Isaiah 25:6
In the vegetable and animal kingdoms God has made full and rich provision for all the wants and cravings of our body - for its revival, its nourishment, its strength, its enjoyment. In the gospel of his grace he has granted us the most ample and generous provision for our spiritual nature. In Christ Jesus, in "the truth as it is in him," and in his holy service, we have all we need for -

I. OUR SPIRITUAL REVIVAL. Food, especially wine, is given to revive as well as to nourish. "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish" (Proverbs 31:6). Many a human life has been saved by the restoring cup administered with a wise hand. The wine of heavenly truth is for a revival indeed. From him who is the "true Vine" (John 15:1) comes that reanimating virtue which calls from spiritual death the soul that was about to perish in its sin.

II. NOURISHMENT. Food is, above all things, for sustenance. We partake of the kind and welcome growths of the garden and the field that the waste of our system may be repaired, and that life may be preserved in its fullness and integrity. Without constant refreshment from "the Word of the truth of the gospel," if we did not sit down daily to the table which God has spread for us in his heavenly wisdom, our souls would soon fade and fail and die. As we eat of the "Bread of life," as we drink of "the river that makes glad the city of God," we find our life sustained; we "live unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

III. STRENGTH. "A feast of fat things full of marrow." That which is ample, not only to sustain life, but to augment its force. "Of wines on the lees" - wines that have acquired, and will presumably impart, strength. In Jesus Christ is everything to confer spiritual vigor, manliness, power. Communion with him, the study of his life and character, active service in his cause, the direct communications which proceed from his upholding, energizing Spirit, - all these minister to spiritual strength; they are all open to every disciple, so that the Christian teacher has a right to say, imperatively, to the disciple, "Be strong in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:10).

IV. JOY. Wine and gladness are closely associated in Scripture (see Psalm 4:7; Psalm 104:18). Feasting and joy are also intimately connected. The provision which is made in the feast of the gospel is one that gives a purer, truer, more manly, more lasting joy; for it is the joy of the soul, and it is a joy in God.

V. ADAPTATION. The wine of this feast was to be strong for those who wanted strength - "on the lees;" it was also to be "well refined" for those who wanted the coarse flavor removed and desired purity as well as power (see Jeremiah 48:11). The same Divine truth, delivered from the same lips, contained within the same covers, has force, for those who need to be mightily wrought upon, and refinement for those whose moral perceptions are clear and whose spiritual taste is fine and cultured. There is everything on the table of our Lord to meet the varied cravings of these hearts of ours.

1. This is a feast which we are not at liberty to decline; for "the Lord of hosts has made it" - has prepared it with exceeding care and at great cost.

2. It is open to every hungering soul. It is made "unto all people." It is free to all. "He, every one that thirsteth," etc. - C.







A feast of fat things.
I. THE FEAST.

1. Spiritual blessings are here, as in other places, set forth under the emblem of feast (Proverbs 9:2-5; Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:4). In Christ, and in His Gospel, provision is made for our refreshment in various respects.(1) Truth is afforded for the understanding.(2) Beauty (the amiable perfections of God and Christ), goodness, love, hope, joy.(3) Provision is also made for the sustenance of the Divine life in the soul (John 6:32, 33, 47-57).(4) In the Gospel there is not barely provision, but "a feast"; abundant provision. A rich variety of truths, and clear and satisfactory discoveries concerning them. Abundant mercy, to remove the most aggravated guilt, and to give assurance of pardon, reconciliation, and peace. Abundant grace, to purify from all defilement, and enrich with holiness and comfort. There is most agreeable, rich, and delightful provision. But, for whom? For those who have their spiritual taste rectified, and have spiritual discernment (1 Corinthians 2:14). "A feast of fat things." Bishop Lowth reads, "of delicacies"; "of fat things full of marrow," or, "of delicacies exquisitely rich." The truths of the Gospel are enlarging, ennobling, and consoling to the mind; the grace of it enriching, invigorating, and comforting to the spirit; its doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, sweet and precious. Cheering, exhilarating provision. "Wines on the lees"; or, old wines (Lowth). The truths of the Gospel give the fullest satisfaction and comfort to believers. "Well refined." Refined from every impure and carnal mixture.

