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Horatius Bonar, the Blessings and Curses, and Hermeneutics and Application

May 7, 2020 12 comments

It’s been ten years since I read Horatius Bonar’s Prophetical Landmarks, and it’s time to revisit it, a good refresher, now that my overall doctrinal views in other areas – from the last several years of study – more closely align with the 19th century covenantal premillennialists.  (For reference, here are posts from 2010 on Horatius Bonar:  On Interpreting the Prophets  and On the Millennial Question.)

While reading through the Westminster Confession and catechisms (a calendar year reading), along with the scripture references, I noticed WLC question 28

Q 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?

The punishments of sin in this world are either inward,
as blindness of mind,
a reprobate sense,
strong delusions,
hardness of heart,
horror of conscience,
and vile affections;
or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes,
and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments;
together with death itself.

The highlighted phrase in the answer, includes as scripture reference, a large section from Deuteronomy 28, verses 15-68 — which describes the prophecy regarding the nation of Israel in its apostasy.

Now, as I understand, the Westminster Divines added the ‘scripture proofs’ only upon request from the Parliament, and their intent was for people to focus not so much on the actual scripture proofs, but as a guide to their commentaries on the scripture references.  That would be the next step in a study here, to find and read their commentaries on this passage.  I understand the general application purpose—from apostate Israel and the temporal evils that befell them, to the general precept of what can happen, temporally, to unbelievers.  That unbelievers, along with the godly, suffer affliction in this life is clear from many places; Thomas Boston’s The Crook in the Lot (which I’m currently reading), an exposition of Ecclesiastes 1:15, explains well the type of suffering experienced by everyone, and the purpose of that suffering in unbelievers, as contrasted with its purpose in the lives of God’s people.

Deuteronomy 28, though, includes very specific prophecies, regarding what would happen to the Jews in the centuries and millennia after Moses’s speech – specific things that were later experienced, including drought, defeated before enemies, property being given to the nation’s enemies, cannibalism, followed by being scattered throughout the world and even to the point that they would offer themselves as slaves to their enemies, but “there will be no buyer.”  If Deuteronomy 28 could be used as an application and a scripture reference for the temporal suffering experienced by unbelievers generally, then Deuteronomy 7:12-14 and 28:3-14 should equally apply in a general application sense to believers.   As both sets of passages apply to the same people group (in this case Israel, the Jewish church), I see that a general application could be made:  the one part, curses, applies to the unbelieving part of Israel (the visible members of the covenant community, who do not have the true inward saving faith), while the other part, the blessings, to the invisible church, those who actually are saved.  Yet the specifics of these passages, the primary meaning, has reference to the specific nation of Israel and its history, with specific, detailed curse events as well as detailed blessing events.

Horatius Bonar was writing in response to 19th century spiritualizing amillennialists, and provided a great lesson on plain-language literal hermeneutics and the treatment of prophecy in scripture, such as this chapter on Israel.  Regarding the idea of literal curses upon Israel (which were fulfilled, the curses mentioned in Deuteronomy 28) versus “spiritual” blessings in Christ, Bonar observed:

Up to this hour, then, everything respecting Israel has been literally accomplished. Nothing in what has hitherto occurred in their strange history gives the slightest countenance to the figurative interpretations for which some so strenuously contend. Why is Israel still an exile, an outcast, a wanderer, if there be no literal curse? Why is Jerusalem laid in heaps, and Mount Zion ploughed as a field (Jer. 26:18)? Why is the crown of Samaria broken, its ruins rolled down into the valley, and its vines all withered from the mountain side (Jer. 31:5; Mic. 1:6)? Why is Lebanon hewn down, the oaks of Bashan withered, the roses of Sharon gone? Why do the fields of Heshbon languish? Why is the vine of Sibmah uprooted, the summer fruits of Elealeh faded, and why is Carmel bare? Why is baldness come upon Gaza, and why is Ashkelon cut off? Why is Ammon a couching-place for flocks, and the palaces of Bozrah swept away? Why is Moab fled, Idumea become a wilderness, and Mount Seir laid desolate? Why is all this, if there be no literal curse? And why, if there has been such a literal curse, is the literal blessing to be denied?

