Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nothing is Going to Be the Same

Scriptural Reading: Isaiah 65:17-21, 23-25
Devotional Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9

During the week of June 16-21, 2013 over 30,000 attended the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education. I am so grateful to say I was an attendee. The experience was life-changing. Our theme during the week was “Solidarity with the Savior”. The week included classes, seminars, choir rehearsals, health fairs, street services, outreach activities, concerts, and panel discussions. We heard Biblical doctrines in preaching, teaching, and music, watched mimes, skits, praise dances, etc. regarding the theme. Each day the 30,000 plus Baptist faithful were in study, prayer, and worship from morning to midnight. In summary, we came away refreshed, in-tune with and on-duty for our Savior. We were solid with Him and ready to face the world with our ministries to state that a change is forthcoming.

As we continue this quarter of study entitled “God’s People Worship” we are mindful of: (1) how Christian worship compares today both in its devoted and revered practices and its disrespectful practices and (2) what we can learn from God’s relationship with the worshipping ancient Israelites that will help us honor and worship Him today. We are in Unit I – “The Prophet and Praise” of the three units of the quarter. This is the last lesson of a four-lesson study of worship in Jerusalem during the time of Isaiah. The prophet foresees the millennial kingdom. However, in his description of the new heavens and the new earth, Christ’s kingdom is on earth and sin and death remain. The Apostle John’s description of the new heavens and the new earth in Revelation 21, Christ’s kingdom is eternal and sin and death shall pass away.

The prophet Isaiah brought good news of a new world order to the captives beginning at Is 65:17-19, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying." (NKJV) The people were given hope by being allowed to see this new thing Yahweh was going to do. In their eyes they would soon return to Jerusalem and rebuild the “City of David”. But, God had something else in mind in the distant future. He indicates at verse 1 that He was sought by the Gentile nations when they were not asking. They found Him and He accepted those who would believe in His Son. (See also Is 42:1) The Jews have been rebellious and disobedient in their ways. They will no longer have favored standing with God. My servants (verses 13-16), both Jew and Gentile, who do the will of God shall occupy His holy mountain in the millennial kingdom. Isaiah painted a picture of hope for the Jewish captives that continue to raise hope for us today. There is so much evil that we must constantly pray as the psalmist wrote in Ps 121:7-8, "The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore." (NKJV) God’s servants can rejoice because there will not be any evil on the holy mountain. There will no longer be reason for mourning, pain, weeping, or tear. The servants will only experience full joy. Rejoice! Nothing is going to be the same.

God has designed that long life shall be the norm, Isaiah explains at Is 65:20-21, 23, “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit…They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them." (NKJV) Infant mortality will be eradicated in the millennial kingdom. Humans will live much longer lives than today, just as it was before the Flood. Unbelievers are to be cut off, whether they live to be one hundred years or not. Their sins are cause for punishment by God and the sinners are considered accursed. Those believers living in the millennial kingdom will lead prosperous lives. They will be able to build homes, plant vineyards, and enjoy the guaranteed fruit of their labor without the threat of enemies attacking. This blessing of enjoyment will be granted during their long lives and for their descendants who are the seed of the blessed of the Lord. God will bless them with children who shall be a comfort to them during their longevity of life.

In further describing the peaceful life on the holy mountain, Isaiah declared at Is 65:24-25, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together. The lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord. (NKJV) Many of the Israelites were too busy to pray to God. They were worshipping Gad and Meni and had forgotten the holy mountain of God. He called for them to return from their wicked ways, but they did not answer nor hear. The Jews continued in their sins to God’s displeasure. (See Is 65:11-12) In the millennial kingdom, His servants will not have to complete a prayer. God already knows their needs, and they are walking within His will. He will respond to their prayer while they are yet speaking. The servants of God shall have peace with their neighboring animals, experiencing the tranquility during the “pre-Adamic fall”. There will be no more danger in God’s holy mountain. Nothing is going to be the same.

The people had been disobedient in chapter 65 of Isaiah. They did not find time to pray and commune with God from the heart. They worshipped false gods and believed themselves above the Almighty God. To make it worse, they were unrepentant. Are we like that today? If so, we need to repent because “…He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) If there is any chance, let us all be found in the presence of God on the holy mountain in the millennial kingdom.

Written by Deborah C Davis

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