Isaiah 11:1-10 The Spirit of the Lord Will Rest on Him
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016
Isaiah 11:1-10 The Spirit of the Lord Will Rest on Him
Isaiah 11:1-10 NLTse Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. (2) And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (3) He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. (4) He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. (5) He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. (6) In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. (7) The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. (8) The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. (9) Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD. (10) In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
At first glance, finding a single chapter to explain how this prophecy was, or is going to be fulfilled seems like an impossible task. And it is – for any of us as individuals. Remember what I told you about the process we need to follow to understand God’s prophecies and timing?
Highlight the key words.
Pray and listen.
Come on now, this is a simple process all of us should be used to using. The more you practice those simple methods the more you’ll see and understand in God’s Word. The more you’ll also see and understand in the world. You’ll begin to see more about this world than you’ve ever imagined. You’ll understand why Jesus tried so hard to get His disciples to see and understand the difference between Heaven and earth.
To me this prophecy seemed to span a time line covered in the Bible from the beginning of the Gospels to the end of Revelation. After all that’s the way I’ve heard the world teach it and how I accepted their teaching. I thought they understood. After praying about this prophecy and how it was and is being fulfilled, and how it is being ignored, this has turned out to be one of the most exciting prophecies I’ve had the privilege of understanding and writing about. Let’s start at the very beginning.
You need the ability to see the tense – if it is past, present, or future. This is where Bible Study requires special attention on simple unrepeated words. “The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NLTse). Here is where we learn a new lesson on looking at simple words that open up the spiritual meaning of texts. Carefully examine the first verse in Isaiah 11. Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. Notice how Isaiah says a shoot will grow which places this chapter’s tense in the future. Isaiah also called that shoot a new branch, and tells us that branch will bear fruit from the old root. Isaiah is telling about a transition. It’s not difficult to clearly identify those symbols. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16 NLTse). Now it’s just a matter of placing them on the correct point in this world’s time line. The next few verses will help. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will delight in obeying the LORD. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. Once again Isaiah made it a point of repeating the word, “will,” a number of times to show this is a prophecy in the future from Isaiah’s perspective. Since the shoot will grow, this places the prophecy somewhere on the the earth’s time line when Jesus was learning and growing. The fact He will not judge by appearance places this prophecy on a time line before Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary to begin the judgment of the world. The phrase, “nor make a decision based on hearsay,” placed this prophecy at a time when Jesus is in competition with hearsay or preconceived traditions and doctrines. Using the key words in this prophecy to search for an explanation of its fulfillment, we’re led to only a few possible connections. The introduction and summation of Romans 15 best reflects the spiritual lessons Isaiah provided in His prophecy.
Romans 15:12-21 NLTse And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” (13) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (14) I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. (15) Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, (16) I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. (17) So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. (18) Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. (19) They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. (20) My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. (21) I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”
Since we see a reference to Isaiah 11 in Roman’s 15, it seems this would be the easiest chapter to compare and study. Based on the translation I’m using, it is difficult to see the connection. In this case looking at another translation will help. And again, Isaiah says, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. (Romans 15:12 KJ2000). You’ll notice Paul decided to add the word Gentile when He quoted Isaiah 11. It’s not clear if Paul actually quoted verse 1 or 10. In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place. At any rate, Paul is explaining that the prophecy in Isaiah 11 is being fulfilled.
Paul clearly explains Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 11 is fulfilled by taking the GOOD NEWS to the Gentiles. Notice how much respect was given to the Good News when translators capitalized Good News? By doing so they placed the Good News on a level with God and His Son. That’s how important the message used to be. It’s sad to think how the world has forgotten so much of that message. The message that for a time changed the world. That is the section of time line we are pointed to in this study.
