Isaiah 4:3
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
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(3) He that is left in Zion . . .—The prophet turns from the Jerusalem that then was, with the hypocrisies and crimes of the men and the harlot fashions of its women, to the vision of a new Jerusalem, which shall realise the ideal of Psalms 15, 24. There every one should be called “holy” (comp. 1Corinthians 1:2; 2Corinthians 1:1), and the name should be no unreal mockery (Isaiah 32:5), but should express the self-consecration and purity of its inhabitants.

Every one that is written among the living.—Literally, for life. The idea is that of “the book” or “register” of life in which are written the names of those who are worthy of living in the heavenly city. It meets us as early as Exodus 32:32, and appears in Psalm 56:8; Psalm 69:28; Ezekiel 13:9.; Malachi 3:16; Daniel 12:1; Acts xiii 48; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 21:27. An examination of the passages, especially the first, will show that while it involves the idea of an election, it excludes that of an irreversible predestination, and that the election has to be “made sure” by a life in harmony with it. (2Peter 1:10.)

Isaiah 4:3. And he that is left in Zion — Those that escape the common destruction brought on their countrymen; see Isaiah 4:2; shall be called holy — Shall be really such. The Jews that survived the Babylonish captivity, and returned into their own land, were greatly reformed, especially in one point, they relapsed no more into idolatry: and in other respects also a spirit of religion was revived among them. But the prophecy was much more eminently fulfilled in the first converts from Judaism to Christianity, to whose purity and holiness the apostles often bear witness, and of which they glory in their writings. Even every one that is written among the living, &c. — Whose names are recorded in the book of life, or the book of the divine knowledge and remembrance, as persons who, by repentance toward God and faith in the Messiah, expected, or already revealed, have passed from death unto life. The phrase is used in allusion to the registers which were kept of the Jewish tribes and families: see notes on Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28.

4:2-6 Not only the setting forth Christ's kingdom in the times of the apostles, but its enlargement by gathering the dispersed Jews into the church, is foretold. Christ is called the Branch of the Lord, being planted by his power, and flourishing to his praise. The gospel is the fruit of the Branch of the Lord; all the graces and comforts of the gospel spring from Christ. It is called the fruit of the earth, because it sprang up in this world, and was suited for the present state. It will be good evidence that we are distinguished from those merely called Israel, if we are brought to see all beauty in Christ, and holiness. As a type of this blessed day, Jerusalem should again flourish as a branch, and be blessed with the fruits of the earth. God will keep for himself a holy seed. When most of those that have a place and a name in Zion, and in Jerusalem, shall be cut off by their unbelief, some shall be left. Those only that are holy shall be left, when the Son of man shall gather out of his kingdom every thing which offends. By the judgment of God's providence, sinners were destroyed and consumed; but by the Spirit of grace they are reformed and converted. The Spirit herein acts as a Spirit of judgment, enlightening the mind, convincing the conscience; also as a Spirit of burning, quickening and strengthening the affections, and making men zealously affected in a good work. An ardent love to Christ and souls, and zeal against sin, will carry men on with resolution in endeavours to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Every affliction serves believers as a furnace, to purify them from dross; and the convincing, enlightening, and powerful influences of the Holy Spirit, gradually root out their lusts, and render them holy as He is holy. God will protect his church, and all that belong to it. Gospel truths and ordinances are the glory of the church. Grace in the soul is the glory of it; and those that have it are kept by the power of God. But only those who are weary will seek rest; only those who are convinced that a storm is approaching, will look for shelter. Affected with a deep sense of the Divine displeasure, to which we are exposed by sin, let us at once have recourse to Jesus Christ, and thankfully accept the refuge he affords.He that is left in Zion - This "properly" refers to the remnant that should remain after the mass of the people should be cut off by wars, or be borne into captivity. If it refer to the few that would come back from Babylon, it means that they would be reformed, and would be a generation different from their fathers - which was undoubtedly true. If it refer, as the connection seems to indicate, to the times of the Messiah, then it speaks of those who are 'left,' while the great mass of the nation would be unbelievers, and would be destroyed. The mass of the nation would be cut off, and the remnant that was left would be holy; that is, all true friends of the Messiah would be holy.

Shall be called holy - That is, shall "be" holy. The expression 'to be called,' is often used in the Scriptures as synonymous with 'to be.'

