Archive for October, 2010

J.C. Ryle’s Holiness: Chapter 2, Sanctification

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

This chapter has some great insights.  I have previously mentioned the “means of grace,” and this chapter contains J.C. Ryle’s reference to that term.

A few quotes I found especially helpful and comforting:

Sanctification is a thing which cannot justify a man, and yet it pleases God. The holiest actions of the holiest saint that ever lived are all more or less full of defects and imperfections. They are either wrong in their motive or defective in their performance and in themselves are nothing better than “splendid sins,” deserving God’s wrath and condemnation. To suppose that such actions can stand the severity of God’s judgment, atone for sin and merit heaven is simply absurd. “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:20–28). … For all this, however, the Bible distinctly teaches that the holy actions of a sanctified man, although imperfect, are pleasing in the sight of God. “With such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb. 13:16). “Obey your parents . . . for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Col. 3:20). “We . . . do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).  Let this never be forgotten, for it is a very comfortable doctrine. Just as a parent is pleased with the efforts of his little child to please him, though it be only by picking a daisy or walking across a room, so is our Father in heaven pleased with the poor performances of His believing children. He looks at the motive, principle and intention of their actions and not merely at their quantity and quality. He regards them as members of His own dear Son, and for His sake, wherever there is a single eye, He is well pleased.


True holiness does not make a Christian evade difficulties, but face and overcome them. Christ would have His people show that His grace is not a mere hot–house plant, which can only thrive under shelter, but a strong, hardy thing which can flourish in every relation of life. It is doing our duty in that state to which God has called us, like salt in the midst of corruption and light in the midst of darkness, which is a primary element in sanctification. It is not the man who hides himself in a cave, but the man who glorifies God as master or servant, parent or child, in the family and in the street, in business and in trade, who is the scriptural type of a sanctified man. Our Master Himself said in His last prayer, “I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil” (John 17:15).

I also liked J.C. Ryle’s explanation concerning the “passive graces”:

Genuine sanctification, in the last place, will show itself in habitual attention to the passive graces of Christianity. When I speak of passive graces, I mean those graces which are especially shown in submission to the will of God and in bearing and forbearing towards one another. Few people, perhaps, unless they have examined the point, have an idea how much is said about these graces in the New Testament and how important a place they seem to fill. This is the special point which St. Peter dwells upon in commending our Lord Jesus Christ’s example to our notice: “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:21–23). This is the one piece of profession which the Lord’s prayer requires us to make: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,” and the one point that is commented upon at the end of the prayer. This is the point which occupies one third of the list of the fruits of the Spirit supplied by St. Paul. Nine are named and three of these, patience, gentleness and meekness, are unquestionably passive graces (Gal. 5:22, 23). I must plainly say that I do not think this subject is sufficiently considered by Christians. The passive graces are no doubt harder to attain than the active ones, but they are precisely the graces which have the greatest influence on the world. Of one thing I feel very sure: it is nonsense to pretend to sanctification unless we follow after the meekness, gentleness, patience and forgivingness of which the Bible makes so much.

This chapter also includes a helpful comparison / contrast between Justification and Sanctification:

a.  Justification is the reckoning and counting a man to be righteous for the sake of another, even Jesus Christ the Lord. Sanctification is the actual making a man inwardly righteous, though it may be in a very feeble degree.

b. The righteousness we have by our justification is not our own, but the everlasting perfect righteousness of our great Mediator Christ, imputed to us, and made our own by faith. The righteousness we have by sanctification is our own righteousness, imparted, inherent and wrought in us by the Holy Spirit but mingled with much infirmity and imperfection.

c. In justification our own works have no place at all, and simple faith in Christ is the one thing needful. In sanctification our own works are of vast importance, and God bids us fight and watch and pray and strive and take pains and labor.

d. Justification is a finished and complete work, and a man is perfectly justified the moment he believes. Sanctification is an imperfect work, comparatively, and will never be perfected until we reach heaven.

e. Justification admits of no growth or increase: a man is as much justified the hour he first comes to Christ by faith as he will be to all eternity. Sanctification is eminently a progressive work and admits of continual growth and enlargement so long as a man lives.

f. Justification has special reference to our persons, our standing in God’s sight, and our deliverance from guilt. Sanctification has special reference to our natures and the moral renewal of our hearts.

g. Justification gives us our title to heaven and boldness to enter in. Sanctification gives us our fitness for heaven and prepares us to enjoy it when we dwell there.

h. Justification is the act of God about us and is not easily discerned by others. Sanctification is the work of God within us and cannot be hid in its outward manifestation from the eyes of men.

