Sep 30 2010

A Den of Despots

Tag: Global CommentarySage @ 8:04 am

From KHouse.Org - Archives June 2007

A DEN OF DESPOTS
According to a recent Gallup poll, approximately 66 percent of Americans think the UN is doing a poor job. This most recent assessment of the United Nations’ shoddy job performance is the lowest ever since Gallop first began keeping track in 1953. This news is not surprising. What is astonishing is that, despite the United Nations’ terrible track record, most Americans think the inept organization should still play a major role in international affairs.

What most people don’t realize is that the United Nations has become a safe haven for thugs, war-mongers, and tyrannical dictators. The truth of the matter is that only 89 of the 192 UN member nations have truly free governments. In other words, the majority of the UN is made up of 103 nations that do not give their citizens the same political rights and civil liberties that you and I take for granted. That is according to Freedom House, which has published a report on what it calls “the world’s most repressive societies.” With the sole exception of North Korea, all of the 17 nations that made the list are current members of the United Nations. Perhaps most alarming is that some of the “worst of the worst” human rights violators have actually been appointed to the UN Human Rights Council.

The United Nations was created to maintain international peace and help solve the world’s economic and humanitarian troubles, but the UN has failed time and time again to achieve its main objectives. The UN is plagued by scandal, widespread corruption, favoritism, and financial mismanagement. Furthermore, through its misconduct, negligence, and complacency the UN has aided terrorism worldwide.

In April of 2006 Iran was elected to a vice-chair position on the UN Disarmament Commission, which is tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. The following day Iran announced that it had successfully enriched uranium. Appointing Iran to a position where it can establish disarmament rules to protect its own clandestine nuclear program is either a colossal lapse in judgment or a deliberate attempt by the non-democratic majority to protect one of their own from scrutiny. It doesn’t make any sense, unless of course you think like one of 103 nations that control the vote in the UN General Assembly.

One must only examine the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan to understand why the UN has failed to fulfill the primary purpose for which it was created - to promote peace and protect humanity. Hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur have been slaughtered and millions have been forced to flee their homes. The Islamic government that controls Sudan is guilty of genocide, but the United Nations has yet to take decisive action to stop the bloodshed. For the past four years they have done nothing but deliberate, procrastinate, and make empty threats. Why? The UN has failed to act because the status quo serves its interests, because powerful nations like China benefit from Sudan’s oil wealth, and because the very leaders who control the vote are profiting from the sale of bullets and bombs.
Related Links:
• United Nations Ratings Remain at Lowest Ebb - The Gallup Poll
• Report on the World’s Most Repressive Societies - Freedom House
• Targeting Sudan’s Weapons Suppliers - IHT
• China Invests Heavily In Sudan’s Oil Industry - Washington Post
• Strategic Trends: Global Government - Koinonia House
• Darfur Crisis Worsens - eNews Archive
- From Koinonia House News Letter

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Sep 30 2010

Isaac Newton the Creationist

Tag: End Times: Last things/Last DaysSage @ 7:58 am

From KHouse.Org - Archives June 2007

ISAAC NEWTON THE CREATIONIST
“This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” - Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, the brilliant mathematician who redefined physics for the world in the 17th century, was also a bit of a theologian. While he’s most famous for his ideas about gravity and the laws of motion, Newton also wrote commentaries on Daniel and Revelation. The man who invented Calculus also argued that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the end of the world, and wrote that the Apocalypse would not occur until after A.D. 2060. Now, a number of Newton’s original papers and letters have been put on display in Jerusalem, offering the world a broader glimpse of this great scientist’s deeply religious nature.

For 250 years, many of Newton’s papers remained locked away in a trunk at the estate of the Earl of Portsmouth. In 1936, they were auctioned off and most were acquired by two very different sorts of men; the very secular economist John Maynard Keynes, and the Jewish Oriental Studies scholar Abraham Shalom Yahuda, who was devoted to proving the Pentateuch’s authenticity. While Keynes’ collection went to Cambridge University, Yahuda bequeathed his collection to the new State of Israel in 1951. In 1969 the manuscripts were locked away at Israel’s National Library, to be read only by select scholars. They have now been brought out of hiding and are on display at the Jewish National and University Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from June 18 - July 17, 2007.

These manuscripts offer to the world a greater understanding of Newton’s mystical side. While today’s secular scientists work to separate “religion” from “science,” Newton believed that the physical world revealed and glorified God. According to Israel’s National Library web site:
“There are at least three reasons why these papers are important, even though they do not always speak directly to the canonical Newton. First, the manuscripts help illuminate Newton’s science. Newton’s piety served as one of his inspirations to study nature and what we today call science. But Newton’s theological papers also tell us much about his inductive methods and his views on the unity of God’s Creation.

“Second, the manuscripts illuminate the person of Newton. The figure once viewed almost uniformly as an icon of cold rationality, now appears as an alchemist, a biblical scholar and a religious devotee who pored over the symbols of the Books of Daniel and Revelation for decades in an attempt to decode the meaning of the future foreordained by God. Newton can now be studied as an alchemist and a theologian in his own right.”

In one of the letters in the collection, Newton’s words have been taken as a prediction that the Apocalypse would occur in 2060, 1260 years (3.5 years x 360 years) after the Holy Roman Empire was formed in A.D. 800. His precise words are, “The time times and half a time do not end before 2060 nor after ___,” and he leaves the second date blank, as though he forgot to go back and fill it in. Newton was only a human being, after all.

Ultimately, however, this brilliant mind appreciated the foolishness of date setting. He wrote, “This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.”

