Home » 2021 » April

Monthly Archives: April 2021

Second Messianic Passage: Isaiah Devotional Journal 47

Isaiah 24    Link to LXE Modernized

–continued from Part One Simultaneously published at JustOneSmallVoice.com

Second Messianic Passage (Give Allegiance to the King: Part 2)

RECAP: Isaiah 24 is an amazing chapter. He summarizes his entire message to this point. This chapter especially summarizes his judgments against the nations from chapter 13 forward. It also serves as an introduction to the more detailed messianic portions later in the book. The vista of Isaiah 24 is enormous. His vision stretches to the end of time. This is the first lengthy eschatological (end times) passage in the book. He also zooms in on the “church age.” The chapter is a call for all peoples to give their allegiance to the King who wins. Find the link to the first messianic passage HERE. This post covers the second messianic passage.

Second Messianic Passage: Verses 21-23

There is a very large break following verse 20 that is important not to miss. Verse 20 strikes the final hammer blow to the earth.

Isaiah 24:20 The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. (ESV)

Following this phrase, “The earth… shall not be able to rise,” (Septuagint) Isaiah writes:

Isaiah 24:21 And God shall bring His hand upon the host of heaven, and upon the kings of the earth. 22 And they shall gather the multitude thereof into prisons, and they shall shut them into a stronghold; after many generations they shall be visited. 23 And the brick shall decay, and the wall shall fall; for the Lord shall reign from out of Zion, and out of Jerusalem, and shall be glorified before His elders. (CAB, LXE)

This is the second messianic passage in Isaiah 24.

How Is This Verse Messianic?

At first glance, verse 21 may appear to belong with the previous judgment section. How can this be the first verse of a second messianic passage? Yes, it can seem like more of the same that went before. However, there are indicators that a new section has begun.

Isaiah writes abruptly

Isaiah’s main characters are: the rebellious and the submissive, the loyal and the disloyal, the people and the Lord. Just as in a movie or in the book of Revelation, Isaiah’s “camera” switches back and forth between his main characters.

  • In the Masoretic text tradition (nearly all of our major translations) the signal phrase is, “On [or in] that day…” (ESV). This phrase often refers to an event in a messianic timeframe. See Isaiah 2:11, 17; 11:10; Hosea 2:16; Amos 9:11; Micah 4:6; Zechariah 2:11; John 14:20 and 16:26.
  • In the Septuagint, which I follow in this blog, the signal word is a simple, “And.” There are two “ands” in Greek–a hard “and” and a soft “and.” The soft “and” is a transition word that has multiple uses. The hard “and” (καὶ) often signals a major section break. See, for example, Isaiah 24:12. For several prior verses in this example, Isaiah had been talking about people. In verse 12, he switches to speaking about cities.
  • In verse 24:21, Isaiah signals a change of topic with the introductory word, “And.”
Strong New Testament Parallels

Verses 21 and 22

Isaiah 24:21 And God shall bring His hand upon the host of heaven, and upon the kings of the earth. 22 And they shall gather the multitude thereof into prisons, and they shall shut them into a stronghold; after many generations they shall be visited.

Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (ESV)

 Luke 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (ESV)

We live in the missionary era. The Gospel goes forth largely unimpeded (yet often not without great sacrifice and suffering). People from many nations hear God’s Word. Lives are changed. Neither Satan, nor the kings of the earth, have power to prevent the Word of Jesus Christ from going forth. All three of the above passages describe this messianic period of time. We are currently living “in that day.” This is the day when we show our allegiance to Christ our King.

Isaiah describes different events

Notice the finality of Isaiah 24:20, “It [the earth] shall fall, and shall not be able to rise.” (LXE) The ESV reads, “It falls, and will not rise again.” Yet, this second messianic passage, verses 21-22, speaks of period of time when the host of heaven and kings are to be shut up in prison, only to be visited, or punished, “after many generations.” But, this would not be possible if the earth had already fallen, never to rise again. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that by using the word “And… “, Isaiah has changed subjects. He presents, as it were, certain material from a different camera angle. The entire chapter is eschatological, and there are different sections in it. The judgment sections refer to the very end, while the messianic passages refer to a time period the Masoretic texts describe as, “in that day.”