2. But where is the feast made? "In this mountain" This is said in allusion to Judaea, a mountainous country, and especially to Jerusalem and Mount Zion, whore this provision was first made. There Christ died and rose again, the Spirit was first poured out, the Gospel first preached, and the Christian Church first formed. But the Christian Church itself is often figuratively described under the terms, Jerusalem and Mount Zion (Hebrews 12:22).

3. Do we further inquire, for whom this feast is made, and on what terms such may partake of it! It is made "for all people," on the terms of repentance and faith.

4. To this feast we are invited. But we neither know by nature our want of these blessings, nor the worth of them, nor the way of attaining them. To remedy this evil we have —

II. A GRACIOUS PROMISE. "He will destroy the face," etc. The "face of the covering" is put by a hypallage, for the "covering of the face." The expression has a reference to the veil that was upon the face of Moses, or to that of the tabernacle and temple, both emblematical of the obscurity of that dispensation. But much darker was the dispensation the heathen were under. The veil of unbelief is also intended (Romans 11:32); and that of prejudice. These veils are removed by the plain and powerful preaching of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 3:12, 13). By the circulation of the Scriptures. By the "spirit of wisdom and revelation" (Ephesians 1:17-19). By the "heart turning to the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:16), and faith in Jesus (John 12:46). Here we have a manifest prophecy of the illumination and conversion of both Jews and Gentiles, and of the universal spread of religion.

III. THE EFFECT PRODUCED (ver. 8). The Messiah, who is the "light of the world," is the "light of life."

1. "He will swallow up death in victory."(1) Spiritual death, introduced by the sin of Adam, is swallowed up in victory Hence, "he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.(2) Temporal death.

2. "The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces." He will remove sufferings and sorrows, and the causes of them forever (Revelation 21:4).

3. "And the rebuke of His people," etc. This implies, that the people of God have been, and will be more or less, under reproach, in all ages, till the glorious period here spoken of arrive.

IV. THE JOY AND TRIUMPH OF GOD'S PEOPLE (ver. 9). Their enemies now reproach them, "Where is your God?" But what will then be the reply of the Lord's people? "Lo, this is our God"; we have trusted, hoped, waited for Him, and now He hath saved us. Henceforth we shall have the everlasting fruition of His glorious presence. The presence of God shall remain with the Church (ver. 10).

(J. Benson, D. D.)