Paul also quotes another scripture. Our study would never be complete until we located and examined scripture Paul quoted. And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. (Isaiah 52:15 NLTse). Paul has an unusual style of writing. Some people insist Paul jumps from subject to subject. But, if you knew Paul, you would know he does not stray from one subject to another but stayed on course so people would understand his message. Time and time again Paul gave all the credit and glory to God for the messages he received and delivered. Paul is teaching us to do the same. Number one, Paul showed us how to approach God’s throne and receive our messages only from God. Number two, Paul showed us not to reply on ourselves or others for any message. Number three, Paul showed us how God’s message will always be backed up by His Word. Paul also showed us how God’s message is spread throughout His Word, one scripture reinforcing and explaining another. In this case Paul taught the simple lesson while adding to the lessons we’ve been learning while studying Isaiah. Paul is about to show us how Isaiah’s book is arranged to look backward and forward in his book to understand how a lesson is introduced, then further explained in later chapters.
Based on the words Paul repeated, his main theme is the Good News about Christ. Do we get that message when we read the verse Paul quoted? And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about. (Isaiah 52:15 NLTse). Paul provided very little evidence on who this scripture is pointing to based on the verse he quoted. What Paul actually did was point us back to a series of texts he wants us to see and study. By doing so, Paul is accomplishing what he was taught to do, place us in the capable hands of God’s Spirit. Look at the previous verse in Isaiah 52. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. (Isaiah 52:14 NLTse). Now we know the verse Paul quoted points us back to Jesus. This also defines the Good News which has always been and will always be about Christ. Paul wanted everyone to review the entire scripture he quoted so they would see more of the message. The chapter Paul sent us to also defined the portion of time line Isaiah prophesied about. “What is this?” asks the LORD. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.” (Isaiah 52:5-6 NLTse)
Of course some people will argue with placing Isaiah’s prophecy at Paul’s ministry on this world’s time line. Some people will insist this prophecy should be placed on a time line in Heaven based on a few verses. “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.” Some people with their last breath will insist those verses place this prophecy in Isaiah past any point on earth’s time line. But does their interpretation follow basic Bible Study rules? The fulfillment is always greater than the symbol. Is Isaiah using a wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, lion, cow, bear, cub, calf, baby, and cobra as physical animals pointing only to physical animals? Or is Isaiah using symbols in this prophecy to point to a greater fulfillment? We can only answer that question by letting God’s Spirit provide evidence in His Word. The process is simple. All we need to do is compare the introductions and summations to see if Roman’s 15 is really the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 11. Since the prophecy is the introduction to Isaiah 11, we have to compare the introduction to Roman’s 15 to the prophecy. This is placing Paul’s introduction on trial so to speak to see if it follows God’s rules of Bible Study.
Romans 15:1-11 NLTse We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. (2) We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. (3) For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” (4) Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. (5) May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (6) Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (8) Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. (9) He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.” (10) And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” (11) And yet again, “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.”
Paul begins not by reminding, but commanding that Jesus’ followers be considerate of people sensitive to what he is about to write about. Paul gets right to the point. People need to think more about others than themselves. To emphasize his point, Paul quoted another scripture. What did Paul want us to see? Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. Many enemies try to destroy me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal. O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign LORD of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel. For I endure insults for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face. Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me; they treat me like a stranger. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. When I weep and fast, they scoff at me. When I dress in burlap to show sorrow, they make fun of me. I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunks sing about me. But I keep praying to you, LORD, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. (Psalms 69:4-16 NLTse). This prayer from David also points to Christ who suffered the deep waters and was hated without a cause. Still Jesus prayed for them. In His prayers God’s Spirit showed Jesus how to reach out to people who opposed Him. Jesus reached out to Roman soldiers, people in powerful government positions as well as religious leaders. Jesus also reached out to Greeks, Samaritans, as well as people from all nationalities. This is why Paul tells us to, ” live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.”
