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Isaiah 35: The Blossoming Rose

Wednesday Bible Study May 17, 2017

Isaiah 35 Title:  The Blossoming Rose;The church rising out of the ashes of the synagogues

35 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.  2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.  3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.  4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not: Behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.  8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.  9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Pretext:  Isaiah 34:8 prophesied the destruction of the synagogues after prophesying the end of all the nations.  The Gospel is brought to us in chapter 35.  God will raise the church from this synagogues.  By the Holy Spirit many promises are made concerning the Lord’s church.  These many promised things under the form of the cross are hidden from the world.  Therefore the promises must be understood by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Note:  What is “the wilderness”?  Genesis 3; Revelation 12

Genesis 3:1&17 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? ... To Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Revelation 12:5-6 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God.

Note: A meadow can be said to be glad when it is in full bloom.  This is the opposite of a wilderness which is understood to be a barren wasteland; like a desert.  Today, the church is flourishing in the wilderness; unseen by the world.  How does the world see the church in full bloom?  It sees some outward obedience, humility, love for others etc.  But thinks these are common things that everyone has.  They also see these as common and not something to be desired too much.  The church does have an internal gladness that cannot be seen such as confidence, peace, life, and a cheerful conscience.  Question: How is a conscience made cheerful while still in the wilderness?

Note: “The rose (church) shall blossom abundantly” meaning spiritual wealth.  1Cor 12:4ff.

Note: “The glory of Lebanon (Israel or by synecdoche Jerusalem, which was build with materials from Lebanon) shall be given unto it (the church)” meaning all the gifts the Lord gave to Israel shall be given to the Gentiles.  In other words, all the glory, the priesthood, the ritual, and the Word of the Jews have been transferred to our church.

Matthew 8:11-2 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Note:  “Carmel and Sharon” were two fruitful mountains in Judea near the sea.  They are now called the synagog (walking together) which was fruitful in teachers, teaching, and prophets as the Apostle Paul points out in Romans 9:5.

Note:  “they (the church by faith) shall see the glory of the LORD” 1Cor 2:16; 2Peter 3:18; Matt 7:4

Verses 3-7 These are internal strengthenings of the church in the midst of many attacks and disgraces.

Note: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart” is in Hebrew “Say to those who are hasty and speedy in heart” meaning those who are not steady and firm but want to run away and give Satan the victory.  This is essentially last Sunday’s sermon concerning filthiness (leaving the Gospel for wealth and comfort because I know the Gospel already) and wickedness (leaving the Gospel to join the crowd because I am wearied from all that I have to give up for Christ’s sake) from the epistle James.

Note: “Be strong” see the LSB Hymn #656 A Mighty Fortress.  Why?  See the next note.

Note: “Behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you”  This is hard for our flesh, to wait on the Lord.  Vengeance is His.  Not ours.  We are not to avenge ourselves.  As much as I do enjoy the Avengers movies, it is not for me/us to avenge all the wrongs of this world.  The Lord will do and save me/us in the doing of it.

Note: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened” this happened with an explosion of miracles among the apostles to confirm the Gospel.  

Mark 16:17-18 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Note:  “the habitation of dragons” Luther and the KJV translators use some apocalyptic language.  In this style, animals that can be found on the earth refer to something on the earth.  Animals that cannot be found on the earth are referring to spiritual beings.  Evil creatures are depicted as terrifying animals/creatures.  The habitation referred to here are places devoid of God’s Word.  The dragons referred to here are teachers who by ungodly teaching capture the souls and consciences of men whom Christ calls a brood of vipers (Matthew 23:33).  Luther named Erasmus and Zwingli as examples of dragons in his day.  Erasmus defended the papacy with much of his argumentation also taken up by Calvin and the Reformed church bodies of today.  Zwingli gave rise to the Anabaptists who today would be Baptist, Mennonite, and Anabaptist denominations.  A little more specific I would name the following as dragons: Matthew Becker (recently removed from the LCMS roster but teaching at Valpo; Joel Osteen and nearly all the television and radio and blogging evangelists; and, getting even more uncomfortable, I would add Billy Graham to the list, most Christian industries in music and movies (because they are dominated with the Law or the Gospel is intermingled with the Law, thus destroying the Gospel).

Note: “The Highway of Holiness” nothing unclean (whether inside or outside the church) shall enter.  

Note: “the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs”  Therefore Paul says (Gal. 5:22): “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace” and (Phil. 4:4): “Rejoice in the Lord always.”