A Sacrifice on Heaven and on Earth

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Sermon: A Sacrifice on Heaven and on Earth Date: November 19, 2023, Afternoon Text: Isaiah 34:5–7 Series: Isaiah Preacher: Conley Owens Audio: https://storage.googleapis.com/pbc-ca-sermons/2023/231119-ASacrificeonHeavenandonEarth.aac

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Amen. Well, please turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 34. Isaiah 34, we'll continue looking at this passage.
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It is about judgment on the nations and God's work in heaven coming down on earth.
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When you have that, please stand for the reading of God's Word. Isaiah 34, beginning in verse 5, for my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens, for behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people
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I have devoted to destruction. The Lord has a sword, it is sated with blood, it is gorged with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams, for the
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Lord has a sacrifice in Basra, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. Wild oxen shall fall with them, and young steers with the mighty bulls.
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Their land shall drink its fill of blood, and their soil shall be gorged with fat.
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Amen. You may be seated. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this passage which speaks of your sovereignty.
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We ask that you would help us to appreciate you and your sovereignty all the more today as we consider your
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Word and that by your Spirit, working with the Word in our hearts, we would be transformed. In Jesus' name, amen.
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So perhaps you, being someone who here is at a Reformed church, are familiar with who
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Esau is in the Old Testament, the brother of Jacob, and perhaps you are familiar with the fact that he represents in many ways a sign of God's reprobation, the opposite of what election is.
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When God elects some to salvation, in eternity past, he has not elected others, meaning that he has reprobated them, determined them for destruction.
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Bible says that God has prepared all things for his purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil. And the
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New Testament frequently, and even the Old Testament, speaks of Esau as a symbol of that reprobation because as Esau was before he had even come out of the womb,
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God had determined his future. So Malachi speaks of this. So Romans 9 speaks of this.
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But maybe you are not familiar that Isaiah speaks of this as well, and he speaks of it here in this passage, speaking of Edom, Edom being the nation that came from Esau.
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And so what this passage is going to do is it's going to look at Esau once again as a sign of reprobation, as a sign of God's work in eternity past to determine who he would graciously save.
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The Lord is merciful to whom he is merciful, and he has compassion on whom he has compassion, but he is just towards whom he is just as well.
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So looking here at verse 5, 5 For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens.
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Behold, it ascends for judgment upon Edom. Upon the people I have devoted to destruction.
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The Lord has a sword. It is sated with blood. It is gorged with fat, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
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For the Lord has a sacrifice in Basra, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. So Edom is that nation which has come from Esau, Basra most likely its capital city.
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This is all speaking of that nation. And why that nation in particular?
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Well, for one, they had most especially offended the
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Lord by their gloating at Israel's fall, by rejoicing in Babylon's rise, hoping to get some gain out of it against their brother.
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This is what it says later on in the prophets. For example, Ezekiel 35 and verse 5 says, 6
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Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment.
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Therefore as I live, declares the Lord God, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you.
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This is speaking of Edom in the context. It talks of Mount Sierra, which is the mountain of Edom. And then in verse 10 it says, 7
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Because you said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine. We will take possession of them, although the
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Lord was there. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will deal with you according to the anger and envy that you showed because of your hatred against them.
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I will make myself known among them when I judge you, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Obadiah says much of the same,
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Obadiah beginning in verse 10. 8 Because of the violence you have done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.
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9 On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them.
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10 But do not gloat over the day of your brother and the day of his misfortune. Do not rejoice over the people of Judah and the day of their ruin.
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Do not boast in the day of distress. Do not enter the gate of my people and the day of their calamity.
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Do not gloat over his disaster and the day of his calamity. Do not loot his wealth in the day of his calamity.
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Do not stand at the crossroads to cut off fugitives. Do not hand over his survivors in the day of distress.
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And so, Edom is a nation that later on in the time of Babylon will enjoy the fall of Judah because they think it will mean some gain for them, and this has greatly offended
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God. Now, many secular scholars who study Isaiah say that that can't be what this is actually about.
