Isaiah 56:7
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Even them will I bring . . .—The words foreshadow the breaking down of the “middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14). Every privilege of the Israelite worshipper is to belong also to the proselyte. It is perhaps assumed that the proselyte is circumcised. The development of truth is in such cases gradual, and it was left for St. Paul to complete the work of Isaiah (Romans 2:26-29; Galatians 6:15).

56:3-8 Unbelief often suggests things to discourage believers, against which God has expressly guarded. Spiritual blessings are unspeakably better than having sons and daughters; for children are a care, and may prove a grief and shame, but the blessings we partake of in God's house, are comforts which cannot be made bitter. Those who love the Lord truly, will serve him faithfully, and then his commandments are not grievous. Three things are promised. Assistance: I will not only bid them welcome, but incline them to come. Acceptance, and comfort: though they came mourning to the house of prayer, they shall go away rejoicing. They shall find ease by casting their cares and burdens upon God. Many a sorrowful spirit has been made joyful in the house of prayer. The Gentiles shall be one body with the Jews, that, as Christ says, Joh 10:16, there may be one fold and one Shepherd. Thanks be to God that none are separated from him except by wilful sin and unbelief; and if we come to him, we shall be accepted through the sacrifice of our great High Priest.Even them will I bring to my holy mountain - (See the notes at Isaiah 2:3). That is, they should be admitted to the fellowship and privileges of his people.

And make them joyful - In the participation of the privileges of the true religion, and in the service of God, they shall be made happy.

In my house of prayer - In the temple - here called the house of prayer. The language here is all derived from the worship of the Jews, though the meaning evidently is, that under the new dispensation, all nations would be admitted to the privileges of his people, and that the appropriate services of religion which they would offer would be acceptable to God.

Their burnt-offerings - That is, their worship shall be as acceptable as that of the ancient people of God. This evidently contemplates the future times of the Messiah, and the sense is, that in those times, the Gentiles would be admitted to the same privileges of the people of God, as the Jewish nation had been. It is true that proselytes were admitted to the privileges of religion among the Jews, and were permitted to offer burnt-offerings and sacrifices, nor can there be a doubt that they were then acceptable to God. But it is also true that there was a conviction that they were admitted as proselytes, and that there would be a superiority felt by the native-born Jews over the foreigners who were admitted to their society. Under the Jewish religion this distinction was inevitable, and it would involve, in spite of every effort to the contrary, much of the feeling of caste - a sense of superiority on the one hand, and of inferiority on the other; a conviction on the one part that they were the descendants of Abraham, and the inheritors of the ancient and venerable promises, and on the other that they had come in as foreigners, and had been admitted by special favor to these privileges. But all this was to be abolished under the Messiah. No one was to claim superiority on account of any supposed advantage from birth, or nation, or country; no one, however humble he might feel in respect to God and to his own deserts, was to admit into his bosom any sense of inferiority in regard to his origin, his country, his complexion, his former character. All were to have the same near access to God, and the offering of one was to be as acceptable as that of another.

For mine house - This passage is quoted by the Saviour Matthew 21:13, to show the impropriety of employing the temple as a place of traffic and exchange. In that passage he simply quotes the declaration that it should be 'a house of prayer.' There are two ideas in the passage as used by Isaiah; first, that the temple should be regarded as a house of prayer; and, secondly, that the privileges of that house should be extended to all people. The main design of the temple was that God might be there invoked, and the inestimable privilege of calling on him was to be extended to all the nations of the earth.

7. Even them—(Eph 2:11-13).

to my holy mountain—Jerusalem, the seat of the Lord's throne in His coming kingdom (Isa 2:2; Jer 3:17).

joyful—(Ro 5:11).

burnt offerings … sacrifices—spiritual, of which the literal were types (Ro 12:1; Heb 13:15; 1Pe 2:5).

accepted—(Eph 1:6).

altar—(Heb 13:10), spiritually, the Cross of Christ, which sanctifies our sacrifices of prayer and praise.

house … for all people—or rather, "peoples." No longer restricted to one favored people (Mal 1:11; Joh 4:21, 23; 1Ti 2:8). To be fully realized at the second coming (Isa 2:2-4). No longer literal, but spiritual sacrifice, namely, "prayer" shall be offered (Ps 141:2; 51:17; Mal 1:11; Mt 21:13).

