« PredošláPokračovať »
בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיָה צְמַח יְהוָה לִצְבִי וּלְכָבוֹד וּפְרִי הָאָרֶץ לְגָאוֹן וּלְתִפְאָרָת לִפְלֵיטַת יִשְׂרָאֵל :
In that day shall the Branch of Jehovah be for beauty and honour, and the Fruit of the earth for majesty and comeliness to the escaped of Israel.
“ In that day.” A prophetic expression for some future and highly important period; often used in reference to Messianic times. Chap. xxix, 18; Zech. xiii, 1, 2. In the New Testament it is employed as referring to the judgment day.
“ Shall the Branch of Jehovah.” This phrase, as well as “Fruit of the earth,” we consider as referring to Christ; the first to his Divine, the last to his human nature: equivalent to the New Testament titles “Son of God” and “Son of man;" and parallel to Paul's description of him, that he "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness." We shall be prepared, after looking at the whole chapter, to make further remarks in favour of this interpretation of verse second. “To the escaped of Israel.” To the spiritual Israel; those who shall have availed themselves of the atonement of Christ, and shall have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before them. Such will see in him “ majesty and comeliness." "To them that believe he is precious."
Verse 3. And it shall be, as to the left in Zion, and the remnant in Jerusalem, that they shall be called holy, even every one written for life in Jerusalem.
Now, the prophet proceeds to explain in what sense this promised Friend, this Divine Personage, was to be such a blessing to Israel. He should make them holy. This is the grand benefit he confers upon mankind. Depraved by the fall, made morally impure and guilty, that guilt must have rendered them eternally and infinitely wretched. But this glorious" Offspring of Jehovah” interposes as their substitute in suffering and death. And as the result, they are conditionally restored to holiness and to the favour of God.
Every one written in Jerusalem." Those who by complying with the conditions of the gospel become recognised as his children: which is spoken of here and often, as being "written in Jerusalem," “ written in heaven," "written in the book of life."*
Verse 4. When the Lord shall have washed away the pollution of the daughters of Zion, and shall have cleansed away the bloodguiltiness of Jerusalem, from the midst thereof by a Spirit of judgment and a Spirit of burning. Compare Dan. xii, 1; Phil. iv, 3; Rev. iii, 6; Heb. xi, 23.
Having shown the great end of the Redeemer's interposition,holiness,—the prophet now indicates the means by which it is to be accomplished. The sins of the whole people, male and female, shall be cleansed, or purged out by the “Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning :" by the Holy Spirit
, the third person in the adorable Trinity, by whom salvation is personally imparted to men in that act called the “washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” “The Spirit of Judgment,” bbon , is equivalent to Paul's arveïna dylooúvns, "Spirit of holiness,” or Holy Spirit. And the striking coincidence in the language of this verse with John's expression, that our Lord "shall baptize," i. e., purify his followers “ with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” marks, we think, a similar coincidence in the sense.
Verse 5. And Jehovah shall create over the whole dwelling-place of Mount Zion, (the Church of God in all its branches, and wherever located,) and over her assemblies, a cloud by day, and a smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there shall be a covering.
There can be no doubt but that the ancient symbol of God's presence with Israel is here alluded to; and it is promised that his presence shall be manifested throughout all the borders of the Church, and in all her congregations, as distinctly as it then was over its “one indivisible congregation, and its one exclusive place of meeting,” by the fiery cloud, or Shekinah. Isaiah does not mean to say that this shall be a visible presence, but that it will be as real, and as perceptible as in the days of Moses or Solomon. It will be a spiritual presence, perceived by the consciousness, though not by the serises. Such a présence as Joel predicted, when God said by him, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” And such as Jesus promised, when he said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”
And as the Shekinah was the defence, as well as the glory of the ancient people of God, so, in the Christian dispensation, a purë, devoted Church, honoured by the continual presence of God, has nothing to fear. No weapon formed against her shall prosper. For,
over all the glory there shall be a covering." Her perpetual süccess and final triumph cannot be prevented. “All things are for her sake." The Church "is Christ's, and Christ is God's."
Verse 6. And there shall be a taberrcade for a shadow by day, and for a covert, and for a hiding-place from storm and from rain.
Christianity is not å mere matter of glory to the Church, it is a matter of vital interest to mankind. It furnishes a covert for their unsheltered heads. í. It is a want of their natures. As men are so constituted physically, that they cannot dispense with a dwelling or shelter, and would soon perish without one; so morally they cannot dispense with the salvation of God. Apostate from his favour, and obnoxious to his vindictive justice, they must be brought under the protection of the cross, or perish forever. 2. This important provision is available to all. It is a tabernacle, rizo, a booth,-a dwelling of the simplest construction possible; and consequently within the means of all: a covering that can be most expeditiously put up, and therefore specially adapted to the wants of those who are emphatically creatures of a moment. 3. And yet cheap and simple as is this shelter, it is declared sufficient to shield us against every danger, whether from hostile elements, or hostile beings, by night or by day. It defends us not merely from the heats, and chills, and damps of life's current evils, but will be found proof against the mighty, driving “storms” of death and judgment. It is a house that will not fall when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat upon it, for it is founded upon a rock. So far from falling, it will, in a future day, prove to us " a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
Concluding Remarks on Verse 2d.
As it is known that the German Rationalists give a literal and mere secular sense to this passage, we would observe further that the spiritual rendering above is favoured, first, by the context.