This prophecy spans the Gospel dispensation. First, it presents to us the Gospel dispensation in its present state of grace. The prophet says "In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things." By "this mountain" the prophet intends Mount Zion; and from the literal Mount Zion it was that the Word of the Lord went forth, being preached in the first instance by the forerunner of Christ, and then by the incarnate Son of God Himself. And all the blessings which have flowed to the Church and to the world have come to us from Jerusalem — that Jerusalem which is the type of the Christian Church And you will observe that this Gospel dispensation, with its blessings and its privileges, is spoken of under the familiar imago of a feast. This imagery is eminently calculated to present to us an idea of the fulness of the grace of the Gospel. It is not as if God was offering provision to starving men just enough, as we should say in common parlance, to keep body and soul together. It is not a scanty provision: it is not a provision simply of bread and water. Now, in order to see what is meant let us apply this, in the first place, to the Gospel dispensation in its bearing upon sinners to whom the invitation is first addressed. You mark, in the first verse, that it is a feast of fat things. It is a feast of wine in the very best condition — wine which is old, settled upon its lees, and which by reason of its age has now attained its very best and choicest flavour. Now, let us observe how aptly this illustrates the provision of the Gospel in its aspect to those to whom the message and the invitation are still addressed. When we, for instance, as ministers, are called upon to deliver this invitation under any circumstances, we feel that we are entirely unhampered by any limitation as to persons, or by any limitation as to the question of sufficiency and adaptation to those who are invited. It is not, I mean, a scanty hospitality which God has provided. It is not such that he who has to deliver the invitation in this church, or anywhere else in the midst of the streets of London, has to consider, "Well, the Gospel is only intended for a certain class of sinners; the Gospel is only intended for certain kind of sins; and before I deliver this invitation I have to decide whether this is a case which it will suit, — whether this is a case which is included in the provision that is made, — whether I may not be deceiving and disappointing this man." No such thing. It is a feast; it is a feast of fat things; and it is a feast of the very choicest wines. What does all this mean when we strip off the imagery, — when we look at this not as a beautiful piece of prophetic poetry, but in its reality, in its actual bearing upon men to whom the Gospel is addressed? It means to say that there is abundant rich provision for every sinner. It means to say that God in His love has provided for the case of every man. It means that the blessings of salvation which we have to offer in Jesus Christ are not scanty blessings, — that they are not such blessings as leave us any doubt as to whether they will meet the case of this particular man, but that the salvation which is in Christ is a feast, and a feast of fat things. And then, again, take the aspect of this Gospel towards those who have already received the invitation, and who are, so to say, sitting down at the feast table. Every believing man who is in Christ is as a man sitting down at a perpetual feast. Everyday is, in this sense, a feast day to him. Every day is a day upon which he is to be feeding upon Christ, and to be nourishing his soul with the rich and costly blessings of salvation. Better to have the feeblest faith than to be an unbeliever. But is this the condition in which God would have His believing people to be? I say, no such thing. God intends that you should receive, and receive without doubting, and receive without reserve, when you come to Christ, the fulness and the freeness of His grace. He intends that you should believe Him when He says "Thy sins are forgiven." He does not expect of you that you should be content with saying "Ah, at some time or other God will forgive my sins: there is hope that my sins will be forgiven." He intends to make you feel, and desires to have you realise from day to day, that it is not simply bread and water, but that it is wine and milk. There is this unbroken continuity between what we call "grace" and what we very properly call "glory." You observe how this appears clearly in the end of the passage, because the prophet flows from one thing into the other as naturally as possible. What I want you particularly to mark, as one of the chief things I would impress upon you, is how, beginning with this Word of the Lord in Jerusalem — beginning with the taking away of the yell from off the faces of all people — beginning with the invitation to repent and believe and receive the remission of sins through our Lord Jesus Christ — the prophet goes on to what we find ultimately to be at the very end of the dispensation; how naturally, as if there was no break, as if it was just one flow of grace until, if I may so express it, the river of grace is lost in the vast expanse of the ocean of glory. There seems to be no chasm. Indeed, wherever there is in any young man or in any old man, in any woman or in any child, a work of grace — real, saving grace — that is the beginning, and glory with all its details and all its blessedness, all its companionships and all its occupations, will be nothing more than the full efflorescence and the full development and the full consummation of that work of grace which is begun. Well now, you see, these are blended together in the text; and the apostle says that God will in that day fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah, and that He will "swallow up death in victory." He will not do it before. Death is not swallowed up in victory, even when the triumphant Christian dies. But the apostle says, interpreting the words of the prophet, "Then shall be brought to pass the saying which is written"; that is, when the voice of the archangel shall be heard, and the trumpet shall sound, and when the graves shall give up their dead, and when they that have gone down to the grave in a natural body, in dishonour, in corruption, in feebleness, shall be raised in power and in incorruption and in glory, — "then shall be brought to past the saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." And this is to be followed by the fulfilment of the declaration of the prophet, interpreted by the figure of the Apocalypse. God is then to wipe away all tears. Tears, as we know, on earth, have many sources. There are the tears of penitence: we shall have to shed them no longer. There are the tears of anguish on account of temporal sorrow and bereavement and bodily suffering: we shall have to shed them no more. There are the tears of anxiety amid all the pressing cares of life. There are the tears of despondency and disappointment. We shall have to shed them no more. There is another source of tears while we are yet in the body. You and I have often shed tears from another cause — tears of joy. And why do we shed tears of joy? Because the joy is sometimes so sudden, it is so deep, it is so great, it so thoroughly overmasters us and transports us, that the feeble body cannot bear it; and the result is that tears course down our cheeks, and, as we say not infrequently, we "weep for joy." There will be no weeping for joy after the resurrection. Because, though we shall have the joy, we shall be capacitated to bear it: we shall have the joy, even the joy of our Lord, but our whole nature will be strong enough to enjoy that joy, and so there will be no more tears.

(J. C. Miller, D. D.)

