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Bible Gem 321 - Which passage is Paul quoting? (Isa 64:4)

April 8, 2019


Did you find it?. What is the Biblical reference that Paul is quoting? Yes indeed, it’s Isaiah 64:4.

Read it now in context; the whole passage


Oh, that You would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in Your presence! 

As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, Your coming would make the nations tremble. Then Your enemies would learn the reason for Your fame! 

When You came down long ago, You did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! 

For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him! 

You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But You have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

Yet no one calls on Your name or pleads with You for mercy. Therefore, You have turned away from us and turned us over to our sins

And yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay, and You are the potter. We all are formed by Your hand. 

Don't be so angry with us, LORD. Please don't remember our sins forever. Look at us, we pray, and see that we are all Your people. 

Your holy cities are destroyed. Zion is a wilderness; yes, Jerusalem is a desolate ruin. 

The holy and beautiful Temple where our ancestors praised You has been burned down, and all the things of beauty are destroyed. 

After all this, LORD, must You still refuse to help us? Will You continue to be silent and punish us? (Isa 64:1-12)  


Hey Paul could have written it himself. It is so like Paul’s writing. Do you think as one tutored by Gamaliel Paul knows about this passage? Of course he does. Let me remind you of the process of Beth Sepher, Beth Talmud and Beth Midrash. [Bible Gem 27, 68, 69] 

“The practices of the Rabbis: The Rabbis were trained in the House of the Book (Beth Sepher), the House of Interpretation (Beth Talmud) and the House of Allusion (Beth Midrash). In the House of the Book the student learned the book by rote until it was memorized. This means you have internalized the writings. Then in the House of Interpretation you were schooled in rightly handling the Word of God, knowing the interpretation of a passage and what all the great Rabbis said about it. In the House of Allusion you learned how to handle the subtle allusions made to portions of the Word by the use of interpretive storying. At any time, even in the Beth Sefer, the student was asked to recall a passage just from a one line reference or less. The student of the word had to know the word well. Then under Beth Midrash the student was taught to pick up on the subtle allusions, like Jesus used when referring to a short segment from the Old Testament, which was often sandwiched between the two verses that were quoted. Doing that meant you were supposed to lift the whole section out and interpret the Word in the light of that whole segment.” Gem 27


That is exactly what Paul is doing here. Take time now to think about 1 Cor 2:5-16 in the context of Isaiah 64. More tomorrow. 



We have to learn to worship wet. Judah Smith


Live each day like it's your last. One day you'll get it right.


It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher"  George Whitefield

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