ORELLI, AND LISTER, ON EXALTED ZION.
DELITZSCH ON ISAIAH
expression the ‘Last Days,’ i. e. the ‘End of the Days,’
‘Acharith Hayyamin,’ which
does not occur anywhere else in Isaiah, is always used in an eschatological
sense. It never refers to the course of
history immediately following the time being, but invariably indicates the farthest
point in the history of this life; - the point that lies on the
outermost limit of the speaker’s horizon.
This horizon was a very fluctuating one.
The history of prophecy is just the history of the gradual extension of
this horizon, and of the filling up of the intermediate spaces. In Jacob’s blessing (Gen.
49) the Conquest of Canaan stood in the foreground of the Acharith Hayyamim and the
perspective was regulated accordingly.
But, here, in Isaiah, the Acharith contained no such mixing
together of events belonging to the more immediate and far distant future. It was, therefore, the Last Time,
in its most literal and purest sense, commencing with the beginning of the New
Testament Age, and terminating at its close.
Compare Heb. 1: 1; 1 Pet. 1: 20. The prophet here predicted that the ‘Mountain’ which bore the temple of Jehovah, and
therefore, was already in dignity, the most exalted of all
mountains, would, one day, tower in actual height above all the
high places of the land. The basaltic
mountains of Bashan which rose up in bold peaks and
columns might now indeed look down with scorn and contempt upon the small
limestone hill which Jehovah had chosen (Psa. 68: 16, 17),
but this was an incongruity which the Last Days would remove, by
making the outward correspond to the inward, the appearance to the reality and
intrinsic worth. That this is the
prophet’s meaning is confirmed by Ezekiel 40: 2,
where the Temple-Mountain stands gigantic to the prophet, and also by Zechariah 14: 10, were all Jerusalem
is described as towering above the country round about, which would, one day,
become a plain. The question how this
can possibly take place, in time, since it presupposes a complete subversion of
the whole of the existing order of the earth’s surface, is easily
answered. The prophet saw the New
Jerusalem of the Last Days on this side, and the New Jerusalem of the New Earth
on the other side of the End, blended together, as it were, in one. Whilst, however, we thus avoid all
unwarrantable spiritualizing, it still remains a question what meaning
the prophet attached to the word, ‘B’rosh,’ ‘at the Top.’ Did he mean that Moriah
would one day stand ‘upon the top’ of the mountains that surrounded it (as in Psa. 72: 16), or that it would stand ‘at the head’ of
them (as in 1 Kings 21: 9, 12; Amos 6: 7; Jer. 31: 7)?
The former is Hofmann’s view, who says ‘the
prophet does not mean that the mountains would be piled up, one upon another,
and the temple mountain ‘upon the top,’ but that
the temple mountain would ‘appear to float upon the summit of the others.’ But inasmuch as the expression ‘will be set’ does not favour this
apparently romantic exaltation, and since ‘B’rosh’ occurs oftener in the sense of
head’ than of ‘upon the top,’ I
decide, for my own part, in favour of the second view,*
although I agree with Hofmann so far, viz., That is not merely an
exaltation of the Temple
Mountain in the mere
esteem of the nations that is predicted, the divinely chosen mountain
would become the rendezvous and centre of unity for all nations. They would ‘flow into it’ as a river. It is Jehovah’s Temple which, being thus rendered visible
to nations afar off, exerts such magnetic attraction, and with such
success. Just as, at a former period,
men had been separated and estranged from each other in the plains of Shinar,
and thus different nations had arisen, so, at a future period, would the
nations assemble together on the Mountain of the Lord’s House, and there, as
members of one family, live together in unity again. Compare Isa. 25: 6-9;
24: 23; Isa. 40: 4.
[* So Orelli, Drechsler, Cheyne, Van Oosterzee, Caspari, Riehm, Hitzig, Nägelsbach, etc., etc., "at
the head." N. West.]
ORELLI ON ISAIAH
question whether Isaiah 2: 2 is to be
understood physically and topographically, so that the territory itself and its
relations shall undergo a mighty transformation, in order that Zion, now
encircled by mountains higher than itself, may tower above them all, - or
whether it is meant only in a spiritual sense - is an idle one. The Seer actually saw Mount Zion,
the site of the Temple, standing higher than all
the rest, just as he saw, in fact, the nations journeying to this middle-point
of the world under divine rule, and beheld Zion over-decked with the fiery Glory-Cloud
of God. Isa. 4: 5, 6. It was not his business to twist such
concrete intuitions into abstract thoughts.
Aware of the spiritual import which is the essential thing according to
our Christian consciousness, yet the Revelation of God dwelling on Mount Zion
must be acknowledged by all the nations, and the world’s whole physiognomy,
even in its literal outward aspect, be transfigured into harmony with its
subjection to Jehovah."*
[* Orelli Die alttest. Weisag. 287.]
