Isaiah 45:21
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
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(21) Tell ye, and bring them near.—Yet another challenge to the idols and their worshippers.

A just God and a Saviour.—Stress is laid on the union of the two attributes which in human actions are often thought incompatible. (Comp. Psalm 85:10.) In virtue of that union the invitation of Isaiah 45:22 is addressed to all the ends of the world. The offer of salvation is universal.

45:20-25 The nations are exhorted to draw near to Jehovah. None besides is able to help; he is the Saviour, who can save without the assistance of any, but without whom none can save. If the heart is brought into the obedience of Christ, the knee will cheerfully obey his commands. To Christ men shall come from every nation for blessings; all that hate his cause shall be put to shame, and all believers shall rejoice in him as their Friend and Portion. All must come to him: may we now come to him as the Lord our Righteousness, walking according to his commandments.Tell ye, and bring them near - That is, announce, and bring forward your strongest arguments (see the notes at Isaiah 41:1).

Who hath declared this from ancient time? - Who has clearly announced the events respecting Cyrus, and the conquest of Babylon, and the deliverance from the captivity? The argument is an appeal to the fact that God had clearly foretold these events long before, and that therefore he was the true God. To this argument he often appeals in proof that he alone is God (see the note at Isaiah 41:22-23).

And there is no God else beside me - (See Isaiah 45:5).

A just God - A God whose attribute it is always to do right; whose word is true; whose promises are fulfilled; whose threatenings are executed; and who always does that which, under the circumstances of the case, ought to be done. This does not refer particularly to the fact that he will punish the guilty, but, in the connection here, rather seems to mean that his course would be one of equity.

And a Saviour - Saving his people. It was a characteristic of him, that he saved or preserved his people; and his equity, or truth, or justice, was seen in his doing that. His being 'a just God' and 'a Saviour' are not set here in contrast or contradiction, as if there was any incongruity in them, or as if they needed to be reconciled; but they refer to the same thing, and mean that he was just and true in saving his people; it was a characteristic of him that be was so true to his promises, and so equitable in his government, that he would save them. There is here no unique and special reference to the work of the atonement. But the language is such as will accurately express the great leading fact in regard to the salvation of sinners. It is in the cross of the Redeemer that God has shown himself eminently to be just, and yet a Saviour; true, and merciful; expressing his abhorrence of sin, and yet pardoning it; maintaining the honor of his violated law, and yet remitting its penalty and forgiving the offender. It is here, in the beautiful language of the Psalmist Psalm 85:10, that

Mercy and truth are met together,

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

The same idea is expressed in Romans 3:26 : 'That he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.' It is the glory of the character of God that he can be thus just and merciful at the same time; that he can maintain the honor of his law, secure the stability of his government, and yet extend pardon to any extent. No human administration can do this. Pardon under a human government always does much to weaken the authority of the government, and to set aside the majesty of the law. If never exercised, indeed, government assumes the form of tyranny; if often, the law loses its terrors, and crime will walk fearless through the earth. But in the divine administration, through the atonement, pardon may be extended to any extent, and yet the honor of the law be maintained, for the substituted sufferings of the innocent in the place of the guilty, will in fact do more to restrain from transgression than where the guilty themselves suffer. Of no human administration can it be said that it is at the same time just, and yet forgiving; evincing hatred of the violation of the law, and yet extending mercy to any extent to the violators of the laws. The blending together of these apparently inconsistent attributes belongs only to God, and is manifested only in the plan of salvation through the atonement.

21. Challenge the worshippers of idols (Isa 41:1).

take counsel together—as to the best arguments wherewith to defend the cause of idolatry.

who … from that time—(Isa 41:22, 23; see on [814]Isa 44:8). Which of the idols has done what God hath, namely, foretold, primarily as to Cyrus; ultimately as to the final restoration of Israel hereafter? The idolatry of Israel before Cyrus' time will have its counterpart in the Antichrist and the apostasy, which shall precede Christ's manifestation.

just … and … Saviour—righteous in keeping His promises, and therefore a Saviour to His people. Not only is it not inconsistent with, but it is the result of, His righteousness, or justice, that He should save His redeemed (Isa 42:6, 21; Ps 85:10, 11; Ro 3:26).

Let them take counsel together, to maintain the cause of their idols.

Who hath declared this? this great work of which I have spoken, concerning Babylon’s destruction, and the redemption of God’s people.

A just God and a Saviour; whereas the gods of the heathens are neither just nor saviours to their people, but wicked, and the authors and abettors of all sorts of wickedness; and so far from being either able or willing to save their worshippers, that they are the chief occasion of their utter destruction.

Tell ye, and bring them near, and let them take counsel together,.... Tell them what I say of their ignorance and stupidity; and gather them all together, their gods, their makers, and their worshippers, and let them lay their heads together, and consult what proof they are able to give of their divinities, particularly by foretelling things to come:

who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? that is, who of all their gods or priests have ever declared this or anyone thing at any distance of time before it came to pass? either this everlasting salvation of my people, or the redemption by Cyrus, which was a type of it, and was spoken of beforehand? have ever any of them foretold anything like this, and it came to pass as predicted? not one of them.

