Thursday, January 18, 2007

Isaiah 18: Yo, Israel!

The first verse of Isaiah 18 sounds a little ominous:

            1 WOE to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:

A look at the footnote on “WOE” gives us a different view:  “HEB hoy (a form of greeting).”  This chapter is a sort of call out to scattered Israel.   And indeed as we read the chapter, Isaiah gives descriptions of the people almost as if to help them recognize who they are:  A once terrible nation, without a land, lost, enslaved, and split up. 

The substance of the message is this:  Look for the ensign upon the mountains and listen for the Lord’s trumpet.   Mountains are a common symbol of the temple, and the trumpet is likely the dispensation of the gospel as mentioned in The Revelationof St. John.   Israel, a temple-going people, still remembers their temple today and the spiritual among them are looking for its return.  Isaiah declares that as a sign they should look for many temples accompanied by the commencement of a gospel dispensation.

Then we get to a wonderful image in verse 7:

In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion.

As a gift, the scattered of Israel will be given to the Lord at mount Zion.  Who will give this gift?  Why not those who gathered the lost?  In the hustle of modern life, I do we realize the important charge the Lord has given us to find and gather scattered Israel?  Let us so live to be counted among those in Zion and that are instruments of gathering.



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