It is foolish to answer, as many do, “The spiritual blessing is far richer; why contend about blessings of meaner value?” Why? Because we believe that God has revealed them; because we believe that as God has been dishonored by Israel’s being an outcast from the land of promise, so He will be honored by their peaceful settlement again; because as we know He was glorified in leading up Israel, His firstborn, out of Egypt, from the tyranny of Pharaoh, through the wilderness into Canaan, so we believe He designs to glorify Himself by a second exodus, and a second establishment in the land given to Abraham and his seed; because as He magnified His name and power in the sight of the heathen by bringing His people out from Babylon after seventy years’ captivity, so we believe He will magnify that name again by leading them out of Babylon the Great, and planting them in their ancient possessions to inherit them forever; never to be disturbed by the enemy; never to hear the voice of war again.

Among the general principles that Bonar sets forth for the literal interpretation of prophecies regarding Israel, is this one:

When their scattering and their gathering are placed together, and when we are told, that as they have been scattered, so they shall be gathered. Very striking and explicit are the prophecies to this effect in Deuteronomy, where the plainness of the style precludes the idea of figures. How, for instance, could the most ingenious spiritualizer contrive to explain away such a passage as this,—“If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will he fetch thee; and the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers” (Deut. 30:4)

Horatius Bonar’s Prophetical Landmarks is still good reading, with Bonar’s rich prose style and use of scripture, and its explanation of solid hermeneutical principles.

Online Christian Resources Available During Covid-19

March 26, 2020 Leave a comment

I’m still working full-time, though now from home, and church services are video recordings online.  As with everyone, I’m getting used to the “new normal” routine that we all are experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic.  One good thing to come out from this is the additional Christian online offerings, free or at discounted prices.  Challies’ blog has a good summary of many covid-19 “specials” for Christians.

I especially like the Ligonier offer: all Ligonier teachings series now free to stream through the Ligonier app (available through the end of June); I’m now listening to a series on Deuteronomy (Robert Godfrey).  Other interesting series that I’ve downloaded in the app, include church history (also from Robert Godfrey) and a 5 part one on Blessing and Praise: Benediction.

A few years ago I started listening to a detailed Deuteronomy sermon series that ended abruptly at the beginning of Deuteronomy 4, for reasons that became apparent in the national news several months later, and I had not since found any (other) Deuteronomy sermon series.  The Ligonier series, from the fall of 2019, is less in-depth but covers the major themes and outline of Deuteronomy: a few chapters at a time, in 21 lessons of about 23 minutes each.

A few points brought out in the early messages:

  • the chiastic structure of Deuteronomy regarding the first and last chapters, then the next set in and next-to-last set at end, and so on to the middle point.
  • Major themes include the importance of leadership, and warnings against idolatry and exhortations to be faithful.

Since churches are now streaming their services, this pandemic crisis also provides the opportunity to watch video services and sermons from many more churches (than previously available).  Many church small-groups are now using Zoom for video-conferencing, including a group I’ve joined that just started a bible study on the book of Ruth.  On that topic (study on Ruth), I highly recommend an 8-part series that Liam Goligher did several years ago at Tenth Presbyterian Church.  Whereas most online studies of Ruth are at most 4 sermons (one for each chapter), this one goes into more detail, including three sermons each for Ruth 1 and Ruth 2.

Finally, here is one (of several) good and timely articles about how to make the most of the Covid-19 crisis:  Ten Ways COVID-19 Can Work for Our Good.

