Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Isaiah Chapter 1
Metaphysically Interpreting Isaiah 1:1-31
1:1The 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.
1:2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for Jehovah hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 1:3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 1:4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly! they have forsaken Jehovah, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are estranged and gone backward. 1:5Why will ye be still stricken, that ye revolt more and more? the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 1:6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and fresh stripes: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil. 1:7Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 1:8And the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 1:9Except Jehovah of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
1:10Hear the word of Jehovah, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.1:11What unto me is the multitude of your sacrifices? saith Jehovah: I have had enough of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. 1:12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to trample my courts? 1:13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies,- I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting. 1:14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary of bearing them. 1:15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
1:16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 1:17learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 1:18Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 1:19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 1:20but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
1:21How is the faithful city become a harlot! she that was full of justice! righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. 1:22Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. 1:23Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loveth bribes, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. 1:24Therefore saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies; 1:25and I will turn my hand upon thee, and thoroughly purge away thy dross, and will take away all thy tin; 1:26and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called The city of righteousness, a faithful town. 1:27Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her converts with righteousness. 1:28But the destruction of transgressors and sinners shall be together, and they that forsake Jehovah shall be consumed. 1:29For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. 1:30For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.1:31And the strong shall be as tow, and his work as a spark; and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.
November 27, 1927: Isaiah 1:10-20
What does spiritual discernment reveal as the central theme of Isaiah's call to true worship, as recorded in today's lesson? Isaiah is calling the attention of the people to the inadequacy of rituals and forms, of ceremonies and sacrifices, and to the necessity of inner reform, of a contrite heart, of a submissive spirit, and of giving up all carnal thoughts, appetites, and passions.
What do Sodom and Gomorrah represent? “Sodom” means “lime kiln,” and signifies a burning, consuming secret desire. It represents the lust of sex in its most secret character. “Gomorrah” means “rebellious people.” It represents an aggregation of carnal thoughts, thoughts that are opposed to the will of God. Sodom and Gomorrah represent a combination of all that is included in the secret sins of sex.
Does observance of the outer form of morality fulfill the divine law? No. Jehovah, the ruling law of Divine Mind, proclaims through the prophet, “I have had enough of the burnt-offerings” and “I delight not in the blood.” The burnt offerings that are enumerated represent the sacrifices that the outer man makes without a reform of his secret habits of sense.
In verse 13 Isaiah represents Jehovah as saying, “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me, new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies.” Explain. The Israelites had materialized their religion just as the ritualists have materialized religion in our day. Let us call “oblations,” baptisms; “incense,” the burning of Arabic gums in church services; the “sabbath,” the observance of a certain day of the week as holy to the Lord; “the calling of assemblies,” the many gatherings of religious people for the purpose of discussing and threshing out sectarian differences. The church of today is guilty of many external attempts to simulate real spiritual worship. Samuel declares, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
Are Christians today guilty of having bloody hands? (See verse 15.) Yes, many Christians in our churches advocate capital punishment, which is a relic of barbarism. Others may not take a direct hand in killing the physical body, but they kill it indirectly. Man's hands are bloodstained whenever he takes undue advantage of or injures a brother by slander or impairs another's honorable name.
September 16, 1934: Isaiah 1:10-20
Is it easy to apply the rules governing right conduct? Humanly speaking, learning to apply rules of conduct is difficult, because we must first overcome adverse habits, sometimes of long standing. Only through the Christ mind does the task become easy.
Why are Judah and Zion compared to Sodom and Gomorrah in the text for today? Because both were ruled by states of mind that were contrary to the law of Spirit. Sodom (“place of lime,” “burning,” “secret intrigues”) represents the lowest form of desire in man, and Gomorrah (“tyranny,” “oppression”) signifies that in man which is adverse to the higher law.
What is the meaning of the name Isaiah? Isaiah means “Jehovah is salvation.” Wisdom and courage of a high order cause man to discern his real character and to proclaim it boldly.
How can we realize God? Only through real obedience and worship of the heart can we, with the eye of faith, behold God, the invisible.
Define social salvation. Social salvation consists in learning to love one's neighbor as oneself.
Does learning “to do well” require study? Like any other subject that man would master, learning to do well requires careful thought and study. “Be not weary in well-doing.”
What proof that we have entered into eternal life here and now is to be had? “We know that we have passed out of death unto life, because we love the brethren.”
What do you understand by the term “divine reasonableness”? This term shows goodness and righteousness to be the normal state of mind of a son of God. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah.”
How does one find meaning in life? By holding fast to the principles that lend significance to life, one finds it possessed of deep and satisfying meaning.
October 9, 1949: Isaiah 1:11-18
Why was the shedding of blood (the symbol of sacrifice) represented as unacceptable to God? Because it had lost its inner meaning to the people and become a mere rite, performed from habit, rather than from the heart.
In this lesson why is obedience stressed? Because without obeying the divine law we cannot be truly happy, and obeying fully, we cannot be unhappy.
Instead of following rites and ceremonies and engaging in external forms of worship, what should we do? We should busy ourselves with practical good deeds. We should cease to do evil and learn to do well, seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. All these are practical expressions of our faith in God and of goodness of heart.
How can we “reason” with God? We can reason with God in spiritual consciousness, and this close communion in thought with Divine Mind frees us from the dominion of sense consciousness.
In communion with God what becomes of our sins? When we give our whole attention to God, we become free from the consciousness of sin and lose interest in it. We are concerned instead with the doing of practical good deeds, and sin then disappears from our life.
October 16, 1949: Isaiah 1:21-28
What does a city represent? It represents an aggregation of thoughts in consciousness. A “faithful city” is an aggregation of thoughts that are consistently in harmony with Truth.
Why does a person who tries to keep his thoughts in harmony with Truth sometimes fall short of his goal, and become impure, greedy, and indifferent to the welfare of others? To keep the thoughts in harmony with Truth requires steadfast persistence and determination. A person who is not steadfast to Truth may permit himself to turn away from it, and to come under the domination of the sense consciousness. He then expresses greed and injustice instead of love and justice.
Is a return to faithful spiritual ways of thinking and living easily accomplished? Yes, by obedience to divine law, but disobedience brings suffering. “I will turn my hand upon thee, and thoroughly purge away thy dross.” This signifies the process of regeneration.
How is spiritual consciousness reinstated? By just and right living. “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her converts with righteousness.”
November 19, 1950: Isaiah 1:11-17
Is the observing of rites and ceremonies a vital part of religious faith? No. Faith is an expression of man’s love for God. As such it is independent of forms and ceremonies.
What is meant by the term “practical goodness”? God, Spirit, is infinite, eternal goodness. We, His children, have the capacity and ability to translate His goodness from the spiritual realm into the physical realm of affairs, by permitting divine love to motivate our every thought, word, and action, and by giving ourselves under divine guidance in loving, unselfish service to our fellow men.
What is the first step in living a life of practical goodness? Denial of sense consciousness and a change of mind in the direction of greater spirituality. “Wash you, make you clean.” Baptism or washing is a symbol of denial.
What aspects of practical goodness add greater meaning to ceremonial religion? The developing of constructive living after the pattern of the Christ. “Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” As a person engages in these activities of practical goodness, he finds greater meaning is added to ceremonial religion.
What does learning to do well include? It includes a change of mind from the standard of the race thought to that of the Christ. Instead of following the race standard as a matter of course, those who are learning to do well think well, instead of ill, of others; stand by the oppressed, instead of causing oppression; seek justice, instead of fomenting injustice and prejudice; are fathers to the fatherless, counseling, encouraging, and protecting them; speak the healing word of encouragement to those who have lost sight of the love of God.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-07-2013