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Isaiah 29:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Lord "Jehovah" - For אדני Adonai, sixty-three MSS. of Kennicott's, and many of De Rossi's, and four editions, read יהוה Yehovah, and five MSS. add יהוה .

Kimchi makes some just observations on this verse. The vision, meaning the Divine revelation of all the prophets, is a book or letter that is sealed - is not easily understood. This is delivered to one that is learned - instructed in the law. Read this; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed; a full proof that he does not wish to know the contents else he would apply to the prophet to get it explained. See Kimchi on the place.

And their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men "And vain is their fear of me teaching the commandments of men" - I read for ותהי vattehi, ותהו vethohu, with the Septuagint, Matthew 15:9; Mark 8:7; and for מלמדה melummedah, מלמדים melummedim, with the Chaldee.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Wherefore the Lord said - This verse, with the following, is designed to denounce the divine judgment on their formality of worship. They kept up the forms of religion, but they witcheld the affections of their hearts from God; and he, therefore, says that he will proceed to inflict on them exemplary and deserved punishment.

This people draw near me - That is, in the temple, and in the forms of external devotion.

And with their lips do honor me - They professedly celebrate my praise, and acknowledge me in the forms of devotion.

But have removed their heart - Have witcheld the affections of their hearts.

And their fear toward me - The worship of God is often represented as “fear” Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 34:11; Proverbs 1:7.

Is taught by the precept of men - That is, their views, instead of having been derived from the Scriptures, were drawn from the doctrines of mankind. Our Saviour referred to this passage, and applied it to the hypocrites of his own time Matthew 15:8-9. The latter part of it is, however, not quoted literally from the Hebrew, nor from the Septuagint, but retains the sense: ‹But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.‘ He quoted it as strikingly descriptive of the people when he lived, not as saying that Isaiah referred directly to his times.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause for lamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, said that the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urged their want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man, learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simple heart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truth and the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And if the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance of it the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion is lip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, they are thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the God of Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are only formal in worship. And their religion is only to comply with custom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings of mind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden, are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God, so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than a pretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those that quarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves from him, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverse conduct shall be entirely done away.
Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 227

I was shown that some of the people of God imitate the fashions of the world, and are fast losing their peculiar, holy character, which should distinguish them as God's people. I was pointed back to God's ancient people, and then was led to compare their apparel with the mode of dress in these last days. What a difference! What a change! Then the women were not so bold as now. When they went in public they covered their face with a vail. In these last days fashions are shameful and immodest. They are noticed in prophecy. They were first brought in by a class over whom Satan has entire control, who “being past feeling (without any conviction of the Spirit of God), have given themselves over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness.” If God's professed people had not departed greatly from him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world. The small bonnets, exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty. The hoops are a shame. The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt, and the line of distinction must be more plain between them and the Israel of God, or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall upon God's professed people. 2SG 227.1

I was directed to the following scriptures. Said the angel, They are to instruct God's people. 1 Timothy 2:9, 10. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Peter 3:3-5. “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in God, adorned themselves.” 2SG 228.1

Young and old, God is now testing you. You are deciding your own eternal destiny. Your pride, your love to follow the fashions of the world, your vain and empty conversation, your selfishness, are all put in the scale, and the weight of evil is fearfully against you. You are poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. While evil is increasing and taking deep root, it is choking the good seed which has been sown in the heart, and soon the word will be spoken to the angels of God concerning you, as was given concerning Eli's house, that your sins shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. Many, I saw, were flattering themselves that they were good Christians, who have not a single ray of light from Jesus. They know not what it is to be renewed by the grace of God. They have no living experience for themselves in the things of God. And I saw that the Lord was whetting his sword in heaven to cut them down. O that every cold, lukewarm professor could realize the clean work that God is about to make among his professed people. Dear friends, do not deceive yourselves concerning your condition. You cannot deceive God. Says the True Witness, “I know thy works.” The third angel is leading up a people, step by step, higher and higher. At every step they will be tested. 2SG 229.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 188

