Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How Many Isaiahs?

[ I composed this some time ago, and just realized I never published it. In this brief study I set forth my understanding of the authorship of Isaiah's prophecy.]

Time frame of Isaiah’s ministry:

Historical Setting:

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. (Isaiah 1:1)

Isaiah’s call during the reign of Uzziah (Isaiah 6:1-3)

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The Length of each King’s reign:

Uzziah (Azariah):

In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 15:1-2a)

Jotham:

In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 15:32-33a)

Ahaz:

In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. ( Kings 16:1-2a)

Hezekiah:

In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:1-2a)

The last historical mention of Isaiah is in the 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign as set forth in 2 Kings 18:13 - 20:21 and restated in Isaiah 36-39. Apocryphal tradition says that Isaiah was martyred by Hezekiah’s wicked son Mannasseh.

Conclusion:

Doing the math for the length of Isaiah’s ministry, by the time of Hezekiah’s 14th year, we come up with a total of 47 years of prophetic ministry up to that point. We do not know how old Isaiah was when he received his call to the prophetic ministry in that last year of Uzziah’s reign. That said, it is reasonable to think that by the 14th year of Hezekiah’s rule, Isaiah was very probably well over 60 some years old.

My hypothesis is that Isaiah had already written much of the first 39 chapters before that time of Hezekiah’s reign and finished up those chapters shortly after that point. Chapters 40-66 were then written in the remaining 15 years of Hezekiah’s reign. In other words the bulk of Isaiah 1-39 was written over the course of those 47 years of active ministry, and chapters 40-66 were the result of the Holy Spirit using Isaiah’s theological maturity and meditative reflection in his “retirement” years. There were “two Isaiah’s” but they were not different “Isaiahs”; they were the same person at different periods in his life.

We are given good reason in Isaiah 39 to believe those last fifteen years of Hezekiah’s reign and life were relatively peaceful and tranquil. We read in verse 8 that Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my days.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas, Culture, & the State

Christmas with its celebration of the Incarnation doesn't depend on any local, state, or federal government approval, participation, or recognition. I don't expect non-Christians or a predominantly materialistic secular culture to celebrate Christmas in the same way I do. Let's say the US, government decrees Christmas is no longer a national holiday. That doesn't make it any less of a traditional holy day of celebration for the Church and for Christian believers.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Resident Aliens

"The church exists today as resident aliens, an adventurous colony in a society of unbelief. As a society of unbelief, Western culture is devoid of a sense of journey, of adventure, because it lacks belief in much more than the cultivation of an ever-shrinking horizon of self-preservation and self-expression."

"Resident Aliens"; Hauerwas & Willimon; (1989, Abingdon Press); pg. 49

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Neo-Barbarianism

"Barbarians are people without historical memory. Barbarianism is the real meaning of radical contemporaneity. Released from all authoritative pasts, we progress towards barbarianism, not away from it."

Philip Rieff as quoted by Rod Dreher in The Benedict Option"; pg. 154

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Glennallen, Alaska Cemetery

The Cemetery (5)

To See America

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Photos and video clips from our recent trip to Alaska set to Simon & Garfunkel's "America".

Memory Trigger

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She wore the wrinkles of time well. There was a certain beauty in the pattern of those lines. She went to the booth where an equally elderly man and a younger couple were sitting. The others got up and were preparing to leave. The elderly man was wearing a service cap. There was that word. "Vietnam"... He needed a little help from the younger guy. He was using a cane and walking was slow. I got up from the bench and went to great him. "You were in Vietnam?" "Yes..." "Which service?" "Cavalry... mechanized..." "I'm glad you made it home." "Yes... Thank you..." He shuffled on out of the restaurant. The younger lady, daughter or daughter in-law I do not know turned to me in passing and said, "Thank you..." I sat back down and then the familiar feelings started coming.... Yeah... Some griefs will never go away.

RIP.

Glennallen, Alaska: August 2, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

None of the above

What comes to my mind is Isaiah’s “a voice crying in the wilderness.” It was my Evangelical faith that drove me to “None of the above” in the 2016 Presidential election. I was part of that 5+% of voters that in voting 3rd party, denied both Clinton and Trump a majoriy of the popular vote. Yes, Clinton won the plurality, but she did not get the 50+% of total vote that defines a majority. I took a certian amount of heat from some of my Evangelical friends for doing so, and I was clearly in the minority among them in my “crying in the wilderness”. You may think it to much for me to say that I saw the nominations of both Trump and Clinton as a sign of God's judgement upon a materialistic and decadent secular society and culture that is reaping the whirlwind of its self-centered choices.

I was greatly disturbed when some evangelical leaders publically supported Trump and effectively “campaigned” for him. It is my sense that in doing so, the truth of the Gospel was compromised for a “bowel of pottage” of supposed “access and influence”. The prophetic voice of the American Church was compromised, and there were very few “John the Baptist”s to be a prophetic voice to the modern “Herod”s of our time. But though few, there were some who did.

I am not a fan of “pop evangelicalism” and a lot of what goes on under the broad umbrella of that term. But I am and will remain theologically Evangelical. Politically I am a person without a party, and as such, feel more keenly Peter’s description of the Christian as an “exile” and “sojourner” in this world.