February 21, 2010
We are living in some tremendous and exciting days as we see God's hand at work against evil. Man continues to try to develop and build in areas without even considering the laws of God, let alone abiding by them. We now have a president who is openly opposing all that Christianity has stood for the past several hundred years.
In every area: the economy, education, political, national, family, vocation, religious, judicial, whatever we can name, rebellious man has sought to build apart from God. All we need to do is look around us to see all of these areas coming apart. The godless answers that might have worked in the past are failing as these areas crumble.
As Christians, this crumbling should cause us to rejoice because we know from Scripture that the falling of these man-made areas is a sure sign of God's sovereignty and justice. He is shaking to their very foundation all areas that are built without Him. (Isa 26:9, pray for the anti god areas to fall)
This law of God's shaking against sin is found in many places in His word, but the one we want to look at is Isaiah 13:10-13. Shaking is a common figure of speech in Scripture, and refers to the Lord's movement against sin. Isaiah shows us that God's shaking is unavoidable, and represents His judgment against the sins of the inhabitants of the world.
First, lets establish the OT meaning of the word shake.
Isa 13:13, shake...
Its primary meaning is to quake or shake, from which we get the idea of shaking in anger, fear or anticipation. From its range of usages, it is clear that the term quake or shake refers to the agitation itself, and the underlying emotion which causes the quaking or shaking can only be recognized from the context of the word.
Shake or quake can describe the literal quaking of the earth as in 1 Sam 14:15, but more often "quaking" is a poetic expression such as the quaking of the mountains before the thunderstorm which marks the Lord's coming; the heavens and earth are shaken to the foundations because of His wrath, Ps 18:7, Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
Shake or quake is a term used to express the trembling of the world's inhabitants before God's appearance in judgment, Isa 64:2, As [when] the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, [that] the nations may tremble at thy presence!
Joel 2:1, Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for [it is] nigh at hand; ("To cause to shake.")
Shaking may express the idea of disturbing or giving unrest, Jer 50:34, Their Redeemer [is] strong; the LORD of hosts [is] his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
Often the term shake or quake is used as a symbol of God's movement against sin in His wrath. Shake and tremble speak of some kind of violent activity, but not necessarily a literal shaking.
In Isaiah 5:25 and 13:13, tremble and shake speak of the overthrow of all systems which are against King Jesus and His law-word. This overthrow does not have to be a physical shaking. In fact, the overwhelming evidence is that this overthrow is not the result of a physical shaking; rather, the trembling and shaking describes God's action which causes the crumbling of all systems that are in rebellion against Him and His law.
Isaiah 5:25, the hills did tremble identifies the movement of the Lord in judgment against HIS sinful people as they reap what they have sown contrary to the word of God (1 John 3:4, Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. Isa 5:25b, But his hand is stretched out still, describes His hope of their repentance, Rom 2:4-11.
Isaiah 13:13, shaking of the heavens and earth describes the action of God against the wicked of the whole world, v. 11. When we compare Isa 5:25 and Isa 13:13, we see that God's movement against the ungodly world is more violent than His movement against His people. (In 5:25, the hills did tremble; whereas, in 13:13, I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place...) In Joel 2:10, we see that the more violent God's movement against sin, the more affect on nature it is likened to.
Isaiah 14:16, the king of Babylon, who is called by the Lord Lucifer or son of the morning, overthrew the nations of the world. He didn't cause earthquakes as such; rather, he overthrew all people, kingdoms and societies in his attempt to overthrow God Himself (we can read an outline of his efforts in Ps 2). This pagan king's action against God is identified as causing the earth to tremble and kingdoms to shake. When this wicked king of Babylon is laid to rest in death, the whole earth is considered at rest, 7, 8. The president is causing the earth to tremble as he is overthrowing all godly order which is left in America.
Thus we see that God describes the overthrow of one order by another as a shaking or trembling, whether it is the ungodly overthrowing the godly or the godly overthrowing the ungodly. And the overthrow can be either violent or non-violent.