God proves His people in this world. This is the fitting-up place to appear in His presence. Here, in this world, in these last days, persons will show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. It will elevate the receiver, and make him noblehearted and generous, like his divine Lord. But if evil angels control the heart, it will be seen in various ways. The fruit will be selfishness, covetousness, pride, and evil passions. 1T 188.1

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Professors of religion are not willing to closely examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith; and it is a fearful fact that many are leaning on a false hope. Some lean upon an old experience which they had years ago; but when brought down to this heart-searching time, when all should have a daily experience, they have nothing to relate. They seem to think that a profession of the truth will save them. When they subdue those sins which God hates, Jesus will come in and sup with them and they with Him. They will then draw divine strength from Jesus, and will grow up in Him, and be able with holy triumph to say: “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It would be more pleasing to the Lord if lukewarm professors of religion had never named His name. They are a continual weight to those who would be faithful followers of Jesus. They are a stumbling block to unbelievers, and evil angels exult over them, and taunt the angels of God with their crooked course. Such are a curse to the cause at home or abroad. They draw nigh to God with their lips, while their heart is far from Him. 1T 188.2

I was shown that the people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. Some have done this, and are fast losing the peculiar, holy character which should distinguish them as God's people. I was pointed back to God's ancient people, and was led to compare their apparel with the mode of dress in these last days. What a difference! what a change! Then the women were not so bold as now. When they went in public, they covered their faces with a veil. In these last days, fashions are shameful and immodest. They are noticed in prophecy. They were first brought in by a class over whom Satan has entire control, who, “being past feeling [without any conviction of the Spirit of God] have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” If God's professed people had not greatly departed from Him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world. The small bonnets, exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty. The hoops are a shame. The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt, and the line of distinction between them and the Israel of God must be more plain, or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall on God's professed people. 1T 188.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 78

God speaks to you in His word, saying: “Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” 8T 78.1

“In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:13, 14, 18, 19. 8T 78.2

My brethren, the Lord has called upon you to do a certain work, but you have not done it; and in the place where you are there is discord and contention and strife. But this need not be. God does not design that His workmen shall stand apart as separate atoms. All have a great and solemn work to do, and it is to be done under God's supervision. 8T 78.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 96

Never was there a time when the Lord would manifest His great grace unto His chosen ones more fully than in these last days when His law is made void. “The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable.” What does God say in regard to His people? “But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.” (See also Isaiah 43.) These are prophecies that will be fulfilled. TM 96.1

I would speak in warning to those who have stood for years resisting light [See Appendix.] and cherishing the spirit of opposition. How long will you hate and despise the messengers of God's righteousness? God has given them His message. They bear the word of the Lord. There is salvation for you, but only through the merits of Jesus Christ. The grace of the Holy Spirit has been offered you again and again. Light and power from on high have been shed abundantly in the midst of you. Here was evidence, that all might discern whom the Lord recognized as His servants. But there are those who despised the men and the message they bore. They have taunted them with being fanatics, extremists, and enthusiasts. Let me prophesy unto you: Unless you speedily humble your hearts before God, and confess your sins, which are many, you will, when it is too late, see that you have been fighting against God. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, no longer unto reformation and pardon, you will see that these men whom you have spoken against have been as signs in the world, as witnesses for God. Then you would give the whole world if you could redeem the past, and be just such zealous men, moved by the Spirit of God to lift your voice in solemn warning to the world; and, like them, to be in principle firm as a rock. Your turning things upside down is known of the Lord. Go on a little longer as you have gone, in rejection of the light from heaven, and you are lost. “The man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation.” TM 96.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 382

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?” TM 382.1

The Lord has shown us His way; shall we walk in it? or shall we, finite and erring as we are, walk in our own counsel, and practice the principles which He has warned us against? TM 382.2

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