Sukkot 5780 ~ The Ultimate Sukkah

We continue to interrupt our series on Yesha’yahu once again to consider the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. This is the third and last of the traditional Fall Holy Days. In 2019, the festival of Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles, begins at sundown on Sunday, October 13th.

Sukkot is the third of the great annual pilgrimage festivals (Vayikra 23:33-43). Each year, all adult Jewish males were required to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts of Matzah, Shavuot, and Sukkot. The festival is also called the “feast of ingathering” (Sh’mot 23:16; D’varim 16:13). It is celebrated immediately after the harvest, in the month Tishri, and the celebration lasts for eight days (Vayikra 23:33-43). During this period the people leave their homes and live in a sukkah, a temporary dwelling, formed of the branches of trees as a memorial of the wilderness wanderings when the people dwelt in sukkot (Vayikra 23:43).


Typical Backyard Sukkah

Like Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Sukkot is a time of feasting, rejoicing, and giving thanks to God for His bountiful gifts (D’varim 16:13-15). It is widely believed that the Puritan colonists, who were great students of the Hebrew Scriptures, based on the first American Thanksgiving on Sukkot.

We are to “rejoice before the Lord God” during all the time of this feast (Vayikra 23:40). The tradition of the Jewish people is that they were to express their joy by dancing and singing hymns of praise to God, with musical instruments.

Sukkot (the plural form of sukkah) are temporary dwellings, many with canvas walls. The roof is made of natural materials such as bamboo, corn stalks, or other greenery, usually supported by a few wooden beams. It provides more shade than sun, but you can still see the sky through it and the stars at night.

Today, as in the Second Temple days, we still wave the lulav (palm branch) and etrog (citron) as mandated in the Torah. The lulav is made of a palm branch, arava (willow), and hadas (myrtle). The etrog is a citron. Together the lulav and the etrog are referred to as the Four Species.

Of all the feasts of the Lord, Sukkot best illustrates the fact that God would dwell in the midst of His people through the presence of the Messiah (John 1:14). He may have fulfilled His promise on the very day of Sukkot. We don’t know the exact date of Yeshua’s birth. But we do know; it indeed wasn’t December 25th. For me, there is sufficient evidence to corroborate that Yeshua’s first coming came on Sukkot.

Sukkot pictures the future kingdom God has prepared for Israel when Messiah returns (see Zechariah 12:10-13:1; Isaiah 35; Luke 1:67-80). The Prophet Zechariah described the changes that will take place in the topography of the holy land and how the Gentile nations will celebrate Sukkot along with the Jewish people (see Zechariah 14:16-19).

For Israel, the best is yet to come! The scattered people will be gathered; the sinful people will be cleansed; the sorrowing people will rejoice. And for Messianic Believers, the best is yet to come; for we shall be together with the Lord and His people, every stain washed away, rejoicing in His presence.

Sukkot has always been known as the appointed time that commemorates God dwelling with His people. How fitting for the Kingdom of God, when it entirely comes to the redeemed earth, to be considered the ultimate fulfillment of this appointed time. God himself will finally dwell with His people in all His fullness. The Sukkah of God will be among men when Messiah Yeshua resides as the ruler of the 1000-year Messianic Kingdom!

All the Feasts of the Lord have their particular lessons to teach. Because of its latter-day fulfillment, Sukkot seems to be the apex of all the other appointed times of God. The goal of God’s plan is ultimately the establishment of His Kingdom here on earth. This explains why, of all the appointed times, Sukkot is said to be the premier celebration of the Millennium.

As the Prophet Zechariah has told us in Chapter 14, in the last days all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem. They will take the city and plunder it. (Zechariah 14:1, 2) The Lord will then take charge of His people; He will appear upon the Mount of Olives. By splitting this mountain, He will prepare a safe way for the rescue of those that remain. He will come with all His saints (Zechariah 14:3-5) to complete His kingdom.

The other pilgrimage feasts (Matzah and Shavuot) have been fulfilled, but the Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot finds its fulfillment during the millennial kingdom of the Messiah (Vayikra 23:33-44; B’midbar 16:13-15; 31:10; Nehemiah 8:17, 18; Revelation 20:1-6).

The remnant of the nations will turn to the Lord and come yearly to Jerusalem, to keep the feast of Sukkot (Zechariah 14:16-19). Can’t you imagine it? The feast of the Millennium! What a party that will be! This feast will be kept by all who have come to believe in Messiah, to thank the Lord for His grace in that He has brought them out of the wanderings of this life into the blessedness of His kingdom of peace.

In the perfected kingdom of God there will be no more sinners, but only those who are righteous and holy. This is affirmed in the last clause of Zechariah’s prophecy: “there will be no merchants anymore in the house of Adonai.” (v. 21)

Thus, does Zechariah’s prophesy close with a prospect of the completion of the kingdom of God in glory. All believing commentators are agreed that the final fulfillment of Zechariah 14:20-21 lies before us in Revelation 21 and 22.

According to Isaiah, God has promised His people a new heaven and a new earth (see Isaiah 65:17; 66:22). The old creation must make way for the new creation if God is to be glorified.

Indeed, many interesting questions could be asked about our future abode in heaven, but most must go unanswered until we reach our glorious home. John closed his book by reminding us that we have responsibilities today because we are going to heaven.

Sukkot has always known as the appointed time that commemorates God dwelling with his people. How fitting for the Kingdom of God, when it fully comes to the redeemed earth, to be considered the ultimate fulfillment of this holy day. God, Himself will finally dwell with His people in all His fullness. The Sukkah of God will be among men when Messiah Yeshua tabernacles with us as the ruler of the 1000-year Messianic Kingdom!

What a celebration there will be as His people, both Jews and Gentiles, wave the lulav and chant, Ana Adonai Hoshiana! (Lord, do save us!) Amen. Come quickly, Lord Yeshua! Come and dwell in Your Ultimate Sukkah!

In my next post, we will return to our series on Yesha’yahu.

Click here for the PDF version.

Yom Kippur – 5780 ~ The Day of Atonement

In this post, we take another break from the series on Yesha’yahu to observe the second of the fall Jewish feasts of Yom Kippur. This a lengthy post and I would encourage you to download the PDF version.

