I have most recently been reading the Old Testament and considering the exiled Israel nation. For years it has been my belief that the 21st Century church should read the prophecies of the Old Testament as if written with them in mind. Because Christ tells us we are “grafted” in to the nation of Israel (see Romans), as I read Isaiah, I continually see the church and often most specifically America. When I read Israel, I see America. When I read Jerusalem and Zion (the holy cities of Israel), I see Christ’s Church.
The nation of Israel felt deserted by God more than once. Of course, it was always because they had turned away from Him, not because He left them. They continually turned away, cried out and turned back. Over and over again they repeated this cycle until God finally allowed their enemies to take them into exile in a foreign country.
As I read Isaiah, I see so many similarities for the church today. The church plays at following Christ, much like the Israelites claimed to be the chosen people of God while they turned their attention to the gods of the nations around them. The church is declining and can’t understand why. Watch the Israelites lose battles, face drought and famine and have their lives devastated by their enemies wondering where God is.
It’s time for the church to cry out to God again. I invite you to read the book of Isaiah with 21st Century eyes. For instance, today I read Isaiah 62. Here is the interpretation that I saw as I read:
The church is now a grafted in part of Zion and Jerusalem. So, for the sake of His Church, the Lord will not keep silent. He will fight for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn and her salvation is as bright as a blazing fire. Everyone around her will witness her righteousness and God will give her a new name (Unless, I wonder, if CHURCH is the new name He has given to Israel, Zion & Jerusalem) The church is God’s crown of splendor in the hand of our Creator. She will no longer be deserted or desolate. Instead she will be Christ’s delight and His bride.
In turn, the leaders of the church should not rest until Christ’s Kingdom is established in her midst. Her leaders should cry out to God and not give Him any peace until the church is the praise of the earth. God has promised to bless His church. He has sworn that our enemies will not win and that Christ will bring the church’s reward. Prepare the way for the people, they are coming back. Remove all the barriers to God’s place. Put up a flag so the exiled know where God’s city is. All those who enter will be called God’s Holy People.