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Isaiah's Prophecy about SHL aka Saul vs. Jesus

In Isaiah 28:18, God speaks of a people who have a "covenant with SHL," typically translated as SHEOL or the grave. The people falsely believe this covenant will protect them from "the whip when it passes through." This means these covenant-people believe their covenant with SHL gives them salvation / protection from God's wrath. Then these people whose prophets and leaders are apostate against God's Law are at odds with what God describes as something He ALREADY LAID as a "chief cornerstone" in Zion. (Isaiah 28:16; see below.)

 

"Behold I am the one who has LAID as a foundation in Zion....a precious cornerstone."

 

This cornerstone is Christ, as Jesus / Yahshua made clear in Luke 20:17.  

 

The Hebrew at issue here in Isaiah 28:15 is SHL. This can be read as either SAUL or as SHEOL. Why is that?

 

The Biblical Hebrew at issue is the word spelled SHL. Biblical Hebrew has no vowels. It is up to the reader to determine what Hebrew word that it represents.

When rendered into English, the translator is obligated to explain alternatives that could fit the context, for context is what must be relied upon to determine what vowels one can infer belong to the letters SHL in Isaiah 28.

 

How do we know the letters are the same?

The name Saul is from the Hebrew word pronounced shaw-ool. It means "asked" or "prayed" in Hebrew. In a scholarly discussion of 1 Sam. 28 when Saul -- the annointed first king of Israel -- goes to see the witch of Endor—the Python priestess (see Python), it is mentioned parenthetically "Saul whose name is spelled like Sh'l as with the Hebrew name for Sheol, Sh'l." (Samuel Frost, "Sheol/Hades: What Is It?" (2007).)

Thus, when one reads Isaiah 28 but knows also that Jesus cites this passage in Luke 20 as being about Himself as the chief cornerstone, this tells us how Jesus would read this entire passage. It is clearly a contrast between a competing covenant from SHL versus a previously laid foundation established by Jesus / Yahshua in Isaiah 28. The people are being misled to follow a covenant on terms set forth by SHL which Isaiah says is built on lies. This covenant with SHL will lead them to death, and when the whip of judgment passes through, they will not be protected as they are assuming to be the case. Isaiah quotes Yahweh saying Righteousness will be the "plumb line" -- the measuring stick -- of salvation, not what SHL is selling. 

 

Please listen with ears to hear to verses 14-18 -- with SAUL placed besides SHEOL as an alternative translation:

14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,  and with SAUL / Sheol we have an agreementwhen the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid [c] as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with SAUL / Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
you will be beaten down by it.

 

The message then would be those relying upon a covenant with Paul / Saul, not the one previously renewed by the chief cornerstone Yahshua, have a false hope. God describes it as a covenant with death, and taking "refuge in lies."

What does it mean a "refuge of lies"?

One possibility is this could mean the lies of translators who mistranslate and distort many passages to insulate us from hearing Paul's true horrible words such as Paul defending lying to advance the gospel in Romans 3:7. Paul there concludes it is no sin.  But the NIV without any warrant adds words so it reads "some say" lying to advance the gospel is no sin. There are many more such passages that are altered or mistranslated to disguise Paul's true words. See Mistranslations to Help Paul

 

More Likely Meaning of  "Refuge of Lies."

 

However, I believe "refuge of lies" is Paul's own teaching from Isaiah 28 itself, ascribing something to it that it does not have. What if Isaiah means the people put refuge in a lie -- a false translation of Isaiah 28 itself invented solely by Paul -- to support his faith-in-facts doctrine for salvation? That would make the most sense if Paul relied upon a Septuagint mistranslation. Now please turn to see Romans 10:11-12 is a defense of salvation solely by professing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believing he was resurrected, quoting in support a Septuagint mistranslation of Isiah 28:16. We now know this from the Dead Scrolls from 250 BC that were discovered in the 1940s, including the Great Isiah Scroll. These sources provide definitive proof that Paul relied upon a defective Greek mistranslation in the Septuagint of 247 BC.  

As we explain in Isaiah 28:16 - Another Septuagint mistranslation:

 

Thus, it is highly problematic that Paul [in Romans 10:11-12] turns faith alone upon a verse in Isaiah 28:16 that is not about faith, nor a faith "in him," and is not about salvation ("shame"), but is about trusting in the foundation stone and who does so is not in haste.  The impact on Paul's validity in use of erroneous sources for such  an important issue is gently put by Daniel Wee in his 2016 article More LXX Translational Issues: Isaiah 28: 16

It is easy to see how a mistake might have happened, and why reliance on the LXX poses particular problems when these errors are  inherited by the NT writers.

It is a big problem that the statements by Paul relied upon the errors identified as  # 1, #2 and #3 above. Without those errors, this verse is not any support for the faith alone doctrine Paul was extracting from Isaiah 28:16.

 

In this case, errors become lies when preachers continue to cite the Roman road to salvation that critically turns upon what they should know has a false premise - a mistranslation in the Greek Septuagint Bible of 247 BC upon which Paul mistakenly relied. Hence, God prophesies that those taking refuge in a covenant with SHL - Saul Paul we can now understand -- is taking a refuge in lies.

 

THE END

 

NOTE: A further relevant verse is Paul's "humble" claim to have laid the foundation of our faith. This appears at odds with Jesus being the chief cornerstone -- hence that Jesus is the true founder of our faith. 

 

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.  1 Cor. 3:10 NIV.