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The Qualifications for Elder: 1 Timothy 3:2 and S. Lewis Johnson

October 26, 2010 2 comments

The series through 1 Timothy, taught by S. Lewis Johnson (1976), brings up some interesting questions concerning the church elder qualifications.  1 Timothy 3:2 lists a qualification for elder as a husband with one wife, literally a “one woman man.”  As I learned from SLJ’s remarks here, with follow-up from the MacArthur Bible Commentary as well as online commentaries and articles, this text has been taken in four different ways:

1.  Prohibition against polygamy
2.  Only married men, not single
3.  Emphasis on faithfulness and fidelity, a “one wife kind of man”
4.  No re-marriage after first marriage.  This view has two variations:  remarriage after being widowed (only divorced men cannot be elders); or, no second marriage, even after being widowed.

I have seen the first view mentioned as an application of this passage — polygamous tribal rulers of primitive lands cannot be elders.  But as S. Lewis Johnson and John MacArthur have pointed out, polygamy was not really an issue in the 1st century, and the Romans had laws against it.  The second view would mean that the apostle Paul himself could not be an elder.  John MacArthur takes the third view, that the emphasis is on the man’s overall integrity and faithfulness.  Yet here S. Lewis Johnson differed, saying “But a much simpler way of saying it would be that he should not be an adulterer, if that’s the meaning.”

Interestingly, S. Lewis Johnson took the last view, that an elder can only have one marriage ever.  I could not find agreement with this view by any other modern-day preachers, commentaries or websites I googled.  (I have seen, in practice, the view that an elder can not be a divorced man.  Yet even John MacArthur apparently allows that in some cases a divorced man could become an elder.)  S. Lewis Johnson cited several reasons, including early church history as well as pagan and Jewish ideas concerning second marriage after widowhood as a sign of self-indulgence.  Several of the early church fathers, including Tertullian, likewise held that a second marriage, after being widowed, was considered a sign of weakness.  In SLJ’s words:

In support of this interpretation, in the inscriptions in Antiquity, for both literary and funerary inscriptions, Pagan and Jewish, it is stated over and over again that to remain unmarried after the death of one’s spouse, or after divorce, was considered meritorious, while to marry again was taken as a sign of self indulgence.  The early church fathers largely followed this interpretation.

For example, Hermas, Clement of Alexandria, of course, Tertullian, and among later followers, Chrysostom, Epiphanes, Cyril, all write in disparagement of second marriages, not as sin, but as weakness.  To marry again is to fall short of high perfection set before us in the gospel.  Now, Athenagoras goes so far as to call a second marriage respectable adultery.  Now, that’s wrong, of course, but it illustrates the attitude of the early church to men who married more than once.  “And to say that one who thus severs himself from his dead wife is an adulteress in disguise,” Athenagoras said.  Respecting the ministers clergy Origen says plainly, “Neither a bishop nor a Presbyter, nor a deacon, nor a widow can be twice married.”  Tertullian, in one of his Montanist treatises, taunts the Catholics in having even among their bishops men who had married twice and who didn’t blush when the pastor epistles were read.

I now recall some biographical information concerning S. Lewis Johnson, things I’ve picked up from his various sermons he did — from the early years (Isaiah, 1968) to “The Divine Purpose” (1986) and “Lessons from the Life of David” (1992).  His first wife was Mary, but she died in the late 1970s, either 1978 or 1979.  About a year later Johnson himself remarried, to Martha — a wife he often mentions by name in sermons from the 1980s and later.  He preached through 1 Timothy during Wednesday nights in 1976.  From comments he made in later series, I had already learned that S. Lewis Johnson had previously been an elder at Believer’s Chapel, but had since resigned and was only a gifted preacher/teacher.  Evidently his belief concerning marriage and elders was behind that change.

