Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 13- I Have A Plan For The Whole Earth

September 13, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Isaiah 12:1-14:32; 2 Corinthians 13:1-13;
Psalm 57:1-11; Proverbs 23:9-11

I have a plan for the whole earth, for my mighty power reaches throughout the world. 
~Isaiah 14:26

Isaiah 12:1-14:32

In the presidential election of the year 2000, the major networks called the results early and declared that Al Gore had been elected the president of the United States of America.  Their predictions proved to be incorrect, as one of the greatest controversies in American politics unfolded.  Eventually, George Walker Bush was elected the President and the forecasts by the media proved irrelevant.  Today, Isaiah prophesies future events, some of which have been fulfilled in our day and some of which are yet to pass.  Unlike the media, Isaiah's predictions can be relied upon.  Isaiah is the mouthpiece for God, who has a plan for the whole universe.

Chapter 12 -Worshiping God during the Millennial Kingdom

As we read the book of Isaiah, we need to keep in mind that we will be jumping in and out of different periods of history with the prophesies.  Chapter 12 of Isaiah is a song of worship to Christ, who is the salvation of Israel in the end times during his Millennial Reign.  During His 1000 year reign on earth, Israel finally receives her promised earthly king.  Her spiritual salvation is secured through a person - Jesus Christ. This beautiful song expresses the praise and worship that will be part of that earthly reign.  Hear the words,
"Praise the Lord! He was angry with me, but now he comforts me. See, God has come to save me.  I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The Lord is my strength and my song.; he has become my salvation."  Is. 12:1-2
All of the people of the earth who have trusted in Christ will benefit from the completed promise to the Jews.  All believers will experience Christ's earthly reign and will finally live on this planet in peace.

Chapter 13 - Babylon, the destruction in the end times and in the immediate future

Verses 1-16:

The first portion of this prophecy is against Babylon, which will be rebuilt in the end times and will represent all rebellion against God.  This is a future Babylon. You may remember the Tower of Babel in the Book of Genesis.  The rebellion that represented the desire to build a tower to the sky that glorified man is still alive and well in the end times on earth.  Babylon is the symbolic capital of Satan.  God intends to punish all rebellion and evil.  In this prophecy, we see the Almighty fed up with man's sin. Verse 6 says, "Scream in terror, for the Lord's time has arrived-the time for the Almighty to destroy." In the terrible day of the Lord, God's fierce anger is poured out on all injustice and sin. Verse 10 indicates that the heavens will be black and no light will shine from the stars, sun or moon.  This is similar to the descriptions that Jesus gives of the end times in Matthew 24:29.  We also see this same description in Revelation 8:12.  We can rest assured that God will judge the earth in the end times and it will be dramatic and fearful.  We are living in a world that is moving toward judgment.

God's judgment at the end will leave the world with much death and destruction.  Known as the Great Tribulation, this precedes what we read in chapter 12 of Christ's Millennial Reign, which occurs after this judgment.

Verses 17-22

In this section of the chapter, Isaiah is prophesying about ancient Babylon's future destruction by the Medes and the Persians.  At the time of his prophecy, Babylon is not a great power.  Regardless, God gives Isaiah a picture of what is to come.  Babylon will become the first great world empire.  They will dominate the world until they are defeated by the joint empire of the Medes and the Persians.  This prophecy has been fulfilled. Verse 20 says that Babylon will never rise again.  Indeed, the original ancient city of Babylon is under the ground in ruins.  The future Babylon of the end times will not be built on the original site of ancient Babylon.

Isaiah's prophecy that Babylon's days were numbered was true.  It did, indeed, become great and then, was destroyed.

Just to clarify, ancient Babylon was a city that became a world power (605- 562 B.C.) and then was destroyed by the Medes and Persians.  In the future, Babylon will rise again to be a force for evil in the end times on earth.  It will be the empire of the Antichrist, who will be the last world dictator. God will once again destroy Babylon in judgment for the world's sin and rebellion against God.  This will occur during the Great Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon.

