Archive for January, 2009

Who is speaking in Isa 8:16-18?

These three verses suddenly switch from the third person of the context to the first person, and the commentaries are rife with proposals for who is speaking at this point. There is not even agreement that all of the “I”‘s are spoken by the same person. Some commentators hear two different voices here (Targum, Calvin, Alexander, Young), or even three (Gill, Motyer). Candidates for the speaker include the Lord, Isaiah, or the Messiah.
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What to Expect from the Messiah

This week’s study explores two verses (8:14 and 8:18) that are quoted in the NT as applying to the Messiah. Be sure to take a look at the handout that accompanies the message. We show how this interpretation is consistent with the context in Isaiah, and learn about the Messiah’s own trust in God, his care for his people, and the judgment he will bring on those who reject him. In a separate post, I will explain why we should understand 8:16-18 as being uttered by the Messiah.

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Immanuel’s Land

Isaiah 7:1-8:10 is structured as a chiasm, with 7:17-25, the predicted coming of the nations against Israel, as its center and focal point. The encompassing material has three levels, organized as follows:

Fear of the Syrian-Ephraimite Confederacy 7:1-6 8:11-15
Futility of Opposition to God’s People 7:7-9 8:5-10
Birth of a Symbolic Son 7:10-16 8:1-4
Center: Fulfillment of the Vineyard Prophecy from ch. 5 7:17-25

This week’s message deals with the first (8:1-4) and secondĀ  (8:5-10) of these levels as we work out way back out from the center. The first of these contains a promise of a symbolic son that balances, but does not fulfill, the Immanuel prophecy of 7:10-16, while the second, with two references to Immanuel, repeats the assurance of 7:7-9 that it is futile for the northern coalition to attack God’s people.

(This post was erroneously entered originally on 1/12/09 as a page.)

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Sanctify the Lord

This week’s study presents Isaiah’s theological explanation for the proposition we discussed earlier, that worry is a sin. A study of the usage of the expression “sanctify the Lord” (Isa 8:13) leads us to the sin of Moses and Aaron at the waters of Meribah (Num 20:12). They claimed for themselves the power to draw water from the rock, rather than setting the Lord apart as the only one with such power. Similarly, only the Lord is worthy of our fear (cf. Matt 10:28), and fearing anyone else is to deny the Lord the preeminence in our thoughts that he deserves. The exposition illustrates the power of the Bible study principle of paying attention to the Bible’s comments on itself.

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The Vineyard Violated

This week’s study explores Isa 7:17-25, a passage with numerous allusions to the parable of the divine vineyard and its interpretation in ch. 5. This passage is the heart of 7:1-8:15, and emphasizes that the coming Assyrian invasion will result, not from Ahaz’s labored attempts at diplomacy, but from the Lord’s sovereign command over the nations.


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