Sins as Scarlet… Washed whiter than Snow


Wednesday 03/16/22 

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Sins as Scarlet… Washed whiter than Snow

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Sins as Scarlet… Washed whiter than Snow

Isaiah was a prophet to both the northern kingdom of Israel and Judah

Isaiah was a prophet beginning towards the end of Uzziah’s reign (740B.C. – 6:1) and ended deep into the reign of Hezekiah.  Northern Israel fell to Assyria in 722B.C. and so his prophecies continued to Judah afterwards.

He was a contemporary of Hosea and Micah

As I told you after we completed 1Samuel through 2 Chronicles, we did not cover the prophets whose ministries coincided with the events we were reading since it would have been very cumbersome. So we circled back around and covered the other prophets spanning the time covered between Samuel and 2 Chronicles as chronologically as possible with the notable exception of Jeremiah who we covered immediately after the end of those books BECAUSE the exile of Judah to Babylon was fresh in our minds.

About the time we reached Jeremiah chapter 49 we covered the book of Obadiah since his ministry was directly connected to the events in that chapter. We then went on to Habakkuk, Jonah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Micah and now Isaiah.

So the ministry of Isaiah takes place during the time covered from 2 Kings 15 – 21 and 2 Chronicles 26-33

By the time Isaiah came around it had been nearly 700 years since the second generation of Isralites had crossed the Jordan and taken their first land in the promised land. 

You will read in commentaries how divided they are as to who wrote what parts of this book. This is a problem with academia – they get so intellectual in their digging to find information that they begin to see things which create questions which have no basis in reality. The simple fact is that the book of Isaiah is about the prophecies of the man Isaiah. Who compiled these prophecies into a book is of far less importance. The real question is – can we trust that the book of Isaiah is truth – both spiritually and historically and only secondly if all its contents represent the actual ministry of Isaiah.

Concerning the first question – Paul affirms that all scripture is given by inspiration of God. As to the second question, Isaiah is perhaps the most highly referenced prophet of the old testament either by reference or quote. Those references to Isaiah span its length and  the prophet himself is attributed as the one who spoke in those cases. So I will run with the assumption that Jesus as well as those others who quoted Isaiah who were 2000 years closer to the facts than we – know better than we do and leave it at that!

Isaiah means “The Lord shall save” which is again a testament to God’s ability to foresee and name accordingly, for the topic of God’s provision of salvation stands as primary in the subjects of Isaiah’s prophecies.

Isaiah 1:1-31, 

“(1) The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”  

“(2)  Listen, heavens, and pay attention, earth, for the LORD has spoken: “I have raised children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me.  (3)  The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s feeding-trough, but Israel does not know; My people do not understand.”  

This is perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn as humans and it is one with which we have to constantly be reminded after we first learn it. 

God is Creator, Owner and Master! When we fail to recognize this, we are doomed to get all of life wrong. We approach life from the wrong vantage point and attitude and rob ourselves of the clarity and blessings of living in the fear of the Lord.

All it takes is getting this one thing out of perspective or out of it’s proper place of prominence in our hearts and minds to cause all of life to be off balance and heading in the wrong direction.

John warns us, “(15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,  (16)  because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world.  (17)  And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.”1Jn 2:15-17. 

Now God goes on to show how Israel’s decisions to live as if this life were their own to do as they like and pursue their own desires has weighed them down with burdens and has caused sickness and wounds in every arena of their lives. 

Isaiah 1…

“(4)  Oh–sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, brood of evildoers, depraved children! They have abandoned the LORD; they have despised the Holy One of Israel; they have turned their backs on Him.”

Too often people, including God’s people, do not realize the full gravity of their sin. All sin is a rejection of God on some level, but to deliberately turn the affections of the heart to others gods and worship them – effectively replacing God was the fullest expression of idolatry, and that is the sin of Israel here confronted by Isaiah.

Though Israel did not realize it, the Holy One of Israel is a direct reference to Jesus Himself. He IS the Holy One of Israel! This rejection is not quite on the same level as it would be under the New Covenant, but it is quite serious all the same.

The book of Hebrews itself makes this connection in immediate association with this sin. 

The sin of forsaking the Law of the Lord was serious and if any individual was found worshipping another god, it was to be met with capital punishment, but what if the sin was that of the whole nation? 

Who would carry out the execution and before whom would it serve as an example and warning if the result was the entire nation being killed?

