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THE COHESION, COHERENCE AND COMPREHENSION OF ASPECTS OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH
In Three Parts
with a fourth
Rocket into Space type
For an overview of the
THRUSTS of SPRING
in the whole prophecy of Isaiah,
In this Chapter, the need is to facilitate an understanding of the 'evangelical prophet' Isaiah, and to this end, there is presented a compilation largely outside The Shadow of a Mighty Rock*1, of expositions, more or less in numerical order of the Isaiah chapters. This prophet, like many, has written at different times, but unlike nearly all, has not done so as merely a man writing, with whatever divine aid, such as the Lord's people can readily gain for His due purposes. Rather he has written in the direct and infallible revelation of the word of God.
Thus it is of intense apologetic interest and profit, to see how his themes resound, extend, return upon themselves, here flying out like a flying buttress, there intensifying like light on a stained glass window, when the sun is bright, there expressing Messianic light on the sufferings, there on the millenium, there in the rebuke to sin, here on the glory of God, and again, on the glory of the Messiah's care, His coming - and as to His rebukes are not hidden. That is precisely as in Matthew 12, the topic of Chapter 8, below. Tenderness and triumph, suffering for just cause, both in reproof to His people, and in sin-bearing on His own incarnate part, glory exposed like the sun glittering in sudden intensity on a vast waterfall, grace revealed as by a spotlight, and sin likewise, and its spuriousness, deliverance is seen in historic events and in the ultimate event, the cross of Christ. In the end, hell is seen in a flash, a terrible tableau, made intimate to the very earth, that it might learn before it goes (Isaiah 66, end, cf. 51:6).
You can have glorying at the ultimate as in Isaiah 7 and 9, exposure in its intensity likewise in 7, as in 59; you can see the tender graces of the Messiah 7 or in 40; His judgments in 24 as in 66; the international terminus point in 24 as in 66; the care in the Messiah for His people in 4, 9, 32 as in 54-55. It is all there, intermingled, moving in themes, covering needful historic exposes in contemporary prophecy and moving to far distant themes in the Messiah, His first and second comings, His atrocities suffered, His triumphs to come, His people and their classic exposure (30), and again (59), together with their amazing return (42,49), and the church, which after all, apostles from Israel were used, in Christ, to found, moving like a vast galleon in the moonlight, exposed but awaiting even more detail in the New Testament, in 60-61, with the Israel connection not hidden, but distinctly divorced from any spiritual efflorescence merely.
For though Israel is shown
to be coming back, as also in Ezekiel and Zechariah, and coming to its promised
own, it is not as some prince (Isaiah 19), not at all. It is with shame
("who is blind but My servant!"), that turns to glory ONLY when the
Messiah (Isaiah 53:1) is accepted, following that return (49:7 with 49:20) by
those whom it concerns, the believing remnant (Isaiah 59:20-21). For alas, the
terms of reference for
As to other 'shepherds',
they have always tended to be ghoulish, and the more recently, if possible the
worse! (cf. Zechariah 11:17, and Isaiah 30:1ff.). The 'day of Jacob's trouble'
was an illustration, presumably climaxing in Hitler, for one would hope there
is not worse to come before Israel returns to the Lord (cf. Jeremiah 30:5-9
with 31:15-22, and see The Biblical Workman
Ch. 1 for exposition on this point).
HEART and SOUL, MIND and STRENGTH
on the other hand, a faithful prophet, fearless and incisive, his own heart and
soul, mind and strength seemed securely alight from the Lord, so that he became
like so many, of whom it is written, "He makes His ministers a flame of
fire". In Isaiah 6
you see the call to his multiple and multiplied ministry, not in the
complacency of self-acceptance, let alone self-esteem, that deadly substitute
for realism and holiness through repentance and cleansing, keeping and enabling
from the Lord, but in a scouring, a burning, a cleansing - the ultimate and
essential preliminary to anything for the Lord, from any of our race! In this
chapter, you will see therefore much consideration given to this spirited,
spiritual and inspired testimony, which has lasted the millenia, foretold
history, detailed events, never slipping. After all, when GOD sets HIS mind to
something, you can count it done. In this case, it was to a wide-ranging and
staggering testimonial to His will, words and desires, His love, compassion and
judgments, all with summary detail at every street corner, and resonances and
illuminations of that peculiar intimacy which pervades the whole, with the
identical sound heard and indeed vision seen, in each part. The words compound;
the vision remains.
FROM The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9,
End-Note 4: on Isaiah 2:22.
For additional treatment of this verse, AND Isaiah 1-2 themes,
see Department of Bible ... Vol. 7, Ch. 3.
23) In Isaiah 2:22: "Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what account is he ?" Delitzsch has an interesting rendering, much the same: "Oh, then, let man go, in whose nostrils is a breath; for what is he estimated at ?" This is the sense, and this is the severance in view: from man who, estimated as empty in pride when divorced from God, is the inflated but spiritually fallen object one must cease to follow.
As Delitzsch points out justly, "it is preceded by the prediction of the utter demolition of everything which ministers to the pride and vain confidence of man…" MAN the generic is the one exalted, to be debased. THAT is the message, and Isaiah 2:22, showing his end, prescribes the finale, CEASE from MAN (or mankind).
‘Man’ is in the Hebrew text precisely the same word with precisely the same definite article as in Isaiah 2:17, "the loftiness of man shall be bowed down," translated as such in the NKJV. But amazingly, leaving this consistent emphasis of the text, and this total parallel in construction, it wishes to translate "man" in this generic sense, as "such a man", which is in the text, is simply "the man" or as a generic, "man". This invention has no defence perceptible whatever. It is not the idea of not being drawn to the craven refugees who move in terror to the rocks for protection - the preceding verse (); for who would be! It is man, the lofty one who has been attacked in religion in Isaiah 1 and here as that from which the "house of Jacob" must not relate as ground or rule for the heart, for "come and let us walk in the light of the LORD," is the call. In 2:10ff., there is the invitation,
"Enter into the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the LORD… The lofty looks of man shall be humbled…
The LORD alone shall be exalted in that day."
is man, the place to go is the LORD, to walk, to be secure, to be in
friendship, whose is the glory, unlike majestic man, a triumph of trivia,
vainly exalted. From him one must cease in all his ways, for look, does he not
lurk in the shadows of obviously inadequate protection in physical rocks (still
‘the man’, 2:1), when (Isaiah 26:1ff.), their ‘strength’ or literally ‘rock of
Ages’, is the LORD!
This is perhaps the worst example of eisegesis in the NKJV, destructive of the sense of the entire passage, abortive of its dénouement and contrary to the consistent usage in this chapter,
2:11,17,22, except for the
reference to MAN casting away his idols in v. 20, and since it is also ‘the
man’ or the common generic, ‘man’ that here appears in the text, there is even
here the sense of this being the ultimate ‘repose’ of riotous flesh for
mankind: holes in rocks, because not abiding in that intrinsically secure Rock,
the LORD! It is all man so small and devious, derelict and pretentious, and God
so grand and innately glorious, to be trusted, as distinct from the defiled,
and defiling, lofty haughtiness of man. The generic, man, it is he who is
without strength or help, except in the Lord, and from him, thus occupied, one
is to be severed. It is not so much the punishment of pride, but the presence
of it which is the thrust of what one is to cease from, throughout: for in
punishment is the pitiful, rather than the vaingloriously attractive in its
Indeed, in Isaiah 57:11-13 has the same theme:
"And of whom have you been afraid, or feared,
That you have lied,
And not remembered Me,
Nor taken it to your heart…
I will declare your righteousness and your works,
For they will not profit you…
But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land,
And shall inherit My holy mountain"
It is not some fleeing man, who, for some unknown reason, though called ‘the man’ or man, is rendered ‘such a man’, suddenly invented it is not this vagrant and refugee who is the butt of the passage, but gloriously arrogant man, and indeed, man whether punished or not, as a phenomenon of unbelief. CEASE from him! comes the challenge, this breathing fragility, with farcical loftiness, like a prince outside the Lord.
Contrary to context, grammatically unwarranted, it is also unaligned with other parallel emphasis. Rather, do we find:
"I dwell in the high and holy place
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made" (from Isaiah 57:15ff.).
FROM The Shadow of a Mighty Rock pp. 770ff.
on Isaiah 7 (1)
*2 One should first read Isaiah
'Almah,' however, the term in Isaiah , conveys the sense of simple, normal, as yet unwed, uninvolved, untouched youth. It is divorced from marital maturity or participation like Spring from Summer.
Now rightly denounced, in no uncertain terms, has been any sense of a fornicator or slut.
There is simply no ground for assuming an immoral or fallen or guilty young lady. "Innocent till proved guilty" is merely one facet of the case. You don't engineer a focus for deliverance (as is the context in Isaiah 7), a 'sign' as this young lady in that place undoubtedly is, with a reference to the perversion of youth or the squandering of sanctity in sexual licence - as a mere guess! The context says no such thing; nor does it censure. It speaks rather, categorically of youth outside child-birth considerations, that would in any way relate to marriage. It is indeed set in idyllic atmosphere (Isaiah ff.). Further, for God to designate a simple young lady in His holy plan as a focus, (Behold the virgin, He announces, "the unmarried maiden with child"), and for us to assume that He has a 'dirty', distorted or specifically fallen thing in mind: this comes near to imputing to God a breach of His own principle, "whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8), and breaches this one: "Love hopes all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7).
We have no right to enter here such territory, no warrant, no ground or basis, without being instructed so to do. It would be eisegesis - that is the importation of thought from outside the passage, not exegesis - the expression and bringing out of the passage, what is written. To add to God's words is forbidden (Proverbs 30:6), and to follow such a procedure would be to become a joint author with God, without invitation so to be...
Yet the 'case' for avoiding the virgin prophecy is far worse than that. How can a straightforward and not very uncommon 'fallen woman' syndrome be a sign (Isaiah 7:ll) of such magnitude as is found here, and found rather rarely in Scripture. As Machen points out (op. cit. pp. 290-291), the divine offer of the sign in this passage would naturally lead us "to think of some event like the turning back of the sun on Hezekiah's dial, or the phenomena in connection with Gideon's fleece" - the first in Isaiah, the other in Judges - such focus was made on a sign... Such focus ? some such focus, for in this case the focus is explicitly more than merely astronomical, it is CELESTIAL. "Ask a sign!", God challenges, reaching up upwards into the heights, down into the depths ... There is not only a request to ask a sign, and this being God, the limits of magnitude are not there; these limits are explicitly off as well. Here is a sign to end all signs, making history a preliminary! Events in the coming will 'unwrap' what is more than remarkable, or even unique; they will paint, portray, institute a supreme marvel even in the action of the divine One, of God Himself, upon this earth.
As Machen puts it, "Equally suggestive is the elaborate way in which the 'sign' is introduced. The whole passage is couched in such terms as to induce in the reader or hearer a sense of profound mystery as he contemplates the young woman and her child." The offer to Ahaz was virtually infinite and the Lord's choice of sign, when Ahaz declined to activate the matter, is in the category that has no bounds. Such is this setting, situation and scope.
