Final Judgment and Glory of Adonai ~ Yesha’yahu 66:15-25

In my last post, we continued to examine the last chapter in the prophecy of Yesha’yahu, learning about Rejoice with Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 66:7-14. In this post, we conclude our long journey through to the prophecy of Yesha’yahu, learning about Final Judgment and Glory of Adonai in Yesha’yahu 66:15-25.

15 For – look! – Adonai will come in fire, and His chariots will be like the whirlwind, to render His anger furiously, His rebuke with blazing fire.16 For Adonai will judge all humanity with fire and with the sword, and those slain by Adonai will be many. 17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves in order to enter the gardens, then follow the one who was already there, eating pig meat, reptiles, and mice, will all be destroyed together,” says Adonai.

Eating pig meat, reptiles and mice is another description of foreign rites, probably of Canaanite origin. There is no extrabiblical evidence illuminating this custom. [1] The wicked who receive the punishment described are those who entered illegitimate worship sites. They ate the most unclean food, defiantly rejecting Adonai’s law for Isra’el.

18 “For I [know] their deeds and their thoughts. “[The time] is coming when I will gather together all nations and languages. They will come and see my glory,

Adonai was never interested in Isra’el alone. His promise to Avraham extended to the nations (Genesis 12:3). Yesha’yahu looked forward to the day when the nations would recognize Adonai’s glory. When Yeshua returns to rule the earth, people in the farthest corners of the world will know of His salvation.

19 and I will give them a sign. I will send some of their survivors to the nations of Tarshish, Pul, Lud (these are archers), Tuval, Greece, and more distant coasts, where they have neither heard of my fame nor seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory in these nations;

The survivors, the remnant of Adonai’s people who survive the judgment, will go out to the nations to speak of Adonai’s glory. Among the representative nations named are those at great distance. Tarshish is modern-day Spain; Pul (ancient Put) is equivalent to modern Somaliland (though some think a part of Libya); and, Tuval is an area near the Black Sea. The distant coasts represent all the nations of the world. [2]

20 and they will bring all your kinsmen out of all the nations as an offering to Adonai — on horses, in chariots, in wagons, on mules, on camels — to My holy mountain Yerushalayim,” says Adonai, “just as the people of Isra’el themselves bring their offerings in clean vessels to the house of Adonai.

Again, this describes the great gathering that will take place in the Kingdom Age, resulting in the Jews’ return to Yerushalayim.

21 I will also take cohanim and L’vi’im (Levities) from them,” says Adonai.

Yesha’yahu presented a remarkable picture of the nations producing people set apart for service to the Lord like cohanim and L’vi’im.

22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will continue in my presence,” says Adonai, “so will your descendants and your name continue. 23 “Every month on Rosh-Hodesh and every week on Shabbat, everyone living will come to worship in my presence,” says Adonai.

In this future day, no one will neglect the regular worship of the Adonai. Rosh-Hodesh (the New Moon festival) was a monthly sacred observance. What a great day it will be when the Jews join all people in converging upon Yerushalayim to worship. Sometimes I think we get a little taste of this in times of intense worship and fellowship even now.

24 “As they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me. For their worm will never die, and their fire will never be quenched, but they will be abhorrent to all humanity.” ~ Yesha’yahu ~ 66:15-24 (CJB)

Sadly, while the Kingdom is celebrating, there will be incredible suffering as those who reject the King will be left to the consequences of their own will.

For those of you who have been on this journey through Yesha’yahu from the beginning, we started on January 20, 2019. This last post is the 140th post in the series. I hope and pray that you have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed digging into the Word as proclaimed by Yesha’yahu.

In my next post, we will begin to examine the character and writings of Kefa (Peter).

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.

[2] HCSB Study Bible.

Rejoice with Yerushalayim ~ Yesha’yahu 66:7-14

In my last post, we learned about The Humble and Contrite Spirit in Yesha’yahu 66:1-6. In this post, we continue to examine the last chapter in the prophecy of Yesha’yahu, learning about Rejoice with Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 66:7-14.

