No Peace to the Wicked

Isaiah 57: 19-21. 

19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.

20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

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Words of praise to Jehovah are the fruit of the lips (Heb.  13:15). 

Here, God proclaimed peace to the Gentiles who were far off, and to the Jews, that were near (Acts 2:39; Eph. 2:17).  For the second time, He promised to heal the righteous of both Jews (those near) and Gentiles (those afar off), but not the wicked who are without any basis of peace and healing( vv. 20-21).  In this passage, the healing referred to is physical, not spiritual; if it were spiritual, the wicked only could be thus healed. As far as I could discover, the word heal used in this passage is used only one time to speak of soul healing (Ps. 41:4); but many times it is used of physical healing. 

All classes of the wicked are like the troubled sea that cannot be still and constantly stirs up the mire and dirt of sin and corruption. They have no peace, no calmness of soul or spirit; their passions and appetites keep them in continual turmoil seeking something satisfying; the wealth, business, pleasure, pride, pomp, flattery and unrest of the world only keep them dissatisfied; and strong undercurrents of malice, jealousy, lust, revenge, strife, and ambitions to outdo others keep them at war with God and fellowmen. The guilt of a past life, and the burning memories of wrong-doing agitate the sinner day and night to cover up his evil, but he cannot escape the fear of hell and future reaping. 

The Churl

Isaiah 32:7-8. “The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.”

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A churl is an unprincipled person whose main goal is to get gain for himself. His behavior toward those he considers his inferiors–and that would include just about everyone–is always deceitful and dishonest. This is a person who has no conscience, and whose goal is always to come out on top. It doesn’t matter to him how much his victims may suffer in his self-centered climb up his own ladder of “success.”

When a poor man’s cause was just,  the unprincipled men in power deprived him of his rights and plotted against him to enrich themselves.

In verse 8, the liberal is not a reference to today’s left-wing politicians. It’s so tempting to go off on that rabbit trail, because the meaning of this good word has, over time, taken on a completely different connotation and now denotes those who believe that the bigger the government, the better; and that we ordinary folks are unable  to make any decisions without their guidance.

Instead, this term is used to describe the honorable, generous, noble, benevolent public-spirited men who devote themselves to the welfare of the country and fellow men.  When they rule, the noble things they stand for will be established.

Again, we have to keep in mind that this chapter is a Millennium prophecy, describing the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth after the Battle of Armageddon and the binding of Satan. It is NOT about present times.  We will not see peace on earth until Jesus Christ, Messiah, is ruling from Jerusalem.

The Wicked

Isaiah 3:11. “Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the rewrd of his hands shall be given him.”

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Who are “the wicked”?  Those who pursue other gods; those who teach contrary to what God’s Word says; those who curse God and do evil. They are wicked. And they will be rewarded according to their own wickedness.

Galatians 6:7. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The Sign of Jonas

Matthew 16:4. “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And He left them, and departed.”

The fact that the Pharisees and Sadducees, who hated each other, were lumped into the description of a wicked and adulterous generation must have really ignited their tempers.  They considered themselves above the rabble.  They were learned, “holy,” the arbiters of all things lawful and unlawful. Jesus said they were part of a wicked and adulterous time in the history of Israel.

It’s not the first time the Israelites focused more on the weather than they did on the Word. We in America today certainly spend a lot of time considering the weather, don’t we?  And we ignore the Word unless we can turn it to our own advantage. We’d better wake up. We’re no different, no better, than they were.

The reason they couldn’t discern the signs of the times was because they were wicked and adulterous!

Sometimes, after I’ve been on the computer too long, it seems as if there’s a film over my eyes.  I hope it’s not cataracts or something, but it does seem to go away when I leave the computer.  That film over my eyes makes it hard for me to see clearly, so I have to look elsewhere for awhile to give my eyes a rest and let my vision come clear again.

If we look too long on the things of the world, our spiritual vision can film over so that we can’t see clearly. We need to look away from the world and all it offers, and get our eyes back on the Word, back on the Lord.

The sign of the prophet Jonas is the only sign they would get. What was it?  Jonah was cast into the sea to save the innocent.  He spent three days and nights in the belly of a great fish (phew!) and then was burped up onto dry land and went about his appointed work.

Jesus would die for the guilty; the Innocent for the wicked.  He would spend three days and nights in the grave, and then He would rise again and go back to the Father.

Would the Sadducees and Pharisees understand that sign?

What do you think?

Delivered from Unreasonable and Wicked Men

II Thess. 3:2. “And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”

Paul continues to state what it is he wants the Thessalonians to pray for concerning him.  He wants deliverance from evil men.  Paul is well aware that his life will be one of danger, discomfort, and constant threat.  The world really hasn’t changed much, has it?  All over the world today, people are suffering for the faith they have in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is active, government-endorsed persecution in nearly every corner of the earth.  Never think for a moment that it isn’t also happening in America. I believe that the removal of Christian liberty will pick up in speed and severity in this second term of our President. In fact, it’s already starting with his insistence that Christian-owned businesses must provide “health care” such as medication to cause abortion.  This is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Pardon my little mini-rant. 

It is important to understand that Paul is not concerned nearly as much with his personal safety and comfort as he is with the furtherance of the gospel.  If he is silenced, if other missionaries, pastors, and teachers are silenced, then the cause of Christ will suffer. 