A poet's imagination and a prophet's clear vision of the goal to which God will lead humanity are both at their highest in this great song of the future, whose winged words make music even in a translation. No doubt it starts from the comparatively small fact of the restoration of the exiled nation to its own land. But it soars far beyond that. It sees, all mankind associated with them in sharing its blessings. It is the vision of God's ideal for humanity. That makes it the more remarkable that the prophet, with this wide outlook, should insist with such emphasis on the fact that it has a local centre. That phrase "in this mountain" is three times repeated in the hymn; two of the instances have lying side by side with them the expressions "all people" and "all nations," as if to bring together the local origin and the universal extent of the blessings promised. The sweet waters that are to pour through the world well up from a spring opened "in this mountain." The beams that are to lighten every land stream out from a light blazing there. The world's hopes for that golden age which poets have sung, and towards which earnest social reformers have worked, and of which this prophet was sure, rest on a definite fact, done in a definite place, at a definite time. Isaiah knew the place, but what was to be done, or when it was to be he knew not. You and I ought to be wiser. History has taught us that Jesus Christ fulfils the visioned good that inspired the prophet's brilliant words. We might say, with allowable licence, that "this mountain," in which the Lord does the good things that this song magnifies, is not so much Zion as Calvary.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. WHERE DOES THE WORLD'S FOOD COME FROM? Physiologists can tell, by studying the dentition and the digestive apparatus of an animal, what it is meant to live upon, whether vegetables or flesh, or a mingled diet of both. And you can tell by studying yourself, what, or whom, you are meant to live upon. Look at these hearts of yours with their yearnings, their clamant needs. Will any human love satisfy the heart hunger of the poorest of us? No! Look at these tumultuous wills of ours that fancy they want to be independent, and really want an absolute master whom it is blessedness to obey. The very make of our being, our heart, will, mind, desires, passions, longings, all with one voice proclaim that the only food for a man is God. Jesus Christ brings the food that we need. "In this mountain is prepared a feast...for all nations." Notice, that although it does not appear on the surface, and to English readers, this world's festival, in which every want is met, and every appetite satisfied, is a feast on a sacrifice. Would that the earnest men, who are trying to cure the world's evils and still the world's wants, and are leaving Jesus Christ and His religion out of their programme, would ask themselves whether there is not something deeper in the hunger of humanity than their ovens can ever bake bread for.

II. WHERE DOES THE UNVEILING THAT GIVES LIGHT TO THE WORLD COME FROM? My text emphatically repeats, "in this mountain." The pathetic picture that is implied here, of a dark pall that lies over the whole world, suggests the idea of mourning, but still more emphatically that of obscuration and gloom. The veil prevents vision and shuts out light, and that is the picture of humanity as it presents itself before this prophet — a world of men entangled in the folds of a dark pall that lay over their heads, and swathed them round about, and prevented them from seeing; shut them up in darkness and entangled their feet, so that they stumbled in the gloom. It is a pathetic picture, but it does not go beyond the realities of the case. There is a universal fact of human experience which answers to the figure, and that is sin. That is the black thing whose ebon folds hamper us, and darken us, and shut out the visions of God and blessedness, and all the glorious blue above us. The weak point of all these schemes and methods to which I have referred for helping humanity out of the slough, and making men happier, is that they underestimate the fact of sin. There is only one thing that deals radically with the fact of human transgression; and that is the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, and its result, the inspiration of the Spirit of life that was in Jesus Christ, breathed into us from the throne itself.

III. WHERE DOES THE LIFE THAT DESTROYS DEATH COME FROM? "He will swallow up death in victory." Or, as probably the word more correctly means, "He will swallow up death forever." None of the other panaceas for the world's evils even attempt to deal with that "shadow feared of man" that sits at the end of all our paths. Jesus Christ has dealt with it.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. HUMANITY IS MORALLY FAMISHING — CHRISTIANITY HAS PROVISIONS. "A feast of fat things," etc. The feverish restlessness and the earnest racing after something not yet attained, show the hungry and thirsty state of the soul. Christianity has the provisions, which are —

1. Adequate: "for all people."

2. Varied: "wines and fat things full of marrow."

3. Pleasant: "wines on the lees well refined."

II. HUMANITY IS MORALLY BENIGHTED — CHRISTIANITY HAS ILLUMINATION. "He will destroy in this mountain," etc. Men are enwrapped in moral gloom; they have their, "understanding...darkened" (Ephesians 4:18). "The veil is upon their hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:15). Physical darkness is bad enough, intellectual darkness is worse, moral darkness is the worst of all. It is a blindness to the greatest Being, the greatest obligations, and the greatest interests. Christianity has moral light. Christ is "the light of the world." Indeed, Christianity gives the three conditions of moral vision: — the visual faculty; opens the eyes of conscience; the medium, which is truth; and the object, which is God, etc.