7 Before going into labor, she gave birth; before her pains came, she delivered a male child.

The fate of the wicked will not spoil the rejoicing of those who enter Yeshua’s kingdom. Isra’el’s restoration in the Kingdom Age will be accomplished so quickly it will be like a woman delivering her baby before going into labor.

8 Whoever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Is a country born in one day? Is a nation brought forth all at once? For as soon as Tziyon went into labor, she brought forth her children.

Tziyon (Yerushalayim) has been described as Isra’el’s mother before. Here the return to Y’hudah after the exile is described as Tziyon giving birth painlessly to many children.

9 “Would I let the baby breakthrough and not be born?” asks Adonai. “Would I, who cause the birth, shut the womb?” asks your God.

In previous passages, God is imagined to be the husband of Tziyon. That idea might also be operative here, but He is pictured as the doctor who delivered Tziyon’s babies. Isra’el’s rebirth is inevitable because God never begins what he doesn’t finish.

10 Rejoice with Yerushalayim! Be glad with her, all you who love her! Rejoice, rejoice with her, all of you who mourned for her; 11 so that you nurse and are satisfied by her comforting breast, drinking deeply and delighting in the overflow of her glory.

Yerushalayim, the mother of the returned exiles, will not only give them birth but will nurse them and give them life.

12 For Adonai says, “I will spread shalom over her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried in her arm and cuddled in her lap.

Yerushalayim will be a place of abundant peace (like a river) and overflowing wealth (like a flood). Adonai, the mother, will care for and play with her children, the returned inhabitants of Yerushalayim.

13 Like someYerushalayim, you will be comforted.”one comforted by his mother, I will comfort you; in 

Likening Himself to a mother, Adonai says, “I’m going to bounce you upon My knee.” He identifies Himself not only as a strong Father but as a tender, nourishing Mother.

14 Your heart will rejoice at the sight; your bodies will flourish like newly sprouted grass. It will be known that the hand of Adonai is with His servants, but with His enemies, His fury. ~ Isaiah 66:7-14 (CJB)

Adonai’s people will flourish, but his enemies will receive His fury.

In my next post, we conclude our study of Yesha’yahu, learning about Final Judgment and Glory of Adonai in Yesha’yahu 66:15-25.

Click here for the PDF version.

Tziyon’s Restoration ~ Yesha’yahu 62:1-12

In my last post, we learned about God’s Announcement of Good News in Yesha’hayu 61:1-11. In this post, we examine Tziyon’s Restoration in Yesha’hayu 62:1-12. In this post, we will see more Hebrew words (with English translations) than we usually do.

The theme of the transformation of God’s people continues in this chapter. Pastor Tony Evans opines that: “This chapter is one of the crown jewels of prophecy in terms of the glorious future awaiting Isra’el when Jesus Christ returns and establishes his kingdom.” [1]

1 For Tziyon’s sake, I will not be silent; for Yerushalayim’s sake, I will not rest until her vindication shines out brightly and her salvation like a blazing torch.

The first-person speaker (I) is either the Yeshua or the prophet Yesha’hayu. He will speak until Yerushalayim’s spiritual transformation is complete. Since the entire prophecy has as yet to be fulfilled entirely, I tend to think it represents Yeshua.

2 The nations will see your vindication and all kings your glory. Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai himself will pronounce. 3 You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God. 4 You will no longer be spoken of as ‘Azuvah [Abandoned] or your land be spoken of as ‘Sh’mamah [Desolate]; rather, you will be called Heftzi-Vah [My-Delight-Is-In-Her] and your land Be’ulah [Married]. For Adonai delights in you, and your land will be married – 5 as a young man marries a young woman, your sons will marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, your God will rejoice over you.

Names and their meaning often related to a person’s character or reputation. Name changes were not uncommon. For instance, Naomi (“pleasant”) changed her name to Mara (“bitter”) when her fortunes turned bad (Ru 1:20). Isra’el’s new divinely given name indicates a change of condition for the people of God ( see vv. 4,12).