To seek a simple, common, all too natural signal in the sight of such supernatural initiative is to ignore what is written, be blind to the context and to miss the point... which is that here is something prima facie all but incredible! But that is precisely what we have been led to expect, might expect in any case perhaps, but certainly must expect in such a context. God appoints it on His own, with scathing effect on the welfare of Ahaz, but no remission of His intended utterance. Weary God they may, but God is not wearied to perform what He will (Isaiah ). "Therefore - [in the very face of this weary faithlessness of man], the Lord Himself will give you a sign!" activating on a personal basis what they failed to appropriate, in a way that might have brought blessing personally as well.
irony is intense, for the onset of
Does not this action of Ahaz, then, rise to the peak as the very exemplar for all the straight, liberal radicalism, frothy existentialism, name of the game changing neo-orthodox and neo-evangelical lethargy now provided by the parallel deviations of the Gentiles ? He, Ahaz would not tempt the Lord by believing what He said! Such sanctified restraint by which to characterise rebellion! He would not accept the unlimited bounty of the divine gift - ASK! (Isaiah 7:11-12). God was merely mocking him perhaps in giving such a gift as this ? a gift which was later, despite the lack of hands at that time to receive it, to come in any case as the Lord Jesus Christ, not a god without power, but the power of God and the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1).
Yes, the Gentiles have come, as in the time of judgment which began to settle on Judah, now themselves near the end of the Age appointed (SMR Ch.8), and in their falsetto evasions and spectrum of deviations to match the error of the Jews at that critical point, they too in droves will not 'tempt' the Lord by believing in obedience what He says, by acting on what He gives; but rather from the midst of the structures of many churches, they build with Ahaz a resort of verbal subterfuge, a substitute for the wholehearted acceptance that walks with God in the way He assigns, as well as talks about Him (cf. Ezekiel 33:32). But let us return to the tableau in Isaiah 7.
THE virgin then ? Not some woman of unknown character, unnamed, in the crowd whose time was coming fast for desolation, castigation and correction. Rather the one who would do the job, perform the function, encompass the man who, as sinless for a human offering (Isaiah 53, Leviticus 4:3, Hebrews ) and of eternal divine character (Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 45) MUST obtain a parentage which was not encompassed by sin. THE virgin is the one predicted, THE virgin is the one written, who must bear the MIGHTY GOD (Isaiah 9:6), one who can be called the Everlasting Father (cf. John 14, Zechariah 12:10); for this is the name of Isaiah 9:6.
It is there, in Isaiah 9:6-7, that the Messiah is in focus, His works in view, His name announced with accolade, deposited in profusion. THAT, it is no name for the Father, but for the gift, the sacrifice, the ruler to come, the Son of David to bring the glory of God to the earth. THAT, it is no name for the Father, but for the Son whose kingdom shall know no end (Isaiah 9:7), for how would it be a specific for the Father when it is specialised in the precise person of the Son in this way! Is the Father to be the son of David? How far must confusion go ? as far as with Ahaz, who simply WOULD NOT ACCEPT plain dealing and unambiguous blessing from God, and who dared to pretend reason backed him, humility helped him to ruin his people by trifling with God, as if he were some magical modern theologian, inventing gods that are not there, and fittingly enough, failing to worship what he makes.
Hence THE virgin is announced with the clarity of mid-day sun overhead in the open fields; the virgin whose offspring had been so long predicted, the seed on its female side, of woman, whose heel would be bruised in crushing the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). There is exactly no other specific for the "THE" which signalises, except the signal given, which is 'God with us', through the medium of the one chosen to bear His incarnate form.
There is then simply no other option but something like Jeremiah's "new thing" (31:22) and at that, a new thing in the world. What was that? "A woman shall encompass a man!" This is in the context of a change from catastrophe and calamity, in the midst of tender and solicitous divine love and appeal, leading to incalculable blessing. The term 'encompass' is, as Harris and Archer point out in their Theological Word Book of the Old Testament, related to concepts of damming, shutting up, encircling, being shut up to something so that it is all around you, as to God's will for our life. The totality of word and context indicates categorically a human prodigy of divine basis which is transformative of malignancy to benignancy, in the love of a tender and seeking Father.
This therefore is precisely what we find in Isaiah 7, with the differences noted, and this we discover in particular: that this blessing is delivered to unbelief; for the day of its coming is by the sovereign will of God. On the other hand, Jeremiah adds to the total context also, despite amazing and intimate similarities: in that case, the new covenant is spelt out (Jeremiah 31:31), alike with Jeremiah 31:22 as a new thing, in all its transformative, and inward wonder and as a procedure for a new inward thing for all who receive Him. We are in the same transformative, infinitely sacred and vastly significant arena. The vistas merge both in content and uniqueness, in preliminaries and in results. As in the Isaiah 7 case, we marvel at the human vehicle in its providing certain bounds to so amazing a result as this prince; in Jeremiah we wonder at the exclusion of the human male partner.
One deals with the inclusion of deity via result; the other with the exclusion of the human male, by method. Both share the consequences, the need and the prodigious character of the stakes, significance and wonder involved, with the intense blessing to come to those over whom this incarnate Sovereign will rule in peace with hearts who know this peace (Jeremiah 31:33-34, Isaiah 9:7).
In both however, is this transcendent wonder and absolute novelty, the key, the king, the incarnate One, the penetration of God in Person into this realm, with uncontainable results. In Isaiah 7, in particular, it is to be something so categorically different, celestially filled with initiative that even among signs it will have an initiative and wonder that will stagger. So it does and that is both the demonstration and verification.
Yes, the prophecy means just what it says: not in a common way, but in a unique and celestial way, which God only could do, there will be a sign among signs, reaching as we see in the outcome - up, upwards, yes up to God Himself and coming down to earth from God Himself, in a way that will spell categorical, absolute, spiritual and effective deliverance, though not for the anti-opportunistic, unbelieving, devious seeming Ahab (Isaiah 7:11). The splendour of this thing is illimitable, boundless, incomparable: those are its criteria, this is the offer. And to this ? To this king relates his negative to a divine offer in terms of a specious humility; and small wonder it is deemed a weariness (Isaiah 7:13) to the sparkling glory of the practical and performing divine love, to encounter this jesuitical (to allow the anachronism for the sake of the spirit of the thing, which matches to perfection) substitute for faith, on the part of Ahab.
Thus there is simply no other meaning but that given by Matthew in rendering the prophecy. A young damsel is to be with child, without marriage and with morals. A donation of deity is to occur, as Isaiah 9:6 and Micah 5:1-3 make so clear, as does indeed Isaiah 48:16, in human format. In human form is to come One whose name is the same as God's (Psalm 45:6, Isaiah 9:6), who being on the one hand, able to be deemed "the everlasting Father", is also called "the Prince of peace". God has chosen to include Himself, not merely for display purposes, not only for performance, but for being stricken by men. The grandeur of the beginning of this action will lend lustre to the meaning of its end, and indeed, of its ends!
It is not an unknown but a declared thing that is given, focussing a stated Prince who is identical with the Father, One with an everlasting kingdom while His shoulder will bear both this and the glory (Zechariah 6:12-13), in a way stringently forbidden to any but God as we have seen; and do it in such a manner as to combine that forbidden synthesis, as far as Israel was concerned, Prince plus Priest!
What then could be both "everlasting Father" and "Prince of peace", as a man? nothing could have both except an incarnation, express and unique, categorical and complete, depictive and declarative of God without essential diminution... indeed, without being such as Paul describes in Colossians 2:9 as a matter of fact - "in Him was the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form."
For this incarnation, then, the context of Isaiah more broadly asks, as indeed does that of the prophets; and Isaiah 7 gives the medium. This is met by the young damsel, the virgin it is, the one without whom genuine incarnation could not occur: the incarnation which is so often assumed, but now as in Jeremiah and in Micah 5:1-3, is spoken of in more terrestrial terms. This is how and through whom the Christ of the Psalms and the prophets (Psalm 40 tells us that a body is to be gained by the One who is to dispense with sacrifices), is to gain that body, which as man on earth He would need to have. Not through a splendid creation of a new frame without man; but through woman will this Messiah come. This Immanuel is the crux.
To the Jew for whom, as Machen points out, Isaiah 53 would remain mysteriously obscure, for whom indeed the concept of celestial splendour reaching down to human squalor and its sin (albeit as a ransom for that part of it surrendered in repentance) could be repugnant, this passage would be a trial!
As with so much else (Luke 21:24), the plain sense of prophecy can be avoided with spectacular ability when God's prodigious and sometimes spectacular works are not faced with that simple realism with which He faces us. Taken as it undoubtedly stands, this virgin birth prophecy is so prodigious as to make many baulk at it. Yet it is in the area, the arena of prodigy, quite explicitly, that this scripture, this benign event, this hallowed offer to Ahaz is found - the sign reaching up to heaven or down to the abyss.
Hence what amazes becomes what verifies that the plain sense is meant. We are not told that the sign will be the absence of sign, or the signal will be a metaphor. Behold the unmarried and moral damsel, she is with child! Small good it may do faithless Ahaz, and indeed the prophecy is now addressed to the house of David which is to continue. It is rebuke; and this and the remarkable - are now to mix. The sign will come; it will meet the specifications; but it will not be so used as to bring on Ahaz the blessing he missed; but rather God's choice within these dimensions is a sign of magnificence formed so as to constitute contemporary rebuke, to the king who missed the opportunity of a lifetime, indeed of an epoch, and future blessing which indeed applies to any (cf. Isaiah 53:1) who will believe.
There is probably no greater rebuke to disbelief than the format of the sign which is the focus for faith. God-with-us is the name the mother (the only one involved other than God, not the father as normal child-namer, at this time) is to give this prodigy: in Himself, that is what He confers. Wherever he goes, where faith is and hence operation, that is the result. Isaiah 9:6 expatiates much more on this aspect, but here in Isaiah 7, it is already announced. It is God (Isaiah 48:16) who is being sent; and this through a human mother so that His powers and protection will be available, through faith, to man (Isaiah 11, 32:1-3, 9:6-7, ).
There was disfaith then, that poignantly pathetic disease, as there is the same syndrome now; there was disheartened rejection then, with appalling consequences complementing other inducements to disaster for the Jews; and there is disfaith now, with similarly appalling disasters for the Gentiles, for all those little Ahazes indeed, who flock to the contemporary scene as if the whole world were Surfer's Paradise, and the prime sport of luxuriant folly were this: to skid down the wave of unbelief. This was crucial then; it is as crucial now; and those who have more light now (John 1) have merely this in store, more responsibility for the same folly. Let us however proceed with the exposition.
God in His grandeur is able to despatch of Himself no mere glint or glimmer, but a Person who is His very expression, bearing His name and glory (Zechariah , 2:8-10, Isaiah , 9:6, Micah 5:1-3). If that is not a sign to eclipse signs, what is! The match of meaning to word is perfect; and rational alternatives do not exist.