Every one that is written among the living - The Jews were accustomed to register the names of all the people. Those names were written in a catalogue, or register, of each tribe or family. To be written in that book, or register, meant to be alive, for when a death occurred, the name was stricken out; Exodus 32:32; Daniel 12:1; Ezekiel 13:9. The expression came also to denote all who were truly the friends of God; they whose names are written in "his" book - the book of life. In this sense it is used in the New Testament; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 17:5. In this sense it is understood in this place by the Chaldee Par.: 'Every one shall be called holy who is written to eternal life; he shall see the consolation of Jerusalem.' If the reference here is to the Messiah, then the passage denotes that under the reign of the Messiah, all who should be found enrolled as his followers, would be holy. An effectual separation would subsist between them and the mass of the people. They would be "enrolled" as his friends, and they would be a separate, holy community; compare 1 Peter 2:9.

3. left in Zion—equivalent to the "escaped of Israel" (Isa 4:2).

shall be called—shall be (Isa 9:6).

holy—(Isa 52:1; 60:21; Re 21:27).

written—in the book of life, antitypically (Php 4:3; Re 3:5; 17:8). Primarily, in the register kept of Israel's families and tribes.

living—not "blotted out" from the registry, as dead; but written there as among the "escaped of Israel" (Da 12:1; Eze 13:9). To the elect of Israel, rather than the saved in general, the special reference is here (Joe 3:17).

Shall be called holy, i.e. shall be really holy, as is said, Isaiah 60:21. To be called is oft put for to be, as Genesis 21:12 Isaiah 1:26 44:5.

Every one that is written among the living: so this is a restriction of the foregoing indefinite proposition. Not all that are left, but a great number of them, shall be holy, even all that are written, &c., i.e. all the elect, who are frequently described by this character, that they are written in God’s or the Lamb’s book, or in the book of life, or of the living, Psalm 69:28 Daniel 12:1 Philippians 4:3 Revelation 3:5 13:8 17:8, &c. But this last clause of the verse is by some learned interpreters rendered thus, all that are in Jerusalem (i.e. a very great number of them, as such general expressions are frequently used, or the generality of them) shall be written unto life, i.e. shall be such as are elected unto salvation through sanctification; which may deserve consideration. So he notes the singular privilege of this people at this time above the former ages, in which many were called, but few were chosen.

In Jerusalem; of the people living in or belonging to Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem,.... These are the persons to whom Christ appears beautiful and glorious, excellent and comely, who will be left, and remain in Zion and Jerusalem; by which is meant the Gospel church, or church as in the latter day; in which these shall continue, abide by the truths and doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances thereof, and persevere unto the end; even when Christ shall take his fan in his hand, and purge his floor of the chaff; when the filth of the daughter of Zion shall be washed away by the spirit of judgment and burning, as in the following verse Isaiah 4:4; when it shall be a shocking and shaking time in the churches, and the hour of temptation shall come, that shall try those that dwell upon earth; these shall be pillars in the temple of God, that shall never go out. The doctrine of the saints' final perseverance is held forth in these words, as their sanctification and election are in the following clauses, which secure it to them: they

shall be called holy: in the original text it is added, "unto him"; either the person left, it shall be said to him, that he is holy or rather the branch; and Kimchi interprets it, "because of him"; for these are accounted holy, through the imputation of the holiness of Christ unto them; and they are really and inherently holy, through the grace of Christ implanted in them; they are called to be holy, to be saints, and they are called with a holy calling, and unto holiness; and, in effectual calling, principles of grace and holiness are wrought in them, and which appear in their lives and conversations. The principal meaning seems to be, that those who shall hold fast their profession, and hold out, and persevere through the trying dispensation in the latter day, they shall be remarkably holy; they shall shine in the beauties of holiness; holiness shall be upon their horses' bells, and they themselves shall be holiness unto the Lord, Zechariah 14:20.

even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem; or, "everyone that is written unto life" (m), that is, unto eternal life, as the Targum paraphrases the words; and it is the same with being ordained unto eternal life, Acts 13:48 or predestination unto life, which is a writing of the names of God's elect in the book of life: this writing is God's writing, it is his act and deed, the act of God the Father, and an eternal one, flowing from his sovereign will and pleasure, and is sure, certain, and unfrustrable; what is written is written, and can never be altered; and election being signified by writing names in a book, shows it to be particular and personal, not of nations, churches, and bodies of men, but of particular persons; and that it is irrespective of faith, holiness, and good works, and entirely unconditional; it is of naked persons, and not as so and so qualified; and that it is distinguishing of some, and not others, whom God has an exact knowledge of, and calls by name: and this writing is "unto life", or "lives", as in the original text; not to a temporal life, but to a spiritual and eternal one; in consequence of which, such become living, holy, and persevering Christians in Jerusalem, in the church of God, and shall be admitted into the New Jerusalem, and none else, Revelation 21:27 and so Jarchi interprets it, everyone that is written to the life of the world to come, or to eternal life, shall be in Jerusalem; and the Targum adds,

"and he shall see the consolation of Jerusalem;''

from hence it appears that election is the source and spring of holiness, and the security of the saints final perseverance, Romans 8:30 and is not a licentious doctrine, but a doctrine according to godliness; holiness is a fruit and evidence of it; whoever are written or ordained to life become holy; and these being brought to Zion, remain there, and persevere unto the end.

