The 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 master’s 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, ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy sons, and thou wouldst not”  To which may be added, the Saviour’s own declaration, in words exactly resembling those of the passage before us: “Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father; if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” (John 8: 19.)  On the complaint, that the whole body was diseased, the same writer remarks, “What more powerful mode of cure remained, after that of the Saviour’s tarrying with them, who was able to heal every sickness and malady, both of souls and bodies, in them that believed  The desolation of the country was such as characterized the reign of Ahaz, when the neighbouring nations, at their will, insulted and plundered Judaea.  Still more fully does it apply to the destruction of Jerusalem, and devastation of Judaea by the Romans, after the Saviour’s crucifixion.  The comparison of Jerusalem to a “cottage in a vineyard, and a lodge in a garden of cucumbers,” is beautifully illustrated by Eusebius.  In order to guard the fruits of the vineyards, sheds are set up for the watchman’s convenience.  “Whilst, then,” he says, “the vine is filled with its proper fruits, the shed is tended with every care and regard, that the watchman may diligently guard that no passer-by rob it of its fruits; but when the vineyard is without fruit, his watching-place is disregarded, as is fitting.  Thus are the Jews threatened that they should be abandoned, since they brought not forth suitable fruits  Even so, when the Jews rejected Jesus, “their house (and country) was left unto them desolate


It 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 Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an altar, and without a priesthood, and without teraphim.  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Jehovah their God, and David their king.’ (Hosea 3: 4, 5.)  And this is signified to us also in another mode.  For verily the people of old were disobedient, of whom he said, ‘As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest  But Caleb and Joshua entered in with the new generation, they a figure of the remnant of Israel, saved by obedience and faith in Christ, who, after crossing with us the holy Jordan, shall inherit hereafter the kingdom of heaven  We know how truly the words quoted by St. Paul were fulfilled in that day.  But it still remains, as appears probable, that it will receive a fuller and final accomplishment in the day of unparalleled tribulation.


By calling them “Sodom and GomorrahIsaiah chastises their pride in regarding themselves as surely the children of God, because of their natural descent from Abraham.  On which Procopius observes, “They published and declared their sin, together with their injustice, as Sodom, when they devised the evil counsel, saying among themselves, ‘Let us bind the Just One, for he is displeasing unto us:’ which sin, truly, against him who alone is called ‘Just,’ that is, Christ, rendered them worthy of such a title as that of Sodomites.  And when the prophet again calls them, “the people of Goinorrah,” he adds, “The prophet justly unites with the rulers ‘the people,’ for, as they refused the just judge, Lot, saving, ‘Thou enteredst to sojourn, was it to judge also?’ so also they refused the just judge, saying, ‘Away with him! Crucify him, crucify him  They of Sodom, indeed, wrongfully entreated strangers; but the Jews, Him that came to his own; - the one, angels: the others, God.  Jerusalem, therefore, because of its wickednesss, became Sodom


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 Saviour’s 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 Jehovah’s word.


The character given of Jerusalem by Josephus fully confirms the prophetic picture. “Murderers indeed lodged in it:” - the bands of assassins that paraded Jerusalem filled it with murders.  The people were wicked to so surpassing a degree that Josephus himself says – “I verily think that had the Romans forborne to punish so great criminals, either the earth would have swallowed the city up, or some deluge had drowned it, or else the thunder and lightning which consumed Sodom, would have lit upon it; for the people of the city were far more impious than the Sodomites.”


But let us fill up more definitely the prophet’s 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 Saviour’s 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 Zion shall yet be called, “The faithful city.”*  Their comparison to “an oak. whose leaf fadeth,” was strikingly illustrated by the Saviour’s parable of the barren fig-tree, and by his withering the way-side tree which presented nothing but leaves.


[* 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.]


The 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 Saviour’s 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 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets  And Stephen re-asserts it, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers killed



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The Teachers of Israel have been accustomed (and rightly) to divide the history of this Adamic earth into two parts.  The first (called by them “this age”) is that lengthened and still continuing period of sorrow and evil, which, commencing from the Fall, has already measured nearly six thousand years; the second is that yet future period when the Messiah of Israel shall take to Himself His great power and reign (Dan. 7: 14. Rev. 11: 15) and Jerusalem the City of the great King, be made the centre of the Earth for government, instruction, and blessing.  This they call, and so does the Apostle, “the age to comeHeb. 6: 5.*


[* 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 earth’s present evil, and of the means necessary for its subjugation, had been as true and as vivid as those of the saints in Israel.  Feebly have our hearts recognised the present dominancy of evil.  We discern not the extent of the earth’s moral distance from God: we hear not the general groan of creation: and when the Scripture speaks of the wild “forest” (which man looks on as his vineyard) being cut down, and of “Lebanon” (the symbol of the earth’s present glory) “falling by a Mighty One”, we marvel and ask what these things mean?  The night of evil has been so illumined by the lurid fires that men have kindled to relieve its gloom, that even God’s people have in great measure failed to apprehend the darkness.  They discern distinctly neither the darkness nor the judgment that is to fall thereon, nor the blessedness and joy of the coming Day.


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 earth’s 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 Judah that shall cause them all to crumble, and be as though they had not been.  That very act of the Lord our God that shall at last call forth the earliest and twice repeated Alleluia of the saints in glory is at present well nigh utterly disregarded.  It is neither hoped for nor expected.


Unnumbered examples of God’s patient goodness in bestowing blessing are afforded by the world’s 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 man’s 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 Israel, and that the right regulation of Israel depended on there being provided for them a Head of whom it could be said in all truthfulness, that He was "righteous; ruling in the fear of God.  David had earnestly striven to rule Israel aright.  He had longed to bring them into a right relation to God that they might be both blessed and made a blessing.  But he had failed.  He had failed personally, and he had failed officially: and with his dying lips he confessed his failure.  He had not succeeded in regulating aright even his own house - much less Israel - still less the nations.  “My house”, said he, “is not so with God: yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure ... although He make it not to grow”.  Certainly, as regards Israel and the earth, the covenant has not even yet been made to grow: but David’s hopes will not finally be disappointed.  There is One belonging to his House, whose coming shall be both to the earth and to Israel “as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.  But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away ... they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place”.  Such were the dying words of the sweet Psalmist of Israel; and they shafl be fulfilled in their season.


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 God’s 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.  Lebanon and Bashan dominate now; and Lebanon and Bashan are not Zion.  Zion is forsaken, desolate, abased: and man’s unregenerate strength wielded by Gentile hands prevails.  But it shall not always be so.  The hour of Zion’s glory will come at last, when in token of its lasting governmental supremacy it shall be established high above all the other hills and mountains that shall then stand round about (see Ps. 125. 2), Jerusalem, and become the acknowledged governmental centre of the earth.  Of old, the glory of God was manifested on Sinai.  There once He legislated for Israel under the first Covenant; but in the last days His glory shall rest on Zion, whence He will govern Israel and the earth under the second Covenant.  He will there watch over His “House” - the home and dwelling-place of Truth in the earth.  He will watch also over His City (for Jerusalem shall be the City of the great King) and over His Land which shall be made the joy of all lands - a praise and a blessing in the earth.  Zion shall be the gathering place of all nations where they shall seek and receive light, guidance, protection, blessing.  “Many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, unto 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  Unity, catholicity, authority, infallibility (not counterfeit but true) shall characterize the new position that Truth shall then hold on Zion.  It shall be the place of centralized light and centralized power, whence all nations shall be enlightened, regulated, controlled. It will be this, because it will be the seat of the government of Christ, the King as well as the God of Israel.  “The sun shall be confounded and the moon ashamed when Jehovah of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously  Heaven indeed will still be His home.  It did not cease to be His home when His glory was of old displayed on Sinai; nor will it cease to be His home when His glory shall, in the latter day, rest on Zion.


What should we think of one who affirmed that he was dwelling in Eden like Adam before he sinned; or that he was seated on the throne of Solomon’s glory?  Yet are they less deluded who say that they occupy the place of Zion in its glory?  If so, where are the tokens?  Do we see any glory before which the sun is confounded and the moon ashamed?  Do we see Israel walking in the light of the Lord?  Do we see the nations gathering themselves to Jerusalem that they might there learn the law of Jehovah?  Do we see them beating their swords into ploughshares and learning war no more?  Do we see Truth and Righteousness established in the earth, and God alone exalted?  Not one of these things do we find.  Not one of the tokens needful to sustain the preposterous claim can be found.  On the contrary, the earth is covered with darkness.  Falsehood reigns.  Israel is blinded.  Immanuel’s land is desolate.  God is dishonoured: Satan exalted.  They who assume to themselves the place of Zion, do, by the very fact of the claim, show that they know nothing of the real nature of the glory that is to come.  They can never have estimated the earth’s present evil, or apprehended the character of that coming day of visitation by which alone that evil will be removed.  Yet to be ignorant of these things, is to be ignorant of well nigh all that God has revealed with the view of causing us to apprehend the darkness of the present, and the light of the future.  It is to be feared that an eye that discerns not these things, neither recognises darkness as darkness, nor light as light.  Samson, as soon as he lost his Nazarite separation, was blinded.  His eyes were put out; his power of service to the Lord ceased; and he was put into the prison‑house to grind for the Philistines.  Such, or worse, must be the condition of those who despise the separating power of Truth (all Truth separates) and refuse to be Nazarites in this day of evil.


