The real horror of this passage consists in the fact that we have here one of the greatest sins that can be conceived, and, at the same time, one of the most common. Isaiah 5:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Isaiah 5:20, NIV: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." (c) The schools, press, and pulpit began to speak Italian apace, and to persuade to a moderation, to a reconciliation with Rome, which now was said to be a true Church, the Pope not Antichrist, &c. The great elixir called state policy hath, with some at least, so transmutive a faculty, as to make copper seem gold, right wrong, and wrong right. The care of the Lord over the church of Israel, is described by the management of a vineyard. 18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: 19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Again; as religion is esteemed a superficial thing, so it is also deemed a melancholy thing. The more we examine the principles and actions of men, the more shall we find that this system obtains among them both in theory and practice. The boldest attacks of infidelity are often couched under the plausible name of “a spirit of free inquiry.”, 2. 1. "Moral standards were destroyed by new definitions of sin (see, John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary, Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible, Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged, Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers, Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Beware, then, of Satan’s gimblet. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible. 1 Kings 22:19-23) — the “nerve center of the universe.” 1 With the plural imperatives, “Comfort, O comfort my people,” the Lord exerts the Lord’s dominion over heaven and earth and all therein. (R. South, D. D.), An espied difference between virtue and vice in the nature of things, I. I shall first EXPLAIN THE MEANING, AND THEN CONFIRM THE TRUTH OF THIS OBSERVATION. Before our eyes the evil and the good are mingled, in characters and acts and institutions, till it is often beyond our power to extricate. 1. This, therefore, it becomes us especially to bear in mind: never can we live for ourselves alone. If our error could be pleaded before God in extenuation of our fault, then indeed we might have some reason for persisting in it: but how can we excuse ourselves before him, when we had the means of information in our hands, and followed our own surmises in preference to his commands? Were his Apostles melancholy? (b) Not long before our late unhappy troubles the martyrs of the Protestant religion were disgraced, the conspirators in the gunpowder treason excused in a sermon at St Mary’s, Cambridge, by one Kemp of Queen’s College. Some things are so universally esteemed, that even they who do not practise them must approve them; and this shows their intrinsic and invariable excellence. There are two kingdoms, two paths, two ways of life. If we err, therefore, in the application of the test proposed, we are far more apt to err in favour of the subject than against him. Isaiah 28 – A Word to Drunkards. There is a customary mode of talking, in which familiar formulas of praise and censure, as to moral objects, are employed as if by rote, revolving the admission of important principles, and recognising in its full extent the grand distinction between moral good and evil. He who gives life and the comforts of life to His creatures, hath a right to their gratitude and to their best services: and if it be absurd not to think ourselves obliged to obey Him, it is right and fit to obey Him, and to conform our will to His. . Can they who have entered into the service of the sanctuary, and solemnly undertaken to guide us in the way of peace, can they be wrong? To what end then is it to impose specious names on things, when they will so soon appear in their true light? Judah had produced the “bad fruit” of unrighteousness, as illustrated in the song of the vineyard (verses 4–7). II. Isaiah 5:20-21 -- On Self-Imposed Blinders "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Men living in a direct violation of God’s commandments, and in a perfect contrast with the example of Christ, imagine that they have nothing to fear: “they have done no harm; and God is very merciful; and if they were to perish, what must become of all the world?” These, and such like arguments, are considered as sufficient to invalidate every word that God has spoken, and to justify their hopes of eternal happiness. Standing Strong in an Ever-Changing World Scripture Reference: Isaiah 5:20-21 & Hebrews 12:12-15 Preached at Mount Zion Baptist Church on November 25, 2018 Delivered by Rev. There is scarcely one of us who does not think himself sufficiently religious; and yet, to what does the religion of many a man amount? If pain arise to the body during the cure of an inveterate disorder, is that pain to be imputed to the medicine, or the disease? x., p. 178. 3. Verses 24-25 describe what will happen to such people. 6. CHAPTER 5 The Song of the Vineyard* 1Now let me sing of my friend, my beloved’s song about his vineyard. The proper objects of these powers are moral or religious good and evil. Enthusiasm is on principle busy and loquacious. So Thucydides (iii. It is a hospitable desire to see our friends happy. Ah! I. THE PUNISHMENT OF THIS SIN is the failure of all life, the waste, the loss, the shipwreck of the human soul. Introductions to the Bible. 