Unreasonable men:  In this usage, the word does not indicate a lack of rationality or common sense. Usually, the root of this word means place-less, out of place; hence, in this passage, improper, outrageous, monstrous, unrighteous. It speaks of outrages against property.  Used to describe people, it denotes men capable of wicked, outrageous, harmful conduct. 

Wicked (evil):  Not just passive badness, but active malice.  It pictures enemies with vicious, destructive dispositions.  Unreasonable describes thought conduct; wicked  describes character. 

For all have not faith: If I were still an English teacher, and this were a student’s essay, I would probably correct it to for not all have faith. In fact, that is the way some translators word it.  What it says is that the evil, wicked behavior exists because not all people believe in Christ. Not only do they refuse faith, but they also want to destroy its existence. 

We need to understand, as Paul did, that our battle is not of the flesh (carnal) but mighty in God (II Cor. 10:4-5).  We are battling Satan in his ongoing attempt to destroy all that God loves and has established. Satan hates the Church. He knows that the gates of Hell itself will not prevail against it, but he is determined to keep as many souls as possible from finding refuge from his great hatred and anger against God. Since he can’t destroy the Church, he does everything possible to weaken it and water down the effective preaching and teaching of God’s Word. 

Epic fail. The Bible stands, like a rock, undaunted ‘mid the raging storms of time! You can hear the music for this song at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/i/bibstand.htm. 

The Bible stands like a rock undaunted
’Mid the raging storms of time;
Its pages burn with the truth eternal,
And they glow with a light sublime.

Refrain

The Bible stands though the hills may tumble,
It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;
I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,
For the Bible stands.

The Bible stands like a mountain towering
Far above the works of men;
Its truth by none ever was refuted,
And destroy it they never can.

Refrain

The Bible stands and it will forever,
When the world has passed away;
By inspiration it has been given,
All its precepts I will obey.

Refrain

The Bible stands every test we give it,
For its Author is divine;
By grace alone I expect to live it,
And to prove and to make it mine.

Refrain

 

That Wicked be Revealed

II Thess. 2:8.”And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

Again, it would be good to go back and read the entire passage as we look at each verse. It’s very important to keep the context and the continuity.

Before Paul describes the scope of the work of the Man of Sin in verses 9-10, he says that this Wicked will be destroyed by the Lord.  There are several interesting things to look at in this verse.

Remember, the Lawless One will be fully revealed when the Restrainer is removed; this one who is the personal embodiment and head of open lawlessness. He will be clearly identified with the Man of Sin in verse 3.  Remember also that the spirit of lawlessness is to set oneself above God, above all gods; to be the sum and substance of all law.  This spirit has been alive and active since Adam and Eve sinned.  It is not new to God, and it shouldn’t be new to us.  The phrase shall be revealed, for you grammarians, is in the passive voice, indicating that the action will not be done by the Man of Sin himself, but that he will receive this action.  The actual unveiling will be through the power of Satan.  His efforts toward that event are now being frustrated (v. 7) but with the removal of the restraint he will be free to accomplish his goal.  This is the third mention of the revelation of this awful man (verse. 3, 6, 8), indicating what an important event this is. One writer describes this event as “of some portentous, unearthly object holding the gazer spell-bound.” I believe the unregenerate world will look on this event with awe, reverence, and complete adoration. Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

But then, the Lord will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and the brightness of His coming!

It is significant that Paul names him “that Wicked” in this verse.  He is so evil, so foul, that he is the picture of wickedness.  He is named what he is.  How can anyone who is so evil be so attractive to so many?  Well, think of Lucifer, the Light-bearer; a beautiful, powerful, magnificent angel. Yet, he was evil in his presumption against God, and still today there are those who worship him.  Lawlessness.

We do not know who this man is. There have been assertions since Jesus went back to heaven that the Roman emperors were Anti-Christ; that all the  kings, princes, priests and destroyers down through the centuries are Anti-Christ;  the Pope, other leaders of major religions around the world; Hitler, Mao, Ho Che Min, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on.  the list is endless.  None of these men proved to be the Anti-Christ, although all of them were certainly anti-Christ!  We do not know, and will not know for sure, who he is.  We do know that he represents the greatest evil ever perpetrated on mankind.

A careful study of the end times would seem to indicate that this man’s career will not span decades of time, but will begin suddenly and end suddenly.  The groundwork, of course, could be being laid even today, but his actual assumption of power will be sudden and dramatic. And his career will be brought to a sudden and decisive end when the Lord Jesus Christ returns and, by the word of His mouth and the brightness of His coming the Man of Sin is consumed.

By the breath of His mouth implies the ease of ending the Man of Sin.  Maybe it’s frivolous, but I have a mental picture of Christ “blowing him out” as one would blow out birthday candles on a cake.  There won’t be a long, white-knuckled battle. Jesus will consume and destroy the Man of Sin, leaving nothing but maybe an ash pile. He will simply be gone.  The very breathing of the glorified Jesus will slay the lawless one like the blast of a fiery furnace.  All his operations will come to an end.

The brightness of His coming: The word brightness is a manifestation, a shining forth.  It comes from the Greek word that is the basis of our word epiphany.  The very presence of the Lord Jesus will be so bright, shining forth with such truth, that the presumption and arrogant activity of the Lawless One will simply be consumed.