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66. Judgment and Hope

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. 3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

5Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. 6A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. 7Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 8Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 13As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. 15For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. 17They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. 18For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. 19And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. 21And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. 22For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. 24And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

18. For I their works, and their thoughts. 228228     “Car je voy leurs oeuvres et leurs pensees.” “For I see their works and their thoughts.” He confirms what he said in the preceding verse; namely, that punishment shall be executed on all the ungodly, in order that, although the Lord permit them for a time to sin with impunity, yet believers, being convinced that they shall one day be punished, may guard against following their example. The Lord here testifies that he sees and observes their works, and that one day he will actually manifest that none can be concealed from his eyes. Others understand by it that the ungodly can accomplish nothing without God’s permission. That statement is indeed true, but is not applicable to this passage; for everybody sees that it is unnatural, and at variance with the context of the Prophet, who merely confirms what he formerly said, that hypocrites and wicked men shall not finally escape with impunity, because God perceives all their actions, and schemes, and thoughts; and that they gain nothing by their evasions, as if they were never to be dragged to the judgment.

Because the time is come. These words confirm still more what has been already said, for he says that the time is at hand when he shall assemble all the nations, that he may cast off the hypocrites and ungodly, and gather and adopt a people to himself from among them. The Jews were puffed up with pride, and despised all other nations as unholy. But the Lord declares that he will adopt those nations, that they may be partakers of his glory, of which the Jews prove themselves to be unworthy.

This is a remarkable passage, which teaches us that God is not confined to any people, so as not to choose whomsoever he pleases, by casting off unbelievers whom he formerly called to himself. This is abundantly explained by Paul, (Romans 10:19; 11:25,) where he shews that we have come into a possession which was left empty, after the Jews were cast off through their unbelief. Isaiah now threatens them in this manner. “Think not that God is in want of peoples when you have revolted and have rendered yourselves unworthy of his grace, for he will have others; but he will shew that he is the judge, and will not finally permit you to abuse so great forbearance.”

And they shall come. He says that “they shall come,” because, being ingrafted by unity of faith, they shall be united in the Church with the true Jews, who have not swerved from the adoption; for, in consequence of the Jews being near to God, the Gentiles, who were at a distance, must be joined to them, that, by the removal of disagreement, they might become one body.

And shall see my glory. To “see the glory” of the Lord, is nothing else than to enjoy that grace which he had bestowed on the Jews; for the special privilege of that nation was, that they beheld the glory of God, and had tokens of his presence, he says that now the Gentiles, who had not enjoyed these benefits, shall see and behold that glory, for the Lord will reveal himself to all without exception.

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