Have not I the Lord? he had. Christ, by his Spirit in the prophets, signified before hand his sufferings and his death, and the glory that should follow, 1 Peter 1:11 and when he was here on earth, he foretold his being betrayed to the chief priests; his being delivered to the Gentiles; his scourging and crucifixion, and resurrection from the dead; all which came to pass exactly as he had predicted, Matthew 20:18,

and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour: there is "none beside me", Christ is the one God with the Father and Spirit, and there is no other; nor any Saviour of lost sinners, but him; there is salvation in him, and in no other; and he is "just" in things pertaining to God, in satisfying his justice, and fulfilling his law; he was set forth as Mediator to declare his righteousness, and which is displayed in the work of redemption by him; so that God is just, while he is the justifier of him that believes in him, Romans 3:25.

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
21. Tell ye] Better: Declare ye, as R.V.

bring them near] Some such object as “your strong arguments” (Isaiah 41:21) must be supplied, and has probably dropped out of the text.

who hath declared this …?] i.e. the rise of Cyrus and his conquests. The phrase from that time should be either beforehand or long ago (see on ch. Isaiah 16:13).

a just God … beside me] Better as a single sentence: a righteous God and a Deliverer there is not besides me. Both attributes have been exhibited in the recent crisis; righteousness (see on Isaiah 45:19) in the explicit predictions of Cyrus, and salvation in the deliverance of Israel.

Verse 21. - Tell ye, and bring them near. Dr. Kay and Mr. Cheyne understand the nations to be addressed, and told to "show" or "announce," and "bring forth" or "produce," any argument in favour of the divinity of their gods. But it is simpler and better, with our translators, to regard the address as made to the prophets of God, who are bidden to announce his message of mercy to the nations, and to bring them near to him (comp. Isaiah 40:1). Let them take counsel together; i.e. let the nations consider one with another, whether God or the idols be the fitter object of worship. Who hath declared this? "This" must refer to the conquest of Babylon and deliverance of Israel by Cyrus. None but Jehovah had ever announced this - none but he could bring it to pass. From ancient time; rather, from aforetime (Cheyne). The announcement cannot have been made very long before this prophecy was delivered. A just God and a Saviour. A God in whom "mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other" (Psalm 85:16); who can be at once just, "acting stringently according to the demands of his holiness" (Delitzsch), and yet design and effect the salvation of sinners. Isaiah 45:21The salvation of Israel, foretold and realized by Jehovah, becomes at the same time the salvation of the heathen world. "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye escaped of the heathen! Irrational are they who burden themselves with the wood of their idol, and pray to a god that bringeth no salvation. Make known, and cause to draw near; yea, let them take counsel together: Who has made such things known from the olden time, proclaimed it long ago? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no Deity beside me; a God just, and bringing salvation: there is not without me!" The fulness of the Gentiles, which enters into the kingdom of God, is a remnant of the whole mass of the heathen: for salvation comes through judgment; and it is in the midst of great calamities that the work of that heathen mission is accomplished, which is represented in these prophecies on the one hand as the mission of Cyrus, and on the other hand as the mission of Jehovah and His servant. Hence this summons to listen to the self-assertion of the God of revelation, is addressed to the escaped of the heathen, who are not therefore the converted, but those who are susceptible of salvation, and therefore spared. By "the heathen" (haggōyı̄m) Knobel understands the allies and auxiliaries of the Babylonians, whom Cyrus put to flight (according to the Cyropaedia) before his Lydian campaign. But this is only an example of that exaggerated desire to turn everything into history, which not only prevented his seeing the poetry of the form, but obscured the fact that prophecy is both human and divine. For the future was foreshortened to the telescopic glance of the prophet, so that he could not see it in all its length and breadth. He saw in one mass what history afterwards unrolled; and then behind the present he could just see as it were the summit of the end, although a long eventful way still lay between the two. Accordingly, our prophet here takes his stand not at the close of any particular victory of Cyrus, but at the close of all his victories; and, in his view, these terminate the whole series of catastrophes, which are outlived by a remnant of the heathen, who are converted to Jehovah, and thus complete the final glory of the restored people of God. Throughout the whole of these prophecies we see immediately behind the historical foreground this eschatological background lifting up its head. The heathen who have been preserved will assemble together; and from the fact that Jehovah proves Himself the sole foreteller of the events that are now unfolding themselves, they will be brought to the conviction that He is the only God. The hithpael hithnaggēsh does not occur anywhere else. On the absolute ידע לא, see at Isaiah 44:9 (cf., Isaiah 1:3). To the verb haggı̄shū we must supply, as in Isaiah 41:22, according to the same expression in Isaiah 45:21, עצּמתיכם (your proofs). "This" refers to the fall of Babylon and redemption of Israel - salvation breaking through judgment. On mē'âz, from the olden time, compare Isaiah 44:8. God is "a just God and a Saviour," as a being who acts most stringently according to the demands of His holiness, and wherever His wrath is not wickedly provoked, sets in motion His loving will, which is ever concerned to secure the salvation of men.
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