Almost in its earliest days, Gentile Christianity, becoming wise in its own conceit, began to boast itself against Israel; nevertheless, while the Apostles continued to minister, the evil was checked and the consequences averted.  But as soon as the Apostles died, the Churches lapsed.  They lost their separation, sank into union with the world, and were no longer counted worthy to be represented by that honoured symbol, “candlesticks of gold,” by which their early condition was denoted - while as yet they truly shone as lamps of the sanctuary in the midst of the world’s darkness.  The being disowned by God as lamps of His sanctuary, was the first great crisis in the history of the Gentile Churches; yet Gentile Christianity at that moment of its punishment and degradation, instead of humbling itself, exalted itself the more, and shamelessly claimed for itself the authority and the glory reserved for Zion and Jerusalem in “the last days”.  One might have supposed that the words with which the chapter before us opens, are so unquestionably declarative of blessings reserved for Zion and Jerusalem, as to be proof against evasion or perversion; yet even in these verses one of the early Fathers, Cyril, discovers a prophecy not of Israel’s blessing, but of the taking away of God’s Word from them!!*  So soon did the light of professing Christianity begin to be turned into darkness.  “If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness


[* 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 Zion, and so did Papal Rome.  The Catechism of Pope Pius IV would not have even the semblance of support from Scripture, apart from its perversion of millennial texts.  Throughout it, the promises made to Jerusalem in the day of her future glory are shamelessly appropriated to Rome.  Nor has Protestantism escaped the snare.  Its various sections have been fond of claiming for themselves the standing of Jerusalem, and of dignifying the centres around which they respectively gather, by the name of Zion.  Although the unity, and light, and holiness, and power, and glory, that are to characterize Zion are all wanting, and although all the results that are to follow Zion’s exaltation are absent - although nations instead of learning war no more, bristle with arms; and instead of bowing before the Truth of God, rebel more and more against it - notwithstanding all this, the delusion is pertinaciously persisted in, and the falsified songs of the future hour of Zion’s glory are sung in the day when both Zion and the Truth are in degradation and reproach.


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 God’s people will be in harmony with their spiritual condition.  All will be blessing.  But now it is direfully otherwise.  Creation groans.  Israel is blinded.  Satan, as the god of this age, controls the social and governmental arrangements of the world.  Truth and its servants are despised. Christendom, the professed witness of Truth, is corrupt.  The true servants of God are few, feeble, and divided. Antichrist is about to be revealed; and the Lord Jesus, because rejected by the earth, is seated on the throne of the Father, waiting till His enemies be set as a footstool for His feet.  In a word, it is now the day of man, and the day of the Lord has not yet come.  Is there no difference between the position occupied by Truth and its servants now, and that which will be occupied when the day of the Lord shall have come?


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 of Bashan, and the high towers and fenced walls, and on all that wherewith man in the day of his pride hath overspread the earth, and rest and rejoice in the very things which are bringing on the great day of visitation.  We shall mistake the hour of the triumph of Satan for the day when the Lord alone shall be exalted.  How then can we understand the Scripture?  Must it not become a sealed book to us?  Must we not cease to have communion with the thoughts of God?



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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 Judah and Jerusalem mean Judah and Jerusalem; yet if that had been remembered, Rome would never have been able to deceive as she has done by appropriating this, and like texts, to herself.  She has wished to be supreme in the earth.  She has said, “Kings shall be my nursing fathers and their queens my nursing mothers: they shall bow down with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of my feet”.


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. Rome, because the place of his Throne, is the centre of all authority in the earth.  He is surrounded by priests brought into nearer relation to God and to himself than the congregation who stand before him and receive his blessing.  His sentence is infallible and irreversible.  He has divine authority to alter laws and to forgive sins. He deposes and raises up kings and governs kingdoms, and the like.  The claim put forward by the High-priest of Rome to the possession of this power is of course blasphemous; but the authority thus falsely claimed is an authority which the earth really needs, and which will in due time be exercised by Jesus, the Son of the living God.  For He who is now sitting (because rejected by Israel) upon His Father’s throne, will soon sit also upon His own throne, even the throne of His father David.  He will be saluted as God – “thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever”.  Jerusalem, because the place of His earthly throne, will be the centre of all authority in the earth.  He will be surrounded by priests, even His risen saints, brought by resurrection into nearer* relation to God and to Himself than the congregation of Israel who stand before Him as His earthly people to receive His blessing.  His sentence will be infallible.  He will have divine authority to alter laws and to forgive sins.  He will control and raise up kings and govern kingdoms.  His throne will be a centre of unity to the whole earth. Satan well knows that these things are in the Scripture: he knows that they are demanded by the need of man, and therefore when raising up a lamp of his own into the place of the lamp of God, he wisely sets it in a position that seems to command the testimony of Scripture on its behalf.  I say he has wisely done this, for he knows the ignorance that prevails as to the Word of God: he knows the carelessness with which Scripture is read: he knows that if the absence of all moral, and spiritual, and outward tokens that mark the true Candlestick of God be undiscerned or unheeded, false applications of Scripture will be sure to pass undetected.  The tendency of the human heart to welcome anything whereby it is exalted, facilitates the delusion.  The result of this misapplication of Scripture is the destruction of well-nigh every practical principle that God desires to be exhibited in His Church.  Until the hour when Christ shall take His seat upon His own throne, the moral glory of the Church entirely depends on its being found in the path of suffering, affliction, and patience.  The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is intended to show the universal character of the family of faith from Abel until the day of millennial blessing shall commence.  They were all strangers and sojourners - sufferers, “of whom the world was not worthy”.  But the perverted use of millennial Scripture tends to change the sufferer into a king, causes us to reign before the time, and seeks to give to the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, the place which, by God’s appointment, is at present occupied by that ten-horned Beast whose body is to be given to the burning flame as soon as “the sovereignty of the world becomes the sovereignty of our Lord and of His Christ”.  The path of Protestantism would not have been what it has been, if it had duly recognised, that, in the present dispensation, the secular greatness of earth is as antagonistic to Truth as the ecclesiastical.  Herod and Pilate are not nearer Christ than Caiaphas.


[* 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 Zion.  Antichrist as the great Monarch of the whole Roman World, will glorify himself there.  See Dan. 11. 45.  If therefore we should see the hearts of men gradually withdraw their allegiance from ancient ecclesiasticism, and transfer it to a new system which latitudinarian Judaism and Gentilism will cherish and plant in Jerusalem, we need not marvel.  It is a preparation for the end.  Latitudinarianism may prate for a season about Zion as the mountain of God, and like Rome may seek to cloke its deceivableness under holy words.  But the veil will soon be cast aside.  God and His Scripture will be renounced, and the open Blasphemer of God (there will no longer be the pretence of vice-regency) will sit on Zion “showing himself that he is God”.  However awful, therefore, it may be to hear the words of Isaiah appropriated by Rome, it will yet be more awful to hear them applied to a system, which with fair pretensions as to philanthropy, human brotherhood and the like, is to culminate in Antichrist.






“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 (Israel) shall do to thy people (Moab) in the end of the days


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 Moab in the end of the days, saith the Lord


Ez. 38. 16.  “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the end of the days, &c


Hosea. 3: 5. “Afterward shall the children of Israel return ... and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the end of the days


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 Jehovah.  An appellation of Zion, either because the Temple stood thereon (Moriah being regarded as a part of Zion) or else because it is the place where the glory of God will be made manifest (as for a season it was on Sinai) to watch over that House and its interests.  How little the solemn investiture of Christ with the sovereignty of earth as taught in Dan. 7. 13, and the subsequent manifestation of His glory on Zionyet have I inaugurated my King on Zion, the mountain of my holiness”] are apprehended by God’s people!  Awful blindness has fallen even on the true Church touching these things.


Shall be established in the top of the mountains, and be exalted above (or away from) the hills.  This exaltation of Zion like the cleaving asunder of the Mount of Olives (see Zech. 14) will be one of the results of Jehovah arising to shake terribly the earth.  Zion will be raised high above all the other mountains that will begirt (see Ps. 125: 2) Jerusalem and thus the light of the glory of the Lord, even as from an exalted beacon, shall be made manifest afar off.  This physical exaltation of Zion will be one of those symbolic facts with which the millennium abounds.  It will indicate the established supremacy of the Divine government over all the subordinate authorities of earth.  Then “the mountains [i.e. the greater authorities of earth] and the little hills [the lesser authorities] shall bring peace to the peoples by means of righteousness”.  They shall be ministers of righteousness, and the fruit of righteousness shall be peace.


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 destruction.  “The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee [Israel] shall perish, yea, those kingdoms shall be utterly wasted


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 valley of Jehoshaphat, must first be, before any part of the blessed and peaceful scene predicted in Isaiah can be fulfilled.  The time is not yet come for nations to “learn war no more”.


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.






“But Thou 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 his [Israel’s] Land with silver and gold, and there is no end to his treasures: filled also is his land with idols – the work of their hands they bow down, to that which their fingers have made.  And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself, therefore regard them not


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.  Filled, that is, with all that Chaldea and Babylon can supply them with.  From Isaiah’s time to the present, there has been no period in Israel’s history to which this wonderful description of wealth, strength, and prosperity, combined with idolatry and abomination, is applicable.  It belongs to that coming, and perhaps nearly approaching hour, when Israel, surrounded by all that they have gathered to themselves of the riches of earth during the days of their dispersion, shall return with hardened and impenitent hearts to the land whence they have been driven, there to flourish for a season, but to flourish that they may be cut down.  Judgment upon judgment will fall upon their evil greatness until the great day of visitation shall come, and sweep it away for ever.  Chaldea also and Babylon (as we shall see subsequently) will, like Israel, revive.  Israel will be closely bound up with that Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth, and thence will replenish themselves with evil splendour, wealth, refinement, luxury, harlotry and abomination.  Anti-christianism will find its ecclesiastical home (so to speak) in Jerusalem - its secular in Babylon.


Soothsayers, like the Philistines.  Ancient wickedness will be combined with modern abominations.  Israel of old imitated Philistia in worshipping and serving demons, and so will it be again.  Men now think it wisdom to scoff at the notion of demoniacal agency even at the very moment when, through mesmerism and spiritualism, multitudes are giving themselves over, body and soul, to the control of unclean spirits.  Few believe that Paul really cast out “the spirit of Pytho” from the damsel who divined at Philippi.  Yet it was so. “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel that had the spirit of Pytho [or following the corrected reading - having the spirit Pytho, met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying [or divining.]  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul being grieved, turned and said to her by the Spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he [i.e. the spirit Pytho] came out the same hour  See Acts 16: 16-18.  The occurrence of the word “Pytho” in this passage is most important: by the use of that word the Holy Spirit signifies that the Pythian or Delphic oracle, which for so many ages maintained its ascendancy over the statesmen, and orators, and philosophers of Greece and Rome, was not a mere invention of human subtilty, but was the result of real Satanic agency.  Men may imagine that they are guides to themselves.  But it is not really so.  If they refuse the guidance of God and of His Spirit, they fall under the guidance of Satan and evil spirits, even though they know it not.  The ancient Pagan world, through the influence of the Pythian oracle and like agencies, was thoroughly under the mastership of Satan, and thousands now are rushing back by “spiritualism” and “necromancy” into the same awful servitude.  Spirits are consulted, and return, as of old, oracular replies.  Evil spirits personating the dead return soft answers to the enquiries of their deluded victims, and lead them on, soothed and comforted by lies, unto that lake of fire where their own final portion is to be.


