Van Wyk Blobs to Isaiah Sabbath School Lesson 4

People may ask, what arrogance he has to change the concepts that Dr. Roy Gane of Andrews has prepared for us here and the GC took time to present. Firstly, Roy Gane wrote these SS for 2004 and there is no change in the presentation between 2004 and 2021. Nothing was done. I did not pay attention that year to Isaiah Sabbath School quarterly because I was getting ready for defense and graduation. Our writer seems to be shy of Adventist historicism and indulge in utilizing Calvinistic preterism so heavily buttered in the commentaries of Eerdmans, Knobel, Moody, Grand Rapids, Fortress Press and others like the Baptist commentary by Bob Utley in 1996, see online? The purpose and task of Sabbath School Lesson in Adventism is interlocution. That is my goal here with a vintage spine, get back to the old paths with a focus away from ontology [what does it mean for your experience] to espistemology [what does God say packed in His messages of eschatology that may happen as we are getting there]. The GC said that no one must publish this and distribute it under their name in the form I have it. It can only be used for study and research. No gain aspect connected to this.


Sabbath School Lesson Begins

Bible Study Guide - 1st Quarter 2021

Lesson 4January 16-22

The Hard Way


Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study:Isa. 7:14-16,Isa. 7:17-25,Isa. 8:1-10,Isa. 8:11-15,Isa. 8:16-22.

Memory Text: “I will wait on the LORD, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him”(Isaiah 8:17, NKJV).

At a burning building in New York City’s Harlem, a blind girl was perched on the fourth-floor window. The firemen had become desperate. They couldn’t fit the ladder truck between the buildings, and they couldn’t get her to jump into a net, which she, of course, couldn’t see.

“Finally her father arrived and shouted through the bull horn that there was a net and that she was to jump on his command. The girl jumped and was so completely relaxed that she did not break a bone or even strain a muscle in the four-story fall. Because she trusted her father completely, when she heard her father’s voice she did what he said was best.” — Edited by Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, p. 135.

In the same way, God provided powerful evidence that He wanted the best for His children, but they rejected the gently flowing way He first presented to them; thus, He had to speak to them with a roar and a flood instead.

What lessons today can we learn from their mistakes?

The beauty of this narrative selected by Gane here cannot be improved upon. He put the text of Isaiah and events as what happened to them then and what can we learn now. What the text meant and what it should mean now. This is a very popular phrase by preteristic commentaries but not necessarily wrong to be used by him.

Let us look how Ellen White considered the messages described by prophets such as Habakkuk, Zachariah, Maleachi: “[Habakkuk 2:1-20; Zephaniah 1:1-3:20; Zechariah 1:1-4:14; Malachi 1:1-4, quoted.] These scenes will soon be witnessed, just as they are clearly described. I present these wonderful statements from the Scriptures for the consideration of everyone. The prophecies recorded in the Old Testament are the word of the Lord for the last days, and will be fulfilled as surely as we have seen the desolation of San Francisco.—Letter 154, 1906 (May 26). [LDE 115.1]

There is a possibility that strong comparisons can be found with a Baptist Isaiah Commentary from Texas in 1996. See online Bob Utley’s Isaiah commentary. There is nothing wrong in utilizing good commentaries like this one of Utley but an Adventist was given a mandate by God with a special message for these times (C. D. Brooks and Charles Bradford) and the Spirit packed it in Isaiah’s descriptions for us to pull out and frame.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 23.

Sunday         January 17

Prophecy Fulfilled (Isa. 7:14-16)

In Isaiah 7:14-16, Immanuel is a sign. He did not ask a sign but the Lord offered one. The sign of the Lord is a long term prophecy of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. “Behold, the virgin will be with a child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (v. 14). Christ will eat cheese and honey “at the time He knows to refuse evil and choose good” (v. 15). The reason is that Christ had to be absolutely perfect. “Before the boy will know to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken” (v. 16). As Gane said Before the child Immanuel would be old enough to decide between different kinds of food, “the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted” (Isa. 7:16, NRSV). For Gane it refers to the land and kings of Syria and northern Israel(see Isa. 7:1, 2, 4-9). In the time of Christ the Arameans were no longer a threat to Judah and Northern Israel was deported in 723 BC and made almost desolate. Empire upon empire was to do this.