Chapter 14 - The Millennial Kingdom, the origin of evil and its judgment, and judgment on the land of Palestine

Verses 1-11:

We go from a description of Babylon being destroyed by the Medes and Persians, to the Lord fulfilling His promises to have mercy on the nation of Israel. In this prophecy we see the nation of Israel returning to the land in peace.  This is not what is occurring in our present day.  This is a day in the future when the nations of the world will help Israel settle into the land.  The Scripture describes the other nations becoming part of the nation of Israel (Vs. 1). 

In this day of the reign of Christ, the memory of the rebellion of Babylon will be distant and removed.  The rebellion of the peoples of the earth will have been destroyed and punished. Here we have a description of the earth finally being at rest and quiet.  Can you imagine?  Isaiah says that even the trees will sing for joy.  There is a description of people who were dead being back to enjoy this earthly reign and rejoicing at the destruction of the system of rebellion and evil that Babylon represented.

Verses 12-27

Through Isaiah, God tells us the story of the origins of evil.  We see in the beginning of time that Lucifer was a shining star of God's creation.  We learn from Ezekiel 28 that he was the highest creature created by God. But he was a Judas Iscariot, who rebelled against God and wanted to be like God.  Here are the rebellious "I will's" that represent the pride that brought about God's throwing Satan down to earth. Here is what Satan said according to verse 13,
  • I will ascend to heaven.
  • I will set my throne above God's stars.
  • I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.
  • I will climb to the highest heavens.
  • I will be like the most High.
We then see that God declares that because Satan is responsible for shaking the earth and its kingdoms, destroying the world and causing it to become a wilderness as a result of judgment, demolishing the world's great cities and having no mercy on mankind, he is thrown down from the heights and will be brought to the place of the dead.  Verse 19 explains that Satan will be thrown into the pit along with his children.  Satan's children would be all of the angels and people who chose to rebel against God and follow their own way.  Verse 22 describes God destroying all those who have been in rebellion against Him.  One day, evil and sin will be annihilated.  For those who love God, evil will cease to exist in the new heaven and the new earth.

In Isaiah 14:26, we see God's future plan for the earth.  In His graciousness, God is using the prophesies of Isaiah to explain the reasons for His plans and purposes.  This is His Story.  Here, we see some of the key elements as to how God intends to complete His story of redemption.  Sin will be judged, punished and eventually, destroyed.  Satan is the antagonist of the story.  Jesus is the protagonist Redeemer in the story.  You and I are the beneficiaries of God's goodness and grace.  God gives freely to the inhabitants of this beautiful earth. For now He does not appear to punish the wicked. He does not charge humans for sunshine, the sound of a babbling brooks, or the sweet smell of honeysuckle as we walk through the woods. Ultimately, God will punish the wicked and provide salvation for the humble.

Where do you fit in this story? Are you humble or proud?

2 Corinthians 13:1-13

Paul is ever the messenger of Christ.  He is persistent and relentless.  Paul desires the sanctification and purity of those who love the Lord.  Today, Paul reminds the Corinthians that they must live in the power of Jesus.  Although Christ died in weakness on the cross, He is now alive by the mighty power of God. Paul uses this illustration to prove to the Corinthians that even though they are weak with regard to sin, they have available to them the resurrection power of God to be transformed into the likeness (holiness) of Christ.

The next thing that Paul encourages them to do is to examine whether or not they have genuine faith in God. Real followers of Christ have changed lives.  It is a test of genuine faith.  Paul is giving them some hard truths.  Jesus' parables provide us a picture of a flawed Church filled with both genuine and fake believers.  We are told that Jesus and his angels will sort out the two groups in the end times.

Paul is hoping to use these truths to encourage genuine faith and obedience to the Lord.  Behavior matters.

Have you tested your faith?  Does your life reflect true obedience to God?  Remember the consequences spelled out by Isaiah for all of mankind in the end.  Be sure that you have trusted Christ to cover your sin.

Psalm 57:1-11

This psalm recognizes that only God can save us from our enemy, the devil.  We read today of Satan's work on earth.  The good news is that Jesus defeats Satan both in the world and in our lives.

Proverbs 23:9-11

Live a life of authentic faith.  This will include not wasting time on fools and being honest in your dealings.

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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