The original warning for this is found in Deut. 17:2-7. It says,

“(2) Suppose a man or woman is discovered among you – in one of your villages that the LORD your God is giving you – who sins before the Lord your God and breaks his covenant  (3)  by serving other gods and worshiping them – the sun, moon, or any other heavenly bodies which I have not permitted you to worship.  (4)  When it is reported to you and you hear about it, you must investigate carefully. If it is indeed true that such a disgraceful thing is being done in Israel,  (5)  you must bring to your city gates that man or woman who has done this wicked thing – that very man or woman – and you must stone that person to death.  (6)  At the testimony of two or three witnesses they must be executed. They cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.  (7)  The witnesses must be first to begin the execution, and then all the people are to join in afterward. In this way you will purge evil from among you.”

This was always Israel’s national sin. The book of Hebrews connects this with the New Testament sin of blasphemy against the Spirit for which there is no forgiveness.

Heb. 10:19-31, “(19) Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,  (20)  by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,  (21)  and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  (22)  let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.  (23)  And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy.  (24)  And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,  (25)  not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.  (26)  For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us,  (27)  but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume God’s enemies.  (28)  Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  (29)  How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for the Son of God, and profanes the blood of the covenant that made him holy, and insults the Spirit of grace?  (30)  For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  (31)  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

God goes on to further address this dire situation and tell them how all He has ever truly wanted is the loyalty of their hearts and the devotion of their faithful love. 

Isaiah 1…

“(5)  Why do you want more beatings? Why do you keep on rebelling? The whole head is hurt, and the whole heart is sick.  (6)  From the sole of the foot even to the head, no spot is uninjured–wounds, welts, and festering sores not cleansed, bandaged, or soothed with oil.”

“(7)  Your land is desolate, your cities burned with fire; before your very eyes foreigners devour your fields–a desolation overthrown by foreigners.”

“(8)  Daughter Zion is abandoned like a shelter in a vineyard, like a shack in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.”

“(9)  If the LORD of Hosts had not left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would resemble Gomorrah.”

Ironically, God, through Isaiah, begins to address idolatrous Israel as just that – Sodom and Gomorrah.

Israel was supposed to express their devotion and faithful love towards God through obedience to His law which provided for them a covering for their sins and a means of drawing near a God by sacrifice and offerings. Those however, were only intended as provisions for the faithful. The unfaithful who forsook their God were to be killed as we read above. So you can imagine how God viewed their obedience to perform sacrifices and offerings without themselves being either devoted to God nor faithful in their love to Him.

We likely have all had parents who had been pressed to the breaking point, who exclaimed, “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS!!!” Well, that is what we are about to hear from God towards Israel and for similar reasons.

“(10)  Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah!  

(11)  “What are all your sacrifices to Me?” asks the LORD. 

I have had enough of burnt offerings and rams and the fat of well-fed cattle; I have no desire for the blood of bulls, lambs, or male goats.  

(12)  When you come to appear before Me, who requires this from you–this trampling of My courts?  

(13)  Stop bringing useless offerings. I despise your incense. New Moons and Sabbaths, and the calling of solemn assemblies–I cannot stand iniquity with a festival.  

(14)  I hate your New Moons and prescribed festivals. They have become a burden to Me; I am tired of putting up with them.  

(15)  When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look at you; even if you offer countless prayers, I will not listen.” 

Again, a biblical answer to the question, “Does God listen to every prayer?”

“Your hands are covered with blood.  (16)  “Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight.”

“Stop doing evil.  

(17)  Learn to do what is good. 

Seek justice. 

Correct the oppressor. 

Defend the rights of the fatherless. 

Plead the widow’s cause.  

(18)  “Come, let us discuss this,” says the LORD. 

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool. (19)  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.  (20)  But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”  – For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 

“(21)  The faithful city–what an adulteress she has become! She was once full of justice. Righteousness once dwelt in her–but now, murderers!”

“(22)  Your silver has become dross, your beer is diluted with water.”

“(23)  Your rulers are rebels, friends of thieves. They all love graft and chase after bribes. They do not defend the rights of the fatherless, and the widow’s case never comes before them.”  

The New English translation clarifies this statement by saying it like this,

“(23) Your officials are rebels, they associate with thieves. All of them love bribery, and look for payoffs. They do not take up the cause of the orphan, or defend the rights of the widow.” 

“(24)  Therefore the Lord GOD of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah, I will gain satisfaction against My foes; I will take revenge against My enemies.  (25)  I will turn My hand against you and will burn away your dross completely; I will remove all your impurities.”