Pay attention to Paul’s introduction where he tells us to accept as well as help one another. Paul doesn’t mean only supporting and accepting people like yourself. Paul repeated the word Gentile a number of times to show us he is referring to accepting people far different than yourself. Once again Paul sends us back to scripture. For this, O LORD, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever. (Psalms 18:49-50 NLTse). Of course David’s prayer points to more than himself. All his descendants points to Jesus. What is that great victory? To explain Paul takes us to another verse. Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.” Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people! He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and his people went across on foot. There we rejoiced in him. For by his great power he rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance. Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling. (Psalms 66:1-9 NLTse).
Paul wanted us to see God’s promises so we’re able to encourage others. If we don’t learn those lessons how are we supposed to accurately share them? The best way we can move people to Jesus is to be close to Him ourselves. Take a look at the prophecies in Psalm 118 and the other chapters. They all tell a little piece about Jesus.
Imagine what was going through Paul’s mind when he wrote the letter to the Romans or when Paul spent time learning about Jesus in God’s Word. Paul saw so many details he could have been writing about them two thousand years later and never finished. Paul knew his words would never be adequate to tell the full story. So Paul did the next best thing. He sends us back to scripture under the guidance of God’s Spirit. Being a good teacher, Paul wanted people to go further than he was able to reach, learn more than he learned, and accomplish more than he was able to accomplish. Paul knew he was only part of the beginning. Paul also wanted to convey the methods he used to learn, so he did what he needed to do, what we need to learn to do, send people back to God’s Word. It takes more than sending people back to random texts. They have to be the right texts dealing with the same lesson within the same context. Learn from Paul’s example and don’t stop at the few verses I’ve added here. Review the entire chapters and see how much more they add.
Paul’s introduction shows how Jesus is the new growth Isaiah referred to in the introduction for the prophecy in chapter 11. Pay particular attention to the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. This is also a major point Paul is conveying in the introduction in Romans 15. Many people won’t see that because they rely on memory, and don’t want to spend time to look at the verses Paul referred to. Or people convince themselves they can reply on their own understanding. Those people have missed the message in the Good News and may never catch onto it. They don’t understand Jesus, “also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them.” This is also the main point in both the summations.
Isaiah 11:11-16 NLTse In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people– those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. (12) He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth. (13) Then at last the jealousy between Israel and Judah will end. They will not be rivals anymore. (14) They will join forces to swoop down on Philistia to the west. Together they will attack and plunder the nations to the east. They will occupy the lands of Edom and Moab, and Ammon will obey them. (15) The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot. (16) He will make a highway for the remnant of his people, the remnant coming from Assyria, just as he did for Israel long ago when they returned from Egypt.
Since the rest of Isaiah consisted of symbols, we must also consider the countries mentioned in the summations as symbols. You’ll notice both summations contain countries. Not only does this show a relationship and common theme but explains how far it extends. Look at how Paul quoted scripture by substituting Gentile for world and earth. Paul wanted to emphasize the personal nature of the job and message. What good is having a message if it’s not delivered to people? The message goes from the lips to the ears. David and Isaiah often tell about how victories will be witnessed over our enemies. Jesus said If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also.(Luke 6:29 NLTse). We can’t forgot lips are between those cheeks. If someone strikes at you because of your beliefs, accept it. If you do respond, make sure it’s with God’s Words and not your own. If God can heal the differences between Israel and Judah who warred against one another for hundreds of year, God can heal anything.
This may be a good time to take another look at one of the spiritual meanings for Assyria. As we’ve already seen, symbols can have a number of spiritual meanings. “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them–such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! (Isaiah 37:10-12 NLTse). In this explanation we see Assyria’s leaders actually believe they have the power to defeat every other country and their god’s. Assyria acts like it’s their role in this world to conquer it and put down all the other gods and beliefs. This also included God the Creator.