Isra’el’s names are changed from ones that indicated her loneliness (Deserted and Desolate) to those that show the intimate relationship (My Delight is in Her and Married). The metaphor of God married to His people as a husband is to his bride communicates the intimacy and exclusivity of the relationship. As a bride can have only one husband, so Isra’el can have only one God.

6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Yerushalayim; they will never fall silent, neither by day nor by night. You who call on Adonai, give yourselves no rest; 7 and give Him no rest till He restores Yerushalayim and makes it a praise on earth.

The watchmen on the walls were those who kept an eye out to alert the inhabitants of the city about news or danger. The leaders of God’s people are compared to watchmen whose responsibilities included the encouragement of the people’s relationship with God. Yesha’hayu urged them to keep after God to maintain His efforts at restoring Yerushalayim until it was indeed the city of our God, His holy mountain. ~ Psalm 48:1 (CJB)

8 Adonai has sworn by His right hand and by His mighty arm: “Never again will I give your grain to your enemies as food; nor will strangers drink your wine, for which you worked so hard; 9 but those who harvest the grain will eat it with praises to Adonai; those who gathered the wine will drink it in the courtyards of my sanctuary.”

Attacking armies would steal the crops of people they conquered. God had allowed a succession of foreign powers to invade His people because of their sin (Assyria, Babylon, and Roman, most notably). Still, their plundering will be brought to an end.

10 Go on through, go on through the gates, clear the way for the people! Build up a highway, build it up! Clear away the stones! Raise a banner for the peoples!

A highway is a frequent image in Yesha’hayu for the removal of barriers between God and His people (see 11:16; 19:23; 33:8; 35:8; 40:3; 49:11). Banners in ancient Isra’el were used for marking tribes. They appear to have been used most often in military contexts, either to rally troops together or to identify regiments of troops.

11 Adonai has proclaimed to the end of the earth, “Say to the daughter of Tziyon, ‘Here, your Salvation is coming! Here, His reward is with Him, and His recompense is before Him.'” 12 They will call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of Adonai. You will be called D’rushah [Sought-After], ‘Ir Lo Ne’ezvah [City-No-Longer-Abandoned]. [2] ~ Isaiah 62:1-12 (CJB)

The Lord will answer the prayers of His people, in this case, for Yerushalayim and all of Isra’el to be restored and thrive in the kingdom age. Because this is true, the Lord can make this announcement: Say to the daughter of Tziyon, ‘Here, your Salvation is coming! Here, His reward is with Him, and His recompense is before Him. The new names God gave to his people (vv. 4-5) are not enough. He has a few more: D’rushah [Sought-After], ‘Ir Lo Ne’ezvah [City-No-Longer-Abandoned]. Those are names that guarantee a glorious future.

In my next post, we will explore The Lord’s Day of Vengeance in Yesha’yahu 63.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Tony Evans Bible Commentary, The: Advancing God’s Kingdom Agenda.

[2] I thought it might be more convenient to provide a modern English translation for the entire verse. They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD, and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. ~ Isaiah 62:12 (NIV)

Sin, Confession & Redemption ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 59:12-21

In my last post, we began to explore the issue of Sin, Confession & Redemption ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 59:1-11. In this post, we conclude our exploration of this topic in Sin, Confession & Redemption ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 59:12-21.

12 For our crimes multiply before you, our sins testify against us; for our crimes are present with us; and our sins, we know them well: 13 rebelling and denying Adonai, turning away from following our God, talking about oppression and revolt, uttering lies which our hearts have conceived. 14 Thus justice is repelled, righteousness stands apart, at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public court, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Honesty is lacking; he who leaves evil becomes a target. Adonai saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.

The people had only themselves to blame for their lamentable situation, and they knew it. Here the people acknowledge the sin itself. The chapter concludes with a description of Adonai’s reaction to the sin and helplessness of His people. He will intercede and rescue His people despite their sin and failure.

16 He saw that there was no one, was amazed that no one interceded. Therefore, His own arm brought Him salvation, and His own righteousness sustained Him.