Similarity with Ephesians

Septuagint verse 23 meshes extremely well with the proposition that the passage from verse 21 forward is messianic. The time period is the Christian era following the resurrection of Christ, as presented above.

Isaiah 24:23. And the brick shall decay, and the wall shall fall; for the Lord shall reign from out of Zion, and out of Jerusalem, and shall be glorified before His elders.

Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (ESV)

The Masoretic textual tradition differs greatly in the first portion of this verse. “Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed,… ” (Isaiah 24:23 ESV). Both traditions agree on the second portion of the verse.

The Main Point

Commentators present differing views in how they interpret the details of Isaiah 24. Translations do indeed make a difference. However, the main point is clear. Isaiah presents a vision far in the future from his point in time. The whole earth will go the way of the nations he presented in chapters 13-23. There is no hope apart from God, the Lord. There will be a remnant, a small number “left over.” These will not be judged, or condemned. For those who place their trust in the Lord who reigns out of Zion, Christ, there is hope. These will see his glory on full display.

A Time of Choice

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,… (Hebrews 3:7-8 ESV)

Give Allegiance to the King: Isaiah Devotional Journal 46

Simultaneously posted at: justonesmallvoice.com

Isaiah 24    Link to LXE Modernized

Give Allegiance to the King Who Wins

It’s easy to get lost in the details of Isaiah 24. But the main point is clear. The reason God gives this word to Isaiah is to give all people everywhere warning of the final outcome of everything. The chapter is a call for all peoples to give their allegiance to the King who wins.

An Amazing Chapter

Isaiah 24 is an amazing chapter. He summarizes his entire message to this point. This chapter especially summarizes his message from chapter 13 forward. It also serves as an introduction to the more detailed messianic portions later in the book. The vista of Isaiah 24 is enormous. His vision stretches to the end of time. This is the first lengthy eschatological (end times) passage in the book. He also zooms in on the “church age.”

Overview

Isaiah has already written against: the northern tribes of Israel (Isaiah 10), Babylon (13), Assyria (14), Philistia (14), Moab (15), Damascus (17), Cush (18), Egypt (19), Arabia (21), Jerusalem (22), and Tyre (23). If those to whom Isaiah prophesies are not yet certain of their loyalties, he speaks against the whole world in Isaiah 24.

Behold, the Lord is about to lay waste the world, and will make it desolate, and will lay bare its surface, and scatter them that dwell therein. (Isaiah 24:1, CAB*, LXE)

Further, the prophet foretells of Messiah the King.

14 The people shout for joy. From the west they praise the greatness of the Lord. 15 People in the east, praise the Lord. People in the islands of the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16a We hear songs from every part of the earth. These songs praise God, the Righteous One… 23 The moon will be embarrassed. The sun will be ashamed. This will happen because the Lord of heaven’s armies will rule as king on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s leaders will see his greatness. (ICB**)

The prophet makes clear that there is no place other than the Lord for anyone to hide. Isaiah intends his listeners to make a choice. Will they look to themselves or their pagan neighbors for help? Because all these get destroyed. Or, will they turn and give their allegiance to the King who wins?

An Eschatological Judgment Passage

How do we know this is an eschatological, or end times, passage?

I. The vocabulary (LXE, English Septuagint))

First, the vocabulary Isaiah chooses indicates totality of place–everywhere.

  • world –  2 times in 23 verses
  • earth –  17 times in 23 verses

Second, the vocabulary indicates totality of destruction–total.

  • verses 1-4 – lay waste, make desolate, lay bare the surface, completely laid waste, utterly spoiled, ruined
  • verse 20 – shall fall, not able to rise

Third, the vocabulary indicates totality of object–all people.

