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Pottery: Potter & Pots

insights Joan Winifred

The irony of pottery:

“Woe to the one that has contended with his Former, as an earthenware fragment with the other earthenware fragments of the ground! Should the clay say to its former: ‘What do you make?’ And your achievement say: ‘He has no hands’? Woe to the one saying to a father: ‘He has no hands’? Woe to the one saying to a father: ‘What do you become father to?’ and to the wife: ‘What are you in birth pains with?'” (Isaiah 45:9, 10)


Isaiah compares objectors to discarded lumps of clay and scraps of pottery that would dare to question the wisdom of their maker. The very thing the potter has formed is now stating that the potter has no hands or power to form. How foolish! The objectors are like little children daring to criticize their parents’ authority. (Excerpted: Isaiah’s Prophecy II pp. 82-85)

{How absurd…the thought of a beautiful piece of art/pottery (aka humans/creation)…questioning/talking back to the potter (God/maker)…denying/rejecting the potter’s abilities or claiming the potter has no hands/power to act.}

i LOVE, i LOVE this analogy:

The Bible may be likened to a great piece of music with a dominant theme and with minor themes introduced to add to the distinctiveness of the whole. In a similar way, the Bible has a major theme–the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty by means of the Messianic Kingdom government. It also has other important, recurring themes. One of these is the fall of Babylon.

[…] ancient Babylon has a modern counterpart–“Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion. In Revelation, Babylon the Great is likewise portrayed in connection with “a wilderness” and “waters.” The apostle John is carried away to a wilderness to be shown Babylon the Great. He is told that she “sits on many waters” representing “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.” (Revelation 17:1-3, 5, 15) Popular support has always been a key to the survival of false religion, but such “waters” will not protect her in the end. Like her ancient counterpart, she will end up empty, neglected, and desolate.

“That is why my hips have become full of severe pains. Convulsions themselves have grabbed hold of me, like the convulsions of a woman that is giving birth. I have become disconcerted so that I do not hear; I have become disturbed so that I do not see. My heart has wandered about; a shuddering itself has terrified me. The twilight for which I had an attachment has been made for me a trembling.” (Isaiah 21:3, 4) The prophet, it seems, enjoys the twilight hours, a lovely time for quiet contemplation. But nightfall has now lost its charm, bringing instead only fear, pain, and trembling. He suffers convulsions like those of a woman in labor, and his heart “has wandered about.” One scholar renders this phrase “my heart beats wildly,” noting that the expression refers to “a feverish and irregular beating of the pulse.” Why such distress? Evidently, Isaiah’s feelings are prophetic. On the night of October 5/6, 539 B.C.E., the Babylonians will experience similar terror.

8. As prophesied, how do the Babylonians act, even though their enemies are outside the walls?

As darkness falls on that fateful night, terror is the last thing on the Babylonians’ minds. Some two centuries in advance, Isaiah foretells: “Let there be a setting of the table in order, an arranging of the location of seats, an eating, a drinking!” (Isaiah 21:5a) Yes, the arrogant King Belshazzar is hosting a feast. Seats are arranged for a thousand of his grandees, as well as many wives and concubines. (Daniel 5:1, 2) The revelers know that there is an army outside the walls, but they believe that their city is impregnable. Her massive walls and deep moat appear to make her capture impossible; her many gods make it unthinkable. So let there be “an eating, a drinking!” Belshazzar gets drunk, and he probably is not alone. The besotted state of the high officials is suggested by the need to rouse them, as Isaiah’s next words prophetically show.

“Get up, you princes, anoint the shield.” (Isaiah 21:5b) Suddenly, the party is over. The princes have to rouse themselves! The aged prophet Daniel has been called to the scene, and he sees how Jehovah throws Babylonian King Belshazzar into a state of terror similar to that described by Isaiah. The king’s grandees are plunged into confusion as the combined forces of Medes, Persians, and Elamites breach the city’s defenses. Babylon falls quickly! What, though, does it mean to “anoint the shield”? The Bible sometimes refers to a nation’s king as its shield because he is the defender and protector of the land.* (Psalm 89:18) So this verse in Isaiah is likely foretelling the need for a new king. Why? Because Belshazzar is killed that “very night.” Thus, there is a need to “anoint the shield,” or appoint a new king.—Daniel 5:1-9, 30. (Excerpted: Isaiah’s Prophecy I pp. 217-218-221)

The so-called impregnable city, “Babylon,” fell…what about the modern-day counterpart “Babylon the Great”? impregnable?

(published 10/4/15 @ 12:44 p.m.)

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