Philanthropic: Not in the sense of charity, but in the literal sense of loving + people. The opposite, in other words, of mis-anthropic.
Of the decade: The decade is drawing to a close, so everything we post in the next few days can legitimately be called of the decade! What a fun opportunity.
At Christmastime, Christians like to quote Isaiah. That’s because this Old Testament prophet has several passages that are clearly Messianic and, in retrospect, clearly prophesy Christ. Like many prophetic passages, they have at least a triple meaning. They are prophesies about God restoring Israel from the Babylonian exile … they are prophesies about the coming of Christ, which happened several hundred years later … and they are prophecies about the ultimate golden age of the world which Christ will eventually bring about (although not, as it turns out, immediately upon His first coming, though his life on earth did get the process started). All these things are telescoped together in a breathtaking poetic sweep.
This is the most often quoted passage from Isaiah at Christmastime:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. …
Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time and on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.Isaiah 9:2, 5 – 7, New International Version
This is the go-to Christmas passage.
Another one that you sometimes hear quoted is this:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him —
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord —
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
and the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.Isaiah 11:1 – 9, NIV
There. That ought to keep you going for days.
But Isaiah is a big book (66 chapters), and these two passages are only from the beginning of it. Tomorrow I will post some lesser-known quotes from Isaiah that are among my favorites.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas! “God bless us, every one!”