Johnson also cited another reason, the Greek grammar in 1 Timothy 3:2 as equivalent grammar to 1 Timothy 5:9 — that it means a woman who was  married to one husband (only one ever), and thus 1 Timothy 3:2 means the same in reference to an elder’s marital situation.   It’s an interesting point, yet I consider the hypothetical situation of a godly Christian widow, a woman who had an early marriage from which she was widowed (say in her 30s), and — as Paul even commanded concerning younger widows — had remarried, and years later is widowed again after age 60.  Somehow I don’t see that the apostle Paul or Timothy would have excluded such a woman from the roll of widows needing financial support.  But according to SLJ’s reasoning, such a woman would have been excluded.

I had never heard Johnson’s view before, and he’s no longer with us so as to ask him about that hypothetical widow on the church care-list.  Of course, he now understands far more about our God and the Bible than anyone still in this world, and so perhaps he knows the correct interpretation of this passage now — whichever interpretation it is.  One thing remains clear:  the interpretation of 1 Timothy 3:2 has changed along with society’s views on marriage.  Ancient societies held a much stronger and stricter view concerning marriage, and interpreted 1 Timothy 3:2 accordingly, whereas apparently all Bible scholars in our 21st century society think differently.  Then again, even by the 19th century, a time where marriage was more highly valued, Bible scholars must not have taken the strict view of the early Church — for if they had, certainly SLJ would have also mentioned such support.  Still, perhaps SLJ was onto something — that issue also mentioned by Al Mohler in a recent column, Divorce: The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.

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The Means of Grace

October 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I just recently learned the phrase “means of grace,” as a Christian expression that goes back at least several hundred years in Christian history.  A recent BibChr post highlighted both terms in its reference to another blogger who considered whether private devotions were more of a “spiritual discipline” instead of “means of grace.”  As Dan Phillips and others observed, it’s really a “both / and” rather than one aspect (public worship) being more important or “higher level” than the other.

I had recently come across the words in a few places, such as J.C. Ryle’s Holiness, but through the above blog and related conversation I became aware of the “definition” status of the phrase.  From reading on the subject since, I tend to agree that the older term, “means of grace,” is to be preferred over the modern, more limited idea of “spiritual disciplines.”  As with other new “key terms” I come across, I also googled the phrase in the transcripts of several Christian preachers, and found it used by J.C. Ryle, C.H. Spurgeon, S. Lewis Johnson, and John MacArthur.

Here is a good definition from J.C. Ryle (Holiness, chapter 2: Sanctification):

Sanctification depends greatly on a diligent use of scriptural means. The “means of grace” are such as Bible reading, private prayer, and regularly worshiping God in Church, wherein one hears the Word taught and participates in the Lord’s Supper. . .  They are appointed channels through which the Holy Spirit conveys fresh supplies of grace to the soul and strengthens the work which He has begun in the inward man.

Other general definitions on the web agree, that the “means of grace” are the “means” by which God gives us grace in our daily lives:  Bible reading, prayers, devotions, listening to sermons, and public worship including participation in the Lord’s Supper.

As for the “private versus public” issue, I would agree that both are needed.  In my own experience, the private Bible reading, study, blog writing-extension, and reading and listening to good sermons has been more helpful than “mere” corporate worship.  Certainly, though, in the years when my personal time with God was more limited, to a cursory, once-a-year reading through the Bible, the twice a week church service had little effect on my overall life.  I certainly did not grow in the knowledge and grace of God during those years, but more easily lapsed into the daily cares of the world during the week.  I cannot do anything about my current corporate worship situation — obviously God has His purposes in keeping me here — but continue to greatly benefit from the wisdom (and very practical advice) of great saints such as Spurgeon and J.C. Ryle.  Even this week, I learned from Spurgeon  (#147, The Sound in the Mulberry Trees) the importance of not doing anything to impede a weaker brother:  do not verbally criticize a sermon, as the person who hears the criticism may well have been moved by something he found good in that sermon.  Say, rather, that “Well, it was not the sermon for me.”