The second, third, and fourth chapters of Isaiah have long been considered by Biblical scholars as constituting one prophecy; the grand themes of which are the Messiah's kingdom, and the judgments of God that were to be visited upon sinning Israel. The line of demarcation between these two topics is easily discernible. The prosperity and general spread of Christ's kingdom are presented in chapter second, from the first to the fourth verse inclusive, in terms most graphic and glowing. Then follows a view of the sinful character of the Israelites at the time of the prediction and of the fearful consequences of their sins, to chapter fourth, verse first. Here the mind of the prophet reverts to the theme always most grateful to his feelings, the ultimate success of the Church, in the passages now under consideration. And whereas in chapter second he had portrayed the external grandeur and triumphs of Christ's reign, he now dwells with delight upon the safety, purity and glory of its internal condition. The scope, therefore, of this entire prophecy, and the undeniably evangelical character of the body of this chapter, furnish additional proof that the second verse is evangelical.
But, secondly, let us look with more scrutiny at the terms in which the passage is expressed. That minnay, Branch, or Offspring of Jehovah, is a personal designation, referring to Christ, we judge from the usus loquendi. In Jeremiah xxiii, 5, it is said, I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, a King shall reign and prosper. Again,-in chapter xxxiii, 15, of the same prophet :-I will cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David, and He shall execute judgment, etc. By Zechariah the Lord says, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. (Chap. iii, 8.) And again : Behold the man whose name is the Branch : and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. (Chap. vi, 12.) Now, the conclusion is, that as this word in analogous positions signifies a person, viz., a "man,” a "servant,” a “King," it signifies a person here. And if the “Righteous Branch,” the “Branch unto David,” and “my Servant the Branch," signify the Messiah, where only an indirect connexion with God is expressed, much more does “ Branch of Jehovah” signify this, where such connexion is expressed in the directest manner of which the language is capable. And if 777 nay, the Branch unto David, equivalent to “the Offspring of David,” (Rev. xxii, 16,) signifies Christ, for a much stronger reason does nin hey, the Offspring of Jehovah, signify the Son of the living God.
But the strongest opposition to the spiritual rendering of this verse is made against the phrase 77, the Fruit of the earth. Having, however, established the higher sense of the foregoing expression, the one in hand may be soon disposed of. 1. The tropical character of this phrase (as also of the other) is decisively indicated by its adjuncts. With what propriety can “ majesty” and “honour” be predicated of literal productions of the earth? None at all. But as applied to Christ these attributes are perfectly appropriate. The context requires them to have this application. To make Isaiah speak of grain and vegetables, in a passage devoted to lofty spiritual promises, is preposterous. This leads us to remark: 2. That we must be permitted to avail ourselves of what we have already proved. "Fruit of the earth” is evidently in parallelism with “Branch of the Lord.” As this latter has been shown to refer to Christ, so must the former. To make one member of a parallelism refer to Christ and the corresponding member to vegetation would be absurd. 3. Isaiah was fully aware of the two-fold nature in which Christ would appear. He foretold him both as “the Mighty God” and as "a Son given," "a Child born;" and all too in a single verse. What marvel, then, that when in this place he had exhibited the Divine nature in one member of a distich, he should present the human in the other? As, therefore, “ Branch, or Offspring of Jehovah,” well describes the Divinity, so "Fruit of the earth,” with equal appropriateness, sets forth the humanity of our adorable Lord.
These views of the text are confirmed by the ancient Chaldee Paraphrase, which applies "the Branch of the Lord" to Messiah ; and the same views are authorized by such names as Vitringa, Hengstenberg, and Alexander among the moderns, who also consider that “Fruit of the earth” is predicated of Christ's human nature.
Mr. Barnes admits that both phrases refer to the Messiah, yet both in only the general sense, without allusion to the distinction of natures. But .one can very readily conceive how he should overlook such allusion here, when he fails to observe the same distinction in Rev. xxii, 16: "I am the Root and the Offspring of David;" making “root” and “offspring" one and the same thing in a passage where the Divinity and humanity are almost as palpably distinguished as (Matt. xxii, 44, 45,) when with his own breath Christ declares he is both “David's LORD” and “David's son."
ART. VI. AN EARNEST MINISTRY.
An Earnest Ministry the Want of the Times. By JOHN ANGELL JAMES. With
an Introduction, by Rev. J. B. CONDIT, D.D., of Newark, New-Jersey. Fourth edition. New-York: M. W. Dodd.
THE Christian ministry has ever claimed, and to a large extent received, the deference of mankind. The ancient seers, patriarchs and prophets, who were commissioned to make known the will of the Supreme Being, under the impulse of a direct inspiration, were regarded as supernaturally endowed, and their utterances deemed oracular. The protracted preaching of Noah to the impenitent antediluvians, the legislative instructions of Moses, the sublime devotional melodies of David, and the fervid and glowing predictions and denunciations of the long succession of Jewish prophets, were alike divinely inspired; or, in the words of the Apostle, these "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The primitive age was characterized by the more rigid ministration of the law, sacrifices, and covenants; subsequently the claims of the Divine Government were frequently enforced by direct interpositions of Providence; till at length, in the "fulness of time,” came the wondrous advent of the promised Messiah, when the gracious
ministry of reconciliation" was brought to light by the Gospel.”