III. HUMANITY IS MORALLY DEAD — CHRISTIANITY HAS LIFE. "He will swallow up death in victory." Men are "dead in trespasses and sins" The valley of dry bones is a picture of moral humanity. Insensibility, utter subjection to external forces, and offensiveness, are some of the characteristics of death. Christianity has life. Its truths with a trumpet's blast call men up from their moral graves. Its spirit is quickening. "You hath He quickened," etc.

IV. HUMANITY IS MORALLY UNHAPPY — CHRISTIANITY HAS BLESSEDNESS. There are tears on "all faces." Go to the heathen world, and there is nothing but moral wretchedness. The whole moral creation groaneth: conflicting passions, remorseful reflections, foreboding apprehensions, make the world miserable. Christianity provides blessedness.

V. HUMANITY IS MORALLY REPROACHED — CHRISTIANITY HAS HONOUR. "And the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth." Man morally rebukes himself; he is rebuked by his fellow man; he is rebuked by his Maker. He is under "condemnation." And the rebuke is just. Christianity removes this. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." It exalts man to the highest honour.

(Homilist.)

"V" in Homilist.
I. THE PLACE SPECIFIED. "In this mountain." Mountains are often spoken of in the Scriptures, and wonderful things were done on some of them. The ark rested on a mountain; Abraham offered up his son Isaac on a mountain, etc. The Church may be compared to a mountain —

1. Because of its conspicuousness.

2. Because of its exposure to storms.

3. Because of its stability.

4. Because it is beautiful and beneficial. Mountains break the monotony of the landscape, are good for shelter, and rich with valuable substances. The Church is a thing of moral beauty, and should be rich in faith, love, and zeal.

II. THE BUSINESS TO BE DONE IN THIS MOUNTAIN. Face coverings and veils have to be destroyed. People have to be prepared for a feast: and with veiled faces and muffled mouths they can neither see nor eat. The coverings which sin has thrown over all people are —

1. Ignorance. Sin made Adam so ignorant that he tried to hide himself from the presence of an omnipresent and omniscient God by creeping among the trees in the Garden of Eden. And his children are also as ignorant of God.

2. Shame and slavish fear. This drives men from God as it did their first father.

3. Unbelief; causing men to reject Christ, and to stagger at God's promises. From thousands of minds such coverings, thick and strong though they be, have been torn and destroyed.

III. THE FEAST THAT IS TO FOLLOW. The Church is not a place of amusement merely, or a lecture room, but the soul's feasting place, where all the dainties of Heaven can be had. At a feast there is generally found —

1. Variety.

2. Plenty. God's stores can never be exhausted.

3. Good company is expected. At this feast you have God's nobility on earth, princes and princesses, kings and priests, and you are favoured with the presence of the King of kings Himself. Nowhere out of Heaven can the company be more select.

4. Here all is gratis.

("V" in Homilist.)

These words are prophetical, and cannot have a perfect performance all at once, but they shall be performed gradually. I will show why Christ, with His benefits, prerogatives, graces, and comforts, is compared to a feast.

I. In regard of THE CHOICE OF THE THINGS. In a feast all things are of the best; so are the things we have in Christ. They are the best of everything. Pardon for sin is a pardon of pardon. The title we have for Heaven, through Him, is a sure title. The joy we have by Him is the joy of all joys. The liberty and freedom from sin, which He purchased for us by His death, is perfect freedom. The riches of grace we have by Him are the only lasting and durable riches.

II. There is VARIETY. In Christ there is variety answerable to all our wants. Are we foolish? He is wisdom. Have we guilt in our consciences 7 He is righteousness, and this righteousness is imputed unto us, etc.

III. There is FULL SUFFICIENCY. There is abundance of grace, and excellency and sufficiency in Christ.

IV. A feast is for COMPANY. This is a marriage feast, at which we are contracted to Christ. Of all feasts, marriage feasts are most sumptuous.

V. For a feast ye have THE CHOICEST GARMENTS, as at the marriage of the Lamb, "white and flue linen" (Revelation 19:8).

VI. This was SIGNIFIED IN OLD TIME BY THE JEWS.

1. In the Feast of the Passover.

2. Manna was a type of Christ.

3. The hard rock in the wilderness, when it was struck with the rod of Moses, presently water gushed out in abundance, which preserved life to the Israelites; so Christ, the rock of our salvation, when His precious side was gored with the bloody lance upon the Cross, the blood gushed out, and in such a manner and such abundance, that by the shedding thereof our souls are preserved alive.

