Neither let the son of the stranger, that has joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying…
The temple or house of God (ver. 7) stands for his kingdom of righteousness; and in exalted vision the prophet foresees the time when it shall stand open to every man - to the stranger or heathen, and even to those physically debarred. It is to be called "a house of prayer for all people. It is worthy of note that it should be called a house of prayer; the truth is intimated that, in the kingdom of God, sacrifice performed by the few on behalf of the many will yield to the spiritual approach by all to the Father of souls; that one principal purpose of worship is that of coming into close, holy, personal fellowship with the living God. But the main truth of the passage is found in the thought of -
I. THE OPEN GATE INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. When God's full purpose should be revealed, there would be a kingdom or Church which should be open to every child of man, irrespective of his nationality or his physical peculiarities; the time should come when there would be neither Greek nor Jew, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. The gracious purpose of God is fulfilled only in the gospel of his Son. There we find the common salvation," broad as the race of man.
1. It is adapted to all men everywhere, however apart and afar they may be from the scene of its birth. Judaism, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, have local features; they are peculiarly adapted to men living in certain latitudes and longitudes, with certain surroundings and national habits and wants; they have their limitations. But into the gospel of Jesus Christ limitation or partiality does not enter; it is as perfectly suited to men of one clime as to those of another; we cannot think of men under any earthly conditions whatever for whose elevation and happiness it is not thoroughly fitted.
2. It is intended for, and is powerful over, those furthest removed from the knowledge and the likeness of God. It purified the corrupt Corinthian; it softened the hard Roman; it sobered and solemnized the flippant Athenian; it has civilized the most savage barbarian; it has rescued and transformed the most degraded citizens of our modern civilization; it has proved itself the power of God to redeem and regenerate the very worst that have defaced the human image and disgraced the human name.
3. It is needed by those who are nearest the sources of truth; for it convicts even the best of unworthiness and guilt, and it finds for them a Saviour and a reconciliation.
II. THE CONDITIONS OF CITIZENSHIP. The gate is open into the blessed kingdom, but it is a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy (Romans 14:17). Only they can be accounted citizens who fulfil certain spiritual conditions. These are indicated here. They are:
1. Drawing nigh to God through the appointed means - the sabbath day, the house of prayer, etc.
2. Accepting God's method of reconciliation; i.e. by faith in his Son, our Saviour; "taking hold of his covenant" (see Philippians 3:7 - 9).
3. Conforming the life to God's holy will; "choosing the things that please haul," rather than those which please ourselves or others; engaging in his service (ver. 6). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.