Archive for January, 2013

Isaiah 17:12-14 Burden of Damascus: Raging Waters

Posted in Burden of Damascus, Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 17:12 Alas, the uproar of many peoples who roar like the roaring of the seas, and the rumbling of nations who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!

The verse starts with a comment in the original Hebrew that should gain attention. “Hey, you are as good as dead!” Others have taken this to be a funeral cry. Either way, our translators have obviously softened this. This point is emphasized twice in the verse. Essentially God is telling them they can make all the noise they want, they are still going down. The nations can shout louder and longer, but it does not matter.

At this point, many people from many nations are now involved. There is irony and symmetry to these events in the future. People are acting like rushing and rumbling waters. God gives them rushing and rumbling waters.

Luke 21:25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves…” These are the words of Jesus. He is referring to a time coming where people will be freaking out because of the physical waves of the ocean. We can think of the possibilities: hurricanes, tsunamis, Noreaster. Do people freak out in today’s world when these events happen? Just watch the news. We have reporters on site to show you “Live!” These are not your garden variety events. The events appear to be global in nature. The text says nations, plural. The description in the Greek indicates the nations responses to the magnitude of the events: dire straits, anguish, dismay, anxiousness, and perplexity. The MSG translates this verse as “It will seem like all hell has broken loose–sun, moon, stars, earth, sea…”

Isaiah 17:13 The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters, but He will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, or like whirling dust before a gale.

Chaff is the husk, stalk, and other light weighted material that is separated from the grain. In those days grain and chaff were separated on a threshing floor. A person would beat and whip the stalks of the plant to separate out the grain. The wind would blow away the lighter material and the heavier grain would fall to the floor for collection.

Whirling dust, sounds like a tornado. This is how God will address them. They will be beaten to the point of separation and blown away by a powerful and destructive wind.

Isaiah 17:14 At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us and the lot of those who pillage us.

These events will take place suddenly and within the scope of a few hours. The anxiety happens as the sun is setting. There is a period of darkness and calamity over the night. When the sun comes up, it is over and they are gone. A reminder that Genesis 12:3 still applies, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

There is good news after all of this destruction.

Isaiah 17:9-11 Burden of Damascus: Abandoned and Forsaken

Posted in Burden of Damascus, Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 17:9 In that day their strong cities will be like forsaken places in the forest, or like branches which they abandoned before the sons of Israel; and the land will be a desolation. 

Two examples are used by Isaiah to prove the point; the land will be desolated. Contained in this verse is a reminder that Israel had cleaned Syria’s clock in the past. So much so, the Syrian’s left their lookout and defense posts. 

Isaiah 17:10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants and set them with vine slips of a strange god. 

People had turned to idolatry and abandoned the true God. God reminds them He is their source of strength, safety, and welfare. God is their stronghold and protector. The people had forgotten.

There is a discussion in regards to the vine mentioned in this verse. A couple of thoughts and possibilities exist. Scholars state the vine may have cult like significance. The idea is the vine was grown for the purpose of a pagan ritual. Others have suggested the vine is a foreign import to Israel and not a native plant. Perhaps both could be the case. Research provided by NET Bible. 

Isaiah 17:11 In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in, and in the morning you bring your seed to blossom; but the harvest will be a heap in a day of sickliness and incurable pain. 

This is a garden that is well taken care of. A fence has been put up to keep out the animals. The plants have been watered. The plants are blossoming. The final result is no fruit. The crops will disappear and there will be a pile of nothing. Others have translated the crops fly away.

There will be an incurable sickness. It is terminal. The word used for pain in the Hebrew is a term for both physical and mental pain.

Isaiah 17:7-8 Would the Real Holy One Stand Up!

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 17:7 In that day man will have regard for his Maker and his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel. 

Things get so bad, the only solution is to turn to God. Have we personally been in this place before? Circumstances are closing in and the only place you have to turn is to God. It is our nature to avoid God unless we are in deep trouble. We know the plea bargaining with God. Dear God if You will get me out of this one, I promise I will…

There are two references to vision or eye gaze in this verse. The language is specific, humanity will physically look with his eyes. The Holy One of Israel is God the Man. Is this a time marker regarding the return of Christ?

Isaiah 17:8 He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands, nor will he look to that which his fingers have made, even the Asherim and incense stands. 

Asherim is the plural form of Asherah. Like the Hebrew, the pagans used the plural form to express the greatness and magnitude of their goddess. Asherim is the primary goddess of the area of Tyre and Sidon (modern day Lebanon, north of Israel). Asherah appears by the side of the masculine Baal. She is seen as a nude woman with a lily in one hand and a serpent in the other hand. She symbolizes grace, sex appeal and fertility. Worship often resulted in ridiculous sexual perversion. Another name for her is Qudshu, which means “the holy one”. —New Unger’s Bible Dictionary

These verses are a head on address to the false “holy one” that is Asherah. Man will turn from their created god to the creator God. What is left will no longer worship a tree or a pole but worship the God who created the tree. There is a change from the “holy one” of pagans to the “Holy One” of Israel who is the Creator. The wooden idols and incense are out. They are of no use and not helping in their current calamity. Things decline to the degree, man will ditch his idols and turn to the true Holy One.

The reality of the comparison is this. Do you trust a goddess who is worshiped with sexual perversion and prostitution? Or do you believe in a man who died on a cross for you?

Isaiah 17:4-6 Beating an Olive Tree

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 17:4 Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean.

Nation Israel will be made skin and bones. The abundance of the population is going to take a severe hit.

Isaiah 17:5 It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain, as his arm harvests the ears, or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain in the valley of Rephaim.

The valley is a boundary between the territories of Judah and Benjamin per Nave’s Topics, Joshua 15:8, 18:16. The area is located west of Jerusalem. Rephaim is plural for the word rapha in the Hebrew. The word literally means giants. So, the Valley of Giants it is.

Isaiah 17:6 Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives on the topmost bough, four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, declares the LORD, the God of Israel.

The symbolic and idiomatic language of this verse drives home the point God is making. The olive tree is a symbol of nation Israel. One example is from the Old Testament prophet. God is talking about the people of Judah and Israel. Jeremiah 11:16 The LORD called your name, “A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form; with the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, and its branches are worthless…” A second example is from the New Testament Apostle Paul in Romans 11:17-27. The good olive tree in the Romans passage is nation Israel.
Twenty gallons of olive oil can be generated from one tree in a harvest (Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, Fred H. Wight). An olive tree was harvested by beating the tree with a stick (Deuteronomy 24:20). The olive tree (figuratively Israel) is being beaten and shaken. The damage is so significant, there is hardly any fruit (figuratively people) remaining. To go from a tree that produces gallons of oil to a handful of olives is a significant decline in the yield (figuratively population).
God always leaves a remnant.

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