It was more than a war fought on battle fields between Israel and Judah. They fought over religious differences. They surrounded cities and starved entire populations to a slow death. As food ran out people turned to whatever was available to eat. Insects, grass, wood, horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, rats, mice, and even other people were eaten. Battle sieges were meant to strip people of every shred of dignity. During attacks no life was spared. Men, women and children were all slain. Some just to entertain the troops. Women were forced to submit to the most degrading treatment by the conquering army before facing imminent death at the hands of their abusers. The wars were so brutal, a quick death was often preferred. The few survivors were filled with so much hate, the thought of revenge often drove them to near insanity. War is a platform where Satan and his agents thrive and seem to rule. They fill their victims with thoughts, hatred, and bigotry almost impossible to over come. Paul used to be driven by a nature close to that learned from war and God was able to call him back. Jesus changed Paul by opening his eyes to the truth about scripture.
Romans 15:22-33 NLTse In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places. (23) But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. (24) I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey. (25) But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there. (26) For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. (27) They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially. (28) As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain. (29) And I am sure that when I come, Christ will richly bless our time together. (30) Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. (31) Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem. (32) Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other. (33) And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.
Paul dedicated his life to serving Jesus. Like Joseph, who gave up his carrier and ambitions in the temple when he buried Jesus’ body, Paul took up the challenge when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Strange as it may seem, Paul met Jesus on his way to Damascus to arrest and execute Jesus’ followers. Later Paul traveled not only to Syria but other parts of the world to tell people the truth about Jesus. Paul also points out it’s not only his job. “The Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem.” Paul’s mission was to make more disciples for Jesus so they could learn the way he did.
What do the countries listed in Isaiah represent? What about the countries Paul listed? Are they also symbols? We’ve looked at what some of those countries can represent and have seen their spiritual definition always relies on context. When we look at the context of Isaiah’s prophecy it’s easy to see he is pointing to Jesus and His ministry in this world. Since the prophecy leads us to Romans 15, the fulfillment is found in Jesus’ disciples. Paul also included Jesus’ followers. How far and wide does the interpretation extend and how does it relate to us today?
Christianity has extended all around the world. Every religion has heard about and knows something about Christianity. But what kind of an impression are Christians leaving on the people their supposed to be reaching out to? Many religious leaders point out fighting and bickering between Christian denominations and it does exist. No one can deny some of the fieriest war of words is between Christian denominations. Many pastors make a lucrative living writing books and conducting seminars having nothing to do with teaching the Good News Paul showed in scripture, and pointed us back to the Old Testament with hundreds of examples. No! Many pastors make a living from pointing out differences between denominations. Many are paid by church conferences to write those books and preach their message of separation. Why? To increase membership in their own church?
Look what happened to David when he counted Israel. God was not happy. To set an example the whole nation had to suffer. But who wants to pay attention to a lesson thousands of people had to die for? The example Solomon set when he numbered Israel taught another phase of that lesson. Solomon numbered Israel so he could enlist slave labor to build his temple, palace, home, and homes for his one thousand wives and their children. So why do churches send millions of dollars to count membership and conceive ways of increasing membership? Why do churches pay people to invent new systems, rules, and regulations for their membership? Where do they learn such lessons from? Why isn’t the money spent to teach people how to gain a closer relationship with Jesus, learn to listen to His Word, and read and study God’s Word? Why do churches think they have the right to read and interpret God’s Word? That’s not what Paul taught.
When we compare the countries listed in Isaiah and Romans and compare it to the animals listed in the introduction in Isaiah 11 we see an interesting relationship. The animals as well as the countries were sworn enemies based on their normal earthy habits. If we look at the animals named we may see another clue. Three of them, the leopard, bear, and lion are also mentioned in Revelation as well as Daniel. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:2 NLTse).
I find it kind of strange how some denominations have identified their competition as the beast in Revelation 13. No wonder why those churches want people to consider only the physical aspects of some prophecies. No wonder why most religions are dead set against teaching members how to study even though Paul made that message his life work.
