Sunday Morning Coffee: ‘Twas the Week. . . .

. . . .before Christmas, just eight days to go;

The weather was good;  there was already snow!

But with so little time

And so much left to finish,

Poor Mommy knew she

Would need to eat spinach

To keep up her strength and

To tie every bow;  to sign all the cards,

And to say Ho! HO! HOOO!

Well, enough of that silliness. I’ve never been much of a poet, and I really don’t know why all that popped into my head.

Except, of course, that it’s a busy season.  Not as busy for me as when all the kids were home.  Back then, I started baking in November, and there were dozens of different kinds of cookies.  I wrote stacks of cards.  These days, I can’t have the sugar and I just don’t feel the need to do all those cards any more.

I don’t think I’m losing my Christmas spirit. I do know I don’t have the pep in my step that used to carry me through the holidays. I still enjoy the day itself, and when we can get there I love a good Christmas Eve service full of all the beautiful, sacred music of Christmas.

You know, the Bible never really says that the angels sang on the night the Savior was born. It says that they spoke to the shepherds, telling them that Messiah was born.  Of course they COULD have sung!  Certainly they must have been bursting with joy at the Good News that had come to earth.

And besides, it would sound pretty funny to sing “Hark! the herald angels said. . . .”

Whether or not they actually sang isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that finally, in the fulness of time, Jesus came just as the prophets had said he would:  Born to a virgin,  conceived by the Holy Spirit of God; born to die for the sins of all mankind, and to rise triumphant over sin and death so that we, too, could have eternal life with God in heaven.

As I continue to blog through the book of Isaiah, I am more excited all the time to see prophecies that have already been fulfilled;  prophecies yet to be fulfilled; and to watch world affairs as things seem to be  trending toward a human effort to have peace on earth enforced by  human military efforts under the auspices of human authority.

Of course, we know there will not truly be peace on earth until Jesus reigns from Jerusalem, and then we can sing “Joy to the world! The Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King!”  with a whole new understanding.

 

 

 

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The Lord is our Rock

Isaiah 32: 2. ” And a Man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

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In  the Millennium, Messiah will be like a hiding place in a windstorm; He will be a place of refuge, and a shelter from floods and storms. He will be like gushing rivers of water in a vast desert.  He will be a Rock of protection  and a shelter from the hot sun in a dry and weary land.

Messiah!

Isaiah 32:1. “Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”

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As we begin this new chapter, I want to remind you that we are still looking, from Isaiah’s perspective, into the far future.  We are getting details of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ, when for the first time ever there will truly be peace on earth.

The King in this verse is the Messiah, Who will come (at His second advent) to reign in righteousness over Israel and all other nations forever ( Is. 2:1-4; 9:6-7; Ezek. 43:7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14, 18, 27; Zech. 14:8; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11: 15; 19:11-20-10).

Princes ruling in judgment refers  to the resurrected saints of all ages who will be kings and priest in the coming eternal kingdom on earth (v. 1; Ps. 149:6-9; Dan. 7:19, 27; Zech. 14:9;  Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 17:15; 19: 11-20-10).

It is always amazing to me how the prophecies in God’s Word all support and confirm each other over hundreds of years.  I love the Bible.

The Assyrian Defeated

Isaiah 31:8-9. “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, Whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem.”

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I don’t believe there are any images that can truly depict the evil of this creature. He will deceive the whole world for a time, but his true evil will become apparent especially in the second half of the Tribulation. He will be defeated when he comes face to face with Jesus Christ.  Here are the salient points in this passage:

  1.  “The Assyrian” is another name, or reference, to Antichrist
  2.   He will try to escape because of his fear of Jesus Christ.
  3.   He will not escape the brightness of Christ’s glory.  Dan. 7:11; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20.
  4. His princes, or young men, are the ten kings who will rule the ten kingdoms of his empire–Dan. 7:7-8, 23,24; Rev.17:8-17.
  5. The ensign of Christ in verse 9 is the banner under which He will destroy Antichrist and his armies
  6.   The fire refers to the perpetual flame on the altar of the Millennial temple that Christ will build and use as His capital building–Ezek. 43:7; Zech. 6:12-13.

Return to God

Isaiah 31: 6-7. “Turn ye unto Him from Whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.’

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Here we have the invitational command for Judah to turn to God, Whom all Israel had deeply revolted against. This will be obeyed at the very end of the Tribulation when God pours out  a spirit of grace and supplication upon the Jews at Jerusalem (66:6-7; Zech. 12:10-13:1;Matt. 22:37-39; Rom. 11:25-29). This will result in the cleansing of Israel from idols.

I’m thinking about America in this context. Yes, there are idols of silver and gold in our country that, if God were speaking to us through Isaiah, we would have to destroy. There are other idols, though, just as dangerous and just as likely to cause us to “deeply revolt.”  Those are the idols of material gain, selfishness, money, power, prestige.   Most dangerous of all, the idol of apathy toward all the things of God has infected this country.  The Bible is no longer as revered as it once was.  God Himself is viewed through dim eyes that do not see or accept His holiness, His sovereignty, His purity or His love. I’m wondering how many parents of small children teach their little ones Bible verses. How many bother even to instill in their children the respect of the house of God, where appropriate behavior is expected, not because the building is sacred or holy, but because it is the place where people meet to worship and learn about God.

When we do not teach our children to respect God and godliness, then they will turn to their own idols, and we are seeing that turning away in the so-called Millennial generation, although they certainly are not alone in their lack of knowledge of the things of God. Their lack of knowledge of Him is not surprising when you consider that the colleges and universities they attend are openly and sometimes rabidly opposed to the mention of Jesus Christ, or of the Bible; and where free speech pertains only to those who hate Christianity or conservative values.

We, too, need to return to God. We will suffer if we do not.

As Birds Flying

Isaiah 31:5. “As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it: and passing over He will preserve it.”

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When Jesus returns to defeat the armies of Antichrist, He will be accompanied by His heavenly armies, and angels flying, to destroy the armies surrounding Jerusalem (Joel 2; Zech. 14:1-5; Matt. 24:29-31; 25: 31; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Jude 14-15; Rev. 19:11-21).

People have always believed that the end times are near. They believed it way back in Jerusalem shortly after Jesus ascended back into heaven. Always, believers have hoped and prayed that the return of Christ would be soon. What we have to remember is that God is not contained by time. A thousand years are like a day to Him, and a day like a thousand years.

In the waiting, we need to be about the business of sharing the gospel with the people all around us.  II Peter 3:9 says, ” “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

This verse is a clear indication that it is souls still coming to Christ that, in our thinking, “delays” the Rapture of the church.  It is God’s desire that ALL should come to repentance, that no one should perish eternally in hell.  So we who already know Him need to be about the business of bringing others to Him. It is soul-winning that will hasten the Rapture of the church.

Like a Lion

Isaiah 31:4. “For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise  of them: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion and for the hill thereof.”

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During that final battle, when all the armies of all the nations surrounding Israel will gather  together under Antichrist to destroy Jerusalem, God, the Lord of Hosts, will not be frightened by their noise, by their saber-rattling, by their threats and their weapons and their numbers.  No, He will come like a young lion, in His full strength, and He will fight for Jerusalem. The forces of evil will not stand against His power.

It gives me goose bumps!