Friday, March 14, 2008

A Thorough Redemption: An Exposition of Isaiah 63:1-6

For my Isaiah class at Liberty I wrote an exposition paper on Isaiah 63:1-6. I was extremely blessed by the writing and study of this passage. I have pasted the paper below. The paper is primarily academic and so if it proves to be a bit too difficult just skip down to the bottom of the paper and read the sections titled "Theological Significance" and "Application." The paper is broken up into four sections: 1. A detailed outline of the passage is given. 2. An exposition of the passage. 3. Theological significance of the passage. 4. Application of the passage. The biggest portion of the paper is the exposition of the passage. The footnotes of the paper are put in brackets--[ ]. Anyway, enjoy!



A THOROUGH REDEMPTION: AN EXPOSITION OF ISAIAH 63:1-6


Synthesis and Outline of Isaiah 63:1-6

Summary: Yahweh returns from Edom with blood-stained garments having single-handedly slaughtered the nations for the sake of redeeming his people.

Outline:

I. The watchman sees a triumphant warrior arrayed for battle approaching the city and asks for his identity. Yahweh responds by identifying himself as the redeemer of his people (63:1)

A. The watchman’s question: The watchman suspiciously questions the identity of a valiant warrior approaching the city (63:1a)
B. Yahweh’s response: Yahweh Identifies himself as the victorious conqueror over the enemies of his people. He has come to announce a salvation accomplished (63:1b)

II. Yahweh answers the watchman’s question about his bloody garments by calling attention to the fact that he has just completely pulverized his enemies (the nations) by himself (63:2-3)

A. The watchman’s question: The watchman asks this valiant warrior why his garments are covered with blood to such an extent (63:2)
B. Yahweh’s response: Yahweh’s garments are covered with blood to such an extent because he took on the nations by himself (63:3)

III. Yahweh, demonstrating his sovereign power, elaborates on why his garments are stained with blood by stating that since he could find no one to help, he redeemed his people by thoroughly destroying Israel’s enemies by himself (63:4-6)

A. Yahweh’s appointed time for securing redemption by way of destroying his enemies had come (63:4)
B. Yahweh looked, but found no one who would help in the task of destroying his enemies, for the sake of securing redemption. So he, in his wrath, won redemption for his people by himself (63:5)

1. No one among the peoples of the earth were righteous to help Yahweh bring about redemption (63:5a)
2. Yahweh takes matters into his own hands and accomplishes redemption in his own power (63:5b)

C. The enemies of God (the nations) are utterly defeated by Yahweh (63:6)

1. Yahweh destroys the nations by trampling them in his anger (63:6a)
2. Yahweh destroys the nations by filling them with their own blood in his rage(63:6b)
3. Yahweh destroys the nations by covering the ground with their blood (63:6c)


Exposition of the Text

Introduction

Isaiah 63:1-6 finds itself couched in the middle of a subsection within the context of the entire book. In this section, Isaiah is speaking to the Israelites of a future generation: those living at the end of the exile in Babylon. Isaiah’s purpose in writing this section of the book was to both encourage them in the salvation that God was going to accomplish, and to remind them of the necessity of living up to the righteousness demanded by their covenant with Yahweh.[1] Some scholars have argued that Isaiah 56-66 is comprised of one large chiastic construction. At the very heart of this construction sits chapters 60-62 with its emphasis on the final salvation which Israel will enjoy. Isaiah 63:1-6 (the passage in view) and 59:15b-21 serve as book ends to 60-62.[2]

Many scholars have been struck with confusion at why 63:1-6—a section dealing with the bloody, gruesome destruction of the nations—is found at the tail end of two chapters fleshing out the glories of Yahweh’s salvation for His people. Brevard Child’s has correctly suggested that Isaiah has put it here in order to “emphasize in the strongest manner possible that the divine judgment against the evil and injustice of those in rebellion against God’s rule must precede the entrance of God’s promised kingship in the transformation of Zion.”[3] Thus, the destruction of the nations is a necessity if the promises of 60-62 are to be realized. Claire Matthews suggests that the destruction of the nations and the redemption of Israel should be seen as two sides of the same event.[4] With this in mind, this section is only encouraging to those who are faithful to Yahweh’s covenant.

Yahweh Makes Himself Known (63:1)

This section begins with what many have considered to be something of a watchman manning his post.[5] Furthering this idea, Paul Allen Smith suggests a strong tie between 62:1 and 63:1.[6] In 62:1-6 Yahweh declares his determination to vindicate Israel. He states that he will set up “watchmen” on their walls who will not rest until Israel realizes the redemption promised by Yahweh. “Thus,” Allen says, “63:1-6 could be understood as a fulfillment, in visionary terms, of 62:1-2.”[7]

As the watchman stands on his post looking out, he sees a valiant warrior approaching the city. He asks the warrior to identify himself. This is the first of two questions asked in 63:1-6. Jan Leunis Koole suggests that these questions are asked to “make the reader/listener alert and curios.”[8] The watchman notices that Yahweh is coming from Edom and Bozrah. Bozrah is the main city in Edom.[9]

The identity of Edom and Bozrah is hotly debated among scholars. There are basically four positions: 1. Those who hold to a literal interpretation hold that Yahweh literally destroyed Bozrah and Edom.[10] 2. Others see that Edom and Bozrah refer to the direction from which the Lord came—the south.[11] 3. Many scholars interpret Edom and Bozrah to be Israel’s foremost enemy. Thus, they see Edom and Bozrah symbolizing all the enemies of Yahweh.[12] 4. Some scholars hold that Edom and Bozrah are utilized here for carrying out winepress imagery.[13] All of these positions have strengths and weaknesses. Also, it is not impossible to hold more than one view simultaneously without contradicting the laws of logic.

In light of the context of this passage, there is no doubt that the author is marshalling all of the winepress imagery he possibly can. With this in mind, the fourth position holds weight, and especially considering the fact that there is relationship between “Edom” and “red,” and between “Bozrah” and “grape harvest.”[14] Blenkinsopp also points out that “Edom, like its northern neighbor Moab, was well known as a center of viniculture (cf Isa 16:8-10).”[15]

One of the strengths of the second view is that Yahweh is not said to have destroyed Edom, but to merely have come from Edom. The third view holds weight because of Israel’s long somewhat dysfunctional distant-relative relationship with Edom. Edom had become something of a Babylon to Yahweh and his people—a stereotypical archrival enemy.[16]

Although the possibility of this oracle referring to the destruction of Edom by the Nabataeans in the 6th Century BC is a possibility, it is not likely. The thrust of the context of this passage suggests that God’s vengeance is against the nations. In fact, both B. Dicou and the Net Study Bible suggest that the plural suffixes on the verbs “stomped” and “trample” in 63:3 suggest that the object of the action was upon the nations symbolized by the nation of Edom.[17] Also, in 63:6, Yahweh further explains his redemptive action against “Edom”: “I trampled the nations in my anger” (emphasis mine).