LISTER ON ISAIAH 2: 2
this passage, as in others, - Zech. 14: 3-5, 10; Jer. 31: 38-40; Joel 3: 18-21; Ezek. 47: 1-12; Psa. 97: 5; Isa. 64: 3; Judges 5:
5; Exod. 19: 18; Psa. 114:
7; Isa. 64: 1; Hagg. 2: 6;
Heb. 12: 26, etc., there is nothing whatever to favour an allegorical
interpretation, but everything to support a literal one. The prophet looks forward to the Last Days
and points to great changes to be wrought in the land of Palestine,
at the time of the Second Coming of the Lord.
The events predicted in this, and other cognate passages are all physical
phenomena. They may, indeed, for
the most part be termed geological phenomena. They are matters with which Geologists are
perfectly familiar. There is not a
region on the globe in which they have not occurred again and again. They will consist in the upheaval of some
parts of the land, and the depression and dislocation
of others. There is nothing with which
that science has made us acquainted that comes more frequently under our notice
than phenomena of this kind. The terms,
even, by which they are expressed have become as
familiar as household words. Compare Isa. 2: 2, with Zech. 14:
10. What we have here is called ‘Elevation,’ or an ‘Upheaval’ of the strata below, by some cosmic
force. Every mountain,
and mountain chain, throughout the world, owe their origin to it. All lands and continents of the present day have
been again and again subjected to an action of this kind, and also, on the
other hand, to one of ‘Depression,’
as they have successively become ‘sea and dry land,’
(Hagg. 2: 6), which has been the case again and
again. And the process is still going
on. Instances of Elevation and
Depression are perpetually occurring.
Three times, in the course of the present century, 1822, 1835, 1837, the
coast of Chili has
been permanently elevated, the last time the bottom of the sea being raised more
than 8 feet, the area over which the elevation extended being more than 100,000
square miles. In the destruction of Lisbon, 1755, we have a
case of depression or subsidence, during the six minutes of whose action the
new quay, built of marble, at enormous expense, sank beneath the waters, one
hundred fathoms. These are cases
of sudden and convulsive action.
There are other cases of gradual action, such as the coast
of Sweden raised four feet
in the present century, and the coast of Greenland
now sinking gradually, for a space of more than 600 miles. If we apply to the text referred to, the
facts thus ascertained, there is not the slightest reason, from the nature of
the case, why the things foretold in them should
not be literally fulfilled. What is
predicted is neither impossible nor improbable.
It is only what has occurred again and again. The Mount of Olives, and
indeed the whole of Palestine
have been already ‘exalted,’ and ‘lifted up.’ They consist, for the most part, of
aqueous or stratified rocks, which were originally deposited at the bottom of
the sea, and have since been raised to their present level. The phenomena have been those of ‘Elevation.’
Why, then, seeing that this has occurred before, should we think it
strange, if told that it should occur again?
Is it more improbable in the Future than in the Past? The process now going on is gradual, but it seem that when the things foretold occur, it will be convulsive. Still this is nothing new, for this also has
occurred within our own time. Why should
it not occur again? All the passages referred to have the character of literality about
them. We must, therefore, receive them
as the Lord has set them before us. ‘He
hath said it, and shall He not bring it to pass?’ ‘The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.’
passage in Isa. 2: 2,
is a case of Elevation. In Zech. 14: 10 it a case of both Elevation and
Depression. In Zech.
14: 4, 5, it is a case of what is called, ‘Disruption,’
“Fissure,” or “Fault.” Without pretending to indicate the exact mode
by which the Mount of Olives will be divided,
and a Valley formed through the midst of it, it is enough to know that the
phenomenon foretold is one that is fully understood as a fact of frequent
occurrence in the history of our globe.
We have case innumerable of Elevation, Subsidence, and Lateral Pressure,
the strata fractured in the process of the movement, and what is called a
"Fault" has been produced. The disruption of the Mount of Olives may be
produced by any of the above processes; and it would seem more than probable
that by the ‘Mountains’ in Isa. 64: 1-4,
and Mic. 1: 3, 4, we are to understand those in the
immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives, especially. This is rendered the more probable from a
comparison of Mic. 1: 3, with verse 5,
the latter being explanatory of the former.
In verse 3 we read of the ‘High Places of the Land,’ and, in reference to these
it is asked in verse 5, ‘What are the High Places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?’ Again, verse 4,
‘the Valleys shall be cleft,’ pointing, no
doubt, to the convulsion foretold by Zechariah, where lie the
valleys of Jehoshaphat and Hinnom. "And, again, it must be remembered that Isa. 2: 2, distinctly shows that a great disturbance
and dislocation of the strata must necessarily take place in the immediate
neighbourhood of Jerusalem
at this period, viz., the Second Advent.
