And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads…
If the two preceding verses may be regarded as descriptive of the Christian pilgrimage, the text may appropriately be treated as pictorial of the heavenly city in which that journey ends. The language of this verse suggests to us -
I. THE DISTINGUISHING FEATURE OF THOSE WHO ARE ADMITTED. They are "the ransomed of the Lord." They were in spiritual bondage: they have been redeemed by a Divine Deliverer; they have been ransomed at a great price; they have been rescued from the power of their enemies (outward and inward) and walk in liberty, thankful for what they have escaped from, anticipating the more perfect freedom and the more excellent estate they are travelling toward.
II. THE SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CITY ITSELF. "Shall come to Zion."
1. It is the very home of God. Jerusalem was "the city of God' - it was the place on earth which he chose for his manifested presence. There, in a peculiar sense, he abode; there, as in no other city, be was approached and was worshipped; there, as nowhere else, men felt that they stood in his near presence and rejoiced in fellowship with him. The heavenly Zion is to be to all who shall be received within its gates the place where God is, the home of the living and reigning Savior. There we are to be "at home with the Lord."
2. It is the place of perfect security and of transcendent beauty. The "mountains were round about Jerusalem," and "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, was Mount Zion." The heavenly city, of which it is the earthly type, will prove a home of absolute security, into which no enemy will ever come, from which temptation and sin are safely barred (see Revelation 21:27); and of surpassing beauty and glory (Revelation 21:1, 10, 11, 18, 19, 23). There shall be everything which will give pure and inexhaustible delight to all holy souls, to those in whom has been planted and nourished the appreciation of that which is really beautiful and glorious.
III. THE JOY WHICH WILL ATTEND ADMISSION. They "shall come to Zion with songs." How transcendent must that moment be when the human soul is assured, by actual sight of the heavenly city, that immortal glory is his blest estate!
IV. THE FULL AND ABIDING BLESSEDNESS OF THE CELESTIAL HOME. "Everlasting joy... sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Here are the two grand essentials of perfect blessedness.
1. The absence of all that mars. Here many a "goodly heritage" loses half its value to the possessor of it by reason of some one serious drawback; it is some bodily infirmity, or it is some grave anxiety, or it is some keen disappointment, or it is some irreparable loss which, though everything else be fair and fruitful, makes life seem to have as much of shadow as of sunshine. There, sorrow and sighing shall have fled away.
2. The presence of lasting and ever-growing joy. Here, with the constitution of our mind and with the fading of our faculty, pleasure palls, joys fade and disappear. After a few decades life becomes less and less valuable, until it is felt to be a burden that can ill be borne. There, it is an "everlasting song," and instead of its strain becoming less tuneful or inspiriting, the enlarging and unfolding powers of our immortal manhood will make the heavenly life more musical and rapturous as the years and the centuries are left behind us. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.