Summary: Our hope in the future lies in the greatest advocate in eternity who will not only speak for us but will also claim us as His own
The past is nailed to Calvary. The future is tied to the risen Christ.
Isaiah 2:3 “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD.”
Last time, we visited Isaiah’s first recorded vision, when he uttered God’s condemnation of a rebellious nation. A people who had rejected their saviour, the one who had brought them out of slavery in Egypt.
God condemned them for abusing the sacrificial system and for oppressing the widows and the orphans, the vulnerable of society.
Then, in v18, we see God offering them a way to salvation again, not by continual sacrifice, but through faith.
This time we move into a prophecy of judgment "concerning Judah and Jerusalem". In Is 2:2-5 we have a Zion hymn of hope, looking forward to the day of the Lord. A hymn of hope which is dashed into fragments in v6 "you have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East."
The World of Today.
V6 can be talking very much of the world of today, where the church has largely abandoned its people. The influence of Christ’s teaching is diminishing as we allow, even encourage, the teaching of foreign religions. We sing our songs proclaiming that we will not serve foreign gods, but our society still encourages others to do so. The result is that we have a growth in the Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Eastern and mystical worship in our society, and a confusion of belief. Even our church leaders will talk of the acceptance and incorporation of foreign worship into the worship of the One true God. How can this work, when He says in the Ten Commandments, which He gave to Moses and the Children of Israel (Ex 20: 3, 4) “You shall have no other gods before me.” “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”? We must take care not to dilute our worship, nor to contaminate it, with worship of foreign gods.
As Christians, we are living today as if there will be a tomorrow, and a series of tomorrows after that. We have rested on our laurels; do we really believe that Christ will return for his people? I think that our belief in Christ’s second coming has become an empty mantra, a set of words which give us comfort, but which have no meaning.
Should this surprise us? We are warned of false prophets (Luke 17:23), the promises of peace where there is no peace. Jer 6:13, 14 “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”
The Day of the Lord.
The day of the Lord will come, Jesus himself has promised it (Matt 26), the prophets foresee it, and the apostles affirm it.
Mal 4:1,2a ““Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.””
Joel 2:30, 31 “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”
We need to keep watch. The scriptures have warned us that there will be wars and rumours of wars (Matt 24:6-8) “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” There is strife throughout the world. Show me where there is not civil or military strife in this world of ours. Jenny and I were listening to the local, South West, news last night and were horrified that there were reports of three terrible killings one after the other.
Political parties in western civilisations use the threat of terror and fear as political weapons to gain power. We saw this in the recent American presidential election, where a central theme was the war in Iraq and the threat of terrorism. We can see the same battle lines being drawn here in Britain for our forthcoming elections.
Our attention is being focused on the trials and problems of our daily lives. We are threatened with increasing interest rates; there will be higher, and uncontrollable, levels of inflation in the future. The retailers are so worried that they are already reducing their December, pre-Christmas, prices. We are warned that house prices could decline, and cause negative equity for our mortgage loans. There is an ever increasing personal debt. In Britain it has now exceeded one trillion pounds sterling.