Our last reading this week is from Isaiah 1:27-31
v27: Zion: Although Jerusalem and Zion are referring to the same location, there is a significant difference between these two identifying names. When the name ‘Zion’ is mentioned in the Bible it is referring to Jerusalem in her redeemed state (as she will be when the Kingdom of G-d is established, and not as she currently is). By referring to Jerusalem as Zion in this verse it gives us an indication that G-d is speaking about what He is going to do. A transition is going to take place – a final transformation from this world into the Kingdom of G-d.
Note: In Hebrew, cities, countries etc are predominately referred to in the feminine, hence referring to Jerusalem as ‘she’, ‘her’, etc
- Justice … righteousness: These are two adjectives that describe the Kingdom of G-d. Not only should these be predominant features of the Kingdom, but they should also be adjectives that describe us – we who have received redemption through the blood of Messiah. We have been called to live righteously, and to execute justice (Micah 6:8). This is the transformation, the change, that G-d wants to bring about in His people.
v28: Destruction: Those who are unrepentant, not receiving the grace, forgiveness or mercy of G-d, are going to be crushed.
v29: Ashamed of the terebinth tree: The tree (also sometimes translated ‘oak tree’) that was used for idolatry: Those who practice idolatry will be put to shame.
- The gardens: Their places of idolatry.
v31: Tinder: Tinder (stubble or hay) helps a fire to start quickly and easily.
- The work: The actions of the strong man are going to be like a spark. His actions/works ignite the fire that is going to consume him.
- Both will burn together: Referring to the man and his works.
- No one shall quench them: No fireman will be able to put out this fire. The judgment or wrath of G-d, toward those who reject Him, will go on forever and forever. G-d is holy, righteous, forgiving, merciful, gracious, faithful, etc. But because He is all of these things, He cannot wink at sin. Those who reject Him and His plan for redemption/salvation will be ashamed, embarrassed, and consumed for all of eternity.