 

Deuteronomy, God’s Sovereign Election and Man’s Responsibility

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment

My recent reading has included study on sections of Deuteronomy, as for instance this recent post, David Baron’s exposition of Deuteronomy 32, The Song of Moses.  The overall book of Deuteronomy also comes up in James Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, with a good overview study of the book and its major themes including the great truths of God’s sovereign election and man’s responsibility.  A great summary of this point:

Israel is urged to choose life, to love Yahweh, to cleave fast to Him (30:19–20). They have a real choice, but their ‘chooser’ will always select sin because Yahweh has not given them the heart they need.  But they will make their choice, and they will be judged for the rightness or wrongness of the choice they make. The fact that Yahweh promises to change their ‘chooser’ by circumcising their hearts does not remove their responsibility for the choice they will make. Nor does it make Yahweh unjust if He chooses not to change their ‘chooser’, or if He chooses only to change the ‘choosers’ of those He chooses. People are responsible. And Yahweh is sovereign.

Through the Torah (the Mosaic law) the people of Israel are to know and love their God, and to understand how to live in a way pleasing to God.  A large portion of Deuteronomy can be seen as an expansion of and commentary upon the Ten Commandments.  Deuteronomy 5 recites the Ten Commandments, and chapters 6 through 25 explain:

Commandment Chapters in Deuteronomy Exposition
1. No other gods 6-11 Love and worship Yahweh
2. No idols 12-13 Central sanctuary and false
gods
3. Name 13–14 Holiness to Yahweh
4. Sabbath 14-16 periodic duties
5. Parents 16–18 Authority: judge, king,
priest, and prophet
6. Murder 19–22 Life and Law
7. Adultery 22-23 Regulations on sexuality
8. Theft 23-25 Property
9. False testimony 24-25 Truthfulness
10. Coveting 25 Unselfish levirate marriage

The last chapters of Deuteronomy, after this exposition of the ten commandments, address the root issue of human nature as in the specific case of the people of Israel.  Having been given every positive inducement to obey, and the warnings about not obeying, as Hamilton observes:  obedience would seem to be a reasonable consequence. Reason alone, however, does not govern the human heart. Sin never makes sense. In order to obey, one must have a circumcised heart. Circumcision of the heart, however, is not something one does to oneself. One must be given what one needs by Yahweh himself, and Moses declares to Israel that Yahweh has not given them the kind of heart they need (Deut. 29:3).

The Song of Moses: David Baron on Deuteronomy 32

February 11, 2014 2 comments

I have mentioned David Baron a few times before, such as this post listing several of his works available online.  A Jewish Christian and classic premillennialist from the early 20th century (1855-1926), his writings include the topic of national Israel in its history and future, as well as interesting observations in the scriptures.  I’m currently reading David Baron’s “Israel in the Plan of God” (originally published as “The History of Israel—Its Spiritual Significance”), a good collection of his expositions on a few key scriptures about God’s relationship to Israel: Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 105, Psalm 106 and Isaiah 51.

Deuteronomy 32 is well known as the Song of Moses, a prophetic section that foretells Israel’s history in a broad view, from their early apostasy to the Last Days and God’s final work on behalf of Israel.  David Baron provides great instruction concerning the six strophes (themes) in the song, along with interesting details concerning apostate Israel in his day, including judgment events more known in his day (the 1920s, many years before the WWII Holocaust events that everyone today thinks of in reference to the Jewish nation).

S. Lewis Johnson taught a similar division of Deuteronomy 32 (see this previous post), though naming seven distinct parts (verses 1-3 as a separate ‘exordium’ followed by verses 4-6 as the theme).

The six strophes (themes):

1.  Verses 1-6:  The absolute perfection of God, His character

He is “the Rock” and His work is perfect. As noted in S. Lewis Johnson’s exposition of the text, this is the First Mention of God described as a Rock.

2.  Verses 7-14:  What God did for His people

It is Jehovah—the everlasting, self-existent God, Who, in his grace and condescension, has made Himself known to you by this covenant name as your Redeemer and Friend—that ye thus requite with ingratitude and rebellion.  Truly “a foolish and unwise” people! For it is not only criminal, but the height of folly, and equivalent to self-destruction, for man to depart from the living God; and the history of the Jews in apostasy has demonstrated to the full that it is not only an evil thing, but “a bitter thing,” to forsake Jehovah, the “Fountain of living waters,” and the only source of blessedness.

