Israel Is a Sinful Nation Then and Now

Isaiah 1:1–27

Based on this passage in Isaiah, can we see any spiritual parallels between Judah and America (and most other nations, for that matter)? Some might ask what a prophecy given by a Hebrew prophet to the Jewish nation some 2600 years ago has to do with us today? To answer that question we would pose several questions: Have YHVH’s standards of righteousness and law and order ever changed? Is sin still sin today as it was then? Is there a day coming when YHVH will hold humans accountable for their sinful action? Is there a heavenly judgment seat before which all must eventually appear? Is there a day coming at the end of the age when Elohim will pour out his wrath and man will be punished for his sins against his Creator? With these things in mind, let’s see if the sinful activities of humans have changed much in 2600 years since Isaiah’s time.

Isaiah 1:2, They have rebelled against me.What is the scriptural definition of rebellion? Rebellion against what? For the concept of rebellion to be relevant and applicable there has to be a standard or rule of law the violation of which constitutes rebellion. What is YHVH’s standard of righteousness by which he will judge nations and individuals? Has that standard ever changed? Make no mistake, YHVH’s standard of righteousness is his immutable Word, and by it he will judge all humans. There is no escaping this fact. (Read John 12:48 and Deuteronomy 18:19.)

Isaiah 1:3, The ox knows its owner. The “Beasts of the Field Explained.” Apostasy and spiritual degradation leads to one place: a complete loss of one’s spiritual identity. When one forgets one’s spiritual heritage and relationship with their Creator, they becomes, in a sense, like an animal, maybe even worse. (See 2 Pet 2:12 and Jude 1:10.) 

As an interesting side note, Scripture prophesied that Israel would become animalistic in its apostate condition as it sought to imitate the heathen nations around it. As a result and in judgment, YHVH would allow Israel to be taken over and swallowed up by the same nations, which Scripture refers to by the Hebraism or Hebrew poetic metaphor “the beasts of the field.” In Deuteronomy 7:22, we see that this same Hebraism represent the nations of the earth from which Israel was to stay separate. (See also Jer 12:9; 27:6; Dan 7:3.) The children of Israel were scattered or exiled and became “meat” or prey for all the beasts of the field (Isa 56:9; Ezek 34:5; Hos 2:12). Scripture likens exiled Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom), who fell into idolatry and mixed with the beast (Gentile) nations, to beasts of the field themselves (Hos 2:16–19 cp. Acts 10:12). In the future, YHVH will make a covenant (a marriage betrothal agreement or ketubah) with Israel who had themselves become “beasts of the field” (Hos 2:18; see also Jer 31:31–33 cp. Rom 1:23,18–25).

Can you see America and the formerly Christian West in this? These nations were once a predominately Christian, but now have rejected and scorn their spiritual heritage. What has been the result of this spiritual and moral declension? What is the current state of Christianity in these formerly Western Christian nations? Can we not see how YHVH has been lifting his hand of blessing off of them, and how with their spiritual and moral decline they have been declining economically, goepolitically and culturally?

Isaiah 1:4, A sinful nation.The Word Goy Explained. The word nation is the Hebrew word goy (Strong’s H1471) meaning “gentile”or, in a spiritual sense, “heathen”This is one of a number of passages in Scripture where Israel is referred to as a gentile nation

In the KJV, Goy is translated in the Tanakh as nation 374 times, as heathen 143 times, as Gentiles 30 times, and people 11 times. Whenever the word gentile is used in the KJV it is the word goy. According to Strong’s Concordance, the meaning of goy is “a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (fig.) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.”According to Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon,the word goy means “a people, a confluence of men,” and “contextually in holy Scripture it is used to refer to the other nations besides Israel, the foes of Israel, and strangers to the true religion of Israel.” 

There are times when this word refers specifically to Israel: 

  • The descendants of Joseph in general (Gen 48:19) 
  • The Southern Kingdom of Judah when it forsook Elohim and its covenant with him and became like the surrounding heathen nations (Isa 1:4) 
  • The Northern Kingdom of Israel or Ephraim or Samaria (Isa 9:1) 
  • Israel in general (Isa 26:2; 49:7; Ps 33:12; Gen 12:2; 35:11). 

