Isaiah for Sabbath School:  Crisis of Identity [spiritual with Heaven]


Sabbath December 26 Introduction

Let no one say that Isaiah is historical in his first chapters but eschatological from chapter 40. Isaiah is alluding to the eschaton from chapter 1 already.


Sunday December 27  Vision into the Future Investigative Judgment “Hear o Heavens”

Isaiah knows about the Investigative Judgment in heaven. “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth” (v. 2). They are called to be witnesses in the heavenly court. God is not involved in an executive judgment by fire during the court-case. He speaks to the remnant and says that “sons I have reared and brought up but they have revolted against Me” (v. 2c-d). An ox walk to his owner approaching but the remnant Israel “does not know, My people do not understand” (v. 3). It is not ethnic Israel that is God’s focus, it is faithful Israel, regardless of race and background. They can include Moabites, Ammonites, Hittites, but they are faithful to God. The remnant became weed “sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly” (v. 4a-d). They have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him (v. 4f-g). God gave them corrective punishments or discipline in the past “where will you be stricken again, you continue in rebellion?” (v. 5a-b). The whole head is sick and the heart is faint (v. 5c-d). It is a wound “not pressed-out or bandaged nor softened with oil” which is a reference to medical practices in Isaiah’s day (v. 6d).


Monday December 28 Rotten Ritualism [and defining abomination for all centuries to come]

They do everything according to the book in the right order, the right way, the right form but their hearts are far from God. God has no interest in sacrifices (v. 11a-d). Their presence in the earthly sanctuary is “trampling of My courts” (v. 12b). “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me” (v. 13a-b). New Moon time services, Sabbath services, the calling of assemblies for worship “I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly” (v. 13c-d). God dislike their new moon and appointed feasts “they have become a burden to Me” (v. 14a-b). “I am weary of bearing” (v. 14c). Because their hearts are not right the Lord says about their prayer: “when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you, yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen” (v. 15a-d). The reason is that their hands are covered with blood for they are violent. The list of their sins is mentioned. They are to wash themselves, clean themselves, removes evil, ceases to do evil (v. 16a-b). Isaiah then go through a list of sins that is also dealt with later in 58:6-7 “learn to do good; seek justice; defend the orphan; plead for the widow” (v. 17) which is what they did not do.


Tuesday December 29  The Argument of Forgiveness (for all centuries)

The Lord wants the remnant weed to approach Him and though their sins are as scarlet they will be white as snow (v. 18c-d).


Wednesday December 30 To eat or be eaten [Banquet with God in Heaven or suffer Hell]

“If you consent and obey you will eat the best of the land” (v. 19). That land is heaven.

In the eschaton God says “I will be relieved of My adversaries and avenge Myself on My foes” (v. 24b-c). God will smelt away their dross (v. 25). For the remnant seed however, the Lord will restore the judges as before and counselors as at the beginning and after this new earth and new heaven, “you will be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city” (v. 26) referring to the New Jerusalem in heaven. Heavenly Zion will be redeemed with justice and the repentant ones of the faithful remnant or remnant seed “with righteousness”. That will be at the Second Coming. However, after the millennium, which follows the Second Coming event and removal of the remnant seed from the remnant weed, the remnant weed will be “transgressors and sinners will be crushed together and those who forsake the Lord will come to an end” (v. 28b). This end is the eschatological end of history and starting of eternity with the new heaven and new earth recreated by God. No evil exists after this point in time. Time stops also there. In the Hell event the remnant weeds will be ashamed of conditions that Isaiah also alluded to again in Isaiah 65:3 and 66:17 namely that they made cultic practices in nature “you will be embarrassed at the gardens which you have chosen” (v. 29a-b). To enjoy nature as God’s creation and to enjoy it with cultic or sacred feelings to nature, are two different opposing ways of enjoying nature. The remnant weed in that time of the Hell will “be like an oak whose leaf fades away or a garden that has no water” (v. 30a-b). The strong man and his work “shall both burn together and there will be none to quench” meaning not that they will burn eternally but that the extinction of them will be eternal and none can rescue them from this Hellish fire. Isaiah also alluded to the same thought later in 66:20. Let no one say that Isaiah is historical in his first chapters but eschatological from chapter 40. Isaiah is alluding to the eschaton from chapter 1 already.


