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Judgment and Salvation

1I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here am I, here am I,”
to a nation that was not called by11Or that did not call upon my name.
2I spread out my hands all the day
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
3a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and making offerings on bricks;
4who sit in tombs,
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat pig's flesh,
and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;
5who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all the day.
6Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their bosom
7both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they made offerings on the mountains
and insulted me on the hills,
I will measure into their bosom
payment for their former deeds.”22Or I will first measure their payment into their bosom

8Thus says the Lord:
“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, ‘Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants' sake,
and not destroy them all.
9I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
and from Judah possessors of my mountains;
my chosen shall possess it,
and my servants shall dwell there.
10Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,
for my people who have sought me.
11But you who forsake the Lord,
who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,
12I will destine you to the sword,
and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter,
because, when I called, you did not answer;
when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my eyes
and chose what I did not delight in.”

13Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, my servants shall eat,
but you shall be hungry;
behold, my servants shall drink,
but you shall be thirsty;
behold, my servants shall rejoice,
but you shall be put to shame;
14behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
but you shall cry out for pain of heart
and shall wail for breaking of spirit.
15You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse,
and the Lord God will put you to death,
but his servants he will call by another name.
16So that he who blesses himself in the land
shall bless himself by the God of truth,
and he who takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of truth;
because the former troubles are forgotten
and are hidden from my eyes.

New Heavens and a New Earth

17“For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy33Hebrew shall wear out the work of their hands.
23They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,44Or for sudden terror
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
24Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.


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24. Before they cry, I will listen. A remarkable promise; for nothing is more desirable than to have God reconciled to us, and to have it in our power to draw near to him with freedom and boldness; for, although we are surrounded by innumerable distresses and calamities, yet we cannot be miserable so long as we are at liberty to betake ourselves to the Lord. Here therefore the Lord promises that we shall not pray in vain. Yet this was also promised to the fathers under the Law. It is certain that, since the beginning of the world, God listened to the fathers, to all that called upon him; for this is the most valuable fruit of faith. But he confirms this more and more. Because the Jews would be exiles for a long time, the Lord solemnly declares that he will not permit them any longer to languish in banishment, and will no longer delay his assistance, but will “listen to them even before they cry.”

This relates chiefly to the kingdom of Christ, through whom we are heard and have access to God the Father, as Paul admirably explains. (Ephesians 2:18; 3:12.) The fathers indeed enjoyed the same access, and there was no other way in which they could be heard but through Christ; but the door was still narrow and might be said to be shut, whereas now it has been most widely and perfectly thrown open. Under the law the people were wont to stand at a distance in the porch; but now nothing hinders us from entering into the sanctuary itself, because

“the veil of the temple hath been rent.” (Matthew 27:51.)

Thus we have admission into heaven through Christ,

“that we may approach with freedom and boldness to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find needful assistance.”
(Hebrews 4:16.)

A question will be put. “Are there no believers in the world, and is there no kingdom of Christ, in the present day? For it does not appear that God is so ready to render assistance, and there is no visible fruit of our prayers.” I reply. Though it becomes fully evident that we have been heard when the event actually proves it, yet God does not in the meantime overlook us; for he does not permit us to faint, but supports us by the power of his Spirit, that we may wait for him patiently. Nor does he delay, as men do, because he has need of time, but because he wishes to exercise and try our patience. In a word, there are two ways in which God listens to us; first, when he renders assistance openly; and secondly, when he aids us by the power of his Spirit, that we may not sink under the weight of afflictions. And if this doctrine were deeply fixed in the hearts of men, they would fly to God more readily and boldly, and would not dispute so eagerly about calling on saints. For how comes it that men contrive for themselves such a variety of intercessors, to whom they betake themselves rather than to Christ, but because they do not receive that doctrine, and because they reject such large and bountiful promises?




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