ISAIAH CHAPTER ONE
By ROBERT GOVETT
first chapter of the prophet rebukes severely the Jews for the national
desertion of Jehovah. But the pathetic
appeal, that the ox knew its owner, and the most stupid of animals his masters
crib, yet that Israel knew not HIM, applies in its fullest force to the Jews rejection of
Jesus, by whom they were created, and for whose pleasure they were made. They did not
understand, says Procopius,
who he was, who was seen even by their fathers in a
human form. Therefore he saith, Abraham your father
rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad. And,
was to the times bordering on this overthrow that Paul, guided by the sacred [Holy] Spirit, applied
the succeeding verse, Except the Lord had left unto us
a very little remnant, we had been as Sodom, and had been make like unto
Gomorrah. On which passage Procopius beautifully observes, There shall be a second call of the Jewish people in the last
days, even though it be only a remnant at first. And this prophecy hath declared, saying, The children of
The Lord himself then attacks the next object of their dependence - their rites and sacrifices. He discovers to them that when these were not offered with a prepared and contrite heart they were no longer acceptable. But, beside this general subject of disparagement, there was a yet deeper cause of dissatisfaction. The sacrifice of Jesus being now offered, the significance of the temple service had departed, and its victims were no longer worthy of regard; but rather an abomination, since they could no longer be offered in faith. Another reason assigned for disregarding their most solemn rites and prayers, is, that their hands were full of blood. And this doubtless had an especial reference to the Saviours death, as Procopius also remarks : His blood be on us and on our children! was the cry which fixed their condemnation. Thenceforth their prayers were abomination, for their hands were imbrued in the blood of the Son of God. Even this the Saviour himself threatened: Behold, I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill, and crucify, and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and altar. Thus the law ended with a curse: for it found its professed subjects laden with guilt. But then the prophet addresses them with Gospel exhortations, Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings, cease to do evil, learn to do well: words which are re-echoed by St. Peter in his exhortations at Pentecost; Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence, of the Lord. Even yet their scarlet sins might be made white by the blood they had wickedly shed. But if not, the sword should devour them: and so it happened; the Roman armies with keen severity redeemed the pledged faithfulness of Jehovahs word.
character given of
But let us fill up more definitely the prophets sketch.
Eusebius agrees with Jerome
in explaining the expression in verse 22,
Thy dealers mix wine with water (the version
of the LXX.), as signifying that the Scribes and Pharisees adulterated the true
and pure word of the Most High with their puerile [childish,
, trivial] and corrupt traditions. Their hypocrisy the Saviour exhibited, Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! That their princes were rebellious, was seen by their revolting from Rome;
that they were companions of thieves, was
fulfilled, as both Eusebius and Jerome conceive, by their league with Judas,
the traitor and thief. That they judged not the cause of the widow, we learn from the
Saviours reproach, that they devoured widows houses. In consequence of all these sins, the
vengeance of God, it is threatened, should come upon them; yet this judgement
should destroy only the wicked. His
wrath accomplished, the remnant shall yet come forth, Isaiah assures us,
purified as gold without alloy, and
[* Her judges restored - (that is, resurrected) - would be such men as Moses and Joshua, or in latter times such as Ezra and Nehemiah; or more properly still, such as Apostles (and overcomers) of the Lord.]
general features which this chapter exhibits as characteristic of the Jews,
are, a hypocritical show of righteousness and attention to ceremonies, joined
with a real disregard of God, and a heart full of malice, envy, and
avarice. How truly this was fulfilled in
the Jews of our Saviours time we know from the Evangelists. Connected with this their sin, is the threat
which was afterwards executed, that the temple and its service should be no
longer continued to their nation. Tread my courts no more, which is not so much a
prohibition, as a prophecy that soon they should not be able to enter those
courts which they had so profaned. And Procopius justly observes, The prophet does not accuse them at this time of idolatry,
but of murder, with which the Saviour
charged them, 0
* * * * * * *
THOUGHTS ON ISAIAH CHAPTER TWO
By B. W. NEWTON.
[* See in Matt. 24. 34. (This generation shall not pass, &c.) as contrasted with the generation to come in Ps. 102. 18. This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people that shall be created shall praise the Lord.]
It would have been well for us if our apprehensions
of the earths present evil, and of the means necessary for its subjugation,
had been as true and as vivid as those of the saints in
Yet the deliverance of earth
from the dominancy of evil and the subsequent reign of the great Melchisedek,
are subjects to which exceeding prominency is given both in the Old and in the
New Testament. In the earliest of the
songs of Israel at the Red Sea, the overthrow of Pharoah and his hosts is
regarded as the foreshadowing and the pledge of the final triumph of the Lord
over all the Pharoah-like power of earth; and when the
Church of the first-born ones
enter into their glory and stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,
that song will again be found on their lips; for the hour of its true
accomplishment will then have come. They will sing the song
of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and
marvellous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou
King of nations. Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy
name? for thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and worship before
thee; for thy judgments have been made manifest. Rev. 15.
The Book of Psalms teems with descriptions of the putting down of the
earths evil before the power of the coming day of glory: and the first
recorded Alleluiah of the saints in Heaven is a thanksgiving to Him who judged the great whore that did corrupt the earth by her
fornication, and avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
Rev. 19: 2.
Little communion have we at present with thoughts like these. Our apprehension of the character of the
workings of Satan and the extent of the constructions of his evil are so
feeble, that we recognise not the need for that roar
of the Lion of
Unnumbered examples of Gods patient goodness in bestowing blessing are afforded by the worlds past history. Again and again, has He opened channels of goodness, and caused to flow therein many a deep stream of mercy. But no sooner does He give, than mans wilfulness and evil interpose, and the mercy given is either perverted or despised. It is needful, therefore, not only that God should give, but that He should GOVERN. It is needful that He should watch over and effectually control the diffusion of that which He gives: that He should cut off disturbing agencies, and, under the supervision of His own almighty power, carry out to their proper results His purposes of good. For this faith waits. For this we say, Thy kingdom come: thy will be done in earth as it is done in heaven.
No one apprehended these
things more fully than David. He had the
heart of a King. He saw that what the
earth needed was control - constant, minute control in things little and great;
and he knew that such control could only
come from Him by whom the earth was created and by whom it is sustained. He knew also that God had appointed that the
right government of the world should
depend on the right regulation of
In the closing part of the chapter before us, we find the description of that coming day of visitation that shall finally overwhelm the sons of Belial and all the constructions of their evil. In the commencement of the chapter, on the other hand, we have the description of the reign of righteousness and peace that is to follow. We are taught first respecting that which is, in fulfilment, last. The order of narration inverts the order of accomplishment. It is the method of Gods graciousness in teaching His servants whom He loves. He tells them of the happy and blessed end before He instructs them respecting the evil that is to precede, that so they might enter on the path of sorrow fortified and cheered by the sure knowledge of the resulting glory.*
[* Post-Millennialists and Anti-Millennialists take note.]
Faith, therefore, ever holds fast the words IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS - that is to say, in the last period of the history of this Adamic earth (before the dispensation of the fulness of times - when new heavens and a new earth shall be created), it shall come to pass even in this fallen earth, that the power of evil shall be abased, darkness give place to light, falsehood to Truth, man be made to bow, and Jehovah alone be exalted. It shall be, in the last days, that the mountain of the house of Jehovah shall be established in the top of the mountains, and be exalted above the hills, and there shall flow unto it all the Gentiles.
The House of Jehovah is the
dwelling-place of Truth. There Truth
abides; thence Truth emanates. At
present Truth has no such dwelling-place in earth. It is a pilgrim - a
persecuted exile: despised hated - seeking it may be, a refuge in caves and
dens of the earth, and finding
perhaps not even that. No mountain of
strength devotes its power to its sustainment or protection.
What should we think of one
who affirmed that he was dwelling in
Almost in its earliest days,
Gentile Christianity, becoming wise in its own conceit, began to boast itself
[* I say this on the authority of Vitringa, who says: Plane repudiamus illurn ingenii lusum, qui occurrit inter alias meditationes apud Cyrillum, acsi dicere vellet Vates, Gentes fidem Verbi Evangelii suscepisse, quia Verbum Dei egressum est ex Tsione, hoc est egrediendo ex Tsione ... Alienissimum id est a scopo, et illi recte contrarium. Vitringa does not say whether he refers to Cyril of Jerusalem or to Cyril of Alexandria, nor does he give any reference. I have examined with the help of an index the passages where it might be supposed that the statement would occur, but I have not been able to find it.]
Constantine and his flatterers, of course welcomed the thought of being exalted
into the place of
It is no excuse for this to
say, that the Truth made known to believers now is the same Truth that will by
and by be established on Zion, and that in that sense we have anticipatively the blessings of the age to come. It is no doubt true that believers (who be it
remembered are but a little flock) have the spiritual blessings of the millennium, and in
this sense the millennium is forestalled.
The millennial saints and ourselves have one God, one Father, one
Saviour, one Sacrifice, one Spirit, one hope.
That which saves from the flesh and its ruin now, will save from the
flesh and its ruin when the millennium comes.
Christ is the one Head under whom, and in whom all the redeemed of every
dispensation will finally be
united together in the new heavens and new earth, there constituting one glorified
body - the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. There are not two gospels, or two ways, or
two ends of salvation. But are we
because of similarities to forget contrasts?
In the coming age, the external circumstances of Gods people will be in harmony with their
spiritual condition. All will be
blessing. But now it is direfully otherwise.
If we apprehend not the character of the future day
of righteousness and peace, we shall equally fail in apprehending the character
of the present evil and the judgment which is about to fall thereon. He who rejects the testimony of the first
part of this chapter as to the coming blessing, will equally reject its closing
testimony as to the coming hour of visitation.
Blindness as to these two things must involve blindness, more or less,
as to every path of service, and every branch of Truth. We shall look with complacency upon the oaks
* * * * * * *
NOTES ON ISAIAH CHAPTER TWO
By B. W. NEWTON.
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. The two succeeding chapters, as well as the second, are
prefaced by this verse. It might seem
quite superfluous to say that
Nothing but a clear apprehension of the difference between the present and the next dispensation, can enable us rightly to estimate this claim. They who believe that secular power is so essentially distinct from ecclesiastical that there never can be a union of both in the same person, will regard the attempt of the Church of Rome to unite them as an act of folly to be despised and ridiculed, rather than to be seriously resisted. Whereas, others who believe that it would be a right and happy thing for the same hand that controls the worship and order of the Church to regulate also the order of civil and social life - who see that Truth ought to be supreme, and that the Scripture speaks of a time when Zion and its Priest-king shall govern all nations, are always predisposed (unless they understand the character of the millennial age) to acquiesce, either partially or altogether, in the rightness of the course which Rome has followed. The first are in danger of becoming Infidels - the last superstitious Romanists.
The system of the Church of Rome is skilfully constructed on a
millennial model. Claiming to be the
Mother and Mistress of all Churches, its earthly Head sits as a crowned priest
upon his throne. He is saluted as God.
[* This distinction between the millennial saints on earth and the risen saints will not be perpetual. In the new heavens and the new earth all the redeemed will form one glorified body.]
Indeed the secular power is to lead in that last great
Apostasy that is to enthrone itself on
VERSES 2 TO 5
And it shall be, in the end of the days, that the Mountain of the House of Jehovah shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and there shall flow unto it all the Gentiles: and many peoples shall go and say, Come ye and let us go up to the Mountain of Jehovah, to the House of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O House of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of Jehovah.
And it shall be in the end of the days. I have already observed that the Jews are accustomed to divide the history of the Adamic earth into two periods, this age and the age to come. The Scripture fully sanctions this distinction, and frequently contrasts the two periods. Thus the Apostle in the Hebrews speaks of the age to come 6: 5: and of the habitable earth to come, Heb. 2. 5, into which God will again bring the first-begotten from the dead, saying Let all the angels of God worship him. Heb. 1: 6. This coming period, seeing that it is the last in the history of this Adamic earth is called by the Apostle the last time [who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time 1 Pet. 1: 51. See also the expression several times used by our Lord in John 6 when speaking of the resurrection of His saints I will raise him up in the last day. he expression used in the passage before us end of the days (rendered by the Sept. in the last days, is equivalent in meaning to those just quoted from Peter and from John. It is very frequently used in the Old Testament to denote the millennial period, or as the Jews would express it, the days of the Messiah, because those days will conclude the history of this Adamic earth.*
[* See for example the following passages:-
Numbers 24: 14. Come and I will advertise
thee what this people (
Jer. 23: 20. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the end of the days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Jer. 48: 47.
Yet will I bring again the captivity of
Ez. 38. 16.
And thou shalt come up against my people of
Hosea. 3: 5. Afterward shall the children of
Micah 4: 1. But it shall be in the end of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah shall be established, &c.
This expression, end of the days is not to be confounded with another, last Of THESE days, used by the Apostle in Heb. 1: 2. The term of the existence of this Adamic earth being divided into two periods, (these days and the days to come). Christ appeared in the last part of these days - or as it is expressed in Heb. 9: 26 at the conclusion of the ages - our dispensation being the last granted to man during his day. So also in 1 Cor. 10: 11, the Apostle speaks of them as those on whom the ends of the ages have come.
But again, our present dispensation which is the last of those that precede the millennium has also itself a conclusion. The Apostle speaks of ITS last days when he says, This know that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 Tim. 3: 1. Our Lord also frequently uses the end of the age, to denote the conclusion of the present dispensation. See Matt. 13: 40 and 28: 20. The context, therefore, will in each case determine how last or end, is to be interpreted.]
The mountain of the house of
Shall be established in the top of the mountains,
and be exalted above (or away from) the hills. This exaltation of
He shall rebuke many peoples. The word translated rebuke,
is sometimes used of correction by words, as we read of Abraham
reproving Abimelech, Gen.
21: 25: sometimes of the rebuke of chastisement as in 2 Sam. 7: 14: or of wrath as in Habakkuk 1: 12.
When the Lord shall assume His millennial power, His dealings with the
various nations will vary according to their respective conditions. Some will be chastened: others smitten unto
nation and kingdom that will not serve thee [
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, &c. Contrast this verse with that of Joel. 3, where the reverse command is given Proclaim ye
this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake UP
the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your ploughshares into swords, and
your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye Gentiles
and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to
come down, O Lord. Joel 3: 9-11. So this dispensation is to end. It
is one in which nation shall continue to rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom (see Matt. 24: 7) until the
hour comes for that awful summons to be given which I have just transcribed
from Joel. The gathering to Armageddon, and thence to the
O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. The voice of prophecy often transfers itself into the distant future, and speaks as if from the midst of the circumstances contemplated or described. So is it here. The Prophet stands as in the midst of the coming scene of blessing, and thence exhorts his people.
VERSES 6 TO 9
hast forsaken Thy people, the House of Jacob, because they are replenished from
the East, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and in the children of
strangers they abound. Filled also is
But thou hast forsaken Thy people, the house of Jacob. Here the scene changes. It is no longer the house of Jacob abandoned and given up to judgment because of their abominations. The particle may be often translated but, when the negative sentence expressed or understood precedes. Here, as frequently, there is an ellipse before [the particle]. It is otherwise now, for ( but) thou hast forsaken thy people, &c. In such a case [the particle ] may most suitably be translated but.]
For they have replenished
from the east.
is, with all that Chaldea and
Soothsayers, like the Philistines. Ancient wickedness will be combined with modern
The forms under which Satan cloaks his agency are various. In Deut. 18: 9-14, they are thus enumerated. When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations which thou shalt possess hearkened unto observers of times and unto diviners, but as for thee the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. See also Lev. 20: 27. A man also, or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
God would not have spoken thus if these things were merely the
results of human deceptiveness. Saul
evidently sought the witch of Endor as knowing her to be possessed of supernatural
power: and the passage that I have quoted from the Acts
proves that the damsel at
At the close of their evil history, Israel, like Saul, finding themselves abandoned by God, shall give themselves over to wizards that peep and mutter (see Is. 8); and instead of consulting the living God shall consult, or seek to consult, the dead. But the end will be anguish and darkness. They shall look unto the earth, and behold trouble and darkness - dimness of anguish. Is. 8: 22.
