Friday, December 31, 2010

Did Abraham Tell Isaiah Something?

Reading: Isaiah 24-27  
In the previous post, commenting on Genesis 22, we saw that the account of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac was teaching us that God will provide what is needed for our relationship to Him, not Abraham, or us. Genesis 22:14 says, “And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'” Apparently, that was the take away from that text, for they were still referencing that point, and I have to wonder if Isaiah had it in mind as he wrote these chapters, especially Isaiah 25:6-8.
6On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8)
On this mountain, the mountain of the Lord, there is some serious provision going on for the peoples of the world. And on that mountain, the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations will be destroyed. I believe that this shroud speaks of the blindness that covers the nations of the world. The blindness that prevents us from seeing the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The blindness of which Paul spoke when he said,
3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Just prior to this, Paul had written in 3:14, “to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.” In Christ, the veil is taken away. In Christ, at the cross the provision was made for the veil to be taken away. And when Paul preached the Gospel, compared to when the Old Covenant was read in the synagogue, he largely expected for the veil to be removed. At least the words, “even if our gospel is veiled,” indicate that his expectation was that this veil had largely been removed as he is preaching the Gospel—and certainly is removed as people hearing the Gospel are given the gift of faith to believe it.
Back in Isaiah, in 24:21-23 we read,
21In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. 23The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. (See also Isaiah 27:1)
Note the punishing of the heavenly powers, how they are bound together like prisoners in a dungeon (literally, a pit!), and how this binding of heavenly powers is connected to the idea of the moon being abashed (darkened?), and the sun ashamed (not showing its light?). This might help explain some of Peter's comments on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:19-20).
The mountain of the Lord, the cross of Christ, is certainly the place where the Lord has provided. And it is there, in the preaching of the cross that the veil is removed as the Lord gives faith. It is there at the cross where the enemy was bound and cast out (John 12:31; 16:11; Luke 10:18). It is because of the cross that then enemy is defeated (1 Corinthians 2:8). And now, ascended to the right hand of God, Christ is reigning before us gloriously. I can't help but wonder if this is what is being referred to in Revelation 20:1-3, when the ancient serpent, the dragon was bound in a pit, and could not deceive the nations any longer—i.e. the veil he had shrouded the nations with was removed such that the Gospel could go forth while Christ is reigning gloriously on His throne before the elders of His people. The world doesn't see Him, but we do.

Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,

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