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52. The Cup of the Lord's Wrath

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 6Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

7How 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 reigneth! 8Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

9Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

11Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. 12For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.

13Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

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10. Jehovah hath made bare the arm of his holiness. The Prophet has borrowed this comparison from soldiers who stretch out their arms when they make ready for the battle. To “make bare” does not here mean to hold out the naked arm, but to exert it; because, when we sit in idleness, we either have our arms folded or conceal them; and in like manner, we conceive of God according to the grossness of our senses, and think that, like a wearied or indolent man, he does not move a finger till he publicly displays his power.

The Prophet calls it “the arm of holiness,” because he intended to display his power for the salvation of the people. This implies a mutual relation between God and the Church which the Lord has consecrated to himself. True, “he maketh bare his arm” in the government of the whole world; but he does not call it “the arm of holiness,” as in this passage, when he renders peculiar assistance to his Church. There are two points of view in which the power of God ought to be regarded; first, universally, in preserving all the creatures; next, specially, in defending the Church; for there is a peculiar care which he exercises about his own people, and which the rest do not share with them.

Before the eyes of all nations. He means that this deliverance shall be worthy of so great admiration that it shall be visible even to the blind. The extension of this magnificent spectacle to the very ends of the earth makes it evident that the Prophet does not speak of the return of the people, which would take place a few years afterwards, but of the restoration of the whole Church. This prophecy is maliciously restricted by the Jews to the deliverance from Babylon, and is improperly restricted by Christians to the spiritual redemption which we obtain through Christ; for we must begin with the deliverance which was wrought under Cyrus, (2 Chronicles 36:22, 23,) and bring it down to our own time. Thus the Lord began to display his power among the Medes and Persians, but afterwards he made it visible to all the nations.




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