It is quite impossible to define with precision the various appellations that occur in these verses, Deut. 18: 9-14, or to determine the exact distinction between them: nor is it needful, for their general bearing is obvious. They may, however, be translated a little more carefully than they have been in our version. They may be rendered thus: There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter pass through the fire* - one that useth divination, an observer, or an augur, or a sorcerer: or a user of incantations, or a consulter of Ohv, or a wizard, or an inquirer of the dead.
[* This is not the consuming of their children to Moloch, but by way of lustration, a mock baptism, a piece of witchcraft, to preserve from violent death.- Gilpins Demonologia Sacra, p. 28.]
Of these descriptions I regard the second, viz., one that divineth divinations, as the most comprehensive. I consider it to be a generic term, including under it the various specific forms of divination subsequently mentioned. Thus this word is applied to Balaam (see Josh. 13: 22) who divined by omens (see Num. 24: 1), and also to the witch of Endor who divined not by omens, but by Ohv - the name in Hebrew of the unclean spirit by whom she divined, just as the damsel in the Acts is said to have divined by the spirit Pytho. These two examples show that the word is applied to very different kinds of divination, and prove its generic use.
It is not easy to determine the specific meaning of the word used by Isaiah in the chapter before us, and is in our version rendered soothsayer, but in Deut. 18 is translated observer of times, a rendering frequently given by our translators. Soothsayer, which means a sayer of [pretended] truth, is not a suitable rendering, for the etymology of and its contextual association in Scripture, indicate observation. There is, however, nothing in the word that indicates observation of times any more than the observation of other things. It seems rather to denote such observation as requires the careful use of the eye in minute inspection, such as was used by the haruspices, whose peculiar office was to inspect the entrails of victims, and in this differed from the augurs who judged from the flight and voices of birds, and other palpable signs, using the ear no less than the eye. I have little doubt that this word refers to that part of the science of divination in which the eye was employed in minute inspection, especially of the entrails of victims. The Jerusalem Targum renders this word, to inspect serpents.
Enchanter, which is the word used by our translators in this passage in Deuteronomy, as the rendering of is certainly not an accurate translation. The word implies quick and intelligent observation, such as is ascribed to the serpent, and is twice used in a good sense, namely, in Gen. 30: 27, where Laban says, I have learned by experience or observation that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake, and in 1 Kings 20: 33, where it is translated diligently observe. Now the men did diligently observe. It seems to denote that kind of quick observation which notes signs and tokens, whether presented to the eye or to the ear. This was especially the province of the augur. In Gen. 44: 15, and the connected verse, it is translated by the generic word divine. Wot ye not that such a man as I could certainly divine.
The word translated wizard
means properly one that uses sorceries. Vulg. maleficis artibus
Exodus 7: 11, it is translated sorcerers. Then Pharoah called the wise men and the sorcerers. Now
the magicians of
The eleventh verse of Deut. 18 is, to a certain degree, contrasted with that which precedes. The tenth verse which we have been considering, treats of those kinds of divination in which demons are not immediately addressed, but consulted mediately, by the intervention of signs, or when effects are sought to be produced by the instrumental use of medicaments, enchantments, &c. But in the eleventh verse words are used which imply a more direct appeal to evil spirits. Thus the first word (which properly means to bind or join together, hence used of fellowship and alliance, see 2 Chron. 20: 36, Ps. 94: 20) denotes a charmer who seeks by incantations and invocations to bring the being or beings addressed into association with himself. For this purpose incantations, were addressed to demons; and this I understand to be the meaning here. The Chever, or charmer, was one who addressed incantations to evil spirits in order to secure their aid and co-operation.
So likewise in the next description one that enquireth of Ohv, where the direct appeal to an unclean
spirit is plainly indicated. Ohv is in our version commonly rendered familiar spirit. That it is a generic name,
used of such evil spirits as dwelt in persons who practised divination, is
evident from Leviticus 20: 27 a man also, or a woman that hath an Ohv
(literally, when an Ohv shall be in them), shall surely be
put to death. In this passage,
the actual presence and indwelling of an unclean spirit in men and women is
recognised as distinctly as it is in Acts,
The word Ohv means properly an inflated bladder, or skin, and is applied to these unclean spirits, because they caused the bodies of those in whom they dwelt to swell and become tumid like skins filled with new wine. See remarks of Parkhurst on this in his Hebrew Lexicon, and the description given in Virgil of the Pythoness when inspired. Gesenius says, Ohv denotes a Python or soothsaying demon, of which these men were supposed to be [and really were] possessed. See Lev. 20: 27, a man or a woman when a Python (Ohv) is in them.
The following are the passages in which this word occurs:-
Lev. 19. 31. Look not unto the Ohvoth - plural of Ohv.
Lev. 20: 6. And the soul that turneth after the Ohvoth, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
Lev. 20. 27. A man also or a woman when an Ohv shall be in them, or one who is a wizard shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
Deut. 18. 11. One that enquireth of an Ohv.
1 Sam. 28. 3. Saul had put away the Ohvoth, and the wizards out of the land.
1 Sam. 28. 7. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that is possessed of (literally that is mistress of) an Ohv ... and his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that is mistress of an Ohv at Endor.
1 Sam. 28. 8. And he (Saul) said, Use divination, I pray thee, by means of the Ohv, and bring me him up whom I shall name to thee.
1 Sam. 28. 9. Thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off the Ohvoth, and the wizards out of the land.
1 Chron. 10. 13. So Saul died for his transgression ... and also for consulting the Ohv to enquire of it.
2 Kings 21: 6. And he (Manasseh) dealt with an Ohv and with wizards. Also 2 Chron. 33: 6.
2 Kings 23: 24. Moreover the Ohvoth and the wizards ... did he (Josiah) put away.
Isaiah 8. 19. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto the Ohvoth and unto wizards.
Isaiah 19. 3. And they shall seek ... unto the Ohvoth and the wizards.
Isaiah 29: 4. And thy voice like that of an Ohv out of the ground.
These are all the passages in which this word occurs, with the exception of one, where it is used to signify wine-skins, or bottles. My belly is as wine, which hath no vent: it is ready to burst as new bottles. This illustrates its meaning as applied to those possessed of Ohv.
The application of these awful texts, in their full force, to the spiritualists and necromancers of the present day, will not be questioned by those who believe Gods Holy Word, and who have considered in its light the facts of spiritualism. The history of Paganism might have sufficiently taught men what a terrible servitude, servitude to evil spirits is, and how easily, when God permits it, we may be brought into connection with, and subjection to, the unseen evil spiritual world. But human society at present refuses alike the lessons of experience and the warnings of the Word of God, and is blindly rushing on into the positions which Satan intends that his servants should occupy in the last great conflict between Falsehood and Truth. Men are deliberately rejecting the guidance of God and of His Word, and are inviting the help of Satan. It is not wonderful that God should give them up to strong delusion.
In the children of strangers they abound. When the Jews, with all their wealth, intelligence, and
commercial activity, shall return (as probably they soon will) in unbelief to
their own land, its very position will necessarily make it a highway of
nations. See it thus recognised in Rev. 11: 9, where (in a passage yet unfulfilled)
VERSES 10 TO 22
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man - (literally, the eyes of the loftiness of man) are brought down, and the height of mortals (a deprecatory word implying weakness and impotence) is made low, and exalted is Jehovah alone in that day. For there is a day for Jehovah of Hosts against every thing high and lofty, and against every thing that is lifted up, and it hath come down: and against all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and against all the oaks of Basham: and against all the high mountains, and against all the hills that are lifted up: and against every lofty tower, and against every fenced wall: and against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all images of desire (pleasantness). And sunk is the loftiness of man, and bowed down is the pride of mortals, and exalted is Jehovah alone in that day. And the idols - the whole shall pass away. And they (i.e. men indefinitely) shall go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the hollows of the ground (dust) from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of His Majesty, at His arising to strike with terror the earth. In that day shall Man cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made for him [quon lui aura faites] to worship, to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the fissures of the cliffs from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of His Majesty, at His arising to strike with terror the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?
A day for Jehovah of Hosts shall be against every
thing that is high and lifted up, &c. Cedars of Lebanon high and lifted up; oaks of
Bashan; high mountains; high towers; fenced walls;
ships of Tarshish; pleasant images and idols, are
emblems that sufficiently indicate the condition of the earth when the hour of
its judgment comes. This is the result
of what men call human progress. Men will be allowed to plant for themselves
Ships of Tarshish.
ancient Tartessus, a city near Cadiz, at the mouth of
the Guadalquiver) is used in Scripture to denote the
regions of the West, and the western course of commerce carried on by the
Mediterranean Sea, through the Straits of Gibraltar; just as Ophir denotes the regions of the East, and the eastern
course of commerce carried on by the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. See 1 Kings 9:
26, 28. The scheme of Jehoshaphat, when he united himself
appears to have been to build at Ezion-geber, on the
Red Sea, ships of Tarshish,
that is, ships destined for Tarshish [see 1 Kings 22. 48, and 2 Chron.
20: 36, where they are described as ships to go
to Tarshish], in order that they might go
both to Ophir [see 1
Kings 22: 48], and also to Tarshish [see 2 Chron. 20: 36], that
so Ezion-geber, the chief part of the land of Israel,
might gather to itself the commerce of the East and West - Tarshish
being reached by coasting round Africa, as was done by the Egyptians. We do not read of ships of Ophir in the latter day, but we do of ships of Tarshish; thou breakest the ships
of Tarshish with an east wind - words
occurring in a Psalm descriptive of the yet future day of
All pleasant images, or images of desire. This description no doubt includes pictures, the word adopted in our version, but is more extensive, including all figures that human art in any way fashions, whether by painting, sculpture, or otherwise, for the gratification of the eyes in its search after beauty. Lowths translation is, every lovely work of art: the Vulgate renders Every thing beauteous to the sight: omne quod visu pulchrum est- a too wide rendering, for the description is limited to forms framed by art and mans device. The exact form of the word here translated pictures, occurs only in this place; but its cognate , also derived from to look at, to behold, is found in Lev. 26: 1, where it is used of sculpture in stones. Ye shall make no idols, nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone [ literally, stone of figure, i.e. stone in any way fashioned to represent the form of any being - not limited, as by Gesenius, to stones adorned with superstitious or magical figures. In Ezek. 8: 12, we find it applied to painted figures found in the chambers of imagery - in which the ancients of Israel worshipped - the walls of these chambers being adorned with painted figures of idols [compare verses 10, 11]. In Numbers 33: 52, it is translated pictures, but as it is opposed in the connected clause to molten images, it seems rather to apply to sculptured figures than to paintings. The Israelites were commanded utterly to destroy all such figures.
At what period of the worlds history have the fine arts subserved the interests of the truth as it is in Jesus? They have abundantly subserved the purposes of human pride and glory. How they have been used to beautify and throw a halo around vice and falsehood may be seen from the relation in which they have stood to the mythology of Paganism, and the idolatries of Romanism and Ecclesiasticism. They are so employed now. They will be abundantly used to give beauty and attractiveness to that coming period when the fool shall say in his heart, There is no God. But what is an adorned world without God?
* * * * * * *
ISAIAH CHAPTER NINE
By ROBERT GOVETT
The Passage with which this chapter commences is quoted by St. Matt. 4: 16, as a prophecy of Christs residence in Capernaum, a town situated on the borders of Zabulon and Naphtali, on the western side of Jordan, lying on the coast of the sea of Gennesaret, and situated in Galilec, called also Galilee of the Gentiles.* Now it was prophesied that this region especially, should see a great light, and the town where Christ was to reside was definitely marked out, by all the conditions above mentioned meeting in Capernaum.
was called of the Gentiles because in this
part foreigners were more mixed with native Jews than in any other part of
is important to remark, that though prophecy is delivered absolutely, without
assigning the reason why it shall thus take place, yet when it is accomplishing
or accomplished, it seems most naturally or even necessarily accomplished in
consequence of the state of circumstances at that time. Thus it was prophesied of the Saviour, Out of
The same remark applies to the present instance. Had Jesus, after dwelling at Nazareth during the first thirty years of his life, suddenly and without any further reason than that he might accomplish prophecy, left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum, though we should have acknowledged the prediction fulfilled, it would not have struck the mind with the force and beauty with which it now does, viewing it the just and righteous consequence of the Saviours rejection by the people of Nazareth, and their daring attempt to cast him headlong down the hill on which their city was built. But this behaviour clearly obliged our Lord to change his residence, and hence the accomplishment of the prophecy naturally followed. Nor were other reasons wanting to show that this was a fit spot for the sojourn of the Lord: (as Greswell has shown in his second volume of Dissertations:) the chief of which was, its nearness to the lake or sea of Gennesaret across which he could easily pass, and thus escape the importunities of the vast multitudes, or the observation of his malignant enemies, the Pharisees.
The words of Theodoret on this passage are worthy of notice:‑ Zabulon and Naphtali obtained that inheritance (the great light mentioned in verse 1 ). In that region the Lord wrought the chief of his miracles; there he cleansed the leper; there he restored health to the centurions servant; there he quenched the fever of Peters wifes mother: there he restored to life the deceased daughter of Jairus; there he calmed the waves of the sea; there he multiplied the loaves; there he changed the water into wine, which was the beginning of all his miracles, as John the Evangelist teaches.
But another topic opens upon us from this passage. The quotation, as given by the apostle, runs thus: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon and the land of Napthalim, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people that sat in darkness have seen a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. But when we refer to the prophet Isaiah for confirmation of the above, we find it written, Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zabulon and the land of Napbtali, and after did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. What vexation? What dimness? Is this the passage to which the Evangelist referred? The Evangelist speaks not of vexation, but of joy, not of affliction, but of a great blessing! How is this? Did the Evangelist forge a prophecy for Isaiah? for here are not only not the same words, but an opposite sense? I answer, which is most probable, that the Evangelist, writing by inspiration of the Spirit of truth, should have falsified this passage, or that the Jews corrupted it? If we suppose that the Old Testament, as we now have it, is absolutely perfect, and uncorrupted in every point, who shall defend the New Testament from the charge of forgery? But if it be beyond all doubt, that the Jews have wilfully corrupted the oracles of God in those passages which bore hardest on their unbelief, then let us by all means restore them as they were quoted by the [Holy] Spirit that wrote them! This might be said, though we had no further evidence to produce than the fact that they are thus quoted by the Evangelists. To Christians, who admit the inspiration of Holy Scripture, the question must be decided at once. But there is also documentary evidence in almost every case, to prove this corruption. It is so with the present passage. The Arabic begins this chapter with the words, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali, &c., very nearly in the same words as the Evangelist, and discovers to us that the words dimness and vexation do, in fact, belong to the former chapter, the close of which predicted distress of the severest kind.
to proceed. As Bishop Horsley observes, the first and second advent are here
brought together; which remark, indeed, there will be frequent occasion to
repeat, as it is the practice of the Sacred Spirit so to blend them; and this
was partly the occasion of the blindness of the Jews to the pretensions of
Jesus, since they did not separate, in
their minds, the various prophecies which spoke of the Messiah; - at one
time, as humbled below the ordinary lot
of man; and at another, as
victorious and dominant above all the kings of the earth. But we know that the Lords first coming was to be that of His humiliation; and
we are assured, by abundant passages, that
the second advent is the time of His [manifested] glory, and of that of His [obedient] people. Hence the
two first verses of this chapter, and the
light they predict, may yet have a further accomplishment; as it is clear that
the third has yet to be fulfilled.
It represents the joy of Jewish nation, compared to that of harvest,
which is the continual emblem of the
ingathering of the righteous into the garner of the Lord, at the consummation of this age or dispensation, as
the parable of the tares and the wheat declares. That it was not fulfilled at Christs first
coming is evident, from the history.
There was, indeed, a partial rejoicing at Christs entry into
Again, the prophet returns to the first advent, and discovers to us, that he who shall accomplish this should one day be presented to man in the form of a child, yet with the mighty titles that distinguish him so far above all of mortal kind, that Jerome supposed the Greek interpreters were afraid to translate them. Here the divine and human natures of Christ are seen united. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the Father of the future age, the Prince of peace.