“(26)  I will restore your judges to what they once were, and your advisers to their former state.”

“Afterwards you will be called the Righteous City, a Faithful City.”  

“(27)  Zion will be redeemed by justice, her repentant ones by righteousness.”  

This is a type of parallelism and it is referring to both human and God’s redemption and justice coupled with man’s repentance resulting in God’s Old Covenant provision for right standing before Him. As you know, this “righteousness” was not in any way the same as the righteousness available in Christ. Their spirits were still dead, they were not ONE with God and their sins very much remained! The offerings and sacrifices provided a temporary COVERING for their sins. That is what the word ATONEMENT means, which is why it is horrible to connect the concept of atonement with Jesus’ blood. The holy and perfect blood of our Lord Jesus eradicated sin – destroyed it and its power in relation to the penitent sinner who comes to Jesus in faith, bowing their knee to Him as their Lord. In so doing they defect from the worldly kingdom of self and enter into the kingdom of  our Lord and His rule and reign in their hearts.

This covenant experienced by Israel was nothing more than a temporary provision, allowing relationship with God through the shedding of innocent blood, rather than holy and righteous blood. In their covenant there was a reminder EVERY YEAR of all the sins they had previously committed. Though sacrifices had been offered for them already at the time of their offense, another was offered at the end of the year in remembrance of all their sins which ever stood before God’s face as a testimony against them.

Under the New Covenant, they are taken out of the way, removed from us as far as the east is from the west and are called to mind against us no more!

“(28)  But both rebels and sinners will be destroyed, and those who abandon the LORD will perish.  (29)  Indeed, they will be ashamed of the sacred trees you desired, and you will be embarrassed because of the gardens you have chosen.”

“(30)  For you will become like an oak whose leaves are withered, and like a garden without water.  (31)  The strong one will become tinder, and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the flames.”

Now we see what I told you last week as we were going through Micah. Isaiah here quotes from the prophet in much the same way as we might quote the prophet today. The words are in fact inspired afresh through Isaiah and have meaning and application for the time of Christ’s Millennial reign. Then as the chapter closes out, there is a clear prophecy regarding the future and great tribulation which is echoed in Revelation 

Isaiah 2:1-22, 

“(1)  The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:  

(2)  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s house will be established at the top of the mountains and will be raised above the hills. 

All nations will stream to it,  (3)  and many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us about His ways so that we may walk in His paths.” 

For instruction will go out of Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  (4)  He will settle disputes among the nations and provide arbitration for many peoples. They will turn their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. 

Nations will not take up the sword against other nations, and they will never again train for war.”  

“(5)  House of Jacob, come and let us walk in the LORD’s light.  (6)  For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of divination from the East and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines. They are in league with foreigners.”

“(7)  Their land is full of silver and gold, and there is no limit to their treasures; their land is full of horses, and there is no limit to their chariots.  

(8)  Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.

(9)  So humanity is brought low, and man is humbled. Do not forgive them!”

“(10)  Go into the rocks and hide in the dust from the terror of the LORD and from His majestic splendor.  (11)  Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted on that day.  (12)  For a day belonging to the LORD of Hosts is coming against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up–it will be humbled–  (13)  against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan,  (14)  against all the high mountains, against all the lofty hills,  (15)  against every high tower, against every fortified wall,  (16)  against every ship of Tarshish, and against every splendid sea vessel.  

(17)  So human pride will be brought low, and the loftiness of men will be humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted on that day.”  

“(18)  The idols will vanish completely.  (19)  People will go into caves in the rocks and holes in the ground, away from the terror of the LORD and from His majestic splendor, when He rises to terrify the earth.  (20)  On that day people will throw their silver and gold idols, which they made to worship, to the moles and the bats.  (21)  They will go into the caves of the rocks and the crevices in the cliffs, away from the terror of the LORD and from His majestic splendor, when He rises to terrify the earth.  

(22)  Put no more trust in man, who has only the breath in his nostrils. What is he really worth?”

Confirming the future fulfillment during the Great Tribulation, Jesus tells John in Revelation

Rev. 6:12-17, “(12) Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood;  (13)  the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind;  (14)  the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place.  (15)  Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  (16)  And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb,  (17)  because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

We will start back in chapter 3 next week where we will immediately see clear comparisons between the judgment of God on Israel and that coming upon North America today.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!