In 2019, Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement begins at sundown on October 8th. The Tanakh says that the blood of the sacrifice is given to make atonement. The Hebrew words translated as “atonement” in English are Kippur (noun) and Kaspar (verb). The root occurs about 150 times in the Tanakh and is intimately linked with forgiveness of sin and with reconciliation to Adonai. What does “atonement mean?

Atonement means making amends, blotting out the offense, and giving satisfaction for the wrong done; thus reconciling to oneself the alienated other and restoring the disrupted relationship.

Vayikra (Leviticus) 16 provides detailed instructions for a unique sacrifice to be offered once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month – Tishri. On that day the whole community of Israel was to gather at the Tabernacle (and later, the Temple) to fast and to pray. The high priest followed carefully prescribed steps and entered the Especially Holy Place (Holy of Holies), bringing the blood of the sacrificed animal. There he sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat. This animal was a sin offering for the people (16:15). That sacrifice was an “atonement … to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” Following that sacrifice, Israel was told, “You will be clean before Adonai from all your sins” (v. 30).

It is essential in looking at the Tanakh to realize that in it we see realities acted out that would be unveiled later. The whole of scripture is a progressive revelation of Adonai. He reveals Himself more and more throughout human history. Adonai planned for continuous enactments of reality so that when Yeshua finally came to lay down His life for us, we would realize just what He was doing? Should we be surprised at the centuries of animal sacrifice, and the stress on the shedding of blood as necessary for forgiveness? No. In the repeated sacrifices of the Tanakh we are led to understand that, to Adonai, death has always been the price of life for sinful men.

Yom Kippur in Yeshua’s Time

Vayikra 16:7-10 states that the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) is “to take the two goats and place them before Adonai at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then (he) is to cast lots for the two goats, one lot for Adonai and the other for ‘Az’azel (scapegoat). (He) is to present the goat whose lot fell to Adonai and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat whose lot fell to ‘Az’azel is to be presented alive to Adonai to be used for making atonement over it by sending it away into the desert for ‘Az’azel.”

There were also a few traditions that were added to the scapegoat ceremony. According to the Mishna, lots were drawn to decide the fate of both of the goats. The lot for the sacrifice said for the Lord, and the lot for the scapegoat said, the scapegoat.  The people considered it a good omen if the lot for the Lord came up in the Priests right hand. Also, a red sash was tied to the scapegoat’s horns, and a portion of it was also tied to the door of the Temple. The sash on the Temple turned from red to white as the goat met its end in the wilderness, signifying to the people that Adonai had accepted their sacrifices and their sins had been atoned. This idea came from Isaiah 1:18 which says, “Even if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow…”

Also stated in the Mishna as well as the Talmud, four events occurred during the forty years before the destruction of the Temple which foreshadowed its doom. (This would have started at the time when Yeshua was sacrificed once and for all.) For forty years:

  • The lot that said “for the Lord” did not come in the Priests right hand…this was considered a bad omen.
  • The portion of the red sash that was tied to the temple door stopped turning white with the death of the sacrifice.
  • The westernmost light of the temple candelabra would not burn. This was crucial because this was the “shammash” (servant) used to kindle the other candles.
  • The temple doors opened by themselves. The rabbis saw the prophetic fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 11:1 that says, “Open your doors, Lebanon, so that the fire can consume your cedars.” Fires did consume the cedars of Lebanon that may have adorned the inside of the temple.
Yeshua’s Fulfillment

What should surprise us is that Adonai would give His Son for us. What should amaze us is that the blood spilled on history’s ultimate altar would be His own. But we should never be surprised that only the sacrifice of another life can exempt one from the death penalty that sin and guilt deserve. Sacrifice has always been central to the history of Adonai’s gracious dealings with men. Over and over again, that picture is presented to us. Over and over again we see the blood. Over and over – till with awed amazement we look at Calvary and suddenly the pictures from the past merge into one. And we bow, stunned by the reality.

He died.
He died for me.
He died for you.

Even in ancient times, Adonai lifted the veil to let us peek beyond the shadows of the reality.

Isaiah 53 was long understood by the Jews to speak of the coming Messiah – the Deliverer to be sent to them by Adonai. In this passage, we have a clear picture of Yeshua, and of sacrifice.

“Like a lamb led to be slaughtered” (v. 7).

“He would present himself as a guilt offering” (v. 10).

“He exposed himself to death” (v. 12).

“Actually bearing the sin of many” (v. 12).

We cannot read these words today without realizing that they contain Adonai’s explanation for Yeshua’s life – and for His death.

According to Hebrews Chapter10, the sacrifices of old were “a shadow of the good things to come, but not the actual manifestation of the originals” (v. 1). The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (v. 4). The sacrifices only covered and concealed sin, thus permitting Adonai to overlook His people’s sins until Yeshua could come to take away sins by the sacrifice of Himself (Romans 3:25-26). What the ancient sacrifices foreshadowed, Yeshua accomplished! By one sacrifice, He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

In Yeshua, our sins and lawless acts have been forgiven entirely, and we have been cleansed. (Hebrews 10:14) Thus “an offering for sins is no longer needed” (v. 18). We need to appropriate for ourselves the atonement of the shed blood of Yeshua.

The animal sacrifices had to be repeated again and again. Their repetition was a continual reminder to Israel that sin, while temporarily covered, must still be dealt with. The repeated sacrifices served to demonstrate that no animal’s life could ever satisfy the righteousness of Adonai. What a different message the bread and wine of Communion! No longer is fresh blood required. Yeshua has died, offering “for all time one sacrifice for sins” (v. 12).

It is enough.
Redemption’s work is done.
By the blood of Yeshua, you and I have been set forever free.

The focal point of Adonai’s atoning work is Yeshua’s death on the execution stake. Sha’ul wrote, “we were reconciled with God through His Son’s death when we were enemies” (Romans 5:10). These words not only define the meaning of atonement, but they also reveal the heart of the gospel as well.

At the beginning of His ministry, Yeshua was identified as “the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The purpose of His coming was “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He explained His death regarding His “bloodshed on behalf of many” (Mark 14:24).