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 Philippi was really possessed by an unclean spirit, and thereby divined.  In Gal. 5: 20, “witchcraft” is numbered among the works of which it is said, that they who do them shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


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 anguishIs. 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- Gilpin’s 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 inservire.  In Exodus 7: 11, it is translated sorcerers.  “Then Pharoah called the wise men and the sorcerers.  Now the magicians of Egypt they also did in like manner with their enchantments  The application of the word to the sorcerers summoned by Pharoah sufficiently defines its meaning, and proves that the power possessed by these persons was real and Satanic.


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, when St. Paul cast out the spirit Pytho from the damsel in Philippi.  In some of the subjoined passages it will be seen that Ohv is used in the plural Ohvoth.  In such cases it appears to denote the persons in whom the demons dwelt rather than the demons themselves.  In the two cases historically referred to in Scripture, namely, that of the witch of Endor, and of the damsel at Philippi, women were the instruments.  The Pythoness at Delphi was the great medium in the Pagan world.


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 God’s 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) Jerusalem is described as a gathering place of “peoples, kindreds, tongues, and nations”.  It will be full of strangers, riches, horses, chariots, and also of idols - for where God is not, there idols will be.  Twice already has a prosperity, bearing some (though a remote) resemblance to this, been seen in the land of Israel; and twice has it been smitten: first by Assyria, secondly by Rome.  A third time it will be allowed to re-appear, and a third time will it be smitten.  Plagues and judgments, the like to which never yet have been, will first be poured upon Israel, and on the nations associated with them in their evil [see the central part of the Revelation] and then will come the great day of visitation - the day of the Lord, as described in the concluding part of this chapter, when the King of kings, and Lord of lords, shall come forth to destroy, not indeed the earth, but “them that destroy the earth”.  See Rev. 11: 18.






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 [qu’on 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 their Eden - their garden of delight, and from these verses we may judge of its character.  It will bring down on itself the day of wrath and fiery indignation.  Yet even Christ’s people have forgotten this, and glory in the very things that are to be smitten unto destruction.


Ships of Tarshish.  Tarshish (the 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 with Ahaziah, 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 Israel’s deliverance, when destruction shall fall on their Gentile oppressors.  There seems, therefore, no reason to doubt that naval pre-eminence will, at the close, be found in the western countries of the Roman world, Spain, France, Britain.


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.  Lowth’s 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 man’s 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 world’s 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?



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The Passage with which this chapter commences is quoted by St. Matt. 4: 16, as a prophecy of Christ’s 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.


[*Galilee was called “of the Gentiles” because in this part foreigners were more mixed with native Jews than in any other part of Judaea.  This was in consequence of the captivity of Israel to Babylon, to supply whose place the Assyrian King sent foreigners thither, who ever after remained in the land.] 


It 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 Egypt have I called my Son  This is put absolutely, and no reason why it should be so is given.  Yet, when in the course of our Lord’s sojourn on earth it was accomplished, it was in consequence of pressing necessity, so that under the circumstances it was the most natural and best step that could be taken.  An imperious cruel tyrant was about to slaughter the children of Bethlehem: it became necessary, therefore, that the Saviour should be removed to a distance to some place of security, and what land was so secure from the power of Herod and so near to the south of Judaea as Egypt?  Had there been no such necessity, but had Joseph while the child was courted and honoured by all, been told to conduct him into Egypt, we could not have so remarkably perceived the expediency and beauty and use of prophecy.


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 Saviour’s 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 centurion’s servant; there he quenched the fever of Peter’s wife’s 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.


But 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 Lord’s 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 Christ’s first coming is evident, from the history.  There was, indeed, a partial rejoicing at Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, and their joy manifested itself in appropriate acts.  But the fourth verse introduces a sentiment which had then no accomplishment.  “Thou hast broken the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian  If we regard the Roman power as the oppressor, (and what other was there?) there was no breaking of his yoke, much less a miraculous vengeance, as in the day of Midian, when Gideon, with his lamps and trumpets, routed the host of Israel’s enemies.  But all this is prophesied of Christ’s return; that an oppressor shall arise over the children of Israel, - the false Messiah, whom the Lord will destroy by his supernatural power at his coming; and at this the Jews shall rejoice, as they that divide the spoil.  Though the next verse be not certain, as the various readings in all the versions testify, yet as given in the authorized translation, it carries on the true sense.  This battle shall be, not only as every battle of the warrior, “with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood,” but with “burning and fuel of fire  And even thus does the Scripture in many a passage declare, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God  “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence, a fire shall devour before him” (Ps.. 50: 3.)


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


Chist’s 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 “Secretthe 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 David’s 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 Israel, and of the Gentiles, in the last days, and the judgments of God that shall overtake them.  The remark of Procopius upon the tenth verse is worthy of notice. “Instead of the temple which Solomon built (they will say), ‘Let us erect a tower, devising a plan similar to the attempt at Calno  For they also said, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them in the fire  And again, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.’” (Gen. 11: 3, 4.)  The rise of false Christs and false prophets is foretold in the fifteenth verse, and the flatteries of Antichrist and his subjects in the succeeding, whereby the unbelieving of the Jews shall be deceived to their ruin: for this Deceiver, as the Scripture says, shall “lay his hands on such as be at peace with him, and, breaking his covenant,” shall destroy and carry captive Jerusalem and Judaea.


Following which, after the wilful king has thus wrought God’s vengeance on Israel for their sins, the Lord himself shall appear to repay the wicked to their face with “flaming fire;” and wickedness shall be devoured as with fire, and as dry grass shall it be consumed by flame


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.



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The subject is not concluded with the thirteenth chapter, but continued throughout the present.  Babylon being destroyed, the Lord shall have mercy on Judah.  It was so with the literal Babylon,- after its capture, by the Medes and Persians, Cyrus dismissed the Jews to settle in their land, and rebuild their temple.  On this point, also, there is Jewish tradition, that when Rome is overthrown, the redemption of Israel shall come.  In Massechet Sanhedrim, one of their Rabbies writes, “The son of David (i.e. Messiah), shall not come till a wicked kingdom” - (Rabbi Solomon interprets it, “the Roman”) - “shall prevail over Israel nine months, as it is said in Mic. 5: 2, ‘He shall give them’ - (Rabbi Solomon interprets ‘them’ to signify ‘Israel’) - ‘up till the pregnant have borne’ - (that is, says R. Solomon, ‘nine months.’)”  Afterwards he adds, that this kingdom shall, for the same space of time, rule over the whole world.


At this time Jehovah shall give to Israel “rest” in their own land, which promise is repeated in verse 3.  Viewed in connexion with the argument of the Apostle Paul* - [*Robert Govett believed Paul to have written Hebrews. –Ed.] - in the fourth chapter of Hebrews, this is no insinificant announcement.  In the former chapter the apostle remarks, that God sware to the unbelieving that they should not “enter into his rest  In the beginning of the fourth chapter he declares the unexpected truth that this promise by implication, made to Israel while in the wilderness, is preached not to the Jews only but to us: even though Gentiles, and living in Gospel times.  For, as he argues, this promise was not fulfilled by the “rest” of God on the seventh day, for that had passed long before the promise as made.  Nor was it the “rest” won for the Jews by Joshua, else David would not, so long a time after, have spoken of it as future.  Hence “there remaineth a rest” to be enjoyed: for God’s word must needs be accomplished.  And since it is declared that the unbeliever - [from amongst God’s redeemed people, Ed.] - shall not enjoy it, conversely it is implied, that the believer, be Jew or Gentile, shall attain it.  Moreover this “rest” promised shall be similar to the rest of God on the Sabbath-day; a ceasing from work, and complacency in the things created, as when God surveyed the whole of his workmanship, “and behold it was very good  Hence our thoughts are naturally led to conclude, that the six days of creation were typical of six thousand years of the world’s history, and as the Sabbath was the time of God’s rest and complacency in his work, so the seventh millennium shall be a time of bliss and joy for all that are permitted to enter into it, and a “ceasing from their work as God did from his   In accordance with this, as Greswell remarks, a prophecy has long been current, ascribed by some to Elijah, that the world should exist six thousand years: two thousand, a void; two thousand, the law; two thousand, Christ.  The Jews also believe, as Raymund Martin assures us, that the Messiah shall reign in the seventh millennium of the world with the just.  And as St. Paul in his argument fixes on those passages of the Scripture which contain the word “rest,” and decides both that this promise is real, future, and open to Gentiles as well as Jews, so may we – [who are regenerate. - Ed.], from the passages now before us, where it is expressly promised as then to take place, very justly believe that this is the time fixed for its fulfilment.


But 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 Babylon (who will be shortly proved to signify Antichrist), is made to cease.  Then shall the dirge of this chapter be sung over his fall - wherein is declared, that the “whole earth is now at rest and quiet, and breaks forth into singing  Accordantly with this, while the nineteenth of Revelation describes the destruction of Antichrist and his host as noticed above, the beginning of the twentieth chapter describes the binding of Satan, and the glorious reign of the Millennium.


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.


We come, then, to the consideration of the dirge over the fallen king of Babylon.  That by him is signified Antichrist, let us offer, first, the authority of Bishop Horsley. “The schemes of impious ambition ascribed in this verse [he is commenting on verse 13] to the Babylonian despot, suit exactly with the character of the Man of Sin, as delineated by Daniel and St. Paul, and seem to indicate, that the prophecy extends to much later times than that of the Babylonian empire  With this the sentiments of Vitringa accord.


