Isaiah with Reflecting Blobs from Roy Gane’s first Lesson Wednesday to Friday


Wednesday         December 30

To Eat or Be Eaten (Isa. 1:19-31)

Read Isaiah 1:19-31. What theme appears here that is seen all through the Bible?

Notice the logical structure in Isaiah 1:1920If the people choose to be willing and obedient to God, they will eat the good of the land (Isa. 1:19). By contrast, if they refuse His offer of forgiveness and restoration and rebel against Him, they will be eaten by the sword (Isa. 1:20). The choice is theirs. These verses, then, contain a conditional blessing and curse.

Isaiah 1 reiterates and applies the words of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 30:1920 at the time when the covenant with the nation of Israel was set up: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses” (NRSV). Many of these curses do not have the ups and downs of Israelite history in mind but the cosmic salvation condition of all mankind and all faithful. Israel was just a type of a bigger picture. Isaiah knew it and soon in the book it will become clear. The land that is spoken here of is not the preteristic physical land of Israel surrounded by Palestine or Canaan as Eerdmans, Moody, Kregel and Fortress Press try to put forward. It is heaven.

“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). This is an absolute relieved of evil with a never come back situation. It is not the Edomites and now the Ammonites and now the Assyrians etc. It is totally relieved without coming back again forever. The eschaton. God has a Day of Wrath and the prophets of the Bible explains that clearly. Isaiah is not unfamiliar with that concept. You do not get growth or development of theological ideas as W. Eichrodt tried to sell to Old Testament students. He tried to stay that when you see no information of eschatology it is because they did not understand it. But when a book explains it they understood it. No. It is just the other way around. When nothing is said, they understood very well. God asked the prophets to write about things they neglected but which was there all the time. Adventist prophetic charts and time periods like the Investigative Judgment and Executive Judgment or Hell was known since Adam and Eve. Adventists just rediscover it in 1844 and this was true in every generation going back.

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.


Look at those words from Moses. Notice, there is no middle ground. It is either life or death, blessings or curses. Why do you think there is only one of two choices for us? Why can’t there be some sort of compromise?

These words of Moses summarize the series of warnings, blessings, and curses that conclude the formation of the covenant in Deuteronomy 27-30 (compare Leviticus 26). Elements of this covenant include (1) the recounting of what God had done for them, (2) conditions/stipulations (commandments) to be observed in order for the covenant to be maintained, (3) reference to witnesses, and (4) blessings and curses to warn people what would happen if they violated the covenant conditions. Isaiah do not ask other nations to copy from them their style and writing his book. He was aware and learned enough about conventional styles in his times and as a palace historian and prophet, he wrote current scholarship but God first and His program first, not forgetting the literature of Moses saying the same messages.

Scholars [Eerdmans, Moody, Kregel and Fortress Press, especially Preterists] have found that these elements appear in the same order in political treaties involving non-Israelite peoples, such as the Hittites. So, for establishing God’s covenant with the Israelites, He used a form they would understand and would impress upon them as forcefully as possible the nature and consequences of the mutually binding relationship into which they were choosing to enter. The potential benefits of the covenant were staggering, but if Israel broke their agreement, they would be worse off than ever.

Charles Fensham pointed out that Hittite history writing style was very close to that of Israelite history writing style. They imitated thus. So who imitated from whom? Moses wrote his books including the book of Deuteronomy and Leviticus until his death in 1410 BCE. None of the Hittite literature predates 1380 BCE and most of them are in the 13th and 12th centuries BCE. If plagiarizing took place, the Hittites took it from Moses’ works. We must remember that after the Exodus in 1450 BCE some secular Habiru or Hebrews went and live in the areas of Hittite country and Ugarit. So many Mosaic songs and literature and cultic styles were paganized and adapted for their purpose, it can be argued. After all, Ugarit was the same as Hittite Literature, after Moses’ death. When Moses wrote there were no Hittite Literature for comparison available according to the chronology of Hittite Historiography. Moses do not copy Hittites.

In your own Christian walk, how have you experienced the principle of blessings and curses as seen above?

Thursday         December 31

Ominous Love Song (Isa. 5:1-7)

Read the song in the above verses. What is the meaning of this parable?

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 does the Lord mean when He says in Isaiah 5:4, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” (NRSV).

“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.

Take the concept found in Isaiah 5:4, about “What more could have been done to My vineyard,” (NKJV) and look at that in light of the Cross, where God offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, paying with His flesh for our violation of His law. What more could have been done for us than what He did there? How does dwelling on the Cross give us assurance of salvation and motivate us to repent and change our ways?

Friday         January 1

Further Thought: In the context of Isaiah 1:4, Ellen White wrote: “The professed people of God had separated from God, and had lost their wisdom and perverted their understanding. They could not see afar off; for they had forgotten that they had been purged from their old sins. They moved restlessly and uncertainly under darkness, seeking to obliterate from their minds the memory of the freedom, assurance, and happiness of their former estate. They plunged into all kinds of presumptuous, foolhardy madness, placed themselves in opposition to the providences of God, and deepened the guilt that was already upon them. They listened to the charges of Satan against the divine character, and represented God as devoid of mercy and forgiveness.” — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1137.

Paul in Romans 9:29 cites the Sodom and Gemorrah verse of Isaiah 1:9 to symbolize the eschatological Hell and says that unless God grace saved us, even from among heathens, we all would have burnt eventually in Hell like Sodom and Gemorrah did. Isaiah knew very well what he was writing. Ellen White says that just as Christ healed leprosy it is a symbol of the total sin condition of the human in Isaiah 1:5=6 so all needs His grace for salvation (DA 266).

Discussion Questions:

1.    How can you “wash yourselves”? What does that phrase mean? (See Phil. 2:12, 13.)

2.   How did Jesus adapt, expand, and apply the love song of the vineyard? Matt. 21:33-45, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19. What lessons are in the above story for us as Seventh-day Adventists?

3.   What is the relationship between the forgiveness God offers and the transformation He accomplishes in our lives? Which comes first, transformation and then forgiveness, or forgiveness and then transformation? And why is it important to know which comes first?

4.   In the quotation above, Ellen G. White says people placed themselves in opposition to “the providences of God.” What does that mean?

Summary: When God’s people forget Him and take His blessings for granted, He reminds them they are accountable to their covenant with Him. Mercifully, He points out their condition, warns them about the destructive consequences of abandoning His protection, and urges them to allow Him to heal and cleanse them.


Modified and adapted for didactical purposes by dr. Koot van Wyk, Kyungpook National University, Sangju Campus, South Korea 27th of December 2020