Yahweh answers the watchman by declaring Himself the redeemer/vindicator. J.W. Olley suggests that “speaking” (or “announcing”) is always closely associated with “doing.” Thus, he says, Yahweh, in 63:1, was "speaking (acting) with a saving, just purpose, with a concern to bring about what is right."[18] Yahweh’s response to the watchman is evidence that the thrust of 63:1-6 communicates that the primary function of God’s acts of judgement are ultimately for the redemption and vindication of His people. Thus, although 63:1-6 graphically depicts an angry God destroying His enemies, it is imperative that the purpose of their destruction is not missed. Smith states that “63:1-6 draws out the implications” of God’s redemptive actions on behalf of his people “for other nations.”[19]

Yahweh Explains His Blood-Stained Attire (63:2-3)

This section of 63:1-6 beings with another question from the watchman to Yahweh: “Why are your clothes red?” This question is only reasonable. After all, would not the watchman want to know why this valiant warrior dripping with blood was covered so! The watchman would have had a situation on his hands if the warrior replied, “I just got done slaughtering the innocent.”—he would have had to call the ranks to action. However, this was not the answer he received from the great warrior, Yahweh.

The language used by the watchman conveys the absolute slaughter accomplished by Yahweh. He states that Yahweh looked like a man who just got done stomping on grapes in a winepress. Without a doubt, Isaiah is utilizing winepress imagery to communicate the nature and extent of God’s redemptive actions against the enemies of His people. Victor H. Matthews has helpfully described the process of the (somewhat) ancient process of treading grapes in a winepress:
The extraction of the juice took on various forms, from treading the grapes under foot to crushing them in wicker baskets above a catchment basin. Egyptian tomb paintings, especially those from the tomb of Ptahhotep, provide graphic depictions of this process… In these scenes the harvested grapes were first placed in a "treading trough" made of mud brick and sealed with a plaster surface. A group of men, holding on to a pole hung horizontally over the trough, then worked the grapes into a mash with their feet… A further pressing process then occurs when the crushed grapes are placed into a sack or closed wicker basket that is stretched over wide-mouth jars and twisted by a team of three or more men. [20]

According to this imagery here in 63:1-6, Yahweh is the one symbolized by the winetreader, while the nations are symbolized by the crushed grapes. In the same way that a vintner’s clothing becomes stained by the juice within the grapes he is crushing, Yahweh’s clothing becomes stained by the blood within the people he is crushing.[21]

In response to the watchman, Yahweh appeals to the fact that he had to destroy the peoples alone. Koole correctly explains that the reason why Yahweh’s garments are so stained is because he took on the nations alone.[22] In other words, all the blood of all the nations fell upon him and no one else.

Many scholars have seen a connection between 63:3 and Revelation 19:13 and 15. In Revelation 19:13 Christ is said to be “clothed with a robe dipped in blood,” and in 19:15 Christ is pictured as treading the “winepress of the fierce wrath of God.” The imagery is strikingly similar to that of Isaiah here in 63:3. Carroll D. Qsburn says, “Revelation 19:11-16 has attributed to Christ what the Isaiah text attributed to God.”[23]

It is vital that one does not mistakenly equate the imagery of 63:3 with the crucifixion of Christ, for in both Isaiah 63 and Revelation 19 the blood which splattered on the garments of the warrior was not the blood of the warrior, but rather the blood of the warrior’s enemies.[24] It is not as if the only blood which stains the garments of Christ will be his own—Revelation 19:13, 15 make this abundantly clear.

Yahweh Elaborates on His Redemptive Acts of Judgment (63:4-6)

After having just answered the watchman’s questions regarding his identity and blood-stained apparel, here Yahweh attempts to explain the answer he gave in 63:3 in more detail.[25] Yahweh begins his explanation by making reference to the “day of vengeance,” and the “year of redemption.” The “day of vengeance” is clearly connected to 61:2. In the context of 61:2, Yahweh speaks of a day in which Israel will be rebuilt, safe from attack, and served by the nations. Thus, as said earlier, the destruction of the nations and redemption of Israel are two sides of the same coin. It is no wonder why v. 4 contains both ideas side by side.[26] Koole, in speaking of “the day of vengeance,” helpfully suggests that “there is no question here of a sudden fit of anger but of a plan which God had formed long ago.”[27] This day is the day in which He has planned to make his promises of redeeming his people a reality.

Barry G. Webb suggests that 63:4b should be translated “year of his ‘redeemed’ (his people).”[28] However, such a rendering of this passage misses the point of the passage. The context puts the emphasis on Yahweh as both the avenger and redeemer of his people, Israel. The word translated “redemption” (go’el) refers to the idea of a kinsman redeemer. The NET Study Bible says this about the usage of the function of a go’el: “He was also responsible for avenging the shed blood of a family member (see Num 35:19–27; Deut 19:6–12).[29]

The time for Yahweh to redeem his people (by destroying their enemies) had come, but he could find no one to come along side as a helper. Similar language is used in Isaiah 59:16b. This passage communicates a great difference between God’s actions in exilic and post exilic times. During the exile God worked through Cryus, the king of Persia, to cut his people free from the bondage of the Babylonians in 538 BC. With great contrast, both in 59:16 and 63:5 Isaiah states that Yahweh took matters into His own hands. Blenkinsopp says, “The statement therefore marks a turning away from the historical arena and international affairs in the search for intimations of a change in fortune for Israel and therefore comes a step closer to embracing an apocalyptic world view.”[30]

Some scholars have tried to speculate as to why Yahweh destroyed the nations. Goldingay says, “Yahweh’s explicit dissatisfaction is with having to act alone rather than with the necessity of bloodshed.”[31] There simply is not enough textual, historical, or grammatical support for this position. Webb, on the other hand, states that God destroyed the nations because of their ill treatment of his people.[32] Although this postulation is easier to defend than Goldingay’s, Walter Bruggemann correctly suggests that the text does not specifically state Yahweh’s specific motivation for taking such action—it must be “inferred.”[33]

Isaiah, in 63:6, further describes the extent of destruction inflicted upon the enemies of Yahweh and his people. Koole states that Isaiah stopped using winepress imagery in v. 3. He suggests that “trodden down” refers to Yahweh treading his enemies into the mud;[34] He suggests that “drunk” refers to the way in which the people were “trodden down”—in humiliation;[35] He suggests that “poured out their lifeblood” refers to God humbling the arrogant—he makes them “sit on the ground” (Isa 47:1; Eze 26:16).[36]

Although Koole’s suggestions are not completely lacking, it is always best to follow the suit of the context unless there is overwhelming evidence to not do so. Surely, these terms (“trodden down,” “drunk,” and “poured out their lifeblood”) may mean many different things in other contexts. However, since these terms can convey winepress imagery, and since Isaiah has heavily leaned upon winepress imagery in the immediate context to convey meaning, there is no reason why these terms should not be interpreted on the basis of their relationship to winepress imagery.[37]

John Oswalt says, “The theme of judgment is brought to a powerful climax in this verse, both through the development of the “wine vat” theme and also through the introduction of the related image of the wine cup full of God’s wrath.”[38] The reference to Yahweh making the nations drunk could very well mean that they will be drunk on their own blood. The idea here is that the wine vat of God’s wrath will be so full of blood that the nations therein will drown in it.[39]

Isaiah 63:6c literally reads, “and I brought down to the ground their juice.”[40] “Juice” is a clear usage of winepress imagery and carries the symbolic meaning of blood. The meaning conveyed is that of death—their lifeblood will has been spilled on the ground.

