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Bible Insights

A Light to the World

Jesus Comes for Everyone: All Nations, All People

The phrases God’s people, the chosen ones, the chosen, and other similar references appear in multiple places throughout the Old Testament. This designation certainly makes the Jewish people feel special. After all, God chose them to be his people.

This must mean he likes them better than everyone else. Or to extend this thought a bit further, it must mean he doesn’t like any of the other nations as much.

It’s easy for God’s people to assume that he loves them and hates everyone else. Therefore, when God’s prophets tell of rescue, salvation, and favor, the Hebrew people (the Jews) surely assume he directs his words to them, his chosen ones. They are in, and everyone else is out.

A quick reading of the Old Testament supports this exclusive perspective. But if we slow down and read carefully, we see that God has a different point of view.

Yes, he wants a relationship with his chosen people, the Jews. But he also wants a relationship with everyone else, all nations and all people, regardless of their ethnicity or country of origin. He wants to be a light to the world. God is inclusive. Never forget this.

Jesus comes for everyone: all nations and all people. Click To Tweet

We first get a glimpse of this in Genesis. God says he will bless Abraham and through him God will, in turn, bless all nations. What will this blessing through Abraham look like?

We could interpret this as material blessing—and there is some argument for that—but a more enlightened understanding is that God wants to spiritually bless everyone through Abraham. Jesus, a direct descendant of Abraham, fulfills this by dying to make all people right with Father God.

We find this salvation for all nations repeated throughout the Old Testament. The Psalms mention it, along with several of the prophets: Jeremiah, Daniel, Joel, Obadiah, and Haggai.

But Isaiah leads them all in reminding God’s chosen people that he wants to save everyone, not just the Jews. This means Gentiles too. The Jews—through Jesus—will be a light to the Gentiles, a light to the world. I’m so glad to hear this because I’m a Gentile. I suspect you are too.

Jesus comes for everyone: all nations, all people—the Gentiles. He is s light to the world. And to make sure we don’t miss this, John’s epic revelation about the end times confirms that all nations will come to God and worship him.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 49-51 and today’s post is on Isaiah 49:6.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Going Home

We Should Embrace Our Homecoming to Eternity

After writing his psalms of praise to God, Isaiah continues the positivity by looking forward to the day when his people will receive deliverance from their enemies, about them going home.

Though the people view this as a physical rescue, many people today understand it as a spiritual one. In both cases we look forward to the time when we go home, either in body or in spirit.

Three times in Isaiah 27, he says, “in that day,” referring to God’s future rescue of his people, of them finally going home.

Each time, he uses this phrase to introduce a section of this prophecy, with the second part of three being the longest and most poetic. But it’s in the last section that we find a most encouraging proclamation.

On this long-anticipated day of deliverance, the trumpet call will reverberate throughout the land. God’s people living in exile will return home. Some have been languishing in Assyria, which conquered Israel in the middle of Isaiah’s ministry and deported many Israelites to Assyria.

Others sit exiled in Egypt. Though Jeremiah ends up there, it won’t be for another 150 years. His own people will drag him there as they flee Judea to avoid capture by the Babylonians.

It could be that Isaiah is looking forward in time, prophetically referring to Jeremiah and his crew. Or it could be that others have already fled to Egypt to escape the Assyrians. Regardless, this prophecy looks forward to when it’s time for them to return home.

When they come home, they’ll worship God on his holy mountain in Jerusalem. Imagine living far from home.

Then after years of longing to return to the country of your birth and your youth, you finally get a chance to go. And in this great homecoming, you worship God as the giver of this gift: your repatriation, both physically and spiritually.

In our spiritual homecoming, however, we’ll return to our Creator, spending eternity with him in heaven. What a glorious reunion our going home will be. We anticipate this in great expectation, and increasingly so for people as they grow older and their time to go home draws near.

A more tangible understanding of this homecoming appears in one of Jesus’s parables. We often call this The Parable of the Prodigal Son or The Lost Son.

After turning his back on his father and squandering his share of the inheritance on carnal pleasures, this young man realizes he needs to return home and seek his father’s forgiveness.

He slinks back in shame over what he has done with his life and how he disrespected his dad. He plans to grovel and ask for the smallest of mercies.

In our spiritual homecoming, we’ll return to our Creator and spend eternity with him in heaven. Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, his father has been scanning the horizon, watching for his son’s return for a long time. As soon as he spots him, Dad runs out to meet his boy, embracing him and kissing him. The father dismisses his boy’s request for forgiveness as irrelevant.

Instead, Dad reinstates his son as a member of the family, an heir to all he has. He throws a massive party in celebration of his boy’s return.

So it will be when we see Jesus in heaven, after the end of our time here on earth.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 25-27 and today’s post is on Isaiah 27:13.]

In our spiritual homecoming, we’ll return to our Creator and spend eternity with him in heaven.