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It must be some other reason that Edom is being spoken of here because that doesn't come until much later, but if you read secular scholars on Isaiah, you'll realize that they actually deny a lot of what this book is about because they think it can't possibly be prophesying
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Babylon. That doesn't come until much later. It is certainly possible that this is speaking of some other offense, but given the focus of the prophets on this particular crime of Edom, when
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Babylon will rise, I think we have every reason to suspect that that is most likely what it is talking about here.
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Now, another reason to be particularly focused on Edom, to be particularly focused on Esau, is because Esau is the brother of Jacob, because in a way, these nations are the closest.
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God holds them especially accountable because of how close they are to that nation, and they should be merciful to the people of God, and yet they are not merciful to them.
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It says here, the Lord has a sacrifice in Belazerah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
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Now, this destruction is described later in Isaiah as well. In Isaiah 63, it says,
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This is the Lord, this is the Messiah coming from Edom, from Belazerah, having already enacted that destruction.
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No one was with me. I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath. Their lifeblood spattered on my garments and stained my apparel, for the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.
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I looked and there was no one to help. I was appalled and there was no one to uphold, so my own arm brought my salvation and my wrath upheld me.
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I trampled down the peoples in my anger, I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.
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You notice here, when it's talking about the destruction of Edom, it makes a transition to speaking of the peoples.
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I trampled down the peoples in my anger. So here you have a picture of the Messiah coming from Edom, having destroyed
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Edom, but then announcing that he's destroyed all the nations, all the peoples. And so this here is not just a prophecy, particularly about Edom, but it is about Edom as typical or prototypical of all the nations of the earth, all the nations who would stand against God, all the nations who would gloat in the destruction of God's people, all those who would be enemies of God.
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When it says that God has a sacrifice in Basra, a great slaughter in the land of Edom, you might as well read that and say the
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Lord has a great slaughter in Sunnyvale, a great slaughter in the land of Silicon Valley.
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This applies to our own area, this applies to our own city. God has His purposes against those nations, against those peoples who would stand against Him, which is all who do not gather together with Him in Zion, who do not gather together with Him in the church.
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And He also calls them the people devoted to destruction. Now, a more literal translation here, typically more literal translations will say the people of His curse.
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This is a people who are cursed because God has, meaning that God has already determined their end.
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Let me go ahead and read that passage I alluded to in Genesis 25. So this is speaking of Esau before he was born.
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It says, and Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife because she was barren, and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah, his wife, conceived.
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The children struggled together within her, and she said, if it is thus, why is this happening to me?
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So she went in to inquire of the Lord, and the Lord said to her, two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided.
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The one shall be stronger than the other. The older shall serve the younger.
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When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb that first came out red in his body like a hairy cloak, so that they called his name
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Esau. Afterward, his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called
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Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when she bore them.
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So God had given Isaac, Rebekah, this prophecy while Jacob and Esau were yet in the womb about who would be stronger, about who would serve the other, and the older would serve the younger.
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Esau would not be the one of God's choice, and Jacob would be the one of God's choice.
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So God has His purposes here in election. This is not a—you know, there are a lot of people who will look at this passage and see it as some sort of prophecy about the relationship between Jews and Muslims.
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I don't think that is a—there might be some way in which it applies, but that's certainly not the main thing here.
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And also, you should know, if you are not already aware, that when Islam claims to have some sort of descent from Esau or—yeah, that basically they are not from Esau but from Ishmael, that this is just a claim that they are making, okay?
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There's no, like, history that, you know, carries back that validates any of that. So a lot of—I remember growing up and hearing these things and thinking that was actually, you know, the case that, you know, these prophecies applied particularly to Islam because, you know, that descent had happened.
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And these are just claims that they have made to come from particular people. There might be some truth to it, but if so, it's not based on, you know, any kind of real evidence that we have.
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Now, beyond speaking of God's sovereignty in this way of speaking of Edom and the curse that is upon them, he also speaks of the sword.
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He says, And I'm skipping forward here.
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The Lord has a sword. It is sated with blood. It is gorged with fat. So you think of the sword and the sword in the heavens, and it is hungry, you know, it is eating up blood, it is eating up fat.