(m) "quicunque fuerit scriptus ad vitam", Piscator; "omnis scriptus ad vitam", Cocceius.

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is {e} written among the living in Jerusalem:

(e) He alludes to the book of life, of which read Ex 32:32 meaning God's secret counsel, in which his elect are predestinated to life everlasting.

3. The character of the escaped remnant. They shall be called holy ch. Isaiah 60:14, Isaiah 61:6, Isaiah 62:12. “Holiness” here includes the ideas of consecration to God, and inviolability (Jeremiah 2:3) as well as of moral purity (Isaiah 4:4).

written among the living] rather, written for life, i.e. not any chance survivor, but those who are predestined to life (cf. Acts 13:48). The figure is derived from the burgess rolls in which the name of every qualified citizen was to be found (cf. Nehemiah 7:64); hence comes the idea of the “book of life” containing the names of all the true people of God; Exodus 32:32 f.; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Php 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 22:19 (and cf. “bundle of life,” 1 Samuel 25:29). The transition from the secular to the religious sense may be seen in Ezekiel 13:9.

Verse 3. - He that is left... he that remaineth. Equivalent to the "escaped" of the preceding verse. Shall be called holy. Strikingly fulfilled in the filet that the early Christians were known as titter, "holy," or κλητοὶ ἅγοι, "those called to be holy," in the first age (Acts 9:13, 32, 41; Acts 26:10; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1, etc.). Perhaps, however, more is meant than this. The early Christians not only were called, but were "holy." Even Gibbon places the innocent lives of the early Christians among the causes of the conversion of the Roman empire. Every one that is written among the living. A register of the "living," or "heirs of life," is here assumed, as in Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 21:27, etc. It is a "book," however, out of which names may be "blotted" (Revelation 3:5). Isaiah 4:3"And it will come to pass, whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem, holy will he be called, all who are written down for life in Jerusalem." The leading emphasis of the whole v. rests upon kadosh (holy). Whereas formerly in Jerusalem persons had been distinguished according to their rank and condition, without any regard to their moral worth (Isaiah 3:1-3, Isaiah 3:10-11; cf., Isaiah 32:5); so the name kadosh (holy) would now be the one chief name of honour, and would be given to every individual, inasmuch as the national calling of Israel would now be realized in the persons of all (Exodus 19:6, etc.). Consequently the expression "he shall be called" is not exactly equivalent to "he shall be," but rather presupposes the latter, as in Isaiah 1:26; Isaiah 61:6; Isaiah 62:4. The term kadosh denotes that which is withdrawn from the world, or separated from it. The church of the saints or holy ones, which now inhabits Jerusalem, is what has been left from the smelting; and their holiness is the result of washing. הנוּתר is interchanged with נהנּשׁאר. The latter, as Papenheim has shown in his Hebrew synonyms, involves the idea of intention, viz., "that which has been left behind;" the former merely expresses the fact, viz., that which remains. The character of this "remnant of grace," and the number of members of which it would consist, are shown in the apposition contained in Isaiah 4:3. This apposition means something more than those who are entered as living in Jerusalem, i.e., the population of Jerusalem as entered in the city register (Hofmann); for the verb with Lamed does not mean merely to enter as a certain thing, but (like the same verb with the accusative in Jeremiah 22:30) to enter as intended for a certain purpose. The expression להיּים may either be taken as a noun, viz., "to life" (Daniel 12:2), or as an adjective, "to the living" (a meaning which is quite as tenable; cf., Psalm 69:29; 1 Samuel 25:29). In either case the notion of predestination is implied, and the assumption of the existence of a divine "book of life" (Exodus 32:32-33; Daniel 12:1; cf., Psalm 139:16); so that the idea is the same as that of Acts 13:48 : "As many as were ordained to eternal life." The reference here is to persons who were entered in the book of God, on account of the good kernel of faith within them, as those who should become partakers of the life in the new Jerusalem, and should therefore be spared in the midst of the judgment of sifting in accordance with this divine purpose of grace. For it was only through the judgment setting this kernel of faith at liberty, that such a holy community as is described in the protasis which comes afterwards, as in Psalm 63:6-7, could possibly arise.
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