To my holy mountain; to my house, as it is explained in the following clause, which stood upon Mount Zion, largely so called, including Mount Moriah. Formerly the Gentiles neither had any desire to come thither, nor were admitted there; but now I will incline their hearts to come, and I will give them admission and free liberty to come into my church.

Make them joyful, by accepting their services, and comforting their hearts with the sense of my love, and pouring down all sorts of blessings upon them.

In my house of prayer; in my temple, in and towards which prayers are daily made and directed unto me, 1 Kings 8:28,29.

Their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; they shall have as free access to my house and altar as the Jews themselves, and their services shall be as acceptable to me as theirs. Evangelical worship is here described under such expressions as agreed to the worship of God which then was in use, as it is Malachi 1:11, and elsewhere. See also Romans 12:1 Hebrews 13:15.

Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people; Jews and Gentiles shall have equal freedom of access to my house, and shall there call upon my name. Possibly he may call it

a house of prayer, either to imply that prayer to God, whereof thanksgiving is a part, is a more considerable part of God’s worship than sacrifice, which being considered in itself is little valued by him, as he frequently declareth; or to signify that in the New Testament, when the Gentiles should be called, all other sacrifices should cease, except that of prayer, and such-like spiritual services; which also is confirmed from the nature of the thing. For seeing sacrifices were confined to the temple at Jerusalem, and it was impossible that all nations should resort thither to offer up Levitical sacrifices in such time and manner as God appointed, it was necessary upon supposition of the general conversion of the Gentiles, that that way of worship should be abolished, and such a way prescribed as they were capable of practicing. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain,.... The church, called a "mountain" for its height, visibility, and immovableness; see Isaiah 2:2, especially for the latter; the true members of it being such who are interested in the unchangeable love of God, in the immovable grace of election, in the unalterable covenant of grace, are on the Rock Christ Jesus, and are secured by the favour and power of God; and it is called a "Holy One", because in it holy men are, holy doctrines are preached, holy services performed, and the holy God, Father, Son, and Spirit, grant their presence: and hither the Lord "brings" his people; he shows them the way thither; he inclines their minds, and moves their wills, to come hither; he removes the objections that are in their way; he constrains them by his love; and he does it in a very distinguishing way, takes one of a city, and two of a family, and brings them hither; and he who says this is able to do it; and, when he has brought them there, will do for them as follows:

and make them joyful in my house of prayer; or "in the house of my prayer" (p); not made by him, as say the Jews (q); but where prayer is made unto him, and is acceptable with him; every man's closet should be a place of private prayer; and every good man's house a place of family prayer; but a church of God is a house where saints meet together, and jointly pray to the Lord: and here he makes them joyful; by hearing and answering their prayers; by granting his gracious presence; by discovering his love, and shedding it abroad in their hearts; by feeding them with his word and ordinances; by giving them views of Christ, his love and loveliness, fulness, grace, and righteousness: by favouring them with the consolations of his Spirit, and his gracious influences; and by showing them their interest in the blessings of grace and glory:

their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar: which is Christ, who is not only the priest that offers up all the sacrifices of his people, but is also the altar on which they are offered up, Hebrews 13:10, and is the only One, and the most Holy One, which is greater than the gift, and sanctifies every gift that is upon it, and makes both the persons and the offerings of the Lord's people acceptable unto God; for by these offerings and sacrifices are not meant legal but spiritual ones; good deeds, acts of beneficence, rightly performed, with which sacrifices God is well pleased; sacrifices of prayer and praise; and even the persons of saints themselves, their bodies and their souls, when presented, a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice unto God, Hebrews 13:15, the prophet here speaks in figures, agreeably to his own time, as Calvin observes, when speaking of Gospel times; so he makes mention of the sabbath before, instead of the Lord's day, or any time of worship under the Gospel dispensation:

for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people; Gentiles as well as Jews; the sons of the strangers, as others, are all welcome to the church of God, to come and worship, and pray to the Lord there, and that is in any place where the saints meet together; for holy hands may be lifted up everywhere, without wrath or doubting, 1 Timothy 2:8. The Jews apply this verse to the time when the son of David, the Messiah, shall come (r).