Chists human nature is described where he is spoken of as a child, and also where the government is promised to him; for only as Son of Man can this be said; as God, he is co-eternal in power and authority with the Father. The angel that appeared to Manoah, who was doubtless the Lord Jesus Christ, declared his name to be Secret, the word in the Hebrew being the same as in this place, and signifying, Wonderful, as well as hidden. That his name is also Counsellor, the eighth chapter of Proverbs will instruct us, where the Lord Jesus describes himself under the title of the Wisdom or Logos of the Father. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding, I have strength. (Ver. 14.) The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (Ver. 22, 23.) That he is also the mighty God, various passages of Holy Writ do plainly assert. That we may know him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and everlasting life. (1 John 5: 20.)
The next title, the Father of the future age, describes the kingdom of the Son of Man, that period of blessedness of which the prophets have spoken from the beginning. Of this future age or dispensation, our Lord spake when he answered the Sadducees question, respecting the resurrection. The children of this AGE marry, and are given in marriage, but they which are accounted worthy to attain that AGE and the resurrection [out] from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage, neither can they die any more, but are equal unto the angels. (Luke 20: 34-36.) And again, in Heb. 2: 5: Unto the angels hath he not put into subjection the world to come (the habitable earth in its future state,); but, as the apostle proceeds to show from the eighth Psalm, this power and government is committed to the Son of Man, who is, accordingly, here styled the Father of the future age, - of the earth in its future state of bliss. In connexion with this, he is called a1so the Prince of peace. And St. Paul - [Robert Govett believed Paul was the writer of Hebrews] - notices this as one of his titles, where he discovers to us, that Melchisedek was a type of the Son of God, first being by interpretation king of righteousness, (Melech, in Hebrew, signifying king, and Zedek, righteousness), and afterwards king of Salem, which is, King of peace. Thus is it with Jesus, his first advent made him King of righteousness by his obedience and death; his second advent shall reveal him as Prince of peace.
Can any seriously consider that the promise which accompanies this announcement, that he shall ascend the throne of David, is fulfilled? Yet it was affirmed again and again by God, and re-echoed by the angel to Mary: The Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David. (Luke 1: 32.) Now, if Davids was not a spiritual throne, then the throne here promised is not a spiritual throne; if the throne of David were not an invisible throne, nor a throne in the heavens, (and we know, on inspired authority, that David is not (even) ascended into the heavens,) then must the throne here specified be the rule of Christ in Jerusalem over the people of the Jews, and from the river to the ends of the earth. (See the seventy-second and eighty ninth Psalms.)
From the eighth verse
to the conclusion of the chapter is described the wickedness of
Following which, after the wilful king has
thus wrought Gods vengeance on
By the 20th verse seems to be described that dreadful time of great tribulation, predicted to the Jews in Deuteronomy chap. 28: 49-68, where it is foretold in the famine, Thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons, and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee. I am aware that this is generally understood of the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, and it was doubtless partially accomplished then, but other passages, as, for instance, the sixty-fourth verse, which foretells that they shall serve wood and stone in the countries whither they are carried captive, should lead us to believe that there is yet a completion more terrible even than that of the Roman siege.
* * * * * * *
ISAIAH CHAPTER FOURTEEN
By ROBERT GOVETT
subject is not concluded with the thirteenth chapter, but continued throughout
this time Jehovah shall give to
this conclusion is yet powerfully corroborated by the Apocalypse and the
Acts. In Acts
3: 19 mention is made of times of refreshing to
come from the presence of the Lord, in which Jesus, who is now in
heaven, there to remain till the restitution (restoration)
of all things, shall be sent to the
Jews. These times
of refreshing are evidently coincident
with the rest here promised also to the Jews,
and it shall be after the great and terrible day of
the Lord, as we learn from the preceding chapter. But the Apocalypse is full to the point. This rest,
we learn from verse 3 of the chapter before
us, is to be given when the hard rule of the king of
The Second verse of this chapter of Isaiah announces that the Gentiles shall restore the Jews from their captivity, and bring them back in various conveyances to their own land; a feature of prophecy which will be noticed again in the concluding chapter of Isaiah.
come, then, to the consideration of the dirge over the fallen king of
the conclusion here to be established need not rest on [human] authority, for it can be made good by
argument. It would appear that
Antichrist is called the King of Babylon for two reasons, first because he will
greatly resemble Nebuchadnezzar, king of
be this as it may, the characteristics of the King of Babylon, as here set
forth, agree exactly with those laid down by Daniel and
I, even I, am he that comforteth you:
Who art thou that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die,
And the son of man that shall dry up as grass?
And didst forget JEHOVAH thy Maker,
Who stretchest forth the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth,
And fearedst continually every day the wrathful face of the OPPRESSOR,
Because he devised to destroy thee
And where is now the fury of thine OPPRESSOR?
In the Psalms continual mention is made of him under this character. In the seventy-second Psalm the Lord Jesus is presented to us in his kingly office, and the object of his rule is stated in verse 4 to be, He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and break in pieces the Oppressor. His haughtiness will be considered at the 13th and 14th verses.
He is next presented as smiting the nation (of the Jews) with an inexorable stroke, and subduing the nations in wrath. That he will be a cruel foe to the Jews many Scriptures foretel: thus Isaiah 10: 20,
No longer shall the remnant
And the escaped of the house of Jacob,
Trust in him that smote them.
Again, in the 24th verse:-
Fear not my people that dwell
Because of the Assyrian, because he shall smite thee with a staff.
That he shall be a tyrannical ruler of the nations his subjects, is also capable of being proved from other passages, He shall go forth, says Daniel in a passage already quoted, with great fury, to destroy and utterly to take away many. To destroy, adds Isaiah, is in his heart, and to cut off nations not a few.
Again, he is entitled, the cruel Persecutor. So is he represented in Dan. 7: 21, I beheld, and the same (little) horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. He shall prosper and practise, and destroy the mighty and the holy people. (Dan. 8: 24.) He shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand for a time and times and the dividing of time. (Dan. 7: 25.) Similar is the testimony of the Psalms. Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen. My confusion is continually before me: and the shame of my face bath covered me. For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the Enemy and Avenger. (Psalm 44: 11. 15, 16.)
In accordance with this,
But what is the meaning of the eighth verse? Most
appear to regard the fir-trees and cedars as figuratively spoken of the nobles
and princes of the earth. But a like
passage occurs in the prophecy against Sennacherib. By the multitude of
my chariots I am come up to the heights of the mountains, to the sides of
At the ninth verse the soul of the slain king is presented to us, not figuratively, but literally, descending into Hades: (which never signifies the grave) that is, the intermediate state, or rather place, where all the souls of the dead are gathered, before the final judgment shall reunite body and soul. And as he enters, the Rephaim meet him, with scornful amazement -
Art thou also captured as we?
Art thou become like unto us?
All writers of any taste have justly commended this
passage as sublime poetry; yet it will be not less fulfilled to the letter. The
mighty spirits - [i.e., Rephaim:
translated as Nephilim in the N.I.V.] - that in the
greatness of their power shook from the thrones all
the kings of the nations, but were swept away by the flood,* even as mortal men, may well say with emphasis, Art thou also captured as we were by the flood? Art thou become like
unto us, in thy descent into Tartarus?
To a like effect,
[* The Nephilim, or Giants as some translations have, were the off spring from a relationship between, the sons of God (fallen angels or evil spirits) and the daughters of men (Gen. 6: 4): and from 1 Pet. 3: 19-21, it would appear that these may have been the spirits which Christ preached to in Hades before His resurection. Ed.]
Eusebius thus corroborates this view of the passage, They who are upon earth shall say the thing spoken above (ver. 4-8), but they who have passed through mortal life, and are detained in the regions of Hades as in chains, these also at his destruction shall speak the words following. (ver. 10.) The 12th verse describes the depth of his fall: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! These words would lead us to conclude, what Greswell has shown [us what] the ancient Church believed, that Antichrist should be an incarnation of one of the spirits of evil. For he [is] here presented as one whose habitation once was the heaven, but afterwards cast out into the earth. And this carries our thoughts to that time (yet future) when there shall be war in heaven, and the accusing spirits shall be finally ejected from the presence of God, unto the earth. (Rev. 12: 9. See Burgh on Revelation, page 131.) Hence the Saviour prophetically speaking of the things that are not as though they were, observed to his disciples concerning that time, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Luke 10: 18.)
The succeeding words describe the extravagant ambition of this Son of the morning.
I will ascend into heaven;
I will exalt mv throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit in the mount of the covenant, on the sides of the north.
By the stars of God,
is probably meant the angels pr archangels attendant on God, as we find them
called by a like name in Job 38: 7, When the morning-stars sang together, and all
the sons of God shouted for joy.
By the mount of the covenant is meant
His last assumption of blasphemy is, I will be like the Most High. Intoxicated with a power, which none of the
nations of earth can resist, supported by the energy of Satan, and capable of
working miracles, this will be his final height of arrogance. This St.
Paul, in words exactly parallel, That man of sin
(shall) be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth
and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so
that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Hear also the witness of the [Holy] Spirit by Daniel. He had a mouth
speaking great things. (Dan. 7: 8.), I beheld
then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and
his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. (Ver. 11.) And he shall speak great words against the Most High. (Ver.
the King shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt and magnify
himself above every god, and
shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods. (Dan. 11: 36.)
Confirmatory is also the testimony of
But there is yet one prophecy more of Antichrist, in
his full-blown iniquity, as the Man of the Sin
(of blasphemy, as we may suppose), which, having received little or no
attention by former writers, is given
here at length, as strongly corroborative of all that has been advanced, the text amended from the Septuagint where the original
has suffered variation, or is unintelligible. He is described as the king of Tyrus; and Tyrus, apparently, signifies the
same city as the
1 The word of JEHOVAH came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus,
Thus saith the Lord God,
Because thine heart is lifted up,
And thou hast said, I am God,
I sit in the habitation of God, between the seas:
Yet art thou a man, and not God,
Though thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God.
3 Art thou wiser than Daniel?
Is there no secret that they can hide from thee?
4 Hast thou by thy wisdom and understanding gotten riches?
Hast thou procured gold and silver in thy treasures?
5 By thy great wisdom and thy traffic hast thou increased thy power?
And is thy heart lifted up because of thy power?
6 Therefore thus saith JEHOVAH,
Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God,
7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers on thee, the terrible of the nations:
And they shall draw their swords against thee,
And against the beauty of thy wisdom;
And they shall lay waste thy brightness, even unto perdition.
8 And they shall bring thee down to the pit,
And thou shalt die the death of them that are slain between the seas.
9 Wilt thou say before them that slay thee, I am God?
But thou shalt be as a man, and not God,
In the hands of them that slay thee.
10 Amidst the multitude of the uncircumcised thou shalt die,
By the hands of strangers; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
11 Moreover, the word of JEHOVAH came again unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a dirge upon the prince of Tyrus, and say to him,
Thus saith the Lord God,
Thou art the sealing up of the term (of time),
Full of wisdom, perfect in beauty.
13 Thou wast in
With every precious stone art thou covered,
The sardius, topaz, and the diamond,
The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper,
The sapphire, the emerald, the carbuncle;
And with silver hast thou filled thy treasures,
And with gold thy storehouses that are with thee.
14 From the day thou wert created, thou wast with the cherub;
stationed thee in the holy
Thou hast been in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wert perfect in thy ways, from the day of thy creation,
Until iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise Thou didst fill thy stores with iniquity;
Thou didst sin, and wert wounded from the mount of God;
And the cherub dragged thee from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thy heart was lifted up, because of thy beauty,
Thy wisdom, together with thy brightness, is corrupted:
For the multitude of thy sins I have cast thee to the earth.
I have caused thee before kings to be made a public example (of wrath).
18 For the multitude of thy transgressions,
And the lawlessness of thy traffic,
I have defiled thy sanctuaries,
And I will bring fire from the midst of thee,
It shall devour thee:
And I will bring thee to ashes on the earth,
In the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the Gentiles shall be astonished at thee;
Thou art become perdition, and shalt be no more (found) for ever.
Here the coincidences are so numerous, that it seems
highly probable that they refer to the same person who forms the subject of the
present chapter of Isaiah. His boast, I am God, seems at once to identify him. His sitting in the
habitation (temple) of God between the seas,
confirms it. His wisdom is compared to
Daniels: and Daniel had understanding in all visions
and dreams; was continually visited by angels, and possessed of
understanding in the interpretation of mysteries. In perfect harmony with this, Daniel
prophesies of Armillus, A king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his
own power (Dan. 8: 23, 24), that is,
as Burgh well understands it, by
Satanic agency and supernatural powers he shall reach his height of
dominion. His wealth offers the next
feature. This also is predicted by Daniel.
He shall have power over the treasures of gold
and silver, and over all the
precious things of
They shall lay waste thy brightness, even unto perdition,
They shall bring thee down to the pit. (saith Ezekiel).
Thy glory hath descended into Hades, (saith Isaiah).
Thou shalt die the death of them that are slain between the seas, (saith Ezekiel).
The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying,
I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot,
is the burthen of the Lord against him by Isaiah.
So, likewise, Daniel, after
declaring that he shall set his tabernacle between
the seas (Dead Sea,
Still further, a dirge is raised over the king of
Tyrus, as over the king of
They that see thee shall wonder at thee, and meditate on thee, and say,
Is this the man that made the earth to shake, that shook kingdoms?
The spectators cannot but remark the greatness of his
might during his three years and a half of empire, and the fierceness of his
destructive ambition, that made the whole world a wilderness, as has been
already noticed. His state of
punishment is next described, as not buried with honour, like kings in general,
but cast into Tophet, amongst the mountains of
To complete the awe and importance of the subject, is
added the oath of God, that the believers of that day, when ready to faint, and
almost supposing that God has forsaken the earth, may have strong consolation
in the midst of their suffering, even unto death. As soon as Antichrist is destroyed in
The new prophecy following this was given in the last
year of king Ahaz. Its first sentiment is a command to all
nations not to rejoice (that is, not without fear and trembling), because, even
after the mighty evil that had been predicted, something yet more terrible
should arise. What can this be, but the
scene presented by
From the foregoing interpretation (if correct, and it invites examination), it will follow, 1st, that Antichrist will be an individual, not a succession of men: 2ndly, That he is not the Pope: 3rdly That he is some one yet to arise [out of Hades].
That the souls of the saints, after the time of death, remain in Hades until the time of the Resurrection, is without doubt, taught throughout the Holy Scriptures; and this truth was believed to be the hallmark of Christians at that time :-
For if you have conversed with some that are called Christians, and do not maintain these opinions (the millenarian), but even dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and say that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that the souls, as they leave the body, are received up into heaven, take care that you do not look upon these as Christians: as no one that rightly considers would say that Sadducees, or the like sects are Jews: (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 100:80).
And again, - For not even the Apostles, says Origen, have yet received their joy, but themselves also wait for it, that I also may become partaker of their joy. For neither the saints, when they depart hence, receive immediately the full reward of their deserts, but wait for us. You see therefore that Abraham yet waits for the attainment of that which is perfect. And Isaac waits, and Jacob, and all the prophets wait for us, that they may enjoy with us perfect happiness. On this account, therefore, even that mystery - [i.e., as to whether or not the Christian is deemed worthy to rule with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. Ed.] - is kept to the last day of the deferred judgment. It is my opinion that all the saints that depart from this life shall remain in a certain place in [the heart of] the earth, which the divine Scripture calls paradise, as in a place of instruction: De Princip lib 2: 100, 11.
* * * * * * *
NOTE ON ISAIAH CHAPTER SIX VERSE ONE:
THE BITTER MESSAGE OF ISAIAH.
By B. W. NEWTON.
In the year of the death of king Uzziah, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and lifted tip, and his train filling the temple.
I saw the Lord seated on a throne. Compare Rev. 4. Behold there was
a throne set in heaven, and on the throne One seated. Heaven, not earth, was the place where John
beheld the Divine glory; for the
The vision granted to John was far fuller than that seen by
Isaiah; for Isaiah lived before the work of redemption had been wrought out, and
therefore the time was not come for the fulness of its results to be
declared. Consequently, around the
Throne, as seen by Isaiah, were
no symbolic Cherubim, no enthroned crowned Elders, symbolizing the place soon
to be occupied by the redeemed in glory.