We have, therefore, good grounds for connecting all passages
above referred to together, and for regarding them as all relating to the same
period, and most of them, to the same locality. Isa. 64: 1-3,
and Mic. 1: 3, 4, are undoubtedly connected, and relate
to the same great event, viz., the Descent of the Lord Jesus to Earth at His
Second Advent. In the former there is a
prayer that He would do this; in the latter there is a prediction that He will
do this." (N. West.)
is clear, from a comparison of the Scripture passages, that the event predicted
in Isa. 2: 2, and Mic. 9: 1,
viz., the "Elevation" of Mount Zion,
the Temple-Mountain, is the same event as that predicted in Zech. 14: 10. Viz., the Depressions of the hills
of Judah, and the "Elevation" of
Jerusalem; and which Ezekiel sees accomplished, Ezek.
40: 2; and with which the transformations in Jer. 31: 38-40;
Joel; 3: 17, 18; Ezek. 47: 1-12, are associated, viz., the Temple-Waters
streaming through the Acacia-Vale, and emptying into the Mediterranean and Dead Seas;
as also producing monthly fruit-bearing trees.
It is utter folly to spiritualize
this as Hengstenberg, Keil,
Wright, Alexander, (W. L.) and others do.
The objections to the literal interpretation, such as that "natural waters could not flow in all directions at once,
from the same point," (R. W. Alexander) and "the whole land would be submerged by the waters of the
Mediterranean, were such a depression literal," (Wright, C. H. H. ) are
misunderstandings of the text, and afford only too open a flank to keen critics
like Kuenen and Graf. We hold the Hofmann, Smend, Neumann, Delitzsch, and
many more, that the predictions will be
literally accomplished, notwithstanding
the unbelief of believers.
What Isaiah says is that "Mount Zion shall be exalted above the hills." What Zechariah says is that "the whole land (not earth,
but land of Judah. So Ewald,
Umbreit, Hitzig, Kohler, Kliefoth, Pressel, and even R. W.
Alexander and C. H. H. Wright) shall become as a
Plain (not the plain, as Kliefoth,
R. W. Alexander, etc.; but a plain, as Ewald,
Bunsen, Wright, Maurer, Lange, Keil, notwithstanding Baer’s
retention of the definite article) from Geba to Rimmon, south of
Jerusalem, and SHE (Jerusalem) SHALL
BE LIFTED high, and shall
abide in her place, from the gate of Benjamin to the place of the outermost
gate, even the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel
to the King’s wine-presses."
And all this in connection with the cleaving of "the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East." And what Joel and Ezekiel say is, that
perennial waters shall flow, both sides, from the Temple Rock,
and immortalize the land and sea together.
Keil thinks this is "a figurative representation of the spiritual elevation and
glory the City will receive by the gospel," and Hengstenberg
imagines it means "the spiritual elevation and
transformation of the church," while Wright is convinced that
"high dignity" and "rivers of grace" are here signified. Others think the splitting of the Olivet
"a broken and contrite heart,"
which Bunyan keenly corrects by saying "The
prophet saith that the mountain is ‘before Jerusalem, on the East!’" Still others idealize the prophecy, counting
out the "husk" as "mere external," and the "details" as "non-essential!"
such liberties, we hold to the text, as it reads. What we are told is that Palestine will be transfigured when the Lord
comes. When He renovates Israel for
Himself, He renovates their City and their Land. The New-Born Tenant has a New-Built Home.