4. All the former feasts in times past were but types of this.

5. In the sacrament you have a feast, a feast of varieties, not only bread, but wine — to shew the variety and fulness of comfort in Christ.

VII. Because there can be no feast where the greatest enemy is in force, HE SWALLOWS UP DEATH IN VICTORY.

( Sibbes, Richard, D. D.)

In the single circumstance that the feast foretold by the prophet was to be a feast "to all people," there is an obvious reference to the Gospel dispensation; for feasts among the Jews were more or less exclusive, and in no instance, not even on occasions of the most intense interest and joy, were they made accessible to the Gentiles by open and indiscriminate invitation. Besides, in the subsequent context, there is a prediction respecting the conquest of death by believers, which is quoted by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15), and is directly applied by him to that most blessed and triumphant result of the death of Christ. This quotation gives to the whole prediction a New Testament aspect.

I. WHO IS REPRESENTED AS MAKING THIS FEAST. "The Lord of hosts." This is one of God's names, which calls up the majesty of His nature. He dwells amidst the bright angels, controls the stormiest tide of battle, prescribes their courses to the great lights of the firmament; yet though thus almighty, independent, supreme, He makes a feast for guilty, polluted man. Nor is it a feast in the ordinary sense of the term. As the world is now constituted, He may be said to have spread, out such a feast in the riches of that universe which He has so skilfully contrived, and so munificently adorned. There is a feast in its aspects of beauty and grandeur — in its vastness and variety — in its perfection and magnificence — in its wondrous laws and minute provisions. Still more; there is a feast in the comforts, the privileges, and pleasures of civilised life — in the means of acquiring knowledge — in the protection of righteous laws — in the blessings of the domestic constitution — in the progress of nations — and in the triumphs or reason. But far different is the feast foretold in the text. It is a spiritual feast; a feast for the undeserving; a feast which required important arrangements to be made before it could be provided.

II. THE SCENE OF ENTERTAINMENT. "On this mountain." "This mountain" means Zion or Jerusalem, which was the select scene of Divine manifestation and worship to the chosen people. Zion came to be identified with the Church of God; and in the Old Testament it is frequently employed as synonymous with it. It is emphatically styled "the mountain of the Lord's house" Its great distinction consisted in this — it was the scene where the Divine presence was manifested in a visible glory, and where answers were vouchsafed to the prayers of the faithful. In one sense, the feast might be said to have been prepared at the period the prediction of the text was announced. As the believing Jews waited on the spiritual services of the temple, they partook of this feast. Truths of unspeakable importance occupied their attention; their minds were elevated, comforted and soothed by them; and, as they descended from the sacred hill, again to engage in the ordinary duties and cares of life, it must have been with refreshed and joyful hearts, with conscious satisfaction, and with a settled tranquillity. The full revelation of the Gospel, however, was more appropriately and emphatically the time of festivity. Now this full revelation might be said to have been made on Zion or in Jerusalem. It was in the temple of Zion that the infant Redeemer was first recognised by aged Simeon; there He was dedicated to the Lord by His mother, Mary. From time to time, He appeared within its gates, addressing the people; while, on one memorable occasion, He asserted His authority as its master by driving forth the dove merchants and the money changers, by whom it had been recklessly profaned. There, too, it is to be remembered, was the scene of His last suffering — there He shed the blood of atonement, and there He abolished death by dying. When He had left our world, it was in Jerusalem that His apostles first began to preach; it was "in an upper room" there that they met with one accord, and engaged in prayer, the Spirit came plentifully down, and by means of one sermon, three thousand converts were added to the Church. Jerusalem continued to be the scene of amazing triumphs. The city of the prophets was shaken to its centre; the feast of grace was spread out; the invitation was freely announced; multitudes from distant heathen lands heard the Gospel sound, and crowded to the scene of entertainment. There is a peculiarity respecting this feast which requires to be considered. It is not, like other feasts, restricted as to time or place; it is a feast for all times and for all places.

III. THE FEAST ITSELF. It is a feast of best things. We consider this figurative language as strikingly descriptive of the peculiar blessings the Gospel offers to guilty, ruined man. This provision grows by distribution; like the miraculous loaves in the Gospel, the fragments after every participation are more abundant than the original supply.