3.  Verses 15-18: What Israel did against God; their apostasy

But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked…  David Baron notes the character of the false gods, that they were 1) “strange” or “foreign,” without sympathy, the very opposite of Jehovah our Maker; and 2) abominations:   “whose worship was often associated not only with orgies of cruelty, but with unspeakable obscenities which had a very debasing effect on the worshippers”.  A key observation here:  “men always rise or sink to the level of the object of their adoration.” The worship of false gods, abominations, has the effect of making men themselves filthy and abominable.  This worship of demons also leads to superstition, and men tormented and haunted by evil spirits.

4.  Verses 19-25:  Judgment upon Israel

Here David Baron’s observations are so timely and relevant:  the peculiar sufferings and judgment upon the Jewish people, observed in his day in events in Russia and eastern Europe — still 20 years before the most well-known event to modern-day readers, the World War II Holocaust.  Baron includes eye-witness descriptions of then-recent killings of Jews, such as the 1923 account of Mr. Isaac Ochberg, a prominent and wealthy Jew from South Africa.

As well noted by David Baron:

the calamities and sufferings of Israel are due in the first instance to God’s retributive anger against His people on account of their sins and apostasies, and are in fulfillment of prophetic forecasts, predictions, and warning some of which were uttered at the very beginning of their national history. … The fact that the sufferings of the Jewish people are all foretold, and that they are due in the first instance to God’s anger against sin–especially the great national sin of the rejection of their Messiah, is no excuse for the Gentile nations for their cruelties and brutalities which they have perpetrated against them.

5.  Verses 26-33:  God’s mercy, and that His judgment is not forever.  The connection is here, too, between how God deals with Israel and how He deals with us individually.

Let us admire the marvelous grace of God and His perseverance with His sinful, rebellious people.  And remember that in His dealings with Israel, we have not only a display of the glorious attributes of His character through which we may learn to know Him more fully, but also a revelation of the principles of His dealings with us …. though Israel deserved that He should make an utter end of them, that “nevertheless for His great mercies’ sake He did not utterly consumer them, nor forsake them, because He is a great and merciful God,” we must humbly confess that the same is true of us also, and that if God had dealt with us after our sins, and rewarded us according to our iniquities, He would have cast us away from His presence.

6.  Verses 34-43:  Apocalyptic, looking at the last events yet in the future: deliverance for His people and judgments upon the enemies of God and of Israel.

the day when the “seals” shall be broken so that the iniquity which the nations have committed may be laid bare, and the successive judgments which have also been “laid up” in God’s treasuries be let loose, is “the day of vengeance of our God,” which synchronises with the commencement of the “year of His redeemed” when Israel’s Redeemer shall be manifested a second time, not as the meek and lowly one to be led as a lamb to the slaughter, but in His power and glory to execute judgments committed to Him by the Father.   …  And it is the extremity of Israel’s need which provokes God’s final interposition on their behalf.

The Song of Moses: Israel’s History and Several First Mentions

June 26, 2012 Leave a comment

S. Lewis Johnson’s “The Jewish People, Jesus Christ, and World History” series mainly looks at the book of Zechariah, with material similar to his previous Zechariah series.  However, the last message looks at the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, with an overall exposition and outline of this text and its panoramic look at the nation Israel throughout human history.

The Song of Moses has seven divisions:

  1. Exordium:  verses 1-3
  2. Theme:  verses 4-6
  3. Extol the goodness of God:   Verses 7-14
  4. Perversity of Israel toward God:  Verses 15-18
  5. Judgments of God:  verses 19-25
  6. Pleadings of Divine Mercy:  verses 26-33
  7. Apocalyptic Events:  interposition on the part of God, vindication of his nation, and atonement:  verses 34-43

In going through the different sections, several things are worth noting:

The two witnesses in the introduction are heaven and earth. (“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.”)  These two witnesses are there from the beginning of Israel’s history, and will be there at the end.  The Old Testament uses similar language in other places, regarding the permanence and lasting of creation itself.  I think of Psalm 89:36-37, His offspring shall endure forever, histhrone as long asthe sun before me. Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies,” and the promises in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31), which again appeal to the enduring creation.