Many researchers love to point out Newton’s interest in alchemy, his disagreements with the Church of England, and his tendency to question the Anglican description of the Trinity. Newton’s passion for the Scriptures, however, is obvious throughout his writings, matched by his passion for studying the universe that God created. Newton would fully reject the idea that science and religion cannot mix. He admired God’s excellence in designing the universe, and in inspiring the Bible.

“The system of revealed truth which this Book contains is like that of the universe, concealed from common observation yet…the centuries have established its Divine origin.” - Isaac Newton
Related Links:
• The Newton Collection at JNUL - Jewish National and University Library
• Papers Reveal Newton’s Religious Side - AP
• The World Will End In 2060, According To Newton - This Is London
• The Newton Project - Imperial College London.
- From Koinonia House News Letter

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Sep 30 2010

How many Isaiahs?

Tag: The Bible: Inspired WordSage @ 7:52 am

From KHouse.Org - Archives June 2007

HOW MANY ISAIAHS?
My early zeal for studying the Scripture was dampened many years ago as I encountered what is often called “textual criticism.” I was surprised to learn that it was naive and unlearned to regard the Book of Isaiah as actually written by the prophet Isaiah, as was commonly thought.
With its 66 chapters, Isaiah is the longest prophetic book of the Old Testament. Most scholars agree that the book falls naturally into two major sections, Chapters 1-39 and Chapters 40-66.
The first section has a distinctive style which changes noticeably in the final section. It is easy to remember since it parallels the Bible itself, with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. (But don’t make too much of this; the chapter divisions, as we know them, were added in the 13th century.)

The Deutero-Isaiah Theory
The “textual critics” have insisted that the Book of Isaiah is a compilation of two different writers, each calling himself Isaiah but writing at different times. This “Deutero-Isaiah” theory is surprisingly prevalent in many modern (”liberal”) commentaries. (There are some that even advocate a three-Isaiah theory.)

The first section of the book deals with God’s approaching judgment on the nation of Judah. In some of the most striking passages in all the Bible, the prophet announces that God will punish His people because of their sin, rebellion, and worship of false gods. While this section includes many references to the coming Messiah, including His virgin birth and his rule on the throne of David, the style of this section is distinctive and certainly fits the subject matter.

The last section, in contrast to the first, is noticeably different. It emphasizes the Messianic expectation and an ultimate comfort for God’s people. (Most of Handel’s Messiah was drawn from this section of the Book of Isaiah.) The heart of his stunning prophecy occurs in Chapter 53, as Isaiah presents the role of the coming Messiah in its highest point. Some call this passage the “Holy of Holies” of the Old Testament. The Servant’s suffering and death and the redemptive nature of His mission are clearly foretold. Although mankind deserved God’s judgment because “we have turned, every one, to his own way,” God sent His Servant to take away our sins. According to Isaiah, it is through His suffering that we are reconciled with God, since “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
It is principally on the basis of the stylistic changes between the two sections that critics have developed the Deutero-Isaiah theory. Those who assign Chapters 40-66 to a “Second Isaiah” point out that the two major sections of the book seem to be set in different times. Chapters 1-39 clearly belong to the eighth century b.c., a turbulent period in the history of Judah.