There are numerous other instances in Scripture where the words goy or goyim (plural) are applied to the descendants of Abraham. Scripture’s use of the term is unbiased and lacks any of the pejorative implications that have been applied to the term subsequently (e.g. Gen 17:4, 5, 6, 16; 18:18; 25:23; 46:3; Exod 19:6; 33:13; Deut 4:6, 7, 8, 34; Ezek 37:22). 

As already noted, goy simply means “people group.” The Greek word ethnos (Strong’s G1484) as found in the Testimony of Yeshua is equivalent in meaning to the Hebrew word goy.

Isaiah 1:4,They have forsaken YHVH.As a society, the West has forsaken its biblical heritage, and has turned its backs on YHVH. Not long ago, a popular bumper sticker read, “God Bless America.” Many want YHVH’s blessing, but how can he bless us when we have become an irreligious, amoral, irreverent, rebellious and hedonistic people? He will not bless wickedness! That bumper sticker instead should read, “Bless God America!” or perhaps even humbly beg, “Please God, bless America.” It is only when we begin blessing him through worshipping him and obeying him that he can then bless us. We will then show him by our righteous actions that we are not forsaking him. The Torah and the Prophets sections of Scripture all reveal that YHVH’s were conditional upon Israel’s obedience to Elohim. Curses were the result of disobedience. This is stated no more clearly than in Deuteronomy 28.

Isaiah 1:5–6, The whole head is sick … no soundness … putrefying sores. In general, This is the state of the political and spiritual leadership in America and other western nations. For a long time has been widely known that most politicians are power and money-hungry degenerates, crooks and liars. Now, thanks to the internet, it is being exposed, and it seems to be getting worse and worse as their degeneracy is now not only out in the open, but it’s being paraded in front of the people. In many cases, the same can be said of religious and business leaders as well as leading educators and entertainers.

Isaiah 1:7, Your land … is overcome by strangers. Two major issues are facing America and most other Western nations right now. These are the threat of Islam and the millions of illegal aliens have come or are coming into our land and are sucking its financial resources dry. Our political leaders would have us believe that this overwhelming incursion into our country is a blessing. But what does Isaiah have to say about this condition? For him, it is clearly a symptom of a sinful and cursed nation that has lost its divine favor.

Isaiah 1:10, You rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the Torah.Israel had become a spiritual Sodom. The sin of wicked Sodom was sexual depravity, specifically homosexuality and idleness and pride from living luxuriously and often at the expense of the poor (Ezek 16:49 cp. Jer 23:14). Is it possible that the Christian church’s forsaking of YHVH’s Torah (YHVH’s standards of righteousness) is directly related to the rise in the acceptance and even exaltation of sexual perversity in our nation?

Isaiah 1:14–15, Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates…many prayers I will not hear.Some Christian theologians cite verse 14 as proof that since YHVH expresses disdain of Israel’s feasts, this is proof that the his feasts have been done away. If this is the case, then so has prayer, since in the next verse YHVH expresses similar sentiments for their prayers. Obviously this is not the case since YHVH views both of these spiritual activities favorably throughout the rest of Scripture. Rather, it is the sinful and hypocritical heart of is people that have corrupted his feasts and prayer that he is against. They are no longer his feasts, but their perverted feasts or holidays! As such, they are meaningless to him.

Isaiah 1:14, Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates.To whose new moons and feasts is YHVH referring? His set-apart Torah feasts that he divinely revealed to Israel at Sinai, or YHVH’s feasts that men had corrupted or changed through syncretism with pagan religious customs, thus desecrating those things which were pure and set-apart and then turning them into paganized holidays contemptible to YHVH? Has the Christian church exchanged YHVH’s biblical feasts for man-made celebration or holidays of dubious—definitely not biblical—origins?

Isaiah 1:15, Your hands are full of blood.YHVH is talking here to the nation of Israel, his people, and not to the world. How many believers are guilty of infanticide through the acts of abortion and various birth control methods (such as the IUD and “the pill”), which result in the murder of the unborn? Those who have practiced this and who have not repented of their sin, YHVH says he will not hear their prayers!