The song of Moses contains several “first mention” doctrines: the first time a particular idea is mentioned in the word of God.  In the theme, verses 4-6, we see the first scripture reference to God as a rock.  All later references in scripture to God as the Rock refer back to this first passage.  Verse 39 has the first use of the expression “I am He,” an expression found later as especially in Isaiah.

Verse 14 makes reference to the blood of the grape: probably the source of the use of wine at the Lord’s table, the wine representative of blood.

The Song of Moses is quoted in the New Testament, especially the last section dealing with God’s vindication (verses 34-43).  Verse 35 contains the well-known words, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  Paul quotes this in Romans 12:19, and Hebrews 10:30 references verses 35 and 36, “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again,  “The Lord will judge his people.”

Finally, verse 39 shows great hope, a hope found only in God.  the sequence is important: “I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal.”  The God with whom we must deal, does not “make alive and then kill.”  The Song of Moses is a wonderful text, showing Israel’s history along with application for us and our waywardness, as well as God’s Sovereignty, His Divine Plan and Purpose.  He will bring His people to Himself, punishing but then bringing redemption and salvation.

Hebrews 1:6 — A Reference to Angels at the Second Coming of Christ

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

S. Lewis Johnson often remarked that he was always learning something new in the Bible, even after so many years of studying. He also observed that the way to prevent backsliding in Christianity is to continue in the Word, really studying it and continuing to learn new things.

Here is one “little” yet interesting thing I recently learned, concerning Hebrews 1:6  (compare the ESV and NASB).  The “Drawing Near” devotional (author John MacArthur) for December 13 highlighted this verse (citing the NASB), and pointed out that angels at present do not fully understand God’s redemptive plan — reference 1 Peter 1:12.  But as Hebrews 1:6 promises, when God again brings Christ into the world, the angels will — at His Second Coming, the angels will worship Him:

Notice that Hebrews 1:6 says, “When He again brings the first-born into the world” (emphasis added). God already brought Christ into the world once–at the second coming He will bring Him into the world in blazing glory. Then the fullness of the prophecy of Psalm 97:7 quoted in Hebrews 1:6 will come to pass: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

In His second coming Christ is revealed in full glory as the Son. More than ever we have reason to join the heavenly chorus in declaring, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

In my ESV Bible, as with the KJV and NIV, the text reads “And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”  I had never thought that much about it, other than that it’s referring to Christ’s incarnation.  But sure enough, the NASB, as well as some other versions including the HCSB, say “when He again brings…”

In S. Lewis Johnson’s exposition of this verse, he explains the future reference in more detail.  The second part of Hebrews 1:6 is a direct reference from Deuteronomy 32:43, from a great prophetic chapter.  The text is also found in Psalm 97.  Both of these Old Testament passages have the context of the coming in judgment and ruling, and so we have biblical support for Hebrews 1:6 being “when He again brings the firstborn into the world.”  S. Lewis Johnson states a few additional reasons, including the Greek grammar and the issue of inheritance:

Now, the scholars discussed this back and forth and have, ever since the earliest days, all the way back.  But there are two or three things that make it very, very, I think, almost certain, that this should be attached to “bringing in the firstborn.”  And we should read it, “But when He again bring the firstborn in.”  In the first place, the position of the adverb in the Greek text would support that.  The tense of the Greek verb would support it, also, as an indefinite relative clause, referring to the future.  And so we’re taking it that way.  We’re taking this as a reference to the Second Advent.

. . . the word “brings into” is a legal term for bringing an heir into his inheritance.  And so since he’s already been said previously here to have been appointed heir to all things, it would be natural then to speak of him being introduced to his inheritance.  Part of his inheritance is the worship of the angels of God; that is his legal heir-ship.  Part of it.

