You may have noticed the intensity of my posts of late? It seems that the older I get, the louder the body sends its signals of reality. This journey has an ending, and things learned, even thoughts yet to be fully understood deserve sharing.
Sounding all pessimistic I know, but hope is still alive and my belief strong that God's plan has built in sufficient longevity for my callings delivery.
Real however is real!
As well, my fifty year study of God's story as captured in scripture, the Institutional Church's current trajectory and now the globe itself are all becoming increasingly intriguing. All three of those categories have framed my thoughts since early adulthood.
The various sectors in which I have worked have provided a source of rich observation and a place for application, but never a substitute for my inner longing for intimacy and conversation with the I Am! Thankfully, income has never been an issue.
This morning in particular, my read of Isaiah 48 brings a sense of just how layered prophetic scripture can be. Isaiah was a man no different than myself, nor you, if your spirit is aligned accordingly with the I Am.
As well, this particular book was written I am told, in two parts. The first during Isaiah's day which was captured in the Books of Kings & Chronicles. The second part as some estimate, one hundred years later picking up after chapter 39.
Isaiah is one of the longest prophetic books (66 chapters). Originating in the 8th century BCE, it was updated at least twice, in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE (the Babylonian and Persian periods) and perhaps the Hellenistic period (4th to 1st centuries BCE) by Isaiah's disciples, who built upon Isaiah's visions.
So much of what is contained in these layered words reflect the angst of this struggling prophet, with whom I humbly relate, his futuristic insights which bore out over Isreal's captivity and the theological underpinnings of my life as an evangelical. Escatology was a huge part of my early Christianity, with a last days emphasis always in play.
"Eschatology was originally a Western term, referring to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim beliefs about the end of history. It includes the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, the messianic era, and the problem of theodicy (the vindication of God's justice)."
Don't you just love AI, given its ability to quickly search out information! I'll just own that right up front!
Back to Chapter 48! Isaiah's words are in the first person, written as God speaking directly through him to Isreal:
"Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness."
That's a strong rebuke and as one reads further, it sounds as if two things are occurring, essentially that their actions do not represent God. Secondly, that although favored by the I Am, God knew where they would take this advantage. His speaking through Isaiah was so that when it did occur, it would bear witness not only to God's covenant with Abraham, but while set the stage for God becoming flesh, on the otherside of Isreal's release from captivity in Babylon.
Pardon my compress of centuries of activity!
God's plan by way of the life of Christ, the I Am of Moses, was to contrast His character with what religion had delivered.
Isaiah even names the one who would set all this up three chapters earlier, Cyrus the Great: “to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor … so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel.” (45:1-3).
Watching all this play out in history, while having read the "why" behind it reveals the character of God when otherwise this Being might seem cruel. As well, scripture clarifies the significance of the prophets. They simply clue us in to where we as humans will eventually take this amazing Creation which God once called "good", us even very good!
Had we taken on the character of God, it likely would have been sustained.
Isaiah's description of Isreal's enemy in chapter 47 sounds a lot like Hamas, and is some ways unfortunately, like our own country:
"Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me." Isaiah 47:8-10 KJV.
INTENSE may be an understatement of my interest in how all this plays out in scripture, what it portends for the Institutional Church in America and for the globe as whole!