Isaiah 1:17, Relieve the oppressed. Numerous passages in Scripture reveal the Father’s concern for the oppressed, the fatherless and the widows. Does your love for others stop at the front door of your house or your congregation? We are duty bound by the Word of YHVH to be charitable toward this class of people. The Torah even commands Israelites to help the poor through what the Jewish sages call the third tithe (Deut 14:28). The poor include the Levites (those who instructed Israel in the ways of YHVH), the stranger, the fatherless and the widow (Deut 26:12). What did Yeshua teach about helping those in need who are our neighbors? (See Luke 10:25–36; please note Yeshua’s command to you and me in verse 37; Matt 25:31–46.) What did the apostles have to say about this? (See Jas 1:27; 1 John 3:17–18.) When was the last time you reached out to the needy in the love of Yeshua with your time, talent or treasure?

Isaiah 1:18, Though your sins be as scarlet. Though the words of the prophets are uncompromising with regard to the evils of sin and the punishment that will befall the unrepentant of heart, the message of YHVH’s grace and forgiveness comes through loudly and clearly time and again! What must YHVH’s people do to receive that heavenly mercy? (See verses 19 and 20.)

Isaiah 1:19–20, Willing and obedient … refuse and rebel.Nearly all of YHVH’s judgments are conditional and are based on the response of the recipient to the message of YHVH’s prophets to repent and return to Torah. These two verses have applied to all of us at some point in our spiritual walk, and will continue to apply to us from time to time has we have to make choices to obey YHVH, or to obey the dictates of the world, flesh and the devil. What do these verses reveal about the end consequences of the choices we make? Compare this with what YHVH reveals through Moses’ writings in Deuteronomy 11:26–28 and 30:15–20.

Isaiah 1:21, The faithful city become a whore. How does a righteous city or nation that obeys the instructions and teachings of YHVH become a whore? How can this idea be applied in our day to a modern-day nation, such as America, and to religious systems, such as Christianity? Relate this to YHVH’s admonition to his people in Revelation 18:4 to exit religious or spiritual Babylon. What is spiritual Babylon that “his people” are a part of?

Isaiah 1:22, Your silver [kesef] has become dross [waste, refuse, impurity]. Silver is the Hebrew word kesef (Strong’s H3701) meaning “money.” Isaiah could be referencing the state of Israel’s economic system that, due to Israel’s turning from the paths of righteousness, had brought a curse upon itself and had gone from a lender nation to a debtor nation. Indeed, Deuteronomy 28:44 states that indebtedness (and by inference, economic inflation and the devaluation of a nation’s money) would be the result of a nation that has turned away from YHVH’s righteous biblical standards. Has this happened in America? Silver is also a biblical symbol for spiritual redemption. This same verse speaks of the wine being diluted. In Hebraic thought, wine is a picture of the Torah. In Christian thought, wine is a picture of the blood of Yeshua. Indeed, the mainstream church in the West has a skewed and watered down view of the Torah which defines sin and righteousness. Without a full understanding of these, one cannot fully appreciate the blood of Yeshua through which one is redeemed from the curse of sin.

Isaiah 1:23, Your princes are rebellious.In ancient Israel, the princes were the governmental and judicial leaders of the nation. In biblical Hebraic thought, the idea of rebellion involves turning away from YHVH’s Torah or instructions in righteousness. In our day, very few political leaders and judges live by and govern according to principles found in the Word of YHVH.

Isaiah 1:24–27, The state of the nation was not hopeless. Despite all of the divine judgements that Israel would have to go through, YHVH was still in the background directing everything. Ultimately, a remnant would emerge from this fiery furnace of adversity and return to him penitently, so that he could redeem them and return them to their promised land. The Almighty Elohim has always been the source of Israel’s hope, and remains so to this day. Spiritual revival will occur out of adversity once again, for the book of Revelation speaks of great multitude that will come out of the great tribulation of the last days just prior to the second coming (Rev 7:9, 14). What are you doing to light the fires of revival in your life, and in your family, and in your spiritual community? If enough small fires of revival are started, a difference can be made world wide, thus helping to prepare the way for Messiah to come.

Isaiah 1:28, Transgressors…sinners. These are the Hebrew words chatta and pasha which describe two types of sin. Respectively they refer to “revolting from Elohim’s law” and “missing the mark or deviating from Elohim’s law.” Each shows a different condition of the heart. The first is outright rebelliousness, while the second is moral and spiritual weakness.


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