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Friday, August 14 2015

Isaiah 57: Satan's Sandals

"Prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people"

The English-language term "stumbling block" (or "stumblingblock") may be defined as "Any cause of stumbling; that which forms a difficulty in one's way or which causes offence" (The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary).

"Stumblingblock" is used to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced mick-shole, which means an obstacle (i.e. opposition from someone) or an enticement - specifically, an idol of something, or someone, or one's self.

Sandals "Stumblingblock" is also used to translate the New Testament Greek word, pronounced scan-dal-on (from which also the English word scandal originated), meaning a snare, or something that offends. Interestingly, the English-language word "sandal" originated from a directly-related Greek word, pronounced san-da-lee-on, that referred to a block of material, usually wood or leather in ancient times, that was fastened to the feet and ankles - that could become literal "stumbling blocks" if worn improperly or too loosely. Hence the practical and symbolic connection between loose (in thought and behavior) and loser (i.e. looser) - a state of mind invented by the first liberal (see The First Liberal), and the first rebel (see The First And Last Nation), Satan.

Properly-worn sandals were a popular and customary form of footwear in ancient times, just as they still are in many places around the world today. The Messiah Himself wore sandals - as documented in one of John the Baptist's most-famous statements (the King James Version uses "shoes," however the original Greek word specified what kind of shoes i.e. sandals, as correctly rendered by most other translations, including the RSV below).

"3:11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Matthew 3:11 RSV)

The principle of a "stumblingblock," whether expressed by the Hebrew or Greek words, is the same throughout the Holy Scriptures. Notice the Hebrew word "stumblingblock" meaning of idolatry:

"14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? 14:4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;" (Ezekiel 14:3-4 KJV)

As well, when someone defiantly chooses the wrong way, the LORD withdraws His protection so that Satan is able to apply even more stumblingblocks to them. It's like the natural principle of acceleration due to gravity - 32 feet per second, per second i.e. at the end of 1 second, a person is falling at 32 feet per second; at the end of 2 seconds, they are falling at the rate of 64 feet per second; at the end of 3 seconds, they're falling at 96 feet per second etc. Morally too, the farther that one falls, the faster their falling will be (it's the main reason that the present-day world is morally unraveling at an ever-increasing rate; see also What Would Noah Say About The World Today?).

Notice here how the Hebrew word from Psalm 69:22-23 is itself translated with the Greek word by the Scriptures themselves.

"11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway." (Romans 11:9-10 KJV)

So too Isaiah, in describing the iniquity (see Iniquity In History And Prophecy) and decadence (see Decadence In History And Prophecy) of the looser (i.e. loser) way, looks beyond to the cure: "57:14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people" (see also Putting Away Satan's Goat and The Cure For Confusion).

"57:1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 57:2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

57:3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. 57:4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? 57:6 Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these? 57:7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. 57:8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it. 57:9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell. 57:10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.

57:11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not? 57:12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee. 57:13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;

57:14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 57:16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. 57:17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. 57:18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. 57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 57:21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (Isaiah 57:1-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: What is Satan's primary method of getting people to stumble in their walk in the LORD's Way?
See Who Lights Your Walk? and Choosing The Right Way

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This Day In History, August 14

405 BC: The Battle of Aegospotami, a naval victory of Sparta over Athens, the final battle of the Peloponnesian War. The Athenian commander, Conon, lost 160 of his 180 ships and the 4,000 of his troops that were captured were all executed (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).

Greek Galleys 410: Alaric sacked Rome (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1385: The Battle of Aljubartota. A decisive engagement in which Portuguese forces stopped the Spanish invasion of Portugal led by John I, king of Castile. The victory assured Portugal's independence.

1415: The Battle of Ceuta. Portuguese forces under Henry the Navigator were victorious over the Marinids.

1551: Turkish forces captured Tripoli (for the history of the later Turkish-Ottoman Empire, see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1559: Spanish explorer de Luna enters Pensacola Bay, Florida.

1733: The War of the Polish Succession began.

1784: The first Russian colony in Alaska was founded on Kodiak Island.

1893: France became the first country in the world to require motor vehicle registration.

1900: The Boxer Rebellion in China ended.

1912: U.S. Marines invaded Nicaragua to support the U.S.-installed puppet regime there (communist Russia did the same sort of thing through much of the 20th century e.g. Hungary, Poland, East Germany etc.).

1916: During the First World War (1914-1918), Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1941: The Atlantic Charter, a joint declaration issued during the Second World War by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt (the U.S. at the time still not in the war) after 5 days of conferences aboard warships in the North Atlantic.

1945: Japan formally surrendered at the end of the Second World War. The war's death toll: 15,000,000 military and 38,000,000 civilian dead.

1947: Pakistan was founded when British rule over the region ended and the Asian subcontinent was partitioned into Islamic Pakistan and predominantly Hindu India. Pakistan comprised two portions, West and East, which later became independent Bangladesh.

1973: The secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia ended, marking the end of 12 years of U.S. involvement in Indochina.

1980: Gdansk, Poland shipyard workers under the leadership of Lech Walesa began strikes against the communist government.

1994: The terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as "Carlos the Jackal," was captured.

2003: A days-long power blackout began in the northeast U.S. and Canada, affecting 45 million people in the U.S. and 10 million in Ontario. It was caused by a malfunction at a power plant in Ohio that caused a cascade of power failures in power stations around the Great Lakes region. It was the second-largest blackout in history, second only to the 1999 blackout in Brazil.


Copyright © Wayne Blank