Sunday, September 5, 2010

Questions on Isaiah 65 – 66

While posting the Covenants study, a question was raised regarding the prophecy found in Isaiah chapters 65 through 66.  Specifically, my friend felt that 66:23 indicates that the seventh-day Sabbath will be observed in eternity and therefore it should be observed today by Christians. I had considered providing a full line by line exegesis for the entire prophecy, but this is one long oracle to Israel that begins at 65:1 and ends at 66:24 covering 49 verses. That’s a little more blogging than I am up for today, so I thought instead I would just pose some questions for those who think this is a seventh-day Sabbath proof text.

I have a feeling that most sabbatarians would interpret this passage in a similar fashion to how I interpret it, right up until 66:23, then I think the interpretive approach suddenly switches  for one verse in order to preserve this as a seventh-day Sabbath proof text. So I would really encourage those who use this passage as a Sabbath proof text, to post you’re your answers to these questions here on the blog so we can talk about it further. It would certainly help me better understand how you approach this prophecy as a whole.

1. The oracle in chapter 65-66 is God’s response to a prayer for mercy and help in chapter 64. Who are the rebellious people who are praying and God is responding to? To put it another way, who were the original audience for this prophecy?

2.       Why is there a focus on Jerusalem and surrounding environs? (65:10, 11, 18; 66:10, 20)

3.       Why will there still be infants born? (65:20)

4.   Why will people still die at 100 years old or so? (65:20)

5.       Why will people dying younger than 100 be thought of by others as accursed? (65:20)

6.       Why will the survivors of Gods’ wrath (66:15-16) then be sent to declare God’s glory to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal, and Javan? (66:18)

7.       Why does there appear to be a reference to gentile “nations” (66:18, 20)

8.       Why do people come to Jerusalem on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, and on camels? (66:20)

9.       Why are grain offerings and ceremonially purified vessels used as similes? (66:20)

10.   Why are some people taken as priests? (66:21)

11.   Why does there appear to be a distinction made between the Levite clan who were priests and the other Levite clans who historically simply served at the temple? (66:21)

12.   Why are new moon Sabbaths referenced? (66:23)

13.   If this is a proof text supporting seventh-day Sabbath keeping for New Covenant Christians, is it also a proof text for Christians keeping new moon Sabbaths?

14.   If your answer to question 13 is “no”, then why not? If it is “yes”, are you currently keeping new moon Sabbaths?

15.   In describing the corpses of transgressors, why does God say that their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched?

16.   Do you believe you have maintained a consistent contextual interpretive approach throughout the entire chapter? Do all your answers hang together in a way that deals consistently with the language and context of this chapter? If not, why not?

17.   After answering the questions above, do you still believe this is an especially strong proof text from which to teach Christians to keep the seventh-day Sabbath?

I hope that some who either currently use this as a sabbatarian proof text, or have in the past, will take the time to post their answers here so we can discuss further. Thanks. 

No comments:

Post a Comment