The section begins with a statement of Adonai’s recognition of human injustice and the offense that He takes at it. It also goes on to describe His amazement that no human was interceding on behalf of the people. Adonai proclaims that in the absence of such a human intercessor, He Himself will step into the gap between His people and Himself.

In Ezekiel 22:30, Adonai says the same thing when He says that He sought for a man to stand in the gap and intercede but found none. No one in Israel’s dark days said, “I’m going to pray.” Like us, maybe they talked about it. Like us, they were probably aware of it. But, all too often, like us, they didn’t do it. Yet does Adonai write His people off? No. He shows them grace.

17 He put on righteousness as His breastplate, salvation as a helmet on His head; He clothed Himself with garments of vengeance and wrapped Himself in a mantle of zeal.

To save His people, Adonai assumed the guise of a warrior. However, His armor and His weapons are not physical but spiritual. This sounds very familiar to the battle dress described by Sha’ul in Ephesians 6:14-17.

The concluding verses are a picture of Yeshua’s Second Coming when He will crush all His enemies and reign in righteousness. Yeshua comes as a terrifying conqueror who will sweep them away like a pent-up stream.

18 He repays according to their deeds – fury to His foes, reprisal to His enemies; to the coastlands, He will repay their due; 19 in the west, they will fear the name of Adonai, and likewise, in the east, His glory, for He will come like a pent-up stream, impelled by the Spirit of Adonai.

Adonai’s enemies do not get off without punishment. The mention of the coastlands indicates that the far-flung nations, indeed the whole world (west and east), are in mind here. The world as a whole will fear the name of Adonai after His work of retribution.

20 “Then a Redeemer will come to Tziyon, to those in Ya’akov who turn from rebellion.” So says Adonai. 21 “And as for Me,” says Adonai, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit, who rests on you, and My words which I put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children’s children, now or ever,” says Adonai. ~ Isaiah 59:12-21 (CJB)

The climax of this prophecy announces the future arrival of Adonai, the Redeemer of Tziyon, Adonai’s holy mountain in Yerushalayim. He had abandoned Tziyon in anticipation of its destruction at the Babylonian captivity, but His war against sin will result in His return. It is precisely to the repentant that He will come. He will re-establish His covenant with them. Adonai’s Ruach will be given to His people to cleanse their mouths so they will proclaim the glory of Adonai to future generations.

In my next post, we will begin to explore the Glory of Tziyon ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 60:1-12.

Click here for the PDF version.

Pesach and Hag HaMatzah ~ 2020

(Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread)
God’s Appointed Times

We return to God’s Appointed Times from the Tanakh.  Both Pesach (Passover) and Hag HaMatzah are tied to the remembrance of the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.  The principle Scriptural reference for Pesach is in B’midbar (Exodus) 12:1-13 and Hag HaMatzah in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:5-8.  In 2020, Pesach starts on the eve of April 8th and Hag HaMatzah on the eve of April 9th.   This eight-day remembrance ends at sundown on April 16th.

For Believers in Yeshua, this time can be a great time to reflect not only on the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage and death of the first-born by the shedding of the lamb’s blood on the doorpost; but also on the shed blood of Yeshua on the cross.  His death and resurrection paid for our sins and purchased for us eternal salvation.

I’ve included a great video from Friends of Israel which takes you through the Pesach Seder.

I have attached a PDF version of an explanation of the traditional Pesach Seder provided by Chosen People Ministries.  Click here.

However, for those of you who want to have a Scriptural-based observation of Pesach, I highly recommend Kevin Geoffrey’s “Behold the Lamb and Preparation Guide.”  Click here to order.

Fasting & the Shabbat ~ Yesha’yahu 58:1-14

SPECIAL NOTE: This post is a tad longer than what I have been posting of late. However, the topic was just too short I felt to break-up into a two-post series. You may want to download the PDF version below.

In my last post, we concluded our series on Justice and Judgment ~ Part 4 in Yesha’yahu 57:14-21. In this post, we look at the subject of Fasting & the Shabbat in Yesha’yahu 58:1-14.