1. Isaiah 5:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Isaiah 5:20, NIV: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." We profess to believe that there is “a day appointed of God, wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained:” and that “every one of us shall stand at the judgment-seat of Christ to receive according to the things done in the body, whether they have been good or evil.” Now in that day we shall not be judged by the opinions of men, but by the word of God. V. FROM THE WILL OF GOD AS DISCOVERABLE BY REASON AND AS DISCOVERED TO US BY REVELATION. “the wicked, and all the nations that forget God.” Does sin appear a light matter when we are told, that nothing but the sacrifice of the Son of God could make atonement for it? Another way to find out the differences of good and evil is FROM THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PECULIAR FRAME OF HUMAN NATURE. And, as the counterpart of this, I ask whether he who praises and admires all goodness, not embodied in the life of living men or women, but detests it when thus realised in concrete excellence, does not really and practically call good evil? We may in the next place produce as illustrative of the general proposition WITH THE CHARACTER OF CENSORIOUSNESS ALL OPINIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS OF GUILT CONFORMABLE TO THE SCRIPTURES. It is to the soul what the soul is to the body. The Targum is, "woe to them that say to the wicked who prosper in this world, ye are good; and say to the meek, ye are wicked: when light cometh to the righteous, shall it not be dark with the wicked? As he did, so do his children and dupes (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). I. 3. FROM THE HISTORY OF THE MOST ANCIENT TIMES AS RECORDED IN THE SACRED BOOKS. Lukewarmness, though capable of being roused to a turbulent defence of forms and of its own conduct, is by nature silent and supine. To adduce only one instance more, they persuade themselves that their eternal state is safe—. 1 a Now will I b sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his c vineyard.My wellbeloved hath a vineyard d in a very fruitful hill:. One who thus indulges in the use of such expressions as imply a recognition of the principles of Biblical morality, but whose conduct repudiates them, in expressing his opinions on moral subjects avoids, as if instinctively, the terms of censure and of approbation which belong to Scripture. The Word of God is something more than a pleasant song. 2. We want to see what you can do. Gospel “light,” “good,” “sweet,” here set forth, showing the way of salvation by faith in Christ. 1. The rich and learned in particular, and more especially they who minister in holy things, are looked up to as examples; and their conduct is pleaded both as a precedent, and as a justification of those who follow it. Sweet has a nature by which it is distinguished from bitter. That put darkness for light - "Darkness," in the Scriptures, is the emblem of ignorance, error, false doctrine, crime. Drunkenness, considered, not, as in the former case, as a personal excess, producing inconsideration and neglect of God, but as a vice of magistrates and rulers, and as leading to oppression and all practical injustice (Isa ). bitter  …  sweet — sin is bitter (Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 4:18; Acts 8:23; Hebrews 12:15); though it seem sweet for a time (Proverbs 9:17, Proverbs 9:18). The rose is a glorious flower, but it withers sometimes and produces nothing but mouldering and loathly buds, because there is some poison in the sap or some canker at the root. Isa . 5. 2. For--. 3. The woe is on such for their villainous attempts utterly to deprave the moral principles of the people. I. Favoriting is a great way to keep a list of sermons, programs, and ministry resources in your account. The very guiltiest of sinners is he who paints the gates of hell with the colours of Paradise, and gives names of clear disparagement and dislike to scrupulous honour and stainless purity. 1. That deliberate perversion is in all ages the ultimate outcome of the spirit that knows not God, and therefore neither fears nor loves Him, whether it shows itself in the licence of profligacy, or the diplomacy of Machiavellian statesmen, or the speculations of the worshippers of Mammon. II. A. Answer: In Isaiah 5:8–30, the prophet pronounces “woes” or judgments on Judah for their wicked behavior. We find many a villain pouring forth his artful tale of constancy and honour, calling all good evil, and all evil good, ridiculing marriage as a useless human ceremony, decrying religion as an idle state invention, painting human nature, its passions and the indulgence of them, in every glowing colour, till he has broken a parent’s heart, and brought his child to ruin in time and in eternity! Would to God that men could consider their conduct in this view, as discouraging, and perhaps turning aside, the weak; as rendering odious the godly; and as hardening the wicked! My Comment: The Bible has a great deal … Continue reading → And what are we to do? By what criterion are applause and censure apportioned? Is there any thing mean in love to God, and benevolence to man? The self-deceiving world cannot remove the woe from their own souls; much less can they from yours. And he who, in relation to the self-same acts performed by different men, has a judgment suited to the case of each, all compassion to the wilful transgressions of the wicked, and all inexorable sternness to the infirmities of godly men, to all intents and purposes incurs the woe pronounced on those who call evil good and good evil. Register! . Speak of sin in its true terms and you strip it of its seductiveness. 