But 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 Babylon, in the vastness of his dominion, in his carrying captive the Jews, his erecting an image to be worshipped, in his arrogance, and in his fall.  And secondly, it would appear, that as by Babylon in the Revelation is signified Rome, so here we may understand that “King of Rome” will be one of the titles of Antichrist.  For though, from the Apocalypse (17: 12), it appears that the “ten kings which receive power as kings one hour with the beast,” shall destroy Rome with fire, thus fulfilling the will and vengeance of God, yet it is not improbable that the Beast,  after the destruction of the city, which contained the only system and power capable of coping with his own, will take to himself the name of “King of Rome


But 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 St. Paul as the features of Antichrist and the Wilful King.  And first he is depicted as the oppressor.  Thus is he described in Isaiah 51: 12, 13, as exercising his power for the destruction of the saints and Jewish people; after which God bestows comfort on them when the oppressor is removed by the wrath of God.


“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 of Israel,

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 in Zion,

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, St. John foretels of the beast, “It was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” (Rev. 13: 7.)  Of his coadjutor, the false prophet, it is also written, ver. 15, “He caused that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed  These passages then identify him as the Persecuting Antichrist.


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 Lebanon, and I will cut down the tall cedars thereof, and the choice fir-trees thereof; and I will enter into the height of his border, and into the forest of his Carmel  In both passages what reason is there why we should not take the words literally?  Sennacherib might have devised to secure for himself the costly and celebrated cedars of the forest of Lebanon for the purpose of building himself a palace, as did King Solomon; and the design of Antichrist may be similar, either in repairing or rebuilding “the temple of God” at Jerusalem, where Daniel, Isaiah, and St. Paul conjointly assure us that he shall “sit showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2: 4.)  It is true that we must take the “rejoicing” of the fir-trees, and the speech of the cedars, as poetical: and why not then, it may be said, make the whole verse figurative?  Because it is easier to admit a metaphor, than an allegory.  And because it is the custom of Scripture frequently, especially in poetry, to use prosopopoeia - [i.e., ‘a rhetorical figure by which inanimate objects are spoken of as persons] - as where it is said, that all “the trees of the field shall clap their hands  “From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.” (2 Sam. 1: 22.)  But comparatively very sparingly is allegory introduced.


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, St. John represents the close of the career of the Beast.  “The Beast was taken, and with him the false prophet. … These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Rev. 19: 20.)


[* 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 Mount Zion, the site of God’s temple, “the place,” as it is often expressed, “which the Lord chose to place his name there.” (1 Kings 14: 21.)  This is also the testimony of Jerome.  “The mount of the covenant, that is in the temple, where the statutes of the Lord were instituted.  ‘The side of the north,’ that is Jerusalem.  For it is written (Ps. 67: 1), ‘The mountains of Zion are the sides of the north.’”* [*LXX. Translation.]  Again, agreeably with what is here stated as the despot’s ambition, St. Paul by the [Holy] Spirit foreshows that he shall sit “as God in the temple of God” at Jerusalem.  On which Bough on the “Second Advent  In precise accordance therewith, Daniel writes, “He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.” (Dan. 11: 45.)


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. 25.)  “And 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 St. John, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies:  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Rev. 13: 5, 6.)


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 Babylon of the Apocalypse, a point examined at large hereafter, chapter 23.  This remarkable portrait of him who shall consummate iniquity, and seal up to utter perdition those who will not believe the truth, is found in Ezekiel 28: 1-20:-



“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 Eden, the paradise of God;

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;

I stationed thee in the holy mountain of God:

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 Daniel’s: “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 Egypt.” (Dan. 11: 43.)  And before this, “Then shall he return into his land with great riches (Ver. 28.)  Again, “He shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land (earth) for gain.” (Ver. 39.)  By “the strangers, the terrible of the nations,” that shall draw their swords against him, may be meant the Jews (see Zech. 12: 6, 8; 14: 14); a position which will be confirmed by the consideration of chap. 18.


“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, Mediterranean, and Sea of Galilee), in the glorious holy mountain,” adds, “yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” (Dan. 11: 45.)  That he shall die amongst “the multitude of the uncircumcised,” has been noticed already, where it has been shown that all nations shall be gathered together by his order against Jerusalem.  But this threatening is again amplified in the thirty-second chapter of Ezekiel.


Still further, a dirge is raised over the king of Tyrus, as over the king of Babylon.  And, as it seemed probable, from the words which have been noticed above, that the dreaded oppressor of the Church should be [a type of Satan] a fallen angel, this explicitly teaches it, tells us his station in Eden, his glory, his original rectitude, his fall, his consequent ejection from his post of happiness and power, and, lastly, his final scene of wealth and power on the earth.  And this arose from the heart lifted up: if then, even an angel fell by pride, how necessary for man “to walk humbly with his God  He is represented again as “cast to the earth,” in exact accordance with what has been remarked above; and his being made a “public example” is thus prophesied:- “For Tophet is ordained of old: yea, for THE KING is it prepared: he hath made it deep and large; the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of Jehovah like a stream of fire doth kindle it.” (Is. 30: 33.)  The astonishment of the beholders is paralleled in this chapter of Isaiah, verse 16:-

“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 Jerusalem, “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” because he had destroyed the land of Immanuel, and slain his people.  Hence, also, his children are to be slain “for their fathers’ iniquity,” and, doubtless, for their own also; for it is added, lest they “rise up, and fill the face of the world with wars  This cannot be allowed, for, as it is the time of Christ’s [millennial] reign, “all enemies must be put under his feet,” and all “his foes made his footstool  Then follows the curse on Rome, which has been already considered.


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 Palestine, then shall the yoke for ever be broken from the neck of the Jews.  Nor does it concern them alone. “This is the purpose that is purposed on the WHOLE EARTH; And this is the hand which is stretched out on all nations


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 St. John?  We have traced his prophecies up to the glories of the thousand years, during which Satan is bound, and the earth is full of righteousness.  But afterwards we are informed, “When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (Jerusalem): and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Rev. 20: 7-9.)  By this fire it would appear that the earth is burnt up, and then the general resurrection takes place.  No wonder, then, that a warning is given to all foreign nations, since they all are in danger of again being deceived by Satan, and perishing by the sudden and immediate stroke of the wrath of God.  After this final destruction of the wicked, what remains but that the prophet speak of that “city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” which, as St. John informs us, shall descend on the earth which shall be created after this hath passed away?  And what answer shall then be made to those angels whom God hath set over various nations and kingdoms? (See Dan. 10.)  That it is the pleasure of God to found this New Jerusalem, and to give eternal rest and salvation therein to the poor of his people!


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.



*       *       *       *       *       *       *










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 Temple of Israel, where Isaiah saw it, had been left desolate.  “Behold, your House is left unto you desolate  The glory once present in the earth had been withdrawn and was hidden in the heavens, as it still is, though in due season to return.  See Ezekiel 43. 2.


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 Israel - John was sent to prophesy “against many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings”.  See Rev. 10: 11.  But they were not sent forth on this ministry of sorrow without the assured comfort of knowing their own association in mercy and in love with Him who sat on the Throne - whose servants and witnesses they were.  If others were about to withdraw further and further from the light and to bury themselves in intensified darkness, yet they were to know Him more and more, and to prove in manifold ways the faithfulness as well as the greatness of His mercies.  Isaiah might have the Spirit given to him as the Spirit of servantship, and John as the Spirit of filial-condition, yet servants can love, and sons can serve.  The light and the knowledge of John was greater than that of Isaiah, just as the fulness of noontide light is greater than that of earlier hours; yet the difference is not a difference of kind, but of degree.  Their title to glory rested not upon their degree of light, nor on the character of their service, nor on the extent of their knowledge of, and communion with, the things that had been, or were to be, given through or in Christ.  Their title to all blessing (for he that hath Christ bath all things) rested not on anything imparted or communicated to them: it rested on something altogether external to themselves, even the merits of their God and Saviour, and these could only become theirs by imputation.  All who ever have, or ever shall stand under the sacrificial excellency of the service of Immanuel finished on the Cross, have “all things”.  In Him both Isaiah and John had eternal life; in Him they were chosen before the world was; and even as they trod on earth a common path of suffering, so they shall also know communion in glory.  They both alike can say, “To him that loveth us - and freed us from our sins by his own blood, and made for us a sovereignty - priests unto his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”*


[* 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 Church’s glory? *


[* See Marcionism at the end of this section. –Ed,]


Is the Scripture false when it tells us that they who are Christ’s have all things? (1 Cor. 3: 21-21.)  Is not Abraham Christ’s?  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 madeGal. 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 ChristGal. 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 Antioch. See, therefore, the strength of the words of Paul.  “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith [we Gentile believers are especially, though not exclusively referred to here], the same are the children of Abraham. [Whatever blessing we have, or may have, we have in that character.]  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles, [ourselves, believers from among the Gentiles] by faith afore preached the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  [That is, we, the present election out of the Gentiles are only blessed in virtue of the promises made to Abraham.]  So then they that be of faith are blessed [not apart from, but] WITH faithful Abraham.” See Gal. 3: 7-9.  And again, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” - a verse which distinctly proves that heirship under the promise made to Abraham is heirship of all things - for they who are Christ’s have “all things”.  Invalidate then the title of Abraham, and what becomes of our own?  There is certainly not one blessing in the ages to come that we can have apart from Abraham.  If we exclude ourselves from the circle of his blessedness, we exclude ourselves from Christ, and from all blessing.  There is not one result of the redemption perfected by Christ that is not included in the promises made to Abraham.  No one, I suppose, will affirm that Abraham, “the father of the faithful”, received the promises for his children only, and that he himself is excluded!  That would imply that Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and David, and ourselves (for we all are through faith Abraham’s children) are heirs of the promises, and that Abraham only is excluded.


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 Christ’s most precious blood, are to be excluded from the Church, and the Church’s 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 Zion “a chief corner stone, elect, precious”, and adds, “to you that believe, that preciousness pertains” (1 Pet. 2: 6.)  They who believe not are not on it, and are lost: but all who believe are on it, and are not only [eternally] saved, but its preciousness is the measure of their preciousness in the sight of God.  How then can we rend asunder any whom grace brings upon it?  Is Christ divided?  This is that Rock on which Jesus said He would build His Church.  “On this rock (myself) I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” These words are limited to no mere earthly dispensational condition of the Church.  They point to eternity. They point to that yet future hour when the Church shall no longer be as now in process of being builded, but when it shall have been builded and presented in its completeness - a spiritual House bright in unearthly [and eternal] glory.