The fact of
the incarnation, its place in tribe (Genesis 49), in geography (Micah 5), and
in woman (Isaiah 7, Jeremiah 31), in Jewish history (Isaiah 49:7, Zechariah
11:1-11), and in consequences in the face of sustained unbelief (Matthew
23:37-39, Luke 19:42 ff., Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 18) on the one hand, and
for faith on the other (Isaiah 7:14, Psalms 2, 45) are all set forth. All that the devil had
to do was to breach THE PRACTICAL AND HISTORICAL FULFILMENT of any one
of these prophecies. He
tried in Herod at the 'Massacre of the Innocents', as it is
called (Matthew -19). He tried at the temptation more
subtly (Matthew 4), and of course, the devil tried yet again at
His performance according to His prophetic word, unspotted in any feature, adequate in all, never able to be exposed as error in any part or way, regard or aspect, but to the contrary, always luminous with creativity, wonder and precision:
The even vaster verification is the arresting and glorious stature of the man-as-God who did in any case come, on time (see Daniel File), and do all that was required in the physical and spiritual specifications of His task.
FROM SMR p. 765-769
is the text from which the preceding 'end-note' above, is taken. The topic is
also treated further in certain features, in Deliverance from
Disorientation Ch. 1. You may find it convenient
to use the hyperlinks here to access both of these.
EXCERPT FROM Habakkuk,
Item 22 in Barbs, Arrows and Balms,
starting on Habakkuk 2:4 in context
2:1ff.. "The Just Shall Live by Faith..."
This has special reference to Isaiah 7 (2)
The term used for "faith" here, implying -
as Harris, Gleason and Waltke point out in their Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, established lives, reflecting His faithfulness in their own sure attitude towards God (II Chronicles 19:9, Psalm 119:30, I Chronicles 9:22) -
denotes stability, fidelity.
It is conviction, certainty with which the prophet is to wait for it, THE FINAL OUTCOMES OF GOD, "for it will surely come" - though that is not yet. As Paul says,
"We were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees ?
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."
The very redemption of the body is one of those things we await in the consummation, for which the stupendous power so far displayed in the creation and resurrection, is a preliminary testimony, as is the account, the witness of the Spirit of God in our hearts, who believe (Romans 8:22ff., 1:1-4, I Cor. 15).
The situation at first envisaged in the book of Habakkuk, like that in Romans, is the present consuming power of the curse, and in the earlier sections of the writing of the prophet especially, there is traced the parallel cursed seeming conduct on the part of the many, within this: unredeemed and looking like it! Indeed, in Habakkuk 1, we find the prophet, in the face of the eager, delusive appeal of "might is right" plunder, pride and arrogance, as one appalled and revolted. In such a debased environment, however, he finds that there is a certainty of a foundational kind, exactly as in Romans 8:18-31, in which life is to be lived. The stable, assured fidelity of mind, conviction of heart, imbued with the stability of God, is the way; for -
"WAIT FOR IT, FOR IT WILL SURELY COME" - 2:3.
What will come ? Redemption, rebuke, judgment and purification, all consummated in their time, when the courts are held, the worlds are stricken and the time is up.
Who then will come ? The One "whose ways are everlasting" (Habakkuk 3:6), and He will come for "the Salvation of your Anointed", providing for His Christ, the Gentiles for His inheritance (Isaiah 49:6, Psalm 2:8, 117), over whom He will rule (Jeremiah 23:5-6, -17); and the action will be one of drama and determination (Habakkuk ).
For this then the prophet
is the wait with a persistent, insistent, stable and assured fidelity: for the just will live
by his faith (2:4). It
is not yet. It will come. In the interim, a steadfast reliance on God is
required, whatever the nets of violence may do (Hababkkuk 1:4,13-16), in their
corrupted craft and violence. Receiving from Him who is stable, the means
through being so founded, to be stable and unequivocal through trial, is the
essence of the application in Habakkuk. God will act, first with the Babylonian
Again we see the same word (emunah), in Proverbs 12:22: "Those who deal with faithfulness are His delight" - a concept with is entirely parallel to this: "Without faith you cannot please God" - Hebrews 11:6). Once more we find it, in II Chronicles 19:9, where Jehoshaphat, the righteous king is telling the officials to deal justly. With faithfulness, reliability, scrupulous conscientious zeal, from a steadfast heart, resting in the entirely faithful God, they must deal. THIS is the faithful man who deals by faith, walks in it, and of whom it may be said: "Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times" and, "the fear of the Lord is his treasure" -Isaiah 33:6.
It is this faith, assured, stable, conviction, issuing in fearless action, embraced by hope, imbued with certainty, by which the just shall live.
Accordingly, the negative shute is just as clear, decisive and defined as the positive; but of course, in the opposite direction, with the contrary outcome. As Isaiah declares to the evasively religious and chronically troubled king Ahaz (Isaiah 7), faced with potential military disaster and set in a formula of sanctity which denies the fact -
"Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God: ask it either in the depth or in the height above."
But Ahaz said,
"I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" (Isaiah 7:11-12). In this phase at least, he appears the wriggler: and the reply ?
"Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also ?" (Isaiah 7:13). He missed the blessing, the powerful amazing blessing (ask it high to heaven, low to the depths!) and so became merely the instrument for hearing of the blessing to come! What was offered was unlimited; what was gained was according to his faith, or lack of it!
Obviously, we are in the unlimited dimensions of divine mercy and profundity of grace, those which in the end led the Son of God to be crucified on earth, as planned from the beginning and before the world so much as was. Yet in the face of this, just as the Christian, ALREADY provided with this Son (I John , Romans ) has this vast provision, and acts in faith, so as one opposed, Ahaz acted in scribal seeming deviousness. He declined to ask and his answer was as if to make it a virtue actually to call in question the propriety of OBEYING A DIVINE COMMAND, namely ‘ASK’ - ask in whatever depth or dimension of the Lord, the matter requires. That was the authority the Lord gave him. That was what he declined to utilise!
How much worse, when this command was set in the celestial magnitudes the prophet was inspired to offer! How much worse yet, when the answer is clothed in sanctity, as if it were to "TEMPT" the Lord (a sinful thing) to OBEY the Lord. That is expressly Ahaz’ stated thought. The essence of liberalism was already in his heart, it would seem, and certainly displayed itself ingeniously in this instance. Here is the very perfection of infidelity, instability, non-certitude, of anti-emunah, to use our Hebrew topic word in this end-note!
Thus it is here, in Isaiah 7, in fact verse 9, that the prophetic ultimatum which is the nether end of the glowing graciousness of the granting of such an offer, appears. He declares:
you will not believe,
SURELY you will not be established!"
Here the verbal root for our topic word is used in two different forms, "believing" being one usage, and "established" in the passive, another. The "believing" is literally, "cause to be established". You participate in the stability and certainty of things WITH stability and certainty. So it has been, is and remains for spiritual exercises in the presence of the Lord. It is a matter of certitude, being established, with the grace and place of the Lord established in your heart, His word ruling.
Christian, ask therefore, that your joy may be full, for the great and precious promises are not limited: ask in His name, for His will and for what is needed to perform it (John , II Peter 1:4). For the end of the Age, wait; for the use of its opportunities, ask! That provision was made for Ahaz then. For himself and his nation, he missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
offer - Ask and it shall be given you, that the Father may be glorified in the
Son, is given to you now (Matthew 7:7, John , -24) - ask in Christ’s name!
The servant is not greater than his master, but his Master is given a name above every name, and to Him all power is given (Philippians 2:9, Matthew 28:18-20).
FROM Joyful Jottings 26,
concerning Isaiah 8:18
How awful it if were not proper to worship such a ONE! Rejoice you pure in heart, for it is right and good and fitting and seemly , and eminently to be desired (cf. John -29). Recall what was shown of Him when we looked at Psalm 110 earlier! (Joyful Jottings 23).
He engendered children of
His own (recall Isaiah 53:10 and its exposition - The Kingdom of Heaven,
Ch.9, pp. 153ff.), and of course Hebrews
2:10ff., speaking of Him to whom the Father says, "Thy throne O
God, is for ever and ever" (1:8), has this -
As to the last reference, it is in turn from Isaiah 8, where in God said this:
Before this, Isaiah is led to reveal the Messiah, "He will be a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of
He and the CHILDREN whom
the Father has given Him (as in John ,39,44, ) ...
children! "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me." These are they who must grow up - if they are alive!
Look at it in Ephesians 4:15! Next time we shall look at that in its Biblical setting. Growing up ? Great thing for children...
Our next reference is so
extensive - in fact a chapter in LIGHT OF DAWN, the sixth,
that we merely hyperlink it for easy access. It concerns Isaiah 8:22-9:7 with special
focus on Isaiah 9:3 text.
Here also we refer only to
a passage concerning chiefly Isaiah 9, but with dealings with other parts of the prophecy.
It is so large and a whole chapter, so that it seems best merely to hyperlink
it here; but it could well be read in series at this point. It is to be found
in Divine Agenda Chapter 5.
FOR ISAIAH 24 see COMFORT YE, MY PEOPLE, Ch. 3.
FROM Repent or Perish Ch. 7
especially on Isaiah 9:6-7 but also on Isaiah 30, 40-46,
See also Dawn of Light CH. 6 on Isaiah 8-9
The statement in Acts is singular. Those concerned, hearing of Paul's labours, reflected in this way:
It shows that it is a privilege to be granted the grace of repentance. It is not a pretence, but it is a mercy when one seeks to be rid of the offence, out of the desire to be godly, to be at peace with God, to belong to Him whose we are, but against whom the human race in the biggest racist program of all, habitually rebels.
It rebels with discord, with brutality, with plain selfishness, with incredible seeming thrust and killing, as by the Russians who, last century, invaded the Aleutian Islands and so acted ... as to make the term 'barbaric' seem genteel, in terms of their treatment of the Aleuts who lacked guns and large ships. Indeed, simple perfidy seems almost pleasant by comparison, when one reviews their treatment of the sacked and abused race, like aphids in the control of wasps. The Spanish treatment of the Aztecs, in their misguided zeal for gold and Mary - the invention which is not Biblical at all but some kind of redemptrix who adds to that blood which is sufficient for all, and polluted by any (I John 1, Matthew 12:48-50) - did not lack in atrocity of thought and deed; and were humbled later, cast down from their eminence and soon a scene of Communist civil war and lost glory. The British with their slave trade, were scarcely admirable; but they repented with the aid of Wilberforce, that splendidly devoted Christian statesman and churchman; oh but we could continue at length, down the roll call of the nations.
The road turned. Then the Russians learned what it is like with the Communists internalised in force in their land, like cancer; the Spanish with the Romanists in their own midst, in their civil war and vastly diminished stature; while the British, with this and the inhumanities needlessly added to the Industrial Revolution, were pillaged in two world wars of their needless extremes of time and conditions for many; and they helped to make America rich, which however, she did not desire, having a desire to rebuild Europe and to unbuild herself with her endless concoctions which replace sound theology.
While the Protestant movement in England helped attenuate these evils, through such as Wilberforce and Lord Shaftesbury, yet the national glory found its all too wrongful place, and was used to justify much which cannot well be justified, such as the invasion of Scottish churches, in order to force them to conform to authoritarian practices preferred by the State, removing their very freedom to call their own Ministers and forcing preachers into the woods, to be shot at, with Christians even incarcerated in cages, to be the sport of foe and weather...