Theological Significance

The Wrath and Love of God

Isaiah 63:1-6 is one of the most gruesome passages in the entire Bible. This passage portrays the radical character of God in a way that causes a weak stomach to churn. Here God is seen as the one who crushes real people under his weight in the same way that a vintner crushes grapes under his weight. Yahweh is a God covered with blood--the blood of his enemies. This in no way calls into question the love of God. In fact, God’s purpose for dealing with his enemies in such a drastic way is for the sake of redeeming his own people. Although this passage is more of a precursor of the “day of judgment” than it is of the cross, it is important to know that God sent his only Son to die in the place of his enemies. Thus, Christ was thrown in the wine vat and trampled on by the Father in order to propitiate the sins of the world. Make no mistake about it: because of the love with which God loved us, his garments were dripping with the blood of his own Son at Golgotha. Surely, he crushed his one and only Son, but it was for the redemption of the world.

The Independence and Sovereignty of God:

Yahweh is not the sort of God who is in need of those who follow Him. Yahweh is completely independent and “does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). When he found no one to help defeat the nations of the world, he took it upon himself and successfully brought about salvation by his own strong right arm. God is not in need of human brilliance, strength, ingenuity, or discipline.

Application

Celebrating Deliverance

Often times Christians have such a difficult time with passages like 63:1-6 that they end up neglecting them altogether. The problem with this is that they are missing out on one of the most uplifting and encouraging passages in all the Bible. John Oswalt brilliantly illustrates this passage by likening Yahweh to a World War II “blood-spattered, smoke-begrimed GI” who breaks into a concentration camp to set the prisoners free. He asks, “Does he look distasteful to those prisoners?”[41] The obvious answer is, “Absolutely not!” Although we, like God, ought not delight in the destruction of the wicked, we ought to rejoice in the deliverance accomplished by Yahweh. What would heaven be like if God did not demand payment for sin? What would heaven be like if murders, rapists, child molesters, and robbers were allowed through her gates? Celebrate your deliverance--it secures your safety and ultimate hope for bliss.

Seriousness of Rejecting Yahweh

Too often in our culture today God is communicated as if he were a hippy in the sky flipping the world a peace sign, calling the whole world to gather around for a big group hug. Because of this popular approach, very few people today have a true fear of the Lord. Isaiah 63:1-6 is a beckon call to those who fearlessly and carelessly live in unrepentant sin. As seen in the pages above, this is not just a picture of Yahweh: Isaiah 63:1-6 finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ destroying his enemies in the eschaton. How much more seriously would we take sin if we understood God’s relation to it? God is not some sort of a heartless, blood-thirsty villain. It appears this way only to those who do not understand the glory of God and the vileness of sin.

Footnotes:

[1] Frederic Wm. Bush, David Allen Hubbard, and William Sanford Lasor, Old Testament Survey 2nd ed., (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 299.
[2] Claire R. Matthews, Defending Zion, (New York: Walter De Gruyter Inc, 1995), 83. Matthews has arranged this construction in a visually helpful way.
[3] Brevard Childs, Isaiah, (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 519.
[4] Matthews, Defending Zion, 81.
[5] Joseph Blankinsopp, Isaiah 56-66, (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 247.
[6] Paul Allen Smith, Rhetoric and Redaction in Trito Isaiah, (Brill Academic Pub, 1984), 43.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Jan Leunis Koole, Isaiah III, (Belgium: Peters Publishers, 2002), 331.
[9] Ibid.
[10] See Julian Morgenstern, “Further light from the book of Isaiah upon the catastrophe of 485 B.C.,” in Hebrew Union College Annual 37 (1966), 15-17. Morgenstern identifies the destruction mentioned in 63:1 as referring to the destruction of Edom by the Nabataeans in the 6th Century.
[11]See John F. A. Sawyer, Isaiah: Chapters 33 to 66, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986), 196. Sawyer points to Deut 33:2; Judges 5:4-5; and Hab 3:3 as examples of Yahweh coming from the south (Edom).
[12] See John MacArthur, The Macarthur Bible Commentary, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005), 838. Macarthur says, “Edom represents a God-hating world.”
[13] See John Goldingay, Isaiah, (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004), 353. Goldingay suggests that “Edom and Bozrah’s names suggest pools of grape juice that turn out to be pools of blood.”
[14]Ibid. In order to prove these connections Goldingay offers an abundance of Scripture.
[15]Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56-66, 250.
[16] Koole, Isaiah III, 327-331.
[17] Smith, Rhetoric and Redaction in Trito Isaiah, 40. And NET Bible, (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Isaiah 63:3.
[18] J.W. Olley, “Notes on Isaiah 32:1, 45:19,23 and 63:1,” in Vetus testamentum 33 (1983), 452.
[19] Smith, Rhetoric and Redaction in Trito Isaiah, 42. Thus, Koole is most likely mistaken in making the assertion that the main emphasis in 63:1-6 is theocentric rather than soteriological. Koole, Isaiah III, 342.
[20] Victor H. Matthews, “Treading the Winepress” in Semeia 86 (1999), 20.
[21] There is a great deal of debate concerning the word “stain” (63:3). The word in the original conveys the idea of defilement. Although this is the case, very few today have issues with translating it as “stain,” because “guilty” simply does not fit into the context of this passage. See Koole, Isaiah III, 217-18.
[22]Ibid., 338. Koole suggests that Isaiah uses “garments” (plural) to indicate the extent of blood that covered him.
[23]Carroll D. Qsburn, “Alexander Campbell and the text of Revelation 19:13,” in Resoration Quarterly 25 (1982), 134.
[24] John Calvin acutely attacked this common misuse of 63:1-6: “This chapter has been violently distorted by Christians, as if what is said here related to Christ, whereas the Prophet speaks simply of God himself; and they have imagined that here Christ is red, because he was wet with his own blood which he shed on the cross. But the Prophet meant nothing of that sort.” John Calvin, Isaiah, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2000). Calvin is correct in rejecting the idea that this passage refers to the death of Christ, but goes to far by not qualifying that it does refer to Christ when he tramples upon his enemies in the eschaton.
[25] Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56-66, 250.
[26] In regard to Isaiah speaking of the “day of vengeance” and the “year of redemption:” It is a possibility that Isaiah, wanting to communicate the long lasting effects of his redemption, distinguishes vengeance and redemption with the words “day” and “year.” This is not to say that he wanted to downplay God’s justice, but rather that he wanted to build up the redemptive work of Yahweh.
[27]Koole, Isaiah III, 341.
[28] Barry G. Webb, The Message of Isaiah, (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), 240.
[29] The NET Bible, Isaiah 63:4.
[30] Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56-66, 250.
[31] Goldingay, Isaiah, 354.
[32] Webb, The Message of Isaiah, 240.
[33] Walter Bruggemann, Isaiah, (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 227.
[34] Koole, Isaiah 56-66, 342. He identifies this as potter language.
[35] Ibid., 342-43. Here Koole states that drunkenness “denotes the stupid conceit and impudence and at the same time the defenselessness in which the drunkard displays paltriness and merely makes himself an object of ridicule.”
[36] Ibid., 343. He suggests that it has nothing to do with the literal destruction of the nations, but rather with the humiliation of the arrogant.
[37] The term “trodden down” is rare, but the intended meaning is clear considering the context of the passage.
[38] John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40-66, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 603.
[39] Ibid. This same imagery can be found in 49:26; Rev 14:10; 16:19.
[40] The NET Bible, Isaiah 63:6.
[41] John Oswalt, Isaiah, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), pg 661-62