Another great Internet resource on the topic of “Means of Grace” is  Bob DeWaay’s  article, “Means of Grace: God’s Provision for Our Salvation and Sanctification.”  Along with a discussion of the public and private means of grace is the following gem of insight concerning communion:

what should be true whenever we receive communion. 1) We receive it in faith, trusting not in the act of taking communion, but in the finished work of Christ. 2) We do so in remembrance of the Lord, thus being linked with all of the redeemed who have done likewise since the Last Supper, sharing a common hope. 3) We receive communion as a proclamation of the gospel hope, publicly declaring the reason for our hope. 4) When we receive communion we are longing for the Lord’s return to physically share that fourth cup with us. 5) When we receive communion we are expressing our hope in the future kingdom of God in which all true people of faith are reunited with their Lord and recline in table fellowship together.

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S. Lewis Johnson: Exposition of Isaiah 28:9

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

An excerpt from S. Lewis Johnson’s message:

Isaiah 28:9 — To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message?  Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?

I think one of the worst things that can ever happen among the children of God is that sense of pride that comes when a person learns a few verses of Scripture and thinks that because he knows a few verses of Scripture and a few doctrines that now no one can teach him anything. And you know it seems to me that in evangelicalism, we have a great deal of that today. We have a lot of people, because they have been to a few Bible classes and because they have learned a few of the basic doctrines of the word of God, they think there is nothing else in the word of God for them. They think that once they learn these few things, that those Scriptures do not afford them with any opportunity for further knowledge; and it is my firm conviction that we have only begun to understand the word of God, we who teach the scripture.

In evangelical circles I am speaking of, I mean in places where we acknowledge that the Bible is the word of God and that the truth of Scripture is the truth of God, we have only begun to plumb the depths that are in the holy Scriptures. . . . And I think that when we ever get to the stage in our Christian life that we think that we have arrived, and that there is no more in the word of God, then we are in a sad condition. And then Judah, they had arrived. They had arrived at the place when the Prophet Isaiah gave his messages. Wouldn’t you love to have heard Isaiah? My goodness, I would travel for miles to hear Isaiah preach once, and they had the opportunity to hear him day after day, and what did they say? Who will he teach knowledge? Who will he teach doctrine? Well he can teach babies, but he can’t teach us anything.

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Holiness, by J.C. Ryle: Sin

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve now completed chapter 1 of J.C. Ryle’s Holiness (see my comments on the intro here), so now for a few observations.  In this chapter, “Sin,” J.C. Ryle considers the importance of a right, biblical understanding of sin.

Ryle points out that “Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies and false doctrines of the present day. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.”

Interestingly, he associates an incorrect view of sin as the cause not only of heresies and false doctrines, but biblical errors (non-damning, “imperfect remedies” but nonetheless errors) as well.  Now I consider some of the common biblical errors that I’ve recently come across, including false ideas concerning origins (Theistic Evolution / Old Earth Creation, etc.) as well as future events.  Concerning the TE / OEC error:  here, a wrong idea of sin leads to the unbiblical notion that sin really isn’t so bad as to really impact the physical creation itself — the error that human sin did not cause the physical death of animals; and thus physical death of animals is redefined as part of a “very good” and perfect creation.  Concerning both origins and future events, an incomplete notion of sin leads man to favor the “great ideas” of “great men” who allegorized and spiritualized away the obvious, plain-sense meaning in favor of a more “enlightened” idea of what God was really trying to communicate to us (and ideas which God thus obscured so as to fool us because the words in the scripture don’t really mean what they appear to mean) — rather than recognizing the utter deceitfulness of men’s hearts and the folly of trusting in anything that doesn’t agree with God’s revelation.

This chapter expresses many great truths concerning sin, including two thoughts that I’ve heard as oft-repeated “sayings” (as mentioned in this blog) at the local church:  1) that a mother’s infant, dear “little angel” is actually a “little sinner”; and 2) that skunks among themselves think they smell okay and are unaware of their offensive odor.  (Actually Ryle never used the word “skunk,” nor the word “stink,” a more vulgar and not-so-nice expression, as S. Lewis Johnson pointed out in his rare uses of that term.)  After reading the original references on these points, I appreciate the greater truths involved, since Ryle said it so much better.  Now realizing where the local pastor got these two “sayings,” I could not help but wish that he had also paid attention to everything else that J.C. Ryle taught, here and elsewhere.