But Isaiah 40-66 [show/hide]Isaiah 40:1-65:23 Comfort for God's People [40:1]Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. [2]Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. [3]A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. [4]Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. [5]And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." The Word of God Stands Forever [6]A voice says, "Cry!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. [7]The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. [8]The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. The Greatness of God [9]Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" [10]Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. [11]He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. [12]Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? [13]Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? [14]Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? [15]Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. [16]Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. [17]All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. [18]To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? [19]An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. [20]He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. [21]Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? [22]It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; [23]who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. [24]Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. [25]To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. [26]Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. [27]Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? [28]Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. [29]He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. [30]Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; [31]but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Fear Not, For I Am with You [41:1]Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment. [2]Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step? He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow. [3]He pursues them and passes on safely, by paths his feet have not trod. [4]Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. [5]The coastlands have seen and are afraid; the ends of the earth tremble; they have drawn near and come. [6]Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, "Be strong!" [7]The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good"; and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved. [8]But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; [9]you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off"; [10]fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. [11]Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. [12]You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. [13]For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." [14]Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. [15]Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; [16]you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the LORD; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. [17]When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. [18]I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. [19]I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, [20]that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. The Futility of Idols [21]Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. [22]Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. [23]Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. [24]Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you. [25]I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay. [26]Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know, and beforehand, that we might say, "He is right"? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words. [27]I was the first to say to Zion, "Behold, here they are!" and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news. [28]But when I look, there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer. [29]Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind. The LORD's Chosen Servant [42:1]Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. [2]He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; [3]a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. [4]He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. [5]Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: [6]"I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, [7]to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. [8]I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. [9]Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them." Sing to the LORD a New Song [10]Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. [11]Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. [12]Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. [13]The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. [14]For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. [15]I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. [16]And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. [17]They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, "You are our gods." Israel's Failure to Hear and See [18]Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see! [19]Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD? [20]He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. [21]The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious. [22]But this is a people plundered and looted; they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become plunder with none to rescue, spoil with none to say, "Restore!" [23]Who among you will give ear to this, will attend and listen for the time to come? [24]Who gave up Jacob to the looter, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey? [25]So he poured on him the heat of his anger and the might of battle; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart. Israel's Only Savior [43:1]But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. [2]When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. [3]For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. [4]Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. [5]Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. [6]I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, [7]everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." [8]Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! [9]All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, and let them hear and say, It is true. [10]"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. [11]I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. [12]I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and I am God. [13]Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?" [14]Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "For your sake I send to Babylon and bring them all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice. [15]I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King." [16]Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, [17]who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: [18]"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. [19]Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. [20]The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, [21]the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. [22]"Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! [23]You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. [24]You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. [25]"I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. [26]Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right. [27]Your first father sinned, and your mediators transgressed against me. [28]Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary, and deliver Jacob to utter destruction and Israel to reviling. Israel the LORD's Chosen [44:1]"But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! [2]Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. [3]For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. [4]They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. [5]This one will say, 'I am the LORD's,' another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, 'The LORD's,' and name himself by the name of Israel." Besides Me There Is No God [6]Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. [7]Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. [8]Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any." The Folly of Idolatry [9]All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. [10]Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? [11]Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. [12]The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. [13]The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. [14]He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. [15]Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. [16]Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" [17]And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" [18]They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. [19]No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" [20]He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" The LORD Redeems Israel [21]Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. [22]I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. [23]Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. [24]Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, [25]who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, [26]who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited,' and of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins'; [27]who says to the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers'; [28]who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'" Cyrus, God's Instrument [45:1]Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: [2]"I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, [3]I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. [4]For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. [5]I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, [6]that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. [7]I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. [8]"Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. [9]"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'? [10]Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in labor?'" [11]Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: "Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? [12]I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. [13]I have stirred him up in righteousness, and I will make all his ways level; he shall build my city and set my exiles free, not for price or reward," says the LORD of hosts. The LORD, the Only Savior [14]Thus says the LORD: "The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: 'Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.'" [15]Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. [16]All of them are put to shame and confounded; the makers of idols go in confusion together. [17]But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. [18]For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): "I am the LORD, and there is no other. [19]I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right. [20]"Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. [21]Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. [22]"Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. [23]By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: 'To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.' [24]"Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. [25]In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory." The Idols of Babylon and the One True God [46:1]Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts. [2]They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity. [3]"Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; [4]even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. [5]"To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? [6]Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! [7]They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble. [8]"Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, [9]remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, [10]declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' [11]calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. [12]"Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: [13]I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory." The Humiliation of Babylon [47:1]Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. [2]Take the millstones and grind flour, put off your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers. [3]Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your disgrace shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one. [4]Our Redeemer--the LORD of hosts is his name-- is the Holy One of Israel. [5]Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no more be called the mistress of kingdoms. [6]I was angry with my people; I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand; you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy. [7]You said, "I shall be mistress forever," so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end. [8]Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children": [9]These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. [10]You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, "No one sees me"; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me." [11]But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. [12]Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror. [13]You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. [14]Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before! [15]Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have done business with you from your youth; they wander about, each in his own direction; there is no one to save you. Israel Refined for God's Glory [48:1]Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right. [2]For they call themselves after the holy city, and stay themselves on the God of Israel; the LORD of hosts is his name. [3]"The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. [4]Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, [5]I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, 'My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.' [6]"You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. [7]They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them.' [8]You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel. [9]"For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. [10]Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. [11]For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. The LORD's Call to Israel [12]"Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. [13]My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together. [14]"Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans. [15]I, even I, have spoken and called him; I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way. [16]Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there." And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit. [17]Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. [18]Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; [19]your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me." [20]Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!" [21]They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out. [22]"There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked." The Servant of the LORD [49:1]Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. [2]He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. [3]And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." [4]But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God." [5]And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him-- for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-- [6]he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." [7]Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." The Restoration of Israel [8]Thus says the LORD: "In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, [9]saying to the prisoners, 'Come out,' to those who are in darkness, 'Appear.' They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; [10]they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. [11]And I will make all my mountains a road, and my highways shall be raised up. [12]Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene." [13]Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. [14]But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me." [15]"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. [16]Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. [17]Your builders make haste; your destroyers and those who laid you waste go out from you. [18]Lift up your eyes around and see; they all gather, they come to you. As I live, declares the LORD, you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does. [19]"Surely your waste and your desolate places and your devastated land-- surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. [20]The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears: 'The place is too narrow for me; make room for me to dwell in.' [21]Then you will say in your heart: 'Who has borne me these? I was bereaved and barren, exiled and put away, but who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; from where have these come?'" [22]Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. [23]Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame." [24]Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? [25]For thus says the LORD: "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. [26]I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the LORD your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." Israel's Sin and the Servant's Obedience [50:1]Thus says the LORD: "Where is your mother's certificate of divorce, with which I sent her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away. [2]Why, when I came, was there no man; why, when I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst. [3]I clothe the heavens with blackness and make sackcloth their covering." [4]The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. [5]The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. [6]I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. [7]But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. [8]He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. [9]Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. [10]Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. [11]Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment. The LORD's Comfort for Zion [51:1]"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. [2]Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him. [3]For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. [4]"Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. [5]My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. [6]Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. [7]"Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. [8]For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations." [9]Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? [10]Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? [11]And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. [12]"I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, [13]and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? [14]He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking. [15]I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD of hosts is his name. [16]And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, 'You are my people.'" [17]Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering. [18]There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne; there is none to take her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up. [19]These two things have happened to you-- who will console you?-- devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you? [20]Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street like an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of the LORD, the rebuke of your God. [21]Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: [22]Thus says your Lord, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people: "Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; [23]and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, 'Bow down, that we may pass over'; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over." The LORD's Coming Salvation [52:1]Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. [2]Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. [3]For thus says the LORD: "You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money." [4]For thus says the Lord GOD: "My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. [5]Now therefore what have I here," declares the LORD, "seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail," declares the LORD, "and continually all the day my name is despised. [6]Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I." [7]How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." [8]The voice of your watchmen--they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion. [9]Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. [10]The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. [11]Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the LORD. [12]For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions [13]Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. [14]As many were astonished at you-- his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind-- [15]so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. [53:1]Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? [2]For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. [3]He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. [4]Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. [5]But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. [6]All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. [7]He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. [8]By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? [9]And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. [10]Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. [11]Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. [12]Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. The Eternal Covenant of Peace [54:1]"Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married," says the LORD. [2]"Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. [3]For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. [4]"Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. [5]For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. [6]For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. [7]For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. [8]In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer. [9]"This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. [10]For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. [11]"O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. [12]I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones. [13]All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. [14]In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. [15]If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. [16]Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; [17]no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD." The Compassion of the LORD [55:1]"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. [2]Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. [3]Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. [4]Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. [5]Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. [6]"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; [7]let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. [8]For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. [9]For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. [10]"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, [11]so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. [12]"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. [13]Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." Salvation for Foreigners [56:1]Thus says the LORD: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. [2]Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil." [3]Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, "The LORD will surely separate me from his people"; and let not the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree." [4]For thus says the LORD: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, [5]I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. [6]"And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant-- [7]these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." [8]The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, "I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered." Israel's Irresponsible Leaders [9]All you beasts of the field, come to devour-- all you beasts in the forest. [10]His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. [11]The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. [12]"Come," they say, "let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure." Israel's Futile Idolatry [57:1]The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; [2]he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness. [3]But you, draw near, sons of the sorceress, offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman. [4]Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit, [5]you who burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree, who slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks? [6]Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have brought a grain offering. Shall I relent for these things? [7]On a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and there you went up to offer sacrifice. [8]Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your memorial; for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, you have gone up to it, you have made it wide; and you have made a covenant for yourself with them, you have loved their bed, you have looked on nakedness. [9]You journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far off, and sent down even to Sheol. [10]You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, "It is hopeless"; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint. [11]Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me, did not lay it to heart? Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and you do not fear me? [12]I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you. [13]When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain. Comfort for the Contrite [14]And it shall be said, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people's way." [15]For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. [16]For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. [17]Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. [18]I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, [19]creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near," says the LORD, "and I will heal him. [20]But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. [21]There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked." True and False Fasting [58:1]"Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. [2]Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. [3]'Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. [4]Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. [5]Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? [6]"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? [7]Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? [8]Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. [9]Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, [10]if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. [11]And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. [12]And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. [13]"If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; [14]then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." Evil and Oppression [59:1]Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; [2]but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. [3]For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. [4]No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. [5]They hatch adders' eggs; they weave the spider's web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. [6]Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. [7]Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. [8]The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. [9]Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. [10]We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. [11]We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. [12]For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: [13]transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. [14]Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. [15]Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Judgment and Redemption The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. [16]He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. [17]He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. [18]According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. [19]So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. [20]"And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression," declares the LORD. [21]"And as for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring," says the LORD, "from this time forth and forevermore." The Future Glory of Israel [60:1]Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. [2]For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. [3]And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. [4]Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. [5]Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. [6]A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD. [7]All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house. [8]Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? [9]For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. [10]Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you. [11]Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. [12]For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. [13]The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. [14]The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. [15]Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. [16]You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. [17]Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. [18]Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. [19]The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. [20]Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. [21]Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. [22]The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it. The Year of the LORD's Favor [61:1]The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; [2]to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; [3]to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. [4]They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. [5]Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; [6]but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. [7]Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. [8]For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. [9]Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed. [10]I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. [11]For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. Zion's Coming Salvation [62:1]For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. [2]The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. [3]You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. [4]You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. [5]For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. [6]On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, [7]and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth. [8]The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: "I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink your wine for which you have labored; [9]but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary." [10]Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. [11]Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." [12]And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken. The LORD's Day of Vengeance [63:1]Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." [2]Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? [3]"I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. [4]For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. [5]I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. [6]I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." The LORD's Mercy Remembered [7]I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. [8]For he said, "Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely." And he became their Savior. [9]In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. [10]But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. [11]Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, [12]who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, [13]who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. [14]Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. Prayer for Mercy [15]Look down from heaven and see, from your holy and beautiful habitation. Where are your zeal and your might? The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion are held back from me. [16]For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. [17]O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. [18]Your holy people held possession for a little while; our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary. [19]We have become like those over whom you have never ruled, like those who are not called by your name. [64:1]Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence-- [2] as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil-- to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! [3]When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. [4]From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. [5]You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? [6]We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. [7]There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. [8]But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. [9]Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people. [10]Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. [11]Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. [12]Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly? Judgment and Salvation [65:1]I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, "Here am I, here am I," to a nation that was not called by my name. [2]I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; [3]a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; [4]who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig's flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; [5]who say, "Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you." These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. [6]Behold, it is written before me: "I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their bosom [7]both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together, says the LORD; because they made offerings on the mountains and insulted me on the hills, I will measure into their bosom payment for their former deeds." [8]Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all. [9]I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there. [10]Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for my people who have sought me. [11]But you who forsake the LORD, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny, [12]I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter, because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in." [13]Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame; [14]behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart and shall wail for breaking of spirit. [15]You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse, and the Lord GOD will put you to death, but his servants he will call by another name. [16]So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes. New Heavens and a New Earth [17]"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. [18]But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. [19]I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. [20]No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. [21]They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. [22]They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. [23]They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them.
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
, according to these scholars, seems to be addressed to the citizens of Judah who were being held as captives in Babylon about two centuries after Isaiah lived and prophesied. These scholars also point to the differences in tone, language, and style between the two major sections as proof that the book was written by two different authors.