31 comments:

Jessy said...

My favorite part is the section of the wrath and love of God. I loved the word picture of one who crushes the grapes with his feet and the picture of the mighty God, Master of all, dealing with the enemies of His children.
These kinds of passages used to make me think that there was a little something 'wrong' with God, but since learning more of His character through Reformed theology, I actually feel more secure and safe than I ever have.

To God be all glory and awe and fear. May He strike terror in the hearts of all who would oppose Him and His Bride.

Thanks for this post, Jimmy.

Luke Snowden said...

Jimmy,

It brings great joy to my soul to see you write both academically and passionately! Your studies are paying off, big time!

Thank you for posting this!

Danusha Goska said...

I read Isaiah 63 last night and was horrified by it. I wanted to read theology on it and did a google search of "Isaiah 63" and "bloodthirsty." That turned up your blog.

FWIW, your explanation does not work for me. In other words, after reading your post, i remain horrified by Isaiah 63.

You quote someone saying that to concentration camp victims, smoke darkened GIs would not appear horrific. This is supposed to make the blood-spattered Yahweh more appealing.

You also say that rapists, etc, deserve to be punished.

Your words don't work for me at all.

Victims do not always desire the death by mutilating stomping of those who have hurt them. Corrie ten Boom, a Christian who was in a concentration camp, was able, with God's grace, to forgive the camp's worst guard.

The category "Sinners" does not exclude anyone. We are *all* sinners. No one is righteous, not one. Jesus died on the cross to offer salvation not just to Mother Theresa, but also to Hitler. "for God so loved the world..."

We can't say, "Oh, it's okay that God stomps sinners, but doesn't stomp us, because we are so good, so much better than rapists."

Jesus said, "if you become angry, you are guilty of murder."

Finally, stomping people to death to the point where your clothing is covered with your victim's blood does no good. If that were such a great way to handle sinners, our correctional facilities would be stomping inmates to death daily.

Rather, please learn about approaches to crime and evil like Restorative Justice. There is a great aticle on the web by Judith Lewis Herman, iirc, about the Restorative Justice approach in use in South Africa. Men who tortured other human beings to death for the South African apartheid government were brought face to face with the survivors of their brutality. Some experienced some measure of redemption -- without being stomped to death.

Finally, I have been a sinner, and stomping me to death would have done no one any good, and I have been sinned against, and I have no desire to see those who have hurt me stomped to death. It is love that heals, not a thirst for blood.

I hope you think again about your analysis.

Jimmy Snowden said...

Danusha,

I understand that a good deal of Scriptural teaching is hard to swallow. It is best to approach the word of God without making God jump through our intellectual hoops. Isa 63 along with Revelation 19 pictures God destroying the wicked in the manner described in the paper. I do my best to not throw my preconceived ideas of fairness, uprightness, and morality upon God. I let him define the terms. I try to not go to the Scriptures with a presupposition which says, "A God of love and grace can only do x,y, and z. Rather I try to go to the Scriptures saying, "Ok Lord, you are a God of love: now show me what a God of love does." A God of love tramples on people in wrath. It is not my favorite thing to think about, but it is what Scripture teaches. This is my hermeneutic. I think we would all find comfort in a blood splattered GI if we were in a concentration camp. I know I would.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

Isaiah 63:1-8

1 Who is this that cometh from Edom (red from the word: 'adom, used for a garment stained with blood/ the root word for red is 'adam : mankind), with dyed (chamets: leavened/sour) garments (begged: treachery) from Bozrah (Botsrah: sheepfold), this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling (tsa`ah: to stoop, bend, incline) in the greatness(rob: multitude, abundance) of his strength? "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save (yasha`: victorious).

2 Why art thou red ['adom: ruddy( root word: 'adam: mankind)] in Thine apparel, and Thy garments (begged: treachery) like him that treadeth (darak: bend, lead, to tread, march, march forth) in the wine vat?

3 "I have trodden (darak: bend, lead, to tread, march, march forth) the wine press [root word: puwr : bring to nought(undeservedly)]alone; and of the people there was none with Me. For I will tread them in Mine anger ('aph: nostril, nose, face) and trample them in My fury; and their blood (Netsach: juice of grapes) shall be sprinkled upon My garments (begged: treachery), and I will stain (ga'al: to defile, pollute, desecrate) all My raiment.

4 For the day (yowm: day, time, year/ as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1)
of vengeance is in Mine heart (leb: inner part, midst), and the year (root word: shanah: to repeat, do again, change, alter)of My redeemed is come (bow': to go in, enter, come, go, come in).

5 And I looked (nabat: to regard, show regard to, pay attention to, consider), and there was none to help; and I wondered (shamem: to be desolate, be appalled, stun, stupefy)that there was none to uphold. Therefore Mine own arm (zĕrowa`: as symbol of strength)
brought salvation unto Me, and My fury, it upheld Me.

6 And I will tread down the people in Mine anger, and make them drunk in My fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."

7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses (checed: goodness, kindness, faithfulness/a reproach, shame) of the LORD(YHWH), and the praises of the LORD (YHWH), according to all that the LORD (YHWH) hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.
8 For He said, "Surely they are My people, children that will not lie"; so He was their Savior.

What can be seen in this passage when seeking the Hebrew words and their definitions and root words, is a God that came to this earth in the flesh of mankind taking on mankind's sin, the sheepfolds treachery, upon His flesh(garment), staining those garments or flesh with that sin, to bring salvation to mankind. This passage is about the sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross and the enemy is the sin upon the flesh of mankind. Sin is the enemy of His children and only a perfect and righteous God can restore to wholeness what we all lost in the beginning. His arm is Christ Jesus. The blood is His on the cross.