The last section of Yesha’yahu’s book puts the final pieces in place for Adonai’s work of salvation and restoration both for Israel and for all of creation. The beginning of that restoration, from Adonai’s standpoint, is the re-establishment of proper worship. Once more, the Prophet is commissioned to shout out, and this time to call the people to repentance. Such will be the case during the time of the end. The first advent of the Lord was heralded by John the Baptist, who called the nation to repentance. Another call to repentance will precede the second advent. It is before us in this chapter. In this, we will have all the great future blessings of the converted remnant of Israel described.

1 Shout out loud! Don’t hold back! Raise your voice like a shofar! Proclaim to My people what rebels they are, to the house of Ya’akov their sins. 2 “Oh yes, they seek Me day after day and [claim to] delight in knowing My ways. As if they were an upright nation that had not abandoned the rulings of their God, they ask Me for just rulings and [claim] to take pleasure in closeness to God,

Adonai instructs Yesha’yahu to shout out the message that His people were sinning even though they came to the Temple and delighted in seeking His ways. In other words, these were people who loved to study the Word, to fellowship together, to worship Adonaiand yet Adonai indicts them. Why? Because, although they loved to learn about Adonai, they weren’t interested in obeying Him. How much is that like so many of us today. When the Ruach begins to convict us, when the Word of Adonai starts to speak to us, we usually only think of it in terms of how it applies to others.

3 [asking,] ‘Why should we fast, if you don’t see? Why mortify ourselves, if You don’t notice?’ “Here is My answer: when you fast, you go about doing whatever you like, while keeping your laborers hard at work. 4 Your fasts lead to quarreling and fighting, to lashing out with violent blows. On a day like today, fasting like yours will not make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is this the sort of fast I want, a day when a person mortifies himself? Is the object to hang your head like a reed and spread sackcloth and ashes under yourself? Is this what you call a fast, a day that pleases Adonai?

Adonai responded to His people’s challenges. He did not respond to their fasting because it was superficial and inauthentic. It led to divisions in the community and exploitative behavior toward underlings, as well as self-absorption. Adonai’s idea of fasting extended far beyond public expressions of mourning. Yeshua said the same thing in Matthew 6 when He said, Now when you fast, don’t go around looking miserable, like the hypocrites. They make sour faces so that people will know they are fasting. Yes! I tell you; they have their reward already! 17 But you, when you fast, wash your face and groom yourself, 18 so that no one will know you are fasting – except your Father, who is with you in secret. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:16-18 (CJB)

6 “Here is the sort of fast I want – releasing those unjustly bound, untying the thongs of the yoke, letting the oppressed go free, breaking every yoke,

After condemning the people’s idea of fasting, Adonai defined what He understood to be legitimate and effective fasting. The emphasis is on social justice. Fasting must be connected to behavior that helps the exploited find freedom. The yoke is often an image of exploitation and bondage.

It should be noted that the only fasting that Adonai commanded was regarding Yom Kippur. All the rest are rabbinical mandates or personal acts of piety (see Leviticus 23:28).

7 sharing your food with the hungry, taking the homeless poor into your house, clothing the naked when you see them, fulfilling your duty to your kinsmen!”

What Adonai wanted was religious practice offered from truly humble hearts. Seeking to worship with false motives and with no concern for righteousness is not true worship. So, what does true religion look like? What is proper behavior for the subjects of the King? Believers are to help the oppressed (v.6), give food to the hungry, provide shelter to the homeless, and clothing the naked. As Believers, we are to “care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being contaminated by the world” ~ James 1:27 (CJB). Fasting for a day would provide some extra funding to fulfill this need.

8 Then your light will burst forth like the morning; your new skin will quickly grow over your wound; your righteousness will precede you, and Adonai’s glory will follow you. 9 Then you will call, and Adonai will answer; you will cry, and He will say, “Here I am.” If you will remove the yoke from among you, stop false accusation and slander,

The people began by complaining that Adonai did not respond to their fasting. Fasting seems self-denying, but Adonai recognized that the fasting of His people had been manipulative. True self-denial means helping others, and behavior that is other-centered rather than self-directed will be rewarded. Adonai will remove the yoke upon us mentioned in v.3.