The Traditional View
There are, however, conservative scholars who insist the entire book was written by the famous prophet Isaiah who ministered in the southern kingdom of Judah for 40 years, from about 740-700 b.c. They point out that the two sections of the book have many similarities, although they are dramatically different in tone and theme. Many phrases and ideas that are peculiar to Isaiah appear in both sections of the book.
A good example of this is Isaiah’s unique reference to God as “the Holy One of Israel.” The appearance of these words and phrases can be used to argue just as convincingly that the book was written by a single author.
In the second section of his book, Isaiah looked into the future and predicted the years of the Captivity and the return of the Covenant People to their homeland after the Captivity ended. If the prophet could predict the coming of the Messiah over 700 years before that happened, he could certainly foresee this major event in the future of the nation of Judah.
The style of each section deliberately matches its subject matter.

The Valley of Doubt
Doubts about the authorship and authenticity of any book in the Bible can have tragic consequences for those who are attempting to take the Bible seriously. As I look back on my own spiritual journey, I recall the many years that these views introduced a subtle doubt in my mind and hampered my real growth in the Word.
Is there a way to resolve this without getting drawn into the distressing debates and arrogant displays among erudite scholars and “textual critics”? Indeed, there is. I only wish I had discovered it earlier in my own travels through God’s wondrous Word.

The Discovery in John 12 [show/hide]John 12 Mary Anoints Jesus at Bethany [12:1]Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. [2]So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. [3]Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. [4]But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, [5]"Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" [6]He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. [7]Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. [8]For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me." The Plot to Kill Lazarus [9]When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. [10]So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, [11]because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. The Triumphal Entry [12]The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. [13]So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" [14]And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, [15]"Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" [16]His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. [17]The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. [18]The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. [19]So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him." Some Greeks Seek Jesus [20]Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. [21]So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." [22]Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. [23]And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24]Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25]Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. [26]If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up [27]"Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. [28]Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." [29]The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." [30]Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine. [31]Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. [32]And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." [33]He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. [34]So the crowd answered him, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" [35]So Jesus said to them, "The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. [36]While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." The Unbelief of the People When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. [37]Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, [38]so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" [39]Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, [40]"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them." [41]Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. [42]Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; [43]for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. Jesus Came to Save the World [44]And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. [45]And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. [46]I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. [47]If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. [48]The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. [49]For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. [50]And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me." (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

What a precious chapter! It has many marvelous insights, but among the dearest to me personally are verses 37-41:
37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
38] That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again,
40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
41] These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
In this passage we first encounter a quote, in verse 38, familiar to many of you, that begins the famous chapter of Isaiah 53 [show/hide]Isaiah 53 [53:1]Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? [2]For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. [3]He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. [4]Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. [5]But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. [6]All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. [7]He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. [8]By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? [9]And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. [10]Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. [11]Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. [12]Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
. This would be in the section attributed to the “Second Isaiah.”

In verse 40 we have a quote from Isaiah Chapter 6 (v. 10), as verse 41 also highlights what occurs when Isaiah beholds the throne of God. This is, of course, in the first section of Isaiah.

Oh, how I am grateful for verse 39! Notice that John tells us that “that Isaiah said again” when he links the two passages and, thus, the two sections and attributes them both to “that” (same) Isaiah! If you take John seriously, and recognize the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then you need not doubt the authorship of Isaiah - both “sections.”

It is fascinating to me to notice that there is no heresy - or controversy - that hasn’t been anticipated by the Holy Spirit within the Scripture itself. If we recognize the reality that we have 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years that are an integrated whole, and that every detail has been the result of careful and skillful engineering, then there is no need to stumble over the erudite skepticism and arrogance by scholarship falsely so called.
Isn’t God wonderful? If we would just learn to take Him at His Word.
Related Links:
• Isaiah - MP3 Download - Koinonia House
• John - MP3 Download - Koinonia House
• How to Study the Bible - MP3 Download - Koinonia House
- From Koinonia House News Letter

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Sep 30 2010

Death and sin is insatiable: Hell and destruction are never full

Tag: Spirit World: Heaven Hell DeathSage @ 7:39 am

Proverbs 27:20 [show/hide]Proverbs 27:20 [20]Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Two things are here said to be insatiable, and they are two things near of kin–death and sin.

1. Death is insatiable. The first death, the second death, both are so. The grave is not clogged with the multitude of dead bodies that are daily thrown into it, but is still an open sepulchre, and cries, Give, give. Hell also has enlarged itself, and still has room for the damned spirits that are committed to that prison. Tophet is deep and large, Isa. 30:33 [show/hide]Isaiah 30:33 [33]For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
.

2. Sin is insatiable: The eyes of man are never satisfied, nor the appetites of the carnal mind towards profit or pleasure. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is he that loves silver satisfied with silver. Men labour for that which surfeits, but satisfies not; nay, it is dissatisfying; but satisfies not; nay, it is dissatisfying; such a perpetual uneasiness have men justly been doomed to ever since our first parents were not satisfied with all the trees of Eden, but they must meddle with the forbidden tree. Those whose eyes are ever toward the Lord in him are satisfied, and shall for ever be so.
- Matthew Henry Commentary

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Sep 30 2010

This gives us a touchstone by which we may try ourselves: Praise will show what a man is

Tag: Interesting ReflectionsSage @ 7:27 am

Proverbs 27:21 [show/hide]Proverbs 27:21 [21]The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

This gives us a touchstone by which we may try ourselves. Silver and gold are tried by putting them into the furnace and fining-pot; so is man tried by praising him. Let him be extolled and preferred, and then he will show himself what he is.