Why does Isaiah mention “curds and honey” (NRSV) that the boy would have to eat? Isa. 7:15.

The crops and fields of Judah would be destroyed by the Assyrians (Isa. 7:23-25). So the people, including the Old Testament Immanuel, whoever he was (Isa. 7:14, 15), would be forced to return to the diet of nomads (Isa. 7:21, 22). But while they would be poor, they would have enough on which to survive.

In my own understanding of these verses from 15 to 22 I would say:

Thus, before 2BCE it will be forsaken. The Lord was planning to bring on them the king of Assyria (v. 17). A number of Assyrian kings would hang around Israel and Judah: Tiglath-Pilezer until 727 BCE, the year of this prophecy, Shalmanezer V, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Ashurbanipal. They “will all come and settle on the steep ravines, on the ledges of the cliffs, on all the thorn bushes, and on all the watering places” (v. 19). Prisoners will be shaved on the head and legs as one can see on the iconography presentation of Seton Lloyd, The Archaeology of Mesopotamia 1987: 145 no. 97. Exactly and vividly as if Isaiah saw the same picture. It will come about in the day of the Messiah (v. 21) “that a man may keep alive a heifer and a pair of sheep”. “And it will happen that because of the abundance of milk produced He [Immanuel or Christ] will eat cheese for everyone that is left within the land will eat cheese and honey” (v. 22). Cheese that are from cows that exercise enough and are not injected with hormones and other modern contaminants.There will be a dry period so that where there use to be a thousand vines at a thousand shekels, it will become briars and thorns (v. 23). People will come with weapons since it is dry and deserted (v. 24). The Romans came. The hills will become a place for pasturing oxen and sheep to trample (v. 25). Isaiah was outlining the period the Messiah would come. That is why in Jesus day the pigs in which the demons went, went off a cliff.


When was the prophecy regarding Syria and northern Israel fulfilled? 2 Kings 15:29, 30; 2 Kings 16:7-9; 1 Chron. 5:6, 26.

Gane felt that this prophecy of Isaiah was given about 734 B.C. In response to the bribe of Ahaz, Tiglath-pileser III did what he probably would have done anyway: He smashed the northern coalition, conquered the Galilee and Transjordanian regions of northern Israel, deported some of the population, and turned the territories into Assyrian provinces (734-733 B.C.). The remainder of Israel was saved when Hoshea, after murdering King Pekah, surrendered and paid tribute. In 733 and 732 B.C. Tiglath-pileser conquered Damascus, the capital of Syria. Then he made Syria into Assyrian provinces. So, by 732, within about two years of Isaiah’s prediction, Syria and Israel had been conclusively defeated, and it was all over for the two kings who had threatened Ahaz.

Soon after Shalmaneser V replaced Tiglath-pileser III in 727 B.C., King Hoshea of Israel committed political suicide by rebelling against Assyria. The Assyrians took the capital city of Samaria in 722 B.C. and deported thousands of Israelites to Mesopotamia and Media, where they were eventually absorbed into the local populations and lost their identity (see Isa. 7:8—within 65 years Ephraim would no longer even be a people). God had predicted what would happen to the enemies of Judah, but His point to Ahaz was that this would happen anyway, without any need to rely on Assyria.

Think, if you were living in the northern kingdom while all this was happening, how easy it would be to lose faith. What can we do, now, today, to learn to keep our faith intact, so that when tomorrow’s calamities come, we can stay firm? See 1 Pet. 1:13-25.

Monday         January 18

Foreseen Consequences (Isa. 7:17-25)

Read the above verses. What is the Lord saying that will happen to the land? Why should we not be surprised at this outcome?

“Invitation upon invitation was sent to erring Israel to return to their allegiance to Jehovah. Tender were the pleadings of the prophets; and as they stood before the people, earnestly exhorting to repentance and reformation, their words bore fruit to the glory of God.” — Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 3      25.

