First I need to apologize for posting this so late. We've decided which 3 puppies we're keeping and have been getting crates set up, figuring out schedules for them, etc. Getting to the library to post just didn't happen yesterday. Now to sell the remaining four. Since I'm doing this quickly, I apologize for any typos I've missed. Hopefully any you find will not make you think I'm a heretic. ;)
(I also just realized that even though I did schedule mine to post last week, it didn't. I've fixed that. I don't know where it'll end up, but you should be able to find it. Sorry. I'm still getting the hang of these settings.)
The focus of the next few chapters of Isaiah is on the proper observance of the Lord's covenant, as well as His willingness to forgive those who repent. The Lord's salvation will come not only for the chosen people, but also for foreigners and outcasts. Israel's leaders have forsaken their sacred duty. We, too, often pursue personal pleasure and gain at the expense of our God-given responsibilities. Unlike Israel's leaders who sought their own gain, Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He laid down His life for every sinful sheep, faithfully fulfilling God's righteous requirements for our sake.
As Israel practices idolatry through a number of degenerate acts, they are openly mocking the Lord. The Lord heals and comforts all who are of a contrite and lowly spirit. But God's comfort and peace are withheld from the wicked, including those intent on backsliding in the ways of their own hearts. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the obstacle of our sin has been removed. There is now healing, comfort, and peace for every contrite heart.
The Lord condemns all who draw near to Him only with words, those who seek their own pleasure above all else. But for those who share with their neighbors in need, the Lord promises healing. We cannot draw near to the Lord in faith while oppressing and quarreling with our neighbors. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law of love and would lead us to repentance. His cross is the guarantee that the Lord will answer when we call upon Him in faith.
In Mark, Jesus warns His followers of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, which was fulfilled during the Jewish revolt against the Romans (AD 66-70). These events foreshadowed the end of the world. Jesus tells us these things so that we may be prepared to resist evil and proclaim the Gospel more fervently while we have time to do so. When Jesus returns on the Last Day, He will judge all people. Prior to that glorious day, evil will erupt and bring destruction. Yet, God holds on to His people throughout these events, anchoring believers in Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit.
Jesus will return on the Last Day to judge all humanity, fulfilling OT prophecy and His own predictions. No one will enter the kingdom of God by works, nor will any mere religion save anyone. Because Jesus died and rose for us and because the Holy Spirit created and sustained saving faith in His people, we can be sure of our salvation no matter how fearsome the Last Day may be.
Then Jesus answers the original question of "when?" about the destruction of the temple. The events of vv 14-23 would take place within a generation. The fall of Jerusalem foreshadows the end of the world, which will come later (vv 24-27). Today, we need to focus on the calling we have as Christ's Church: Gospel proclamation and outreach.God has created this time before the before the second appearing of Jesus so that we may come to faith and call others to faith and salvation. In contrast to the fall of Jerusalem (vv 5-23), which will happen within a generation, no one knows the day when Jesus will return to judge the world (vv 24-27). Jesus exhorts us to bigilance and encourages us to use the available time wisely, proclaiming the Gospel for the salvation of others. Jesus promises to be with us always and has poured out on us His Holy Spirit for the work of evangelizing the nations.