The holiness of the God of Israel in contrast with the uncleanness of
those who professed to be His people, was the thought
intended to be pressed home on the heart of Isaiah; and he trembled. Yet his terror was but for a moment. Grace caused him to apprehend his relation to
the Throne in peace through the power of atoning sacrifice, and John himself,
notwithstanding his far greater light and knowledge, had no better title than
Isaiah to say that his iniquity was gone, and his sin
atoned for. Christ was the Lamb foreordained, and the same love that
afterwards enfolded John enfolded Isaiah, though the time was not yet come to
explain and develop all its fulness.
There was an essential similarity between these two honoured servants of
God in this, as well as in the character of their message. They both stood under the same grace, and
served in the same service. The message
they were respectively commissioned to bear was to them both, a bitter message.
Isaiah was sent to prophesy against
[* See Greek text as edited by Tregelles.]
The unity of the redeemed in glory is one of the most precious of the truths of Scripture. How contrasted such unity with the many differences, dispensational and personal, that have been known among the redeemed in earth! To be excluded from that one body of which Christ is the Head, as well as the Saviour (see Eph. 5: 23), is to be lost. The Scripture knows of no redemption that does not in result involve union with the Person of the Redeemer. What then shall we say of a doctrine, which, whilst it admits that Abraham and the Old Testament saints are redeemed, excludes them, nevertheless, from the Church, and from the Churchs glory? *
[* See Marcionism at the end of this section. Ed,]
Is the Scripture false when it tells us that they who are Christs have all things? (1 Cor. 3: 21-21.) Is not Abraham Christs? How is it then that he has not all things?
Again, we read, He that spared not his own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Was not Abraham one of those for whom Christ was given? How then can he be excluded from the all things freely given?
Separation from Abraham in the ages to come is perdition. To be separated from him and the promises
made to him, is separation from Christ and the promises made to Christ. To Abraham and his
Seed (i.e. Christ) were THE PROMISES
made. Gal. 3: 16. Mark well the expression THE PROMISES. It is an expression so wide as to include every blessing in earth or
heaven that ever has, or ever shall come to that one family of which Christ is
at once the Redeemer and the Head.
But THE PROMISES were not
made to Abraham apart from Him who was to be the meritorious Procurer of them, i.e. Christ. To Abraham and his
seed were THE PROMISES made. He saith not, And to
seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Gal. 3: 16.
Now suppose we dissociate ourselves from Abraham, and cut ourselves off
from these promises made to him and to his seed, what remains to us but
wrath? Are any promises of any kind
whatsoever made to us apart from Christ?
The great struggle of the Apostle Paul was to show, not that Abraham was
the heir of all the promises, but
to prove that we, dogs from the
Gentiles, were admitted into strict fellowship with him in them. This, even Peter and Barnabas
practically denied at
They who teach this doctrine are necessarily obliged to derogate from, and therefore to dishonour the work of Christ by taking from it that which the Scripture ascribes to it, and to it alone. For when it is asked, why Abraham, and David, and Daniel, on whom (no less than on ourselves) rests the full value of Christs most precious blood, are to be excluded from the Church, and the Churchs glory, the answer is, Because they, while on earth, did not receive the baptism of the Spirit as we; and none except those who receive the Holy Ghost in that special character in which He is now dispensationally sent as the Paraclete, belong to the Church either in earth or heaven. Such is the answer. If this were true, we should indeed have to teach another Gospel - one that the Scripture knows not. We should no longer be able to define the Church as the Scripture defines it, viz., as being that which the Lord* has purchased by His own blood - words which would not have been used if redemption did not define the limits of the Church, and if in eternity, the Church and the redeemed were not co-extensive and convertible terms. Shall we indeed say that the Church is founded not on Christ, but on the Spirit as dispensationally given? Would not this be another Gospel?
[*The reading in this passage, which seems to have the weight of evidence in its favour (see Tregelles) is to feed the Church of the LORD which he purchased by his own blood. Compare also Numbers 27: 17; 31: 16: Josh. 22: 17.]
The teaching of the word of God is far different from
this. It teaches that God hath laid in
From Abel downwards, the spiritual stones have been in process of preparation, though the foundation-stone was not laid until Christ came. The object of His words to Peter was not to ignore all that had been previously done in the way of preparation, but to declare the great truth that He, and He alone, was the foundation. The preparation of the stones is one very material part of the process of construction. No little labour had been expended in digging them out of the quarry to which naturally they belonged. Abraham was one of these stones: Peter was another. The same Rock that made Simon what he was as a Rock-man (the meaning of as distinguished from , a rock) gave to Abraham also the same standing in eternal strength. They will both be seen as living stones in the spiritual building when the hour of its completion and manifestation in [millennial and eternal] glory shall have come. And although, after Christ had manifested Himself as the foundation, the spiritual stones were brought into a unity and into a relation to Him and to one another that prefigured (in a manner that never previously had been) their final unity in glory, yet how has this condition of the Church been by sin and Satan changed! The gates of Hades might to the outward eye seem to have prevailed. But they have not prevailed. On this Rock, said Jesus, I will build my Church, i.e. I will go on building it, whatever may oppose, until all shall be finished. Accordingly, the building still advances. Stones are still being prepared, and fashioned, and squared, and polished. The unity of the redeemed, though hindered in its manifestation, is not destroyed. They have through the [Holy] Spirit a relation to God, and to Christ, and to one another, that no circumstances - no power of Satan can subvert. Satan may prevail against them for a season in the earth, but he cannot prevail against them in the Heavens. It is for [a new] Heaven [and a new earth] the Church is destined: there it is to shine in as lustre: there it is to be known as the fulness of Him that all in all. There was an hour when (the building of the typical temple having been completed) Solomon could say, I HAVE SURELY BUILT for thee a house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. 1 Kings 8: 13. So also the hour will come when Christ, ceasing to say, I will build,* will say instead thereof, I have built. The spiritual building will be completed, and the foundation on which it rests will be known and recognised by all as being Christ alone.
[* The future tense, both in the Old and New Testament, is frequently used to denote a course of action that has been commenced, and is in a state of progression. Thus, although God had already justified multitudes, and was daily justifying more, the Apostle, nevertheless, uses the future tense, and says, There is one God who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Rom. 3: 30. These words do not imply that none had been already justified, but the course of justifying action had not been completed towards all who were to be brought under it, and therefore the future tense is used. See also Romans 5: 19. As by the disobedience of one man many were constituted sinners, so by the obedience of one SHALL many BE constituted righteous. The future is used because the course of action spoken of is continuous and not concluded. The Future, say Winer, in expressing general truths sometimes very nearly assumes the import of the present. It is applied to a rule that continues to be in force a rule established by God. See Winer, Part III, § XL. In Hebrew the use of the future in expressing continuousness of action is constant. In his [Jehovahs] law he will meditate, i.e. He will continue to meditate day and night. This is especially the case when a course of events avowedly successional is spoken of. Thus in Dan. 7: 17. These great beasts which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
The future tense is used, although the first of the beasts had already arisen: but the whole series was not complete.]
Heaven, be it remembered, is not to be a transcript of the dispensational differences of earth. There is a power of unity in Christ, paramount to all the temporary dispensational distinctions that have been found amongst His people in the earth, and that power will finally be put forth in all its strength, and will bring all who are in Him into unhindered participation of His fulness. Out of His fulness have all we received, and grace following upon* grace, are words which, though true in earth, will be much more consciously realized and appreciated in heaven. [* Like wave following wave in constant successive flow. As one wave goes, another succeeds into its place.] Before the world was, all the elect were chosen in Christ, and unity of blessing predestinatively given to them in Him. Whom he did predestinate, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified - and that, with like [millennial] glory, for it is expressly said - [of those who suffer with Him] - to be in joint-heirship with Christ (Rom. 8: 17), and in association with Him (verse 17), and in His likeness conformed to the image of his Son that he might be the first-born among many brethren. This is said to be the appointment of God to all [the overcomers amongst] His [redeemed] children [who share in His sufferings]. If children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. [IF indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (N.I.V.) The Apostle expressly tells us in the Galatians that the Old Testament saints were children and heirs. Are they heirs without an inheritance? No. They are not heirs without an inheritance. The predestinated are [all] called, and the called are [all] justified [by His grace], and the justified are [all eternally] glorified. Such is the golden chain which God has, in the sovereignty of His grace, drawn around all His chosen people. Time reveals what eternity has bestowed. The process of unfolding is indeed gradual, and thus many profitable lessons are learned: but the elect of later dispensations have the comfort of knowing, that there is not one of their endowments in Christ that will not, in the eternal ages, be participated in by their brethren who have preceded them in the path of faith. Abraham will not in eternity have less knowledge of Jehovah than Moses, because God was pleased in time to reveal Himself as Jehovah to Moses in a manner in which He had not revealed Himself to Abraham. God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah; and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. Exodus 6: 3.* So likewise, although Paul while on earth received the Spirit in a manner different from that in which He was received by Moses, yet Paul will not in glory be more in the power of the Spirit than Moses. Indeed, Paul himself had no title to the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit as the Paraclete, except as coming under the covenant made with Abraham. Mark well his words to the Galatians. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Here we are expressly taught that we receive the promise of the Spirit as now given, because we share Abrahams blessing. Take the promise of the Spirit from Abraham, and we take it from ourselves. The promise of the Spirit is not a temporary dispensational promise merely. The Spirit will be the power of our new life in glory. Without it we could not act either here, or hereafter, as members of the body of Christ. Nevertheless, the possession of the Spirit, either as the Paraclete, or in any other way, is not that which supplies to us our title to membership in the body of Christ. Christ by His work in redemption supplies to us the title. What can be more important than for the soul to distinguish between title to privilege, and ability to act in the power of that privilege, especially when the ability is a result - a necessary result of the title; so that he who has the title, must, sooner or later, have the ability. Paul, the moment he said in faith, Lord Jesus, belonged to the Church of God before he was baptized either by water, or by the Holy Ghost; although in due time he received both - not indeed to make him an heir of glory, but because he had been made an heir of [eternal] glory, through, and in, Christ. The thief on the Cross died without receiving either the baptism of water, or the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit, yet he had the title [to eternal glory], the moment he believed, to all that the covenant with Abraham had conferred; and, in glory, he shall inherit all.
[* How little dispensational position in the earth has to do with the inheritance of glory in the world [age] to come, may be seen from this, that although neither John the Baptist, nor any of the saints who preceded him, were in the kingdom of heaven as dispensationally formed on earth, yet they will not on that account be excluded from the kingdom in [its manifestation and] glory. The kingdom of heaven was dispensationally formed by the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus. Those consequently who preceded Him were not in it. Hence the Lord Jesus, speaking of John the Baptist, said, The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he: that is, dispensationally and ministerially greater: for John the Baptist did not himself minister the Gospel of grace as Jesus and His disciples did. Nevertheless, the saints that preceded Jesus will not be shut out from the kingdom in glory, because they were not in it dispensationally on the earth. Jesus Himself says: Many (that word includes ourselves) shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 8: 11. Therefore, they who were not in the kingdom of heaven dispensationally here, shall be in it in its glory.]
There are many relations which the Spirit of God is pleased to hold towards us. He became a Spirit of testimony to us in the Prophets, and subsequently in the Apostles. In the Prophets, as well as in the Apostles (though with less fulness), He testified of the same Christ and the same redemption. Moreover, as Lydias heart was opened by the Spirit to receive the things spoken by Paul, so, from the beginning, the Spirit of God opened the hearts of all who received the testimony respecting the promised Seed, and created in them that which is called in Scripture, the new man, without which there could have been no faith - no fruits of righteousness - indeed nothing that was pleasing or acceptable unto God, for the flesh profiteth nothing - in it no good thing dwelleth. Consequently, we know that in the Old Testament saints (seeing that they were enabled to please God) the new man must by the Spirit have been created, quite as truly as in the saints of the present dispensation. Again, seeing that the new man needs to be strengthened and directed, the Spirit also comes to be a sustaining and indwelling Spirit; otherwise the new man would be overpowered by the strength of the old, and no fruits would be brought forth unto God. The Old Testament saints, therefore, received the Spirit as truly as we, though to them He was given as the Spirit of servantship - to us as the Spirit of filial-condition. We have not received the Spirit of servantship again to fear, but we have received the Spirit of son-condition, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Old Testament saints from Sinai onwards, were placed under the Law as children are placed under a tutor or governor* during the time of their pupilage; but the very passage that teaches this, teaches us that they were children and heirs, although during the time of their pupilage they differed not from servants. Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world; but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the condition of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Gal. 4: 1-7. Can any one read these words and deny that the Old Testament saints were children as much as we; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and [potentially to be] joint-heirs with Christ? Shall we dare to dissever links that God so solemnly declares that He has made fast for ever?
[* Schoolmaster, the word adopted in our version as the rendering of paedagogue, does not adequately convey the meaning. The paedagogus or tutor, frequently a superior slave, was entrusted with the moral supervision of the child. Thus his office was quite distinct from the English rendering, schoolmaster. The Rabbinical writers naturalised the word, and in the Jerusalem Targum, it is used to translate (authorised version, a nursing father). Num. 11: 12. It was however, part of the duty to see that the child was taken to right teachers, so that the thought of instruction is not to be excluded from the general supervision to which the paedagogue was appointed.]
It has been frequently asserted, that in Scripture the Old
Testament saints are nowhere called the body of Christ. Now, even if this expression were not applied
to them in Scripture, we can dispense with the expression if we can show that
all the characteristics of the one body are
declared to pertain to them in glory. There is, however, a remarkable passage
in Isaiah where they are called Christs body.
Again, is Abraham, to whom circumcision was given as the seal of the covenant of promise (for circumcision was not of Moses, but of the fathers, John 7: 22) - is Abraham to have primarily the sign and the seal of that Covenant of blessing, and yet to be excluded from all that that sign denotes - from all that that seal pledges? Circumcision denotes separation from the flesh. It denotes severance from all that naturally characterizes us as children of the first man, who was earthy, and indicates the attainment of a new and unearthly condition of being, such as is seen in the Second Man the Last Adam glorified. The bestowment of unearthly glory in a new creation was that which God pledged to Abraham when He gave to him the sign of circumcision. He thereby covenanted that He would finally, by the operation of His own faithful grace, bring Abraham, and all who had been or should be of the faith of Abraham, into that new creation-glory into which flesh and blood cannot enter, where there is nothing according to the flesh, but where all is according to the Spirit; in other words, where all is according to Christ glorified. Christ by His death and resurrection hath secured this for all those of whom He is the Representative and Head. He has borne them through judicial death into the glory of the new creation. He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell ... for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are filled to the full in him who is the head of all principality and power: IN WHOM ALSO YE ARE CIRCUMCISED with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ [i.e. by a circumcision received by means of Christ]. Buried with him in baptism,* wherein also ye are risen with him through faith in the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. Col. 1: 18 and 2: 9-13. Let any one ponder these words and say whether all the anti-typically circumcised (and not to be anti-typically circumcised is to be left in the uncircumcision of our flesh and to perish) whether all the anti-typically circumcised are not by this passage declared to be in Him in whom as Head of the body the Church (for it is in this character that He is spoken of throughout the passage) it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell in order that they (the anti-typically circumcised) might in Him be filled to the full. Unless then we say that Abraham was not anti-typically circumcised - unless we can show that he was left among the uncircumcised to perish, we must admit that he, and all others who are of faith, are in, and filled to the full in Him who is the Head of the body the Church. Can we say of such, that they - [Old Testament saints] - are not in the body the Church?
[* God, by appointing Christ as our Substitute and granting us union with Him, has delivered us from the flesh, and all that was due to our sin in the flesh, so that by means of the death and resurrection of Christ we have received the circumcision made without hands. He who is one with Christ in resurrection is surely severed from the flesh. Baptism and circumcision alike indicate separation from the flesh as the result; but baptism is a much fuller type than circumcision. Circumcision does not symbolize the means by which we are separated from the flesh into a new creation; but baptism does. It points to the death and resurrection of our Substitute and Head as the means whereby this severation into glory is effected for us; for we are typically buried in the likeness of Christs death by being placed beneath the water, and typically raised in the likeness of His resurrection when raised from the water. Nevertheless, baptism only unfolds that which is in circumcision involved; and there is no blessing pledged in baptism to the family of faith which is not equally pledged in circumcision.]