1. If a man be made, by the applause that is given him, proud, conceited, and scornful,–if he take the glory to himself which he should transmit to God, as Herod did,–if, the more he is praised, the more careless he is of what he says and does,–if he lie in bed till noon because his name is up, thereby it will appear that he is a vain foolish man, and a man who, though he be praised, has nothing in him truly praise-worthy.

2. If, on the contrary, a man is made by his praise more thankful to God, more respectful to his friends, more watchful against every thing that may blemish his reputation, more diligent to improve himself, and do good to others, that he may answer the expectations of his friends from him, by this it will appear that he is a wise and good man. He has a good temper of mind who knows how to pass by evil report and good report, and is still the same, 2 Cor. 6:8 [show/hide]2 Corinthians 6:8 [8]through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
.
- Matthew Henry Commentary

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Sep 30 2010

Radiance through prayer

Tag: Verse of the DaySage @ 7:19 am

Exodus 34:30 [show/hide]Exodus 34:30 [30]Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone.
Luke 24:32 [show/hide]Luke 24:32 [32]They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" (ESV)
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scripture.
Psalm 39:3 [show/hide]Psalm 39:3 [3]My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.

My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.

Observe but the man who is much in heaven, and you observe he is not like others; there is something of that which he hath seen above appeareth in all his duty and conversation. Nay, take but take the same man, immediately when he is returned from these views of bliss, and you perceive he excels himself. If you would set on this employment, even so would it be with you. Men would see your face shine, and say, “Surely he hath been with God.” – Baxter.

John G. Paton, the well-known missionary, had sacred childhood memories of a father who really prayed. He describes it thus:

“Our home consisted of a ‘but’ and a ‘ben,’ and a mudroom, or chamber, called the ‘closet’… The closet was a very small apartment betwixt the other two, having room only for a bed, a little table, and a chair, with a diminutive window shedding a diminutive light on the scene. This was the sanctuary of that cottage home.

Thither daily, and often-times a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and ‘shut the door’; and we children got to understand, by a sort of spiritual instinct [for the thing was too sacred to be talked about], that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place.

We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice, pleading as for life, and we learned to slip out and in past that door on tip-toe, not to disturb the holy colloquy. The outside world might not know, but we knew, whence came that happy light, as of a new-born smile, that always was dawning on my father’s face.

It was the reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived. Never, in temple or cathedral, in mountain or glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatch and oaken wattles.”
- The Christian’s Daily Challenge: E.F. & L. Harvey

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Sep 29 2010

Fear and Survival: The Tragedy And Threat That Is George Soros

Tag: Global CommentarySage @ 7:10 pm

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fear and Survival: The Tragedy And Threat That Is George Soros

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By Barry Rubin

I’ve long pondered the bizarre doings of billionaire financier George Soros, who’s become the single biggest funder of left-wing and often anti-Jewish (certainly, anti-Israel) causes in Europe and North America. Most recently, it was revealed that Soros was a huge contributor to the anti-Israel J Street group even though the organization had lied about that connection.

But how can one explain the behavior and motives of Soros. For me, finally, the missing piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.

The first key bit of evidence was Soros’s interview with the December 20, 1998, “Sixty Minutes” television show in which he recounts his experiences as a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary, a time when he said his “character was made.” Soros’ father had sent him to live with a bribed Christian government official who was involved in confiscating Jewish property.

A lot of the discussion about this interview has been misdirected over whether Soros was in some way a war criminal. This is clearly untrue since he was barely a teenager and didn’t actually do anything but observe. He was as he describes himself, a “spectator.”

Let’s get a more sophisticated, accurate understanding by examining what Soros actually said about the experience long afterward. What did he learn from being a spectator, watching both sides but truly being on neither side?

Did watching the extinction of his fellow Jews in Hungary make him feel guilty? No, Soros replied. This is an extraordinary answer. It was decades later and Soros could have done the polite social thing, which would have made him look better, of pretending to feel bad about it.

Soros didn’t emphasize, though he mentioned as a passing afterthought, that he didn’t feel guilty because he did nothing wrong. But what about survivor’s guilt, something almost anyone Jewish would feel when he survived and so many others didn’t? Again, no, said Soros.

Soros showed precisely why he didn’t feel or even pretend to feel guilty. When the astonished interviewer asked whether Soros might have thought, “`I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there?”

Soros’ response is truly extraordinary:

“Well, of course I c–I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow.”

Notice how he stutters, no longer the powerful multimillionaire who shakes countries but rather reverting back to the frightened, helpless little boy, his life endangered because he is a Jew. Unlike almost every other Jew in Europe, however, he has a choice.

Does he blame the Nazis and Hungarian fascists or the Jews for putting him in that perilous position? Who does he identify with? What conclusions does he draw about how to ensure his survival in future? Soros tells us clearly:

“I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing was being taken away.”

For me, this is the key to Soros and his behavior today. He would choose to stand with those he sees as  winners not losers; strong, not weak; the non-Jews rather than the Jews, the determined extremists rather than the toothless moderates. After all, that choice had been the basis of his survival. What is most important is that Soros survive and prosper, and his background gives him a very different outlook from most Jews and most rich people on how to achieve that goal.

Yet he is no confident mogul but a very frightened man. In this, he is less unique. Non-Jews don’t understand how inside of even the most seemingly powerful Jews—Henry Kissinger offers a prime example—there is a strong sense of fear and vulnerability. One misstep, they think, and everything he has could all be taken away instantly.