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 Churchi.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 [Jehovah’s] law he will meditatei.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 themExodus 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 Abraham’s 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 Lydia’s 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 Christ’s “body”.  Jerusalem, as the corporate representative of Israel, is addressed, and it is said to her in words of future promise, conveys a wrong idea.  “Thy dead shall live, my dead body they shall arise.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of light, and the earth shall cast out the dead  In this passage the dead saints of Israel are called Christ’s mystical body –“my dead body”, and as such, they are to arise out of death, and [from Sheol/Hades] to live.  See Isaiah 26: 19.


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 trespassesCol. 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 Christ’s 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 Christ’s 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 “Christ’s 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 Christ’s 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 the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, is “the mother of us all”. Gal. 4: 26.


[* 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 Israel - others may stand, one on the right hand, and the other on the left of the Lord of the whole earth in His glory.  In the order of the divine government there will, no doubt, be great variety of employment and position, but this does not imply that they who are thus diversely honoured are not members of the same body, or that they are personally unlike to one another.


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 Christ’s at His coming (and is not Abraham Christ’s?) 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 commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise”, but we were to be shut out no longer.  We are incorporated finally and fully into the one “commonwealth” (Eph. 2: 12) - the “one body” (Eph. 2: 16) - the one “household” (Eph. 2: 19), and are builded into the one spiritual building, part of the foundations of which had been laid by the Prophets, part by the Apostles, but of which the Lord Jesus had now become the chief corner-stone, so bringing into association and unity the two lines of foundation.  For the true commonwealth of Israel - the true possessors of the Covenants of promise, were not they who bore merely the outward name of Israel according to the flesh, but they only who were of faith, whether Jew, or whether Gentile, they, and they only, compose “the Israel of God”.  With them we are, through grace, incorporated in unity of everlasting blessing.  This is the mystery which the second and third chapters of the Ephesians unfold.  Rome’s effort to nullify the tenth of Hebrews is not more daring than is the attempt made by the system we are considering, to nullify the doctrine of the second and third of the Ephesians.


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 Israel to be excluded from their own Jerusalem - the New, Heavenly Jerusalem?  Are the recipients of the promise to be excluded from the promise?  Strange doctrine this!  Why then (it may be asked) have they not received in fruition that of which they so long ago received the promise? Why is the accomplishment so long delayed?  Because, says the Apostle, God has made a better provision for us than to permit that they, our elder brethren, should be perfected in glory apart from us.  Can any words be devised that could declare more plainly the impossibility of severation betwixt the saints of old and ourselves?  Shall we reject these words?  Shall we pronounce them false?


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 Church’s 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.



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Among the many indications of the rapidity with which men’s 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 Church’s 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 Christ’s 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 saints of Israel and others.


[* 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 Vaughan:‑


“What Marcion 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’.” - Vaughan’s Essay on the Writings of Schleiermacher, p. 78.


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 Abraham’s 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 kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out”, Marcion reads it, “When ye shall see all the just in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves rejected”, &c.  In Gal. 3 Marcion omitted the sixth, seventh, and eighth verses, in order to get rid of the mention of Abraham, and of the Gospel as having been preached to him; on which account he ought also to have omitted part of the ninth verse, - “with faithful Abraham, and according to Tertullian’s manner of stating the argument against him, this was the case - Lardner, § 43.*


[* Tertullian’s words are: “When he also adds, ‘for ye are all the children of faith,’ it becomes clear that what the heretic’s (Marcion’s) industry erased was the mention of Abraham’s 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 Abraham’s?  ‘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 Marcion’s 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 - Tertullian Ill. 8.


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 Marcion’s system were probably adopted by him from Cerdo, whom he met at Rome, and who seems to have advanced further in Gnosticism than Marcion had when Cerdo met him.]


“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 Marcion’s 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 GodNeander, 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.  (Marcion’s 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 Marcion’s ideas resulted the antithesis between those who remained subject to the Demiurge’s 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.  Tertullian’s 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 midst of Israel according to the Law and the Prophets - but this God, and this Christ, and this redemption, Marcion scorned.


[* 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 interpretation.  In Germany, on the subject of justification, laborious efforts have been made by many writers to misinterpret the words of Scripture, and so to use Scripture as a weapon against the Truth.  This habit, however, is now being abandoned, and a more audacious (yet more truthful) course adopted.  Thus Kollner, one of the latest German commentators, says, “It is clear that the true sense of this passage (Romans 3: 26, 27) entirely agrees with the doctrine of the Church, concerning vicarious satisfaction, as unfolded in the Lutheran symbols.  Nevertheless, although it is certain that Paul intended to teach the doctrine of vicarious satisfaction, not merely as a figure (or in the way of accommodation, but as a matter of full personal conviction), yet it is easy to see how he was necessarily led to adopt this view, from the current opinions of the age in which he lived- (Kdllner, as quoted by Dr. Charles Hodge in his commentary on the Romans.)  “Such writers” (continues Dr. Hodge) “are at least free from the guilt of perverting the Word of God.  They allow the Bible to mean what it says, although they refuse to submit to its teaching.  This is better than not only refusing to submit, but forcing the Scriptures to teach our own foregone conclusions.  In Germany, the subjection of the Bible to philosophy has come to an end.  In this country, it is still struggling for liberty.  It is desirable that the separation should here, as there, be made complete, between those who bow to the authority of the word of God, and those who acknowledge some higher rule of faith.  Then both parties can agree as to what the Bible really teaches.”]


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 thistle’s seed; it floats upon the breeze, and the air’s ready current soon diffuses it over the surface of the wide earth.  “Thistles shall it bring forth to thee  “Marcion’s heresy,” says Epiphanius who flourished about the middle of the fourth century, “is even now existent at Rome and in Italy, in Egypt and Palestine, in Arabia and in Syria, in Cyprus and in Thebais.  It is found, too, in the Persian district, and in other places.” - Epiph. 1, p. 42.  “The essential character of Marcion’s mind,” says Neander, “would make him labour more earnestly and assiduously than other Gnostics in the propagation of his principles.  For, while others believed it impossible to communicate their higher knowledge to any save a small number of Christians - the spiritual men:  Marcion, on the other hand, was convinced that his doctrine was no other than the primitive Christian one. ... He must have felt himself constrained to communicate to all Christians the light of truth which had fallen to his own share.  Hence he made frequent journeys, and spent his life in an uninterrupted series of conflicts with heathens and with Christians.  To be hated, and to suffer, he looked upon as the destination of every Christian.  ‘Fellow objects of hate and fellow-sufferers’ was his common form of salutation to his brethren in the faith.” - Neander, Vol. 2, p. 138.


His heresy received from some the condemnation it deserved.  The aged Polycarp of Smyrna is said to have met Marcion at Rome.  Marcion, who in his earlier days had known Polycarp, accosted him: “Dost thou remember me, Polycarp  “I do know thee,” replied Polycarp; “the first-born of Satan”.  “Such (says Irenaeus, who records the incident) was the horror which the Apostles and their disciples felt against holding even a verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says: ‘a man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted and sinneth, being condemned of himself’.” - Irenaeus, 3. 3.  Such was the comment of Irenaeus: such the depth of his feeling respecting departures from the Truth.  How utterly contrasted with the serene apathy with which men now contemplate these things, and call their indifferentism, sobermindedness and love!  Neander comments on the same incident as Irenaeus.  “The old man,” says Neander, speaking of Polycarp, “otherwise so amiable, could not extend his love to the enemies of the Gospel; and as such Marcion appeared to him, for he was unable to discern the Christian element which lay at the root of his very errors  That is, a man may utterly reject all that God has revealed respecting Himself and His ways, and yet “the Christian element” may be found at “the root of all his errors”.


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 (Marcion’s) religious life: the fact of redemption he regarded as the central point of Christianity. [Redemption, as revealed in Scripture, had no place in Marcion’s 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 God’s election, was by God’s 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 Scotland.


“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.


“The Old 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 Man.  Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the Old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.  Although the Law given from God to Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding.  No Christian man is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called moral.”*


[* 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 Marcion’s 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:-


“The 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 Calvary was four thousand years deferred.  All grace was from the beginning given through the Most Precious Blood, though as yet it had not been shed.  So the mystical body had its members, though as yet it was not created.  They were admitted to it when the kingdom of heaven was opened to them, and the incarnate Word was exalted to His glory as Head over all things to the Church.


“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 Vatican, though probably they may be willing to make, for a time, concessions to Protestant prejudices in England.


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.


Dr. Manning’s 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 (Israel's) sacraments were shadows, working ex opere operantis by the faith of the receiver, not by the virtue that went out of them,” &c.  The italics are mine.  If all this were true, the Old Testament saints would not have been the subjects of efficacious grace at all; and seeing that such grace could not reach them for the first time in another world, they must have been excluded from the company of the regenerated and the saved for ever.  He who is not regenerated here, will certainly not be regenerated in another world.  This doctrine of sacramental grace leads in the same direction as Marcionism.  When Dr. Newman began to Romanize, he wrote some letters to the Christian Observer, questioning whether the Old Testament saints could be said to have been regenerated, seeing that they had not received the sacrament of regeneration.


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 allGal. 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 Christ’s relation to the redeemed, are ascribed not to Christ’s 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.