  • verse 2 – neither wealth nor position can save
  • verses 17-18 – fear, a pit, and a snare for everyone–no escape

Finally, the phrase “everlasting covenant” in Isaiah 24:5 most likely refers to a covenant God made with all humankind, rather than to one of those he made with Israel alone. An example of an everlasting covenant would be the one God made with Noah after the flood. Another example would be the law of God written in the hearts of all believers (Romans 2:14-16).

2. Forceful verses

1 Behold, the Lord is about to lay waste the world, and will make it desolate, and will lay bare its surface, and scatter them that dwell therein.

18b for windows have been opened in heaven, and the foundations of the earth shall be  shaken, 19 the earth shall be utterly confounded, and the earth shall be completely perplexed. 20 It reels as a drunkard and one oppressed with wine, and the earth shall be shaken as a storehouse of fruits; for iniquity has prevailed upon it, and it shall fall, and shall not be able to rise.

An Eschatological Messianic Passage

Isaiah is always about Messiah. Mention of him is never very far away. There are two sets of messianic verses.

Verses 14b to 16a

14a these shall cry aloud; 14b and they that are left on the land shall rejoice together in the glory of the Lord; the water of the sea shall be troubled. 15 Therefore shall the glory of the Lord be in the isles of the sea; the name of the Lord shall be glorious. 16a O Lord God of Israel, from the ends of the earth we have heard wonderful things, and there is hope for the godly; 16b but they shall say, Woe to the despisers, that abhor the law.

First, a simple question: why switch subjects in the middle of a verse? The prior section (ending with verse 13) concerned judgment of the world, but this messianic passage begins with verse 14b? Why not 14a? A simple answer: verse numbers are a later addition. And Isaiah often switches topics suddenly, abruptly. 

Second, it’s not clear in verse 14 if the words, “these shall cry aloud,” refer backward, or forward. Should this phrase be interpreted as the painful cry of those who have been stripped away? Or, should it be interpreted as the joyful cry of the remnant? The lexical meaning of the word “cry aloud” could work either way.

The switch in verse 16 seems clearer. Notice, however, that the Masoretic text of Isaiah 24:16b reads first person “I” rather than “they” in the Septuagint. That’s not an important difference, however. Clearly, there are two groups referred to in this verse–the joyful godly and the desperate deniers of God’s law.

How is this passage messianic?

First, it speaks of a “remnant.” The remnant in Isaiah are the faithful few who cling to God no matter what. And eventually, Messiah is born to Israel. That is where the New Testament begins. Only a faithful few received him (John 1:11-12).

Second, the phrase in this context, “the glory of the Lord” is messianic. Old Testament Israel expected a glorious deliverer. The book of Isaiah is a main reason why this was so.

Next, the “isles of the sea” in Septuagint Isaiah is a phrase with special reference to Gentiles. This is its first occurrence. But we can look ahead and see several other times Septuagint Isaiah uses this phrase to refer to Gentiles. This mention of the Gentiles “nations” in Septuagint Isaiah is one reason I love it.

Isaiah 49:1 Hearken to Me, you islands; and attend, you Gentiles; after a long time it shall come to pass, says the Lord; from my mother’s womb He has called my name; (Septuagint)

Isaiah 51:4 Hear Me, hear Me, My people; and you kings, hearken to Me; for a law shall proceed from Me, and My judgment shall be for a light of the nations. 5 My righteousness speedily draws near, and My salvation shall go forth as light, and on My arm shall the Gentiles trust; the isles shall wait for Me, and on My arm shall they trust. (CAB, LXE)

19 And I will leave a sign upon them, and I will send forth them that have escaped of them to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Mosoch, and to Tubal, and to Greece, and to the isles afar off, to those who have not heard of My name, nor seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. (CAB, LXE) [This verse describes the actions of the apostles and their missionary journeys, especially those of Paul.]

