Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gileadi's Isaiah Commentary on the Temple

In this segment, Gileadi discusses Isaiah chapter 1 verses 10-17 (below). The full commentary is a must listen, and even this segment is amplified when listed to in context of the rest of the chapter (and rest of the book of Isaiah). I've reprinted Gileadi's translation below, then typed up the relevant segment of the commentary minus the quoted verses.

10 Hear the word of Jehovah,
O leaders of Sodom;give heed to the law of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 For what purpose are your abundant
sacrifices to me? says Jehovah.
I have had my fill of offerings of rams
and fat of fatted beasts;
the blood of bulls and sheep and he-goats
I do not want.
12 When you come to see me,
who requires you to trample my courts so?
13 Bring no more worthless offerings;
they are as a loathsome incense to me.
As for convening meetings at the New Month
and on the Sabbath,
wickedness with the solemn gathering
I cannot approve.
14 Your monthly and regular meetings
my soul detests.
They have become a burden on me;
I am weary of putting up with them.
15 When you spread forth your hands,
I will conceal my eyes from you;
though you pray at length, I will not hear—
your hands are filled with blood.
16 Wash yourselves clean:
remove your wicked deeds
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil.
17 Learn to do good: demand justice,
stand up for the oppressed;
plead the cause of the fatherless,
appeal on behalf of the widow.

"Now this is the spiritual side of their lives. They are making sacrifices. Abundant sacrifices. So they are going to the temple. So they are multiplying all these offerings, sacrifices at the temple.

Well, isn't this kind of literal? Doesn't this kind of refer back to literal temple sacrifice as anciently? So how could this apply to a latter-day context? Good question, right?....

Yes, there is this literal connotation that certainly applies in Isaiah's day when there were literal temple sacrifices of animals. These animals are all clean animals. They are all kosher animals. What do the animals represent? The animals are proxies for the people who had offended, right? The animals were proxies....As far as a latter-day context is concerned, the animals, since they are a metaphor for people in the book of Isaiah, represent people, who are proxies for others. And who is that? We are. What sacrifices do we make? Well, we covenant to obey the law of sacrifice, and we sacrifice by going there: our time, and our talents, and you sacrifices lots of things. And so, there is a latter-day connotation here. Very much so when you apply it on this metaphorical level.

He says he's had his fill of our sacrifices. He doesn't want them. Why? He says, in verse 11 (quotes it). He asks the question, then he answers his own question. What is the purpose? To see the Lord, verse 12. When you come to see me. The question he asks in verse 11 is answered in verse 12. You go there to see the Lord, and if you are not there for that purpose, then everything else doesn't count for very much.

When you come to see me, who requires you to trample my courts so? That's a horrendous paradox, isn't it? Because you are here to see God, but instead, what are you doing? You are there like the dumb animals that were brought for sacrifice that didn't know what they were there for. Just tromping around the courts of the temple, polluting it in effect. Isn't that an awful situation? And you can see why he wouldn't want sacrifices like that, because you're not getting any closer to seeing the Lord that way, are you? It's a time to be astute, a time to be laid back, a time to be feeling a time to be in tune, a time to make an offering of your whole soul to God. And instead, you're just multiplying statistics."

It should listen to it.

More thoughts on the temple:
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." (James 4:8-10)