Being too much of a Jew is something you will rue. The more visible your wealth and power, the more danger to you. That kind of thinking stems not merely from the Nazi era but is a Jewish condition that goes back to the Middle Ages, when at any second a lifetime of hard work and success could be replaced by poverty, exile, beating or death by a rampaging mob.

How have Jews responded? Some by assimilating and others by being quiet, the kind of approach one might expect someone like Soros to take.

Still others by being defiant as Zionists or as proud Jews. Compare Soros to the man whose life most parallels his, Abe Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, who was a hidden child during the Holocaust. Another option, becoming a leftist revolutionary, combines defiance of existing society with assimilation and abandonment of Jewishness.

The life of Soros, however, led him to a unique solution: convincing him that he must be highly visible…on the winning side. No longer could he have the anonymity of that fourteen-year-old camouflaged boy, but he could still stand on the safer side of the confrontation.

Read that key sentence again: “I could be on the other side [the Nazi side] or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away.” In context, he is essentially saying that he could not imagine himself enough of a fool to be on the losing side and is determined never to be one of those helpless, doomed Jews.

And so, decades later, he sought to be on or buy off those he saw as the winning side. As for those on the Jewish side–and Israel being the most intense expression of that posture—they would be the losers in history.

Now comes the final piece of the puzzle. On November 7, 2003, almost five years after the television interview, Soros made a rare appearance at a pro-Jewish Jewish event, a conference of the Jewish Funders Network.

Asked about antisemitism in Europe, Soros responded that it was the result of the policies of Israel and the United States, and particularly of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “If we change that direction, then antisemitism also will diminish,” he said.

Once again, his words led somewhat in the wrong direction as some of the attendees were outraged. After all, blaming Jews for antisemitism is an old argument of antisemites. But to focus on that is to miss the point. Soros continued:

“I’m also very concerned about my own role because the new antisemitism holds that the Jews rule the world,” he explained. He knew he is personally vulnerable to such charges. After all, Soros added, “As an unintended consequence of my actions,” he said, “I also contribute to that image,” no doubt referring to an incident of a few weeks previously when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad referred to Soros personally in saying, “Jews rule the world by proxy.”

Moreover, he does implicitly blame the Jews, whose behavior beforehand

What did Soros say was the main lesson he had learned on those streets in 1944 Hungary? “That one should think ahead. One should understand and–and anticipate events and when–when one is threatened.”

So for Soros, religious Jews, Zionists, and in effect the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of the world are bringing disaster on themselves by provoking an antisemitic backlash.

His intention here is in no way to help the Jews (“the ones from whom the thing was taken away) “but to act in what he perceives as being his own benefit. Soros is not the first Jew in history to calculate that if Israel didn’t exist or that if the Jews merely shut up and hid their identity there would be no problem with antisemitism.

Similarly, he is scared that conservatives are provoking a leftist upheaval. Soros is insuring himself against the new winning side by financing it, believing that if America and Europe move ever leftward, this will reduce pressure against capitalism in general or at least protect his personal wealth. After all, why would the movement turn on its patron?

In effect, Soros reserves the phrase never again not in regard to Jewish suffering but in regard to his personally never being “the one from whom the thing was being taken away.” And meanwhile he can, ironically enough, arguably be the Jew who in the entire world came closest to ruling “by proxy.” All the more need for taking such protective measures.

It is true, as the expert on Soviet affairs Bertram Wolfe remarked about Leon Trotsky (who Wolfe regarded as a type of Jewish antisemite), “A man can reject his heritage but he cannot root the traces of it out of his soul.” But for Soros those traces are those of the loser in history. He regards Zionism and Israel as fantasies that will only build the momentum to return Jews to their traditional victim status.

Ironically and sadly, of course, by putting his money into anti-Israel and left-wing causes he is not merely anticipating events but making bad outcomes more likely; not reducing antisemitism but intensifying it; not ensuring social peace but making costly and tragic conflict more likely.

In short, unfortunately, what Soros mislearned from the tragedy he observed as a youth has made him a man helping bring about more tragedies. He was also wrong in saying that if he didn’t do these things someone else would. There is no one else to play this role because there is no one else who has his combination of life experience and bottomless riches.

Melanie Phillips has provided a list of causes backed by Soros’s main front groups that gives a sense of what the billionaire has been doing:

“•promoting the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation
•promoting the election of leftist political candidates throughout the United States
•opposing virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by U.S. government, particularly the Patriot Act
•depicting American military actions as unjust, unwarranted, and immoral
•promoting open borders, mass immigration, and a watering down of current immigration laws
•promoting a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs funded by ever-escalating taxes
•promoting social welfare benefits and amnesty for illegal aliens
•defending suspected anti-American terrorists and their abetters
•financing the recruitment and training of future activist leaders of the political Left
•advocating America’s unilateral disarmament and/or a steep reduction in its military spending
•opposing the death penalty in all circumstances
•promoting socialized medicine in the United States
•promoting the tenets of radical environmentalism, whose ultimate goal, as writer Michael Berliner has explained, is “not clean air and clean water, [but] rather … the demolition of technological/industrial civilization”
•bringing American foreign policy under the control of the United Nations
•promoting racial and ethnic preferences in academia and the business world alike.”

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.

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Sep 29 2010

Is the U.S. Government and West Generally Starting to Comprehend the Real Issues and Problems in the Middle East?

