H/T for graphic: prophecynewsandviews
As a Christian, do you feel that this particular generation is highly deceived and living in an era of spiritual apostasy?
I certainly do!
People are so upset and angry; feeling like there is nothing that they can do to stem the tide of moral awfulness and political anarchy happening today. It is so disheartening that many are blinded by evil and just refuse to see what is coming.
We are told ahead of time that the falling away (apostasy) will happen the closer we get to the end times. It helps to know this, because then we can still be secure in Jesus Christ no matter what happens.
As Christians, we were once lost, confused, unclear, perplexed, disoriented, and bewildered. But now, we have the Gospel of Christ to share with those who are still searching for truth in an age of lies.
It is like the path to salvation. First, we must face the “bad” – which is the fact of our sin. Then we must repent, and turn back to the LORD GOD through His Son, Jesus Christ. That is the GOOD NEWS that we can rest in despite all the turmoil going on in the world.
In facing what is happening today – scary as they are – (the spiritual apostasy, moral awfulness, and political anarchy going on all around us) we still have access to the solution. There is hope! The real kind of hope that we get from God’s Word!
One of the greatest realizations in Christian faith, commentary, and apologetics is the fact that a Bible teacher, writer, and commentator who once shared Thru the Bible Radio broadcasts forty years ago, turns out to share content that is even more true and relevant today.
J. Vernon McGee was such a writer. That is why I was excited to find one of his books entitled “Thru the Bible Commentary Series: The Prophets – Isaiah Chapters 1-35” in a used book store. I have often quoted the prophecies of Isaiah [e.g. Isaiah 53] regarding the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ – but I instinctively knew that there was so much more to glean from Isaiah’s writings.
Today, I will share a few pages of Bible verses along with J. Vernon McGee’s commentary about them. Perhaps you will notice how very relevant the grace and praise, as well as the admonitions and warnings which were given in Scripture regarding Israel in Isaiah’s day, also apply towards America and should be heeded by us. Dr. McGee shared the ultimate Solution for us to avoid captivity; and to once again be restored, blessed and preserved as a nation.
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward [Isaiah 1:4]
[Israel] is described as “a people laden with iniquity.” This phrase throws a world of light upon the personal invitation that the Lord Jesus Gave in the New Testament. He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28]. Now we know what He meant –“laden with iniquity.” The people of Israel were laden with sin. Today His invitation goes out to those who are laden with sin to bring that burden and load to Him and find rest, the rest of redemption.
In this verse God spells out Israel’s condition. They are backslidden, they have turned away from God, and they are a people laden with iniquity. Now He is going to spell out in detail the charge that He has made against them.
This brings to mind the philosophy of human government upon which God operates. This system is presented to us in the Book of Judges, and you see this cycle of the history of human government working itself out in the nation. In the Book of Judges we saw Israel serving God, being blessed of God, and prospering. They began, in their prosperity, to turn away from God, and they finally turned to idolatry. They were in rebellion against God; in fact, they forgot Him. Then God delivered them into the hands of the enemy.
Doesn’t it seem like we are being delivered into the hands of the enemy today?
In a short time they began to cry out to God for deliverance. When they turned to God, He delivered them from their enemies and put them back in the place of blessing. This picture follows all the way through Scripture, and history corroborates the fact that there are three steps in the downfall of any nation. There is religious apostasy, then moral awfulness, and finally political anarchy. Many people don’t pay any attention to the cycle until the stage of political anarchy is reached, then they cry out that the government should be changed and a new system adopted. Well, the problem is not in the government. The problem with Jerusalem was not in the palace, but the problem was within the temple. The trouble begins when there is spiritual apostasy.
[Suggested additional reading: Isaiah 1:5-17.]
These three things listed – starting with spiritual apostasy – are why America is now also suffering under moral awfulness and political anarchy!