It is then, a mercy when repentance is granted to a nation from its wild excesses, brutalities and follies, insensitivities, or on the other hand, wild tolerations of searing follies in its midst, and indeed, in our own case of Australia, subsidies granted so abundantly to support and hence extend them.
It is a mercy when an individual is given the grace to repent. It may be rebutted with pride, ignored through envy, dashed to pieces through self-will; but it is indeed a grace when it is received.
REPENTANCE INTO LIFE is the term used in Acts. You do not merely repent FROM something, you repent, when you are coming to God, INTO SOMETHING.
It is the Christ whom God objectively sent to objectively die, made an object of derision, a subject of assault, a victim - carefully prepared and abundantly willing, despite the heavy load it meant - Luke 22:40-43, Acts 2:23-31, to whom one repents. This is the case because it is HE who is the Redeemer: HE PAID! You get the receipt from Him.
To be covered by ANOTHER, wounds the pride, makes sheepish self-will, inserts nobility into the spirit, grinds into the face of obstinacy and cracks the heart of self-sufficiency. It opens thereby the way to victory and to deliverance from the endless seeming pathogens of sin which render the soul sick and make right seem wrong, wrong right, leading to the brutalities, the insensitivities and crass self-interests which mar the globe. These pretences which put oneself, or one's interests first, HAVE to lead to strife with others such, since it is not objectively true that either oneself or another sinner is the CENTRE, able to merit such an approach. The lie given the light leads to repentance.
It is good it is not to any MAN or PERSON who is a sinner, who is limited and capable of deceiving or being deceived, that one is to repent. It is INTO LIFE one repents, and as Christ made so clear in John 14:6 concerning Himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life" ...
Such repentance, known to
God, is not subject to fallible assessment. Some want to be sure their
repentance is GOOD enough; but this is hideously beside the point. If one is
wrong, one either does or does not regret it. If one does, it is either a
self-serving desire which merely uses 'regret' in order to gain something; or it
is regret. If it is regret, it is either because one was so stupid and betrayed
oneself, or because one betrayed one's Maker. If it is because one betrayed
one's Maker, it is either a matter for regret because He found out (though He
always knew, who knows all), or it is a matter for regret that THIS is the sort
of thing that one has in folly contributed. If it is the latter, one either
detests it because it is not up to His divine standards, or would have liked to
do it a little better. If the former, one is in confrontation with truth, and
finding this, one must capitulate and accept the awful facts about one's
failures, wilfulnesses or weaknesses; while loathing these, turn to the Lord
and INTO the life which is in Christ. You leave the road, the highway to hell,
and take the entry to the narrow way, the road to heaven, accompanied (Psalm
23, Isaiah 40:10, 49:19) by Him to whose LIFE one has come, and what a road it
is (Isaiah 35:8). Its end is certain and its provisions abundantly sufficient
(John 10:9,27-28, I Peter 1:4ff.).
The REAL difficulty was for HIM. Thus we who repent to LIFE, come to the LIFE which was offered as sacrificial payment for our sins, make-weight for our deficiencies, that standards of justice and truth should be met, aided by mercy which, still not willing to be slack, paid for the judgment by the action of Christ voluntarily becoming a crucified victim, thus both portraying what sin looks like, what judgment feels like and the cost which, justice demanding, justice received. It is indeed ALL RIGHT in this universe, but only THROUGH REPENTANCE INTO LIFE. Without that, it is all wrong, not with the universe, but with that part of it which, refusing remedy, gains no remission and no admission.
On this turns the pivot of history, the direction of destiny, the calibre of life.
Hence we read well in
advance in God's pre-coverage of history (cf. Amos 3:7, Isaiah 41:21ff.,
43:5-14, 44:7, 45:11,19, 46:11, 48:1-11), of the actual payment for these things,
the cost to cover the sins, the rebuilding and the judgments - like a
rebuilding of Europe but on holy grounds - which would be paid for each and
every individual who, repenting into life, found in the Lord, salvation.
Thus in Isaiah 43:11 we find, not surprisingly, that beside God there is NO SAVIOUR.
Such costs are too much for sinners to pay (cf. Psalm 49:7-8), and only God is both able and willing to pay (Psalm 49:15). In Isaiah, hundreds of years before the actual payment at Calvary, through the instrument of the Cross (Colossians 1:19-22), we find this (52:3):
have sold yourselves for nothing,
And you shall be redeemed without money."
The proportionality is beautiful!
Then in 52:10: "The Lord has made
bare His holy arm,
In the eyes of all nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God."
This is at once introduced (52:13). God-the-sent (Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8, Psalm 45) is shown in His self-humbling portfolio of "servant" ; and indeed, there IS no greater service than what is here. Pill-popping is no substitute, and psycho-analysis has long been ridiculed as too pretentious, too costly and too subject to vagaries. It does not deal with the real issue: GOD. As David put it in Psalm 51, 4:
"Against YOU, You only have I sinned."
God the source and owner of all, is the main and pivotal subject for repentance. The rest follows like light after sunrise.
The redemption (Isaiah 53:10-11) which is then shown in literally excruciating detail in this chapter, makes it clear that the Christ, the Messiah, actually BEARS our iniquities - OUR iniquities? those of the people who believe and HENCE receive what He has to offer, and who therefore "by His stripes ... are healed" (Isaiah 53:1,10, 5).
Here is the One who is then in a position to JUSTIFY, BECAUSE having borne the iniquities, accepted sentence for the sin, He grants the real absolution which comes from having paid already: for those who receive Him. It is not a Church, or a mission or a man who is himself a sinner who does it; it is Christ. He it is who died, who rose again, who returns, to whom glory is due. It is FROM HIM alone (I Timothy 2:5, II Timothy 2:9-10, Acts 4:10-11) that one must so receive, and as to that, it is by faith on the account of grace (Ephesians 2:8-10).
THERE is the one who as predicted, came seated on the colt of an ass: entering Jerusalem (which was to slay Him), amidst the exuberant and rejoicing plaudits and praise of so many (Zechariah 9:6); and as to Him, He was the One "having salvation". Hence (Isaiah 49:6), He IS the salvation of God, and as such is shown a light to the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people. HIS is the focus, HIS the name, HIS the fame (cf. Isaiah 9:6, 9:1-7).
It is of HIS kingdom there is no end, with peace eternal (Isaiah 9:7); and it is accordingly HIS NAME which is "prince of peace" (9:6), and for that matter, "the mighty God", as we there read, in perfect harmony with Psalm 45, and Hebrews 1:8, Philippians 2. The PRINCE OF PEACE designation requires the preceding names to be its company. The couples, or the sententious series in this name refrain are undivorceable, and this not only because if this were not so, it would be peremptory, arbitrary and intrusive, as if to presume some lapse in divine concentration, some carelessness in composition, some abstruse and unevidenced complexity of speech. They are undivorceable likewise because it is a person who is promoted, exposed and exhibited, who though a child in coming, is yet ‘Everlasting Father’, for that Father is to perfection exposed by Him, and moves by and through Him (cf. John 14). It is not per se a statement about the Father, but about the Son, His dealings and His advent, His Kingdom and His power, His future and His qualities.
The announcement in 9:6 is of HIM, and it is HIS NAME which is explicitly focussed, just as it is HIS WORKS which draw the eyes in 9:7, the latter the justification of the former, and both of the huge announcement in Isaiah 9, concerning the light which is great, which comes to overcome darkness, the great light which (49:6, 9:1-2) He is.
It is, moreover, to Him who is wonderful and Counsellor that we are introduced, as also exposed for us in Isaiah 11 and 53. There is no ambiguity about whose throne it is in 9:7, and none about the characterisation of the One to sit upon it, whose qualities are set forth like the sun. It is no wonderful thing that is counselled, as though we were dealing in the abstract. The case is wholly other.
Rather it is the wonderful counsellor who is provided. It is in HIM, and not in some other thing, that the name is found, located, lodged, with the qualities leading on to the power and the glory in 9:7. It is not the plan but the person, not the thought but the deed, not the idea but the actualisation, not the potential but the person. Only as wonderful, that name used of the LORD in His theophany to the parents of Samson, can we find a way to put together the Prince of Peace who is both Almighty God and child, everlasting Father and yet one forwarded by the LORD! As God in the flesh, God-the-sent (Isaiah 48:16), the Word, He can be both, and in no other way. (Cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock p. 773.)
As Isaiah 49:6,8,10 and 40:10 show, it is Christ who is the plenipotentiary in all functions of salvation, itself the unique prerogative of God (Isaiah 43:10) - He is the covenant, the leader, the giver of inheritance, the establisher of the earth, the deliverer of prisoners, the provider of mercy, guide; and as to God, there is NONE LIKE HIM (Psalm 89:6-8), no,
THERE is the Saviour, now shown on earth, for all eyes shall see His salvation (52:10). As to GOD, He is the only Saviour, while as to Christ, of necessity, He is indeed God... for there is NO OTHER SAVIOUR (Isaiah 43:11, Acts 4:11-12). He is the Saviour from sin in the most personal way, even figured as a stone on which sin is ETCHED (Zechariah 3:9),
"He has chosen you" (49:7), even though
"man despises" Him, and
"the nation abhors" Him!*A
Chosen to display God's divine prerogatives, He is as Colossians states, Creator and in bodily form, possessed of the fulness of the Godhead.
God did not do things by halves!
J.G. Machen expresses himself in WHAT IS FAITH? (from pp. 115ff. in substance - scriptures added) essentially like this:
If Christ had merely drawn us closer to some great beyond, however far beyond our own unaided powers that might be, however great an advance it might comprise; if He merely had done this, taking us to some shoal or bar with the great beyond still in place, and we still out of that place, we would be left as helpless as we had been, short-changed as it were, at the edge of eternity. But less than infinity can ONLY be infinitely less. If it is NOT infinity, it is infinitely less. That is the nature of infinity. Short of God is desperately, despairingly deprived. Yet Christ being from God, and being God, has not brought us to some journeyman's sand-bar within the oceans of the unknown. Not at all! Christ offers to bring, and for the Christian has brought us, to God, from whom He came (John 8:42, 5:19-23, 6:62, 17:1-3, 1:1-14, Philippians 2).
As Jesus Christ directly put it,
"If God were your Father you would love Me, for I proceeded and came forth from Him!" (John 8:42) and , "Before Abraham was, I am";
and indeed, WHATEVER the Father did, HE did in the SAME WAY (John 5:19-23).
Now if I were a champion golfer, you might "do" what I did, in your mutilated and cramped, crimped fashion; but you COULD NOT, if you were not of the same quality, do it in the SAME WAY! That is the prerogative of greatness. Hence the marvel, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father!" (John 14:9), and the force of the announcement in Isaiah 52, "All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God"...with "Behold My servant...", and that following report before the time came, on the method by which Christ was that salvation, victim, vicarious victor and triumphant sin-bearer (Isaiah 26:19) breaking death (cf. Hosea 13:14), this the very prerogative in turn, of God Himself.