Blessings,
Terri

Jimmy Snowden said...

allforeyeshua,

I am not sure if your comment was meant to be an attack on my paper or an agreement with a bit of what you got out of it. I will add, however, that the emphasis of Isa 63 (and its clear counterparts in the New Testament) is on God destroying his enemies. Surely, there is parallel between God destroying his own enemies and the death of Christ, but that is not what is emphasized when this imagery is used either here in Isa 63 or in the book of Revelation. Context determines meaning and emphasis. Looking at root words without an eye on the context is a very dangerous way of doing bible study. Thus, I agree with you that the death of Christ can in some indirect sense be seen in this passage, but it is far from being the primary emphasis of Isa here in chapter 63.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

Not an arguement at all. Just making a point. Context is very important, as well as taking scripture as a whole, both OT and NT together. As we know, Christ Jesus is the Word, both OT and NT. The NT merely sheds light on the OT scriptures, not the reverse. Christ Jesus, God in flesh, was and is that light that came into the world. Prior to the Messiah's coming, darkness reigned. Yes? NT scripture can be varified and proven via OT scripture as the Bereans did well according to Paul. As Paul writes in his letter to the church in Ephesus, we are not at war with flesh and blood, therefore, neither is the Lord. That must be considered when interpreting any OT scripture. The Lord's weapon is His Word and His Word is "LOVE" in it's purest form, which is righteousness. Incorperate those truths into Isaiah 63, and the context of Isaiah's prophesies change. Christ's characteristics are God's characteristics, and He did not come to destroy a people, but to redeem a people...all of us who fall short of His glory, those at the pulpit along with those strapping bombs to themselves or those living on the streets with a beer in one hand and a needle in the other. God is no respector of persons as scripture states. Agreed? Yet no darkness can reside within His perfect Love. Knowing that Christ Jesus is the Word, and all of it, places Isaiah 63 in a context of a righteous sacrifice verses a destruction of what He came to save. Looking up the definitions of all the words utilized in that scripture, it is His blood from our sins that he wears on His garment, and it is this that makes Him glorious in His apparel...His sacrifice on the cross. The OT reveals that which can be seen in the "LIGHT" of NT scripture.

Blessings,
Terri

AllForYeshua said...

Here is to make simple my point a little more. In these two scriptures alone, we see the sacrificial ram which is Christ Jesus on the cross. Edom is from the Hebrew word “red” coming from the root word ‘adom which is the same root word for mankind or adam. Christ Jesus is God come down or stoops should we say, in the likeness of mankind, who took upon His flesh, our sins, the sins of the sheepfold. This of course, sheds a different light on the scripture in Revelation.


Isaiah 63:1-2
1 Who is this that cometh from Edom(Red), with dyed garments(treachery, deceit) from Bozrah(the sheepfold), this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling(to stoop, bend, incline) in the greatness of his strength? "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
2 Why art thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine vat?

Ram: 'ayil (Hebrew)
a) ram (as food)
b) ram (as sacrifice)
c) ram (skin dyed red, for tabernacle)

The ram as food:
John 6:51
I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever; and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

The ram as sacrifice:
1 Corinthians 5:7
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.

The ram as the tabernacle dyed red by His blood:
John 2:21
But He spoke of the temple of His body.

The Hebrew word for ram, ‘ayil, can be found in the shortened form as the word, ‘el, meaning mighty one in Hebrew and is used for the word “God(‘elohiym)”: 'elowahh(God) + 'el (mighty one)…God the mighty one, or the sacrificial ram.

Blessings,
Terri

Jimmy Snowden said...

It seems that you disagree with my paper. The thrust of my paper is that Isa 63 is most surely emphasizing God destroying the enemies of Israel. While I agree with you that we need to read the OT through the eyes of the NT, it is important that we read the OT through the eyes of everything that the NT has to say. It is Jesus who is pictured with blood-splattered garments in the book of Revelation. The blood upon his garments in that context is not his own, it is his enemies' blood. I see Isa 63 as having a slight parallel to the death of Christ on the cross, but it is most certainly referring to the destruction of his enemies. The context simply won't let it be any other way. The fullest revelation of God in Jesus Christ (what you called the "LIGHT" of the NT, and I like that phrase), reveals Jesus to be both a God of love and justice. Emphasizing either one to the detriment of the other is both dangerous and not faithful to the Scriptures. I am not sure if I am understanding where you are coming from, but it sure sounds like you are suggesting that Isa 63 in no way refers to Jesus destroying his enemies.

Jimmy

Jimmy Snowden said...

Messing with Greek words and their cognates is generally not the best way of doing exegesis. Taking this approach, even if it results in good theology, is to be used sparingly. The context of Isa 63 rules out the way you are using the original languages. The languages are servants of context, not the other way around. They do inform the context, but the context of the passage also informs them.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

In the context of perfect "Love", to which Christ Jesus is, we see clear definition in both 1 Corinthians 13 and Galations 5. Considering that God never changes and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, these qualities of "who" God is, have always and will always be the same, even in Isaiah 63 and Revelation. Perfect Love need not do anything to defeat evil except be absent or present yet in His presence would we be destroyed too, because of our sins. To defeat the enemy was to sacrifice Himself for us that we may be covered by His blood, receive His Holy Spirit, the only one who conquered death, and thus remain standing in the presence of His perfect Love. Without that, we would already be destroyed, but not by Him, by ourselves. It is through His righteous qualities, demonstrated all through the Gospels, that we can have Eternal Life. That righteous quality of Christ Jesus that brings down the enemy, is "Love", and that blood that He wears upon His flesh is His but for our sakes. That is perfect "Love"...the same in the OT and the NT.

Blessings,
Terri

Jimmy Snowden said...

It must be remembered that God is not just love, he is also just. Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire. Satan will be destroyed. Satan's blood will be splattered on the garments of Christ. You are right that God has not changed, he is still the same sort of God that would slaughter the Babylonians and Edomites for destroying his people. He has not changed, he has always been infinitely loving and infinitely just.

Jimmy Snowden said...

May it also be said that he was the same kind of God would become a man die for the sake of dying for the sins of depraved sinners, even back in the day when he destroyed Babylon and Edom in the Old Testament. He has not changed.

Both sides of God are equally true--they do not contradict, and neither of them must be denied or watered down for the sake of the other.

AllForYeshua said...