(p) "in domo orationis meae", V. L. Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, Vitringa. (q) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 7. 1.((r) T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 18. 1.

Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt {g} offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for {h} all people.

(g) By this he means the spiritual service of God, to whom the faithful offer continual thanksgiving, yea themselves and all that they have, as a lively and acceptable sacrifice.

(h) Not only for the Jews, but for all others, Mt 21:13.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. Foreigners who fulfil these conditions have full access to the sanctuary.

make them joyful] “cause them to rejoice.” The phrase is formed from a common Deuteronomic expression for taking part in the Temple ritual: to “rejoice before Jehovah” (Deuteronomy 12:7; Deuteronomy 12:12; Deuteronomy 12:18, &c.).

my house of prayer] The Temple is the place where prayer is answered; see 1 Kings 8 passim, esp. 1 Kings 8:29 f., and 1 Kings 8:41-43.

The sacrifices of proselytes are referred to in the Law: Numbers 15:14 ff.; Leviticus 22:18 ff; Leviticus 17:8 ff.

for mine house … people] (R.V., rightly, for all peoples) Cited by our Lord, Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46. The emphasis lies on the last words; that the Temple is a house of prayer has been already said, what is now added is that it shall be so to men of all nationalities.Verse 7. - My house of prayer. In Solomon's address to God at the dedication of the temple, its character, as a house of prayer, is abundantly laid down (1 Kings 8:29-53). And no doubt it was used for the purpose of prayer, as well as for the purpose of sacrifice, from its first erection to its final destruction. But the purpose of sacrifice so far predominated, in fact, over the other, that the expression, "my house of prayer," comes upon us in this place to some extent as a surprise. The prophet seems to anticipate the time when the temple should be emphatically a προσευχή the legal sacrifices having received their fulfilment (Isaiah 53:10), and being thenceforth superfluous and out of place. For all people; rather, for all the peoples. All the ends of the earth were to see the salvation of God (Psalm 98:3); "All nations were to fall down before him; all people to do him service" (Psalm 72:11). The note of admonition struck in the foregoing prophecy is continued here, the sabbatical duties being enforced with especial emphasis as part of the general righteousness of life. "Thus saith Jehovah, Keep ye right, and do righteousness: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to reveal itself. Blessed is the mortal that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth fast hold thereon; who keepeth the Sabbath, that he doth not desecrate it, and keepeth his hand from doing any kind of evil." Jehovah and Israel have both an objective standard in the covenant relation into which they have entered: משׁפּט (right) is practice answering to this; ישׁוּעה (salvation) the performance promised by God; צדקה (righteousness) on both sides such personal activity as is in accordance with the covenant relation, or what is the same thing, with the purpose and plan of salvation. The nearer the full realization on the part of Jehovah of what He has promised, the more faithful ought Israel to be in everything to which it is bound by its relation to Jehovah. זאת (this) points, as in Psalm 7:4, to what follows; and so also does בּהּ, which points back to זאת. Instead of שׁמור or לשׁמר we have here שׁמר, the זאת being described personally instead of objectively. שּׁבּת is used as a masculine in Isaiah 56:2, Isaiah 56:6 (cf., Isaiah 58:13), although the word is not formed after the same manner as קטּל, but is rather contracted from שׁבּתת (a festive time, possibly with עת equals עדת understood), and therefore was originally a feminine; and it is so personified in the language employed in the worship of the synagogue.

(Note: According to b. Sabbath 119a, R. Chanina dressed himself on Friday evening in his sabbath-clothes, and said, "Come, and let us go to meet Queen Sabbath." And so did also Jannai, saying, "Come, O bride; come, O bride." Hence the customary song with which the Sabbath was greeted had נקבּלה שׁבּת פּני כּלּה לקראת דודי לכה as it commencement and refrain.)

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