10 generously offer food to the hungry and meet the needs of the person in trouble; then your light will rise in the darkness, and your gloom become like noon.

Light and darkness stand for prosperity and need. Faithful obedience and a turning from evil will transform darkness into light.

11 Adonai will always guide you; He will satisfy your needs in the desert, He will renew the strength in your limbs; so that you will be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.

Abundant, comprehensive blessings of physical health, answered prayer, and continual guidance is promised to those with a heart for the poor and afflicted of society.

12 You will rebuild the ancient ruins, raise foundations from ages past, and be called “Repairer of broken walls, Restorer of streets to live in.”

The prophecy looks forward to the restoration when Adonai’s people will leave their captivity and return to the land, but the land and its cities, especially Yerushalayim. Obedience will lead to prosperity and fertility. The parched land will turn into a watered garden. Obedience and faithful piety will also lead to the strength needed to rebuild the city of Yerushalayim and its defenses. This would be fulfilled when, under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people rebuilt the Temple and walls of Yerushalayim following their Babylonian captivity.

13 “If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on My holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.

According to later rabbinic writings, the Shabbat in the postexilic period took on the idea of laying aside the day to worship Adonai. The Shabbat became one of the primary means of showing loyalty to Adonai and His statutes.

 14 If you do, you will find delight in Adonai – I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya’akov, for the mouth of Adonai has spoken.” ~ Isaiah 58:1-14 (CJB)

In the ancient Near East, cities were typically built on hills because of their natural defensibility, and armies chose hills as strategic points of control. The metaphor to ride on the heights of the land speaks of victory and security.

In my next post, we will begin to explore the issue of Sin, Confession & Redemption ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 59:1-11.

Click here for the PDF version.

Justice and Judgment ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 56:1-8

In my last post, we began a journey to hear A Call to Seek the Lord ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 55:7-13. In this post, we will start to examine the issues of Justice and Judgment ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 56:1-8.

The appeal to observe justice and do what is right was addressed to Isra’el because Adonai’s salvation was near (56:1). There was also good news for every foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord because, in the Millennial Kingdom, righteous non-Jews will also share in the blessings of the Messiah’s rule (56:3). Gentiles, who believed in the God of Isra’el and bound themselves to Him, had a place within His covenant community in the Old Testament dispensation. Here they were assured that they would also share in the kingdom with Isra’el, including sharing in Isra’el’s regathering to enjoy Adonai’s salvation and blessings under Messiah’s righteous rule. Adonai also promises a special blessing and kingdom position to those who maintain their sexual purity (1 Cor 6:9-19).

1 Here is what Adonai says: “Observe justice, do what is right, for my salvation is close to coming, my righteousness to being revealed.”

Salvation is also equivalent to victory or rescue since it envisions release from Babylonian bondage. This verse does not call for obedience that earns salvation. Obedience is a response to the promise of Adonai’s coming deliverance, not a way to earn His favor.

2 Happy is the person who does this, anyone who grasps it firmly, who keeps Shabbat and does not profane it and keeps himself from doing any evil.

Adonai pronounces happy (see Psalm 1) those who are obedient and who avoid evil. The Sabbath commandment (Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15) is singled out because it was considered the epitome of the Mosaic covenant (Ex 31:13).

3 A foreigner joining Adonai should not say, “Adonai will separate me from His people; “likewise, the eunuch should not say, “I am only a dried-up tree.”

Adonai reminds His people that foreigners who convert to the Lord are not excluded from worship. Yesha’yahu is not at odds with Ezekiel (Ezekiel 44:6-9) or Ezra (Ezra 4:1-3), because they addressed the issue of foreigners who had not converted. Indeed, Exodus 12:43 states concerning the Pesach meal that “no foreigner may eat it,” but Exodus 12:48-49 then makes it clear that if a foreigner converted and was circumcised, then he could partake of the Pesach.