He is also called “the firstborn.”  Now we don’t have time to look at Psalm 89, but that’s what David’s great king is called in Psalm 89.  So in other words, this is a little passage, in Deuteronomy 32, that may be tied in to the Davidic Covenant in that way.  When he brings the “firstborn” the one who inherits the Davidic Covenant into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”  Firstborn is a term that does not speak temporally so much as it speaks of position.  The idea of priority passes into the idea of superiority with heir-ship and probably, I say, with Davidic associations.  You could look at Psalm 89, verse 27, and see that.

So much to think about, and so much depth contained in God’s word — and Hebrews 1:6 expands on the joy to be experienced in Revelation 5.  The angels are finally in full action, rejoicing and praising and worshiping Him when He finally comes to rule the earth!

Let us also rejoice in God’s word, and the thought expressed by so many great saints, as in this great quote from J.C. Ryle:

Let us learn the high authority of the Bible, and the immense value of a knowledge of its contents. Let us read it, search into it, pray over it, diligently, perseveringly, unweariedly. Let us strive to be so thoroughly acquainted with its pages, that its text may abide in our memories, and stand ready at our right hand in the day of need. Let us be able to appeal from every perversion and false interpretation of its meaning, to those thousand plain passages, which are written as it were with a sunbeam. The Bible is indeed a sword, but we must take heed that we know it well, if we would use it with effect.

Bible Reading Selections

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

From my recent reading in my modified Horner Bible Reading Plan, the following observations:

From Deuteronomy 8:2:  “to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”  Though in this context the background is the forty years in the wilderness, the words are still true for other situations.  Here I thought of my recent reading in 2 Chronicles 32, regarding Hezekiah, that God tested him to know what was in his heart:  verse 31, “But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.”

Readings in Deuteronomy often relate to other readings, as for instance the day when I read both Deuteronomy 7 and Ezra 9 — both texts have to do with the Mosaic law’s prohibition against intermarriage with non-Israelites.  Today, Deuteronomy 16 talked about the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles), one of the three major annual festivals.  The List 6 reading, Nehemiah 8, included the celebration of that very feast, one that the Israelites had neglected to observe:   “for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so.”

Another interesting “coincidence” in parallel reading came the day I read Job 41 (List 4), and then Isaiah 27 (List 7).  Job 41 is God’s description of the creature Leviathan, as one of God’s mighty works of creation, to humble Job.  Isaiah 27:1 again uses the word “Leviathan,” speaking of God’s destruction of the true spiritual creature “Leviathan” — the devil, who shows the qualities of the real sea monster.

Finally, a great verse to meditate on:  Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

This verse, from my recent readings in Isaiah, especially sticks out because of the scripture song associated with it, from George and Kathy Abbas.  Such verses are easy to remember when set to music, and contain great wisdom, these treasures from God’s word.

Daily Bible Reading Update

May 13, 2010 Leave a comment

My 8 list Bible reading continues, and here are my current readings:

John 13-14
Deuteronomy 5-6
Galatians 5-6
Job 38
Psalms 51-52
Ezra 7-8
Isaiah 21-22
Acts 13

Deuteronomy and Galatians have good reading, and a good contrast between the Mosaic covenant (law) and the New Covenant (grace).  Deuteronomy also has some great passages concerning God’s faithfulness, His greatness, and His concern for His people.

Here are a few really good passages from recent readings out of Deuteronomy, the Psalms, and Galatians:

Deuteronomy 4:32-39:
“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. 36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, 39 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.


Psalm 50:7-15:

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.
8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me.
9 I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds.
10 For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Galatians 6:2-5:
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.


In Isaiah I’ve been reading through the chapters dealing with judgments on the surrounding nations, including Babylon, Egypt, and others.  This ties in with a recent article I read, “Biblical Arguments for the Rebuilding of Babylon,” that discusses the question of Babylon’s future judgment, and describes the various judgments in Isaiah chapters 13 – 23.  Understanding more of the actual history of Babylon, and reading the actual words of the text, all the things associated with the destruction of Babylon,  helps to further appreciate the prophecy as one awaiting the Lord’s return.