How simple it all really is! God suffered it, God paid for it and to God repentance is made, in terms of the salvation which Christ IS: a light and a covenant, He is also the SALVATION of God, which He shows, declaring, "Behold My Servant" (Isaiah 53:13), and indeed then showing that beyond which there neither is nor could be any greater, higher or more essential salvation: the BEARING OF SIN TO DEATH. Similarly, He is shown as the REDEEMER, the paying party who recovers what is lost.
As Psalm 2:12 has it, it is in HIM that one is to trust, while to trust in "flesh" is a cursed perversion of faith (Jeremiah 17:5ff., Isaiah 30:1-3); it is to Him one renders that divinely commanded devotion (Deuteronomy 6:5). It is HE whom God delights to honour, to exalt, to make Judge of the peoples and focus of His salvation. It is to HIM, Christ, that every knee therefore shall bow (Philippians 2:9-11, Psalm 72), in that very act which God requires towards Himself (Isaiah 45:23), declaring it required for Himself as the only One who is God. It is this one and only God, who - as He so greatly emphasises in His word - has no equal, there being none comparable, none to whom He gives His glory (Isaiah 42:8, 43:10-11, 13, 44:6,8,24, 45:12,18-19, 44:6, 46:5,13), who thus requires THIS acknowledgment of His Son (Psalms 2,72).
This is He, the Christ, the salvation shown (Psalm 72:11,15): it is He to whom this homage will be paid! It is He who is the judge of all (Psalm 2:7ff., John 5:26-27,30). As for others than the Lord Himself, they do not even KNOW and CANNOT know the human heart; but this One judges (Isaiah 11:3ff.), and knows all, as only God does. It is HE and HE ONLY who is the effectual ONE (Isaiah 41:28-42:1) - and Isaiah 53:4 shows the intimacy of this, the Lord Himself, in the interstices of flesh, which He assumed for a purpose, like a novelist coming to inhabit a novel for a purpose of grandeur indeed, pity and wonder.
It is HE likewise who is the Redeemer (Isaiah 55:2-4, 52:3, 53:11); and as to the Redeemer of humans, those image-bearing, image-defacing persons, it is GOD HIMSELF (Isaiah 44:6) one again, who takes this role, has this function, this capacity, this glory. As the ONLY ONE who is God, HE takes this service and nobility to Himself:
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God."
HE is the Redeemer, He the First and He the last, He beside whom there IS NO GOD; and this, redemption of sinners, it is His prerogative, His power, His identification criterion; and it is Christ's.
As John puts it, "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (I John 4:4), as Isaiah, "By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many" - why and how? this way:
"For He shall bear their iniquities!" (53:11). As the Psalmist declares it, "He shall redeem their life from oppression and violence" and "He will save the souls of the needy" (Psalm 72:13-14).
How it is so, even this is explained, for the inter-communion of the divinity is explicit, God being no loner, and all our society being expressive of this in Him, though in Him what has splendour of eternal wonder, in the sinfulness of the human heart often instead becomes oppression, delusion and deceit. Listen then to this His statement, which so mirrors, or rather is mirrored by parts of John 5:19-23, Colossians 1:19-23:
I have not spoken in secret from the beginning:
From the time that it was, I was there.
And now the Lord God and His Spirit
Have sent Me."
And Israel, My called:
I am He, I am the First,
I am also the Last.
Indeed My hand has laid the foundations of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them
They stand up together....
I even I have spoken:
Yes, I have called him,
I have brought him, and his way will prosper."
The intimation concerning the Messiah, God-the-Sent in this context, then follows ..."Come near to Me, hear this...", as we saw above. The ONE GOD is not isolated, but there is plurality in His Majesty: there is His Word, whom He sends, who says in Zechariah 2:8, in similar vein:
In the New Testament (Hebrews 1:1-3), He is called "the express image of His Person", in Proverbs 8, Wisdom (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Item 27, and
Bearing the divine prerogatives, He is God, and His unity has this diversity (Philippians 2:6, John 8:58, 5:17-23); and there is no other God but He who, God the Sender, God the Sent, with His Holy Spirit, so declares Himself (John 15:26, Zechariah 4:6, Psalm 104:30).
Despite the intense satire sometimes found in the Bible (as in Psalm 82, Ezekiel 28: 9), there is but one God, and this, as we have seen, is Biblically stressed almost to infinity! Those who are interested in having some new one (Deuteronomy 32:30,3-5, 16-17), new-fangled, new-boy gods, gods "newly come up" as Moses put it, may do so; but they are not God, merely names for fictitious identities of the deluded mind, like those of Legion in the vast healing wrought on the troubled man in Gadara by the Lord Himself.
The Bible does not hesitate so to designate OTHER gods than He who IS God: Psalm 96:5 - "All the gods of the peoples are idols!" It is this ONE God, the only one recognised by God, the only one KNOWN by God, the God who has none formed before Him and will have none after (Isaiah 43:10), of whom John 1:1 writes: "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." Thus to Thomas - talking of repentance, Christ gave the invitation to satisfy himself physically that the body had risen, and being satisfied, Thomas replied,
We have spoken of the need of repentance. There is an alternative. It is to defile, deface, caricature, crucify Christ, and so seek to grab the "vineyard" from the owner, and rule the earth "without God" (cf. Mark 12:1-10). In the way of any such procedure, however, is this, that Christ was
b) invincible and is to be
1) returning to duties, on this earth and
2) judging those who prefer darkness to light (John 3:30-36, 5:19-23);
and look at the world, is it not dark!
The night comes when no man can work (cf. John 9:4, Isaiah 13; 21:11-12); today is the time to repent, receive, being redeemed, delight in the Lord; to wait upon Him, knowing this:
the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass."
WHY did God declare that Israel would leave its name as a curse to His chosen ? (Isaiah 65:13-15) ?
WHY does Zechariah declare that when Israel finds a vast movement of the Holy Spirit, smiting its heart, that they will look on "Me whom they have pierced" ?
WHY were they cast out of their nation (Matthew 24:1ff., as in Leviticus 26), and why did God declare that He broke the covenant (Zechariah 11), in the midst of the account of the Lord's being sold for 30 pieces of silver ?
Why is it only when Israel is without strength that the Lord will act decisively on her behalf and surge into deliverance (Isaiah 59, Deuteronomy 32:30-43) so that the Gentiles are advised to rejoice with this delivered Israel, specified at this last phase in Zechariah 12:10-13:1 as coming back to reconciliation with the pierced God-as-man Saviour ? with the One whom they had killed before that time ?
It is not difficult to know.
with works in history alone to specify fulfilment of the prophetic scriptures,
with a molestation by Israel so profound,
a rejection by religious authorities so complete,
a Church to follow precisely,
with the Gospel foretold so precisely for it by Isaiah (49-55),
who foretold that kings would worship because of this same Messiah,
the One to be killed in the vicinity of A.D. 30,
whom none could or did discredit despite His famous works of power,
while any challenge made
or any which could be made from the enormous litany of prophetic coverage
in advance of what He had to both BE and DO,
recorded no success, but only the mutilation due to mutiny:
is quite simply Jesus Christ.
Nothing else comes close, is comparable, reasonable,
lacking in complete reckless fecklessness, needlessly heedless, sustaining injury as if in the World War I, the troops had simply walked slowly out of their trenches to see what the neighbouring Germans might think of doing about it...
It is Jesus Christ. If Israel rejects its book, the Old Testament, then it may reject Christ. If it holds to it, there no other logical option: it is time for them to come back to Him. If however, in the midst of religious decline (NOT that this is not being duplicated with equal unfaithfulness amid the Gentiles!), they vary from their book, not only do they depart from the heritage of the workings of God which made their history in every way distinctive, the very structure of their past, but from reason as well (cf. SMR and TMR, for example).
Judaism, if as here both apt and adequate, defined as continuing with the religion of Israel without Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, is wrong because Jesus Christ is right, the Bible is right, and both are incapable now, as heretofore, of being rejected by reason.
None could raise havoc by reason, by argument, by protestation based on data, at the time, and none has managed to show differentiation from the requirements of the Old Testament since, but only the precise contrary, and this with such punch and vigour, detail and certainty that it becomes all but duress just to listen to it; which most will not do, because of this fact; for the heart of man is not willing any more in our day, than in that of Christ (cf. Matthew 13:15).
Nothing of that kind has any evidence of it, though naturally, the official parties who had Him crucified had the MAXIMAL MOTIVE to show Him false, and not merely to slay Him. If they were to be right, they had to slay His memory as well as His body, for memory lingers and evil has consequences before man and God.
If they ever did find any flaw, inconsistency between the (necessary) claim to be God and the performance, history knows nothing of it; and if they had, the Messiah matrix would have become at once a soap bubble, as if (as in Mark 2), He made one of His many challenges, that He could DO what He said, and it did not occur. Once would more than suffice. The tests had to be severe, for the penalty had to look right!
He was famed because nothing of the nature of a lapse or failure did occur, and it is not recorded for the same cause, and not because of some exoteric reason at which history could only blush, and reason wince. If people were drawn to Him, it was in no way in all recorded history, because He had charm. It was because He attested in every way that equality with God which is the easiest thing in the world to overthrow, when you know as they did, that God is Almighty, and the most impossible to manifest personally, when you are not He!
Alas, the nation of Israel has done all that God said would come, and history has recorded both in the day of the Lord and since, all that both the Old Testament and Jesus Christ said would be, in a situation so complex, long and changing, that to consider this psychological is like predicting the weather temperature 40 years hence to the day, at 3 p.m.. Numbers, facts, concepts, history are in indisputable alliance to the point that the world would have to be born again, and forget its former self, before Israel could be both right and living in the sight of God, placed as it is.
If one is of a scientific cast of mind, then this is the presentation, thesis, verification and validation. If one is of cast or pure reason, then it is the same, as in the references above, and moreover in
Deity and design, Designation and Destiny, especially Section 8; and in
This is it, the matter is done, and that is that. It is not however at all so felicitously finalised for those who do not follow the wonder of the grace of God, freed from the despotism of this self-centred, self-worshipping, increasingly soulless globe, to its origin, source, centre and ground, to its relief from its Maker and its redemption from its Messiah where He IS and has BEEN and will BE, in Jesus Christ.
Concerning Israel, It is, moreover, precisely because it is displaced from its due locus of operations with the Lord, that it has been so despised by so many, not justly in its manner, but by power, because their own divine defence is gone. When you are in alliance with God and break from Him in mutiny (Zechariah 11, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53), it is comprehensible to maintain that your case is anything other than very special. When God has gone to the trouble of telling you in advance that you will do this (Isaiah 49:7), and after centuries, by prediction, when it will be, and how it will be done, and why, and with what divinely ordered consequences both in blessing and in cursing, then it is time to bow and to worship this same Messiah.
It is time to worship this God with us, as who He is (Isaiah 48:16) and for what He has done, being the Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), Himself who paid indeed for the ransom, Himself who therefore is none other than the Lord God.
When you misplace God, there is no limit to your trouble; ah! but when you find Him, there is no limit to your joy (Isaiah 51:11). Such is as Paul so rightly indicates in Romans 11.
We long for the blessing to come upon Israel and soon! So did Paul long for them (Romans 9, 11).
