Friday, April 11, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 66

It has been a long journey, but today we finally reach the end of Isaiah. I have been told that the book of Isaiah is the Cliff’s Notes version of the Bible. It contains 66 chapters, just like the Bible itself contains 66 books. Some chapters make more sense than others, just as some books of the Bible make more sense than others. One could chalk this up to mere coincidence. Still, God does have a sense of humor. Sense many of the topics in Isaiah relate to the past, present, and future of God’s people it is easy to come to the conclusion that the book is a digest of the Bible.

Just as the book of Revelation deals with judgment and hope at the end of the Bible, so does chapter 66. We first begin with a warning about sacrifices. It wasn’t that God felt sacrifices were wrong. The Israelites were still 800 years away from Christ negating the need for the system of sacrifices. What Isaiah warns of here is doing something without your heart being in it. Basically, this is a warning against upholding rituals while changing nothing morally. This carries over to today because we still can pay lip service to Christ. If He is not truly in our hearts, however, and nothing changes we get nothing out of our service to Him.

19 "I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD -on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says the LORD. "They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites," says the LORD. – Isaiah 66:19-21

We see the judgment of the Lord in the previous verses on those who do not accept Christ into their hearts. In this final section, however, we end this book with the promised hope. It is appropriate that a book filled with so much prophecy ends with one final prophecy of hope. These three verses above clearly show the coming ministry of the apostles after Jesus was crucified. They were called to spread the Message to the ends of the earth, and that calling is shown in verse 19. In verse 20 we see that this Message will bear fruit, as many will come to the holy mountain because of it. In turn, they become priests and Levites because they believed.

Do you see how this applies today? We are all priests responsible for spreading the gospel if we are believers in Christ. My pastor often speaks of how the gospel comes to us on its way to someone else. In that vein, it becomes our utmost responsibility to further it beyond us. That is one of my goals in writing this blog. Whether one person hears this message or a thousand I am here to proclaim it. I refuse to let it stop with me, and I am encouraged today by Isaiah’s closing words.

For those of you who have been with me since I began writing about Isaiah I want to thank you. The commenting forum has remained silent, but personally this has been a thoroughly enjoyable read for the past two months. Up next I am debating heading into the gospels themselves or beginning a writing on the life of King David. Stay tuned on Monday.

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