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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. Henderson’s 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 Bishop’s commencing observations:‑


“I set out with considering every one of these assumptions (that the prophecy regarded Egypt; described a heavy judgement; and that the time was close at hand), as doubtful; and the conclusion to which my investigations bring me, is that every one of them is false.  First, the prophecy indeed predicts some woful judgement.  But the principal matter of the prophecy is not judgement but mercy, a gracious promise of the final restoration of the Israelites.  Secondly, the promise has no respect to Egypt or to any of the contiguous countries.  What has been applied to Egypt is a description of some people or another destined to be the principal instruments, in the hand of Providence, in the great work of the resettlement of the Jews in the Holy Land - a description of that people by characters by which they shall be evidently known when that time arrives.  Thirdly, the time for the completion of the prophecy was very remote when it was delivered, and is yet future, being indeed the season of the second Advent of our Lord


A summons is uttered to some mighty nation, situated either towards the east or west of Cush (or Ethiopia), and accustomed to send ambassadors by sea (to all nations), and letters on the surface of the waters, commanding her messengers to go forth.  Yet it should be noticed that the first characteristic of this nation is given differently by the LXX., according to whom it should be, “Land of the winged ships


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 Joshua’s day, of the Judges, and the Kings, of the Saviour’s 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 God’s 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 Saviour’s 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, men’s 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 Horsley’s 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 Horsley’s 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 God’s 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 reader’s 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 


This interpretation is made good by the fifteenth of St. John,  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husband man.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit  Moreover, as Isaiah declares that these useless twigs shall be left to the ravenous bird and the wild beasts, signifying thereby the desertion of the Christian faith by false professors, for the lies and abominations of Antichrist and his seducing spirits, so Paul foretells, that “in the latter days men shall depart from the (Christian) faith,”* and the Man of Sin shall gather them to his party and to his own dreadful end.  “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness  In St. Paul their want of faith is ascribed as the reason of their rejection; in St. John the want of those works which are the evidence of faith.


Yet 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 Saviour’s abode on Mount Zion.


The observations of Procopius on this point are here presented to the reader’s 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.



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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 St. John: for describing the fall of Babylon, he subjoins a call to joy, Rev. 18: 20, “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets: for God hath avenged you on her;” and still more pointedly in the succeeding verses.  For after declaring her utter desolation because that in her was found the blood of' prophets and saints, he adds, that then he “heard the voices of much people in heaven, saying Alleluia; salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgements: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.  And again they said, Alleluia.  And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.”  Immediately after which is described the return of Jesus in glory already noticed, thus identifying it in point of time with this prophecy of Isaiah.  Theodoret thus comments on the 3rd verse, “He calls the pious the poor people that exercise chastened thought.  For them the Lord blessed, saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”  And a little while after, as Isaiah speaks of the trouble endured by the saints before that day of glory, the same father appropriately refers to Matt. 5: 10, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven


But the correspondence in verse 4 is still more remarkable.  “The 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” of St. John is paralleled by the “Amen” of Isaiah.


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 worldand 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!’ ”


The 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 kingdom of God Nor was this the only occasion on which he mentioned it; his parables set it before us in words nearly the same as those of Isaiah, as the “marriage feast” made for the king’s Son; and in his farewell words at the Last Supper, he predicted this, the Feast of his Return.  “With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof until it be fufilled in the kingdom of God  And again, “I will not drink ‘henceforth’ of this fruit of the vine till the day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom(Luke 22: 15, 16; Matthew 26: 29.)  And strongly corroborative are the words of St. John in the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, so often before alluded to. “Write, Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19: 9.)


At 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 But in 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 Israel, as saith St. Paul, “But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament.  Even unto this day when Moses is read, the vail is on their heart.  Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away(2 Cor. 3: 14, 15, 16.)


And then shall “death be swallowed up in victory  For then, according to the apostle’s 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 worlddispensationaiwva), and 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 Godbecause “the children of the resurrection To a like purpose saith St. John, “Blessed and holy is he that bath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” (Rev. 20: 6.)


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 Saviour’s 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


On which Jerome observes, “Some will have Antichrist to be signified who is to be consumed on Mount Olivet He adds, “According to the LXX. a feast of joy is prepared for all nations on Mount Zion, in which they shall drink wine which the Lord hath promised he will drink with his saints in the kingdom of his Father And again, “When death shall be swallowed up for ever, the people of God who shall have been freed from the power of death shall say to the Lord, ‘Behold, this is our God, whom the Infidels thought to be a man only, and we have waited for him; that is, have believed his word, because he will accomplish his promises, and save us.’” These words of that ancient father forestall any further comment upon the 9th verse.


The conclusion of the chapter fortels God’s vengeance on Moab, which we have seen predicted before.






In 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 Jerusalem, “the city,” as the Saviour called it, of himself, “the Great King  Into it the righteous enter and praise his name.  All might opposed to him is here declared to be then overthrown, and “the feet of the humble” tread down the lofty city; for then shall be brought to pass the Saviour’s words, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”  Then shall nothing be heard but praise and joy.  Because “the Wicked One (Antichrist) hath been removed, that he see not the glory of Jehovah  For that “Wicked (One) the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth,” and the fire hath devoured the adversaries of Christ.  He is the “other” Lord here spoken of that ruled over the Jewish nation, and deceived them to their ruin.  But at this time he and his assistant rulers are “dead and shall not see life,” when the “dead in Christ rise first  In the 17th  verse is exhibited that figure which is not un-frequently met with in Scriptures, but appears to have a special reference to the scene described by St. John, “There appeared a great wonder in heaven, a WOMAN clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, and she being with child, cried travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Rev. 12: 1, 2.)  She is explained by Burgh on good scriptural grounds to signify the Jewish Church; and the birth of the child, “who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,” – the second appearance of Jesus, before whose coming shall be the great tribulation of the Jewish Church, followed by their belief in him.  The similar application of the figure in Gal. 4: 19 confirms this.


[* It is gratifying to be able to quote on this passage the following excellent remark of Dr. H., - “By his (Paul’s) 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!]


Thus, 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 Israel first passed through the Red Sea before the waters overwhelmed Pharaoh’s host, and Lot was led forth out of Sodom before fire and brimstone was rained on those evil cities, so shall the righteous be removed from the world before the wrath descends. Christ’s “coming out of his place” is also beautifully confirmed by the words of the hundred and tenth Psalm, “Sit thou at my right hand (in heaven) TILL I make thy foes thy footstool The closing declaration that the “earth shall reveal her blood and shall no more cover her slain,” is well illustrated by Eusebius in his notes on a former verse, “But who are ‘his dead’ but his holy martyrs?  The dead of Jehovah are they who, for his sake, have suffered every calamity, even unto death.” Coincidently St. John sees those “beheaded for the witness of Jesus” in especial glory at the millennium.  And on the expression, “they that are in the tombs shall awake” (LXX. translation), he remarks, they shall “awake,” that implies, that they are not dead but asleep, ‘fallen asleep in Christ.’”  By the earth disclosing her blood he rightly understands Christ’s avenging the blood of the saints on their persecutors.  In confirmation of his opinion he refers to the “Song of Moses,” which we are told shall then be sung; “Rejoice, O ye Gentiles, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants; and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land, and to his people.” (Deut. 32: 43.)  To the same period does Procopius refer this prophecy, “They shall be ashamed,” observes he, referring specially to the 11th verse, “when they see him coming in the glory of his Father, when they that have been honoured only for their fathers’ sakes, (for theirs ‘were the promises, and the giving of the law, and the covenants,’) are shut out from the bride- chamber



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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 Babylon.  In this time of trial he fell; vain-gloriously puffed up, he showed the ambassadors all his greatness and treasures, that they might marvel rather at himself than at the God who had done such great things for him.  But his rebuke was nigh at hand.  The prophet Isaiah was sent to predict that all the treasures and glory of his house, yea, and his sons also, should be carried captive to Babylon; which was fulfilled in the days of Nebuchadnezzar.


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 believer’s 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 Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.  Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32: 24-26, 31.)  We are here introduced, therefore, to the reason, or, more strictly speaking, to the occasion of his fall.  GOD WITHDREW HIS HOLY SPIRIT – the “Spirit of grace,” that is, bestowed according to his free pleasure, being a gift, which can be claimed of original right by none.  And that grace withdrawn, vain man, left to his own inherent strength, falls at once.*  How necessary, then, to pray that we be “not led into temptation  How merciful the promise of the believer, that no trial shall seize him greater than the grace given him; and withal, a way opened for escape!


[* 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 Judaea.  The Baptist also himself declared that this was his ministry to those sent from the National Council to inquire the nature of his mission.  But there is much in the prophecy which will not admit of the supposition that either the whole of it, or even the passage above referred to, received its final accomplishment then.  For, first, it arises as a fatal objection to any that would so interpret it, that it foretells Jerusalem’s “humiliation as accomplished, and her sin pardoned,” while her greatest humiliation had yet to take place, and her greatest sin to be committed.  The same proof is further strengthened by another equally powerful arising from verse 10; for Christ at his first appearing did not come with might or sovereignty, nor bestow his reward, but was beheld in the feebleness of infancy, and at that time only committed the talents to his servants, leaving the recompensing of their deeds to his second coming.


Whence we conclude that in this chapter, as in many, indeed in most prophecies of the Saviour’s 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.


For then Jerusalem shall be comforted, and her “humiliation” then and then only, accomplished, and “her iniquity pardoned,” when she acknowledges Jesus of Nazareth as her Messiah.


So also as John Baptist heralded the first coming of Christ “in the spirit and power of Elias shall Elijah himself herald the second 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 Jerusalem, where they are represented as standing in chapter 11.,) shall the Two Witnesses, and Elijah in particular, declare the speedy second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The second voice that is commanded to cry is, therefore, that of Enoch - translated as well as Elijah - that he should not see death till he hath been brought again to suffer it at the hands of the Man of Sin.  The testimony of this witness is, that all the attempts of man to render void the promises of God are futile and vain, and that the Wilful King and all his collected host shall fail when once the [Holy] Spirit of God bloweth upon it.  But though heaven and earth fail, “the word of the Lord shall endure for ever, and the thoughts of his heart from generation to generation This passage is adduced by St. Peter soon after the verse mentioned in a former part, in which he exhorts them to hope for the blessedness of Christ’s appearing.  He then justly contrasts the permanence of the word of God above the thoughts of man by observing, that the design of God in the manifestation of Christ was “foreordained before the foundation of the world  Thus majestic is the foreknowledge of God from all eternity!  Set side by side with such counsels, what is man?  The insect of a day!  Generation after generation must pass away before Christ should appear the first time; generation after generation must, in the counsels of God, pass away before his second coming in glory.  Well, therefore, may he compare the short-lived duration of the one, with the permanence of the good tidings (See Greek) of the word of God both in the Old Testament and the New; a counsel which, as it began from all eternity in the foreknowledge of God, so shall it last to all eternity in its execution.  These good tidings of Christ’s second coming the witnesses above spoken of shall then proclaim to Jerusalem, as John the Baptist proclaimed those of the first advent.  John the Baptist spoke of Christ in his first character of meekness as “the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world,” answering to the well known description of the Saviour given in the 11th verse, as “feeding his flock like a shepherd This the Lord applied to himself in his beautiful parable of the shepherd and his flock.


