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Lowell Brueckner

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The High and the Lowly


52. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 57

The righteous perish

I have found that the Lord will often arrange circumstances, to order my thoughts in a certain direction. Just this morning, someone asked me the meaning of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7: “You know what is restraining him now… Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” Briefly, I explained my view (along with many other Christians) that “the mystery of lawlessness” is restrained by the Holy Spirit-indwelt church and, when the Lord comes to take her away, the antichrist will be unleashed without restraint in the world.

Now I find this verse before us: “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” (v.1). Had there been ten righteous people in Sodom, they would have averted its disaster. The principle, concerning the raptured church, holds true today every time that a righteous man goes to be with the Lord. They are the salt of the earth (a means of preserving it). A restraining force is taken away from before the flood of lawlessness, and this world becomes a little worse as a result.

Grace for Strangers and Outcasts


51. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 56

The Kingdom is at hand

One of the main themes of our last chapter was hunger and thirst and in the Beatitudes, Jesus proclaimed: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mt.5:6).  Here in this chapter God calls to a people to “keep justice, and do righteousness”.

These are not a religious people, trying to do good works, confiding in them in order to attain their salvation. His salvation is at hand; they are anticipating His deliverance and preparing their hearts: “Soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed” (v.1). ). Isaiah may be encouraging the Jews threatened by Sennacherib or those in Babylonian exile, but it is an appropriate word also for the coming Messiah, of whom all the prophets spoke. Like those that Jesus blessed in the Beatitudes, so these are a blessed people. Though there may be many, they are addressed individually: “Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast.”

Update 2017: Articles Most Read

I am so happy to welcome many, many new readers to our English blogspot! Every year in March, I update the statistics, concerning the numbers of visitors to our blogs, both Spanish and English, and also update the 10 most-read articles since we opened in 2011. Because of the increased number of new readers, the older articles have been totally replaced by newer ones, mostly our expositional studies on the book of Isaiah. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see people enter an expositional Bible study… it is so necessary these days!

However, I also want to encourage our new visitors to go back and read previous most-read articles. PLEASE read them! Some of them may shock you; some will bring joy and some fear. I give you my full assurance that they are of great importance and will be helpful for you, as you seek to follow Christ. You will find them listed just below these opening paragraphs, along with the links that will easily open them for you.

Now then, let me give you the 2017 updated statistics: As of yesterday, the total number of visits to this English blog has risen to 85,431, since this blog was put together by our grandson, John, in 2011. That number almost doubled during the last 12 months, in which we have had 41,525 visits. When we add the visits to our Spanish blogspot, the total number of visits increases to 225,598, and the number over the last 12 months to 103,225 (obviously, we have more Spanish than English readers).

To Hunger and Thirst


50. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 55

(click on the photos for larger views)

A passionate invitation

We meditated on the message of salvation in chapter 53. We studied the one, who would bear the message and bring forth children in chapter 54. Now we see the message’s recipients and the manner, in which the message is to be received. Whether or not your translation carries an exclamation point or points in verse one, these are exclamations, clearly seen by the repetition of the word come. Come… come… come!

Did the prophet know that his invitation would reach to the 21st Century? Who can say? In any case, the Holy Spirit, who inspired him, knew and willed that we should see it before our eyes: 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” (v.1).

It is impossible to miss the good intentions of the heavenly Father. Seven hundred years later, the Word was made flesh and renewed the invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt.11:28). He added in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” Many years later still, five verses before the Apostle John closes the New Testament canon, speaking for the Spirit and the Church, he gives the readers one last cry: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’. And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev.22:17).

The Song of the Barren


49. An expository study of Isaiah, chapter 54

In chapter 53, we studied a message that Israel largely rejected and in this chapter, we see Israel as the incapable messenger, the broken tool, the light that is snuffed out. Of course, unbelief lies at the root of her problem and fosters idolatry and sin. It is likened to a childless woman, a most disgraceful state in Bible times. It is particularly addressed to a desolate Israel in Babylonian exile, but as we have observed already a good number of times, the prophecy projects into the last days. It also serves as an example of the heavenly Jerusalem, from which the true church is born (Gal.4:27). These all prove the divine principle that involves a naturally incapable people, empowered by God. 

Unfaithful and desolate, she is converted, God forgives her and takes her back. We see her repenting first under the ministry of John the Baptist, and then, believing and following Christ. As the book of Acts begins, they come by the thousands, Jews from many different parts of the world. As we read on, we learn of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the conversion of Cornelius, and then a movement throughout the Middle East and into Europe among non-Jewish people.