That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 4, Allegory 7,
especially on Isaiah 11, 26-27, 32-33, 51-53, 65
The Lame Man and the Children
I met a man limping, and asked him how this came to be. His eyes seemed to scour inwardly through his being, before he replied. "The lame", said he, "shall take the prey." That is Isaiah 33:23, and as it came from those resolute lips, it seemed as if the deficiency he had and the proficiency of which he spoke, somehow merged.
"I beg your pardon!" I replied politely. "Listen," he whispered, for there was about him an atmosphere almost of communicating a secret, as if he were afraid swine might enter into something precious.
"It is better to enter into the kingdom of heaven lame than to laugh your way to hell in all idiocy of useless health and self-reliant strength, as if the mortal gave to itself immortality or finality. THAT," he added, "is living the lie!"
"But how does this apply?", I asked, now thoroughly engrossed.
Suddenly a flame soared out from his eyes, which temporarily had been saddened, and he stated with a peaceful kind of brilliant clarity:
"The Earth Shall be Filled with the Glory of the Lord as the Waters Cover the Sea!"
His whole being seemed to relax, and a stream of pure waters appeared beside us, which led back to a spring welling up with such bountiful determination and such a sense of flush joy that I temporarily ceased breathing. He however continued.
"This IS going to happen. In Habakkuk you find that the prophet is exceedingly upset by the sheer immensity of cruelty, violence and craft by which unscrupulous people slime the earth, slitheringly, bickering, netting others, netting gain, smirking with success.
"The Lord tells him that JUDGMENT is to come; that in the interim the JUST will live by HIS FAITH, in that the aim of self-aggrandisement is one way of handling things, and faith in that which is to be, and in the One who will make it happen, and in His ways and provisions and plans: this is another."
These things he declared before swimming quietly in the streams which had earlier come beside us, and there his lameness did not seem to count. Pausing on a rock nearby, which seemed specially shaped to allow him ease and comfort on it, he continued.
"In that happy time, a sort of celestial invasion of the earth, nevertheless the completion of the picture of the pageantry for this our world, and the purity is not yet: therefore it must be waited for: and since the waiting is for that which the eyes do not yet see, it must be done by faith."
His eyes seemed to take on the deep and shimmering blue of the stream as he added:
tarry, wait for it;
because it will surely come" ..."
This I knew came from that delicious book, Habakkuk - 2:3.
"When," he added, "when it comes, then my heart now tested by this body, will be in flower, and the scent of His beauty will be overwhelmingly like a flower garden in Spring. You know," he continued, "what Habakkuk was told:
'The earth shall be covered with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.' "
He paused with a look of such utter expectation on his face that it shone. "This," he resumed, pursing his lips with a sort of savour as if he were eating some tropical fruit, "is the Millenial Transmutation. The sort of transmutation, radical change, which really happens is the one to come. It WILL come, and its extent will be UNIVERSAL, its cover to the earth of the magnitude, dimension and obviousness which meets the eye when one surveys a scene at sea."
"MILLENIAL TRANSMUTATION", I mused.
"Now we Christians have transmutation within, then it will be revealed in the external world. Certainly there is no advanced transmutation of any other design revealed in the past - only designs which incorporate multiple features. Then we shall see the features of the face of the Lord who made us, translated into more obvious lines upon this earth."
He proceeded, with a kindly pity in his eye, for his condition so far from dulling his perception, seemed if anything, to heighten it.
"The waters COVER the sea: it is not a hill there, a dale there, in terms of water, but hill and dale OF water WITHIN the water. It COVERS things. It will be like the flood, but not water that destroys: rather beauty that ennobles. THAT is how complete the wonder is to be."
"But where does it talk of these things!," I challenged him, for it was of interest to see if his base was stable.
"Oh, Isaiah 65," he said dreamily, "where the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed, and no more shall an infant from there live only a few days, where the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in Jerusalem, nor the voice of crying, where they shall not build and another inhabit... where the Messiah will reign on the earth just as Psalms 72:2-12 and 67:3-7 show He will." Suddenly he seemed as if he could not contain himself longer, and he spoke like one in authority.
"In Isaiah 11," he declared with an all but inimitable combination of tenderness and grave justice, "where this phenomenon to be is dealt with, we find that the matter extends to the animal kingdom, so that deadly enemies of nature, or extreme vulnerabilities as of the child by the asp, will vanish. Those elements of the curse will be redeemed for this earth... then."
His face now relaxed, and he continued meditatively:
" 'They will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,' says the Lord. The reason is this: that 'the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.' There, then, it is again, written.
"Now does this mean that no one will actually achieve any enduring any wrong ? ," he asked. "It does not seem so: for 'with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth'. True, that might apply to the overall result and not cover individual reproofs, but it also states, "He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes neither reprove after the hearing of His ears" in verse 3. This does give the glow of a continual constancy in maintaining the right. That implies that there is still something to put right. It also indicates that right it will be made, and then!
"Hence when in Psalm 72 we read of the king whose name is to endure in wonder and praise while sun endures, and of the righteous flourishing in His days and abundance of peace until the moon is no more, which is way past Solomon, we find also more. We are indeed led to the King of whom it says, 'Prayer also shall be made for Him continually', and 'His name shall endure for ever.. and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed'; but there also we find this - 'He shall deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him who has no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy: He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight'.
"This suggests that the situation is not mere perfection - and the 'mere' does not diminish it, but rather allows for ACTION in securing it."
"What sort of figure or image occurs to you, to describe such things!" I exclaimed with enthusiasm, for as he spoke, these words seem to be written on the clouds above as if by an invisible machine soaring aloft. To this he responded:
"It appears rather like a coffee grinder. However rough and individually tough the beans may be, the coffee grinder gets into them and they are DEALT WITH, until beans are no more and only coffee remains. The grinding prevails, if one may so say, over the beans as the waters cover the sea, and if any bean should seek to prosper in individual tyranny, mocking others and seeking to elevate itself at their expense, it will have nothing left of which to boast. It will be ground."
At this, he rested a little, and suddenly seemed to be bathing his crippled leg in pink waters which spilled over blue terraces that looked like ice, but which were warm with a strange feeling of penetrating vitality. Gratefully, I bathed in these as he spoke. When the pain of his leg subsided, in these waters of life, he continued.
"In other words, there is a RIGOUR of RIGHTEOUSNESS coming in which unlike the present, the subtle and the sly, the silly and the striving will not make it into the Hall of Fame. For there will be intervention, deliverance, action and rectification. It will be FAST."
"Will this last for long, before heaven itself, and the place of posting for the refuse-niks comes?" I asked.
"How long is this period in which righteousness will prosper and deliverance will be as automatic as is the justification in word-processing, when one sets the button to call for it ?", I pursued, warmed by the waters to his theme.
"How long?", he asked meditatively in return, his eyes on the strange lights dappling the skies as if to remind that this is a phenomenon of light, which has its own ways.
"Since a thousand years is EXPRESSLY in this terminal period set as being 'as a day', brave indeed would be the one who would seek to quantify here. It could be three months; it could be less. Children can be born making a new generation at any time; symbols must be allowed for; the final analysis of NOT KNOWING is jealously guarded in the words of Peter just quoted from II Peter 3:8-10. It will be LONG ENOUGH for these NEW CHARACTERISTICS to be apparent.
"No MORE will the HUNGRY be left, the RAPACIOUS be enlarged, the curse be confused with justice rather than judgment, and the survival of the fittest be the immoral madness of a spiritually exhausted race, where to be just is to be exceptional."
"But what will be the focus, the crucial features," I pursued.
"The aspect to emphasise there is this: THIS will be through ONE CAUSE. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, will personally be present, not as an offer of salvation as a selective emphasis, but as the King, as He whom so many for so long in so many places and in so much weariness of spirit have rejected that they might rule within to their own doom.
"NOW HE WILL RULE whether chosen or not: not, it is true, within the hearts of the obstinate, but over the dealings of men, not only in that invisible and wonderful deliverance all Christians know, but in the macro, in the gross and outward forms also. The non-prosperity of sin will be skywritten over the earth; it will be inscribed and apparent everywhere. In this way, the configuration, emphasis, exhibition, tableau: it will change.
"True to form, many will lie low, unimpressed by righteousness, undrawn by truth, uncomforted by peace, with hearts like granite, and morals like tar, they will outwardly conform but inwardly writhe. Their anguish however will not mould the earth, nor their fingers fashion it in any way.
"Then His righteousness will be vindicated in external rule, as now it is in inward peace for those who heeded His words, 'Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me', and 'The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever', and again, 'Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed', in Isaiah 27:5, 32:17 and Psalm 85:10."
"His wonderful compassion allows the feeling of weakness at the present time, in the face of this world's gallivanting to horror, showing by experiment the utter folly of its ways," I offered.
"It is in a more depraved dimension than even this," he resumed. "In fact, it appears in this light. For long, the Lord bore mockery in two stages. Firstly, it was in this: that He did not come down from the Cross, or use His power for Himself, when derided for His sacrifice, without which none of His mockers had any hope at all. It was secondly in this: that when He left, He did not make His servants rich and oppressive, as the world admires, but allowed them to be not greater than their Master.
"When however He returns, and has taken His own people, and comes like a conquering General to the place of His sacrifice as one gathers from Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14, then He will show the face of sovereignty to the rebellious in heart. Like mountains appearing on the horizon, righteousness will dominate the scene. The trial and testimony are all but past. Now is the time to manifest outwardly to the outward.
"There will simply be nothing to mock," he pondered musing. Yet his words now seemed to thunder, and his eyes projected two shafts of light which seemed to reduce all history to a small size, like trees put back to the nuts from which they grew; and there were people old and young, men and women, boys and girls, hurrying and flurrying, with notices tied to their necks; but I could not read what was on them, though the handwriting seemed similar for all.
"After all," he continued with a more gentle smile, "a couple of thousand years of intellectualistic illusions, metaphysical mimicries, of grandeur and chest-thumping delusion on the part of the self-righteous...it is a fair time for testing purposes. These things have been while the Gospel travels to the end of the earth, and the splendour of the Lord is in Spirit, while oppressors continue to make their billions and trillions by chicanery. Not that wealth MEANS oppression, but the two are not rarely in consort like husband and wife, the one feeding the other.
"Thus the wonder of this glory of the Lord covering the earth as the waters cover the sea is not that heavenly magnificence where sin has no place, and efforts at wrong no chance. That is for heaven itself. It is only then that all hearts are as pure as the dew on a Winter's morning and the beauty of holiness is hallowed in the heavenly air.
"Rather the millenial fact is a RULING in the midst of mankind which PUNISHES evil quickly, effectively and continuously, DELIVERS righteousness and sets it in authority, and MAINTAINS a peace and a tang and savour which is never penetrated..." At this, he mused with a sort of quietus, as if the whole earth were still.
"The Lord's power now is amidst suffering," he declared; "for as Paul says, we are like sheep to the slaughter. It demonstrates His love and His gospel; and He does deliver His people with this purpose in view. Then however it will show itself in a sheer wonder of righteousness, for the vast test is then past."
