in Canada so severe that they darken our sky and make the air smokey. There was a lot  of burning, when the cities of ancient times were invaded.) 

Here are some  other books of the bible that give more information about the captivity.

Ezekiel...16:46-49, Ezekiel was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzer at the same time as King Ahaz and Daniel. They were taken 11 years before Jerusalem was destroyed. In these verses he talks about the southern kingdom not heeding the warning of what happened to their sister "Samaria", the northern kingdom.

Habakkuk. In the book of Habakkuk, He starts by complaining to the Lord about the sin of his people, (1:1-4) In verses 5-11, the Lord tells him what he is going to do to finally deal with the evil of the people. Starting in verse 12, Habakkuk is shocked by the Lord's response...keep reading, it's very interesting.

 ancient carving of the captives and their instruments
Psalm 137, is interesting too. The psalm is anonymous probably for a reason. No one wanted to own up to writing a psalm against their captors.
  And the end verse about the "little ones" being dashed against stones, was written to express a desire for revenge for what the invaders had done to the Jewish infants.

Impaled Jews
 Lamentations, all of Lamentations is a mournful comment on the terrible fate of Jerusalem at the time of the captivity. Jeremiah speaks with horror at the things he witnessed as the city and the society fell to their captors. Verse 4:10 of Lamentations is especially sad and moving.

The more you read, the more you realize the connections between the different books of the bible. Keep reading ladies. The bible is so full of amazing history and lessons of faith.

God bless you ladies