Psalm 102:26
They shall perish, but you shall endure: yes, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a clothing shall you change them, and they shall be changed:
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(26) Perish.—Compared with man, the victim of incessant change and visible decay, the fixed earth and the uplifted mountains are often employed as symbols of endurance and perpetuity, but compared with God’s eternal existence, they are but like a vesture that wears out. The source of the image is Isaiah 51:6. (Comp. Isaiah 34:4.) For the use made of the passage in Hebrews 1:10; Hebrews 1:12, see New Testament Commentary. The terms employed for “garment” and “vesture” (beged, lebûsh) are synonyms for the outer cloak worn by the Jews. The imagery of the text no doubt supplied Goëthe with the thought in his fine lines

“’Tis thus at the roaring loom of time I ply,

And weave for God the garment thou seest Him by!”

which in turn suggested to Carlyle the “Philosophy of Clothes.” “Why multiply instances? It is written, the heavens and the earth shall fade away like a vesture, which, indeed they are—the time vesture of the Eternal.”—Sartor Resartus, I. 11

It is interesting to think how the science of geology confirms the image of the psalmist, showing how time has been literally changing the so solid-seeming earth, stripping off the robe that covers the hills, to fold it down at some river mouth, or at the bottom of the ocean bed.

Psalm 102:26. They shall perish — Either as to the substance of them, which shall be annihilated, or as to their present form, fashion, and use, which shall be entirely changed: see the margin. The heavens and the earth, although they be the most permanent of all visible beings, and their continuance is often mentioned to signify the stability of things; yet, if compared with thee, they are as nothing, for they had a beginning, and shall have an end. All of them shall wax old — That is, shall decay and perish, like a garment — Which is worn out, and laid aside, and exchanged for another. And so shall this present frame of heaven and earth be. As a vesture shalt thou change them — Isaiah tells us, Isaiah 51:6, that the heaven and earth shall wax old like a garment; but the psalmist here goes one step further than the prophet; and not only acquaints us that the heavens and earth shall wax old, but, like a worn-out garment, shall be changed for new. And what can he intend but the new heavens and new earth, mentioned by St. Peter in the New Testament, and said to be the expectation of believers, according to God’s promise? 2 Peter 3:13.102:23-28 Bodily distempers soon weaken our strength, then what can we expect but that our months should be cut off in the midst; and what should we do but provide accordingly? We must own God's hand in it; and must reconcile this to his love, for often those that have used their strength well, have it weakened; and those who, as we think, can very ill be spared, have their days shortened. It is very comfortable, in reference to all the changes and dangers of the church, to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And in reference to the death of our bodies, and the removal of friends, to remember that God is an everlasting God. Do not let us overlook the assurance this psalm contains of a happy end to all the believer's trials. Though all things are changing, dying, perishing, like a vesture folding up and hastening to decay, yet Jesus lives, and thus all is secure, for he hath said, Because I live ye shall live also.Of old - See this passage fully explained in the notes at Hebrews 1:10-12. In the beginning; at the first. The phrase used here means literally "to the face;" then, "before" in the order of time. It means here, long ago; of olden time; at the beginning. The meaning is, that the years of God had stretched through all the generations of people, and all the changes which had occurred upon the earth; that at the very beginning he existed, and that he would continue to exist to the very close, unchangeably the same. 23-28. The writer, speaking for the Church, finds encouragement in the midst of all his distresses. God's eternal existence is a pledge of faithfulness to His promises.

in the way—of providence.

weakened—literally, "afflicted," and made fearful of a premature end, a figure of the apprehensions of the Church, lest God might not perform His promise, drawn from those of a person in view of the dangers of early death (compare Ps 89:47). Paul (Heb 1:10) quotes Ps 102:26-28 as addressed to Christ in His divine nature. The scope of the Psalm, as already seen, so far from opposing, favors this view, especially by the sentiments of Ps 102:12-15 (compare Isa 60:1). The association of the Messiah with a day of future glory to the Church was very intimate in the minds of Old Testament writers; and with correct views of His nature it is very consistent that He should be addressed as the Lord and Head of His Church, who would bring about that glorious future on which they ever dwelt with fond delightful anticipations.

