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Isaiah 65:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For I am holier than thou - So the Chaldee renders it.

קדשתיך kedashticha is the same with ממך קדשתי kadashti mimmecha . In the same manner חזקתני chazaktani, Jeremiah 20:7, is used for ממני חזקת chazacta mimmenni, "thou art stronger than I." - L.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Which say, Stand by thyself - Who at the time that they engage in these abominations are distinguished for spiritual pride. The most worthless people are commonly the most proud; and they who have wandered farthest from God have in general the most exalted idea of their own goodness. It was a characteristic of a large part of the Jewish nation, and especially of the Pharisees, to be self-righteous and proud. A striking illustration of this we have in the following description of the Hindu yogis, by Roberts: ‹Those men are so isolated by their superstition and penances, that they hold but little contact with the rest of mankind. They wander about in the dark in the place of burning the dead, or “among the graves;” there they affect to hold converse with evil and other spirits; and there they pretend to receive intimations respecting the destinies of others. They will eat things which are religiously clean or unclean; they neither wash their bodies, nor comb their hair, nor cut their nails, nor wear clothes. They are counted to be most holy among the people, and are looked upon as beings of another world.‘

These are a smoke in my nose - Margin, ‹Anger.‘ The word rendered ‹nose‘ (אף 'aph ) means sometimes nose Numbers 11:20; Job 40:24, and sometimes ‹anger,‘ because anger is evinced by hard breathing. The Septuagint renders this, ‹This is the smoke of my anger.‘ But the correct idea is, probably, that their conduct was offensive to God, as smoke is unpleasant or painful in the nostrils; or as smoke excites irritation when breathed, so their conduct excited displeasure (Rosenmuller). Or it may mean, as Lowth suggests, that their conduct kindled a smoke and a fire in his nose as the emblems of his wrath. There is probably an allusion to their sacrifices here. The smoke of their sacrifices constantly ascending was unpleasant and provoking to God.

A fire that burneth all the day - The idea here probably is, that their conduct kindled a fire of indignation that was continually breathed out upon them. A similar figure occurs in Deuteronomy 32:22: ‹For a fire is kindled in mine anger,‘ or in my nose (באפי be'appı̂y ), ‹and shall burn unto the lowest hell.‘ So in Psalm 18:8:

There went up a smoke out of his nostrils,

And fire out of his mouth devoured.

Compare Ezekiel 38:18.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Gentiles came to seek God, and find him, because they were first sought and found of him. Often he meets some thoughtless trifler or profligate opposer, and says to him, Behold me; and a speedy change takes place. All the gospel day, Christ waited to be gracious. The Jews were bidden, but would not come. It is not without cause they are rejected of God. They would do what most pleased them. They grieved, they vexed the Holy Spirit. They forsook God's temple, and sacrificed in groves. They cared not for the distinction between clean and unclean meats, before it was taken away by the gospel. Perhaps this is put for all forbidden pleasures, and all that is thought to be gotten by sin, that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Christ denounced many woes against the pride and hypocrisy of the Jews. The proof against them is plain. And let us watch against pride and self-preference, remembering that every sin, and the most secret thoughts of man's heart, are known and will be judged by God.
Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 150

This chapter is based on Luke 18:9-14.

“Unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others,” Christ spoke the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee goes up to the temple to worship, not because he feels that he is a sinner in need of pardon, but because he thinks himself righteous and hopes to win commendation. His worship he regards as an act of merit that will recommend him to God. At the same time it will give the people a high opinion of his piety. He hopes to secure favor with both God and man. His worship is prompted by self-interest. COL 150.1

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 336

The very souls you despise need your love and sympathy. Do not leave a weak soul to struggle alone, to wrestle with the passions of his own heart without your help and prayers, but consider yourself, lest you also be tempted. If you do this, God will not leave you to your own weakness. You may have sins greater in His sight than the sins of those you condemn. Do not stand off and say, “I am holier than thou.” GW 336.1