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Branch of the Lord

Let God Prune Us So We Can Produce More Fruit

Isaiah looks forward to the day when the Branch of the Lord will appear. Branch, with a capital B, is a euphemism for Jesus, who will come to rescue God’s people.

Isaiah says this Branch will emerge as awesome and full of wonder, which is an understatement considering all that Jesus did, is doing, and will do. Jesus will produce fruit for the people. They will take pride in what the Branch produces and glory in it.

Jesus, the Branch of the Lord, will come for us, spiritually feeding us with his fruit: beautiful, wondrous fruit, the source of pride and glory.

Just as Jesus is the Branch, we are his branches, that’s branches with a lowercase b. We are branches connected to the Branch (which John calls the “true vine”).

But being a branch connected to the Branch isn’t enough. Having a mere connection with Jesus is insufficient. When we’re connected with the Branch of Jesus, we must bear fruit. And we must produce good fruit. That’s what Father God, our Papa, expects from us.

If we produce no fruit, God, our gardener, will cut off our branch. Yikes! He’ll lop us off. We’re not worthy of remaining connected to Jesus if we produce no fruit—if we do nothing for him. That’s a sobering truth.

We can’t pledge our allegiance to God and then coast through life unchanged. Click To Tweet

Having a connection with Jesus isn’t enough if it produces nothing. We can’t pledge our allegiance to him and then coast through life unchanged. He expects us to produce fruit because of our connection to him.

To further the analogy, every branch that produces fruit will eventually face pruning. This isn’t punishment. Instead, it’s a beneficial process that will allow us to produce even more fruit.

While an untrimmed tree will yield some fruit, a tree pruned properly will produce much more. God, our gardener, will prune us so that we can make even more fruit for him.

But to do this we must remain with God, connected to Jesus—the Branch of the Lord—and bearing fruit. Else we risk him cutting off our branch, throwing us into the fire, and having the flames consume us.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 1-4 and today’s post is on Isaiah 4:2.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

For Unto Us

40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah

In a world of distractions, this devotional Bible study on Isaiah reminds us where to put our focus and what this faithful prophet can teach us.

Isaiah’s powerful words in the Old Testament look forward to a time when the Messiah will come, the much-anticipated king who will rule over Israel.

Although Isaiah’s key message was directed toward the Israelites, his words still bring hope and comfort to a weary world today. For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah reminds us that Jesus not only came to dwell among us, but is still our wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, and prince of peace.

For Unto Us offers forty days of practical teaching and inspirational encouragement as we study the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah and their connection to Jesus and how we live today.

This devotional Bible study offers a compelling look at Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the Messiah—the promised one of Israel who brings hope and peace.

For Unto Us will help you to:

  • hold on to a strong faith when times are uncertain
  • foster a sense of awe of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished
  • pursue justice for the vulnerable
  • embrace the coming savior who will welcome all people of all nations
  • inform our life today for a better tomorrow

For Unto Us gives accessible and no-nonsense insights into God’s most prolific prophet. You’ll learn how to connect his writing to your life and apply his words to your world today. With practical application questions and additional resources, you’ll discover an amazing prophet whose words can still inspire us.

For Unto Us is a great resource for those searching for an accessible and clear devotional on Isaiah that won’t overwhelm. Open the pages of this book, and uncover the truths of Scripture that bring comfort and hope each day. 

Get your copy of For Unto Us today.

[For Unto Us was originally published at Dear Theophilus, Isaiah.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Jesus and Justice

Our Savior Came to Heal and to Save

After giving us four chapters of historical narrative, Isaiah shifts back to more prophecy. His future-focused look tells us about Jesus and justice.

Though Jesus is God’s Son, as our Savior—the Messiah—he is also God’s servant, who will come to earth in service of Father God to restore us into a right relationship with him. God chose Jesus to redeem his people, for God delights in him.

Under the power of God’s Spirit, the Messiah will champion justice. This justice isn’t only for the nation of Judah, but it’s for all nations—all people, everyone. This Savior will not proclaim his message with loud, boisterous words but with gentleness. He will protect the weak and encourage those who struggle.

Jesus

Jesus will faithfully promote justice, never wavering from his mission. Through his followers, both then and now, he will persist until he spreads justice throughout the whole world.

Centuries after Isaiah’s prophecy, when Jesus comes to earth, he will come to heal and to save. Today most people seek Jesus for his saving power, while two thousand years ago people came to him more for his healing power.

Where does justice fit into all this?

Justice

The people in the Old Testament expected that the promised Savior would come as a military leader to rescue them from their oppressors. They assumed he would be an actual king, in the line of King David, ushering in an era of justice.

They believed that at his arrival, the Jews would finally receive fair treatment meted out by a morally righteous leader. He would be true in all he does, governing his people with excellence and protecting them from the immoral oppression of ungodly leaders from opposing nations.