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 St. Paul –


“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 Saviour’s 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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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 God’s 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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An address is now made to believers both of the natural and spiritual Israel to consider the small beginnings whence the Jewish nation arose.  “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” (Heb. 11: 12.)  From this retrospect an argument is drawn as to the future merciful dealings of God with Israel, when fertility and beauty without, shall answer to thanksgiving and holiness within; when a law shall go forth from Zion, and a light to the Gentiles, and the Saviour’s arm shall judge (or rule) the nations, and on him shall all the Gentiles trust.  Of the 6th verse it is difficult to say whether the signs attendant on Christ’s advent are there spoken of, or that period when, after the “delivering up the kingdom to the Father,” the earth also itself “shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat  It is probable that both are combined: the signs before the millennium constituting the commencing fulfilment; the signs attendant on the general judgement, the plenary.  For though the heavenly bodies seem to us the types of eternity, in their perpetual unchanging planetary courses, or immoveable sidereal steadfastness, yet are they as nothing compared with the duration of the salvation of Jehovah, and the righteousness of Christ wrought out for believers.  Nor should it ever be forgotten, that the millennium is not the final state of the blessed, but only preparatory to the “new heaven and new earth,” which shall be created of Jehovah expressly for their habitation.


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,” when Israel passed through the sea, before the face of their enemies.  So again shall the miraculous power of God be exhibited in the latter days; after a long time of apparent slumber, it shall awake and do valiantly.  And then shall the risen saints “come to Zion with singing,” and the restored Jew return thither with gladness, and “sorrow and sighing shall flee away


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 God’s wrath against Jerusalem shall be accomplished; in the preceding time of trouble, her sons shall not be able to deliver her; but, as in the Roman siege, “desolation and destruction, famine and the sword,” shall overwhelm them.  They are beautifully compared to an oryx, an animal of the antelope kind, taken in a net, and fiercely, but vainly, struggling to get free.  Yet is added the gracious promise that, this period of wrath fulfilled, the Lord will not put the cup of trembling or terror into her hand again.  But the afflicters of Israel shall feel the vengeance of God, as those who, out of malice against God himself, inflicted injury on his people.





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The command given at the commencement of this chapter shows, that God’s time of favour to Jerusalem is come.


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 Lord’s 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 prophet’s testimony against them, and still more to St. Paul’s pointed quotation of it, condemning thereby their nation, from the very books they professed to believe.  But, though corrupted in the Hebrew, it is very nearly correct in the Septuagint, being less liable to alteration in a book open to the ancient Christian Church; and it is restored by St. Paul’s quotation, with which those of the fathers very nearly accord.  St. Pauls words, “as it is written,” show that he quoted exactly; hence the reference is not to the passage of Ezekiel, which some have supposed to be referred to, but to the present chapter of Isaiah.


In that day Israel shall know the name of the Lord Jesus, both in delivering them into trouble, and rescuing them from it, and then will he in person be present.  How joyful shall then the announcement of Christ’s [millennial] reign be!  How glorious, even now, is the preparatory “preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom and its tidings of peace!  “When the Lord bringeth again the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel be glad


The eleventh verse is, perhaps, cited by St. Paul, in 2 Cor. 6: 17.  If so, this is greatly altered, both in the Hebrew and Greek.  Certain it is, that St. Paul’s words, inserted here, would correspond far better with the context than those now found as the text.  After having forbidden the marriage of believers with unbelievers, because “they are the temple of God,” he adds, “As God bath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, And will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord God Almighty


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 Christ’s 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 St. Paul as his reason for preaching the Gospel, “not where Christ was named, lest he should build upon another man’s foundation; but as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of they shall see, and they that have not heard shall understand  Hence we learn that the preaching of Christ Jesus to distant heathen nations was a commencing fulfilment of this verse; but it has yet a future plenary aspect, when, as Job professed, “I He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God



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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 St. John, amongst his closing observations on the public ministry of our blessed Lord, and its results, as regarded his nation.  “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him; that the saying of Esaias [Isaiah] might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom bath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”  This prophecy, therefore, was fulfilled by the general unbelief of the Jews, and the fewness of those who believed the Saviour’s miracles and doctrines.


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 Lord’s curing of diseases was the fulfilment of this verse.


The vicarious nature of the Redeemer’s suffering is next opened to our view.  The prophet teaches the atoning nature of Christ’s 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 man’s 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 temple of God, and to build it in three days.  And the High Priest arose, and said, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?  But Jesus held his peace  Again, when he stood before Pilate, we read, “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.  Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?  And he answered him to never a word: insomuch that the Governor marvelled greatly.” (Matt. 26: 59-63; 27: 12-14.)  So noble an example St. Peter commends to our imitation. (1 Pet. 2: 21.)


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 Ethiopia, and this quotation enables us to restore the true text, which has undergone alterations in the Hebrew, but is exactly correct in the Septuagint, and its various readings.  At the Eunuch’s question to Philip, “I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus (Acts 8: 34, 35.)  It is therefore evidently implied in the strongest manner that Jesus is the subject of this passage.


“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 Saviour’s 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 Evangelist’s quotation. Moreover, it is but the natural order of events to speak of the Saviour’s 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 Lord’s 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 Father’s 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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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 Israel being the lamb of whom the Prophet speaks; but they reject the true Lamb, and trample under foot the blood of the covenant. Better had it been for such that they had never been born.  For them, unless they repent and turn to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness in the blood of Jesus, there surely remains that “fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries”.


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 reserved for Israel and Jerusalem in the latter days.  A time of evil and calamity and woe await Israel, deeper and more terrible far than any they have yet known; and until that is passed, the long promised period of their blessing cannot come.  The morning of Israel’s millennial joy is to spring out of a night of blackest darkness. A time of tribulation is to come on them “such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be”. Mark 13: 19.  “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it  Jeremiah 30: 7.  The iniquity they will manifest when, in unbelief, they re-gather themselves to their own land, will be seven-fold greater than any they have yet exhibited; and sevenfold shall be their chastisement.  Anti-christianism will find in Israel one of the chief spheres of its development.  Yet, seeing they are beloved for the fathers’ sake, a remnant shall be spared amongst them - a remnant that shall be made “a strong nation”, through whom righteousness and praise shall “spring forth before all the nations”.  In the midst of the calamities of Israel, the hearts of this remnant shall be softened - they shall remember the God of their fathers - they shall turn to Him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted, and shall say (grace shall put the cry into their lips), “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord: awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old.  Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?  Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass overIsaiah51: 9.  The appeal will not be in vain.  It shall reach an ear ready to hear.  The Lord will awake “as one out of sleep, as a mighty man refreshed by reason of wine”, and He will call on them also to awake - to awake to the dawning light of the long hoped-for morning.  “Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury.  Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: ... shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of ZionIsaiah 51: 17, and 52: 1.  Yet see the depths of affliction out of which she shall be called.  “These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee?  Desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?  Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy GodIsaiah 51: 19.  Such is the abyss of pollution and of misery out of which Jerusalem shall awaken unto the morning of her millennial glory.  As was her defilement, so shall be her cleanness: as was her shame, so shall be her honour.  She shall arise in priestly garments, pure and holy: and the testimony of grace shall go forth from her as a lamp that burneth.  Nor shall it be a testimony any longer scorned.  No longer shall they who bear it be deemed “the filth of the world; the off-scouring of all things”.  On the contrary, the feet of them that preach it (and they shall be many) shall be welcomed, and had in honour.  They shall be counted beautiful. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace: that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reignethIsaiah 52: 7. It had been said of her in the day of her desolation, “There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand, of all the sons that she hath brought up”. Isaiah 51: 18.  All is widowhood, bereavement, abandonment and desolation.  But in a moment the scene changes.  There is one hidden in the heavens who is the Son of David, and the King of Israel.  Suddenly He shall rend the heavens and come down.  Israel shall find that they are not childless.  “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 everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for everIsaiah 9: 6.  He it is who is the root and the meritorious cause of all the blessing that has been or that shall be given.  As such He will be manifested; as such Israel and all nations are, in the concluding verses of the fifty-second chapter, called on to behold Him. “BEHOLD my servant shall cause (men) to understand, he shall be exalted and be extolled and be high, exceedingly  The chief words by which the Hebrew tongue is accustomed to express exaltation are here employed unitedly; and to them, taken in the combined force of their respective meanings, is appended the emphatic word “exceedingly”.  “He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God ... for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth  His humiliation was great, but great also and everlasting shall be His glory.  “According AS many marvelled at thee (so marred more than any man was his look, and his form more than the sons of men) SO shall he sprinkle many nations: at him kings shall shut their mouths, because that which had not been told them they have seen, and that which they had not heard they have considered  As men once in ignorant and stupid wonder, gazed at His marred and stricken form, and were offended at Him, so in the coming day of His manifested glory, nations shall seek to Him for cleansing through the atoning efficacy of those very sufferings, because of which He had been despised. He shall sprinkle with His sanctifying blood, not individuals merely, but nations.  “So shall He sprinkle many nations.”  The parenthetic clause – “so marred more than any man was his look”, &c., gives the reason why He was marvelled at and loathed.  The wasting effects of anguish had stamped on His humanity an aspect that pertained to none other amongst men.  As amongst the glorified He shall be distinct in pre-eminence of glory, so amongst the sufferers of earth He was isolated in pre-eminence of suffering.  The word translated “to marvel” or be astonished, (shamam) denotes the ignorant stolid gaze of those whose hearts are so devoid of right intelligence, as to be incapable of estimating anything aright.  The ordinary meaning of the word is “to be desolate”; and it is in this sense, in Lamentations and elsewhere, continually applied to the condition of Israel in the latter day, when they shall be brought under the power of the last great Desolator (shomim), and be made desolate because of their iniquities.  The outward condition of Israel then, will fitly exemplify what their hearts morally were, when they gazed in stupid astonishment on the stricken form of their Messiah.  God saw in them inward desolation.  Their souls were a moral waste - utterly contrasted with their condition in that coming hour when their souls shall be “as a watered garden” - when they shall look on Him whom they once despised, and say, “Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever”. Psalm 45: 2.  Many nations, like so many Naamans, owning their moral leprosy, shall gather themselves to the great Melchizedek of Israel - the Priest of the most High God, and He shall sprinkle them, and they shall be clean.  “Kings shall see and arise: princes also shall worship  They shall stand before Him mute with reverential awe to receive instruction from His lips – “to hear things kept secret from the foundation of the world”.  Job, when he drew the picture of the condition that had once been his, little knew that he had (feebly indeed, and imperfectly) foreshadowed a relation in which a greater than he, even God his redeemer, would Himself assume towards the sons of men.  “The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.  The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.  The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.  When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.  The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.  I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: and my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.  I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.  I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.  And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth ... Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.  After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.  And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.  If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.  I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mournersJob 29.