"Doesn't Isaiah say still more on this topic," I queried, stimulated by the shrinkage of history his words had begun to portray.
"It is as Isaiah says in 26:10. EVEN IN SUCH A SITUATION, when favour is shown to the wicked, yet :
'... he will not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly,
and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Lord, when Thy hand is lifted up,
they will not see: but they will see and be ashamed for their envy at the people'.
"The fire indeed is going to devour them, we read. Here we see the reality displayed in its impactive fulness, 'This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.'
"As to the fire of judgment, that does happen at the end of the millenium when, despite this majesty, so little valued, and this power, so incapable of overthrow, and this justice, maintained with rigour, there is an epochal uprising of jealous hearts. Of this John speaks in Revelation 20.
"That is the end of this Phase 2: implemented righteousness. In Phase 1 which is now, righteousness does abide and bless, and is imputed righteousness to the saints. In Phase 2 however, it is implemented in the scene itself, and visible to the external eyes, covering the world like waters, as well as springing up in the heart of the righteous with joy."
"But what more will happen then?", I asked, "to the people".
At this, he seemed to ponder, with a strange musing, as if his whole being were drawn into the scene to which he went on to speak.
"In the beginning of mankind's world," he reflected, "man was equipped with the wonder of the glory of God as a present reality. Through tests did follow, man had a great power through resource, though recourse to God.
"In accord with this scenario, the engineer specialist in evil, Satan was free to put his pitiful case, his appeal to innocence in man, to achieve its guilt, to desire in woman to achieve its pollution, and so to infiltrate and intrigue the mind of man. Man fell.
"In this latter time, however, in the millenium..."
"How?", I asked fascinated, "how does it differ?"
"It differs in
this," he resumed. "In this millenial period, the devil is
effectively hobbled, indeed he is disabled for its entire duration. You see, by
then man's power of spirit is - unless he is redeemed - far less than it was in
the beginning; for at the first he had not yet fallen."
"So man is weaker, the devil is weaker?"
"Precisely," he continued. "His chief adversary is in pains, and man in general is in chains to sin. The situation is now very different, but there is now possible a new test," he mused, and as it seemed to me, more poignantly.
"The question then is this: Will human nature by itself, surrounded with mercy, environmentally new-charged, manage to do well this time? Will a kind of celestially enabled humanism secure a place and triumph in blessedness in the millenium?
"Far from it. The nature of man fallen, though freed from the environmentally crippled scene he developed for himself, the sad scene which he has created or called for or both, and even though freed from that potent adversary, the devil ... it has no intrinsic good. The form, the image of God in man is defiled, and no unrenovated relic of man can save himself. The testimony to those in heavenly places is complete then," he mused. I noted his Bible open at Ephesians 3:10, and marked at Revelation 20:8-9.
"What else happens in this twilight that precedes the everlasting dawn?" I asked.
"What more the Lord does in the Millenial Lesson Time is His business. It is hard to deduce all possible matters with certainty; we do not know what some will do, but of this be sure - NO ONE WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD IN VAIN, with faith.
"We do not know what some may be permitted to do, or every square inch of the sequence in the scenario. Yet Biblically, till the moon is blood and the sun darkness, the arm of the Lord is open and beckoning (Acts 2:17-21). That is the apostolic teaching. BUT IT COMES! IT COMES!"
"To what do you refer?" I asked.
"It comes when "Too late!" thunders through the riven air, when no more the doors will open, when faith no more enters the injured heart of fallen man. Already rejection of the Lord spells doom at His own return, and there is no exception to that! Do you not recall we spoke a little time ago about imputed and implemented righteousness, of the current offer that changes one's state and status within, and then of the external display of righteousness in the millenium? These were phases 1 and 2 of righteousness on display, on line if you like. Few took the first and many will make light of the second.
"When indeed all this is over, Phase 1 and Phase 2, THEN the book TELLS us this - "they went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them... and I saw a great white throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them" - Revelation 20:9,11.
"It is THEN that "the books are opened" and "another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works... and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
"That is the end to the consummation. THEN you see that those WRITTEN in the Redeemer's book of life - for eternal life is available ONLY as a gift, as Romans 6:23, 3:20-31 indicate decisively - are given life (John 5:24 outwardly verified); and for the damned, the criterion is what they have done. That is also found in Matthew 25 where the sheep ARE sheep and are rewarded for good actions; while the goats ARE goats, and their sins are expressly remembered against them.
"Sheep of course KNOW THEIR SHEPHERD (John 10:9,27-28). Millenium or not, the heavens departing and the old earth thrown away like an old garment, or new heavens and new earth: in this, it is all one (Isaiah 51:6, 65:17). HE is always the same, His faithfulness greater than the sun, His life with a splendour of magnificence that requires no show."
As he spoke, some children came cavorting like magpies, in a very ecstasy of voyaging and darting and exploring, and waters flowed from the heart of a large tree which clapped its branches, though I noted it had been nailed on some of the main ones, and scarred; and these branches were like hands, while the children bathed in the waters, and climbed in it.
glowed white as if lit up by the sun, and I saw on their foreheads the name
'Jesus is Lord'; and I looked and beheld the form of the man who was lame, who
seemed to join them, as they vanished, for sheer brilliance of the light.
FROM The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, on Isaiah 13:12
7) Isaiah 13:12 in the NKJV has "mortal man" as that which is precious. However the Hebrew does not necessarily have this translation, and it does not satisfy all the components of the broader context. It is more "human" in the sense of mankind, on which the focus is made. The term "rare" again, has a strong connotation of "precious" as in the KJV. The word "man" on the next line is also one which has the sense of a son of man, of mankind, sons of Adam. It could be translated less intrusively by putting it:
'I will make a human more precious than find gold, a man more than the golden wedge..'
Now in Isaiah 28:6 we find this same word "precious" use of the great foundation stone, and that is of great contextual significance both as to language used and meaning in view (cf. Isaiah 11:2-4, 12:2, 40:10, 41:29-42:1, 49:6). Is it not the small valuing of HIM (Zechariah -13) at 30 pieces of silver, who is THE LORD \ the speaker there, which brings in the trouble to the uttermost? GOD is NOT mocked!
The sense here would appear NOT to be, that you will not find a man, except most rarely - for there appear numbers of them; but that a MAN a HUMAN, a member of this race as to form at least, will be precious, will be incarnation of God, will be rendered vulnerable, will be available. In view of what elsewhere in this book is shown of the infamous treatment accorded this precious cornerstone (as Isaiah 28:16 calls Him), there will indeed be a "shaking of the heaven", as the very next verse in Isaiah 13 tells us.
As Hebrews 12:25-28 puts it,
they did not escape, who refused Him who spoke on earth,
much more shall we not escape if we turn away form Him who speaks from heaven."
The things that CAN be shaken are going to be! THIS is the chief ground, that the things which CANNOT be shaken remain. HE cannot be moved. Nor will those who have "fled to Him for refuge " (Hebrews 6:18).
The emphasis on someone of
the HUMAN RACE, the Son of Man, as Christ called Himself, is therefore best
left within the translation as suggested, instead of the "mortal man"
which is not precisely what is written.
from More Marvels
from the Majesty and Mind of the AlmightyCh. 7,
Isaiah 24-29 with reference to Isaiah 22. This also covers something of the integral scope of the entire book of Isaiah.
Repent or Perish Ch. 6,
especially on Isaiah 26:10
There will simply be nothing to mock. After all, a couple of thousand years of it is a fair time for testing purposes, while the Gospel travels to the end of the earth, and the splendour of the Lord is in Spirit, while oppressors continue to make their billions and trillions by chicanery. Not that wealth MEANS oppression, but the two are not rarely in consort like husband and wife, the one feeding the other.
It would thus seem that nature of the wonder of this glory of the Lord covering the earth as the waters cover the sea is not that heavenly magnificence where sin has no place, and efforts at wrong no chance. It is then that all hearts are as pure as the dew on a Winter's morning and the beauty of holiness is hallowed in the heavenly air. Rather the millenial fact is a RULING in the midst of mankind which PUNISHES evil quickly, effectively and continuously, DELIVERS righteousness and sets it in authority, and MAINTAINS a peace and a tang and savour which is never penetrated...
As Isaiah says in 26:10, EVEN IN SUCH A SITUATION, when favour is shown to the wicked, yet "he will not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will be deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Lord, when Thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they will see and be ashamed for their envy at the people." The fire indeed is going to devour them, we read. Here we see in its fulness,
"This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
As to the fire of judgment, that does happen at the end of the millenium when, despite this majesty, so little valued, and this power, so incapable of overthrow, and this justice, maintained with rigour, there is an epochal uprising of jealous hearts. Of this John speaks in Revelation 20, and that is the end of this Phase 2:
What more the Lord does in the Millenial Lesson Time is His business. It is hard to deduce all possible matters with certainty, for while the Lord will perform all His word, He does not conform to the philosophising of "senior year students" who may presume even to instruct their teacher. Of this, however, let us be sure - NO ONE WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD IN VAIN, with faith. Equally truly, the Lord may abstract from the earth, BEFORE this manifestation of His righteousness, all who are EVER to be His, foreknown before the foundation of the world, and duly predestined; and indeed, with the marriage feast of the Lamb past, it is hard to imagine how there could be any "born out of due time" in the following earthly exhibition of His righteousness in the millenium. Certainly all that pertains to the wedding in its broad general outlines is by that time, past: the bride herself has already been taken. She did not leave an arm or a leg behind; nor was she married in stages. In vain have pounded the unspiritual formalists, who carried the sign of the lamp (Matthew 25), but failed to have in it any oil. Alas, they shall never enter in.
ALL these principles will be kept, but let us leave to the Lord the expression of the day, to Him whose mercy is ever sure and who alone does wonders (Psalm 72:18). As the Psalmist also declares, "Thou art the God who does wonders" (Psalm 77:14). Like a child going down rapids with his father in a canoe, thrusting and swaying, but careering with consistency and grace, so is the joy in His presence interpreted as we travel along His paths, always fresh, depth upon depth shown to us. As to Him, His ways do not change and His principles are sure.
Thus, when you are dealing with the author of a book - or being dealt with by him, it is unwise to TELL Him, you must simply wait and see. When the work is that of the Lord, how surely will all the principles enunciated by God scrupulously be kept, in the present, in the future and always; for His word is seven times refined, and to the jot and tittle will be performed, in the depth of His wisdom and the wonder of His counsel. This is one of the most delightful features of the Lord: He is so excellently deep, and His knowledge is surpassingly splendid; yet as to His word, it is surer than rock, more steadfast than any citadel, more pleasant than any stream, more exalted than any mountain, and in the end, love so suffuses it, majesty so upholds it, with mercy so rushing like mountain streams from it, and purity so adorns it, that it is
So will the millenium in its time, be fulfilled, but not without the end lash of the luxuriating souls, who surrounded with the mercy and grace of the Lord in a righteous realisation of His power on earth, will STILL want to rebel (Revelation 20:7-9), always wanting "another", deceptive, devious and duplicitous, pampering to lust and careless of heart. So the time of peace ends, and the war that literally ends the earth arises, for at this time, the stage itself "flees away", and the confrontation ends in the consummation.