But even though the kings and rulers of this world are causing the world to shake and tremble, the Lord of Host is in control; King Jesus is the great SHAKER of the world as He works all things according to the predetermined counsel of His own will, Acts 4:28, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
The next word in Isaiah 13:13 is remove. Though it is remove here in v. 13, the overwhelming usage elsewhere is shake or tremble - quaking, rattling. The word remove of Isa 13:13 is used overwhelmingly in contexts describing God's sovereignty over the physical world. The passages using Isaiah's word for remove (13:13) speak primarily of God's movement, in His wrath and sovereignty, in judgment against sin, 2 Samuel 22:8, Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
There are many varieties of subjects used with the word remove: Haggai 2:6, 7, heaven, earth and the Gentile nations are to be shaken by God; in other passages, such as Joel 2:10, the earth shall quake.. the heavens shall tremble...
Jeremiah 8:16 (The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein.) & Ez 26:10, identifies the movement of God's rod of chastisement against His sinful people as a trembling. Furthermore, the Lord's rod of chastisement which He uses against His people is the pagan, God-hating nations (army).
Jer 4:24, (I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.), tells us that a result of God's judgment was the trembling of the hills.
Jer 49:21 (The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea.) uses the term the earth is moved & Ez 26:15, (Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?) uses the isles shake to describe the fall of the nations.
Therefore, the greater the nation in military, political and economic strength, the greater the fall, and the greater the shaking that is required to bring it down.
And we are seeing a lot of shaking today.
All things are shaken in terms of hearing and doing the words of our Lord as given on both mounts, Sinai and the one of Mat 5. Therefore, those who have heard and are doing the word of the Lord are kept safe in this great shaking of all the powers of heaven and earth, 1 Chronicles 17:9. (moved no more... is referring to the safety which is in Christ.)
We have seen that an army on the move is compared to a shaking, and
The fall of nations is also compared with a shaking, so we are brought to a thought in Ezekiel 37:7: the word shaking (07394) is a derivative of the word remove of Isa 13:13 (07493). The implication is that it is the judgement (or shaking, moving, trembling) of God against sin both inside and outside of the church which will unite His people as a mighty army for the cause of Christ.
Joel 1 (vs. 6, 15), clearly speaks of the heathen nations doing the will of their Commander and Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joel 3:15, 16, 17 (p1029) (shake is the same word as remove in Isa 13:13, quaking, rattling.) When Joel 3:16, 17, is compared with Hebrews 12:22, the implication is of the wicked falling before the power of the Gospel which goes out from the New Mount Zion, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, it implies that as the law-word of God is proclaimed from the NT Church under the mighty power of the Spirit of God, the ungodly nations are overthrown (cf. 1 Cor 1:18; 2:5); that overthrowing of the nations by the word of God is compared to a great shaking.
Now, note the order of the context: before Joel 3:16, 17, takes place, Joel 2:28 takes place. In Acts 2:16, 17, Peter plainly tells the Israelites that what they are seeing and experiencing at the first preaching of the gospel was the fulfillment of Joel 2:28. Thus, if we stay with the context, Joel chapter 3 is speaking of the time after the time Peter spoke. We are living in the last days as discribed by Joel, Paul and Christ! It is a time for warfare against wickedness and ungodliness, and that warefare must be carried on by preaching the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim 3:1; He 1:2).
Our last OT reference is Haggai 2:6, 7, 21 (p 1057). I will shake... speaks of God shaking everything which opposes His Kingdom. The result of God's shaking will be that all will be subdued to the King of kings and to the Kingdom of God.
Now to make an important connection.
Heaven, earth and the Gentile nations are to be shaken by God, Haggai 2:6, 7 (which is the same word as Isaiah uses in 13:13 - remove). The author of Hebrews quotes this passage in Haggai 2, in Hebrews 12:25, 26. Therefore, we need to look at it as it is tied to Isaiah 13:13. The shaking of Heb 12 describes Jehovah God's movement in history against sin as He overthrows all opposition to the Lord and his Christ.
The word shake in the NT means: of the motion produced by winds, storms, waves, etc. to agitate or shake...; to cause to totter... The present order of things subject to vicissitude and decay... to shake thoroughly,.. b. to shake down, overthrow...