When the Apostle too speaks of Christ as the first-fruits of them that have fallen asleep, (see 1 Cor. 15: 20), these words emphatically designate the Old Testament saints, for they, not we, had fallen asleep when Christ rose. It is a description, therefore, that pertains not to us, but to them only. From other passages, however, we learn that we are not excluded from the blessedness of being able to say that Christ is our first-fruits also: for immediately afterwards the Apostle teaches us that all* who are Christs at His coming, shall, at that coming, rise in the likeness of His glory. It is true of Abraham, and true of all who are in this dispensation brought to Christ, that we shall be Christs at His coming. It is as true, therefore, of Abraham as of ourselves, that‑ as we have borne the image of the earthy we shall also bear [Let us also bear, see R.V. margin.] the image of the heavenly. Is there any blessing higher - any more distinctive than this - the being raised in the likeness of Christ?
[* The all here must refer to a limited company: See Luke 20: 35; 22: 28-30; Luke 14: 14; Phil. 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35b; Rev. 3: 21, etc.]
How can they who are all equally like
Him, differ in their powers of knowledge, or love, or service?* We are expressly
taught that all [overcomers] who are Christs at His coming, shall be raised in
His likeness, and that because they are like Him, they shall all see Him
as He is, and all know even as they are known.
They shall alike have all perfectness of love towards
God, and towards one another: otherwise, they could not be all like Christ.
We are accustomed to say that we believe in
the communion of saints. Now,
the communion of the saints in [millennial] glory is based upon their common likeness unto
Christ [now]. It flows from the unity granted to them all
in Him. How could there be communion
between those whose sensibilities, and powers of thought and affection and
feeling, were different? How could there
be communion between the redeemed, if some were admitted into a circle within
which others had no ability, or else were forbidden, to enter? In Heaven, we shall have no wish to narrow
the circle of blessedness - no wish to occupy a sphere of thought and feeling
from which Abraham, and David, and Daniel, are excluded. We shall not then desire to cavil at the
truth so distinctly declared to us in Scripture, that
[* There may be
difference of official position, and difference of reward among the redeemed. One may be over five, another over ten
cities. Some may sit on thrones judging
the twelve tribes of
Christ as the eternal Son is co-equal with the Father - He is God over all blessed for ever, yet in the arrangements of the Divine government, He will finally take the second place. Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that did put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. Yet His essential co-equality with the Father will not be altered, because He voluntarily takes the second place in the order of governmental administration.]
Again, as Christ is called the first-born from the dead. (Col. 1: 18. See also Rev. 1: 5), so they who rise in the first resurrection when Christ comes, are called the Church of the first-born-ones first-born in relation to those who [were not accounted worthy to rise at the first resurrection (Rev. 20: 4-6); and of those], being brought into the fold of faith during the millennium - shall rise at the close of that period, when the whole Church will be complete. Consequently, all who are Christs at His coming (and is not Abraham Christs?) will rise at His coming, and be therefore included in the one CHURCH of the first-born-ones. Unless we exclude Abraham from the first resurrection he must belong to the Church of the first-born-ones.
They who reject this most blessed and vital doctrine of the
unity of [all]
the redeemed in [eternal] glory, are accustomed to say that the Church of this
dispensation is in Scripture called the mystery. Now, even if this were so, it would afford no
foundation for their theory. But it is
not so. Many things connected with the
history, both of the Church, and of Israel, and of the nations, are called mysteries (one mystery is the
mystery of iniquity): but it is not true that either the Church as a
whole, or that part of it which comes within the present dispensation, is
itself called either the mystery, or a mystery.
When the Apostle, in the third of the Ephesians, speaks of the mystery
that had been hid from ages and generations, but which was then (specially though not exclusively) by his ministry being made
known, what does he declare the mystery to be?
Does he say that it consisted in the shutting out of all the saints who
have preceded us from the one body, and from the household of God?
He says the very reverse. He says
that we of the present dispensation obtain our blessings by being incorporated
into the commonwealth of those who had
preceded us. We dogs of the Gentiles had been aliens from
The eleventh of the Hebrews has been similarly perverted. That chapter brings into blessed association of suffering-service here, and of glory hereafter, ourselves and those who have preceded us in the path of faith. We (though less faithful than they) are yet associated with those of whom the world was not worthy. We are taught that they too, like ourselves, looked for no mere earthly hope. Of Abraham it is said, that he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Heb. 11: 10. Subsequently it is said of him and of his children; These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned: but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city. Heb. 11: 13-16.
Can we with these verses before us say that Abraham is to be
excluded from that heavenly City which is the Bride of the Lamb? Are the saints of
Arguments might be almost indefinitely multiplied, but if these that have been advanced satisfy not, it would be idle to adduce others. Let it be remembered, however, that it is impossible to deny the unity of the redeemed in glory, and to hold fast the Gospel. If we rest our title to be in the Church and to have the Churchs glory on anything else than on that work of redemption which the Lord of glory commenced and finished on the earth, we do reject the Gospel. Ascribe our title to be in the Church to anything else than the blood of the Lamb, and we lay another foundation than that is laid - we teach another Gospel. They who wash their garments (and we only wash them in the blood of the Lamb) have title to the Tree of Life, and to enter in through the gates into the City. That City is the Bride of the Lamb.
* * * * * * *
DOCTRINE OF MARCION RESPECTING THE OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS
Among the many
indications of the rapidity with which mens minds are departing from the
Truth, there are few more ominous than the extensive diffusion in this country
of a system of doctrine that teaches, that all the Old Testament Saints
(although purchased unto God by the precious blood of Jesus) are to be excluded
for ever from the Church, and from the Churchs glory - that stigmatizes as
Jewish, and as not designed for the Church, those very instructions which the
Lord Himself, in His parting words to His disciples, expressly commanded to be
taught to us* - that teaches that the Apostolate of Paul is of a higher order
than that of the Twelve, and that his Gospel was different from theirs - that denies
that the fulfilment of the Law by Jesus was essential to the salvation of the
Church - that (instead of teaching, according to Scripture, that the Father
hath reconciled us in the body of Christs flesh
through death) speaks
of our being justified in a risen Christ -
that confines to the Jews (as being alone formally placed under the Law) the
text that speaks of Christ being made a curse for us
(Gal. 3: 13), and imagines that the Church
owes its salvation not to such a redemption, but to union with the Person of
the Son. These, and like things, are now
being extensively taught and received.
Recently I heard one of the sustainers of this system affirm that there
are two Gospels; two ways, and two ends of salvation. He might have added, two Christs
(for his system required it) - a Christ for the salvation of the Church (or
what they suppose to be the Church) and a Christ for the salvation of the
[* See two last verses of Matthew.]
Few, probably, are aware of the origin of these and like doctrines. Their origin is evidently Gnostic. Marcion, a Gnostic of the second century, appears to have been the first who taught his disciples to reject as not properly Christian, everything that he was pleased to stigmatize as Jewish. Modern German neology, which has ransacked antiquity in order to become eclectic of falsehood, has disinterred and remoulded many a Gnostic heresy, and so they have been introduced into this country; although in England Marcionism has not as yet been fostered so much by neologians as by others.
The connexion between Marcionism and
Germanism has thus been remarked on by
is said to have done literally, that Schleiermacher
does virtually in his system: for (i.e.
instead of) I am not come to destroy the Law and the
Prophets, he reads the converse. ... The dread
of everything Jewish, the general characteristic of Gnosticism, has been
carried to its extreme in modern times by Bauer
of Tubingen, who has misspent no ordinary
learning and ability in the attempt to show that the history of early
Christianity is that of a struggle out of a Judaized
atmosphere into a purer element; and that when the Christian religion shall
have been entirely freed from the Jewish prejudice which narrowed the mind of
our Lord (! ! !) and His immediate followers,
its work will be accomplished, and the law of love universal. The Judaeophobia,
as one may call it, has been exemplified among ourselves of late in a History
of the Hebrew Monarchy. -
Marcion carried his rejection of everything Jewish so far that he excluded Abraham and the Old Testament Saints not only from the Church, but from salvation. False, says Irenaeus, is Marcion, and so are his followers, who exclude from the inheritance Abraham, to whom the Spirit hath borne testimony by many others as well as by Paul, saying, Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. So also the Lord bore testimony to him ... saying, When ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of heaven, but you yourselves cast out. This, therefore, is manifest, that they who disallow Abrahams salvation and frame the idea of another God besides Him who made the promise to Abraham, are themselves aliens from the kingdom of God, and are excluded from the inheritance of incorruption, seeing that they set at naught and blaspheme God, who introduceth through Jesus Christ Abraham to the kingdom of heaven as well as his seed, that is, the Church, upon which is conferred the adoption and the inheritance promised to Abraham. - Irenaeus. Lib. 4., cap. 18.
Marcion not only rejected the Law and the Prophets, but even in the New Testament he refused to receive any of the Epistles except those of Paul, not including the Hebrews, and he rejected all the Gospels except that of Luke, which, however, as well as the Pauline Epistles, he mutilated, and received only in part.
The Marcionite aversion, says Lardner, to the Old Testament was so great, that on this account they mutilated many passages in the New in those books which they admitted, rejecting all that related to the Law and to the Prophets, or which were quoted thence as plainly foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ, or which spoke of His Father as the Creator of the world. - Lardner, History of Heretics. Chap. 10., § 33.
As regards the Marcionite notion that Paul alone knew the truth, and that to him the mystery was manifested by revelation, Irenaeus writes as follows. With regard to those (the Marcionites) who allege that Paul alone knew the truth, and that to him the mystery was manifiested by revelation, let Paul himself convict them when he says, that one and the same God wrought in Peter for the Apostolate of the circumcision, and in himself for the Gentiles. Peter, therefore, was an Apostle of that very God, whose was also Paul: and Him whom Peter preached as God among those of the circumcision, and likewise the Son of God, did Paul (declare) also among the Gentiles. For our Lord never came to save Paul alone, nor is God so limited in means, that He should have but one Apostle who knew the dispensation of His Son. ... Again, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, when Paul had recounted all those who had seen God after the resurrection, he says, in continuation, But whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed, acknowledging as one and the same, the preaching of those who saw God after the resurrection from the dead. - Irenaeus. Book 3, chap. 13.
It would be impossible within the limits of the present paper to detail all the omissions and alterations which Marcion made in the Gospel of Luke, which he professed to receive, and in the Epistles of Paul. They may be found at length in Epiphanius and Irenaeus, or in Lardner. I will content myself with a few examples.
In Luke 13: 28, instead of
reading, When ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,
and all the prophets in the
[* Tertullians words are: When he also adds, for ye are all the children of faith, it becomes clear that what the heretics (Marcions) industry erased was the mention of Abrahams name, for by faith the Apostle declares us to be children of Abraham; and after mentioning him he expressly calls us children of faith also ... and of whose faith, if not Abrahams? To Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy Seed, which is Christ. Fie on Marcions sponge! But indeed it is superfluous to dwell on what he has erased, when he may be more effectually confuted from what he has retained. - Tertullian against Marcion, Book 5, § 4.]
He also omitted, according to Rufinus, the two last chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, ending the Epistle with the 23rd verse of the fourteenth chapter. We can well understand his reason for this. Not only is the fifteenth chapter full of quotations from the Jewish Prophets respecting the call of the Gentiles into participation of Jewish blessings (as for example, Rejoice ye Gentiles with his people), but in the sixteenth chapter the Apostle declares that he used the prophetic writings, i.e. the writings of the Old Testament, in making known the Gospel which he was sent to preach. This was the very thing that Marcion denied.
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, amongst other alterations, he erased, in the 20th verse of the second chapter, the word prophets (built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets) for Marcion saw that all his system must fall if he admitted that the two lines of foundation laid respectively by the Apostles and Prophets were knit into the unity of the same building by both resting on the same chief one corner-stone, Jesus.
These examples may suffice. The fact that Marcion saw the necessity of erasing these and like words, was a sufficient acknowledgment of their conclusiveness if permitted to stand. Which shall we say is the greater sin, to cancel the words of Scripture, or to destroy by false exposition their plain unmistakable meaning?
The Marcionites also adopted the heresy of the Docetae, and taught that Christ had the appearance of a human body, but not the reality - that He appeared to have flesh, but really had not, so that His sufferings were apparent merely.* They made no distinction between flesh in a physical, and flesh in a moral sense; and believed that everything material must partake of evil.
[* Nothing, says Tertullian, substantial can be allowed to be effected by an
unsubstantial thing - nothing full by a vacuity. If the habit were putative, the action was putative; if the workers were
imaginary, the works were imaginary. On
this principle, too, the sufferings of Christ will be found not to warrant
faith in Him. For He
suffered nothing who did not truly suffer.
Some of the followers of Marcion, however, believed Christ to have real flesh, though they would not admit that He was born. This seems to have been the notion of Apelles.]
It must not be supposed, however, that Marcion, in rejecting the Old Testament, rejected it as untrue. He evidently believed its truth, but contended that the God and the Christ of the Old Testament were different from the God and the Christ of the New. Else he could not have avowed his belief in a Jewish Christ to come. Marcion, says Lardner, acknowledged Jesus to be Christ, but not the Christ foretold by the Jewish Prophets. He could not deny that a Christ or Messiah was there spoken of, but he said a Person different from our Lord Jesus Christ was there meant. He allowed, as Tertullian expresses it, that the Prophets of the Creator had promised a Saviour to the Jewish nation, who should deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, and restore them to freedom. But he pretended that this Deliverer was not the Son of God; and that the oracles of the Old Testament did not agree to Jesus Christ. So that this man, as Tertullian observes, who was so adverse to Judaism, did himself Judaize in the most shameful manner. Marcion, says that writer, is for two Christs - one who appeared in the time of Tiberius for the salvation of all nations, and another the restorer of the Jewish state, who is yet to come.*
[* The later developments of Marcions
system were probably adopted by him from Cerdo, whom he met at
The doctrine of two Christs is also asserted by the Marcionite in the dialogue ascribed to Origen. In a work also said to be written by Athanasius, we are informed that Marcion supposed that as Jesus came from the good God, so there was to be another from the just God, because each of them was to be the father of a Christ peculiar to Himself; the good God of one, the just God of another. - Lardner, 2. 21. He drew a distinction between true moral perfection, which, according to him, consists in love and goodness, whose essence is only to communicate itself, only to bless, to make happy, to redeem; and mere justice, which metes out everything by desert, rewards and punishes, requites good with good, and evil with evil, which gives birth to mere outward discipline, but can communicate no power of moral enthusiasm - this (says Neander) was Marcions great practical and fundamental idea which formed the nucleus of his whole theory. But between love and a justice that revealed itself in punishment he found no means of reconciliation - Neander, Vol. 2, p. 140. Hence, believing matter and flesh to be essentially connected with evil, he taught that the God and the Christ of the Old Testament and of the Jews, were distinct from the God and Christ of the New Testament revealed to the Church, which comes as a kind of parenthesis between the ancient Jewish period, and the future Jewish period when the Christ of the Jews will appear and effect their deliverance.
The point of practical importance with Marcion, says Neander, was to assert the absolute newness of the creation by Christianity; to sever every link of connection between it and the world as it had subsisted before. While he gave an exclusive prominence to the love of God, the revelation of which in the gospel had penetrated his whole soul (! !) he allowed all the other divine attributes to retire out of view. Seeking only to insist upon that which belonged peculiarly to Christianity, but rending it from its connection with the groundwork of the Old Testament, he determined to know nothing at all of a retribution grounded on the holiness of God. Neander, Vol. 2, p. 140.
[* That is, he excluded such acting in righteousness from the God and Christ of the Church, but not from the God and Christ of the Jews, as will be seen from the remarks below.]