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 7:04 pm

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Is the U.S. Government and West Generally Starting to Comprehend the Real Issues and Problems in the Middle East?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 08:39 AM PDT

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We depend on your contributions. Tax-deductible donation through PayPal or credit card: click Donate button, upper-right hand corner of this page: http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/. By check: “American Friends of IDC.” “For GLORIA Center” on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Floor, NY, NY 10003.

By Barry Rubin

After acceding to U.S. requests for nine months by freezing construction on existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and also not building over the pre-1967 frontier in Jerusalem, Israel got nothing.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed willing to continue it in some form, pressures from within his coalition made that impossible.Therefore, the freeze is coming to an end, though Israel is still ready to discuss limits on new construction. Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to walk out of the once-every-two-weeks direct talks.

So what has been the reaction?

First, 87 U.S. senators, that’s 87 percent of the membership, have urged Obama to keep Abbas from walking out of talks. They have not blamed Israel for the crisis.

The Obama Administration is approaching the issue calmly and there has been no bashing or even criticism of Israel. Why? Lots of reasons, one being the impending November elections and the government’s eagerness to show it has achieved something in international affairs. Another is that officials now realize that the PA has been their real headache, refusing to talk for 20 months, constantly setting new preconditions, and eagerly looking for some way to walk out of negotiations. Europe is being pretty quiet also about blaming Israel.

Even Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, a frequent critic of Israel in the past, gets it, criticizing the Obama Administration–not Israel–for its handling of the settlements’ issue. And Ben Smith at Politico writes a story headlined, “In blame game, arrow tilts to Abbas.”

These statements and articles generally miss the deeper story: incitement to kill Israelis and destroy Israel continues at full speed in the PA media and institutions; the PA’s Fatah leadership neither wants nor can deliver a compromise two-state solution at present; Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip poses an insuperable obstacle; nothing has been done by the PA to prepare Palestinian public opinion for compromise (quite the contrary); and Israel wants peace on reasonable terms. But a lot of people in the U.S. government and media now understand–at least temporarily–the symptoms indicating all of these factors.

Overarching all of this is the real main issue: the great struggle in the Middle East between Islamists and nationalists, the efforts by the Iran-led radical bloc and local revolutionary Islamist groups (using terrorism or even electoral means) to overthrow the relatively moderate regimes and drive U.S. influence out of the region.

In another indication of this fact, in still another example of strong U.S.-Israel military cooperation, the U.S. Defense Department has agreed to help Israel develop a short-range anti-missile system aimed against the kind of barrages fired in the past by Iran’s clients, Hizballah and Hamas.

Of course, there are limits, some due to understandable diplomatic maneuvering, some due to lack of comprehension. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was mild in saying that the United States was “disappointed” by the Israeli decision and praised Abbas for not immediately walking away from the talks.

But will they praise him if he walks out in a week or so?

Meanwhile a new, very potent computer virus has hit Iran, reportedly targeted especially at its nuclear program. Wonder where it could have come from? Additionally, to their credit, the Obama Administration and most of Europe have toughened sanctions to the point where they are hurting the Tehran regime. The regime is far from falling or changing but it is all shook up and part of the elite is starting to ask whether an aggressive foreign policy and a nuclear weapons’ drive isn’t a big mistake.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.

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Sep 29 2010

Arrest Shows What’s Really Going on in Turkey: An Increasingly Repressive Islamist Regime

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 6:09 pm

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arrest Shows What’s Really Going on in Turkey: An Increasingly Repressive Islamist Regime

By Barry Rubin

The Western media can talk all it wants to about the regime in Turkey as reformist and democratic. Didn’t it just sponsor a referendum that increased freedoms? But this is for show. Here’s an example of the reality.

A state prosecutor has just ordered the arrest of Hanefi Avcı, former police chief of Eskişehir. Why is he going to be arrested? What is he accused of? Talking on the telephone to a member of an extremist, violent revolutionary group. Not very credible, right?

So why was he really arrested?

Because he wrote a best-selling book revealing how Islamists have infiltrated and are indeed taking over the Turkish police force. It is well-known that the followers of Fethullah Gülen have been doing so. Gülen poses as a moderate Muslim but while somewhat less extreme than the regime, but he is also an Islamist. His movement is awash in money and has opened schools all over the world, including North America, and set up numerous front groups including inter-faith dialogues.

Incidentally, one of the claims made by Avcı in his book was that Gülen’s people have tapped his telephone. Now we have solid proof he was right. If you speak out against the regime you face a high chance of losing your job–I know at least four journalists who have suffered this fate–or end up in prison.

The regime has arrested hundreds of people and intimidated millions, yet Western correspondents generally continue to provide up-beat coverage that ignores this fact or even praises the government for rounding up subversive elements.

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Sep 29 2010

Thank Goodness Nobody Reads the Weekly “News” Magazines Any More

Tag: Global CommentarySage @ 6:00 pm

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thank Goodness Nobody Reads the Weekly “News” Magazines Any More

By Barry Rubin

Newsweek, in an article intended to tell us that any critique of the current government and its rather high proportion of current and former extreme leftists is a silly conspiracy theory, says that the Templars take their name from Solomon’s Temple, the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Kind of makes you wonder if in future some day they will write an article saying that September 11 took place at the World Trade Center site of the Cordoba mosque.

This is shortly after Time has successive covers decrying “Islamophobia,” then telling us that Israelis didn’t care about peace because they are making lots of money, a rather classic antisemitic as well as ignorantly anti-Israel line.

The Internet, as an alternative source of information, didn’t arrive a moment too soon.

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