4 For here is what Adonai says: “As for the eunuchs who keep my Shabbats, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant:

Eunuchs were typically excluded from worship, as it is written: A man with crushed or damaged private parts may not enter the assembly of Adonai. ~ Deuteronomy 23:1 (CJB) That law pointed out that gender and sex were divine gifts that should not be intentionally altered. However, this verse describes an obedient eunuch and thus one who had become a eunuch accidentally or who had converted to worship of Adonai after becoming a eunuch. Such devout eunuchs were invited to join in the worship of Adonai.

5 in my house, within my walls, I will give them power and a name greater than sons and daughters; I will give him an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

Eunuchs obviously could not have children and thus lacked progeny who would perpetuate their name. Adonai proclaims that He will provide a memorial for them.

6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonaito serve Him, to love the name of Adonai, and to be His workers, all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it, and hold fast to my covenant, 7 I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

Adonai will not turn away anyone who desires to worship Him, even foreigners (that’s most of us, folks) and eunuchs. His house, the Temple, will be a place where everyone can come to pray.

8 Adonai Elohim says, He who gathers Isra’el’s exiles: “There are yet others I will gather, besides those gathered already.”~ Isaiah 56:1-8 (CJB)

The dispersed of Isra’el refers to those Isra’eli, who were removed from the land of Isra’el as a result of foreign invasions (Assyrian and Babylonian) that Adonai sent as punishment against His people.

In my next post, we will begin to examine the issues of Justice and Judgment ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 56:9-57:2.

Click here for the PDF version.

A Call to Seek the Lord ~ Part 1 ~ Yesha’yahu 55:1-6

In my last post, we moved forward to learn about The Future Glory of Tziyon ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 54:9-17. In this post, we are on a journey to hear A Call to Seek the Lord in Yesha’yahu 55:1-6.

This chapter consists of an invitation to Adonai’s people to experience His forgiveness. Having laid out every blessing prepared for Adonai’s people in the previous chapter, the only thing left to do was to invite Isra’el to receive the Lord’s healing and salvation from sin.

1 “All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You without money, come, buy, and eat! Yes, come! Buy wine and milk without money – it’s free!

Adonai will not only freely give water, but also the more substantial drinks of milk and wine. These drinks represent spiritual as well as physical nourishment. Water speaks of life, wine of joy, milk of growth. Romans 14:17 tells us the kingdom is inside of us. Therefore, righteousness, peace, and joy are available even now. The water of life, wine of joy, milk of growth are ours for the taking. Being thirsty for His grace is the only prerequisite.

2 Why spend money for what isn’t food, your wages for what doesn’t satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will eat well, you will enjoy the fat of the land.

Adonai’s people had not been accepting the free offer of salvation represented by water for the thirsty. They had been spending their resources on things that did not bring soul satisfaction.

 3 Open your ears, and come to me; listen well, and you will live – I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the grace I assured David.

The promises to David are found in 2 Samuel 7. They include the affirmation that David’s dynasty would be established forever (verse 16). During the Bavelim captivity, though, the Davidic line of kings ruling in Yerushalayim came to an end with Zedekiah. We understand the unconditional promise to be fulfilled in Yeshua HaMashiach, a descendant of David.

 4 I have given Him as a witness to the peoples, a leader, and lawgiver for the peoples. 5 You will summon a nation you do not know, and a nation that doesn’t know you will run to you, for the sake of Adonai your God, the Holy One of Isra’el, who will glorify you.”

The promises to David are extended beyond Adonai’s people to include the nations. In fulfillment of the Avrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:3), it envisions a time when the nations will come to Adonai’s people. Isra’el’s greatest days are yet to come in the kingdom age. Nations who come down on her now will run to her then because they’ll sense Adonai is with her.

6Seek Adonai while He is available, call on Him while He is still nearby.

Why? Because in Genesis 6:3, Adonai said His spirit would not live in human beings forever. If you’re not saved, there will be a time when you may not be able to seek Him as you draw your last breath here on earth. There comes a time when all hope of salvation is lost and all that’s left is despair.