Finally, the phrase the “ends of the earth” makes reference to all nations on earth. 

Sidebar: a long shot interpretation

It’s tempting to read history back into Isaiah’s prophecies. In 70 CE, Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed by the Romans. The Christians there scattered, and took the gospel with them. The Jewish temple and its sacrifices were destroyed and haven’t been restored to this day. 

It may be possible that verse 13 refers to this very special moment in Israel’s history, its moment of “final” judgment. 

Isaiah 24:13 All this shall be in the land in the midst of the nations, as if one should strip an olive tree, so shall they strip them; but when the vintage is done, 14 these shall cry aloud; and they that are left on the land shall rejoice together in the glory of the Lord; the water of the sea shall be troubled. 15 Therefore shall the glory of the Lord be in the isles of the sea; the name of the Lord shall be glorious. 16 O Lord God of Israel, from the ends of the earth we have heard wonderful things, and there is hope for the godly;

First, Israel in Isaiah’s day certainly existed in “the midst of the nations.” Chapters 13-23 describe some of these. Second, Old Testament Scripture sometimes refers to Israel as an olive tree (Psalm 52:8; Isaiah 17:6; Jeremiah 11:16).

Second, many Christians believe and think of themselves as the “remnant.” In the Apostles’ day, the remnant was the small number of Jewish believers who received Christ as their Messiah. Paul speaks of such a remnant in Romans 9:27 and 11:5. This remnant certainly rejoiced in “the glory of the Lord.” They experienced his resurrection. And their joy did not diminish after Jerusalem was destroyed, as an olive tree that had been stripped of all its fruit. The first disciples went out as far west as Greece, Rome, and Spain spreading the name and glory of the Lord. The new Christian converts could certainly say with Isaiah in verse 16, “O Lord God of Israel, from the ends of the earth we have heard wonderful things, and there is hope for the godly;”

Finally, the phrase in verse 14, “the water of the sea shall be troubled,” may remind readers of the passage in which Jesus healed the paralyzed man beside the Pool of Bethesda in John 5:2-9. Verse 7 refers to the water being “stirred up.” This is the identical word in Greek as Isaiah uses in verse 16. In John’s gospel, the first person to enter the pool after the water had been stirred would be healed. This implies a divine presence moving the water. Could this be the case in verse 14? 

In verse 14, “the water of the sea shall be troubled.” The sea, as previously established, is where the “isles” are. They are the nations of the Gentiles. The first missionaries, the apostles and disciples, went out to these nations of the world after the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit of God went with them, stirring the waters in preparation for the healing of spirit and new life. This would be the same Spirit that hovered over the dark waters before God created light. Such was the Spirit who hovered over the darkened souls of the Gentile nations, the isles, before the Word brought them light. 

A Second Messianic Passage: Verses 21-23

To Be Continued

* Complete Apostle’s Bible, a modernized version of Brenton’s Septuagint. 

** International Children’s Bible, New Century Version.

Resurrection Drama: Psalm 18

“… a tsunami of destruction”

Resurrection Drama: Psalm 18 Paraphrased

* God the Son endangered, the ropes of death ensnared him, squeezed his breath away. A tsunami of destruction crashed upon his head. He couldn’t breathe. Hell’s net pulled him tighter, under. Death held its vise-like grip. There was no way for him to escape. In gasping anguish he cried out loud; he called to his Father for help.

“Papa! Help me! Save me! Death must not win forever!”

God in his holy temple heard his Son’s voice; the pleading cry of desperation reached the Father’s ear. Though his Son lay buried, three days in the grave, Almighty Papa roared and pierced the sky to save.

The earth reeled and rocked; foundations of mountains trembled. The royal Papa’s anger shook, an earth-quaking gush of love. Smoke rose from his nostrils; devouring fire consumed, glowing coals of flame no dragon ever produced.