Thus, for Ahaz, the man of fear rather than faith, the good news from God was that Syria and Israel would be wiped out. The bad news was that Assyria, the ally and “friend” he had chosen to help him, would turn out to be a far more dangerous foe than Syria and Israel had been. By turning down God’s freely offered deliverance, Ahaz was guaranteed defeat. If Ahaz thought his world was falling apart now, things were going to get only worse!

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to put confidence in princes” (Ps. 118:9, NRSV). How could Ahaz trust that Tiglath-pileser III would be satisfied with taking the countries to the north and would respect Judah? Assyrian writings, such as annals of the Assyrian kings themselves, testify to the fact that their desire for power was insatiable.

Read 2 Kings 16:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 28:20-25. What was happening to Ahaz? What spiritual principle do we see unfolding here? Why should we not be surprised at his actions?

Second Chronicles 28:20-23 powerfully sums up what resulted from Ahaz’s asking for help from Assyria rather than relying on the Lord.

Our natural tendency is to trust in what we can see, feel, taste, touch—the things of the world. Yet, as we know, the things of the world vanish. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:18. What is the text saying to us? How can we apply its message to our own lives? And what difference will it make for us if we do?

Tuesday         January 19

What’s in a Name? (Isa. 8:1-10)

Can you imagine playing a ball game with Isaiah’s second boy? By the time you could say “Maher-shalal-hash-baz, throw me the ball!” it would be too late. But even longer than his name is its meaning: “swift is booty, speedy is prey” or “speed the spoil, hasten the plunder.”

The message of the name clearly has to do with rapid conquest, but who conquers whom? Isa. 8:4.

Isaiah 8:1-10 Isaiah is given a writing task by the Lord in this chapter. He is to write on a tablet the words “Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey” (v. 1). This writing had to be done in the presence of two faithful witnesses for testimony that the Lord selected: Uriah the priest and Zachariah the son of Jeberechiah (v. 2). Some interesting points are involved here. If this Uriah is the same Urijah who built the heathen altar copied from the Assyrian fashion at Damascus for king Ahaz after 727 BCE, then Isaiah wrote this tablet prior to that date when faithful Uriah became unfaithful Urijah (2 Kings 16:10-11). The second point is that Zachariah was probably the greatgrandfather of the prophet Zachariah. Jeberechiah was the grandfather of Zachariah and his child was probably Iddo who’s son Berechiah was the father of the prophet Zachariah (Zachariah 1:1). Isaiah then approached his wife who is called “the prophetess” and she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord gave the name Maher-shalal-hash –baz. The agglutinating stringing of words together in one block like this, is a characteristic of the Sumerian syntax and grammar. Isaiah was a learned man who knew Akkadian well. Akkadian also uses some Sumerian loanwords and expressions. They both wrote on clay tablets. Probably before 724 BCE, the boy of Isaiah was born since before he could speak “the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria” referring to the fall of Samaria between 723-721 BCE by Shalmanezer V.

Why the Aramean capital Damascus? The Assyrians came to destroy. A new Empire was to start haunting that area. So what is going on? The Aramean empire was spiritual “Babylon”. The remnant weed went after the gods of the Arameans. In Acts 7:43 Luke is writing down the sermon of Stephen in 34 A.D. very carefully and Stephen cited Amos 5:25-27 referred to Damascus as “Babylon”. Then the Assyrians took over and certain cuneiform texts studied by Stephanie Dalley indicated that Niniveh was “Babylon” as was all earlier empire’s capitals. So what is “Babylon” in the Medo-Persian period? Susa or Persepolis? Greek empire is Athens? Peter said in 1Peter 5:13 that Rome is “Babylon”. The Vatican during 538-1798? The USA? Is it Washington or New York?

Why does Isaiah tell us he legally recorded the child’s name and had marital relations with his wife (“the prophetess”)? Isa. 8:1-3.