The relation of Yeshua’s death to forgiveness of sins was implicit in the earliest Messianic preaching (Acts 2:21; 3:6, 19; 4:13; 5:31; 8:35; 10:43). Sha’ul proclaimed, “Yeshua died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3), that He was the “kapparah – atonement” (Romans 3:25 KJV; “sacrifice of atonement,” NRSV, NIV; “expiation,” RSV), that He became “a cursed on our behalf” (Galatians 3:13), and that those “who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.” (Ephesians 2:13). Furthermore, Yeshua has been “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28) and has become “a new and living way” (Hebrews 10:20) into Adonai’s presence. He is the one who “bore our sins in his body on the stake” (1 Peter 2:24).

Though atonement is focused on the execution stake, the Brit Hadashah makes clear that Yeshua’s death is the climax of His perfect obedience. He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the execution stake” (Philippians 2:8). “Even though he was the Son, he learned obedience through his sufferings” (Hebrews 5:8). Romans 5:12-19 contrasts Yeshua’s obedience to Adam’s disobedience. His sinless obedience qualified Him to be the perfect Sacrifice for sin (see Hebrews 6:8-10).

The atonement for sin provided by Yeshua’s death had its origin in divine love. No other reason can explain why “God reconciled us to himself by Yeshua” (2 Corinthians 5:18). The anthem that continuously peals from the Bible is that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only and unique Son (John 3:16; see 1 John 4:9-10). This does not mean that Adonai loves us because Yeshua died for us. Rather, Yeshua died for us because Adonai loves us. Thus, “God demonstrates his own love for us, in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) Because atonement issues from love, it is always seen as a divine gift, never as a human achievement.

No day was, or is, as sacred to the Jewish community as Yom HaKippurim, the Day of Atonement. After the high priest had made atonement for his sins and those of his household, he proceeded with the rites of atonement for the whole community.

“God put Yeshua forward as the kapparah – the atonement – for sin through his faithfulness in respect to his bloody sacrificial death.” (Romans 3:25) Scripture depicts all human beings as needing to atone for their sins but lacking all power and resources for doing so. We have offended our holy Creator, whose nature it is to hate sin (Jeremiah 44:4; Habakkuk 1:13) and to punish it (Psalms 5:4-6; Romans 1:18; 2:5-9). No acceptance by, or fellowship with,  Adonai can be expected unless atonement is made, and since there is sin in even our best actions, anything we do in hopes of making amends can only increase our guilt or worsen our situation.

As a perfect sacrifice for sin (Romans 8:3; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 1:18-19), Yeshua’s death was our redemption. He paid the price that freed us from the jeopardy of guilt, enslavement to sin, and expectation of wrath (Romans 3:24; Galatians 4:4-5; Colossians 1:14). Yeshua’s death was Adonai’s act of reconciling us to himself, overcoming his hostility to us that our sins provoked (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:20-22).

Yeshua’s atoning death ratified the inauguration of a renewed covenant, in which Yeshua’s one sacrifice guarantees access to Adonai under all circumstances that cover all transgressions (Matthew 26:27-28; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 9:15; 10:12-18). Those who through faith in Yeshua have “received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11) “in him… become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We no longer need the blood of bulls or goats.
Yeshua is our perfect atonement. He is the Messiah!

In my next post, we will consider the last of the Fall Feasts by examining Sukkot.

The King of Ashur Threatens Yerushalayim ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’hayu 36:1-10

In my last post, we learn of The Joy of the Redeemed in Yesha’hayu 35:1-10. In this post, we learn The King of Ashur Threatens Yerushalayim ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 361-10.

The Ashurim had been swallowing up the territory between Nineveh, the capital city of Ashur, and Yerushalayim, the capital city of Y’hudah. They had already defeated Isra’el’s ten northern tribes. With the Ashurim forces only ten miles from Yerushalayim, it looked as though Yerushalayim, a relatively small and weak city, would be defeated, as well. But Adonai had promised that He would bring about deliverance. And this is the story of that deliverance.

1 It was in the fourteenth year of King Hizkiyahu that Sancheriv king of Ashur advanced against all the fortified cities of Y’hudah and captured them.

The Ashurim had defeated the northern kingdom of Isra’el in 722 BCE and put Y’hudah in a position where they had to pay an annual tribute to keep the Ashurim from attacking them. In 703 BCE Sancheriv succeeded his father Sargon on the throne of Ashur. Many nations, including Y’hudah, seized upon this succession in leadership as an opportunity to rebel against Ashur. After taking care of rebellions in other parts of his empire, Sancheriv turned his attention to Y’hudah in 701 BCE. He quickly took many of the smaller fortified cities on the way to Yerushalayim. For accounts of this confrontation, see 2 Kings 18-19 and 2 Chronicles 32.

Hizkiyahu, king of Y’hudah, was a very godly man. Being a man, he had the vulnerability and weakness common to all men. Earlier, he had tried to appease the Ashurim by stripping the gold and silver from the doors of the temple and giving it to Sancheriv. But he found the same thing that you and I see. That is, appeasing the devil never works because he always wants more.

2 From Lakhish the king of Ashur sent Rav-Shakeh to Hizkiyahu in Yerushalayim with a large army. He positioned himself by the aqueduct from the Upper Pool, which is by the road to the Launderers’ Field.

Lakhish was a critical garrison city about 30 miles west of Yerushalayim. It guarded the road that led to Yerushalayim. The king of Ashur, along with his armies, was still at Lakhish when he sent one of his chief officials, the Rav-Shakeh to present an ultimatum to Yerushalayim. Rav-Shakeh stood at the same place where Yesha’yahu had confronted Achaz at an earlier time (see Isaiah 7:3).

3 Elyakim, the son of Hilkiyahu, who was in charge of the household, Shevnah the general secretary and Yo’ach, the son of Asaf, the foreign minister, went out to meet him.

All three of these gentlemen were high ranking officials in Hizkiyahu’s government.

4 Rav-Shakeh addressed them: “Tell Hizkiyahu: ‘Here is what the great king, the king of Ashur, says: “What makes you so confident? 5 I say: do mere words constitute strategy and strength for battle? In whom, then, are you trusting when you rebel against me like this?

The purpose of Rav-Shakeh’s speech was to try to get Hizkiyahu to surrender. He questioned the basis of Hizkiyahu’s refusal in attempting to undermine the foundations of his confidence. He first asked whether the people of Y’hudah were militarily prepared to counter the Ashurim threat.