God bowed the heavens descending, thick darkness under his feet. He rode a cherub and flew swiftly on wings of wind. Almighty Papa in darkness cloaked, a canopy surrounds him. Thick clouds dark with water cover his form from view. Bursting through this darkness, his brightness once concealed, with flashes of fire and brimstone, his golden light breaks through. He thunders in the heavens, blasting out his voice, hailstones and coals announcing–Papa on the move.

Photo by Christina Wilson

Scattering forth his arrows, flashing out his lightnings, God routed the enemy, death…(and here the Son breaks in…)

“The channels of the sea you exposed, the foundations of the world laid bare. You rebuked them, O Lord, my Father, when your nostrils blasted your breath.”

“Did you see all this, my people? Were you watching? Did you see? When he came from on high and took me and pulled me from the waves? He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hated and surrounded. They were too mighty for me, confronting, that one single day. But he, the LORD my Papa came through. To this broad place he brought me. He heard my cry and rescued, because he delights in me.”

*This poem draws heavily from the English Standard Version of Psalm 18:4-19

Previously published with a different title at: Psalm 18: Original Paraphrase-Papa Roars and Rescues – justonesmallvoice.com and https://onesmallvoice.net/2019/12/09/psalm-18-papa-roars-and-rescues/

Against Tyre: Isaiah Devotional Journal 45

Simultaneously posted at: https://justonesmallvoice.com/against-tyre-isa…ional-journal-45/

By Christina Wilson on 

Isaiah 23:1-18    Link to LXE Modernized

Tyre in Its Setting

Tyre in Isaiah’s day was a great port city. Located on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea, it traded as far west as Spain (Tarshish) and as far east as Babylon (Chaldea). Its ships touched Egypt and Carthage in Africa. Just offshore from this Phoenician trading city, Cyprus also became a home base. Isaiah’s prophesies “against the nations” began in Chapter 13, against Babylon. If Babylon had dominated by land, Tyre dominated by sea.

Why Does Isaiah Prophesy Against Tyre?

Isaiah 23:9 is the key verse of this chapter.

The Lord of hosts has purposed to bring down all the pride of the glorious ones, and to disgrace every glorious thing on the earth.

Likewise,

11 … the Lord of hosts has given a command concerning Canaan, to destroy the strength thereof.

But Why?

Isaiah 40:13 Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who has been His counselor, to instruct Him?

It’s easy enough to say that the Lord did such and such and for such and such a reason. But as Isaiah states later in his book, Who has know the mind of the Lord? All this writer’s small voice can

say with certainty is that the Lord wanted to destroy the strength of Canaan, where Israel and Judah were located. And he wanted to dislodge every glorious and prideful thing. He did not spare his own chosen people. Them, too, he dislocated and judged.

But why?

I can think of several examples when humans destroy. For one thing, a farmer destroys and turns under last year’s field. For another, city planners tear down buildings. Often dating couples, or even married couples, break up. An artist smashes her paintings, and a writer throws it all into the waste basket, yet again.

In each of the above examples, something is torn down in order to build something better in its place. For example, a farmer ploughs under last year’s crop in order to prepare the soil for a new crop. Old buildings get torn down, so that new ones can be built in the same space. Couples who break up often work things out and give it another go. Or, just as likely, the persons move on to better relationships.

God Has a New Way and a Better Plan

Humans are made in God’s image. Humans demonstrate their tremendous creativity by tearing down the old in order to build the new. God created, and it was good. But an enemy came in and destroyed God’s good work. So God destroyed it all in the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Then he built again.

He chose a special people to be his representatives on earth. They failed, rebelled, and disobeyed. So God used their neighbors to destroy them. But these neighbors were no better than God’s people. In fact, they often were worse. So God proposed to destroy them as well.

If readers quit reading Isaiah right after he prophesies the punishment of all the nations of the whole world in Chapter 24, they might think that God was a bad character who really disliked people. But this is not the case. God’s ways are always good. We are similar to God in some ways. Just as our destruction of something worn out, old, and dysfunctional is often the first step of our building something new and better, so in Isaiah’s prophesy, God first destroys in order to rebuild new and better. The second half of Isaiah explores details of what his new creation will be like.