Many people today seek a Savior who will provide them with justice. They need Jesus. Click To Tweet

Most of us don’t see Jesus today as a physical Savior but as a spiritual Savior. However, throughout the world, many people struggle under the weight of oppressive regimes. They need physical deliverance. They seek the Savior who will provide them with justice. They need Jesus.

We all do.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 42-45 and today’s post is on Isaiah 42:1.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

An Astounding Turnaround for Egypt

Isaiah’s Shocking Prophecies about the Nation of Egypt

Isaiah often mentions the nation of Egypt in his prophecies. Egypt appears in the book of Isaiah forty-three times. Many, but not all, of these mentions relate to judgment and punishment. In a surprising passage, Isaiah looks forward to the day when Egypt will openly and intentionally embrace God as their Lord.

In the time between Isaiah’s prophecy and now, I’m not aware of this spiritual turnaround having happened. And it certainly isn’t the situation today. We’re still waiting for this prophecy’s fulfillment. That means we anticipate a future time when Egypt will turn to God and fear him as their true Lord.

Looking forward, Isaiah sees this coming age when the people of Egypt will erect an altar to God in the heart of their country. In addition, they will place a monument honoring him on their border. This will serve as a witness to all regarding the Lord Almighty. Egypt will pursue a state-sanctioned embrace of biblical God.

Also, they will worship God with sacrifices, grain offerings, and vows. And they won’t make their promises in haste. Rather, they’ll honor the pledges they make to the Lord God.

How Will This Come to Be?

Isaiah says that Egypt will face a time of oppression. They will call out to God for help. He will send them a savior, a defender, a rescuer. Though this opposition could come from a foreign power, it could also come from above. Isaiah says that God will strike the Egyptians with the plague.

Remember, he did this before to get their attention. He sent them ten plagues of increasing severity so that Egypt would give God’s enslaved people their freedom. (Read about Moses and Egypt’s plagues in Exodus 6–12.)

God will reveal himself to them, and they will accept him as their Lord. Click To Tweet

In the future, God will send one more plague, which will hit Egypt hard. But then he will hear their pleas for help, respond to their agony, and heal them from their affliction. He will save them, defend them, and rescue them.

In this way, he will reveal himself to them. And they will accept him as their Lord.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 18-20 and today’s post is on Isaiah 19:19.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Peter DeHaan Releases Second Box Set

The Dear Theophilus series Books 1 through 5

The first five books in the popular Dear Theophilus series are now available in a convenient e-book box set. This Dear Theophilus box set includes:

  • Dear Theophilus: A 40-Day Devotional Exploring the Life of Jesus through the Gospel of Luke
  • Dear Theophilus Acts: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church
  • Dear Theophilus Isaiah: 40 Prophetic Insights about Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles
  • Dear Theophilus Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope
  • Dear Theophilus Job: 40 Insights About Moving from Despair to Deliverance

In Dear Theophilus Books 1–5: Exploring Luke, Acts, Isaiah, Job, and the Minor Prophets, lifetime student of the Bible and ABibleADay.com founder, Peter DeHaan, PhD., digs deep into the beloved Gospel of Luke to unearth 40 thought-provoking gems that can inform your beliefs and transform your life.

Next, he builds on that foundation by exploring 40 more jewels from the book of Acts.

Then, he examines Isaiah, the Minor Prophets, and the book of Job for 120 more nuggets of gold.

In this five-book box set treasure, you’ll discover:

  • The way Luke viewed God, and how his view might change your view
  • How Jesus’s followers in Acts met daily in people’s homes and public spaces, which ignited church growth
  • The parallels between the books of Isaiah and Revelation, about peace, woe, and salvation
  • The Minor Prophets’ place in the biblical timeline—because the Bible doesn’t list them chronologically
  • How the book of Job resembles a play and the way that can enlighten our understanding of suffering, Satan, and God’s sovereignty.

The Dear Theophilus series explores Scripture like you’ve never seen before. It’s part devotional, part bible study, and fully life changing.

Explore the powerful way the words of these books of the Bible can speak to you today, as you increase your understanding and grow in faith.

In Dear Theophilus Books 1–5, you’ll encounter eye-opening insights from passages you thought were familiar. Find fresh truths as you gain a broader appreciation of what the Bible says and how this ancient book is still relevant for us today.

Ideal for both individual and group study, these books includes Scripture references and questions inviting further discussion.

Get the Dear Theophilus Books 15 box set today to deepen your understanding of Jesus and his church.

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Bible Insights

Do You Have Peace Like a River?

Isaiah Talks about Peace More Than Any Other Book in the Bible

Isaiah talks a lot about peace, mentioning it more than any other book in Scripture. One-tenth of the Bible’s references to peace occur in this one book. That’s a lot of peace in one place. And God is the source of this peace, peace like a river.