I don’t at all disagree with you that the Lord is just in His ways. Nor do I disagree with the consequences suffered by those who chose to serve evil rather than the Lord, yet it is not because the Lord need act as a man with a great army that comes down to earth to battle with earthly weapons. As scripture describes Him, He is a consuming fire. That is His pure love and righteousness and all of the characteristics to which are described in 1Corinthians 13 and Galatians 5. There are no other characteristics noted in these chapters in regards to a God that utilizes violence as His means to destroy the devil. Why? Because “Love” in His purest form need not have any other weapons, just as “Light” has no need of anything to destroy darkness. Both are one in the same and simply just need be present to destroy that which is in opposition. We can see these attributes in OT scripture when the priests had to go through a specific cleansing process before entering in through the veil into the Holy of Holies. The Lord gives specific instruction as to how one is to enter into His presence without ending up as Aaron’s two sons, dead. It is no different today. The Lord has given us His Word, showing us how we are to enter into His presence, through the cleansing blood of Jesus, whose flesh is that veil into the Holy of Holies. Many disregard the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and believe that there is more then one way to the Father, as did Aaron’s sons, but there is not. If we are not first cleansed by His blood and enter into the Holy of Holies via faith in the One who sacrificed His flesh on the cross for us, we will be no different then Aaron’s sons attempting to enter into His presence in a manner that will bring swift destruction upon us. Is it the Lord who destroys these people or is it their own flesh that destroys them? The Lord need not do anything but “be”. He has given his life for all of humanity and does not repent for anything that He has done, nor will He ever. He has given us His Word so that for those who seek Him with their whole hearts will find Him, but those who chose not to seek with their whole hearts will be not unlike the sons of Aaron.
In His Word, He tells us very clearly that if we desire to find Him, there is only one way, and that is through seeking Him with our whole hearts. There is no other way to find Him. We see John 3:16, but it is not just a scripture that need be confessed, but one that need be acted upon via the whole heart. When we look at the Torah, what we see happening at the temple with all of it’s worldly rules and regulations, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ through that which was created via the hands of man, but now that true temple is not created via the hands of man, but the outstretched hand of God, which is Christ Jesus. There is only one way to the Father.
The Lord did not come to destroy anyone, but He came to save all. It is mankind that brings destruction upon him self in the end. God’s Word is pure “Love” and is there to save us, not destroy us. It is when we refuse the truth of His Word that destruction comes upon us, but not via His hand, via our own hands, as with Aaron’s sons. His Word is that consuming fire and if we chose darkness over His Word, in the presence of pure Love, we will be destroyed. Again, not because the Lord did not give clear instruction and warning to us all, but because we chose to ignore His Words and walk in darkness, choosing the things of this world, the created over the invisible.
The only blood that the Lord wears is His own to save us. In that one act on the cross, Satan is defeated. The rest is up to us, submit to the Lord or submit to the defeated. Aaron’s sons knew that there was only one way to enter into the Holy of Holies but they chose to ignore the Word of the Lord and to do things their own way. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now, yet it doesn’t take a mighty army to bring destruction upon those who ignore the Word of God, just His presence, perfect “Love”. That is what a consuming fire is all about.
The Word is Christ Jesus. Isaiah 63 is about Him as it is He who is the Word of God. When reading OT scriptures, they must be brought into the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because that is what and who they are written about.

Blessings,
Terri

Jimmy Snowden said...

Observe who is doing the punishing here in Romans 12:19, 2 Thess 1:6-10; Hebrews 10:26-31; Revelation 14:9-11: It is the Lord Jesus Christ. These passages say nothing about them punishing themselves.

Pert near the whole book of Revelation is about God pouring out his wrath upon those who have rejected his Son.

I agree with you that Jesus did not come down to point his finger at the world and say, "HA! You're all going to burn," rather he came to die so that those who believe in him might be saved. However, This in no way undoes the fact that it will be his judgment and wrath, not their own, or Satan's, that who reject him will experience when they die.

AllForYeshua said...

As in the OT scriptures, one who is deamed unclean, remains outside the gates of the city. This is complete separation from the Lord which in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the parable of the rich man who desires water or to speak to his relatives to warn them, but there is a great divide that prevents him from even receiving water. This is the wrath of God, separation.
We, here in this world, experience both evil and the Love of God. We have no clue the devistation that resides without His presence in this world as it is something that we have never experienced. However, as scripture tells us, He will give us what our hearts desire. If it is not He whom we desire while here in this life, then in the end, it is not He to whom we will reside with for enternity. God's wrath need not be greater then that, nor could be...separation from Him. Why? Because we have chosen the ways of Aaron's sons. The Lord's way is for our protection, not our destruction.
In Genesis 3 we see the way that blocks the Tree of Life, flaming swords going every which direction as held between the angels. We see in scripture that these swords are the Word of God, Christ Jesus. We see this in John 20, with the two angels at the foot and the head of where Christ's body had been, the Word of God, the flaming swords. Because Jesus is the only way to the Father, those who do not receive Christ Jesus into their hearts are those who will experience His wrath/judgement, eternal separation from Him. Again, His Word is put forth to save, not destroy. It is our choice to receive Him or not to receive Him, thus we are not ignorant to what will take place when perfect "Love" returns to this earth, darkness is destroyed and evil will scatter in seven different directions, but again, all the Lord needs to do is just be present for this destruction to take place.
As with Aaron's sons, without being cleansed and sprinkled with the blood of the sacrificial offering, when in His presence, all will die. Yes, it is His presence by which this destruction occurs, but it is by our chosen actions that bring this about. Think on what it is that the priests had to do before entering into the Holy of Holies. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Him there is no darkness, only "Light".

Blessings,
Terri

Jimmy Snowden said...

The entire book of Revelation is about the wrath of God coming upon those who have rejected Jesus Christ.

Along with the flaming swords came death, disease, foreign invasion, child birth, broken backs, and many other things that cannot be equate with simple absence from the presence of God.

It is God who will pour out his wrath upon sinners for an eternity. Some of the passages I quoted in the last comment prove that fact. When the Scriptures speak about separation from God, the emphasis there is on separation from his love, yet unto his wrath. The context of 2 thess 1 makes this abundantly clear, as does the entire book of Revelation.

AllForYeshua said...

I do understand where you are coming from, yet let's take a look at a couple of passages in scripture which show us quite different. First, in the last half of Deut 28, we see what happens to those who have chosen their own ways and are turned from the Lord. Still the question remains in that does the Lord need do anything other then to be absent for all this to take place. I still say that it is His absence that brings this destruction upon the people. Why? Because God ways are not our ways. He is not a man in that he need beat on some one to bring destruction upon them. We know that without Him, we are destroyed already. We know that it is only through Him that we can do anything, including to have eternal life. Most of us know that before we had Him in our lives, we experienced the last half of Deut 28 to some extent, but that came not because of His doing but ours or our lack of knowledge. Yes?
Now there are two significant time periods in scripture that show us what happens in darkness:
Matthew 27:45
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

I ask you, why was there darkness over all of the land, and what happened during that period of darkness? This is just a short look at what happens when "Light" is absent. When we go back to look at the days following the reign of Solomon, a time when the Word was hidden in the temple and remained there until the days of King Josiah, perhaps around about three hundred years, we see a period of time when darkness reigned. There was much sin, sickness, and death during this time period because the people hearts were turned so far from the Word of God that they didn't even know God existed. Was the destruction and death that was going on because of something God was doing or secondary to the peoples hearts of stone worshiping darkness rather then God?
Ephesians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Yet even in this time of great darkness, the Lord's glory still filled the earth. What do you suppose would be the consequence of the Lord removing His glory from the earth?
Matthew 22:13
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

It is Satan who brings sin, sickness, and death. When God is absent, all that remains is sin, sickness, and death...outer darkness. Think about what was done to the bodies of Aaron's sons. They were taken outside of the camp as were those who had sores on their flesh.
Again, we see the end from the beginning when the Lord separates the darkness from the light. The darkness is without form(tohuw) and void(bohuw). This is absence of God. Take a look at the definitions of those words.