The Second Portion of Chapter 23

The content of Isaiah 23 has two clear parts: first, destruction, and second, a comeback. Of the two, the first is the easier to understand. The metaphors in the second portion are more difficult.

Songs of a Harlot

First, verse 15 states that Tyre will be pushed off to the sidelines, abandoned, left behind, for seventy years, which is approximately one full generation. The prophet Daniel also discovered this number in Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2 and Jeremiah 25:11-12). Why seventy? It would seem that this number corresponds with the removal of the old and the birth of the new. Much can be lost and reformed in the span of one generation.

But the latter portion of this same verse is more difficult to understand. (This is a verse for which it profits to read as many translations as possible. Scroll down and click on “all versions”.)

15 … Tyre shall be as the song of a harlot. 16 Take a harp, go about, O city, you harlot that have been forgotten; play well on the harp, sing many songs, that you may be remembered. (Septuagint)

How can a city be like the song of a harlot?

Descriptive words come to mind applicable to both the ruined city of Tyre and an old harlot: wasted, discarded, abandoned, broken. Nevertheless, even an old harlot can be sung about and remembered for her past fame.

Isaiah 23:17 interprets verse 16.

17 And it shall come to pass after the seventy years, that God will visit Tyre, and she shall be again restored to her primitive state, and she shall be a mart for all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. (CAB, LXE)

17 At the end of seventy years, the LORD will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. (ESV, Masoretic)

A POINT TO NOTICE: Tyre itself does not repent. Its new condition appears similar to its old. Nevertheless…

Tyre to Be a Provision to God’s People

18 And her trade and her gain shall be holiness to the Lord; it shall not be gathered for them, but for those that dwell before the Lord, even all her trade, to eat and drink and be filled, and for a covenant and a memorial before the Lord. (CAB, LXE)

What can this verse mean? On the one hand, verses 15-18 give no indication that Tyre would repent and change its ways. New Tyre appears to be much the same as old Tyre (i.e., a prostitute). Nevertheless, God’s intention is that the sea trade of the new Tyre will somehow bless his people.

WARNING: A reader’s presuppositions can influence the conclusions she draws from a text. For example, NET notes indicate that Isaiah is making reference to Israel in verse 18. “Tyre will become a subject of Israel and her God.” However, even the NET translation does not use the word “Israel”. The text states, “Her profits and earnings will be set apart for the Lord. … her profits will be given to those who live in the Lord’s presence” (Isaiah 23 | NET Bible). In the book of Isaiah, “those who live in the Lord’s presence” does not equate with national “Israel”. Isaiah–in what we have seen so far, and especially in what we will see in later chapters–prophesies the message of hope and redemption to all the world, even to Israel’s enemies (Isaiah 2:225:6-740:5). History bears out that the Christian message bore fruit in Tyre (Matthew 11:21-22 and Acts 21:4).

I much prefer the commentary of Robert Hawker:

Who shall calculate to what extent in the present hour the Lord is accomplishing his purpose, in the commotions of the earth, among kingdoms and people, in order to gather his dispersed to himself, from all the varieties of the earth? (Hawker, Studylight.org).

But How Does This Work?

We have parallels in a specific, material sense that can help us to understand how God will bless his people with provision supplied by a sinful city and commerce. For example, this country in which I live was founded on godly principals. In its former days, it acknowledged God publicly and officially. Who would say that many people, including “those that dwell before the Lord,” have not been blessed simply by living here?

Jeremiah provides a biblical example of the teaching that the Lord’s people benefit through the prosperity of the ungodly:

Jeremiah 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (ESV)

Looking Ahead

There is one more chapter of God’s judgment, even judgment against the whole world. After that, Isaiah breaks into peals of praise in chapter 25.

%d bloggers like this: