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Isaiah 4:1-6 1
1 In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!” 2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

clip_image024a (2)Background

One of the most well known of these prophets was Isaiah. He has come to be known by some as “The Messianic Prophet” because so much of his message had to do with the coming Messiah and His kingdom. In one such section, Isaiah tells of a time to come when a great light will come and shine throughout the land now draped in darkness. This prophecy was fulfilled about seven centuries later by Jesus, of Nazareth, our Messiah and Redeemer.

Biblical Truths and Theology 2

Verse 2: Branch: The introduction of the future day, describing it as the day of the “Branch.,” means that the words are full of symbolism and the rest of the chapter describing Zion in the day of the Messiah is illustrated with figurative events which are to be understood spiritually, not literally. It must also relate this verse to other symbolic “Branch” prophesies.

Two words: .”tsemach” and “natser” are used in these prophecies. The second word is related to Nazareth and Nazarene as in Isa. 11:1 and other places referring to the Messiah: those are Isa. 1:8; 14:19; 26:3; 27:3; especially messianic are 42:6; 48:6; 49:6; 49:8; and also see 60:21; 65:4. The Holy Spirit called the name of Nazareth in Isa. 48:6. It is these passages with those in Zechariah that Matthew had in mind when he said in Matthew 2:23 “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. The Aramaic Targum of Isaiah (probably 300 B.C.) paraphrases “Messiah” for “branch” here as it also does in 11:1. It is clearly established that all inter-testament Jewish scholars saw all branch prophecies as Messianic.

Verse 4: Spirit of burning: The forgiveness of sins in the day of the “Branch” in this verse is another connection to the messianic visitation about which Isaiah will yet speak many things. In chapter 9 he contrasts the visitation of Tiglath Pileser which destroyed Galilee with the future visitation of the Messiah. When he changes from the physical destruction wrought by the Assyrian to the Messiah in 9:5 he uses similar language to describe the messianic visitation (which is properly translated in the KJV but is missed by those who use the method of “dynamic parallelism”) Messiah’s coming, he says, is to be in contrast to the noise and blood of battle. He says of the Messiah: “this will be with burning and fuel of fire, for unto us a child is born…etc.”

Verse 5: Establishment: This word “ma-kon” (long “o”) is found 10 times in the O.T. In each and every case it refers to the place where the shekina glory dwells, whether in earth or heaven. The rest of the verse has other references to the same “motif” of the shekina glory, i.e. the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud which led the nation of Israel in the wilderness in their travels but inhabited the sanctuary of the tabernacle when they were settled. These further references to the shekina glory confirm that “ma-kon” is to be understood as the place of the sanctuary of the habitation of the Almighty. In the Mosaic dispensation that would refer to the Holy of holies in the temple in Jerusalem. But in the messianic period Isaiah is predicting here it would be a picture of the restoration of Zion under the Messiah when Zion’s churches would be inhabited by the Holy Spirit. That would be hard to miss in this highly figurative section.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is symbolism in Scripture important to us today?
  • What is so important about having a name (surname)?
  • How would you connect that to our relationship with Christ?
  • What basic precepts of Christianity are being established by these verses?

 

1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

Background 3

The epistle was written from Ephesus (16:8). According to Acts of the Apostles, Paul founded the church in Corinth (Acts 18:10-17), then spent approximately three years in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 19:10, 20:31). The letter was written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53 to 57 AD.

The traditional subscription to the epistle, translated in the Authorized Version, states that this epistle was written at Philippi, perhaps arising from a misinterpretation of 16:5, “For I do pass through Macedonia,” as meaning, “I am passing through Macedonia.” In 16:8 Paul declares his intention of staying in Ephesus until Pentecost. This statement, in turn, is clearly reminiscent of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey, when Paul travelled from Corinth to Ephesus, before going to Jerusalem for Pentecost (cf. Acts 18:22). Thus, it is possible that I Corinthians was written during Paul’s first (brief) stay in Ephesus, at the end of his Second Journey, usually dated to early 54 AD.

Biblical Truths 4

Verse 1 The mystery of God: God’s secret, known only to him, is his plan for the salvation of his people; it is clear from 1 Cor 1:18-25; 2:2, 8-10 that this secret involves Jesus and the cross. In place of mystery, other good manuscripts read “testimony” (cf 1 Corm 1:6).

Verse 3 The weakness of the crucified Jesus is reflected in Paul’s own bearing (cf 2 Cor 10-13). Fear and much trembling: everential fear based on a sense of God’s transcendence permeates Paul’s existence and preaching. Compare his advice to the Philippians to work out their salvation with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), because God is at work in them just as his exalting power was paradoxically at work in the emptying, humiliation, and obedience of Jesus to death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-11).

Verse 4  Among many manuscript readings here the best is either “not with the persuasion of wisdom” or “not with persuasive words of wisdom,” which differ only by a nuance. Whichever reading is accepted, the inefficacy of human wisdom for salvation is contrasted with the power of the cross.

Verses 2:6-3:4 Paul now asserts paradoxically what he has previously been denying. To the Greeks who “are looking for wisdom” (1 Cor 1:22), he does indeed bring a wisdom, but of a higher order and an entirely different quality, the only wisdom really worthy of the name. The Corinthians would be able to grasp Paul’s preaching as wisdom and enter into a wisdom-conversation with him if they were more open to the Spirit and receptive to the new insight and language that the Spirit teaches.

Verses 7-10a God’s wisdom: his plan for our salvation. This was his own eternal secret that no one else could fathom, but in this new age of salvation he has graciously revealed it to us. For the pattern of God’s secret, hidden to others and now revealed to the Church, cf also Romans 11:25-36; 16:25-27; Eph 1:3-10; 3:3-11; Col 1:25-28.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is the Holy Spirit such an important part of Christianity?
  • How would a Church like Corinth benefit from the Holy Spirit?
  • How is the modern Christian Church like the church of Corinth?
  • Are there times when you stepped out in faith to know that it was the Holy Spirit at work providing the prompting and guidance?

Discussion Challenge

  • What evidence can you see that the Holy Spirit is at work in your church?
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