Christ has thrown His divine arm around the human race. He has brought His divine power to man, that He might encourage the poor, sin-sick, discouraged soul to reach up for a higher life. O, we need more of Christ's spirit, and much less of self! We need the converting power of God upon our hearts daily. We need the mellowing spirit of Christ, to subdue and soften our souls. The only way for those to do who feel that they are whole, is to fall upon the Rock and be broken. Christ can change you into His likeness, if you will submit yourself to Him. GW 336.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 342

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Christ has not been revealed in your deportment toward some who were much nearer the kingdom of heaven than yourselves. The Lord has opened before you your wrong toward His children—your want of mercy and love, your determination to control minds and make them see things just as you see them. And when light came to you, what course did you take? Did you merely admit that you were wrong, or did you heartily confess your error and humble your proud hearts before God? Did you cast aside your ways and accept God's teachings? Did you go to the very ones you had bruised and wounded, and say: “I have been wrong; I have sinned against you. Forgive me. I have failed; I have worked in my own spirit. I had a zeal, but not according to knowledge. It was the spirit of Jehu, rather than the meekness and lowliness of Christ. The word of God directs: ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ Will you pray for me that God will forgive me for the distress and anguish I have caused you?” 5T 342.1

If you who have engaged in this work of bruising and condemning have not heartily repented, then light, peace, and joy will not come into your souls. When you are careful, kind, and tender to your brethren in the same degree that you have been hard, unforgiving, and oppressive, you will confess your faults and make restitution as far as possible; and when you have done all on your part you may ask the Lord to do that which it is impossible for you to do—heal the wounds you have made, forgive you, and blot out your transgression. When there is so great reluctance to confess a wrong which is laid open and plain before the erring, it shows that they are controlled by their own untamable, unsanctified natures rather than by the spirit of the gospel of Christ. 5T 343.1

If God has ever spoken by me, you have most earnest work to do in zealous repentance for showing to the erring the satanic element in your character, not in coldness and indifference merely, but in neglect and contempt. If they are indeed in darkness and doing things that imperil their souls, you should manifest the greater interest in them. Show them that while you will be true to principle and will not swerve from the right, you love their souls. Let them know by your words and actions that you have not a spirit of revenge and retaliation, but that for their sakes you will sacrifice feeling and subdue self. Represent Jesus, our pattern; manifest His spirit at all times and under all circumstances, and let that mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. Your ways have not been God's ways; your will has not been God's will. The precious plant of love has not been cultivated, and watered by the dews of grace. Self-love, self-righteousness, self-complacency, have exerted a controlling power. 5T 343.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 265.1

No Condemnation of Others—By earnest, Christlike efforts, men will be convicted and converted, and God will speak pardon to them. Let no one turn away a soul who leaves the service of Satan and asks Jesus for pardon. “Of some have compassion, making a difference.” When they give evidence that the Spirit of God is striving with them, present to them every encouragement for entering the Lord's service. Do not discourage them by indifference, by drawing away from them with an air of, “I am holier than thou” [Isaiah 65:5]. TSB 265.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 186

God would open the eyes of His professed people in order that they may see that they must love God supremely, and their neighbors as themselves, if they would be saved in His kingdom. Many are making manifest that they are not controlled by the Spirit of Christ but by another spirit. The attributes they display are as unlike the attributes of Christ as are the characteristics of Satan. It is high time that believers should stand shoulder to shoulder and strive together for eternal life, in place of holding themselves aloof and expressing by word and action, “I am holier than thou.” Those who would exert all their powers for the salvation of perishing souls must come heart to heart, and be bound together in cords of sympathy and love. The brethren should manifest the same spirit as that manifested by our merciful and faithful High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. We may inspire fainting, hopeless ones with new life. We may achieve victories which our own erroneous and misconceived opinions, our own defects of character, our own smallness of faith, have made to seem impossible. Faith! we scarcely know what it is. TM 186.1

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