They shall perish; either,

1. As to the substance of them, which shall be annihilated. Or,

2. As to their present nature and use: see Isaiah 65:17 66:22 2 Peter 3:7,10,11. The heavens and the earth, although they be the most permanent of all visible beings, and their continuance is oft mentioned to signify the stability and immutability of things, yet if compared with thee are as nothing; they had a beginning, and shall have an end.

Wax old, i.e. decay and perish.

Like a garment which is worn out and laid aside, and exchanged for another. And so shall this present frame of heaven and earth be. They shall perish,.... Both the heavens and the earth, though so well founded, and so firmly made; they shall be dissolved, melt, and pass away; not as to the substance, but as to the quality of them: or, as R. Judah Ben David says, whom Aben Ezra on the place cites, and calls the first grammarian in the west, not as to generals, but as to particulars:

but thou shalt endure; as the eternal God, from everlasting to everlasting; and, even as man, he will die no more; and, as Mediator, will ever remain; he will be King for ever; his throne is for ever and ever; his kingdom is an everlasting one; he is a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek; his sacrifice is of an eternal efficacy, and he ever lives to make intercession for his people; he will always continue, as the Prophet, in his church, to teach by his Spirit, word, and ordinances, in the present state; and hereafter will be the light of the New Jerusalem, and of his saints, for ever:

yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment: not only the heavens, which are as a curtain and garment about the earth, but the earth itself, Isaiah 51:6, will lose their beauty and glory, and become useless, as to the present form of them:

as a vesture shall thou change them, and they shall be changed; as to their form, as a garment that is turned or folded up, and laid aside, as to present use: this seems to favour the above sense given, that the earth and heavens will not perish, as to the substance of them; but as to their form, figure, fashion, and scheme; and as to the qualities of them, all noxious ones being purged away by fire, the curse removed, and new heavens and new earth arise out of them.

{r} They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:

(r) If heaven and earth perish, much more man will perish: but the Church by reason of God's promise endures forever.

26. Compared with man’s brief span of life the natural world is an emblem of permanence; compared with God’s eternity, it is seen to be transitory. He existed from all eternity before it, and called it into being: He will exist unchanged when it has passed away.

they shall be changed] Or, pass away. The Psalmist’s thought here is rather of the transitoriness of heaven and earth contrasted with the eternity of God than of the new heavens and new earth, Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22.Verse 26. - They shall perish. The coming destruction of the world that now is, is very frequently declared in Holy Scripture (see Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 65:17; Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; 2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12). But thou shalt endure. With the perishable nature of the whole material creation, the psalmist contrasts the absolute eternity of God (comp. ver. 12; also Psalm 9:7; Hebrews 1:11). Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment (comp. Isaiah 51:6). As a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. Compare the prophecies of "a new heaven and a new earth" (Isaiah 55:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). The poet goes on advancing motives to Jahve for the fulfilment of his desire, by holding up to Him what will take place when He shall have restored Zion. The evangel of God's redemptive deed will be written down for succeeding generations, and a new, created people, i.e., a people coming into existence, the church of the future, shall praise God the Redeemer for it. דּור אחרון as in Psalm 48:14; Psalm 78:4. עם נברא like עם נולד Psalm 22:32, perhaps with reference to deutero-Isaianic passages like Isaiah 43:17. On Psalm 102:20, cf. Isaiah 63:15; in Psalm 102:21 (cf. Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 61:1) the deutero-Isaianic colouring is very evident. And Psalm 102:21 rests still more verbally upon Psalm 79:11. The people of the Exile are as it were in prison and chains (אסיר), and are advancing towards their destruction (בּני תמוּתה), if God does not interpose. Those who have returned home are the subject to לספּר. בּ in Psalm 102:23 introduces that which takes place simultaneously: with the release of Israel from servitude is united the conversion of the world. נקבּץ occurs in the same connection as in Isaiah 60:4. After having thus revelled in the glory of the time of redemption the poet comes back to himself and gives form to his prayer on his own behalf.
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