This an overview of the uses of the word shake in the NT:
1. Shake speaks of the firmness of the individual in their call by God and in His word, Matthew 11:7. Firmness (not shaken) includes not being swayed by circumstances, 2 Thes. 2:2. This is interesting because a large portion of modern theology is formulated according to world events. Paul here forbids God's people to be influenced by their circumstances of the day when they interpret Scriptures. Interpretation must be formulated only by comparing Scripture with Scripture, then Scripture is to be applied to circumstances.
2. Shake speaks of God's tremendous judgement against sin and unbelief, Mark 13:25 (Cf.Matthew 24:29). These passages clearly speak of God's wrath being poured out without measure or dilution against the ones who put His Son to death. This was by Rome in 70 A.D.
3. Shake speaks of the falling of all things which are not built on the solid foundation of hearing and doing the words of Christ, the Great I AM of the wilderness Who met Moses, Luke 6:48; this falling of all man-made institutions and authorities creates fear in the hearts of men, Luke 21:26.
4. Shake speaks of a literal shaking in response to a moving by God, Acts 4:31.
5. This last usage of the word shake is the one that makes the connection with the OT principle of shaking: Hebrews 12:26, 27. As the author of Hebrews quotes Haggai 2:6, he brings the meaning of the word as used in the OT forward to the NT.
The shaking of He 12:26, 27, speaks of God's removal of all things that are contrary to His word; it refers to the overthrow of all powers and authorities which are in opposition to the Kingdom of God, and the exaltation of His Kingdom and its King.
Paul clearly tells us in Romans 1:18, that God's wrath from heaven is against all men who are against His revealed truth (cf. Rom 2 & Ps 2). Shaking refers to the falling of all things which are built upon anything other than God's truth, Luke 6:47, 48.
God's wrath in action as judgment against the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4) which causes these works of men to crumble, is identified as shaking. It includes a physical shaking, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, but it speaks primarily of the falling of governments, nations, societies, powers and authorities which are against the Lord and His Christ, Ephesians 1:21. History shows a correlation between literal earthquakes and the collapse of worldly powers which are in rebellion against God, 1 Samuel 14:15.
And we are seeing mighty earthquakes in unusual places today.
A conclusion for us:
Hebrews 12:24, 27, 28, speaks of the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon the heart which provides the grace of God to stand for Him: Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (v. 28) For our God is a consuming fire.
It is important to note where this verse 28 is placed in Hebrews chapter 12. It is attached on the end of God's warning of the great shaking coming upon the earth which shakes the whole earth. This shaking is so terrible that everything which is not built upon hearing and doing the word of God will be thrown down and consumed by our God, v. 29. Thus, the grace of God is supplied to the hearts of the believers so that they may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear in the days of terrible shaking.
Godly fear... the location of this statement is important. It is in the days of the terrible shaking of v. 27. Thus, the "terrors" taking place around them as all of man made society collapse is not to cause the elect fear. They have the grace to remain true to and fearful of God and not man.
The blood of Christ is certainly for redemption and eternal life (a secondary benefit), but primarily the blood is for empowered service to the KING. Note the context of Heb 12:27, 28. Hebrews 12 presents the fact that if one ignores or does not live up to what is expected of him as a servants of God, he can expect the chastening hand of God, v. 7. Why is God so harsh against His people who fail to endure the suffering and shame which the ungodly can place upon them? Because they have been provided with sufficient grace through the blood of Christ to stand, v. 28.
(Personal note and illustration: While in the Post Office one day [2/2/93], I overheard a woman complaining about her ill health. When someone ask her what was wrong, she said that she was suffering from burnout. She said that she was terribly depressed, and the doctors told her that she was still exhausted from Christmas. The application is obvious: Christianity is absent from society and the result is the lack of grace, or God's power to live from day to day.)
The conclusion that I want to draw here is this:
The world today is being shaken to its very foundation
everywhere we turn. But by the sprinkled blood of Christ upon
the heart, we have the grace to see us through anything and everything
that comes our way. It is ours to claim.