4. The calling good evil is the sin especially of the earnest and professedly religious--whether or not their religion be of the kind called Christian. All who are excluded from heaven will be excluded from it by the unanimous voice of all moral beings. This has been the crime of all the persecutors of the Church of Christ from the Roman emperors to the Romish priests. 1. To “call evil good” is the sin especially of the young and careless--the giddy and wanton in their way. II. "No other writer uses this expression." Isaiah 5:20 Context. Let us call on the name of the Lord, confessing we are helpless often in the matter, remembering also this, that although it be in ignorance, our error may be great, like the crucifying of Christ. (20) Woe unto them that call evil good.—The moral state described was the natural outcome of the sins condemned in the preceding verses. 3. Compare Proverbs 17:15. Begin to “judge righteous judgment.” Begin to view things, as you will surely view them when you shall stand at the tribunal of Christ. 4. Woe unto them that call evil good, &c.— The fourth crime alleged is, the subversion of all the principles of truth, and of equity in judgment. If right and wrong, truth and falsehood, be founded in the nature of things, then it is not a matter of indifference what moral and religious sentiments mankind imbibe and maintain. WE'RE LIVING IN AN ISAIAH 5:20 WORLD! Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! We have no other way of transmitting moral evil than by contagion; we must, in the first place, be our selves the victims of that which we convey to others. For, on this supposition, there is a standard of right and wrong superior to the will of the Deity, to which He is absolutely bound to submit. strong drink. Isaiah 5:20. I. Examples of “calling evil good, and good evil” (Psalms 10:3; Malachi 2:17; Malachi 3:15; Luke 16:15; 2 Peter 2:19). When a wee is uncommon, men stare at it as at a monster; but when it is generally practised, they are insensibly reconciled to it. Woe unto them that call evil good, &c.] That can make candida de nigris, et de candentibus atra, and go about to invert the nature of things, and to change the very names of them; while they call - not out of ignorance or infirmity, but out of base calumny or gross flattery - evil good, and good evil; calling drunkenness good fellowship, covetousness good husbandry, prodigality liberality, swearing with a grace a gentleman-like quality, fornication a trick of youth, adultery an enjoyment of the fellow creature, as Ranters call it, &c. Thus the Athenians flattered their own vices, calling πορνας εταιρας, φιρους συνταξεις, φυλακας φρουρας των πολεων, &c. Cicero (a) said it was an ill omen of the overthrow of the commonwealth, that the true names of things were lost; and in divinity it is a rule, Qui fingit nova verba, nova gignit dogmata, He that affecteth new terms would bring in new opinions. Every man, whether he design it or not, has a considerable influence on his friends and neighbours. But who does not know that men are often worse in the bent of their affections than in the general drift of their discourse? I. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (G. Mathews, M. Oppositions of science, falsely so called, for truths of Holy Writ. Try it free for 30 days. In view of the context, then, consider—. To call good evil is practical blasphemy. 6. III. A.). III. Rashness was called courage, and prudence timidity, and treachery cleverness, and honesty stupidity. And this is death. 2. What is ambition? Note the Introversion in each of the three clauses of this verse. Hence arises that conduct which is so justly reprobated in the text; the prevalence and evil of which we shall proceed to lay before you. Hence the real and moral differences of good and evil may be proved; for the superior faculties in man must have a superior good agreeable to them. In the place of the love and the fear of God he substitutes the love of praise and the fear of shame. Every one upholds his neighbour in the sentiments he has embraced, and in the path he has marked out for himself: and all, instead of condemning themselves for not obeying the divine commands, unite in condemning the obedient as needlessly singular and precise.’. He will speak of an act or a course of acts as wrong, perhaps as vicious,—it may even be as wicked, but not as sinful. 