6 Look! Relying on Egypt is like using a broken stick as a staff – when you lean on it, it punctures your hand. That’s what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like for anyone who puts his trust in him.

Rav-Shakeh then undermined any confidence the nation of Y’hudah might have in Egypt as an ally. He used the metaphor of a splintered reed of a staff. A staff was something a person leaned on for support. However, this staff was made out of a reed that could not support a person’s weight. Indeed, Adonai through Yeshayahu had been making the same point. Egypt was not an ally that could be trusted.

7 But if you tell me, ‘We trust in Adonai our God,’ then isn’t He the one whose high places and altars Hizkiyahu has removed, telling Y’hudah and Yerushalayim, ‘You must worship before this altar’?

Finally, Rav-Shakeh questioned whether Adonai would protect Hizkiyahu. Indeed, the removal of all altars except the one on Mount Tziyon conformed with the law of centralization in Deuteronomy 12. The alters Hizkiyahu removed were altars of false gods. Rav-Shakeh’s argument shows that he did not understand the religion of Y’hudah. Therefore Rav-Shakeh was speaking ignorantly.

8 All right, then, make a wager with my lord, the king of Ashur: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find enough riders for them.

Rav-Shakeh then taunted Y’hudah by offering them 2,000 horses, suggesting that they could not find riders for them.

9 How then can you repulse even one of my master’s lowest-ranked army officers? Yet you are relying on Egypt for chariots and riders! 10 Do you think I have come up to this land to destroy it without Adonai’s approval? Adonai said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it!’” ~ Isaiah 36:1-10 (CJB)

Rav-Shakeh continues, saying, “The Egyptians won’t help you. The Lord won’t help you. You can’t even ride horses. And besides that, He sent us to destroy you.”  His statement reflects ancient Near Eastern pagan theology. The Ashurim believed that the God of Isra’el was a real deity, though perhaps not a strong one. Rav-Shakeh claimed that Y’hudah’sGod had ordered the nation’s destruction. Adonai did use foreign nations on occasion to punish His people, but in this case, Rav-Shakeh was wrong, as further developments of the confrontation between Ashur and Isra’el would indicate.

In my next post, we continue to learn that The King of Ashur Threatens Yerushalayim ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 36:11-22.

Click here for the PDF version.

The Joy of the Redeemed ~ Yesha’hayu 35:1-10

In my last post, we explored A Prophecy Against the Nations in Yesha’yahu 34:1-17. In this post, we learn of The Joy of the Redeemed in Yesha’hayu 35:1-10.

Chapter 35 is a mirror image of chapter 34, where Adonai announced that He would turn the nations into a wilderness. In chapter 35, He proclaimed that He would transform the people of Adonai from a wilderness into a garden. The principle of both chapters is that Adonai’s people should trust Him, not the nations.

1 The desert and the dry land will be glad; the ‘Aravah will rejoice and blossom like the lily.

In Romans 8, Sha’ul tells us that all creation is groaning, waiting for the day of redemption. In other words, even the earth realizes it’s in a fallen state. But when Yeshua comes back, everything will be made right once again.

Recall that the ‘Aravah is the desert area south of the Dead Sea. Scientists tell us that the deserts on our planet are expanding at an alarming rate. Ten thousand square miles of desert are being added in North Africa alone each year. But when the kingdom comes, the desert shall suddenly rejoice and blossom like a lily.

How can this be? It is suggested by some scientists that there will be another shift of the axis. If the earth is made straight again, much of the polar ice caps will melt, adding incredible amounts of water and causing evaporation and the reemergence of a water canopy surrounding the planet. Fossil evidence indicates that the earth at one time was uniformly temperate. Scientists suggest that this could happen again. [1] This is an interesting theory, but I don’t think it is connected to “global warming” per se.

2 It will burst into flower, will rejoice with joy and singing, will be given the glory of the L’vanon, the splendor of Karmel and the Sharon. They will see the glory of Adonai, the splendor of our God.

With the elimination of Edom, regions north of that land are freed from oppression and are restored to fertility and prosperity. L’vanon, Karmel, and Sharon were regions especially lush in vegetation.

3 Strengthen your drooping arms, and steady your tottering knees. 4 Say to the fainthearted, “Be strong and unafraid! Here is your God; He will come with a vengeance; with God’s retribution He will come and save you.”

Adonai will save His people from the godless nations that oppress them. Adonai’s retribution refers to the punishment due to the wicked and the reward due to the righteous.

How are we to strengthen people who feel weak or fearful? We are to tell them Yeshua is coming back. The way to enhance people – whether yourself or others – is to say, “Fear not. Be strong. Yeshua will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped; 6 then the lame man will leap like a deer, and the mute person’s tongue will sing. For in the desert, springs will burst forth, streams of water in the ‘Aravah; 7 the sandy mirage will become a pool, the thirsty ground springs of water. The haunts where jackals lie down will become a marsh filled with reeds and papyrus.

In the Kingdom, the healing ministry that Yeshua began on earth will be gloriously completed. Elsewhere in Yesha’yahu, these physical disabilities (blind, deaf, and lame) are metaphors for spiritual shortcomings (29:18; 42:18-19; 43:8). They have been physically dead to godliness, but in the future, they will come alive. Not only will the lame walk, but they will leap like a deer. Not only will the mute speak, but they will sing for joy. A similar transformation is described with the language of nature. The parched ground will flow with water.

8 A highway will be there, a way, called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not pass over it, but it will be for those whom He guides – fools will not stray along it.

In the Kingdom Age, the Way of Holiness shall be established. Everyone will walk together in love and righteousness as the Prince of Peace reigns. Even the most foolish of us will not miss the cutoff or take a wrong turn on this glorious highway of wholeness and rightness.

9 No lion or other beast of prey will be there, traveling on it. They will not be found there, but the redeemed will go there.

HaSatan will be bound at this time. Thus, we will not even hear a growl from the roaring lion of 1 Kefa 5:8.

10 Those ransomed by Adonai will return and come with singing to Tziyon, on their heads will be everlasting joy. They will acquire gladness and joy, while sorrow and sighing will flee. ~ Isaiah 35:1-10 (CJB)

The road described in verse 8 will be safe, and it will lead to Tziyon, where Adonai makes His presence known to His people.