As Gane said the timing of this son was central to his significance as a sign. As with the sign of Immanuel, from the time he was conceived and born until the time Assyria defeated Syria and Israel would be less time than it would take for the boy to reach an early developmental stage, in this case calling for his father or mother (Isa. 8:4). When Isaiah legally recorded the boy’s name even before his conception, he made the child and his name a public prophecy that could be tested by subsequent events. I would add that just as Immanuel or Jesus would be born after Damascus and Ephraim is destroyed in 4 BCE, so the boy of Isaiah would be born a living prophecy that when the Lord gives names, it came to pass as the Lord predicted.

I also add that the Lord reiterate why the punishment was in process over Israel (v. 5). The remnant weed has “rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah” (v. 6). Their fascination with Aram and Pekah of Israel, led them to their punishment. This was in the days of Ahaz in 727 BCE when Ahaz went to Damascus to pay for Tiglath-Pilezer III and copied the sketch of the altar there. “Now behold the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the River [Euphrates]” (v. 7) which was Tiglath-Pilezer III. “Even the king of Assyria and all his glory” (v. 7b). It will come into Judah “and pass through . . .and the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of Your land O Immanuel (Christ)” (v. 8). This world empire was to colonize all peoples after breaking them “be broken O peoples and be shattered and give ear all remote places of the earth” (v.9a-b). Even thought nations will militarily prepare against Assyria, it would not succeed (v. 9c-d). They will devise a plan but it will not succeed (v. 10).

Despite repeated mistakes on the part of His professed people, the Lord was still willing to save them. How can we take this principle and apply it to ourselves personally, especially when we fail and fall in our own spiritual life?

Wednesday         January 20

Nothing to Fear When We Fear God Himself (Isa. 8:11-15)

In his first inaugural address, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt told a nation disheartened by the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. (March 4, 1933). Isaiah’s message to depressed people is: “We have nothing to fear when we fear God Himself.” I may add, Ellen White said it better: “We have nothing to fear lest we forget how God has led us in the past.”

God warned Isaiah not to fear what his people feared, but to fear Him (Isa. 8:12, 13). This is an important theme in Scripture. For example, in Revelation 14:6-12, three angels proclaim a worldwide message: Fear God and give glory to Him, rather than fearing and giving glory to the earthly beast power described in chapter 13.

How do you understand the idea of “fearing” God? What does that mean, especially in light of the command for us to love God, as well (Matt. 22:37)?

I would add that the reason is that with the remnant seed, God is with them “God is with us” which is the equivalent of Immanuel or the Christ promise to come mentioned in v. 8c. Isaiah said that this is what the Lord told him and the Lord instructed him to be not like the remnant weed but like the remnant seed (v. 11). The identification of the remnant weed is then given: the remnant weed says “a conspiracy!” but the remnant seed should not share that view (v. 12a); remnant seed should not fear what the remnant weed fear (v. 12b); the remnant seed should regard as holy the Lord (v. 13a) not politics; the Lord should be the remnant seed’s fear not like remnant weed who fear politics (v. 13b); the Lord becomes a sanctuary to the remnant seed but the remnant weed likes the cult of politics they set up for themselves (v. 13d); for both Israel in 723 BCE and Judah in 586 BCE there was a coming kingdom of the Messiah “a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over” (v. 14b). The exiles and historical events are all related to the Rock of Ages to Whom we all should be cleaving (see the final kingdom of the Messiah as a Rock in Daniel 2). Jerusalem was to suffer “many will fall on them” and then they will fall and be broken, the inhabitants snared and caught in history many times (v. 15).

Doesn’t the idea that we should fear God contradict 1 John 4:18? “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love” (NRSV).

There are different kinds of fear. If someone with awesome power is your friend, with whom you share mutual love, you do not fear that person in the sense you think he or she will hurt you. But you have a kind of fear in the sense that you know and respect the power of that person and the boundaries of your relationship.

As Christians we aren’t to love the things of the world, the things people of the world themselves love (1 John 2:15). Thinking, then, along parallel lines, as Christians, are there things the world fears that we as Christians shouldn’t fear? If so, what are they, and why shouldn’t we fear them? At the same time, what things does the world not fear that we Christians should? See, for instance, Matt. 10:28; Jer. 10:2, 3.

