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65. Judgment and Salvation

I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. 2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; 3A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; 4Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. 6Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, 7Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

8Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all. 9And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. 10And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

11But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. 12Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. 13Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: 14Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. 15And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: 16That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

17For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. 21And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. 24And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.

9. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob. He explains the preceding verse by other words, and shews that the Lord wishes to reserve for himself some “seed” that shall call upon him; for the Lord is wont to chastise his people in such a manner as to determine that the Church shall exist, in which his truth and the pure religion may be preserved, and which Paul for that very reason calls “the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15.) We must not, therefore, judge of the Church from the present condition of things, (for nothing in this world can be permanent,) but from the purpose of God, which will not suffer it to be overturned or destroyed. This ought to be carefully remembered by us, that we may not be terrified by any calamities or ruins, or by any hideous desolation of the Church.

And out of Judah the heir of my mountains. He gives the appellation of “heirs of the mountains” to those who, having returned from captivity, shall again inhabit their native land. Judea, as is well known, was a mountainous country. He again explains what might have appeared to be somewhat obscure.

And my elect shall possess it by inheritance. He means that the Jews shall return to their original condition, that they may enjoy that country as their own inheritance, from which they had been driven out. Judea was soon afterwards reduced to the utmost desolation. The Lord testifies that this shall not be of long duration; and, in order to confirm it the more, he mentions in a compendious manner the covenant by which that land was destined for them, that they might possess it by the right of inheritance. Thus, although they were long in captivity, yet this word “inheritance” ought to arouse them to cherish the confident hope that they would at length regain the possession of it. But it ought to be observed that this grace is confined to the elect and true worshippers of God, that every one may not apply it to himself without distinction. 206206     “If it should please God to call the natural descendants of the patriarch in that land, and convert them in a body to the true faith, there would be an additional coincidence between the prophecy and the event, even in minor circumstances, such as we often find in the history of Christ. But if no such national restoration of the Jews to Palestine should ever happen, the extension of the true religion over that benighted region, which both prophecy and Providence encourage us to look for, would abundantly redeem the pledge which God has given to his people in this and other parts of Scripture.” — Alexander.


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