Somewhere we got the mistaken idea that holiness is joyless. Here, however, we see that, as we cruise down the Way of Holiness, everlasting joy will replace heaviness and gladness will replace sadness.

In my next post, we begin to learn that The King of Ashur Threatens Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 36.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

Rosh Hashanah – 5780 ~ Be Ministers of Reconciliation

In this post, we take a break from our series on Yesha’yahu to observe the first of the fall Jewish feasts of Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah: The key is Repentance, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation

Biblical References: B’midbar (Numbers) 29:1–6 and Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:23 – 25 ~ Yom Teruah (The Feast of Trumpets). In 2019, the appointed time begins at sundown on September 29th.

Rabbinic Change: Since this is considered a Shabbat of the Fall Appointed Times, it has been considered as the “spiritual” New Year. Hence, the name changed to Rosh Hashanah, “the head of the year.” It is also seen as the anniversary of creation; the sacrifice of Yitz’chak; the release of Yosef from Pharaoh’s prison; and, the birth of Sh’mu’el, the prophet.

The purpose and traditional observance of the Holy Day is summed up in one word – regathering. Since the fall Appointed Times call us to regather to pure faith in Adonai, Rosh Hashanah has come to represent the Day of Repentance. It is the day when people of Israel take stock of their spiritual condition and make the necessary changes to ensure that the upcoming New Year will be pleasing to Adonai.

The shofar is sounded daily to alert the faithful that the time of repentance is near. The observance takes on a somber character, yet always with a hint of hope because of Adonai’s forgiveness.

The traditional challah is shaped in a circle to symbolize Adonai’sKingship and the coming of Messiah. Sweet honey cakes and apples dipped in honey are a real treat and express the hope of a new fresh year.

Tradition tells of three books that are opened in the heavenly courts during the feast of Rosh Hashanah; one for the thoroughly righteous, one for the thoroughly wicked, and one for the average person. The thoroughly righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life. The completely wicked are directly written in the book of death. The average person is kept in suspension from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). If they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life; if they do not deserve well, they are written in the book of death. Consequently, the Ten Days of Awe are a time of solemn self-examination with time spent in seeking reconciliation and doing good works in the Jewish tradition.

Since the 15th Century, the ceremony of Tashlich is celebrated in the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. The congregation meets at a river or stream. Special prayers of repentance are recited, and a portion of Micah is read. People then take breadcrumbs and cast them into the water symbolizing that our sins are carried away by the water.

Rosh Hashanah has profound Messianic significance! The rabbis have taught that one day the shofar would sound and the Messiah would come. According to Rabbi Sha’ul, in the future, all true believers in Yeshua will be gathered to meet Him in the clouds. The dead in Messiah will rise first, to be followed immediately by those believers alive at the time. “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar, those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. So, encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) That day will indeed be characterized by joy, delight, and sweetness for those who are called home! As we observe Rosh Hashanah, we should anticipate the time of Yeshua’s return.

The traditional greeting during Rosh Hashanah is, “L’shanah tovah tikatevu!” May your name be inscribed in the book of life! As Messianic Believers, we can rightly say, “L’shanah tovah tikatevu b’shem Yeshua!” May your name be inscribed in the book of life, in the name of Yeshua!

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 – 21. Rosh Hashanah: repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Rabbi Sha’ul wrote to the Corinthians about these key ingredients in our annual observation of this holy appointed time. As Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the new spiritual year, so it is that we become new creations when we are united with Yeshua as our Messiah.

The fundamental idea in this passage is reconciliation. Because of our rebellion, we are the enemy of Adonai and out of fellowship with Him. Through the work of the execution stake, Yeshua has brought Adonai and us together again. Adonai has been reconciled and has turned His face in love toward the lost world. The essential meaning of the word reconcile is “to change thoroughly.” It refers to a restored relationship with Adonai and the lost world. “And it is all from God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18a)

Adonai does not have to be reconciled to man because Yeshua accomplished that on the execution stake. It is the sinful man who must be reconciled to Adonai. “Religion” is man’s feeble effort to be reconciled to Adonai, efforts that are bound to fail. The Person who reconciles us to Adonai is Yeshua, and the place where He reconciles us is His execution stake. He not only reconciles us to Himself, but he gives us the task of reconciling other people to Him. We have been entrusted with the message of reconciliation.

Another fundamental idea in this paragraph is that Adonai does not count our sins against us. In the KJV, the term used is imputing. This is a word borrowed from banking; it just means, “to put to one’s account.” When you deposit money in the bank, the teller puts that amount into your account. When Yeshua died on the execution stake, all our sins were imputed to Him – put into His account. Adonai treated Him as though He had committed those sins.

What was the result? All those sins have been paid for, and Adonai no longer holds them against us, because we have trusted Yeshua as our Messiah. But even more: Adonai has put into our account the very righteousness of Yeshua! “God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in Gods’ righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Reconciliation is based on imputation: because the demands of Adonai’s Torah have been fully met on the execution stake, Adonai can be reconciled to sinners. Those who believe in Yeshua, as their Messiah will never have their sins imputed to them again (see Psalms 32:1-2; Romans. 4:1-8). As far as their records are concerned, they share the righteousness of Yeshua!

How does this beautiful doctrine of reconciliation motivate us to serve Yeshua? We are ambassadors with a message. Adonai has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

Since we are the ambassadors of Yeshua, this means that the world is in rebellion against Adonai. He has sent His ambassadors into the world to declare peace, not war. “Be reconciled to God!” We represent Yeshua (see John 20:21; 2 Corinthians 4:5). If sinners reject our message and us, it is Yeshua who is rejected. What a great privilege it is to be heaven’s ambassadors to the rebellious sinners of this world!

Adonai has not declared war on the world; at the execution stake, He said peace. But one day, He will declare war; and then it will be too late for those who have rejected Yeshua (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10). Satan is seeking to tear everything apart in this world, but Yeshua and His Messianic community are involved in the ministry of reconciliation, bringing things back together again, and back to Adonai.

Ministry is not easy. If we are to succeed, we must be motivated by the fear of the Lord, the love of Yeshua, and the commission that He has given to us. It is indeed a privilege to serve Him!