The original statements from J.C. Ryle, in chapter 1 of “Holiness”:

The fairest child, who has entered life this year and become the sunbeam of a family, is not, as his mother perhaps fondly calls him, a little “angel” or a little “innocent,” but a little “sinner.” Alas! As that infant boy or girl lies smiling and crowing in its cradle, that little creature carries in its heart the seeds of every kind of wickedness! Only watch it carefully, as it grows in stature and its mind develops, and you will soon detect in it an incessant tendency to that which is bad, and a backwardness to that which is good. You will see in it the buds and germs of deceit, evil temper, selfishness, self–will, obstinacy, greediness, envy, jealousy, passion, which, if indulged and let alone, will shoot up with painful rapidity. Who taught the child these things? Where did he learn them? The Bible alone can answer these questions!


We, on the other hand—poor blind creatures, here today and gone tomorrow, born in sin, surrounded by sinners, living in a constant atmosphere of weakness, infirmity and imperfection—can form none but the most inadequate conceptions of the hideousness of evil. We have no line to fathom it and no measure by which to gauge it. The blind man can see no difference between a masterpiece of Titian or Raphael and the queen’s head on a village signboard. The deaf man cannot distinguish between a penny whistle and a cathedral organ. The very animals whose smell is most offensive to us have no idea that they are offensive and are not offensive to one another.

Finally, here are a few more great quotes from this chapter:

After all, I am convinced that the greatest proof of the extent and power of sin is the pertinacity with which it cleaves to man, even after he is converted and has become the subject of the Holy Spirit’s operations. To use the language of the ninth Article: “This infection of nature does remain—yes, even in them that are regenerate.” So deeply planted are the roots of human corruption, that even after we are born again, renewed, washed, sanctified, justified and made living members of Christ, these roots remain alive in the bottom of our hearts and, like the leprosy in the walls of the house, we never get rid of them until the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved.

. . .

a scriptural view of sin is one of the best antidotes to that vague, dim, misty, hazy kind of theology which is so painfully current in the present age. It is vain to shut our eyes to the fact that there is a vast quantity of so–called Christianity nowadays which you cannot declare positively unsound, but which, nevertheless, is not full measure, good weight and sixteen ounces to the pound. It is a Christianity in which there is undeniably “something about Christ and something about grace and something about faith and something about repentance and something about holiness,” but it is not the real “thing as it is” in the Bible. Things are out of place and out of proportion. As old Latimer would have said, it is a kind of “mingle–mangle,” and does no good. It neither exercises influence on daily conduct, nor comforts in life, nor gives peace in death; and those who hold it often awake too late to find that they have got nothing solid under their feet.

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Categories: J. C. Ryle, quotes Tags: , , ,

Bible Reading: The Abrahamic Covenant’s Plural Offspring

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

In my recent reading through Genesis (list 2 in a modified Horner Bible Reading Plan), I noticed again the references to Abraham’s offspring, or “seed.”  Though Reformed Theology emphasizes the singular offspring (Christ), spoken of by Paul in Galatians 3, yet it is obvious from just reading Genesis 17 that some of the Abrahamic covenant texts use offspring in a plural sense, and a sense that clearly cannot be talking about God.  For instance, Genesis 17:7And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

I especially noticed the phrase “to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”  Of course this is not talking about Christ as the singular seed of Abraham, or of Christ being the true Israel — for that would be saying that God is “to be God” to Himself.  The very next sentence, verse 8, gives the land promise in terms that could not be plainer:  And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

Paul in Galatians 3:16 refers to “the promises” and Genesis 18:18, “and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.”  Just because Paul cites one aspect of the Abrahamic covenant in no way invalidates other aspects of that covenant.  The same principle is at work in other oft-cited passages brought forth as “proofs” of Church Replacement Theology:  just because the writer of Hebrews cites the full passage of the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31 does not take away from its meaning in the original text or change its meaning.  Acts 15, with James’ citation of Amos 9, is similar.  All that James says is that the words of the prophets “agree with” what was happening — which is clearly not the same as having the meaning changed to some unexpected “new meaning.”

