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.
5. create—The "new creation" needs as much God's creative omnipotence, as the material creation (2Co 4:6; Eph 2:10). So it shall be in the case of the Holy Jerusalem to come (Isa 65:17, 18).
upon—The pillar of cloud stood over the tabernacle, as symbol of God's favor and presence (Ex 13:21, 22; Ps 91:1). Both on individual families ("every dwelling") and on the general sacred "assemblies" (Le 23:2). The "cloud" became a "fire" by night in order to be seen by the Lord's people.
upon all the glory—"upon the glorious whole"; namely, the Lord's people and sanctuary [Maurer]. May it not mean, "Upon whatever the glory (the Shekinah spoken of in the previous clause) shall rest, there shall be a defense." The symbol of His presence shall ensure also safety. So it was to Israel against the Egyptians at the Red Sea (Ex 14:19, 20). So it shall be to literal Jerusalem hereafter (Zec 2:5). Also to the Church, the spiritual "Zion" (Isa 32:18; 33:15-17; Heb 12:22).
tabernacle—Christ's body (Joh 1:14). "The word 'tabernacled' (Greek for 'dwelt') among us" (Joh 2:21; Heb 8:2). It is a "shadow from the heat" and "refuge from the storm" of divine wrath against man's sins (Isa 25:4). Heat and storms are violent in the East; so that a portable tent is a needful part of a traveller's outfit. Such shall be God's wrath hereafter, from which the "escaped of Israel" shall be sheltered by Jesus Christ (Isa 26:20, 21; 32:2).
covert—answering to "defense" (Isa 4:5). The Hebrew for defense in Isa 4:5, is "covering"; the lid of the ark or mercy seat was named from the same Hebrew word, caphar; the propitiatory; for it, being sprinkled with blood by the high priest once a year, on the day of atonement, covered the people typically from wrath. Jesus Christ is the true Mercy Seat, on whom the Shekinah rested, the propitiatory, or atonement, beneath whom the law is kept, as it was literally within the ark, and man is covered from the storm. The redeemed Israel shall also be, by union with Him, a tabernacle for God's glory, which, unlike that in the wilderness, shall not be taken down (Isa 38:20).