When the Daughter of Zion is married to
her Lord, it is not in the old ruin they keep house! Exalted above the hills and crowned with the
streaming light of the Glory-Cloud, will be her special dwelling-place. The territory
of Judah will become like the "Arabah," or Ghor, which stretches from the slopes of Hermon or Sea of Tiberias, to the Red Sea or
Gulf. It is a case of "Depression"
of the mountains and hills, an "Elevation" of the valleys, but not
a sinking of the territory itself; certainly not of Jerusalem. The land is elevated while yet its
irregularities and inequalities are smoothed, and it becomes a plain. The errors of the commentators here, are many. It is
not said that Judah’s
territory shall be depressed, but only that the mountainous region shall be leveled like the Ghor, while the
City and the Temple
are exalted. Isaiah has taught the same
truth. "Every valley shall be exalted, and
every mountain and hill be brought low, the crooked place shall be made
straight and the rough place plain and the Glory of the Lord shall be
revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for Jehovah’s mouth hath spoken
it." Isa. 40: 4. The delimitation of the boundary of the
territory is sufficiently clear. It is
that of the royal tribute and kingdom
of Judah, the
central glory of millennial times. It is from “Geba to Beersheba," the whole extent of Judah’s
domain (2 Kings 23: 8). The entire hilly region shall become like the
"Great Plain," and "Jerusalem shall be lifted high." The total City shall be elevated. If we trace the delimitation of the City
itself, it is even more precise. From
East to West, the boundary line runs from Benjamin’s Gate to the Corner Gate,
while it stretches North and South, from the Tower of Hananeel to the royal gardens
at the junction of the valleys of Jehoshaphat and Hinnom. Zech. 14: 10; Jer. 31: 38-40. This particularly is intentional, on the part
of the Spirit of prophecy. But, it is a
false inference, from this, to conclude that only this portion of
the Land of Canaan is the subject of cosmical transformation. Dr. Robertson Smith’s sneer at the idea of
of God reduced to the petty limits of
the territory of Judah," rests upon his own
ignorance of the prophetic word, and is a sneer at the prophetic word itself. Elsewhere we read, clearly, - and long ago, as
Justin Martyr emphasized it, - that the entire land, and the city, will be
"broadened, enlarged and adorned,"
according to the prophets. It has been a
misfortune that our English Version, like others equally defective, has
obscured for us the sense in many passages. In the clearest manner, the prophet Isaiah,
looking forward to Israel’s glory accomplished at Messiah’s Coming, says,
"Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, thou art
glorified; thou hast extended wide the borders of the land."
Isa. 26: 15. It
is a prediction of increased population,
both by restoration, and resurrection, and an enlargement of the limits of
the land. So the promise is given,
"Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty, and the
land of breadths," or "far-stretching
land." The same is true as to
the enlargement of the City, in future times. The magnificence of the kingdom is elsewhere
foretold in terms unmistakable. In the 72nd
Psalm, it is described as "from Sea
to Sea, and from the River to the ends of the Earth." Psa. 72: 7. Does all this seem too marvelous?
is the utterance of Jehovah, Doer of these things!" How
blessed this Planet of ours one day will be, by reason of the Coming of the
Lord from Heaven! How blessed the Holy Land! And Jerusalem lifted up! And Zion exalted! And Israel redeemed! And the Nations converted! And the holy sleepers waked into the image of Christ! How stupendous the change! What a different Age from ours! Come
"And the kingdom, and the
dominion [Sultanate], and the greatness of the kingdom underneath all heavens,
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is
an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions [sultanates] shall serve and obey Him" (Dan. 7: 27).
the "kingdom" is set up on [this] earth
by the "God of Heaven," at the second
coming of the Son of Man in the clouds, to destroy the last Antichrist, and
demolish all Gentile politics and power. Here is found the much despised "Chiliasm" (Pre- millennialism), indestructible as the truth and throne of God!
As face answers to face in water so Dan. 7: 27 answers to Dan.
2: 44, an invulnerable demonstration that the millennial kingdom of Christ
cannot come to victory, nor "God’s will be done in
earth as it is in heaven," until the Second Advent of the Son
of Man. He
who denies this denies the text of the prophet, the Word of God, spoken and
interpreted by an angel of God, a vision and interpretation written by inspired
hands at the time they were given (7: 1),
and like all else in God’s Book, authenticated as the Word of Truth, a
light and lesson for the "wise" in the
"time of the end." (12: 4, 9, 10.)
has the Scripture assigned to the church universal triumph in this [evil] age, before
the Lord comes. On the contrary, the
law of apostasy and degeneration runs parallel with the law of advance, and
only by "conclusive overthrow," in
the final crisis, is the antagonism solved. Such is the Bible teaching. The Apostle Peter has discussed and determined
conclusively the whole question in 2 Pet. 3: 2-15.
For a teacher of the truth to be
oblivious of this, is calamity as great as for a minister of state not to know
the constitution of his country.
the prophet’s word be a stimulus to work and pray for Israel’s conversion and
restoration, and the hastening of that day when, through "convulsive overthrow," an "End"
will be put to the Gentile politics and
power that disgrace our present age! May the "Kingdom"
soon come in victory, and God’s will "be done on
earth as it is in heaven!"
Three errors there are that forever are found
On the lips of the good, on the lips of the best;
But empty their meaning, and hollow their sound,
And slight is the comfort they bring to the breast.
So long as man dreams of a time in this age,
When the Right and the Good will all evil subdue;
For the Right and the Good war ever will wage,
And ever will Evil and conflict renew.
So long as men hope that Mammon will live
Like a bride with her lover, united to worth;
For her favour, alas, to the mean she will give,
And Virtue possesses no title to earth.
So long as man thinks that to mortals a gift,
The Truth, in her fulness of glory will shine;
For the vail of the goddess no
mortal may lift,
And all that men do is to guess and divine.