Thursday         January 21

Gloom of the Ungrateful Living Dead (Isa. 8:16-22)

Read the above passage. What is it talking about? What has this to do with King Ahaz? Summarize the ideas.

I would summarize this section as follows. For the remnant seed there is a message: bind the testimony; seal the law among the disciples (v. 16); wait for the Lord Who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; look eagerly for Him (v. 17); Isaiah as a remnant seed is with the mission, his wife, his children and him “are for signs and wonders in [spiritual] Israel” and this mission was given “from the Lord of hosts [angels] Who dwells on [heavenly] Mount Zion” (v. 18). The problem with the remnant weed are continued: the consult mediums, spiritism “who whisper and mutter” but the remnant seed consult God (v. 19); the remnant weed goes to ancestral graves to speak to the dead but Isaiah says that the remnant seed goes to God to speak to the living God (v. 19b). The remnant seed follows the Law and the Testimony (v. 20). This is how you know true religion “if they do not speak according to this Word [Law including the Saturday Sabbath keeping command and Testimony including the gospels about Christ’s substitutionary death for our salvation] it is because they have no dawn” (v. 20b). The remnant weed will have hard times in the Time of Trouble “they will pass through the land “hard-pressed and famished” and when they are hungry they will curse their rulers and also God “as they face upward” (v. 21) since God is going to send plaques during this time to fall on the remnant weed and evil ones but not the remnant seed. They will look to the earth at the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Time of Trouble “and behold distress and darkness the gloom of anguish and driven away into darkness” the fatal result (v. 22).

What do these texts say about the occult? Lev. 20:27Deut. 18:9-14.

Separation from the occult is a matter of loyalty to God. First Chronicles 10:13, 14 applies this principle to the case of King Saul: “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD; moreover, he had consulted a medium, seeking guidance, and did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse” (NRSV).

Look around at your own life, at the influences around you. In what subtle ways are you exposed to the principles behind the occult and various manifestations of spiritualism? And even if you can’t totally avoid them, what can you do to minimize their influence upon you, or your family?

Friday         January 22

Further Study: Read in The Great Controversy, “Can Our Dead Speak to Us?” pp. 551-562.

“In the days of the Hebrews there was a class of people who claimed, as do the spiritualists of today, to hold communication with the dead. But the ‘familiar spirits,’ as these visitants from other worlds were called, are declared by the Bible to be ‘the spirits of devils.’ (Compare Numbers 25:1-3; Psalm 106:28; 1 Corinthians 10:20; Revelation 16:14.) The work of dealing with familiar spirits was pronounced an abomination to the Lord, and was solemnly forbidden under penalty of death. Leviticus 19:31; [Leviticus] 20:27. The very name of witchcraft is now held in contempt. The claim that men can hold intercourse with evil spirits is regarded as a fable of the Dark Ages. But spiritualism, which numbers its converts by hundreds of thousands, yea, by millions, which has made its way into scientific circles, which has invaded churches, and has found favor in legislative bodies, and even in the courts of kings—this mammoth deception is but a revival, in a new disguise, of the witchcraft condemned and prohibited of old.” — Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 556.

Discussion Questions:

1.    Discuss the issue of spiritualism as it appears in movies, books, TV, and popular culture. If nothing can be done to stop it, how can we alert others to the dangers of what, for so many people, seem like harmless distractions, nothing more? Why is a proper understanding of the state of the dead so important in being protected against these deceptions?

2.   Read Isaiah 8:20. Rephrase it in your own words. Let different people in the class read their versions aloud. What is the Lord telling us here?

3.   Dwell more on this idea of loving and fearing God at the same time. In what ways does our love stem from that fear? Or does our fear stem from our love? Discuss.

Summary: Through Isaiah’s actions and family, as well as his words, God reinforced the message of warning and hope: The only safe course is to trust that God knows what He is doing. He has both the love and the power to guide, protect, and provide for those who let Him. For those who turn to other powers, there is only gloom.

Readers still have to use the official SS Adult book on to compare and see the added comments supportively or critically. This is what Sabbath School discussion is all about. We help each other to stay on course. 

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