Saturday, August 9, 2008

Spiritual Adultery & Hypocrisy - Isaiah 29

I think it is important to make note of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 29 since the truths presented there are so applicable to the church today. In this chapter Isaiah is warning Jerusalem of coming judgment. By the time you get to verse 6 the reference seems to clearly reference the 70th week of Daniel, the time known as Jacob’s trouble.

“Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.”

There is no record of God intervening in the way described at the time they were conquered by Babylon. There is, however, direct connection to John’s prophecy in the Revelation.

Rev. 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Rev. 11:15 & 19 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

No one can deny the persecution of the Jewish people throughout history and the amazing determination of the gentile nations to destroy this people and their tiny nation. They will evidently think that they are finally about to accomplish their purpose when they gather at Armageddon. God boldly declares through the prophet that the result will be comparable to that of a hungry man who dreams of eating only to awaken to hunger and of a thirsty man who dreams of drinking to quench his thirst only to awaken still thirsty. This is a vivid picture to me of the attempts of Hitler to destroy the Jewish people through the Holocaust and of the surrounding nations to destroy Israel in the last 60 years of Israel’s rebirth as a nation and will once again be applicable to the armies of Antichrist in their final attack on Jerusalem.

Beginning in verse 13 the Lord declares through the prophet that His people are being judged because in spite of their vocal declarations of worship, these expressions of worship are not coming from hearts of faith and love. They were more concerned about following God’s law as taught by those in positions of spiritual leadership than in obeying and serving Him with a heart of love and devotion. These so-called spiritual leaders were perverting God’s law and His truth to suit their own purposes. Isn’t the application to the church today obvious? If Israel didn’t escape God’s hand of judgment in light of their spiritual adultery and hypocrisy, do we honestly think He will not judge the church for practicing the same sins? The Apostle Peter answers that question.

1Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The Lord goes on to declare through Isaiah that these spiritual impostors actually think that God isn’t aware of their actions. They seem to have no clue to understanding the sovereignty and power of their Creator. That seems to be the way today’s false teachers/prophets think. They continue in their selfish, deceitful ways while accumulating wealth at the expense of those who are needy and without discernment. They seem to have no thought of future accountability before God.

The prophet’s message goes on to declare that God will once again bring the people of Israel to a place repentance and restoration so that they will once again understand God’s law and choose to obey it. We know that will happen when they recognize the Lord as their Messiah and He establishes His earthly kingdom.

Zech. 12:9-10 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Zech. 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

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