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they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy Name.”'l
And that prayer must, and will be answered: for that Blessed One here says, that He will “open the prison to them that are bound :” for “I am," saith He, “ Jehovah that healeth thee."2
We see then, that these are the persons to whom "the Gospel ” is “sent;" and to whom alone, of course, it would be gospel, or good news : for “ the full soul loatheth an honey-comb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is
“He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty
And when the prophet tells us, that this it is “to proclaim,” or as Luke has it, “to preach” “ the acceptable year of Jehovah,” or “the Lord; we are hereby taught that this will go on all through this Dispensation, until every elect member of Christ be gathered in: and “then shall the end come.”
The latter clause of verse 2, and the whole of verse 3, relate, therefore, to the second coming of the Lord; as we shall now see.
They run as follows: And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn ; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that He might be glorified.”
“And the day of vengeance of our God.” We have already seen that this day will not arrive until the close of this Dispensation ; when Christ will come again to judgment: “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with ever
2 Exod. xy. 26.
3 Prov. xxvii. 7.
i Psalm cxlii. 6, 7. 4 Luke i. 51-53.
lasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power."l For this “is the day of Jehovah's vengeance, and the year of the recompences of the controversy of Zion.” “For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart,” saith Jesus, in the next prophecy, which relates to the same period; "and the year of My redeemed is
“ To comfort all that mourn." This refers to the whole election of grace, whether consisting of Jew or of Gentile : who will be “caught up together,” with “the dead in Christ,” who will “rise first," "to meet the Lord in the
as He comes down to the earth; and who will then fully enter into their rest;"5 and be comforted : as our Lord Himself foretold of them, when He said, “ Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted.”6
“ To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah that He might be glorified."
These words are spoken of Israel, as a nation; and they refer to their national repentance and restoration at the second coming of the Lord; as we read, for example, in the words following. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem : " who have been gathered together, as we have seen, in the valley of Jehoshaphat, for that purpose. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications : and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.” And “in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."7 And“ as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."1
12 Thes. i. 7-9.
2 Isaiah xxxiv. 8.
3 Isaiah lxiii. 4. 5 2 Thes. i. 7; Heb. iv. 9.
Zech. xii. 9, 10; xiii. 1.
And then He says, “I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul.”? “I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am Jehovah : and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart." For “this people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise.” And here we cannot but note, the exact parallelism between this passage and the passage in Psalm 1., which I have already commented on-the order of the events recorded being precisely the same in each case.
And then the prophecy takes up the blessings to be conferred upon Israel in consequence, which I shall not now further enter upon, beyond noting (1) that “they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations" (v. 4)—"building" "the city" of Jerusalem, as Jeremiah tells us, “upon her own heap” (chap. xxx. 18). For Colonel Warren tells us, that the rubbish that had accumulated in some places near the temple was 140 feet in depth; that the south-east angle of the temple wall, which was 200 feet high, was now only 156 feet 9 inches; and that he had discovered Solomon's stables 40 feet below the surface of the ground in that particular place. (2) That they should no longer do any servile work, but that this should be performed for them in future by the Gentile nations; but that they themselves should be the great missionaries to bring the nations back again to Christ: for “ye shall be named the Priests of Jehovah: men shall call you the ministers of our God” (v. 6). And (3) that they should no longer glory in their own righteousness, which they should now see, and acknowledge (as we have it in chapter lxiv. 6) to be nothing better than “filthy rags ;” but that they should
1 lsaiab lxvi. 13. ?Jer. xxxii. 41.
3 Jer. xxiv. 6, 7.
4 Isaiah xliii. 21.
“glory only in the Lord”l—their song of praise being, as we have it recorded in verse 10 of our prophecy, “I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness"-"the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe,”? in Him—"as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
The effect of the preaching of the Gospel, both upon Jew, as well as
Gentile, the Mediator of the New Covenant, no less a Person than Jehovah's Fellow, even God Himself --the rejection of Israel, as a nation ; but for a time only, i.e., until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and Israel have passed through the great tribulation—an Exposition of portions of Isaiah Ixv. and Micah v.
We now come to the sixth and seventh aspects, in which this Dispensation is presented to us in the Divine Wordthe passages of Scripture referred to, being Isaiah lxv. and Micah v.: in the first of which, we have the effect of the preaching of the Gospel, both upon Jew, as well as Gentile; and in the second, the rejection of Israel, as a nation, in consequence of their “rebellion,” but only for a time, i.e., " until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in,” and Israel, as a nation, has passed through “ the great tribulation.”
I shall consider each passage in order.
In the first passage, i.e., Isaiah lxv., we shall see, that verses 1 and 2 refer exclusively to this Dispensation ; verses 5 to 7 pourtray the character of Israel during it, with God's threatening of the great tribulation that shall come upon them in consequence; verses 8 and 9 contain promises to
1 Jer. ix. 23, 24; 1 Cor. i. 29-31.
2 Rom. iii. 22.
"the remnant according to the election of grace” out of Israel, during the Dispensation; verse 17 is the promise to the saints during the Millennium of "the new heavens and the new earth;” which will be the final state : while the remaining verses of the Chapter give us a description of the Millennium itself.
The two first verses, which relate exclusively to this Dispensation, run as follows :-“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. I 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."
Paul, to whom these mysteries were specially revealed, in speaking upon the call of the Gentiles, says, “What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.” "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law."'! “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went unto all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world, But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me. But to
Rom. ix. 22-24, 30-32.