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Lowell Brueckner

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A Mighty Move of God


34. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 37

Judah humbles itself before God

Judah alone remains unconquered in the Assyrian Empire...
"She despises you, she scorns you - the
virgin daughter of Zion."
The attitude of the people that we will see in this chapter is sweet in God’s mouth and precious in His eyes. It was partly because there were mani-festations of humility like this in the temple of the Old Testament that Christ was incited against the practices that took place there in His day. It came to a point, when with divine authority and anger, He twisted reeds together and stormed into the temple, declaring that His Father’s house was to be known as a house of prayer (Jn.2:14-16; Mk.11:17)

I certainly understand the leaders, who are giving examples of dramatic conversions and motivating us to focus on the present need and put our time and exert our efforts in bringing individuals in from the paths of sin. However, I cannot concur with them, if they emphasize that point to the exclusion of interest in classical revival. They tend to classify the people who are looking and praying for revival as impractical and unrealistic dreamers. Would they, please, reassess that position? I assure you that right now individual results are not enough and that revival is the only cure for the Western world, especially America.  

Eight Tactics of the Enemy


33. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 36

The Assyrian Empire

The prism of Sennacherib
I have been looking forward to this chapter and the three that follow, in which Isaiah relates some current events of his time. He has been prophesying of the Assyrian invasion into various countries in the Middle East and has shown that cities in Judah itself would not be spared, He has said that the citizens of Jerusalem would be greatly shaken and ambassadors would fail in their negotiations with the Assyrian authorities.

Assyrian inscriptions, which are found in museums around the world, tell of Sennacherib and his conquests, stating that he lived some 20 years after this invasion. Many inscriptions have been translated and published in various books during the latter part of the 20th Century. Assyria is an ancient nation, but the Assyrian Empire, so entwined with Israel’s history, rose and expanded somewhere near 900 B.C. and fell near 600 B.C. The siege of Jerusalem, of which we now read, occurred very close to 700 B.C.

Under the reign of good King Hezekiah there are signs of repentance and spiritual revival in Jerusalem. In 33:2 we see the people looking to their God and waiting upon Him for deliverance. As we approach the end of Old Testament history and observe the national decay, first of Israel and then of Judah, we have before us a reprieve, a time for encouragement. However, it is also a time of crisis and great trouble, through which the people turn to the Lord. This has been the case in church history and proves that the people of God have been at their best when under attack.

Blessing Follows the Curse


32. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 34 and 35

Chapter 34

Isaiah is eloquent on the subject of divine retribution and judgment and in this chapter, as we have already seen in chapter 24, he proclaims universal judgment against all the nations. This is not only a message from the Old Testament, but it is a prophecy that passes through the New Testament and reaches to the end of our age.

“Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it” (verse 1). Much of the church in our day has tried to eliminate or at least to soften and minimize the anger and vengeance of God. Rob Bell, a 21st Century false prophet, has declared that the preaching of eternal punishment in hell is “toxic”. A popular Spanish singer/preacher, Marcos Vidal, has said that the presentation of a God of wrath is anti-biblical and diabolical. They are totally wrong and will answer to God on judgment day for teaching error.  Francis Chan thinks that we will need to repent and confess being ashamed of an attribute of our Lord, as well as our negligence and timidity in declaring His wrath.

The Syndrome of Hubris...


... the sickness of those who believe that they know everything.

The illustration for John Milton's Paradise
Lost  by Gustave Doré(1866).The spiritual
descent of Lucifer into Satan is one of
the most  famous examples of hubris...
This is a personality trait that we find sometimes among believers and always among cultists. The word "hubris" came to my attention a few years ago, through reading a critique of Rob Bell's book called LOVE WINS. Bell challenged teaching on eternal punishment as something "toxic", thereby defying all the carefully analyzed and accepted beliefs of church history. What kind of mentality can make such assertions? This short article gives us the answer to that question. 

I copy for you the Wikipedia definition of "hubris":
"Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous over-confidence. In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris."

Zion’s Sinners and Righteous Ones


31. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 33

God’s cup for measuring evil
Throughout the book of Isaiah, we find the prophet taken up with the development and the advance of the Assyrian Empire and army. It was establishing its dominance on the world scene of that day. God informs His people concerning it and encourages them by referring to its ultimate destruction. His word reaches out to the Assyrian himself to warn him of the coming judgment. As I have mentioned previously, these prophecies stretch beyond the immediate situation to the rising Babylonian Empire and to other world powers, which will take their place in the future, and sometimes they reach to the end of the age.

Therefore in verse 1, the subject addressed is primarily Assyria, but takes in any oppressive human system that exerts its power over weaker nations. They are characterized as destructive and treacherous and they attack without provocation. They are not seeking to recover, what has been taken from them, or to take revenge on harm done to them. Those under their attack have not betrayed or hurt them in the past. That is not necessary to an army made up of fallen human beings. They are inherently evil.

God allows them to progress up to a certain point and carefully measures the level of their evil deeds. He makes a curious statement in the book of Genesis, stating that “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Gen.15:16), giving this as a reason why He would delay the beginning of His plan to use Abraham’s descendants to conquer the Amorites and Canaan, for four generations. On the other hand, Christ stated that the generation had come and the time was ripe for rebellious Jews to “fill up, then, the measure of your fathers” (Mt.23:32). The prophecy before us declares that the time will come, when all evildoers will be visited with the same treachery and destruction that they have dealt to others.