I.      Isaiah 40-56:8 (40-66)

·       The portion of Isaiah is prophecies relating to the people of God’s return from Babylon, i.e. the redeemed of the Lord’s freedom from exile

·       These passages feature some of the most staggering language about who God is and what He does. Four themes are consistent in this section:

             o      The greatness of God (consider 40:25-31; 42:5-9; 45:5-7; 51:12-16)

             o      Faith language such as “fear not” and “wait” (consider 40:31; 41:10; 43:1; 51:5)

             o      The Servant of the Lord in context of salvation, forgiveness of sin, and God’s rightouesness (consider 48:9-11; 49:5-7; 51:4-8; 52:13-53:12

             o      The salvation of the nations (consider 42:6-9; 45:22; 49:6; 55:5; 56:6-8)

 

§       Isaiah 55:1-56:8

                o      The salvation of the Lord will soon come, His deliverance will be revealed (56:1)

                o      The salvation of the Lord extends to foreigners, even to eunuchs. The “eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths” refers to God-fearing Gentiles, for the Lord will “gather yet others to him besides those already gathered” (56:3-8).

 

 

II.    Acts 8:26-40

·       To put the book of Acts in context we must begin with the command of Jesus in 1:8. Our Lord said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (1:8, emphasis mine).

·       Luke patterns his book to be the going forth of that command. After being witnesses in Jerusalem (1:1-7:60) the narrative picks up after Stephen’s martyrdom and we see explicitly that Christians were scattered “throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria” (8:1; also 8:4, 25). And then in chapter 9 we see the conversion of Paul who was called to minister the gospel to Gentiles (9:15). The next is Peter’s vision and numerous Gentile conversions (10:1-48), followed by the missionary activity of Paul (13:1-3).

·       But before all this happens notice the narrative insert by Luke in 8:26-40. We see the gospel coming to a Gentile, God-fearing eunuch who is reading the book of Isaiah.

Okay, so what does this mean?

                       

            Luke was reading the prophet Isaiah and understanding the mission of the church to be the fulfillment of those prophecies. We must understand that our calling to preach the gospel is not disconnected from the Lord’s consummation of His purposes! When we read the glorious words of Isaiah and see the amazing activity of the church in Acts we should not pass it off as a bygone era. Rather, it is continuing to the glory of God until the time He has appointed, and we are dissolved into the continuation and graciously called to be a part of its fulfillment.


 

 

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Hermeneutic of Justification

September 21, 2008

The hermeneutic of justification is a damned thing. It arises in the theological classroom where knowledge trades in the maid apron with the intention of becoming a savior. Identity is transferred from the eternal Word  (by Whom, in Whom, and for Whom we are created) and is instead nestled in the capacity of what my finite brain can retain. The vehicle by which I understand and cherish the Scriptures (my hermeneutic) becomes in itself the trophy that I value the most. This thing is a means…. a means that I have decorated with significance beyond its worth. 

How often does this temptation arise to seek my acceptance in my how-to-read methodology rather than in the One of whom I read about! How often does this temptation arise to make the heart of the Scriptures peripheral and my method of getting there the glory! 

I don’t want the hermeneutic of justification.

Jesus Christ, I want you.

Sailhamer Together

September 14, 2008

Along with the ethos of this blog (which has seen little action in recent weeks), I am delighted to announce that there is a growing brotherhood here at The Bethlehem Institute that is interested in biblical theology, and in particular, the hermeneutics of John Sailhamer.

Tyler Kenney, a Southeastern-Treasuring Christ-Bethlehem-Desiring God employee-Sailhamerian-Calvinist-Christian Hedonist, has circulated some articles and a free lecture series by Sailhamer through the book of Exodus. Praise God for theological growth that takes place in community and intensifies our affections for Jesus Christ!

I pray that good things come from this.