It seems (I still quote from Neander) although it is a point which cannot be determined with certainty,* that Marcion taught that the Messianic predictions of the Old Testament would still be actually accomplished in behalf of the believers in the Demiurge. (Marcions name for the God of the Jews.) The Messiah promised by the Demiurge would yet appear and bring to a rigid judgment those who had not been freed from his power by faith in the higher Christ, and awakening those who had died righteous according to the Old Testament, would unite them all in a millennial reign of earthly felicity. The eternal heavenly kingdom to which the Christians belonged would then form the direct antithesis to this perishable earthly kingdom. The souls of Christians would lay aside their gross bodies as the bird rises out of the egg. ... The God of love (i.e. the God of the Church) does not punish; those, however, who refuse to accept the proffered fellowship with Him will fall under the power of the Demiurge (the God of the Jews) and His avenging justice. Whoever, on the other hand, enters into fellowship with the Father through faith in the Son of God, becomes partaker, even on earth, of a divine life superior to the power of the Demiurge and of Matter. For him there is no longer any judgment. Delivered from the power of the Demiurge, he is under the special protection of the God of love. ... From the whole context of Marcions ideas resulted the antithesis between those who remained subject to the Demiurges government, and those who, released from his power, become objects of the providential care of the Supreme God, whom He trains for His kingdom, with whom all things shall work together for good. ** - Neander, Vol. 2, p. 147.
[* The words of Tertullian clearly show that Marcion expected a Christ yet to come to the Jews. Tertullians words are, when to these are added their Christs, the one which appeared in the time of Tiberius (whom they believed to have had the appearance of flesh only) and the other which is promised by the Creator or God of the Jews. - Tertullian, Book I, chap. XV.
** The distinction drawn by Marcion between the condition of the Church and those whom he imagines to be placed in a subordinate condition of blessing under the God of the Jews, is very marked. It would seem, however, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the rest of the Old Testament saints, were excluded by Marcion even from this subordinate blessing. His statement as to them is most revolting. I will not transcribe it. It may be seen in Epiphanius, Lib. 1, § 42, and still more fully in Irenaeus, Lib. 1, chap. XXVII.]
The history of Marcion affords a
memorable example of the manner in which men, while pursuing a phantom of
imagined spirituality, can be drawn into a place of direct antagonism to God
and to His Word. There can be little
question that Marcion was sincere. He was zealous, energetic, and self-denying
even to austerity. Ephraem Syrus says that Marcion acquired, by his asceticism, a deceptive shew of sanctity. In his early days he is said to have given
his money to the Church. (Pecuniam in primo calore fidei ecclesiae contulit.) To his mind matter was synonymous with
evil; and flesh, in its physical sense, identical with sin. Absorption into something immaterial was, in
his estimate, essential to salvation. The assumption of real flesh by the Son of
God and the resurrection of the body, he denied. But the Scripture stood in his way; it
contradicted his thoughts, and therefore the
greater part of Scripture he avowedly rejected. He would have been more consistent and more
honest, if he had rejected the whole.* For he acknowledged not either the
God, or the Christ, or the redemption, of which the Scriptures speak. The Scripture speaks only of the God of
Israel and of the Christ of Israel, and of a redemption wrought out in the
[* It is better for the interests of Truth that its
adversaries should reject Scripture rather
than that they should professedly own it, and then undermine it by sophistical subtilties of
It is said that Marcion, towards the
end of his life, repented of his heretical course, and sought to counteract its
effects. But it was too late. In a world like this, a natural, an appointed buoyancy belongs to the thistles seed; it
floats upon the breeze, and the airs ready current soon diffuses it over the
surface of the wide earth. Thistles shall it bring forth to thee. Marcions heresy, says Epiphanius who flourished about
the middle of the fourth century, is even now existent at
His heresy received from some the
condemnation it deserved. The aged Polycarp of
The heresies of Marcion are scarcely more to be deprecated than the comments of Neander on them. Thus Neander supposes him to have belonged to the number of those who were first brought to the faith, not by the tradition of the Church, but by their own study of the written word - that word which he mutilated and blasphemed. Perhaps, continues Neander, it was the majesty of Christ as it shone upon Him in the contemplation of His life, and the study of His words, that attracted him to Christianity. And the Pauline type of doctrine which most completely harmonized with his tone of mind, may have been the form in which he first learned to understand Christianity, and which chained his spirit once for all. - Neander, Vol. 2, p. 133.
Again, Neander writes: the consciousness of redemption formed the ground-tone of his (Marcions) religious life: the fact of redemption he regarded as the central point of Christianity. [Redemption, as revealed in Scripture, had no place in Marcions system at all.] ... To his heart, filled and flowing with the image of the God of mercy and compassion who had appeared in Christ. Nature appeared as something wholly inconsistent with the way in which this God had revealed himself to him in his soul. ... The same mental tendency which made it impossible for him to recognise in Nature the God of the gospel, allowed him to see nothing but contrariety, no fundamental unity between the Old Testament and the New. ... In the Churches of Asia Minor he believed it impossible to recognise the genuine Christianity which had been preached to them by the Apostle Paul. Accordingly, this conviction may have given rise (to his desire) to purify Christianity from the foreign Jewish elements with which it had been mixed, and to restore it to its primitive form. ... And so, step by step, he was continually driven to place the Old and New Testament in sharper contrast to each other, until at last, he boldly taught that there was one God and Christ for the Jews, and another God and Christ for the Church.
I will now conclude these already too extended remarks, by a few brief quotations from some of our Protestant Confessions in reference to the inclusion of the Old Testament Saints in the one elect body, the Church.
The confession of Dort, after quoting the words, whom he predestinated, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified, adds, this election is not manifold (i.e. diverse) but one and the same of all which are to be saved, both under the Old and New Testament; because the Scripture speaks but of one only good pleasure, purpose and counsel of the will of God by which He hath chosen us from eternity, both unto grace and glory, both unto salvation and the way of salvation, which He hath prepared that we should walk therein. ... and this doctrine, touching Gods election, was by Gods appointment declared by the Prophets, by Christ Himself, and by the Apostles as well under the Old Testament as the New - Articles of Dort., 8 and 14.
Also the Confession of
We most constantly believe that God preserved, instructed, multiplied, honoured, decreed, and from death called to life His Church in all ages, from Adam till the coming of Christ in the flesh. As we believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so do we most constantly believe that from the beginning there hath been, and now is, and to the end of the world shall be, one Church, that is to say, a company, a multitude of men chosen of God, who rightly worship and entreat Him by true faith in Christ Jesus, &c. - Art. 5 and 16.
So also the seventh of our English Articles.
Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament
everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator
between God and Man, being both God and
[* The doctrines of the Roman Church are, it is well known, most erroneous and false as to the condition of the Old Testament saints whilst militant on the earth. Yet, even they, warned perhaps by Marcions example, refuse to exclude them from the Church in glory. Thus Dr. Manning, in his recent work on The Mission of the Holy Ghost, writes as follows:-
multitude and fellowship of the just who, from Abel to the incarnation, had
lived and died in faith and union with God, constituted the soul of a body
which should be hereafter. They did not
constitute the body, but they were waiting for it. They did not constitute the Church, which
signifies not only the election but the aggregation of the servants of God; not only the calling out, but the calling together into one all those who
are united to Him. Some of the
Fathers do indeed speak of them as the Church, because they were to the then
world what the Church is now to the world of today. They belong also to the Church, though it did
not then exist, just as the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world,
though the sacrifice on
As then till the Incarnation there was no Incarnate Head, so till the day of Pentecost there was no complete organization.
There are, no doubt, parts of the
above statement to which just exception might be taken, but passing these, I
quote the passage merely because of its unequivocal acknowledgment of the
inclusion of the Old Testament saints in the ultimate glory of the Church. All grace was from
the beginning given through the most precious blood, though as yet it had not
been shed, are important words.
I question, however, whether these words and the paragraph as a whole, would please the censors of the
We must remember, too, that although the words most precious blood are blessed words, and grateful to the hearts of those who understand them according to the Scripture, yet they are suggestive of far different thoughts to the mind of a Romanist. They direct his soul not to the once perfected sacrifice, whereby he that believeth is sanctified and perfected for ever, but he thinks of blood carnally taken by him in material flesh, which he believes that he actually eats, and thus the value of that holy blood becomes his. Unless he carnally eats it he perishes: and so he becomes an idolater, and worships a phantom, and does (unless he repents) perish.
statements, respecting the condition of the Old Testament saints whilst
on earth, are most
objectionable. Thus when he says that the Church is gathered from the world by baptism, and that into
every soul rightly baptized the grace of Faith, Hope and Charity are infused,
together with the seven gifts and a substantial union of the Holy Ghost with
the soul is constituted, it is very evident that he excludes the Old
Testament saints, while on earth, from the condition into which he pretends
that baptism brings, and excludes them from the possession of that LIFE which is the portion of all the
regenerate of every dispensation, and which when given involves everlasting
relationship to God as His sons, and heirs of glory. Again, Dr.
Manning says, before the Incarnation, the Holy
Spirit wrought in the souls of men, one by one, illuminating, converting,
sanctifying, and perfecting the elect.
But the union between His presence and the soul was conditional on the
correspondence and fidelity of the individual.
It was a dissoluble union, &c. (p. 58). And again, its
Dr. Manning recognises no distinction between the operation of the Spirit of God in quickening the elect, and His coming personally to dwell in those whom He has quickened. The Old Testament saints were regenerated as truly as we. They had LIFE as truly as we: and although the Spirit was not given to them as the Paraclete, or as the Spirit of son-condition, yet He was given to them as the Spirit of servantship, (Rom. 8: 15) because, though they were sons (see Gal. 4), they were in a state of pupilage until redemption was perfected. Now I say, that the heir, so long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all. Gal. 4: 1. And as the Old Testament saints received acceptance through the foreseen value of the blood of Immanuel, so also they received Life before He, in whom that life was, was manifested in the flesh. As light existed before the sun, and was afterwards in the sun concentrated, and from it dispensed, so life was dispensed to the elect before He came, in whom that life essentially was, and in whom it was manifested. God fore-acted on what Christ was as fore-ordained. But wherever there is a disposition to misrepresent, or to magnify unduly the present dispensational standing of the Church, there the sacrificial work of Christ as alone giving the TITLE to all the blessings brought by redemption is depreciated, and results which God has made to depend exclusively on Christs relation to the redeemed, are ascribed not to Christs work, but to the Spirit. The truth of the Gospel is lost when this is so. Whether we say that they who are not baptized do not belong to the body of Christ, or that they who did not receive the Spirit in the manner in which He is now dispensationally given, do not belong to the body of Christ, in either case we destroy the truth of the Gospel. Title to belong to the body of Christ is founded entirely on the work of Christ in redemption. The gift of the Spirit (which is a purchased result of redemption) does not give the title to membership in the body of Christ, but supplies the power of that associated action which is needed by those who are called to act together as co-members in one body. Are we to confound title, and power to act according to such title?
See also Luther:-
When the Scripture saith that all nations which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham, it followeth necessarily that all, as well Jews as Gentiles, are accursed without faith, or without faithful Abraham. For the promise of blessing was given to Abraham that in him all nations should be blessed. There is no blessing then to be looked for, but only in the promise made unto Abraham, now published by the Gospel, throughout the whole world. Therefore whosoever is without that blessing is accursed. - Luther on Gal. 3, 10.
See also Calvin:-
And this is a singular proof of the benevolence of God toward us, that although from the beginning of the world he showed Himself bountiful to His children (the Old Testament saints), He nevertheless so regulated His grace as to provide for the salvation of the whole body (in which we, of this dispensation, are included). What more could any one among ourselves desire than that regard should be had to him in respect of the blessings with which God hath followed up Abraham, Moses, David, &c., so that with them he might coalesce in the body of Christ? - Calvin on Heb. 11.
God has made a better provision for us than to allow that our elder brethren, who have preceded us in the path of faith, should be perfected in glory apart from us. The Scripture uses the word apart. They who are not apart must be together.
* * * * * * *
ISAIAH CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
By ROBERT GOVETT
The meaning of this chapter has been very variously given by those who have interpreted it. I prefer that of Bishop Horsley, as the most literal, consistent with itself, and agreeable to the ancient interpretations and general tenour of prophecy. Dr. Hendersons offends against that great canon of prophecy, which forbids us to regard as of private interpretation that which is of universal import to the Church. The following are some of the Bishops commencing observations:‑
I set out with considering every one of these assumptions (that
the prophecy regarded
summons is uttered to some mighty nation, situated either towards the east or
A commercial and maritime nation is certainly pointed out by these various yet harmonious features. But to whom are the messengers to be sent? Jerome, Horsley, and others, understand the Jews, and it will be seen that the lineaments accord with the historical character of that people. They are dragged away and plucked - torn from their native country again and again. They are a people wonderful from their beginning hitherto. Moses brings this observation before their eyes in his day. Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or bath God essayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? (Deut. 4: 33, 34.) Nor has their singularity and the awe of their history ceased since then. The wonders of Joshuas day, of the Judges, and the Kings, of the Saviours appearance, and their scattering through the world, combined with their present existence still unchanged and unchangeable, confirm their title to be considered the most wonderful people of the earth. To a like effect speaks the Geneva Bible on this clause The Jews (are the nation spoken of) who, because of Gods plagues, made all others afraid of the like. They are also an always expectant nation. Perpetually disappointed in the hope of a Messiah yet to come, still in every country and under every disappointment they are expectant, even to the present day. Yet in spite of their hope of one day ruling the world, they are also trampled under foot. Who more so than the Jews? Their very name a proverbial expression of insult, their persons despised everywhere, and in former times subjected to every species of ignominy, injury, and death. Whose land rivers have spoiled. That is, according to Bishop Horsley, whose country kings have frequently plundered. This interpretation seems borne out by chapter 8: 6, 7, nor is there need to prove at length that the country of the Jews has been subject to invading armies. In addition, however, the confirmatory words of Jerome may not be unacceptable Go swiftly to the nation of the Jews, plucked up and torn by the Assyrian invasion; to a people once terrible, who were under the rule of God, with whose power none may be compared; to a nation always expecting the aid of God, and nevertheless trodden down by man; whose land, rivers, that is, different kings, have laid waste.
Nor are the messengers to go to them alone; but their cry is to all the nations of the world, to announce to them the appearing as of a banner on the mountains, and the sound of a trumpet. Now as the appearance of a banner and the sound of a trumpet are the signals for an army to gather, so I apprehend are these. We read of both these signals in the Saviours great prophecy of his return; to which time, as Horsley justly observes, this prophecy reaches. And then shall they see the siqn of the Son of Man in heaven, whatever it be: whether or not, as the Fathers expected, it signify the cross, which is indeed the emblem of the Son of Man. But the Saviour proceeds to declare, He shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall qather toqether his elect from one end of heaven to the other. Nor is this all. The coincidence is yet more complete. Isaiah assures us that the message is to all nations. St. Luke, immediately before this prophecy of the sign of the Son of Man and of the last trumpet of the Archangel, places the distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, mens hearts failing them for fear; while St. Matthew adds, And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Respecting the 4th verse there is so much uncertainty, that though Horsleys version is retained in the text, that of the LXX. seems almost equally worthy of reception:‑
For thus said Jehovah unto me,
There shall be safety in my city;
As a cloud in the mid-day light and heat,
And as dew in the day of harvest.
If Bishop Horsleys be preferred, the verse will signify a long withdrawal of the miraculous interposition of God in the affairs of the world. He will sit still in his dwelling place until the inhabitants will think that he has forgotten; that he hideth away his face and will never regard what is done on earth, and that, just before Gods vengeance shall burst forth like lightning. This is in entire accordance with the tenour of prophecy. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. If the Septuagint [LXX] version be adopted, the sense will be, that when the banner is thus erected, and the trumpet blown, Jerusalem shall be a quiet habitation, and the security experienced shall be the more grateful because of the preceding time of great tribulation, even as a cloud is grateful in the midst of the glare and heat of a tropical clime, and, as Jerome observes, as the dew is pleasant to the panting reaper. Which of these is to be preferred, as both exceedingly well accord with the analogy of prophecy, is left to the readers choice. The 5th verse describes the judgements of God just before the harvest (or ingathering of believers, as the Saviour explains it in his parable of the tares and wheat), upon his professing Church. As at the time immediately preceding harvest, when the vine is in blossom, the husbandman prunes it of its luxuriant and useless shoots, so will Christ deal with his Church; he will send such troubles and persecutions upon it, that all who are mere professors will be severed from it, as the useless boughs by the pruning-knife. The time will come that judgement must begin at the house of God.
interpretation is made good by the fifteenth
at that time when the wickedness of man has come to the full, the Lord Jesus
shall appear, and then shall his ancient people become glorious in the eyes of
the Gentiles, who shall bring them by every mode of conveyance to their native
land, and especially to the Saviours abode on
The observations of Procopius on this point are here presented to the readers notice. After the harvest of the present life, they that are thought worthy of that consummation, shall partake of unmixed divinity, when the separation shall take place of those that are now gathered together in the Church of God. And the superfluous branches of the vine shall be cast for food to the avenging Powers; and the fruitful souls shall attain their expectation from God. But who he is that shall take away and cut off, the Saviour himself declares, setting before us under the figure of a vine and its branches, the good and the foolish, saying, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away. Here the writer refers the period spoken of to that succeeding the final judgement, which the concluding words forbid us to admit; for the time specified shall be that of the Jews return, both locally to Mount Zion, and spiritually in heart to the faith of Christ; and this were impossible in its former part after the earth is burnt up. With this exception the view of Procopius agrees with that given above.