Blessings,
Terri

Jimmy Snowden said...

Terri,

I don't know what to tell you. God could not make it any more clear that he is the one who destroys sinners in hell for an eternity. The book of Revelation has an unmistakable message. This conversation is going nowhere because you will not let your presuppositions be called into question by the clear teaching of the Scriptures. I am not saying this in a combative way. I am just saying that it absolutely blows my mind that you could come away from the passages I have referenced more than once and yet believe that God does not destroy his enemies. Surely, there may be some self infliction, but that does not cancel out those passages which speak of God's justice upon man and his sin. I really don't know what else to tell you other than to throw you presuppositions to the heap and build better ones--biblical ones.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

Of course I believe that God destroys His enemies. I don't disagree with you at all on that topic. However, I do not believe that this is what this scripture is speaking about. This scripture speaks of One who comes in the flesh of man, wearing the treachery from the sheepfold on His garments. That is simply none other then God come in the flesh of man and hung on the cross by those to whom He came to save. It is a chapter on sacrifice via the Lord to bring redemption to mankind. The enemy of His children was the sin upon their flesh that was leading them to eternal destruction.
I ask you to pray about this interpretation and wait on the Lord to give you the answer. That is exactly how I received this interpretation. There is much scripture to which I have yet to understand, but this one I know, that I know, that I know is exactly as I shared it with you.
Also, this was in no way meant to be a debate, jusy a sharing. I have no desire to struggle to force you to agree with me, just to add another way of seeing this scripture. Just give it to prayer and the Holy Spirit's interpretation or throw it out, if that is what you desire to do with it.

Shalom

Jimmy Snowden said...

In the same way that you ask me to pray for the correct interpretation, I ask for you to continue to do the same. I have put much work into this passage--both prayer and study. One thing is certain, the Spirit will not lead you to an interpretation of a passage that does not gel with the context. The Spirit put Isa 63 in its linguistic and historical context for a reason. It just simply goes against the context of this passage and its nearest New Testament counterparts to interpret it primarily as a passage about the atonement. I suggest you to study the context of this passage. The Spirit does lead us into all truth, but that doesn't mean that we run roughshod over the context because of certain feelings and leadings. I am not suggesting that the Spirit does not lead us, but I do suggest that we need to be very discerning about how flippantly we call a felling, peace, or urge to be a message from the Spirit. What the Spirit has said in the context of his word is the most unmistakable way of hearing his voice. Your interpretation of this passage just simply does not take that into account.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

In the context of who Jesus is and was, perfect "Love", or perfect "Light", He need not do anything but be present or absent to destroy darkness, or evil. When He is absent, darkness has no ability to stop destuction, death, confusion, and chaos. We see this in Genesis 1:2. In the presence of what is pure and righteous, darkness can not exist. We see this is Rev 22. God need not act as a man, his created. He only needed to come down here as man once, and that was to bring salvation to those who seek after Him and do not oppose Him in their hearts. Sin in our members made us all enemies of the cross, but righteousness in His flesh brought salvation, cleansed and covered our flesh, those who desire to come near to Him. That is the basics of the OT temple which described nicely, how one is to come before the Lord and what Jesus accomplished on the cross. He has never desired to destroy anyone, and we see this in He who came down in our likeness to redeem all. That has not changed from the beginning and is the reason not just Jesus, but many men and women to follow, have chosen to give up their lives to share that Gospel of peace with the world. This is not just the context of the NT, but all of scripture. The Word came to this earth to give eternal life, because without it we were all dead, but that death was because of separation from God, a choice made by man. That death came when man choose that which was pleasant to the eyes, the created, and took it upon their hearts verses that which was invisible and seen through that created, Genesis 3 and Romans 1. Jesus is the Word and is revealed through that Word, and that includes Isaiah 63 and Revelation. We can read scripture as if God is our equal and responds to the earthly enviroment in the same manner as His created, but He is not our equal. He tells us through His Gospel and through His Holy Spirit how we are to respond to that which is evil, and that power to destroy evil, which is "Love", God's love. You need not agree with that, but that is the God to whom I know and the beauty of His Word that is forever living.
I understand that you are a scholar of the Word, and I am far from such, but I do respectfully disagree. His greatness is His love, but that is also His power to place His enemy under His feet. There is no greater power then His agapē(Love). That is what is at the heart of His Word and the reason that we can "choose" to live.

Shalom

Jimmy Snowden said...

You do not seem to be following my argument: I am not against the thought of Jesus being the King of Love. However, the bible speaks of Jesus as more than just love. Read the book of Revelation. It is Jesus and his agents who bring wrath upon men and their sin. The book of Revelation is the most post-cross book we have in the Scriptures. If the cross changed the way that sinners who reject him and his word are judged, it would be clearly evidenced in the book of revelation. However, Revelation clearly pictures Jesus as the one who destroys sinners. I agree with you that God does not always act like us humans do. However, the only way we can determine the way that God does act is by his word read in context. I agree with you that Isa speaks of Jesus. however, the context of Isa 63 and its new testament counterpart (the book of Revelation) clearly suggest that Isa 63 is a picture of Christ's work of judgment against those who reject his salvation.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

Again, I don't at all disagree with you about the Lord and His judgement. He is very clear about the consequenses of those who deny Him, and the end of those people who refuse Him will not be pretty. However, in the context of the scripture at hand, when reading the entirety of the scripture at hand, we see a discussion of redemption and how his hand brings that about. As far as the Book of Revelation goes, it is the interpretation of NT scripture that is tested via the OT, not the reverse. When the OT is tested via the NT, it can change the true interpretation upside down. The OT came first and should be utilized to prove the NT, not the NT to prove the OT. This is no different then to speak the beginning from the end and to help us understand what period of time we are referring to in the Book of Revelation. As you know, the Book of Revelation covers from the beginning to the end. Now when this occured or occurs is essential in interpretation.

Jimmy Snowden said...

Oh, that's why we just cannot see eye to eye--we differ on how we interpret the Scriptures. The Letter to the Hebrews, Galatians, 1 Tim, and almost every book in the New Testament sets a precedent to interpret the Old Testament through the fullest revelation of God through his Son, Jesus Christ (this is what progressive revelation is all about). If you do not agree with me on this then we simply will not agree on almost everything. What denomination or religion do you associate yourself? You simply cannot be protestant Christian (or if you are, you are quite the odd bird). Christ is the fullest revelation of God. He sets the precedent for how to understand all Scriptures. If this is not your controlling hermeneutic your interpretation will be a disaster.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

I can laugh at that one, brother. Protestant is merely a word. The desire to seek the Lord with our whole hearts is about a desire to see the bridegroom face to face, the One to which the bride awaits. It goes beyond the days of separation from the Roman Catholic church. Jesus came as a light to the world, but it must never be forgotten that the scriptures of old where set in place as the teacher of all that is to come. We can see this in the variation of the definition of the word Jerusalem in Hebrew verses the definition of the same word in Greek...done on the cross.
Paul commends the Bereans for testing the validity of his preaching by searching out the OT sciptures. As you well know, they had no NT scriptures at that time. Paul also goes on to say to Timothy this:
2 Timothy 3:15-17
and that from childhood thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for all good works.