During these next ten days before Yom Kippur, I encourage you to do some self-reflection. Is there any unconfessed sin in your life? Do you need to forgive someone who has hurt you? Are there any relationships that require reconciliation? As we enter the start of a new spiritual year, resolve to make a fresh start and be ambassadors of Yeshua HaMashiach, “so that in union with Him, we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”

In my next post, we will return to our study of Yesha’yahu.

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A Prophecy Against the Nations ~ Yesha’yahu 34:1-17

In my last post, we wrapped up A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 33:14-24. In this post, we explore A Prophecy Against the Nations in Yesha’yahu 34:1-17.

In Yesha’yahu 34, we see a picture of the Great Tribulation, specifically the battle of Har-Megiddo.

1 Come close, you nations, and listen! Pay close attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and everything in it; the world, with all it produces.

The first thing I noticed in this verse was the pluralization of the nation. Adonai is not just the God of Israel. He is the Adonai of the whole world, so He calls on all the nations to hear Him when He speaks. That includes all of us.

2 For Adonai is angry at every nation, furious with all their armies; He has completely destroyed them, handed them over to slaughter. (emphasis added.) 3 Their slain will be thrown out; the stench will rise from their corpses; the mountains will flow with their blood.

Revelation 14:20 tells us that, at the battle of Har-Megiddo, the blood will flow as high as a horse’s bridle. Jeremiah 30 calls this the time of Ya’akov’s trouble, for, in the Tribulation, the nation of Isra’el and all the earth will be shaken to its core in preparation for the coming of the King.

4 The whole host of heaven will decompose, the heavens themselves be rolled up like a scroll; all their array will wither away like a withering grape-leaf that falls from a vine or a withered fig from a fig tree.

Adonai’s warring activity has cosmic implications. The ancient nations thought of the stars as representing their gods. This image in Yesha’yahu of the whole panorama of the sky being rolled up like a parchment scroll is unique in the Hebrew Bible. In Revelation 6:14 we read: “The sky receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.”

5 ‘For my sword has drunk its fill in heaven; now it descends on Edom to judge them, the people I have doomed to destruction.’

Since verses 1-4 are concerned with Adonai’s punishment of the nations, it may be that the description of Edom as a sacrificial victim is simply an example of what will happen to them all. Indeed Edom serves in many cases as Israel’s prototype “enemy.”

6 There is a sword that belongs to Adonai. It is filled with blood, gorged with fat, filled with the blood of lambs and goats, gorged with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For Adonai has a sacrifice in Botzrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 The wild oxen will fall with them, the young bulls with the strong, mature ones. Their land will be drunk with blood, and their dust made greasy with fat.

Botzrah is the capital of ancient Edom, present-day Saudi Arabia. Edom is the area where Esau settled. The language of sacrifice is explicit in these verses.

8 For Adonai has a day of vengeance, a year of requital for fighting with Tziyon.

Edom had a reputation for taking advantage of Isra’el whenever Isra’el was weak.

9 Its streams will be changed to tar, its dust to sulfur, its land burning tar 10 that will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. In all generations, it will lie waste; no one will pass through it ever again.

Although often mentioned as a sealant material for boats, boiling tar appears in Old Babylonian texts as a form of punishment. Coupled with the foul smell of burning sulfur, both elements being available in the region of the Dead Sea, they could easily be associated with Adonai’s wrath. This punishment is similar to that He had brought against Sodom and Gomorrah.

For years, Bible scholars wondered how an area could burn forever. Now we know – for if a bomb or some other device ignited the vast oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, they would burn forever. Whether a bomb ignites them or they are ignited supernaturally, they will indeed burn. [1]

11 Horned owl and hawk will possess it, screech owl and raven will live there; he will stretch over it the measuring line of confusion and the plumbline of the empty void.

The symbol for utter destruction here is that birds best known as inhabiting and scavenging desolate places have settled in ruins.

12 Of its nobles, none will be called to be king, and all its princes will be nothing.

Edom’s kingship was ancient, predating that of Isra’el, but Adonai will bring that institution to an end since He is bringing the nation itself to a close.

13 Thorns will overgrow its palaces, nettles, and thistles its fortresses; it will become a lair for jackals, an enclosure for ostriches. 14 Wildcats and hyenas will meet there, and billy-goats call to each other; Lilit [the night monster] will lurk there and find herself a place to rest. 15 There the hoot owl will nest, lay her eggs, hatch and gather her young in its shade. There the vultures will assemble, every one with its mate.

The prophecy is that of a city becoming a wilderness. Not only will the public buildings of the nation be overgrown out of neglect, but wild animals – a number of which were considered unclean – will make their homes among the ruins.

16 Consult the book of Adonai and read it: not one of these will be missing, none will be lacking a mate. For by His own mouth He gave the order, and by His Spirit, He brought them together. 17 It is He who cast the lot for them, His hand measured out their shares. They will possess it forever, and live there through all generations.” ~ Isaiah 34:1-17 (CJB)

The meaning of the book of Adonai is unknown. It may be a reference to a heavenly scroll, but if so, it is hard to know how the hearer could refer to this document. The appeal to a scroll could be a rhetorical device to emphasize the certainty of Edom’s destruction and its transformation into a haunt for wild animals.

In my next post, we explore The Joy of the Redeemed in Yesha’hayu 35:1-10.

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[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 33:14-24

In my last post, we learned of A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 33:1-13. In this post, we wrap up A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 33:14-24.

14 The sinners in Tziyon are frightened; trembling has seized the ungodly. “Who of us can live with the devouring fire? Who of us can live with eternal burning?”

Having seen Adonai move against the Ashurim, His people quake, fearing they’re next in line for judgment. Who can stand in the presence of such an awesome Adonai? The answer in the following verses are similar to Psalms 15 and 24, thought to be liturgies used by those entering the sacred space of the sanctuary.

15 He whose life is right and whose speech is straight, he who scorns getting rich by extortion, he who shakes his hands free of bribes, stops his ears against talk of bloodshed and shuts his eyes against looking at evil. 16 Such a person will live on the heights, his refuge a fortress among the cliffs, his food, and water in steady supply.

Righteousness –He whose life is rightis described in this verse in relational terms. Adonai will dwell with those who refrain from acts that exploit other people. The righteous person will avoid extortion, bribery, and murder. A Believer who is walking with Adonai in the time of the consuming, devouring fire will be able to stand. The same fire that petrifies those who aren’t Believers will purify those who want to be more like Him.