* * * * * * *
ISAIAH CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
AND CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
By ROBERT GOVETT
The twenty-fifth chapter is evidently a
continuation of the twenty-fourth, and describes the joyousness of the saints
at the first resurrection. The Jews, says Jerome,
in commenting on the 18th verse, think that this is the voice of the
saints, and the believing people, when God shall have performed against the
whole world what is spoken above, and the prophecies of all the prophets are
completed; and they interpret the overthrown city (verse 2.) to signify Rome
which is to be utterly destroyed; and the mighty people who shall praise
Jehovah, and to whom Jehovah hath been a strength in their trouble and
distress, they refer to Israel who shall be freed from the persecution of the
Gentiles. In this opinion they
are confirmed by
the correspondence in verse 4 is still more
four and twenty elders and the four beasts, saith St. John, fell down and worshipped God
that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And thus Isaiah,
Thou hast performed wonderful deeds, even thy ancient
counsel of faithfulness. Amen, Jehovah! where the Amen
Eusebius, commenting on the words, Thine ancient counsel, beautifully refers to Matthew 25: 34, - Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, and to Eph. 1: 4, According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. He proceeds to say, - That therefore was an ancient counsel. And in truth these were the wonderful things foreseen by me before the foundation of the world, but to be fulfilled at the completion of the ages. This counsel, then, was ancient, on account of the foreknowledge and ordaining of God; and true because of the issue at last. Which blessings, says Procopius, the prophet desiring to see as speedily as possible, offers as his prayer, So be it, Lord!
6th verse describes that meeting
of the just of which the Saviour spake, when he said, that many should come from the east and from the west, and sit
down with Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, in the
this time Isaiah assures us the vail
shall be taken away from all nations, which covers the glory of the Gospel from
their eyes. And the reason has been
given above: for why is the Gospel hidden to them that
are lost? Because, says the apostle, in
them the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light
of the glorious Gospel [gospel of the glory. R.V.] of Christ, who is the image
of God, should shine unto them.
the former chapter it was declared that Satan should be removed and shut up
during this blessed period, and the Spirit of God poured out. Then also shall be destroyed the vail that
covers the face of
then shall death be swallowed up in victory. For then, according to the apostles declaration
in the fifteenth of the 1st Corinthians, This corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this
mortal shall have put on immortality; and then shall be brought to pass the
saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. For the risen saints shall then have put on their glorious [immortal] bodies,
and then shall in them be fulfilled the words of the Lord, They that are accounted
worthy to attain that world (dispensation,
the resurrection from [out of Lit Gk.] the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither
can they die any more: but are equal unto the angels; and are the
children of God, being the children of the resurrection (Luke 20: 35, 36); which last words show that this
is the first resurrection of the just alone,
else it would not be true that they would be the
children of God, because the
children of the resurrection. To
a like purpose saith
Then, and not till then, shall the offence of the cross cease: for then all shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest, and out of the Saviours kingdom will the reaping angels have gathered all things that offend and those that do iniquity.
It should be noticed here that one of the Greek interpreters has translated differently the 7th verse, and gives it thus,‑
And he will destroy on this mountain
The face of the Ruler that ruleth over all nations.
which Jerome observes, Some will have Antichrist to be signified who is to be
conclusion of the chapter fortels Gods vengeance on
the twenty-sixth chapter the same subject
continues. Here is given the very song
that shall be sung in that day, showing that if
the promise of the swallowing up of death, quoted by St. Paul, refers, as
beyond a question it does, to the resurrection,* so does this song to the time immediately following. The strong city here is evidently
[* It is gratifying to be able to quote on this passage the following excellent remark of Dr. H., - By his (Pauls) inspired authority I deem it the only wise, because the only safe course, in this and all similar cases to abide. Would that it had been so always!]
then, the dead in Christ shall rise; not all the dead, but as they are
beautifully called, thy dead, O Christ! for the dew from thee is healing unto them. Perfectly accordant is the explanation of Theodoret, For
as the rain vivifies the seeds covered with earth, and as it were buried, so
thy word, like the dew, shall call men to arise. Again and again does the Saviour declare it as the peculiar blessedness of each believing
member, I will raise him up at the last day. Here is the prediction reiterated, and its
peculiar significance defined. But, when
destruction shall come on the giants, - the Powers of evil gathered against
the Lord - the people of Jehovah shall be caught up in the air, and hide themselves a little moment, till the indignation
of Jehovah is overpast, For, behold, Jehovah
cometh out of his place to
punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquities. As when the world perished by the flood, Noah
was caught up into the chamber of the ark, and the Lord
shut him in till he came forth into the new world, so shall it
be in this day of vengeance; the saints shall shut their
door about them till the woes on the wicked are inflicted. And as the children of
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ISAIAH CHAPTERS THIRTY NINE AND FORTY
By ROBERT GOVETT
After the recovery of Hezekiah,
the king of Babylon and his wise men, struck with astonishment at the preternatural lengthening of the
day, which they could not account for upon astronomical principles, sent
messengers and a present to him to congratulate him on his restored life, and
to inquire of him the reason of the miracle which was exhibited on his behalf. This had a tendency to tempt Hezekiah to
pride, as being the subject of a special embassy and inquiry on the part of so
great a king as the king of
Hezekiah is, therefore, presented to us as another instance of
the frailty of man. But the lesson is
beautifully expanded to the plenitude of the believers experience under the
Gospel, by the concluding remark of the inspired writer of the Chronicles: In those days
was Hezekiah sick unto death, and prayed unto the Lord, and he spake unto him
and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah
humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of
[* See Power Lost and Recovered on the website. Ed.]
This chapter is signalized by being thrice quoted in the New Testament; and inspired quotations are of singular service in enabling the interpreter to discover whether his explanation is correct.
The first is that in Matt. 3., who declares
that the passage (ver. 3, 4) was fulfilled in the preaching of John the
Baptist in the wilderness of
Whence we conclude that in this chapter, as in many, indeed in most prophecies of the Saviours appearance, his first and second advents are closely bound up together. But the prediction here bears principal reference to the second; which will be seen as we proceed.
So also as John Baptist
heralded the first coming of Christ in the spirit and
power of Elias, shall Elijah himself herald
coming in conjunction with Enoch:* as it is
written of him, Behold, I will send unto you Elijah
the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
(Mal. 4: 5.) And he shall cry in the
wilderness as one of
the Two Witnesses: for thither shall the Jewish Church [called out people] be
driven, as we have seen in the remarks on chap. 16.
This testimony is confirmed by the twelfth of the Apocalypse, where we read that the woman (the Jewish Church) fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of
God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days
(the three years and a half of the reign of Antichrist). In the desert, therefore, (as well as in
But he has yet to be proclaimed as the Lord Jehovah coming with might, when his arm shall rule with sovereignty, and his reward be with him, and the work of every man before him, words which, as Eusebius perceived, must be spoken of his second appearing. Then shall also his gracious character of a shepherd be manifested in its full blessedness to his risen saints, and the inhabitants of the world living under his [millennial] rule.
The greatness and Divine Majesty of the Lord Jesus is then set forth, in his creation of the world, and the augustness of his presence, before whom all nations are the drop of a bucket.
The depth of his understanding who is the Wisdom of God, is
next announced an the bold and sublime verses quoted by
Who hath known the mind of JEHOVAH?
Or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given him?
And it shall be recompensed to him again!
In the first of these questions, the depths of his plans is implied as far beyond the comprehension of any created being, so that, if we find difficulties therein, it becomes us to wonder and adore. In the two last clauses, his sovereign right as Creator the bestower of all benefits, the receiver of none, is set forth; on the ground of which he justly challenges the absolute right of disposing of them as he pleases.
Such being his majesty, with what force of argument and eloquence is he contrasted with the pitiful image of dumb and motionless wood, to which the blinded idolater would liken him! In the 23rd verse, his power in bringing princes to nought, alludes to the overthrow of the Antichristian faction. Indeed the whole picture is designed with a special view to the encouragement of the believers, in particular those of the Jewish Church, in their last great conflict with the enemy, when their faith is almost failing, because they see the wicked in such prosperity, and themselves as sheep appointed for slaughter, and shall almost begin to conclude that God has forsaken the earth; a state of mind which is beautifully and prophetically depicted in the seventy-third Psalm, to which the reader is referred. Still, in spite of their trials, that they should think that their way is hidden from Jehovah, is derogatory to his justice, and the truth of' his promises. The Creator fainteth not, neither is weary; his plan from eternity once settled is never altered: in effecting it, he fainteth not, neither is weary. Nor can his wisdom, in thus severely trying the patience and faith of his saints, be understood by man. And if faith be ready to fail, he is able to strengthen it: the door stands always open: the believer is to pray always and not to faint, for shall not God avenge his own elect which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you, he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18: 7, 8.) Yet the few that are found to believe, shall at the Saviours voice, mount up with wings as eagles, shall run, and not be weary; shall walk, and not faint; as saith the apostle in a verse quoted before, Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
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ISAIAH CHAPTER FIFTY ONE [PART 1]
By ROBERT GOVETT
The subject of this prophecy is the rejection of the Jewish nation for their sins, especially their great sin, the rejection of Christ Jesus. The 2nd verse seems to show that it is spoken of the same time as the preceding chapter, - the captivity of the Jews to their last great foe, for the Lord inquires why there is none to rescue, and then reproves them for not trusting in him. - Did they doubt whether he had power to deliver or not? Then follow some of the wonders to be accomplished by the power of the Lord, as the drying up of rivers, and the smiting the heavenly bodies with darkness.
The threat that the heavens shall be clothed with blackness, Theodoret understands of the three hours darkness at the crucifixion, and this was probably its primary accomplishment; its plenary fulfilment being postponed to the time of the smiting of the sun and moon, as predicted by the Lord.
The Saviour next adverts to his first coming of humiliation, when the Father sent him to declare his words of wisdom kept secret from the foundation of the world. He remarks his meekness in suffering such contradiction of sinners against himself, his endurance of scourging, smiting on the face, and spitting, all which were literally fulfilled. And when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then did they spit in his face, and buffetted him, and others smote him with the palms of their hands. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face. (Matthew 27: 27; 27: 67; Luke 22: 64.)
The same view is presented by Procopius, -But return we to Christ, who saith to the Jews, Though ye indeed after being invited refuse, yet will not I disobey my Father who desires to gather together all things in me. And humbling myself, I suffered the most shameful possible treatment, knowing that I do not suffer shame by obedience to my Father. Though, therefore, Pilate scourged me, and one of the servants smote me, and others spit on me, I set my face as a hard rock. For it was of Divine power that I endured. For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
But now the Saviour speaks in the majesty of his return, when the Father having justified him by raising him from the dead, he and all his members may well defy all their accusers and enemies. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? it is God that justifieth. Hence they shall all pass away, despite their power, and boasting, and persecution; and the Redeemer encourages the persecuted still to wait for him and expect his return. For as for all the various devices of those who seek to fulfil their own counsels, and are opposed to the plans of the Almighty, their fire shall not be a light to them, but they shall receive the wrath of God and lie down in sorrow. The figure employed appears to be taken from the travellers through the desert, who are obliged in consequence of the coldness of the night, even in those tropical regions, to light a fire for the purpose of warmth and light and to keep off wild beasts. Yet these their devices should not prevail to ward off the judgements of an angry God.
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ISAIAH CHAPTER FIFTY ONE [Part 2]
By ROBERT GOVETT
An address is now made to believers both of the natural and
In hope of this kingdom not to be moved, believers are
exhorted to hold fast their steadfastness, and not to regard the laugh or
reproaches of men. For yet a little
while, and the arm of Jehovah shall awake as in ancient times, as in the generations of old,
Again is added an exhortation against the fear of the Man of Sin, showing how terrific will be his power, how great the dread of all men, that the believers have need of perpetual warning against his subtlety, and encouragement against his power. Yet, mighty as he may be, he shall die; his breath is in his nostrils. The remedy for the fear of man is to fear Jehovah, as said the Redeemer, Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell [Gehenna]. (Matt. 10: 28.) Soon shall his day pass, and his fury vanish, and it shall be said, Where is the fury of thine oppressor?
On the fourteenth verse, Jerome has these remarks:‑
Symmachus thus interpreted it, Soon shall Hades be opened, and he shall not die into corruption, where Christ is understood, who, in the fifteenth Psalm says, Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. But does it not also refer to the resurrection of the saints from Hades? For thus spake the Lord, On this rock will I build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it: that is, My people shall be delivered from the custody in which they are at present held, and shall attain the adoption, to wit, the demption of the body.
This shall be the time when Gods wrath against
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ISAIAH CHAPTER FIFTY TWO
By ROBERT GOVETT
The command given at the commencement
of this chapter shows, that Gods time of favour to
That it is not the restoration from the literal Babylon which is spoken of in this and the preceding chapters, is clear from the declaration there that Jerusalem should no more drink the cup of the Lords wrath; and in this place, that from the time of the promise, no more should the uncircumcised or unclean enter into her.
But after the promise, her sins against God are enumerated,
and the captivities to which she was and will be subjected. The next scene presents them as in subjection
to their last oppressor; and the Lord assures them, that to him they have been
delivered up, because through them his name was
blasphemed amongst the Gentiles.
This passage is quoted by St.
Paul, in Rom. 2: 24, where he proves
that the Jews, wherein they judged another, condemned
themselves, and both foolishly and impiously supposed, that their
privileges would redeem them from the wrath of Jehovah, when their deeds were
such, that occasion was given even to the unbelieving heathen to slander
through them the God whom they pretended to worship. This passage in the Hebrew has been wilfully
corrupted by the Jews, because of their hatred to the prophets testimony
against them, and still more to
In that day
The eleventh verse is,
perhaps, cited by
Then follows a prediction of Jesus, and a comparison is instituted between his first and second coming. As many were astonished at his marred countenance when he came in humility, so when he shall be exalted, and lifted very high, many nations shall admire him, as did St. John, when he beheld him in his glory, and as Solomon in his Song prophetically describes him. The ancient fathers testify, that Christs figure and countenance had nothing in it beautiful or very remarkable; he emptied himself of all glory at the first appearance, but he shall be surrounded with all his rightful honours at the second.
The last verse is adopted by
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ISAIAH CHAPTER FIFTY THREE
By ROBERT GOVETT
The fifty-third chapter, by the confession of all rightly-minded Christian authors, relates most perspicuously to Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, it is hard to conceive how any can admit the inspiration of the Scripture, and interpret it of any other, as the New Testament writers, by various quotations of its text, authoritatively apply it to the Saviour.
It commences abruptly by a strongly implied charge of disbelief of the Christ, brought against the Jewish nation by the apostles and messengers of the Gospel.
It is adduced, most justly, by
It is foretold that the Messiah should grow up before the Father as a tender plant, or, as the Septuagint translates it, as an infant; and as a root out of a dry ground, alluding, probably, to the unbelieving state of the Jewish people, and also to the lowly and degraded state of the family of David, whence the Lord was to spring. He was to possess no outward comeliness; and this was true, as far as tradition can inform us. Nor does there need any proof that he was despised and rejected of men, or that his people hid their faces from him. The Evangelist Matthew quotes the next verse in the following connexion: When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils; and he cast out the spirits by his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. From which we learn, that our blessed Lords curing of diseases was the fulfilment of this verse.