IV. THE GUESTS FOR WHOM THE FEAST IS MADE. "All people." There is no distinction, and there is no limit. This feast presents a striking contrast with the feasts usually made by men. When men invite to a feast, they select a class — kindred, friends, or, perhaps more frequently, rich neighbours. But the feast foretold in the text, is to be a feast "for all people." The vastness of its extent strikingly illustrates the power and the mercy of the Divine Entertainer. Conclusion: — There is one question of immense importance, Have you accepted the invitation to come to this feast!

(A. Bennie, M. A.)

God, in the verse before us, has been pleased to describe the provisions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Other interpretations are all flat and stale, and utterly unworthy of such expressions as those before us. When we behold the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed, offered up upon the chosen mountain, we then discover a fulness of meaning in these gracious words of sacred hospitality. Our Lord Himself was very fond of describing His Gospel under the self-same image as that which is here employed.

I. THE FEAST. It is described as consisting of viands of the best, nay, of the best of the best. They are fat things, but they are also fat things full of marrow. Wines are provided of the most delicious and invigorating kind, wines on the lees, which retain their aroma, their strength, and their flavour; but these are most ancient and rare, having been so long kept that they have become well refined; by long standing they have purified, clarified themselves, and brought themselves to me highest degree of brightness and excellence.

1. Let us survey the blessings of the Gospel, and observe that they are fat things, and fat things full of marrow:(1) Complete justification.(2) Adoption.(3) Every child of God is me object of eternal love, without beginning and without end.(4) Union to Christ.(5) Resurrection and everlasting life.

2. Changing the run of the thought, and yet really keeping to the same subject, let me now bring before you the goblets of wine. These we shall consider as symbolising the joys of the Gospel.(1) One of the dearest joys of the Christian life is a sense of perfect peace with God.(2) A sense of security.(3) Communion with God.(4) The pleasures of hope, a hope most sure and steadfast, most bright and glorious.(5) These joys of the believer are ancient in their origin. Old wines are intended by "wines well refined"; they have stood long on the lees, have drawn out all the virtue from them, and have been cleared of all the coarser material.(6) The fulness of their excellence, because the wine on the lees holds its flavour, and retains its aroma; and there is a fulness and richness about the blessings of Divine grace which endear them to our hearts.(7) Their refined nature. Gospel joys are elevating.(8) How absolutely peerless are the provisions of grace.

II. THE BANQUETING HALL. "In this mountain." There is a reference here to three things — the same symbol bearing three interpretations.

1. Literally, the mountain upon which Jerusalem is built. The reference is here to the hill of the Lord upon which Jerusalem stood; the great transaction which was fulfilled at Jerusalem upon Calvary hath made to all nations a great feast.

2. Frequently Jerusalem is used as the symbol of the Church of God, and it is within the pale of the Church that the great feast of the Lord is made unto all nations. The mountain sometimes means the Church of God exalted to its latter day glory.

III. THE HOST of the feast. In the Gospel banquet there is not a single dish brought by man. I know some would like to bring a little with them to the banquet, something at least by way of trimming and adornment, so that they might have a share of the honour; but it must not be, the Lord of hosts makes the feast, and He will not even permit the guests to bring their own wedding garments — they must stop at the door and put on the robe which the Lord has provided, for salvation is all grace from first to last. The Lord provides sovereignly as "Lord of hosts," and all-sufficiently as Jehovah. It needed the all-sufficiency of God to provide a feast for hungry sinners. If God spread the feast it is not to be despised If He provide the feast, let Him have the glory of it.

IV. THE GUESTS. — "For all people." This includes not merely the chosen people, the Jews, whose were the oracles, but it encompasses the poor uncircumcised Gentiles, who by Jesus are brought nigh.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The prophets of old prophesied of the grace of Christ which should come unto us (1 Peter 1:10); and of these none more than our evangelical prophet.

I. THE MAKER AND MASTER OF THE FEAST, the Lord Himself. It is a royal feast, with which the King of Zion entertains His own subjects. Particularly, it is the Lord Christ, the Son of God, who, pitying the famished condition of poor sinners, was at the expense of this costly feast for them; for the Maker of it is the same who swallows up death in victory (ver. 8). A warlike title is ascribed to Him, the "Lord of hosts" for there is a banner in Christ's banqueting house; and this feast looks both backward and forward to a war.