Isaiah’s most notable mention about peace concerns Jesus, declaring that he will be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6–7). This passage opens with the familiar line, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given (KJV). This Son (of God) will rule over us and his peace-filled reign will last forever.

Most of Isaiah’s passages about peace look forward to a time of future peacefulness. He talks about resting in peace, enjoying perfect peace, and living in peace. God calls his people to make peace with him. And he promises that peace will be the outcome of righteous living. Death for God’s people will usher us into eternal peace.

God will create peace for his people. And we are to proclaim peace as we promote the good news of God’s salvation (Isaiah 52:7). It’s a beautiful thing.

An oft-quoted one-liner about peace is God saying, “There’s no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 52:7 and Isaiah 57:21, NIV). Isaiah writes this twice, so we’d better not miss it.

Peace Like a River

And last, but significant, Isaiah writes, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river” (Isaiah 48:18, NIV). This is one of two verses about peace like a river (the other is Isaiah 66:12), which inspired a classic hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” (sometimes called “When Peace Like a River”). It praises God for the amazing peace he provides. And let’s not forget about the more contemporary chorus, “I’ve Got Peace like a River.”

We can find true peace from God here on earth now, and after that we’ll enjoy peace with him forever. Click To Tweet

We can find true peace from God here on earth now, and after that we’ll enjoy peace with him forever.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 46-48, and today’s post is on Isaiah 48:18.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Do You Believe God’s Message?

Faith Comes from Hearing God’s Message About Jesus and Believing in Him

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet asks, “Who has believed God’s message?” Isaiah then goes on to prophetically proclaim what Jesus will do. He will suffer and die for us, sheep that have wandered off. He will take upon himself the punishment for our mistakes (Isaiah 53).

Who will believe this?

In Isaiah’s time, few believe what he says, what God says through him. Though they have reason to place their hope in God and the Savior he promised to send, most of them don’t. They reject Isaiah’s words and the God who sent him.

We see this phrase from the book of Isaiah quoted twice in the New Testament. Both John and Paul refer to this passage.

John Quotes Isaiah

John repeats this verse from Isaiah to remind his readers that the Jews—or at least most Jews—still weren’t believing God’s promise. And they weren’t seeing Jesus as the fulfillment of that promise (John 12:38). Some things never change.

Paul Quotes Isaiah

Later, in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he gives the people there a brief history lesson. He reminds them that not all the Israelites accepted God’s promise of a future Savior. The Jews rejected God then, just as some of them continue to reject him. Though God will continue to extend his offering to his people, other nations will find him too (Romans 10:16-21).

Do we believe God’s message, about Jesus who came to save us? Click To Tweet

Do We Believe Today?

What is our response to God’s good news today? Do we believe God’s message about Jesus who came to save us? Though we fall short of God’s expectations, Jesus can make us right and reconcile us with Papa.

Say “yes” to Jesus today.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 52-54 and today’s post is on Isaiah 53:1.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Are You Spiritually Selfish?

We Must Concern Ourselves With the Physical and Spiritual Wellbeing of Others and Not Focus on Ourselves

In Isaiah 39 we read a prophecy given to King Hezekiah by Isaiah.

This occurs after Hezekiah does something foolish. He graciously receives envoys from the powerful behemoth, Babylon. Not only does he show off his nation’s wealth, he also provides his enemies one more reason to invade his country. God is not pleased.

Though Hezekiah’s actions cause this prophecy, he will not suffer personally. His family will. He is spiritually selfish. When Babylon attacks, some of his descendants will be castrated and carted off to serve the king of Babylon.

While the predictions are horrific, Hezekiah’s reaction is pathetic.

Realizing he personally will not suffer, he accepts God’s decree. Hezekiah will enjoy peace. He will encounter no pain. True, others will not experience peace. Other people will undergo the consequences, including his own family.

But the king doesn’t care. He thinks only of himself. He will be fine, and that’s all that matters.

Hezekiah Is Self-absorbed

While peace and security are physical issues, there is a spiritual component at play here as well. Hezekiah does not confess his wrong actions. He does not ask God to change his mind. He does not intercede for his descendants and the turmoil they will endure because of his folly.

He is spiritually selfish. 

We ignore the needs of others – to our discredit and their demise. Click To Tweet

It’s easy to be spiritually self-centered. We are content with our standing in God and lose sight of the struggles others face, both physically and spiritually. We fail to pray for them; we don’t seek ways to help.

Our life is good—or at least good enough—and we dismiss the suffering of others. And, like Hezekiah, we do this to our discredit and to their demise.

Following Jesus is not about our comfort. It’s about loving others in his name and pointing people to him.

Anything less is being spirituality selfish.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 39-41, and today’s post is on Isaiah 39:7-8.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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