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Sabbath School Lessons on Isaiah
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: Desire of Nations *
Introduction: Are you troubled about the terrible things you read in
the newspapers and see on television? Is there any end in sight to
the problem of sin? If there is, what is it? Looking down the long
ages of earth's history, Isaiah reveals God's ultimate solution to
the sin problem. Let's dive into our study and find out about God's
- The Problem
- Read Isaiah 59:1-2. Isaiah writes about God's arms and
God's ears. What do God's "arms" symbolize? (A person
works with their arms. This is a reference to the power of
- What, then, does it mean for God to have "short
arms?" (God lacks the power to get the job done.)
- What do God's ears symbolize? (A person hears with
his ears. This is a reference to God's ability to
- What, then, does it mean for God to have "dull
ears?" (It means God lacks the ability to hear
- What do these two verses suggest is the real problem
and what do these verses suggest is a false
description of the problem? (The real problem
separating God from humans is human sin and not any
lack of power or perception on God's part.)
- The next two verses continue to describe the sins of the
people. Read Isaiah 59:5-6. What is a "viper?" (A snake.)
- What do snakes represent in the Bible? (Sin and
Satan. Compare Genesis 3:13-15 with Revelation 12:9-10 and Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10.)
- The people described here ( Isaiah 59:5) "hatch
the eggs of vipers." This seems symbolic. What
do you think it symbolizes? (That these people
produce sins. If snakes represent Satan and sin,
then the eggs of snakes seem to represent the
reproduction of sin.)
- What do you think it means to "eat" the egg of a
snake? (To accept the influence of sinners. One
group is producing sin and the other group is
accepting that sin into their lives.)
- What is an "adder?" (Another type of snake.)
- In my experience, you have to break an egg to
eat it. At the same time, if you break an egg
prematurely, nothing is ever hatched. It never
comes alive. Does the last half of verse 5 make
any sense to you? (Again we have the symbolism
of "eating" the snake's egg - which means to
accept the sin. Accepting sin into your life
results in you becoming a snake. Sinners
reproduce sin in others.)
- What is the purpose ( Isaiah 59:6) of a spider's web?
(To catch something to kill and eat.)
- Why would Isaiah suggest that you can't use a
spider's web for clothing? (This may again be a
reference to Genesis 3:6-10. Sin can never make
us whole. Sin can never make us right. Sin can
never give us peace. Sin is only a trap that
- The Promise
- Let's skip down a few verses. Read Isaiah 59:15b-16. What
was God's conclusion about the sinful nature of humans?
(He was not happy about it. He decided that someone must
do something about sin.)
- Who did God find to intervene against the sin
problem? (Himself! That "arm" that we discussed
earlier in Isaiah 59:1 was not too short to "work
- Read Isaiah 59:17. What other verses in the Bible come to
mind when you read this?
- Read Ephesians 6:13-17.
- Read 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
- Isaiah 59 speaks about God pulling on the breastplate
of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. How did
we (the evil people we discussed above) get to that
point in Ephesians and 1 Thessalonians that we could
put on God's powerful spiritual armor?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. In Isaiah 59:16 God was
looking for someone to intervene against sin. Who ended up
intervening for us? (In Isaiah 59 the suggestion is that
God intends to intervene for us. 1 Thessalonians makes it
very clear that Jesus is the member of the Godhead who
intervened and made it possible for us to receive
salvation by faith.)
- Read Isaiah 61:1. Who do you think is speaking here? Of
what does this remind you? (Read Luke 4:16-21. We find
Jesus reading this in the synagogue and then stating that
it refers to Him! This is further evidence that Jesus is
the One who intervened on our behalf against sin.)
- How did Jesus "release prisoners" and give "freedom"
to "captives?" (He freed us from eternal death - the
penalty for our sins.)
- Read Isaiah 61:2. Given the background of human
sinfulness, and God's decision to intervene to save us,
what do you think are the "year of the Lord's favor" and
the "day of vengeance of our God?"
- Read Isaiah 61:3. When will this happen? (When the final
chapter of our earth's history comes to an end. This is
the conclusion to God's intervention on our behalf against
sin. Jesus came to earth, and by His life and death He
released us from sin. If we accept what He has done for
us, we enter into His favor and enjoy the blessings of
verse 3 eternally. If we reject Him, then we are destroyed
in the day of His vengeance.)
- The Fulfillment
- Read Isaiah 62:10. Add the commands of verse 10 to the
promises we just studied. What do you think is taking
place? What is going on? (Someone wants to make it easy
for newcomers to show up. They hustle people through the
gates, they fix up the roads, they remove stones that
might stub visitors' toes, they hoist a big "Welcome" sign
over the city.)
- Read Isaiah 62:11. Who is coming? You or Jesus? (Verse 10
says "prepare the way for the people." Verse 11 says,
"See, your Savior comes." It seems that both the saved and
Jesus are coming to the city.)
- Let's add Isaiah 62:12 to our discussion. Does this
clarify who is coming? (No commentary that I read seemed
to agree with me, but I think the key is in the last part
of verse 11: "His reward is with Him and His recompense
accompanies Him." I think these verses have a parallel
symbolism. On one hand we prepare for Jesus to come again.
On the other hand, the New Jerusalem in Heaven prepares
for our arrival. The "reward" and "recompense" seem to be
the reward and recompense of Jesus. The redeemed are the
reward and recompense of Jesus. Therefore, I see a picture
of us getting ready for Jesus to come to earth again and
then the New Jerusalem getting ready for Jesus(and us!)to
arrive. We come as new citizens!)
- Read Isaiah 60:18. We are jumping around a bit in Isaiah,
but I think we are staying on the same topic. Are we
inside a city here? (Yes. It seems so because the text
refers to walls and gates.)
- Why would you call walls "salvation" and
gates,"praise?" (Because they are saving you from bad
things happening outside the walls and gates.)
- Is it possible to understand this text without
any literal walls or gates? (Yes. That your
salvation and praise are what protect you from
bad things "outside.")
- Read Isaiah 60:19-20. Does this sound like a real, live
city to you?
- Have you ever heard someplace else in the Bible of
this idea of Jesus being the light of the city? (Read
Revelation 21:22 through 22:5. John the Revelator is
clearly describing the New Jerusalem in Heaven. This
teaches us that Isaiah is writing about the New
- Friend, God has used His powerful "arm" to intervene to
save you. Will you repent and accept His offer of
salvation? As we have seen, God has a new and wonderful
home for those who accept His offer!
- Next week: Rebirth of Planet Earth.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.