17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will gaze on land stretching into the distance.

The King is none other than Adonai Himself. The picture of the King in His beauty looks to the future after the judgment and the destruction of the enemy when Adonai’s people will be restored.

18 Your mind will meditate on the terror: “Where is the man who did the counting? Where is the man who did the weighing? Where is the man who numbered the towers?”

In this glorious future, no longer will there be emissaries from the oppressive enemy to take the resources of the people of Adonai or those who try to prepare for battle against them.

19 You will not see the intransigent people, that people whose language is so obscure, whose stuttering speech you cannot understand.

The Ashurim tax collectors, some of whom may have come from various parts of the empire, spoke Aramaic, while the majority of Isra’eli spoke only Hebrew. They may also have had strange-sounding accents, which added to the sense of foreign control and oppression for the people of Y’hudah.

20 Look at Tziyon, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Yerushalayim a secure abode, a tent that will not be removed, whose pegs will never be pulled out and whose guy-ropes will not be cut. 21 But there in His splendor, Adonai will be with us, in a place of rivers and broad streams. But no boat with oars will go there; no majestic ship will pass by.

Of Yerushalayim, the most fought-over city in the history of humanity, Adonai says it shall be a quiet habitation, that it shall stand. Despite the current tensions in the Middle East with the Iranians rushing to develop nuclear weapons, perhaps the safest spot on the face of the earth is Yerushalayim, for Adonai guarantees her preservation. To describe Tziyon as a place of rivers and broad streams is to paint a picture of future blessing since Yerushalayim had nothing of the kind.

22 For Adonai is our judge, Adonai is our lawgiver, Adonai is our king. He will save us.

Adonai is our judge, lawgiver, and king, offices that provide internal and external stability and security.

23 For your ropes are hanging loose, not holding the mast, not spreading the sail. Then the plunder shared out is so huge that even the lame get part of the spoil.

The boat imagery may point to those ships in verse 21 that try to assail Tziyon. But rather than taking plunder away, even the lame among the people of Adonai will receive a portion.

24 No inhabitant will say, “I am ill”; the people living there will be forgiven their sin. ~ Isaiah 33:14-24 (CJB)

The change from judgment to salvation for the people of Adonai takes place for one reason: they will be forgiven their iniquity.

When Yeshua returns, when Yerushalayim is quiet, when the river flows through the city, there will be no more sickness. When the Yeshua walked on earth, all that came to Him were healed without exception. Thus, Yeshua’s ministry on earth provided a sneak preview of great coming attractions.

In my next post, we explore A Prophecy Against the Nations in Yesha’hayu 34.

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A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 33:1-13

In my last post, we examined a prophecy concerning The Women of Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 32:9-20. In this post, we learn of A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 33:1-13.

This is the sixth and final woe in chapters 28-33. The woe pronounces the destruction of a betrayer. Many interpreters believe the reference is to Sancheriv, whom King Hizkiyah of Y’hudah paid to back off from the siege of Yerushalayim that we will explore later in chapters 36-37. But others believe it is a general reference to the deception of the nations.

1 Woe, destroyer, yourself undestroyed! Woe, betrayer, yourself unbetrayed! When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you tire of betraying, they will betray you.2 Adonai, show us mercy; we have waited for you. Be their arm every morning, and our salvation in time of trouble. 3 At the sound of the tumult, the peoples wander off; when you exalt yourself, the nations are scattered.

Since the nations have let them down, Adonai’s people have no recourse but to wait for Adonai to save them.

4 Your spoil is gathered as if stripped by shearer-worms; they run over it like a swarm of locusts.

In Scripture, locusts are often symbols of a large destroying army. The irony here is that the former destroyer, Ashur, is now to be picked over even more thoroughly than were its victims.

5 Adonai is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Tziyon with justice and right. 6 He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge, and fear of Adonai, which is His treasure.

Tziyon’s treasure is not gold, silver, or weapons. Its treasure is the fear of the Adonai. A relationship of dependence and trust leads to action by a warring Adonai on behalf of His people. We all need to be dependant upon and trust in the Lord for all your needs.

Verses 7-13 describe a future attack (perhaps Sancheriv’s attack on Yerushalayim in 701 BCE) as if it were happening in the present.

7 Hear their brave men crying out for help! The envoys of peace weep bitterly.

The envoys of peace weep bitterly as warriors control the streets. Diplomacy has broken down. Of late, that seems to be a recurring theme in our international relationships.

8 The highways are deserted; there are no travelers. He has broken the covenant, despised the cities; he has no regard for human life.

He here appears to be Sancheriv.  He has broken the covenant may be a direct reference to the agreement that Sancheriv made to withdraw from Yerushalayim after being paid tribute – a promise he did not honor. Since the army is on the brink of attack, all travel has ceased.

9 The land is mourning and wilting away. The L’vanon is withering with shame. The Sharon has become like the ‘Aravah. Bashan and Karmel have been shaken bare.

The shattering of nature’s normal function, coupled with a gloomy recital of areas known for their fertility, once again reflects Adonai’s displeasure. The locales generally run north to south: from the lush forests of L’vanon, south to the fertile plain of Sharon on the coastal plain, east of the Galilee to the Bashan plateau and its excellent grazing areas, and then south again to the Karmel range is also known for its herding. The reference to Aravah is to the desert plain south of the Dead Sea.

10 “Now I will arise,” says Adonai, “Now I will exalt and lift myself up.

At this moment of tension, a time when Isra’el’s abilities are insufficient, Adonai will rise up. This shows He is about to make an appearance as a warrior. Several psalms call on Adonai to arise to fight on behalf of the psalmist and his people.

11 You conceive chaff and give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire devouring you. 12 The peoples will be as if burned into lime, like thorns cut off to burn in the fire.

In spite of the efforts of the enemy to win a victory, they will accomplish nothing productive. They conceive and give birth, not to life but death, here represented by dead vegetation that is good for nothing (chaff and stubble).

13 You living far off, hear what I have done! You who are near, acknowledge my strength!” ~ Isaiah 33:1-13 (CJB)

Adonai’s warring activity will be a testimony to the whole world, both near and far, of His strength.

In my next post, we continue to explore A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’hayu 33:14-24.