In my next post, we will continue to examine A Call to Seek the Lord ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 55:7-13.

A Call to Seek the Lord ~ Part 1

The Helper of Isra’el ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 41:16-29

In my last post, we began to explore The Helper of Isra’el ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 41:1-15. In this post, we conclude our exploration of The Helper of Isra’el ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 41:16-29.

In our last post, we stopped at verse 15 which said: “I will make you into a threshing-sledge, new, with sharp, pointed teeth, to thresh the mountains and crush them to dust, to reduce the hills to chaff.” ~ Isaiah 41:15 (CJB)

16 As you fan them, the wind will carry them off, and the whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in Adonai; you will glory in the Holy One of Isra’el.

The process of winnowing was usually carried out on hilltops, where the wind carried away the chaff and allowed the grain to fall to the ground. The grain was tossed into the air with wooden shovels or fans.

17 “The poor and needy look for water in vain; their tongues are parched with thirst. I, Adonai, will answer them. I, the God of Isra’el, will not leave them. 18 I will open up rivers on the barren hills and wells down in the broad valleys. I will turn the desert into a lake and dry ground into springs.

The phrase the poor and the needy here refers to Adonai’s down-and-out people whom He has punished. But Adonai will restore them, turning their dry land into a watery paradise.

In our travels through Isra’el in 2000, this is precisely what we see – a reclaiming of the desert. Adonai has undoubtedly given the Isra’el the ability to make a little water go a long way, for areas that were once dry and scorched are now beautiful and blossoming.

19 I will plant the desert with cedars, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees; In the ‘Aravah, I will put cypresses together with elm trees and larches.20 Then the people will see and know, together observe and understand that the hand of Adonai has done this, that the Holy One of Isra’el created it.

When the Zionists began to move back to Isra’el, the land seemed to be either desert or swamp. So they immediately initiated a tree-planting program. They planted eucalyptus in the wetlands, which effectively drained the water. They planted pine trees in the rocky, desert areas, whose roots would break up the rocks and produce soil. In the last 100 years, over two-hundred-fifty million trees have been planted in Isra’el.

21 “Present your case,” says Adonai, “Produce your arguments,” says Ya‘akov’s king.

As in verse 1, Adonai used legal language as He challenged the nations and their idols. Ya‘akov’s king is none other than Adonai Himself.

22 Bring out those idols! Have them foretell the future for us, tell us about past events, so that we can reflect on them and understand their consequences. Or tell us about events yet to come, 23 state what will happen in the future, so that we can know you are gods. At least, do something, either good or bad – anything, to make us awestruck and fearful! 24 You can’t! – because you are less than nothing. Whoever chooses you is an abomination!

The idols were ignorant of the future, demonstrating that they were not gods. Indeed, they were nothing.

25 “I roused someone from the north, and he has come from the rising sun; he will call on my name. He will trample on rulers as if they were mud, like a potter treading clay.”

He is King Cyrus of Persia. He is said to be from the east (come from the rising sun) because his homeland was geographically east of Isra’el. On the other hand, he could, at the same time, be from the north because that was the direction from which he attacked Bavel.

This prophecy is one of the most amazing in all of the Bible as we will learn in Chapter 45.

26 Who said this at the start, so we could know, or foretold it, so we could say, “He’s right”? In fact, no one said it; no one foretold it – the fact is, nobody hears what you say. 27 I am the first to declare it to Tziyon, to send Yerushalayim a messenger with good news.

While the idols were ignorant because they did not exist except as wood or stone, Adonai knew the future. Indeed He knew about this from the beginning. The coming of Cyrus was good news to Yerushalayim because his defeat of Bavel would mean that the exiles could come home.

28 But when I look around, there is no one – not a single one can give counsel, who, when I ask, can give an answer. 29 Look at them all! What they do is nothing! Their idols are so much wind and waste. ~ Isaiah 41:16-29 (CJB)

In other words, idols are capable of producing nothing more than hot air. Even that could only be attained by burning them.

In my next post, we begin to explore The Servant of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 42:1-9.

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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.

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