II. THE GUESTS FOR WHOM THIS FEAST IS PROVIDED. It is made for "all people." The invitation is given to all who come in its way, without distinction or exception of any sort of persons.

III. THE GUEST CHAMBER WHERE THIS FEAST IS HELD. "In this mountain," namely, Mount Zion, that is, the Church.

IV. THE MATTER OF THE FEAST. A feast imports abundance and variety of good entertainment; and here nothing is wanting which is suitable for hungry souls. In this valley of the world lying in wickedness, there is nothing for the soul to feed on but carrion, nothing but what would be loathed, except by those who were never used to better: but in this mountain, there is a "feast of fat things," things most relishing to those who taste them, most nourishing to those who feed on them; and these are "full of marrow," most satisfying to the soul. In this valley of the world there is nothing but muddy waters, which can never quench the thirst of the soul, but must ruin it with the dregs ever cleaving to them; but here, on this mountain, are "wines on the lees well refined."

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. SHOW THE ABSOLUTE NEED THERE IS OF THIS PROVISION. A lost world, by Adam's fall, the great prodigal, was reduced to a starving condition. The King of Heaven set down Adam, and his posterity in him, to a well-covered table in paradise, in this lower world, making a covenant of friendship with him, and with them in him. But man being drawn into rebellion against God, Adam and all his posterity were driven out of the guest chamber, the family was broken and scattered, having nothing left them.

1. In point of need, Adam left us with hungry hearts, like the prodigal (Luke 15:16). Every one finds himself not self-sufficient, and therefore his soul cleaves to something without itself to satisfy it. He left us also with thirsty consciences, scorched and burnt up with heat.

2. In point of supply, he left us without any prospect, for all communication with Heaven was stopped. War was declared against the rebels, so that there could be no transportation of provisions from thence. Adam's sons, abandoned of Heaven, fell a-begging at the world's door, if so be they might find rest and satisfaction in the creature. The natural man is born weeping, lives seeking, and will die disappointed, if not brought to the feast of fat things.

II. EXPLAIN WHAT THE PROVISION IS WHICH CHRIST HAS PREPARED FOR THE SOULS OF SUCH A FAMISHED WORLD. This, in a word, is His precious self; the Maker of the feast is the matter of it.

III. CONSIDER WHAT SORT OF A FEAST IT IS.

1. It is a feast upon a sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8).

2. It is a covenant feast (Hebrews 13:20, 21).

3. It is a marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-4). The Lord Christ is the Bridegroom, and the captive daughter of Zion the bride.

4. It is a feast which has a respect to war. The Lord of hosts made it. It looks backward to that terrible encounter which Christ had with the law, with death, with hell, and the grave, upon the account of His ransomed ones, and that glorious victory which He obtained over them, by which He wrought the deliverance of His people. It is provided for and presented to His people to animate and strengthen them for the spiritual warfare against the devil, the world, and the flesh; and none can truly partake of it, but those who are resolved on that battle, and are determined to pursue it, till they obtain the complete victory at death.

5. It is a weaning feast. There is a time prefixed in the decree of God, at which all who are His shall, by converting grace, be weaned from their natural food.

IV. CONFIRM THAT ALL PEOPLE WHO WILL COME, MAY COME, AND PARTAKE OF THIS FEAST.

1. Christ invites all without distinction, even the worst of sinners, to this spiritual feast.

2. For what end does Jesus send out His messengers with a commission to invite all to come, if they were not welcome? (Matthew 22:9).

3. He takes it heinously amiss when any refuse to come.

V. PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

In this sacred feast there is —

I. VAST ABUNDANCE. The unsearchable riches, and all the fulness, that it hath pleased the Father should dwell in Jesus Christ. Here the saints receive large measures of knowledge; such degrees of holiness as shall gradually carry them forward to be perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect; and such plentiful consolations as shall fill them with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

II. RICH VARIETY. Pardon of sin, etc. The Holy Spirit to renew, sanctify, comfort, etc.; strength for the performance of duty, support under affliction, etc. Here is the milk of the Word for babes, strong meat for them whose senses are exercised to discern both good and evil, the water of life for such as are thirsty, the bread of life for those that are hungry, and the choicest fruits for them that are weak and languishing.

III. MOST EXCELLENT PROVISION. "Fat things, full of marrow," etc.

IV. These are joined with GREAT FESTIVITY AND JOY among those who partake of the feast.

(R. Macculloch.)

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