The vicarious nature of the Redeemers suffering is next opened to our view. The prophet teaches the atoning nature of Christs death. His afflictions were not for any sin of his own, but for our transgressions, because he bare the penalty of them, that by his stripes we might be healed. Because we like sheep have gone astray, the Lord bath made to light on him the iniquities of us all: in which words the extent of his atonements is made equal to the extent of mans sinfulness: or as the New Testament Scriptures phrase the same truth, He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.
The next feature commended to our notice is his silence under
judicial accusation, and in the presence of his enemies. This is discovered to be more worthy of
regard, if we consider that he endured such
contradiction of sinners against
himself, who hates all sin: that the accusations were false, an aggravation felt with peculiar
force by men in general: still further, that it was at any time in his power to
have destroyed his false accusers; Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to the Father, and he shall
presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? And lastly, that these false accusations were
the return for his mighty benevolence and boundless beneficence of word and of
miracle - that they who thirsteth for
his blood were those whom he came to redeem by the sacrifice of himself! This point was literally fulfilled, as the
Evangelists discover to us in their sacred narrative of his trial. Now the chief
priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus,
to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet
found they none. At the last came two
false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able
to destroy the
The passage now before us is, in another place, by evident
implication of the strongest kind, interpreted by inspiration of the Lord Jesus
Christ. It is cited in the Acts as read by the Eunuch of Candace Queen of
In his humiliation, his judgement was indeed taken away, for all justice was abandoned at his trial - and even he who decreed that he should be crucified, and he that betrayed him to death, confessed his innocence. On which verse the words of Procopius may not be unacceptable. The ensuing declaration is therefore perfectly true, that in his humiliation his judgement was taken away. For they gave their vote against him carelessly, as respecting a person of no importance: so that the prophet intends to remark their unlawful and unjust judgement of him. And though he was judged in his humility, yet he was by nature, God. Whence, he adds, Who shall declare his generation? And the difficulty of declaring it lies alike on both his generations. In a certain sense he was born of God, and in a certain sense of a virgin. For thus much alone we know, on the one hand that he is God of God, Light of light; and on the other, that the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. On each side, therefore, the question, What is his generation? is ineffable. For his life is taken away from the earth; that is, the economy thereof and his life according to the flesh is higher than the earthly. And in another point of view, the essence of the only-begotten is above every created thing. But some say, that the words, he is taken away from the earth declare his glory after his resurrection; for experience showed the Divine value of the economy instituted here below; for though he was himself subjected to death, yet by his grace he made us alive unto incorruption, and by faith in him are we redeemed. But wherefore was he who knew no sin subjected to the penalty of death? The Father makes reply, For the transgressions of my people he was led to death: either signifying, vicariously suffering for their sins, or because they in their transgression slew him.
The question, Who shall declare his generation? refers doubtless, as Procopius observes, to his mysterious eternity as Son of the Father. Jerome hereupon refers to Prov. 8: 25, Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I set forth. There is likewise a reference to the Saviours birth of a virgin by the mysterious operation of the Holy Spirit. The translation of the 9th verse is that of Dr. Kennicott, and by the transposition of two words, clearness is restored to that which was before obscure. Such a transposition has before occurred in the words sheep and lamb in the 7th verse: as is proved by the Evangelists quotation. Moreover, it is but the natural order of events to speak of the Saviours death before his burial. The natural order of his life has been followed hitherto, beginning with his infancy: why should it not be followed here? But to one who believes the Scriptures there is a still stronger proof, arising from its thus corresponding exactly with fact. He was lifted up, as he himself prophesied, signifying what death he should die - and with wicked men - the two thieves crucified on each side of him. With the rich man moreover was his sepulchre; as the Evangelist notices. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus disciple. ... And when Joseph had taken his body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb. (Matt. 27: 57. 59, 60). His suffering accomplished, it is predicted that the Lord shall behold a seed that shall prolong its days, to be accomplished in that day when all shall know the Lord, and when, as Isaiah subsequently prophesies, the days of the Lords people shall be as the days of a tree; or as the Septuagint has it, as the days of the tree of life. A passage similar to this is found at the end of the twenty-second Psalm, in which the Saviour describes his crucifixion; and then adds, My seed shall serve him, it shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.* They shall come and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made. (Prayer-book version.) But its final reference is certainly to the eternal life of his people - the life and immortality brought to light by the Gospel.
The pleasure also of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand, for then shall be accomplished all that the Most High designed, even to give into the hands of Christ Jesus all power in heaven and earth, and openly to subdue all things to his will, thereby completing the prophecies uttered by his servants.
Because he humbled himself, even to the death of the cross, God shall also highly exalt him: and give him the souls of his people, even all those that are justified through the knowledge of the Just One.
He shall inherit the earth and all its inhabitants by the Fathers gift, both Jews and Gentiles; as the second Psalm, with many other passages, declare. Such shall be his reward, for patiently enduring the agony of the garden, the treachery of Judas, and the ignominy of his trial and of his crucifixion in company with malefactors. For through this bearing of the sins of many, and his present intercession at the throne of God, is satisfaction made to the justice of the Most High, and a way opened to the holiest through the blood of Jesus.
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ISAIAH CHAPTER 53 OUR SUBSTITUTE
By B. W. NEWTON.
There are few chapters to which the heart, when conscious of the
sin within it and the sin around it, more instinctively turns for comfort than
to the fifty-third of Isaiah. It is a
chapter that should peculiarly abide in our remembrance. No plainer, no more simple
attestation to the vicarious obedience and vicarious suffering of our holy
Substitute is anywhere given. By acquaintance with himself shall the Righteous One, my
Servant, bring (or cause) righteousness unto the many, and he shall bear their
iniquities - words few and simple, but words of [eternal] salvation to them that
believe. The Righteous Servant of
Jehovah is at once the bringer to us of righteousness, and the taker away of
our guilt. The Spirit of God sent Philip
to explain this chapter to the eunuch in the wilderness: he heard, believed,
and [after being baptized,] went on his way rejoicing. So shall it be with the feeblest who truly
cast themselves on Jesus as testified of in this chapter. There are, indeed, many now who spurn its
testimony. They talk of Jeremiah, or of
a righteous remnant in
In reading the fifty-third of Isaiah, we must not dissociate
it from the two chapters which precede; for it forms
their sequel. The subject of the
preceding chapters is, the woe, and after the woe, the blessing and the glory
Such is the picture drawn by Job of himself when unconsciously foreshadowing Another. It is a partial and imperfect picture of course, as every typical foreshadowment of Him in whom all fulness dwells, must be: but it throws an added light, clear and precious, on that coming hour when the Servant of Jehovah shall in this earth which has hitherto despised Him, be extolled, and exalted and high exceedingly; when He shall break the jaws of the wicked and pluck the spoil out of his teeth; when the blessing of him that was ready to perish shall come upon Him, and when He shall cause the widows heart to sing for joy.
Such is the [future] salvation in which redeemed
[* Acquainted, that is, with the disease and misery that prevailed around Him.]
It is not my intention here to examine the words of this
chapter in detail, though I hope to do so in the notes that follow. It should, however, be observed that this
chapter, in speaking of Jesus as the vicarious sufferer, does not direct our
minds only to that great
and pre-eminent hour of His anguish when He drank in death the appointed cup of
wrath. The earlier verses of this
chapter give great prominence to His previous sufferings. They speak of the time when He began to grow up before
Jehovah as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. The ground around that tender sprout was soon
discovered to be dry.
All that the Son had to do and to suffer as the Substitute was appointed by the wisdom of God - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, before the world was. When once the appointment had been made, everything that had been appointed became necessary to the effectuation of the work of redemption. If one thing that had been appointed had been omitted, the work of redemption could not have been completed. In the typical ordinance of the Meat-offering of the first-fruits, the commandment was: If thou offer a meat-offering of thy first-fruits unto the Lord, thou shalt offer for the meat-offering of thy first-fruits green ears, scorched with fire, bruised corn, of full ear. The being bruised and the being parched or scorched are here given as typical of the Lords sufferings through life. But there is nothing in the Hebrew which would enable us to determine whether the scorching preceded the bruising or the reverse: evidently, I think, for this reason, that the sufferings indicated by the bruising and the scorching were not consecutive but concurrent. They attached to the Lord Jesus during the whole of His life. The translation given in our Version, Leviticus 2: 14, beaten out of, is misleading. It is simply bruised or crushed. When this had once been appointed for the first-fruits, the offering would not have been received at the altar unless it had first been both crushed and scorched. Both were, as I have said, concomitant experiences, and were as needful as was the burning to the completion of the offering upon the, altar. So was it with Christ. All His sufferings were pre-appointed. His living sufferings, therefore, which were as the scorching, were as needful to the effectuation of redemption as His dying sufferings, which were as the burning. The expiatory act, indeed, was His death - death under wrath; but that act could not have been performed by one who had not first done and suffered all that was appointed to be done and suffered by Him who was to perform the expiatory act. Therefore, the living sufferings and service of Christ were as needful to the accomplishment of His atoning work as were His sufferings and service in death. Hence the prominence given to His living sufferings in this chapter. We must receive or reject the testimony of this chapter as a whole. If we reject its testimony to the sufferings of our Substitute in life, we must, to be consistent, reject its testimony to His substitutional sufferings in death. The same person who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, was also the root out of a dry ground: and the reason for both was the same, namely, that He might make for US SATISFACTION to God.*
[* When it is asked, says Calvin, how Christ, by abolishing sin, removed the enmity between God and us, and purchased a righteousness which made him favourable and kind to us, it may be answered generally, that he accomplished this by the whole course of his obedience. This is proved by the testimony of Paul, As by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. And indeed he elsewhere extends the ground of pardon which exempts from the curse of the Law to the whole life of Christ, When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law. Thus, even at his baptism, he declared that a part of righteousness was fulfilled by his yielding obedience unto the command of the Father. In short, from the moment when he assumed the form of a servant, he began, in order to redeem us, to pay the price of deliverance. Calvins Institutes, Book 2. ch. 16, § 5.
Turretine says, The common and received doctrine in our Churches [the Reformed Churches] is, that the Satisfaction of Christ which is imputed unto us for righteousness before God, comprehends not only the sufferings of Christ which, whether in life, or whether in death, He bore; but that it comprehendeth also the obedience of His whole life; that is to say, those just and holy actions whereby in our stead He fulfilled perfectly the commandments of the Law: that so from these two parts the full and perfect price of our redemption might spring. Turretines Institutes, Locus 14, Concerning the mediatorial office of Christ. Question 13, § 2.]
Again in the seventh section he says that The sufferings whereby Christ made satisfaction are to be extended to all those sufferings which were laid upon Christ, not only on the Cross, but also in the garden; yea, throughout the whole of His life. And here we cannot approve of the fiction of those who wish to restrict all the satisfying sufferings of Christ to those sufferings which He endured during the three hours of darkness whilst He was on the Cross, and before He expired, excluding the other sufferings from the satisfaction to Justice, although they might have pertained to a satisfying the Divine verity and the fulfilment of the types. For, however certain it be that those sufferings were the most grievous with which He conflicted during the hours of darkness, it is nevertheless clear that the others were directed to the same end, for the Scripture nowhere restricts the [satisfying] sufferings to the three hours on the Cross, but speaks of them generally without any limitation. See Isaiah 53: 4, 5; 1 Peter 2: 21 and 3: 18; Matthew 16: 21; Hebrews 5: 7 and 10: 8. 9. Turretine, idem. See also 2 Corinthians 8: 9.
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ISAIAH CHAPTERS FIFTY NINE TO SIXTY ONE
By ROBERT GOVETT
The present section of prophecy relates ultimately to the last state of iniquity of the Jews in their own land before the wrath of God brakes forth on them. They are described as persecuting even to death the people of God, as lying and unjust.
of those things God shall leave to themselves, to grope in the darkness, and be
full of disquiet. The darkness mentioned
is literal, as well as figurative. For
thus we read in Rev. 16: 10, And the fifth angel poured out his vial on the seat of the
Beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven
because of their pains, and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. This was foreshadowed of old by the three
days darkness in
this mighty display of his glory and power, all the remainder of men shall fear
him. Then shall have arrived that
blessed time which the apostle foretels in the Romans, where he quotes the
succeeding words of Isaiah, And so all
the return of the Saviour as the Deliverer of
The interpretation of Procopius on the former verses is here submitted to the readers attention: He announces to them that sit in darkness, the coming of the light of Christ; a declaration which is suitable not merely to his first coming but also to his second, of which the Saviour saith, And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven; and by his angels he assures us that he will gather his elect from every side; and again, When the Son of Man shall come in his glory. Then he speaks of the judgement of the righteous and the ungodly, under the figure of sheep and goats, and the delivering up of the one to the fire and of the other invited unto the new Age; wherein shall not be any corporeal sources of light, for Christ himself, the Sun of Righteousness, shall suffice for enlightening. And then, according to the words of most holy Paul, The dead in Christ shall rise first, and they which are alive and remain shall meet Christ in the clouds. To such then, addressing himself, he says, Shine, O Jerusalem! or, according to the other translators, Arise, shine! See if he does not by the word arise, discover the resurrection of the dead, for (Christ) the Light shall vivify the dead by his own radiance, and they arising shall behold his glory; wherefore he adds immediately, And the glory of the Lord is risen on thee. From what has preceded it will be seen that the author does not agree with all the foregoing quotation, nor is it reconcileable with what follows, especially the declaration that there will be no corporeal sources of light, - a mistake originating in a confusiom. between the temporary and the final blessedness of the saints, between which the Apocalypse so happily and clearly distinguishes.
Saviours return shall be the signal for the restoration of
But the exposition given by Procopius is also worthy of the readers consideration, Who are these that fly as a cloud? This Paul has made clear, when he said, We shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we be ever with the Lord; being joined, that is, to the assembly of those of the ancient people who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, who also, being represented as beholding the upward flight of the saved from among the Gentiles, wonder at the multitude thereof.
great shall be the peace of those days, that the gates of
Jews, moreover, from being the despised, shall become the admired of all
nations, and all shall press forward to serve them. Then shall God pour out his blessing, and for
brass bring gold, and for iron silver, as it
was remarked in the typical reign of Solomon, And all
the vessels of the house of the
The 19th verse, however, will probably at that time receive but a commencing fulfilment, as it is only of the final state of the blessed that it is said, And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev. 21: 23.)
Lastly, the mighty increase of the Jews is promised, for then shall be fulfilled to the letter the promise to Abraham of the multitude of his seed. But as the spiritual and the natural Israel shall then be united, the words of Procopius, in his comment on the 21st verse, are here added, Us, then, the people of the Church, Christ himself justifieth by grace, and we are the planting of his hands, who hath grafted us into the good olive-tree. At present, indeed, during this age, the glory of the saints is hidden, but in the future, the least of them shall rule over very many, in which prospect the saints rejoicing say, He hath subjected the nations unto us, and the people under our feet. And this shall take place, when I gather them at my descent from heaven, and they shall be caught up in the clouds to meet me.
commencing verses of this chapter were read by our blessed Saviour in the
that day of wrath to the world shall be a time of joy to his [redeemed and obedient]
people, Lift up your heads, for your redemption
draweth nigh. In accordance with
which are the views of Procopius,
who writes as follows: He declares also that he was anointed to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord: thus intimating the time of his abode on earth as man,
wherein to those who came to him he afforded the light of day. For, as he is the Sun of righteousness,' a year is suitably accorded
to him. But, perhaps, it signifies the coming age, unto which he
hath deferred those promises of which he teaches, when neither the sun nor
the moon, but the Lord shall be thine
everlasting, light, wherefore it is called the year of the Lord, as
being enlightened by him; and the acceptable
year, or according to the other translators,
the year of approval, being the same as the day
of recompense, wherein men will receive the remuneration of their labours in this life. Till then his Church must mourn, especially in the Great Tribulation, as said
the Saviour, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the
days of the Son of Man (his kingdom), and shall
not see it; and then should they be told of the coming of some false
Christ, or prophet; but to prevent delusion, the Lord gives them the lightning
as the sign of his appearing. (Luke 17: 22.) So, on another occasion, he said, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?
but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and
then shall they fast. (Matt. 9: 15.)
Still more exactly parallel are our Lords words in
shall the former desolations of
The other promises of the chapter do not require explanation, but follow readily in the train of the observations made above.