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Third Vision: The Man with a Measuring Line


I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2Then I asked, “Where are you going?” He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” 3Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him, 4and said to him, “Run, say to that young man: Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. 5For I will be a wall of fire all around it, says the L ord, and I will be the glory within it.”

Interlude: An Appeal to the Exiles

6 Up, up! Flee from the land of the north, says the L ord; for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven, says the L ord. 7Up! Escape to Zion, you that live with daughter Babylon. 8For thus said the L ord of hosts (after his glory sent me) regarding the nations that plundered you: Truly, one who touches you touches the apple of my eye. 9See now, I am going to raise my hand against them, and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Then you will know that the L ord of hosts has sent me. 10Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the L ord. 11Many nations shall join themselves to the L ord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the L ord of hosts has sent me to you. 12The L ord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

13 Be silent, all people, before the L ord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

He continues the same subject. The meaning is, that God begins nothing which he does not determine to bring to its end. Since then he had already begun to gather his people, that they might dwell in the Holy Land, it was a work in progress, at length to be completed; for the Lord’s will was not to be a half Redeemer. This is the purport of what the Prophet says.

But he now exhorts Sion to rejoice, as though the happiness which he predicts was already enjoyed. This mode of speaking, as we have seen elsewhere, is common among the Prophets. When they intended to animate God’s servants to a greater confidence, they brought them as it were into the midst of what was promised, and dictated a song of thanksgiving. We are not wont to congratulate ourselves before the time. When, therefore, the Prophets bade the Church to sing to God and to give thanks, they thus confirmed the promises made to them; as though the Prophet had said, that as yet indeed the brightness and glory of God was in a great measure laid, but that the faithful were beyond the reach of danger, and that therefore they could boldly join in a song of thanks to God, as though they were already enjoying full redemption; for the Lord will perfect what he begins.

Rejoice then and exult, thou daughter of Sion, — Why? For I come. God had already come; but here he expresses the progress of his favor, by declaring that he would come; as though he had said, “I have already given you obscure tokens of my presence; but you shall find another coming which will be much more effectual to confirm your faith.” Though then God had already appeared to the Jews, yet he says that he would come, that is, when Christ would come forth, in whom dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in whom God’s perfect glory and majesty shines forth. And hence also does it more evidently appear what I have already said, that this address cannot be applied without perversion to the Prophet, nor be suitably applied to the person of the Father. It then follows that Christ speaks here: but he does not speak as a man or an angel; he speaks as God the Redeemer. We hence see that the name Jehovah is appropriated to Christ, and that there is no difference between the Father and the Son as to essence, but that they are only to be distinguished as to their persons. Whenever then Christ announces his own divinity, he takes the name Jehovah; but he also shows, that there is something peculiar and distinct belonging to him as the messenger of the Father. For this reason, and in this respect, he is inferior to the Father; that is, because he is sent as a messenger, and executes what has been entrusted to him. These things do not militate the one against the other, as many unlearned and turbulent men think, who entangle themselves in many vain imaginations, or rather in mere ravings, and say, “How can it be, that there is one eternal God, and yet that Christ, who is distinct from the Father, and is called his angel, is a true God?” So they imagine that the origin of divinity is God the Father, as though the one true God had begotten, and thus produced another God from himself, as by propagation. But these are diabolical figments, by which the unity of the Divine essence is destroyed. Let us then bear in mind what the Prophet teaches here clearly and plainly, — that Christ is Jehovah, the only true God, and yet that he is sent by God as a Mediator.

Behold I come, he says, and I will dwell in the midst of thee. God dwelt then among the Jews, for the building of the temple had been begun, and sacrifices had been already offered; but this dwelling was typical only. It hence follows, that some new kind of presence is here pointed out, when God was to reveal himself to his people, not under ceremonial figures and symbols, but by dwelling, at the fullness of time, substantially among them; for Christ is the temple of the Godhead, and so perfectly unites us to God the Father, that we are one with him. And it ought further to be carefully borne in mind, that the Prophet does here also make a distinction between the ancient types of the law and the reality, which was at length exhibited in Christ; for there is no need now of shadows, when we enjoy the reality, and possess the completion of all those things which God only shadowed forth under the law.

The Prophet describes here the voluntary surrender of the nations, who would so join themselves to the Church of God, as to disown their own name and to count themselves Jews: and this is what the Prophet borrowed from those who had predicted the same thing; but he confirms their testimony, that the Jews might know that the propagation of the Church had not been promised to them in vain by so many witnesses. That what is said here refers to the calling of the nations who would willingly surrender themselves to God, is quite evident; for it is said that they would be a people to God. This could not be, except the nations surrendered their own name, so as to become one body with the Jews. He then repeats what he had said, that God would dwell in the midst of Judea. Of this dwelling something was said yesterday; for as they had already begun to offer sacrifices in the temple, it follows that God was already dwelling among them. We must then necessarily come to another kind of dwelling, even that which God, who had before testified by many proofs that he was nigh the Jews, had at length accomplished through Christ; for Christ is really Emmanuel, and in him God is present with us in the fullness of his power, justice, goodness, and glory.

He at last adds, Thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me to thee. Something has also been said on this sentence: the Prophet means, that it would be evident by what would really take place, that these things had not been in vain foretold, as the prophecy would be openly fulfilled before the eyes of all. Then shalt thou know, not by the assurance of faith, which is grounded on the word, but by actual experience. But he expresses more than before, for he says, “Thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me to thee.” The particle אליך, alik, “to thee,” is not superfluous; for he said a little while before, that he was sent to the nations. As he now says, that he would be the guardian of the chosen people, he also declares that his mission was to them; and he gives to God the name of Jehovah of hosts, that the Jews might feel assured that there would be no difficulty sufficient to hinder or delay the word of God, as he possessed supreme power, so that he could easily execute whatever he had decreed. I will not repeat now what I said yesterday of Christ; but we ought nevertheless to remember this, that he who declares that he was sent, is often called Jehovah. It hence appears that one and the same divine eternal essence is in more persons than one. Let us go on -

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