So yes, we are to test every interpretation in the NT scriptures against that found in the OT, not the reverse. The reverse has caused many a church to blow off the OT and focus primarily on the NT, but Christ Jesus is not just the NT, He is the Word...all of scripture. Even Christ Himself proves His fulfillment of scripture before many by referring to OT scripture over and over again. He brings "Light" to the scriptures that once were walked out in the shadow of death...the invisible behind the created. In other words, we are not awaiting for the reappearing of the created, that which was made of hands, as Stephen spoke before the Pharisees:
Acts 7:48-50
However, the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet: `Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will ye build Me? saith the Lord. Or what is the place of My rest?Hath not My hand made all these things?'

We await the invisible, the Creator Himself. His sword of fire is not the created but are the words of the Creator. They are pure righteousness that brings destruction even now, to the unrighteous within all man. Isaiah 63 shows the power of His mercy to destroy sin within the flesh of man by coming in flesh to do just that. As He says in verse 4, "For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come." The power of His vengeance in this passage is forgiveness and mercy, and the power of redemption is sacrifice.
"The year of My redeemed" only need come once, and that was on the cross.

Blessings,
AllForYeshua

Jimmy Snowden said...

Protestant is more than just a word. Protestant is a "protest" against the Catholic church and her faulty approach to the word of God (and everything that resulted from that). I agree with you that Jesus is revealed in both the New and Old Testaments. However, there is such a thing as progressive revelation. The fullest revelation of God was when he became flesh. Jesus came to "fulfill" the law.

If he is not your controlling hermeneutic your interpretation and application will be way of base. Read the OT through eyes of the New.

So anyway, what denomination or religion do you associate yourself with?

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

I agree with you that true revelation can only be revealed through Christ Jesus. However, Christ Jesus is not the created scriptures. He is the invisible behind those scriptures. It is through faith in Him and the receiving of the Holy Spirit to which true revelation resides. Without that, it doesn't matter whether or not it is NT or OT, understanding of scripture will still fall far short of truth.
To many, NT scripture is just as foreign as the OT scriptures. Then there is the group, who through human intellect and not the Holy Spirit, interpret scripture bit by bit by bit and believe they have a complete understanding. Well, even with the Holy Spirit, we still have a lot for the Lord to reveal to us all.
And yes, I understand completely what the protestants arose from and for what reason. However, let me point you to seven letters in the Book of Revelation. The Catholics are not the only one's guilty of error. We would be foolish to miss that clear point made in scripture. I believe that those letters speak to every Christian church to some extent or another...even more now then ever, as we see in these mega churches that are popping up all over the place. What difference do we see when the people are no longer being led to and encouraged to seek the Lord through scripture and prayer but through the pastor's book(s) and CD(s)? Same error presented in a different manner, yet highly excepted by many a Christian, protestant included. Scripture is very clear, when we seek Him with our whole hearts, then we will find Him. So then the "who" we are seeking comes before the understanding of scripture...not the what we are seeking in those scriptures.

I am non-denominational, attending Pastor Paul Shepherd's church in Mountainview, CA: http://www.enduringtruth.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=6780

Blessings,
AllForYeshua

Jimmy Snowden said...

Scripture does not fall short of truth, it reveals truth that the Spirit evidences as reality. It does matter if it is Old Testament or New Testament. The old and new testaments are different documents written to different people in different situations. This does not mean that the Old Testament is not authoritative or useful, but it does mean that it must be understood in light of its historical context, and then ultimately through the fullest revelation of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is perfect and pure, but it is fulfilled (fill up or out) by Christ in the new.

I agree with you that protestants are just as tainted in some ways than the Catholic church, but this in no way renders their hermeneutical blind spots untouchable.

The Holy Spirit is our teacher, but he does not teach contrary to the word he has given--understood in its proper historical, redemptive, and literary context.

Jimmy

AllForYeshua said...

There is another area to which we disagree on. I believe that you can not separate the OT from the NT, that they are collectively Christ Jesus, the Word. Who they are written to is of little significance when the Word spoken is via a never changing God who favors no one and who's elect are determined through His righteousness dwelling within them. Yes, I do believe that Christ Jesus is, without a doubt, the fulfillment of those OT scriptures and that that is just the reason why we need to test the interpretations of man inregards to the NT by that of the OT scriptures. For example, those of the new and emergent church beliefs, such as those who are saying that there is no hell and that Jesus died for all, therefore all are saved, when tested against OT scripture, it is quickly defeated. These people focus primarily on NT scripture with Greek definitions and lack understanding of the scriptures of old and thus see only that which is pleasing to the eyes. However, Jesus is the whole of scripture. We see via NT scripture what was fulfilled and that is expanded upon in the OT scriptures. The Lord was not teaching another religion in the OT and starting a new religion in the NT. It's all His Word and it all is truth. And yes you are right, He does not teach contrary to His Word. Therefore, the NT does not contradict the OT as the Lord does not contradict Himself. If interpretation does find contradiction, then it is the interpretation that is in error, not the scripture. The Holy Spirit is quick to reveal truth when sought out via the heart and desire to know the Lord more, but He is not quick to do such when the desire is to gain intellect. He tends to work with man's heart first.
When Paul received divine revelation from the Lord, he was extremely knowledgable on OT scripture prior to, as were the Apostles, yet they had no revelation to those scriptures. Jesus merely brough sight to the blind that they may know and understand the scriptures to which they had been raised up on and thus the NT rises from the revealing and revelation of OT scripture. It is the foundation of NT scripture, but that is far from what the church has been teaching. Yet we see Paul commend the Bereans because they were well aware that the foundation of any revelation begins in the OT scriptures as these are what Jesus came to fulfill. We can not build on another foundation, thus it is OT scripture that is the litmus test for the NT scriptures, not the reverse. The strength of a house is not determined by it's walls but via it's foundation, rock or sand.

Jimmy Snowden said...

I think this will be the last comment that I will leave on the issue.

The Old Testament is to be read in light of the progressive, fuller revelation of Jesus Christ. The New Testament does not contradict the Old Testament, but it is much fuller, because Jesus Christ is exact representation of God (Hebrews 1).

Any approach to interpretation which does not take into consideration the historical setting is down right flawed.

An approach to biblical interpretation which is not thoroughly consumed with the two principles above is both dangerous and in need of being stopped.

Isa 63, without question, pictures Christ as the judge who is coming to judge His enemies. He will have his blood spilled upon his own garments in regard to those he came to save. But make no mistake about it, the blood of his enemies will be on his clothes as well. This in no way contradicts the love of Christ--for Christ is both infinitely loving and infinitely just.