Accordingly, when indeed all this is over, Phase 1 and Phase 2, the Age of the International Church and the Time of the Millenium, there comes an end. THEN the book TELLS us this -
up and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire
came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them... and I saw a great white
throne, and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled
away: and there was found no place for them" - Revelation 20:9,11.
on Isaiah 26:13 (below)
See also EXCERPT
More Marvels from the Majesty and Mind of the Almighty Ch. 9
What does Isaiah say ? Read Isaiah 26:13:
Lord our God, other masters besides You have had dominion over us,
but by You only we make mention of Your name."
What does this require ?
Even the environment of terms is for the divine: IT IS BY HIM that mention is made of His name. The Spirit is not for invasion, the worship not for secular direction: the whole is under the sole panoply of God Himself.
Communism is quite simply an idol-master, precisely as in Israel, steeped in superstition, asking of its determinative powers, gods over the earth, the provision of 'miracles' predicted in the name of its nubilous powers, which do not have the advantage of existing, so that the results do NOT come to pass.
It is as with Baal of old, like Molech too, swallowing up children by 'necessary' imprisonment for disagreeing with them: and how one mourners for the imprisoned Chinese youth, butts of Communist folly and brutality. Ignorantly as with Romanist Inquisitions in the past, it tortures and trumpets, demanding submission this time not to the Pope (cf. SMR pp. 926ff., 950, 1032ff., 1088F-G, 1065ff., 1069ff.), but through marauding, murdering, to the Party.
In it, however, in vital areas, it is routinely condemned in its 'manifestation' of 'lord', as was Stalin by Krushchev and Mao by Zeng. This then is dominion! Dominion of mind, of body by artful pushers, Fagins of the soul, and devious devisors. By its rule, it sickeningly steals the souls of men.
What then is the application here of Isaiah's words ? Quite simply: making mention of God's name by State permission, in State terms, by State control. It is not by Party permission and rule that the name of Christ is to be mentioned, but by the authority of God, with the liberty of God to rule His Church as He wishes. It is CHRIST only who is head of the Church, which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
Hence although one cannot approve of war in which a Church might participate by Solemn League and Covenant, nor on the other can one do other than condemn categorically in God's own name, any truck, traffic or participating treatment in terms of oversight and control, by any Government for a Church.
In this, the Scotch Presbyterians were entirely right: CHRIST ALONE IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH. While the Government might indeed institute righteousness (NOT " 'faith' by force", that ludicrous imposition of militant pretence), the Church is free directly to its Head, Jesus Christ. Other lords may not be mentioned in terms of His name. By HIS NAME ONLY may we make mention of His name. That is what we are instructed to believe, and hence to DO!
It is faithfulness exhibited in fidelity of government and utterance to HIS name, to HIS specifications, in HIS phrases and by HIS will, that is required. Indeed, ALL things are to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). There is simply no other name which is allowed by God to intrude in the things which are His, delving into the site which is HIS in the souls of men, bustling into their adoration and worship, hustling into their life control and aim, emphasis and rule. Hence, despite the blindness of a lecturer we had in a related field in Sydney University, who professed himself incapable of knowing what we learned from Christ's word, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's" (Matthew 22:21) - the facts are not only clear but simple. God does not allow any component of theology, of worship or church affairs in their teaching, spiritual and proclamatory phases to be entered by Caesar - the 'sovereign' State. Any such action is direct war on God Himself. It is not really apt for Christian organisations to act as if all were well, in such times; for governments to suggest it to be plausible and inoffensive, or pragmatically ... correct.
He, Christ Himself died
rather than compromise. He had, after all, only to say that He was NOT the Son
of God to escape all, a matter of ... doctrine! It was because there was no
deviousness, no deceit in His mouth that He proceeded to die (Isaiah 53:9, Mark
14:62). Those who are ashamed of Him, of them will HE ALSO be ashamed (Luke
EXCERPT FROM A Question of Gifts, pp. 29ff., especially on Isaiah 28-29
See also, here, on Isaiah 28-29 in a sweep over the evangelical thrust in Isaiah, with Hosea 4. This is found in The Defining Drama Ch. 6.
In I Cor. 14:21, Paul cites Isaiah 28:11-12. He follows this with the word "therefore", as before showing that this is an application. Tongues are an application of an Old Testament passage; and we should then see what it is.
In Isaiah 28, God censures the people for their drunkenness (the point was not wholly inept about stutterers, babblers, then). Verses 7-8 make the point that drinking has led to loss of judgment and righteousness: both. There has been gross disregard of duty in the nation. This is the charge.
As we proceed in Isaiah 28, it seems - in the teaching method employed - as if God is looking around to see, in view of the licentious - seeming laxity of some who OUGHT to be QUALIFIED to teach spiritual things, just who remains usable, actually to serve this function. Which parties are available in such a fallen State ?
Remember, it was not the fine looking brother of David, but the tender youth who was chosen. God elects! The Lord then asks a rhetorical or almost rhetorical question: Will He then seek BABES from the breast as suitable human beings for ... teacher preparation, to become students with Himself, as their teacher, so that they might pass these things on as faithful messengers ? Must He, as it were, go back so far to the very babies who babble to avoid the degeneration of arrogant follies, the cultural conformism, the moral breaches which mar and coarsen His people when grown! In the fallen Nation, where was better material ? Must it be babes?
How the position reminds one of the present, where David Wilkerson, years ago, pointed out the degenerations of youth were reaching right back to the 8 year-old level!
In Isaiah 28:10, God mocks their quasi-learned pomposity. Oh they knew SO much, and their overbearing and supercilious 'scholarship' was just SO wonderful! HERE A LINE, He mocks them, THERE A LINE, bit by bit they SHOW how knowledgeable they are. Yet in fact they miss the very point of His word. (Cf. Mark 7:7: when God came to earth, He showed His scorn at formal pretenders direct!) This they do, while with all the assurance of bumptious oafs, whose own hearts are not right with God, and whose heads are insufferably swollen in the profundity of their ignorance6, (cf. I Corinthians 14:37-38) they creep on, 'Here a little! There a little!' precisely teaching all that a blind man can see.
Thus again, Jesus Himself rebuked the lawyers (Luke 11:52), theological lawyers, saying, "You have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in, you hindered." You see it in both modes, the ancient equivalents in this of the Roman Catholic heresy, in that they added their traditions, giving them weight beside His word - incredible audacity (the Mark 7:7 case). A further element is seen when Jesus announces that they are failing to see the MAIN POINTS, while dealing with the tiniest details (Matthew 23:23)... neglecting judgment and mercy and faith. On such things, they have a blind eye to turn; or an ecclesiastical cataract condition: it hinders them!
Such people were like (and of course are so still!) elegant stammerers (Isaiah 28:11). They know, oh they KNOW so much, so emptily, so airily, and with so little sincerity. They, as it were, BABBLE, as sophisticated ignoramuses. Small wonder they received some of the deepest scorn ever accorded man by any speaker! They MAR the work of God while marvelling at their own traditional attainments and scholarly superiority!
This making vain the word of God is a folly of all ages! Thus God resolved to PROVIDE a prophetic signal -"FOR WITH STAMMERING LIPS AND ANOTHER TONGUE HE WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE" (Isaiah 28:11). HE had provided the "rest" for them - "the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest" - BUT instead, "the word of the Lord was to them, 'Precept upon precept, precept upon precept...' that they might go and fall backward and be broken".
In providing this STAMMERING SIGNAL, this babe-for-teacher syndrome, so droll, so scathing, so rebuking, the Lord, then, will be reproving the supercilious and deadly ignorance of the arrogantly mistaught, who do not realise they are blind. (On that, compare again, John 9:39-41!) WHO, God asks (Isaiah 42:19) is BLIND EXCEPT MY SERVANT! When religion is astray, HOW FAR ASTRAY it can be! If what it is all about, moreover, is on the wrong path, then how far out will the misdirected travellers go!
What then will He cause to happen, and what is the prophetic item ? It is this. God will use speakers who stammer, who are so far from sophisticates that they may seem to be very babblers. In Isaiah 28:13, God continues to exhibit the contempt with which He views the scholarly blindness, as we saw in the last paragraph. What is its end ? That too we saw: "that they might be broken". .. and as one rendering has it, "broken and snared and caught".
Is that not it ? Were not the radical liberal Protestants swarming in the Church, like that, when they re-grouped to join Rome, itself active in suppressing the word of God ? This Rome did by its God-forsaken traditions, adding to it; while in the former case, they subtracted from it, similarly adding their own thoughts instead. What horror has their arrogant pride produced in a multitude of churches in this century! How foolish thus to speak, and approvingly to listen! (Cf. I Timothy 6:1-6, 4:6, Ephesians 5:3,11, Romans 16:17-19, Titus 3:10,1:13, 2:15,II Timothy 3:14-16.) So, each body erring in its own way, many go astray7, who must faithfully be warned.
How foolish it was to have such teachers in our century; how foolish also in that of Isaiah, who rebuked them soundly, as rebuked they must be by faithful Ministers (cf. II Timothy 4:1-5, I Timothy 4:6). What, says Isaiah (8:20, 34:16): Seek the law of God, the very book of it: if they do not speak according to this book, there is no light in them! THAT is clear. Listen then, when the teaching leaves or even criticises God's word, and be instructed, if THIS is your choice. If this is the way you want it, then you look for an inheritance, one where there is 'no light' to use a rendering of Isaiah .
To revert to the lessons still to come from Isaiah 28: lies, he
says, these you have made your refuge (28:15). The prophet proceeds to show the only Saviour whose knowledge is to be
real (Isaiah 28:16), the precious and exclusive FOUNDATION STONE (cf. I Corinthians ). The Lord resumes this aspect in Isaiah 29:13-15. He will show up the alleged wisdom of the wise, HE will engender a way which is simple enough for a child. ALL this is within the tongue-speaking phenomenon. What follows then ?
It is this. To speak with tongues is to be a SIGN AGAINST SOPHISTICATED REBELLION, but it is FAR from SUPERIOR SANCTITY! It is, if you like, a walking CARTOON, almost like a Gillies report mockery. A sign ? Yes. Useful ? If in order, yes it can be. The intense irony ? It is this: EVEN THIS SIGN IS NOW BEING MISUSED as if the world were determined to use mockery for substance and reproof of folly for food! A signal, then, yes in two ways:
1) It signifies the intense supernatural origin of the gospel, so powerful that as from God, as it were, even a child may be found in it.
2) It shows now the intense folly of men. Many even in some churches (of this variety or that) will misuse even a form of rebuke as ONE MORE DELICIOUSLY VAIN METHOD OF OBTAINING THE VERY SNOOTY SPIRITUAL SANCTITY WHICH THE SIGN ITSELF WAS INVENTED TO REBUKE! 'Tongues' as sanctity ? Oh the mockery of mockeries of it all... Small wonder R.C. and other word-adders begin to join hands8!
How imperative it is to consort and to walk with the Lord, in blessed obedience! to follow Him, and not to lead.
For more on Isaiah 29-32, see The Glow of Predestination Ch. 8, *2