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And every last bit of God's wrath will be satisfied by the sword. It will accomplish every last piece of destruction that is needed.
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There's no one who will escape, who will escape what God is accomplishing. And moreover, there's a picture here of sacrifice that is happening.
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It speaks of the blood of lambs and goats, the fat of the kidney of rams. Why fat of goats?
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Why kidneys? Why is it speaking of these things? These are things that are particularly dedicated to the
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Lord in sacrifice. God had determined that the fat was for Him. God had determined that the blood was for Him, that these things should be poured out on the ground, that they should be offered in sacrifice, and they should not be eaten by the people.
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These particular portions of fat in the animal and blood, these are not to be eaten by the people.
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Rather, they are to be given to the Lord in sacrifice. And so there must be a sacrifice.
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A sacrifice must be made. And here, the picture is of Edom being the sacrifice that will satisfy
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God's wrath. You know, this is a picture of a human sacrifice, essentially, that they are goats and they are the rams, they are the bulls that will be slaughtered in order to satisfy the
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Lord's wrath. And what's interesting here, too, is it speaks of this as being a heavenly sword, as a heavenly sword, but that judgment comes down.
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So it is already sated with blood. It is already filled in the heavens, but, and it's already gorged with that, but the reason why is because the
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Lord has a sacrifice in Basra, a great slaughter in the land of Edom, that these things are coming to Edom.
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These things have already been accomplished in the heavens, and they are coming down to Edom. So God has
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His purposes, and they've already been accomplished in the heavens. The Scripture speaks this way on a number of occasions.
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You look at Revelation and the great war that takes place, and then basically what we see here on this earth is a playing out of the battle that has already been won in the heavens.
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And you consider the Lord's prayer, right? Matthew 6 .10, Matthew 6 .10 says, our
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Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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But we are supposed to pray that God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There is a will that has already been accomplished in heaven.
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A spiritual battle already fought, already won, and we are to pray not that God would accomplish something that He hasn't accomplished, but that He would fulfill something that has already been accomplished.
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Right? This has already been accomplished in the heavens, and we are supposed to pray that it comes down to earth, and that is exactly what the picture here in Isaiah 34 is talking about.
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It's talking about a sword that has already drunk its fill in the heavens, and then it will come and drink its fill on the earth as well.
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All the more reason to pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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Don't just skip over that and think, oh, well, as long as I'm praying for God's will to be done. Pray with an understanding, with a knowledge of how fully this is accomplished.
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The more we're praying according to the will of God, the more we're praying with an understanding and a belief of what assurances and what promises we have to lay hold on, the more
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God is glorified in answering that prayer, us holding on to Him and trusting
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Him and what He has said. Okay? If we are praying these things without a knowledge of that, God is less glorified by His fulfillment of these truths.
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So hold on to those promises as you're praying. Really pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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It continues on here. It says, wild oxen shall fall with them, and young steers with the mighty bulls.
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Why oxen? Why steers? The Bible speaks of the importance of sacrificing oxen, and if you look and you notice when it's talking about sacrificing oxen, when it's talking about sacrificing goats, usually the goats and the lambs are for individuals, and the oxen are for the sins either of the people as a whole or of the priest who represents the people as a whole.
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So when it moves on here from the blood of lambs and goats, it's moving on from the laymen to the leaders.
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You know, it's speaking of both low and high, God has destruction planned for all of them.
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You know, all the more reason to pray for your rulers, those that we do every
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Sunday, we pray for our rulers, and one reason to pray for them, not just because God has said that He desires all to come to repentance, including those of high positions, but in particular because they have so much, such a high role, such an obligation before the
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Lord that they frequently fall on, that they really are the oxen. You know, they are the prime targets of the slaughter that is coming.
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They are prime pieces of sacrifice that, unless there is repentance, there will be a requirement of blood.
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God will require that blood of them, and you see it here when it says,
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Their land shall drink its fill of blood, and their soil shall be gorged with fat. This being exactly what
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Genesis 9, Deuteronomy 15, 23 speaks of, the fat being reserved for the
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Lord, the blood being poured out, that these things are not for the people, but rather they are for God.
