Friday, September 13, 2013

Is Isaiah for Today?

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Thursday,September 12, 2013:  Isaiah 10:1-11:16

1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.  2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.  Isaiah 11:1-2 (NKJV)

6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.  9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  Isaiah 11:6-9 (NKJV)

One of the big questions to ask about the Book of Isaiah is "How much of it applies to today? -- to right now?"

After all, isn't it written to the Kingdom of Judah?  Isn't it written to the Jewish people?  So, how much applies to the Church?

Also, a great deal of Isaiah speaks about a fantastic coming age of peace and blessing.  Many people associate this with the thousand year reign mentioned in Revelation 20 (Rev. 20:4-6).  This is usually called the Millennium.  

On one side of this coin Isaiah is only for the Jews and not for the Church.  On the other side, this great book is for the future.  Again, not for today.  What about right now?

This raises important questions that deserve our study and understanding.

In Isaiah 11:1-2, we find prophecy of the coming Messiah on whom the Holy Spirit will rest.  John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend and rest on Jesus at Jordan in direct fulfillment of these words.  Jesus, in His first coming, fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy.  

But then we find 4 verses later that wolves and lambs can dwell together -- leopards and goats -- cobras and small children.  Are we to spiritualize these vivid promises or expect literal fulfillment?  This sounds like the Millennium.  How can these prophetic words work side-by-side?

One way to understand prophetic Scripture is to know that the prophet saw it like MOUNTAIN TOPS.  Isaiah saw the future accurately, but it was like when you view a mountain range at a distance.  All you see is the peaks, but you don't always see the distance between them.  They appear side-by-side but really are far apart.  That's the ways prophetic Scripture works.  

Isaiah 11 is a true word from God.  We just need to understand the way Isaiah saw it and how that applies to today.

As concerning Israel and the Church, time does not allow us here to unpack this important topic.  Suffice to say, however, that ALL SCRIPTURE HAS APPLICATION TO US TODAY.  Any theology that starts cutting up the Word of God and making parts applicable today while others don't matter is WRONG.  

Isaiah applies to the Church.  But, does that mean that He is through with Israel?  Paul addressed this very question in Romans 9.  The quick answer is that, yes, God has raised up His Church, the Bride of Christ, as His chosen instrument for delivery of the Gospel.  But, that does not mean He is through with Israel.  He still has a plan for His Old Testament chosen people.  Even today, we are watching that plan unfold in our daily news.

As we read Isaiah, we need God's wisdom, God's perspective, and God's enlightenment.  He is speaking to us.  He is instructing us.  We need ears to hear!  It is as important as the breath we breathe.  

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