Happy Valentine’s Day. The first Valentine was written in blood on a Roman cross nearly 2000 years ago. It was addressed to all, young and old, rich and poor, free and bond, the lovely and the unlovable. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
In Chapter 59, Isaiah delivers a rebuke to the nation of Israel and comments on the coming Messiah. I believe we can see some parallels and applications for the church, particularly in our day and age.
Father, we are living in perilous times. Things seem to be going well for many of us in the US, but many of our sisters and brothers in other places are suffering. We pray, Father, that whether we abound or whether we are abased, we can draw near to You with pure hearts, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
The blame for the state of affairs in Israel as the Assyrians were running roughshod over the nation fell squarely on the people. Isaiah says that it was not God’s fault that they were separated from Him. It was their sin and therefore their fault. This is one of those passages that Christians who hold certain extreme views would love. I refer to the election vs free will debate. Those in the Armenian camp who believe that salvation is purely a free-will decision would claim this verse to prove their point, while those who hold the opposite extreme view, the five-point Calvinists, would engage in some Bible acrobatics to explain it away. In my view, free will and election both work together. In other words, both views are true. The extreme view of unconditional election says God decides everything; all actions that anyone and everyone makes are predetermined, by God. However, these verses would seem to suggest that those who are not saved have nobody to blame but themselves.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
Verses 1-15 square with the new world order (which includes many ‘church’ members) every bit as accurately as they do with ancient Israel. Let’s stop and look at verse 15 a little more closely. This verse fits our age perfectly. Here in the US, simply being willing to tell the truth can get you banned on social media. In the UK, posting the truth on social media will get you arrested. In China, posting the truth on social media will get you disappeared and never heard from again. Orwell said, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Fortunately, we have a Saviour:
16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
Notice that Jesus’ armor is slightly different than ours. We do not exact vengeance. That privilege is reserved for Jesus. (Rom 12:19) Does all the evil in the world that seems to go unpunished weary you? It did Habakkuk. (Hab 1:2-4) It does me too, but their time is coming:
18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.
Those who reject Christ have no grace allotted to them. Therefore, they are judged according to their works.
19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
Our God is a covenant God. As Christians, we are all under the new covenant of grace. I have always found this covenant that seems to arbitrarily appear out of the blue in verse 21 particularly intriguing. It seems to me to be of paramount importance, yet it is barely ever mentioned, let alone preached on. While it is true that the Jews by and large rejected Messiah, it is also true that they did a better job of preserving his word than the church has. God holds his word above even his own name:
….I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy
lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word
above all thy name.
Do you suppose it is just a mere coincidence that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, or that it lands almost precisely in the middle of the Bible? Or that the chapter that does land precisely in the middle of the Bible and incidentally happens to be the shortest chapter, Psalm 117, emphasizes the truth—which is synonymous with the word of God? (John 17:17)
….O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
….For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD
endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
We are living in what has been called the time of the signs. One Christian who recently escaped an eight-year ordeal in Pakistan likened the persecution that many Christians are facing to the “sword of Damocles,” a sword suspended above one’s head by a single horsehair. We are seeing plagues of biblical proportions like the Coronavirus. (cf Matt 24:7) Matthew 24:7 not only mentions pestilence, but also famines, earthquakes, and conflicts between nations—all of which we have been seeing in spades. The Greek word for nation is ethnos, where we get our word for ethnicity, and the new world order is busily trying to divide people by their ethnicity to pit them against one another, thereby reversing the gains made by the Civil Rights Movement. Locusts in Africa are destroying crops as they march across the continent. Keith Cressman, an expert quoted in the Washington Times, said “Many of the farmers in East Africa have only heard stories from their grandparents about apocalyptic locust swarms before this year’s infestation began.” Winged locusts can move up to 80 miles in a single day, but Mr. Cressman said the immature locusts which have not yet sprouted wings “march across the plains like a moving carpet.” I believe these plagues serve as wake-up calls, telling us that it is time to look up, for our redemption draws nigh. I prepared these notes about a week ago, but coincidentally, this Express article which is the upper-left lead story on the Drudge Report today as I am posting is reporting these events in pretty much the same way that I am. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
This old world is preparing to give birth to a new age, unveiling our Messiah. If there was ever a time to immerse yourself in his word and draw close to Him, now is the time. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The only Bible available to English-speaking people that honors God’s word in a manner consistent with the historical Majority Text that the church has always used (until recently) is the Authorized (old) King James Version. I will leave you with the final warning Jesus gave us when He sealed up the canon of Scripture at the end of the first century:
….For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
….And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
….He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.