I used to belong to a church that claimed to be the only remnant church. Most of the members pledged themselves to the prophecies they were taught, and ruthlessly defended them at all costs. It seemed to me their process of interpreting prophecies was flawed. I found the church at times had dozens of different interpretations to some of those prophecies a generation ago. But somewhere a group got together and decided they needed to agree one a single interpretation for each prophecy. They should have learned from the past when they guessed at an interpretation and God showed their most educated guess was wrong. But being only human they thought they learned their lesson and the next generation let pride overrun common sense. Finally their pride pushed me as well as others out.
Based on personal experience I ran into a lot of opposition to thinking and studying on my own. Leaders in the church insisted only a few qualified people should read and interpret God’s Word. They never wanted to answer questions about Hebrews 10 and other chapters promising a personal relationship as well as direct communication with God. It finally tipped the scales and I had no choice but to leave. While facing a divorce elders and members in the church insisted I tell my part of the story. They heard part of the story from my ex-wife, but their need for gossip drove them on. They insisted since they were leaders in the church, they had a right to ask for details and insisted they were more qualified to counsel than the small support group God surrounded me with. They didn’t think I had the right to take my burdens directly to Jesus and let Him take them from me. Some of those church leader believed people had to go through them for guidance, counsel, and relief from the burdens they carried. That was too much for me. I was going no where with them and I certainly didn’t need them dredging up old wounds. I didn’t see a feasible form of guidance in them, so I left.
It’s not just the church I attended. I’ve seen this in other churches from different denominations. I’ve seen church’s fundamental beliefs so detailed they condemn other denominations. I’ve listened to preachers discredit one denomination after another until God led me in another direction. Since that time I’ve studied with pastors and members from a number of churches. When we get together we don’t discuss politics or doctrines. We concentrate on learning about Jesus and allowing God’s Word to reveal itself. You know, we have similar stories on how we were saved, how God reached out to us, and how God’s Spirit used us to reach out to others. The fact of the matter is, when we know enough about Jesus to be able to put away little differences, there is so much we can learn from one another. There is also an important example we can set for our community as well as the world.
God never intended for His followers to be divided like they are today. At times I wonder if some religions fit the description of Assyria better than they follow Jesus’ the example. Some churches want to go around conquering the world putting down other Christian churches as if they serve another god. They know little about that church and nothing about its people, but insist, if they don’t join with them by accepting all their doctrines as gospel, the persecuting church is happy to camp outside the gates, write letters, and scream as loud as they can expecting everyone inside to give up.
I see another thing happening. Every time a few people from different denominations get together a few churches begin crying one of their beloved prophecies is being fulfilled. They really can’t point to a specific prophecy that gives a clear definition, but they separate out a few choice verses then claim they are the only people who can understand because their God’s chosen church. Well I can only say, show me the context you are using to claim God wanted to separate your church from the world and NOT reach out to it like Paul describes in Romans 15, as well as other chapters in his books. If Isaiah’s prophecies tell us God will bring together countries warring against one another for generations, why do religious leaders claim it is impossible for God to unit people following His Son?
Isaiah stood before kings as an individual calling for and promising a unity no one could imagine or understand. Isaiah never represented a church, he represented God. Isaiah spoke and recorded words God gave him. Paul didn’t represent an organized church. Often times Paul disagreed with the organized church and their leaders. During much of his ministry Paul stuck out on his own being led by God’s Spirit and traveling with only one other member. When God brings people together it will be through individual efforts, not through organized churches. Look at Solomon’s example. Solomon was the wisest man the world has known, But did he use the wisdom God gave him? Instead of waiting on God’s Word and direction, he decided to marry hundreds of women to bring unity and peace to his kingdom. Solomon also built a stone temple to strengthen that unity. Instead of waiting for God’s direction, Solomon went to Tyre and asked for help. Solomon trusted in the riches of Tyre instead of His creator, the One who gave him wisdom. Don’t wait for religious leaders to say it’s time to unite or come up with a plan. God already has a plan and a time. Listen to God and learn from the greatest source of wisdom in the universe and the only One who knows all the details of His plan.
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