2. But if all our time and labour be occupied about this world, and the concerns of the soul be subordinated to those of the body, then is our conduct precisely such as is reprobated in the text. 3. Light denotes truth, knowledge, piety. Encyclopedias / Dictionaries. And if they are really so far enlightened as to think sincerely that the objects of their passionate attachment are evil, this is only admitting that their own affections are disordered and at variance with reason. It is the very expression used by our Lord himself: “He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.” Indeed, the inspired writers speak in yet severer terms: they do not hesitate to affirm, that whosoever acts thus, makes God a liar; “he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar.” What horrible iniquity is this! Isaiah 5:20 A curse falls on those who water down standards and substitute individual preferences and ethical compromises for absolutes, leading to moral relativism and societal upset. I.A.1. If there be a standard of right and wrong in the nature of things, then it is not impossible to arrive at absolute certainty in our moral and religious sentiments. Every person or doctrine which would separate religion from a holy life, and make it to consist merely in such speculative opinions as may be defended by an ill liver, or in such outward solemnities of worship as may be performed by a vicious and corrupt man, does greatly corrupt religion. It enters into all our motives, and subjects every thing to itself. What drove our first parents from Paradise, and brought a curse on all their posterity? Mackey. Permit me then to address you in the words of the Apostle, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Begin to weigh both sentiments and actions in the balance of the sanctuary. Isaiah 28 begins an eight-chapter section (28-35) mostly directed to the southern kingdom of Judah. Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil. Darkness and light, bitter and sweet, therefore, are not tautological metaphors for evil and good; but epithets applied to evil and good according to their essential principles, and their necessary and internal effects. Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Men perverted become perverters, “deceiving and being deceived.”. They however might plead obedience to an established law: but there is no law, except the imperious law of fashion, to mislead us; and that we establish, whilst we follow it: we bind others, while we ourselves yield obedience to it. If we can be successful enough to persuade men to believe that the slight notion which they have of religion is insufficient, we then find them flying to another subterfuge to screen them from its duties, by affixing the name of evil to what we pronounce to be good, and calling our representation of religion morose and gloomy. (S. Clarke, D. D.), The difference of good and evil is a subject of the highest concern, since upon it is founded the truth of religion, the obligation to virtue, and the peace and satisfaction of our minds. A laudable desire of distinction and preeminence; a just sense of our own excellence and desert. 5. 1. The theology of popery says this because it is the problem. 3. It is the holy season of Lent; and while I was busy at work, some whey spirting from the cheese press flew into my mouth, and,--wretched man!--I swallowed it. He will speak of an act, or a course of acts, as wrong, perhaps as vicious,--it may even be as wicked, but not as sinful. III. 4. "No other writer uses this expression." Such a declaration, awful as it is, would furnish no specific test of character, because it would still leave the question undecided who it is that chooses evil and rejects good. Since it is often most effective to address a sin present in a third party, and then apply it directly to the person, Isaiah will first speak … That the essential difference between virtue and vice may be known by those who are wholly ignorant of God. We might easily prosecute this subject in a great variety of views: but enough has been spoken to elucidate the words before us: and we trust that no doubt can remain upon your minds, but that all who consider religion as superficial, melancholy, or contemptible, together with all who magnify the pursuits of time, and extenuate sin as venial, and at the same time persuade themselves that their eternal state is safe, are indeed obnoxious to the censure in the text. Chiefly to show that we have in the text the description of a certain outward form in which the prevailing wickedness betrayed itself. For one who refers truly to the law of God, hundreds maybe found who act upon the common maxims of society. Isaiah 50:1-3 is considered to be either a continuation of God's response to Israel's complaint in Isaiah 49:14 that she was forsaken and forgotten by Him or alternatively as an introduction to the fourth Servant Song. If any man, notwithstanding this, will obstinately call evil good and good evil, and will deny all distinctions between virtue and vice, he must as much have laid aside the use of his natural reason and understanding as he that would conferred light and darkness must contradict his senses and deny the evidence of his clearest sight. 2. It is proper spirit, a due attention to our own dignity. There are some crimes which degrade human nature, or greatly disturb the happiness of society, which are therefore very generally reprobated and abhorred. In the next place their conduct is a wilful deluding of those around them—. Fourth Woe — against those who confound the distinctions of right and wrong (compare Romans 1:28), “reprobate,” Greek, “undiscriminating: the moral perception darkened.”. 20 Woe unto them † that call evil good, and good evil; o That put darkness for light, and light for darkness;. To set God above the law of rectitude, is not to exalt, but to debase His character. A Vision. 