Thursday December 31   Isaiah 5 and the Investigative and Executive Judgments

Isaiah was a professor of history and comparative literature in the palace of the kings of Judah. The book of Isaiah deals with history after the shock of the exile in 723 BCE. He is not preoccupied with the events of his own time and the conditions of his own time only. He spells out the wrongs in his own day but attempts to show to them that their actions are connected to the ultimate eschaton when God will deal with the wickedness of man. The chapter started with a sad poem since it is God the bridegroom singing about His bride in poetry of the highest class. The words are carefully selected. The bride is compared to a vineyard and it is the faithful remnant that the Lord has in mind here. It is a song for the Lord says “let me sing for my well-beloved” (v. 1). The remnant is as a beloved of the Lord that had a vineyard. God the Farmer explains how His well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill (v. 1c), The vineyard is the remnant’s space of spirituality. God the Farmer worked in this space of spirituality with the remnant “He dug it all around, removed the stones [sins] and planted it with the choisest vine” (v. 2a-b). The vine are believers who joined the remnant. “And He built a tower in the middle of it” which may be His abiding Spirit of presence (v. 2c). “And hewed out a wine vat in it” which may refer to the fruits of the Spirit that the Lord was expecting to see in this vineyard of belief (v. 2d). “He expected it to produce good grapes but it produced worthless ones” (v. 2e-f). He was looking forward to see the Galatians 5 fruits of the Spirit in it, but it produced only half-baked spirituality. He calls on the remnant in Isaiah’s day in Jerusalem and Judah, the remaining ones in Israel after the others went into exile, that they should judge between Him and His vineyard (v. 3b). God is calling for an investigative judgment. He needs a jury to judge between Him and His remnant. He calls for a court-scene and such a court scene was scheduled in prophecy to commence with Christ as Advocate on behalf of the remnant since 1844, using the year-day principle and apply it to the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 and then seeking the beginning of this period in Ezra 7 to be 457 BCE. The Advent awakening all over the world prior to 1843 thought it was the Second Coming of Christ but it was in effect only the start of the Investigative Judgment in Heaven. “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?” (v. 4a). God exceeds His limits with them. The answer is nothing. God is very thorough and repeatedly came back to work with them. “Why when I expected to produce grapes did it produce worthless ones?” (v. 4b). The expectation was checked during the Investigative Judgment. Those of the remnant weed that still did not produce any fruits of the Spirit and chose to persist in the desires of the flesh, fleshly sensitivity, fleshly perception, fleshly creativity, fleshly imaginations, fleshly products, they will be dealt with in the Executive Judgment after the millennium which follows the Second Coming. The Second Coming is rewarding the faithful remnant seed. The Executive Judgment is repaying the unfaithful remnant weed and all evil including Satan. “So let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard, I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed” (v. 5a-b). Fire will burn in Hell which is the Day of the Lord and an Executive Judgment. “I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. And I will lay it waste. It will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up, I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it” which is at the Second Coming that they will die for the glory of God will be too strong for them and this earth will be waste and empty and dry and Satan will be the only one sitting on it for a millennium licking wounds (v. 5c-6d). The identification of the vineyard follows: “For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of [spiritual] Israel and the [spiritual] men of [Isaiah’s] Judah, His delightful plant” (v. 7a-b). In the Investigative Judgment “He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed, for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress” (v. 7c-d). God does not have to wait for the Investigative Judgment to see the problems of the remnant. It is the unfallen worlds that needed the books to be opened since 1844 to see whether the remnant seed has any stigma preventing them from joining the heavenly citizenship. Jesus is their Advocate because He knows their salvation and the omniscient God protect each case then with authority, displaying His nail-driven marks of His hands. God does not need a courtcase to evaluate each person of the remnant’s eligibility for heaven, but the Bible says that He does call a court together and ask witnesses to be a jury. God does not need to act collateral but He choose to do so.


Friday January 1  Ellen white Citation

Obedience leads to perfection she says on Isaiah 1:19 in the SDA Bible Commentary 7A