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; through they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
God is saying to Judah, “Do not force Me to render sentence. Settle your case out of court.” In Matthew 5:25 the Lord Jesus said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him…” –don’t wait until he takes you to court. God says that He has a secret formula, a divine alchemy, a potent prescription, a powerful potion, a heavenly elixir that will take out sin. It is not a secret formula like the newest bomb, but it is more potent. You will find it in Isaiah 53 as the One who was more marred, who suffered more, who died differently, who was wounded for our transgressions. Because He paid the penalty, the Judge is able now to extend mercy to us. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, keeps on cleansing from all sin.
This is God’s charge against His people, and this is the basis on which they may turn to Him. If they will turn to Him, He will preserve the nation–He will give them almost one hundred years–then if they don’t turn to Him and change their ways, He will send them into captivity.
We see an application of this to our own country. In my beloved country I see political anarchy. It is obvious to most of us that men cannot solve the problems of this nation, and certainly not of the world.
The historian, Gibbon, gives five reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire in his book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. As the first step towards decline, he lists the undermining of the dignity and the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society. The second step includes higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace. The third was the mad craze for pleasure and sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, and more immoral. The fourth step was the building of great armaments when the real enemy was within: the decay of individual responsibility. The fifth was the decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and losing power to guide the people.
Is there spiritual apostasy in this land of ours? Every informed Christian is aware that modernism [Christine adds the new term of “progressivism” which is even worse!] has taken over most of the great denominations of America today; and, in this dire day, modernism, by its own confession, has failed. Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, one of the mouthpieces of liberalism, is quoted as saying that liberal Protestantism has been inclined to sacrifice every characteristic Christian insight if only it could thereby prove itself intellectually respectable, but that liberalism finds itself unable to cope with the tragic experiences of our day.
[America’s] problem is the same today; it is a spiritual problem.
Let’s stop there for a moment. I could easily insert links of articles and blog posts that cover many of the points that Dr. McGee was making within his commentary above. I would like to invite readers here to share any links that they think would apply in the comment section, and I will add them into the commentary. Some of my own will be forthcoming, as well.
Dr. McGee continues:
There is a way out for America, and there is a way out for you and for me. Someone has stated it this way:
Philosophy says: Think your way out.
Indulgence says: Drink your way out.
Politics says: Spend your way out.
Science says: Invent your way out.
Industry says: Work your way out.
Communism says: Strike your way out.
Fascism says: Bluff your way out.
Militarism says: Fight your way out.
The Bible says: Pray your way out, but
Jesus Christ says: “I am the way (out)…”
After the Lord brings His charges against Judah and offers them salvation and a way out of their trouble, He continues gently with a warning.
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it [Isaiah 1:19-20].
The government of God and the grace of God are two aspects emphasized in the Book of Isaiah. During the remainder of chapter 1 God is attempting to move Judah back to Himself. He is giving the people a warning.
Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
And I will restore they judges as at the first, and they counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The sity of righteousness, the faithful city [Isaiah 1:24-26].
Judah’s destiny depends upon the people’s response to God’s offer of forgiving grace. If they are willing to turn from their sin and obey God, He will bestow His favor upon them materially and spiritually and protect them from their enemies.
Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen [Isaiah 1:27-29].
I had to catch my breath after reading those verses and the next sentence that explained what the “oaks” and the “gardens” meant…that they had chosen!
This has to do with idolatry because the idols were placed under the oak tress, and a garden was planted around them.
For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.
And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them [Isaiah 1:30-31].
Wow! Powerful insight here in the book of Isaiah! Such verses can be applied during the time of Isaiah, and also during our current era!
God has been misrepresented in the sense that He has been pictured as losing His temper and breaking forth in judgment. That is never a true picture of God. The fact is that our sin is like a wick, and when we play with the spark of sin, the fire will follow. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” [Galatians 6:7]
J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary Series: The Prophets – Isaiah Chapters 1-35, Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1991 reprint, originally published 1975. pp. 22-31
Hat tips to all links.