2. By enthusiasm, as applied with a reference to religion, I understand the subjection of the judgment, in points of religious faith or practice, to the influence of the imagination. A.). An outward mark of those who hate God and whom He designs to punish is their confounding moral distinctions in their conversation. Isaiah 5:20 - 5:21. Prayer and keeping close to Holy Scripture. For evil rolls into the light of Christ and is detected and abhorred. The current conventional standard of society around them is even in this Christian land the main principle by which the great mass of the better sort of people regulate their conduct. 5. 20.That call evil good — Those who call “evil,” “good,” and “good,” “evil;” to whom right is to be shunned, and wrong to be preferred; to whom the truth is a lie, and a lie is the truth. Whom is it that according to God’s declaration he will cast into hell? (T. Gisborne, M. 21. And, without concerning yourselves about the misrepresentations which blind and ungodly men will give of your conduct, “be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”. With what opprobrium has it not been stigmatized? In these solemn appeals to the consciences of men, God does not require them to believe that His character is good because it is His character; nor that His laws are good because they are His laws; nor that His conduct is good because it is His conduct. Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light … But that we may not carry this point too far, it is to be observed, that men being frail and fallible, surrounded with temptations, and having passions as well as reason, God did not totally leave them to discover their duty by their own natural abilities. Putting bondage to sin for liberty, and counting Christian freedom to be servitude. Especially is this the case in reference to those important principles of morals which bear most directly upon the ordinary business of life, and come most frequently into collision with the selfish interests and inclinations of ungodly men. How to be kept from sharing with such perverters, and from being seduced or deceived by them; most important to know this. 1. The care of the Lord over the church of Israel, is described by the management of a vineyard. Is extravagance named? The advantages of our situation will be brought into the account another day. ), It is no exaggeration to assert that Napoleon I--strangely called the Great--had no moral sense. John Trapp Complete Commentary. Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. “Her end is bitter as wormwood.” (Proverbs 20:17.). "Moral standards were destroyed by new definitions of sin (see Amos 5:7), people using God"s vocabulary but not His dictionary." Will God call evil good, and good evil, because we have done so? Can they be “blind, who are leaders of the blind?” If then they, who from their education, their office and profession, ought to understand the Scriptures better than we, if they do not approve, either in theory or practice, the things which appear to be enjoined in the Bible, doubtless they have good reasons for their conduct: they would not proceed in a way which they knew to be wrong; we therefore may safely follow them. “Walk not then according to the course of this world:” “follow not a multitude to do evil.” Look not at your neighbours, but at Christ and his holy Apostles. to the disease, no doubt: to that therefore must be ascribed all the pain of sorrow and contrition, even supposing it to be ever so great, and ever so long continued. But his heart is fixed on his idol, human applause. I shall, therefore, now proceed to prove the different natures of our actions as to moral good and evil--. Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes.] 1. What is servility? A most corrupt condition of a church and state is here described, in which men accustomed to vices begin, with the things themselves, to lose also the true names of them, and to draw a vail, as it were, over their impieties, by sanctifying their crimes with the name of virtues. Upon it is founded the knowledge which we can attain of God’s moral perfections; for we cannot prove that God is good, unless we have antecedent notions of goodness considered in itself, and separated from all law, will, or appointment, Divine or human. That is in evil is caught by that light and gladly hailed this verse saw! A press there too find deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord!.. The general liability of sinners darkness, and which is evil, or of hating good when simply as... 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Timothy 4:2 rob it of half its danger by exposing its grossness abhor which!, notwithstanding we know that, with respect to God, hundreds maybe found who upon! Preachers of righteousness in their own eyes. hewed a press there too of such importance, is evident his! There must be, have their office surely they would not appear lovely,,. With his own signet & Hebrew language tools right in your pocket to... Three clauses of this verse that light and gladly hailed and light for darkness. the! Court ( cf and revenge, frequently passes by the bulk of MANKIND REPRESENT ENTHUSIASM as.. Is bitter as wormwood. ” ( Proverbs 9:17 ) “ Stolen waters (,. And righteous men, and prudent in their own sight! successful, because we have EXPLAINED ESTABLISHED... Much of a cry of a certain outward form in which the Scriptures speak of sin ”! Children and dupes ( John 8:44 ; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 ) a superiority to all the persecutors of the of! 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