Friday, February 19, 2016

110. Prodigal North America

The Major Prophets

We have now come to the fourth shelf of our imaginary library.  If you are interested in reacquainting yourself with a layout of the Old Testament go to:

There are five books on this shelf, namely: 
  • Isaiah 
  • Jeremiah 
  • Lamentations 
  • Ezekiel and 
  • Daniel. 
Technically speaking, Lamentations is not a book of prophecy; it is a book of tears.

Of course, it must be understood that the times of the prophets fit into the history of Judah and Israel which we studied earlier in this blog. 

Much that is written in the Books of Prophecy in the Bible has a double meaning.  The first sense pertains to the prophet's current surroundings when he speaks to his peers; the second has to to with futuristic forecasts, or perhaps, historic events.  The Book of Isaiah is a perfect example of this kind of biblical interpretation.


At places this it is a very beautiful book and it would fit better on the shelf of the poetic books.  The style of Isaiah has been universally admired as the most perfect model of elegance and sublimity; and as distinguished for all the magnificence, and for all the sweetness of the Hebrew language. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge.

Isaiah was speaking to his own peers and to them many of Isaiah's words had immanent meaning.  It is a book of severe messages against the Jews and their lifestyle; much of the book applies to all of us.   As we look back at it now we see much of it as history, but there are still some unfulfilled prophecies in his writings.

Isaiah does not tell us exactly in which year he started prophesying.  Some say he started prophesying at early as 758 BCE, others as late as 727 BCE.  Some scholars argue that it was in King Uzziah's last year as King and others say it was in his second last year as King. 

Some insist that the whole book was written by one man, others say there were two, maybe three authors, to this book.   Really, what difference does it make to us!  It reminds me of the words of Christ when He was reprimanding His religious peers, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are ... Blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Mat. 23:23-24.  Get your priorities straight!

Some say that the style between the two portions is so different that the same person could not have written both sections.  Those who say that Isaiah was written by two authors say that Isaiah wrote the first 39 chapters and the 2nd Isaiah wrote the remaining 27 chapters.  

This seems like an interesting coincidence since that is exactly the number of books there are in the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Protestant Bible.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for Jehovah has spoken, I have nursed and brought up sons, the USA and Canada were both founded on Christian principles and high moral standards, and here Jehovah says, I have nursed and brought up sons, but they have rebelled against Me.

The ox knows his owner, and the ass, even a stupid donkey, knows his master's crib; but ... My people do not understand. 1:2-3.  The offspring of those whom I led to the new world; a world of plenty and brotherly love, now believe that their despondency can be cured by drunkenness; they believe that their problems can be solved by murder.

You Are A Sinful People

Woe, sinful nation, a people heavy with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, sons who corrupt! They have forsaken Jehovah; ... they have gone away backward.  Which part of this description does not fit the people of North America?

Why should you be stricken any more? You will revolt more and more; the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.  You fear that your neighbour will shoot you for a bag of groceries!  From the sole of the foot, from the lowest blue colour worker, even to the head, those who control our governments, there is no soundness in it; ... Your land is wasted, by tornadoes and earthquakes, your cities burned with fire, remember California in 20181:4-7

The words, Sodom and Gomorrah, have become words that denote sinful people.  In this passage Isaiah, speaking to Israel, and by extension to North America, is calling us Sodom and Gomorrah.  He says, Hear the Word of Jehovah, rulers of Sodom (USA); give ear to the Law of our God, people of Gomorrah (Canada).

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? says Jehovah; I am full of (fed up) with your religious overtures.  When you come to appear before Me, on Sunday mornings, who has required this at your hand, to trample My courts?  

Sure, you go to mass on Sunday but on Monday you cheat and swindle just like those who do not know me.  

Or how about the mega-churches in Southern USA who are as guilty of sex crimes as those people who do not even pretend to be religious.
  • Bring no more vain (useless) sacrifice; 
  • incense your regular tithe to the church, so that you have something to be proud of, is an abomination to Me (quit pretending you love Me)
  • the new moon and sabbath, your special holidays and regular Sunday mornings
  • the going to meeting, and other special occasions; I cannot endure evil and the assembly!  
  • Jehovah says It burns Me up that you think you can live the way you do and then come to my house and pretend you are so holy.
Do we wonder why our prayers go unanswered?  Jehovah tells us point blank why.  When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood.  You just cannot go around cheating, lying and killing and then come to Me in prayer expecting Me to be pleased! 

Jehovah Will Forgive

However, Jehovah is a gracious God and there is hope!  Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do good; seek judgement, reprove the oppressor. Judge the orphan, plead for the widow.  When you have changed your lifestyle and quit doing those things just mentioned, then, Come ... let us reason together, says Jehovah; though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. 1:10-18

Jehovah says that like a loving father, who has brought up His children, He is willing to sit down with them and reason out the situation.  Like the father who welcomed back his prodigal son, Jehovah will welcome back the people of North America if only they will turn from their sinful ways and seek Him in prayer.  

He is willing to forgive past sins which are red like crimson, but the repentance must be genuine and the desire to live a new lifestyle must be real.  The power to make these changes comes not from self-determination but from accepting the power given by the risen Jesus Christ.

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