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The Women of Yerushalayim ~ Yesha’yahu 32:9-20

In my last post, we learned of the Coming of a Righteous King in Yesha’yahu 32:1-8. In this post, we examine a prophecy concerning The Women of Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 32:9-20.

9 You women who are so complacent, listen to me! Overconfident women pay attention to my words!

The prophecy now addresses the women in the community of the people of Adonai. They also show pride in human resources rather than in the Adonai. They are complacent and overconfident.

10 In a year and a few days more, you overconfident women will shudder, because the vintage will fail, the harvest will not come.

It appears that the security of these women is in the abundant produce of the land, but Yesha’hayu pointed out that this prosperity is temporary. In the next year, vintage (wine) and harvest (crop production) will fail. Tough economic times are ahead.

11 Tremble, you complacent women! Shudder, you overconfident women! Strip bare, wear sackcloth to cover yourselves.

Yesha’hayu seems to be saying: “You should be wearing sackcloth in brokenness and humility. Instead, you’re dressed for a party.” One of the rituals associated with mourning and supplication is to wear sackcloth (see Genesis 37:34; 1 Kings 20:31-32). Any society whose women begin to lose their moral moorings and begin to flaunt their sensuality is headed for trouble.

12 Beat your breasts in mourning for the pleasant fields and fruitful vines,

In addition to wearing sackcloth, beating one’s chest was also a mourning customs.

13 for the land of my people, producing thorns and briars, for all the happy homes in the joyful city.

The land will produce thorns and briers, useless plants, instead of grains and vines. The idea is similar to the curse against Adam in Genesis 3:18.

14 For the palace will be abandoned, the crowded city deserted, ‘Ofel and fortress wastelands forever, a delight for wild donkeys and a pasture for flocks –

Not only will the fields be desolate and unproductive, but so will the city of Yerushalayim. It will be turned into the haunt of wild animals.Ofel (Citadel) refers to a portion of Yerushalayim where a specific watchtower stood (see Nehemiah 3:26).

Because the Adonai would mercifully and mightily deliver Yerushalayim from destruction at the hand of the Ashurim, this prophecy would see fulfillment when the Jews were carried into captivity to Bavel in 586 BCE. Of course, it would be even more fully and tragically realized in the destruction of Yerushalayim by Rome in 70 CE.

15 till the Spirit is poured out on us from above, and the desert becomes a fertile field, with the fertile field regarded as a forest.

When the Spirit is poured out, everything changes. We see three great outpourings of the Spirit in Scripture: before the end times in Joel 2, at the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, and in the millennial kingdom as seen here. That is not to say that the Spirit isn’t being poured out daily now.

16 Then justice will dwell in the desert, and righteousness abides in the fertile field. 17 The effect of righteousness will be peace; the result of righteousness, quiet trust forever.

Being right with Adonai and our neighbors will bring peace. Shalom is more than the absence of conflict. It includes personal wholeness and does not depend on outside circumstances.

 18 My people will live in a peaceful place, in secure neighborhoods, and tranquil dwellings.

Living in a peaceful place and feeling secure and tranquil were blessings of Isra’el’s covenant with the Adonai, but the people’s sin had previously brought curses rather than blessings.

19 Just as the forest will surely come down, the city will surely be laid low. 20 Happy are you who sow by all streams, letting oxen and donkeys roam freely. ~ Isaiah 32:9-20 (CJB)

The godly would remain secure even with evidence of Adonai’s judgment all around them.

In my next post, we move to the sixth and final woe in chapters 28-33 in Yesha’hayu 33:1-13 to learn about A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 1.

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Coming of a Righteous King ~ Yesha’yahu 32:1-8

In my last post, we concluded our investigation of a Woe to the Rebellious Children ~ Part 3 in Yesha’hayu 30:27-33. In this post, we take a brief respite from the woes, and we will learn of the Coming of a Righteous King in Yesha’yahu 32:1-8.

1 There is coming a king who will reign justly and princes who will rule uprightly.

In light of the dark days they were experiencing, this would have been a message of comfort and hope to Adonai’s people. Scholars are divided over whether the king who will reign righteously is a direct reference to the Messiah or whether it describes a historical king like Hizikiyahu (sees 2 Kings 18-21) or Yoshiyahu (see 2 Kings 21-23). Of course, Yeshua is THE King, and Hizikiyahu and Yoshiyahu were pale anticipations of the Him. The point is that the future will bring just leadership.

2 A man will be like a refuge from the wind, like protection from a storm, like streams of water on arid ground, like a rock cliff shading a weary land.

The benefits the people will experience because of their righteous leaders are described metaphorically. They are protection and provision in difficult circumstances. Ultimately, Yeshua is the hiding place in a weary land.

3 The eyes of those seeing will not be closed; the ears of those hearing will pay close attention. 4 The minds of the impetuous will learn to weigh carefully; the tongues of the stutterers will speak readily and clearly. 5 The mean person will no longer be called generous, or the miserly said to be noble;

These verses form a reversal of the conditions faced by Yesha’yahu in his description of his calling in 6:9-10. What changes Israel’s fortunes is the rise of a righteous king who enforces the law and maintains order.

When Yeshua reigns in righteousness, men will see clearly. As a result, dark will not be called light (Yesha’yahu 5:20). Things will be seen for what they are in truth. That is why the mean or foolish, person will no longer be thought of as generous and noble.

6 for the mean person will speak meanness, his heart planning evil so that he can act godlessly, spreading error concerning Adonai, as he lets the hungry go on starving and deprives the thirsty of drink.

Proverbs make it clear that a fool is someone who rejects Adonai and has a detrimental effect on the community. Here Yesha’yahu claims that folly among the leadership leads to hunger and thirst.

7 The mean person’s means are mean – he devises wicked devices to ruin the poor and needy with lies, even when their cause is just. 8 But the generous person devises generous things, and his generosity will keep him standing. ~ Isaiah 32:1-8 (CJB)

In contrast to the person who will be destroyed by his self-interest and indulgence, the generous person will thrive because of his selflessness. Yeshua would not only perfectly embody this principle but put it into words when He said, “Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for my sake will find it.” ~ Matthew 10:39 (CJB)

In my next post, we move on in Yesha’hayu 32 to learn about The Women of Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 32:9-20.

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