Barry Horner, in Future Israel  (p. 98) further expands on the issue of singular and plural senses of “seed”:

… the promise of Genesis 12:3 is not made to Christ as the mediator, but to Abraham, and this Scripture overwhelmingly affirms. Further, the seed of Abraham having application to Christ according to Galatians 3:16, this in no way invalidates the “seed” of Genesis 12:1-3 being the nation of Israel anymore than does “seed” in Genesis 13:15; 17:7. The exegetical reason is that God says to Abraham, your “descendants [seed]” shall be as the innumerable stars of heaven (Gen. 15:5). These references clearly refer to the nation of Israel, and not exclusively Christ as an individual. Paul’s employment of Midrash, distinctive Jewish, applicatory interpretation, incorporates Christ as the root of promised blessing without at all denying the obvious promise of national blessing, the plurality of “Abraham’s descendants [seed], heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).  Plainly the terms of the curse/blessing in Genesis 12:2-3 principally refer to the national seed here, notwithstanding the attempted textual manipulation which betrays a difficulty that the obvious sense presents. To be sure, Christ is the ground of covenant blessing, but this does not nullify national blessing as is plainly indicated.

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Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse and Progressive Revelation

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

In my study through Isaiah with S. Lewis Johnson, the book can be outlined (so far) as follows:

Isaiah 7-12 — The Book Of Immanuel
Isaiah 14-23 — Judgments against the Nations
Isaiah 24-27 — Isaiah’s “Mini-Apocalypse”
Isaiah 28-33 — The Book of Woe

SLJ dealt with each of these sections in its own sub-series within the overall Isaiah series.  I have previously blogged about the Book of Immanuel.  Now to a brief summary of the “Little Apocalypse” section (here in part 1 and part 2).

The mini-apocalypse is one of several parallel prophecies concerning the Second Coming of our Lord, and the progressive revelation of scripture is important at this point.  Revelation given in earlier books is less detailed, but later Old Testament revelation expands on earlier revelation, just as New Testament revelation expands further — and even some New Testament revelation expands with more details not found in earlier NT texts.  The book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, completes the progress of revelation.

Isaiah 24:5-6 make reference to an everlasting covenant that has been broken.  The next sentence relates, “a curse devours the earth.”  Which everlasting covenant has been broken?  The description suggests that the Noahic covenant is in view here, a covenant that provided basic law and order, human government.  Though God has been incredibly patient with mankind throughout history, the time will come when God finally says “enough!”  All government is after all under God, appointed by Him, and the final breakdown of government will result in God’s destruction of this world.

Verse 10 describes (in KJV) the “city of confusion”  (ESV translates it “wasted city”).  Though Isaiah’s text does not specify the city, and it could be taken in a general sense, S. Lewis Johnson saw this — in the light of later biblical revelation — as a reference to Babylon, the city of man always opposed to God.  Babylon does play that special role, the first city that rebelled against God (Genesis 11), which will be rebuilt and destroyed in the future, as described in Revelation 18.

Verses 14 and 15 describe the people, the remnant of Israel, as including those who live in the land as well as some in the east (verse 15) and some in the west. S. Lewis Johnson, reading from the KJV, noted that the phrase “glorify God in the fires” has the Hebrew word for “lights,” the word Urim — as also used in the phrase “Urim and Thummim” of the priest’s attire.

Isaiah 24:21 indicates that this judgment will be against both this world and the demons:  On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth.  Then verse 22 is a parallel to other, later, biblical texts:  in this case, another description of Satan and his angels being bound in the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3).  The phrase that begins with “after many days” refers to the thousand years and Satan’s subsequent release and final punishment, the lake of fire.

Isaiah 25-27 is a series of songs in response to the judgment of chapter 24.  Isaiah 26:3 is a familiar, oft-quoted verse — and I think of the scripture-song from George and Kathy Abbas here:   “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”  The context, though, is a praise from Israel rejoicing in Christ at the Second Advent.  Consider further the verse’s meaning:  “whose mind” — the mind is kept by God’s word, and emphasizes the importance of staying in and seeking God in His word, the scriptures.

Isaiah 26:20 is another parallel reference to the Great Tribulation, and especially to Revelation 12, where the woman (Israel) flees to safety.  From the Revelation text, which agrees with Daniel’s prophecy as well concerning the time period, we also know that “a little while” is the 3 1/2 years  (ref. Revelation 12:14).

Isaiah 27:1 contains a symbolic reference to Assyria, Babylon and Egypt, the enemies of Israel who are referred to as Leviathan.   Isaiah 27:9 has a New Testament reference, in Romans 11:26, the time Paul speaks of when God will “turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

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