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 widow’s heart to sing for joy”.


Such is the [future] salvation in which redeemed Israel shall rejoice when they shall behold their King in His beauty.  “Israel shall rejoice in him that made him: the children of Zion shall be joyful in their KingPsalm 149: 2.  But hearts that rejoice before God must be instructed and humbled hearts.  When the brethren of Joseph suddenly found themselves in the presence of him whom they had hated, but whom God (and that for their sake) had exalted and honoured, they were comforted indeed, but they were humbled.  They could not but remember the past; and it was meet that they should remember it.  There can be no due appreciation of the present where there is no right apprehension of the past.  Accordingly, in the commencing verses of the fifty-third chapter, we find the confession of repentant Israel touching the past.  They look back over years long gone, and say, “Who believed our report?  And to whom was the arm of Jehovah revealed  They recognise “the report” or “message” of which they had now become the willing heralds, as being the very same message that had been promulgated of old when Jesus and His despised servants testified.  But they say, Who believed it?  Did it not meet with well-nigh universal rejection?  They recognise that “the arm of Jehovah”, even that arm to whose strength they had just before appealed, saying, “Awake, awake O arm of Jehovah,” and which had awaked in answer to their cry, and wrought wonders for them in the heaven above, and in the earth beneath - they recognise that the power of that same arm had been in Jesus of Nazareth, hidden - hidden also in that foolishness of preaching whereby God saveth all them that believe.  The power had been there, and had wrought salvation for all that had believed; and yet their blinded eyes had not discerned it.  But now, the veil having been rent from their heart, they look back over all that Jesus afore had been, and say, “He grew up before him [Jehovah] as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground”.  A tender plant may be found in a rude inclement clime.  The earth may withhold from it nourishment; the sun may scorch it; drought may enfeeble it; so that when men behold it they may recognise it only as a parched and withered thing, and because of the circumstances of its condition, may ignore its native excellency.  Such was Jesus.  He was a plant of heavenly beauty; but earth refused to Him her strength.  He was as a root out of a dry ground – un-cherished - withered.  “There is not to him form, there is not to him majesty; and when we behold him there is no beauty that we should desire him  Moral beauty in all heavenly perfectness was there, but that, man prized not.  They looked upon His outward form, fair once and beautiful; they saw it marred; and they despised Him. “Despised was he, and ceasing from amongst men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with disease* and there was, as it were a hiding of (his) face from us - despised was he, and we regarded him not  Such had been Israel’s estimate of the Holy Substitute.  Men are eagle-eyed to discern anything that tends to advance or to hinder prosperity here.  Ever ready to hold “men’s persons in admiration because of advantage”, those from whom they expect no advantage they will abandon and betray.  Accordingly, they watched the course of Jesus. They saw that He withdrew from and discountenanced the ways of men.  The things which society honoured and delighted in, He eschewed.  No path that led to dignity or honour or glory was trodden by Him.  His way was isolated and narrow: His acquaintance was with misery and disease.  Nor was there anything in His path that seemed to promise final results of happiness or peace.  On the contrary, the clouds that had gathered round Him seemed every day to deepen.  Obstacles were not overcome: enemies were not subdued.  They saw His sorrows; they saw Him stricken, and they rushed to the conclusion (a conclusion to them not unwelcome) that He was stricken because of His own iniquities.  In vain their consciences told them that no man ever spake or ever acted as He.  It was their wish to reject Him, and they did reject Him, and that with contempt and bitter scorn.  Such had been Israel’s relation to the Holy One of God.  “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not  But that hour of darkness had passed.  They apprehended now the cause of all His bitter sufferings, and were enabled with understanding hearts to say, “He was wounded because of our transgressions; crushed because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we were healed”. Blessed words, unfolding that truth on which rest the [eternal] salvation and joy and glory of all the redeemed, even of all who, in any dispensation, have been or shall be gathered through faith into the one Church of God. These words - words that repentant Israel shall by and by utter, we, forestalling their blessing, are at present permitted to use.  The prophetic descriptions of Israel’s future spiritual blessings supply to us the language of our present confidence.  By faith we behold Him who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and we too say, Jehovah caused to light on Him our iniquity - by His stripes we were healed.


[* 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”.  Israel did not for the first time begin to despise Him when they led Him away to be crucified.  They did not then for the first time look on Him as one who had no form or comeliness in their sight.  They had long watched Him as He trod His isolated path - they had long known Him as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and because of those sorrows, and because of that grief, had despised Him.  Yet say they, when repentant, the very griefs and sorrows for which we loathed Him, were griefs and sorrows that He was bearing for our sakes.  “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows  No words can prove more clearly than these, that Jesus throughout the whole course of His service on earth was the vicarious Sufferer.  He suffered when laid as a babe in the manger; He suffered when flying before Herod’s sword; He suffered in the wilderness; He suffered when not having where to lay His head; He suffered in Gethsemane; He suffered when, under the infliction of the veritable wrath of God, He presented Himself as the offering of a sweet-smelling savour.  His sufferings were manifold; various in kind, and differing in degree, but they had all one object - the rendering unto God for all His believing people THE APPOINTED SUBSTITUTIONAL SATISFACTION.


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 Lord’s 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 man’s 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 deliveranceCalvin’s 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”. Turretine’s 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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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.


Because 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 Egypt; and as that immediately preceded the deliverance of Israel, so this darkness immediately precedes the day of Armageddon.  But though the world in general will not repent, yet the elect remnant of the Jews will, and their confession is here given.  So wicked will be those times, that like Lot in Sodom, “the forsaker of evil becometh a prey  Thus, therefore, because of his saints’ cry for aid Jehovah shall rise up, because none can deliver but himself.  He shall stand up in wrath, and “justice shall uphold him,” as saith St. Paul, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1: 6-8.)


By 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 Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Rom. 11: 26, 27.)  And the Spirit then outpoured upon them shall never be withdrawn, “from thenceforth and for ever, saith Jehovah






With the return of the Saviour as the “Deliverer” of Zion, which the close of the last chapter celebrates, the “light” of Jerusalem is come.  It shall be at that time when darkness both moral and physical has covered the earth, that the Lord Jesus shall appear.  Surely passages like the present should awake from their dreams of a gradually ameliorating scheme of things, those Christians who look for the “glory of the latter day” before the Saviour’s return!  Doth not Christ compare the time of his appearance with the “days of Noah,” when violence overspread the earth, and he alone was found righteous?  Is not the world’s condition at that time compared to the times of “Lot,” when impurity deluged Sodom, and he alone was holy in the midst of the cities of the plain?  Doth not the Saviour’s comparison of his appearing to the eagle’s flight, prove that the world shall be then the “carcase” destitute of life, and fit only for judgement?  And doth not the Apostle Paul predict the “latter days” as “perilous” beyond all others?  And doth not St. John describe the coming of Christ as a day of vengeance on all kings and nations gathered to fight against him?


The interpretation of Procopius on the former verses is here submitted to the reader’s 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.


The Saviour’s return shall be the signal for the restoration of Israel, and by every species of conveyance will the Gentiles bring again to their own land those whom the Lord delighteth to honour.  Here it is gratifying to be able to agree with Dr. Henderson in his belief that these latter chapters will be fulfilled during the glorious period of the millennium.  On the fact that the Jewish nation appears so prominently throughout, he justly observes, that Isaiah was “a prophet of the Jews and to the Jews  Jerome also informs us, that the ancient Christians understood this chapter of the millennium.  For then shall all kingdoms and countries pour their wealth into the lap of Israel, as did the Egyptians at the exodus of old.  The 8th verse probably alludes to the return of the ten tribes from their hiding-place, in which they are reserved by the Lord till their time of restoration is come.  In that day all kings shall contribute to re-establish them, of which the friendship of Hiram of Tyre with Israel, during the glorious and peaceful reign of Solomon, was a type.


But the exposition given by Procopius is also worthy of the reader’s 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


So great shall be the peace of those days, that the gates of Jerusalem shall not be shut, “for nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more:” while the site of the temple, that place of worship for all nations, shall be glorious in the midst of stately groves.


The 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 forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver. it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.” “And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance (1 Kings 10: 21. 27.)  The rulers under Christ shall be his faithful and tried servants, peaceful and righteous.  No evil shall draw nigh them: but praise shall occupy the inhabitants.


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






The commencing verses of this chapter were read by our blessed Saviour in the synagogue at Nazareth, as describing the intention of his ministry; after reading which, he added, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears  But the Lord’s omission of part of the second verse is highly significant.  He read as far as the words which foretold that he came to “preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” but he did not read the succeeding clause, “And the day of vengeance of our God  We conclude, therefore, that, as in other prophecies, the first and second advent are blended, so it is here.  The first advent was to preach the time of the Lord’s mercy, the second his day of vengeance.


But 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 recompensewherein 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 Lord’s words in St. John, “Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy  “Ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rdoice, and your joy no man taketh from you  (John 16: 20. 22.)


Then shall the former desolations of Judaea be repaired, and strangers shall be servants to the Jews, while they shall be the chief of the nations, and employed continually as priests in prayer and praise.


The other promises of the chapter do not require explanation, but follow readily in the train of the observations made above.