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Now interesting here is, and maybe you notice this, is the language that's being used,
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Their land shall drink its fill of blood. Well, didn't we hear that just a second ago? It's that my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens.
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You know, something has happened in the past, the sword has drunk its fill in the heavens, but now their land shall drink its fill of blood.
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It says, Their soil shall be gorged with fat. Right? Verse 6 said, The Lord hath a sword.
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It is sated with blood. It is gorged with fat. This is something that has already been accomplished. It has already drunk the blood.
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It has already been gorged with fat, and now the earth will be filled with blood, and the earth will be gorged with fat.
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Now what is that other than what we just described in the Lord's Supper? Or excuse me, not the Lord's Supper, the
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Lord's Prayer. That God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That heavenly sword has drunk the blood, it has consumed the fat, and now the earth will drink the blood and consume the fat.
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God's work is being accomplished, but it has already been, God's work is being fulfilled, has already been accomplished in heaven.
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And so we, people who are by nature enemies of God, should look at this and recognize that our lives are owed to God.
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Genesis 9 says that the reason why blood is not to be drunk, blood is not to be eaten, is because it belongs to the
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Lord. Our own lives belong to the Lord. We are temporary stewards of what we have in this world.
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This is not, you know, this body, this life, this lifetime that we are in is not ours forever.
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There will be an end to it here in this particular situation, this earth, and it is on loan to us.
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We are mere stewards of it. So do not squander this opportunity to take full advantage of what
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God has given you. Do not use it thinking that it is yours forever, but rather it is on loan to you from the
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Lord. But now what is someone to do? What is someone to do who sees us and recognizes that, well,
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God has determined that his wrath must be satisfied by sacrifice, and I am that sacrifice since I have sinned against God.
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Well, the answer is there is another sacrifice. There is another sacrifice that has been determined in heaven for all eternity.
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It's a lamb slain before the foundation of the world. That is Jesus Christ. You know, how can the
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Bible say, and I know some translations say this differently, but how can the Bible say that he is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world?
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Is it not for the exact reasons that this says the same thing? This truth has already been accomplished in heaven.
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God's destruction is already determined and settled in heaven, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
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How do you escape judgment? How do you escape when God's heavenly sword must be satisfied?
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What will satisfy it? Nothing will satisfy it ultimately apart from heavenly blood.
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That is what you need in order to satisfy the sword. And Jesus Christ has come. He's offered his own life.
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He has spared his people who were apart from him, cursed, who were apart from him, devoted to destruction that we might enjoy blessings forever in him.
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And this is a wonderful, glorious truth that we should be rejoicing in, seeing how impossible this situation is to solve, and seeing how impossibly
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Christ has solved it, coming to earth, shedding his own blood for our sins that we might be saved.
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And consider also the wonderful truth that is, that his blood has been shed before the foundation of the world in the same similar way that this is.
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On the other end of reprobation is election. God's particular redemption, it has been accomplished in heaven.
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You know, it's a wild thing that he has paid the penalty, and yet that redemption accomplished is not applied until a particular person believes.
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But yet, at the same time, it's not contingent on the particular person believing, as though he is the one who will decide whether or not it gets applied.
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Rather, it is God who has determined by accomplishing these things in heaven.
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That sword that has drunk its fill of enemy blood in heaven has drunk its fill of the blood of the lamb as well, in order that we might be spared from the wrath to come, in order that all
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God's people, all of his elect, might come to a knowledge of him. And there is a great hope in this, so that when you go out and you evangelize, you can share the gospel knowing that God has already accomplished this in heaven.
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You know, his sword has already done its work in heaven, and so we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will work where he wills.
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And if you look at your own life and you are feeling uncertain about your condition, you can know that the work that God has started, he will bring to completion, and that all who come to him will never be cast out.
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Let us pray today, praying especially that God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven, praying especially for our rulers, praying especially with a thankfulness for what
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God has accomplished in Jesus Christ. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for your word.
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We thank you for this great promise of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ, and we thank you for this great promise of justice, which comes from his hand as well toward all the enemies, all the peoples that would turn against you.
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And we look forward to the ultimate salvation that we will experience when Christ returns in glory. In his name we pray, amen.