Go out, go out through the gates; prepare the way for the people! Build it up, build up the highway; clear away the stones! Raise a banner for the nations to see.
Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:11).
I. THE WAY CLEARED. The gates of Babylon are to be thrown open. Invisible servants of Jehovah are to prepare the way (Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 57:14). A great highway (as in Isaiah 11:16) is seen stretching homeward, from which the party of pioneers is removing obstructions; and on high there floats a banner over the escort of Gentile people (Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 11:10, 12).
II. THE PROCLAMATION. The news of the approaching salvation of Israel is to be published to the ends of the earth. Meanwhile Zion, by means of angelic or prophetic ministry, is to be informed of her coming deliverance. He who is Retributor and Compensator is at hand.
III. THE REALIZATION OF ZION'S DESTINY. The people are to be known once more by that great appellation given them in the Law (Exodus 19:6), the holy people, partaking of the nature of the holy God - by him redeemed, by him sanctified - a title which passed over into Christian use. In contrast to her former isolation and neglectedness (Jeremiah 30:17), the city will be "sought out," the object of the nations' love and care. In Christians as the elect, the beloved of God, in the Church as the "city set on a hill," or as a glorious and spotless bride, may be found the Christian fulfilment of these prophecies. - J.
Go through, go through the gates.I. THE GLORIOUS EVENT TO BE PROCLAIMED (ver. 11). When the Divine Spirit would attract special attention to any subject, He prefixes "Behold" to the truth revealed. We have here "Behold thrice repeated.
1. The nature of the event. "Thy salvation cometh. Thy salvation is rendered by the ancient versions (Syriac, Arabic, LXX, Chaldee, Vulgate) and the best modern interpreters, "Thy Saviour;" and from the words, "His reward is with Him," it is clear that this is the intended meaning of the prophet. The glowing promises of our text, and the prophecies connected with it, were most manifestly never fulfilled at His first coming. The second coming of Christ as the Deliverer of His people Israel is then the event here foretold; an event yet before the Church (Romans 11:26, 27). It is not enough to proclaim Christ crucified to the Jews; we must also proclaim the once crucified Immanuel speedily to appear in glory, to punish His rebellious subjects, and to save His people.
2. The things connected with this event. "His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." It is not quite clear whether "His reward" refers to the reward which Christ receives or which He bestows. Our Lord is to "see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied," and He is to be "glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe." But I apprehend that the reward which He bestows is here intended (Revelation 22:12). He has also a work to perform. What that work is, we may learn from the following chapters. It comprehends, doubtless, a lengthened series of events. Notice these three — the overthrow of His enemies; the mercies in store for Israel; the establishment of His kingdom.
3. Its required proclamation. By "the daughter of Zion ' is meant the Jewish nation. It is a solemnly announced command to all to tell the Jews of the Coming Saviour. But why should the Lord tell the ends of the world to care for Zion? He foresaw and foreordained that the Jews should be scattered everywhere, that there might not be a spot upon the earth uninterested in or unmoved by their return. It was always the duty of Christians to preach the Gospel "to the Jew first," and then to the Gentile.
II. THE BLESSED RESULT OF THIS EVENT TO THE JEWS (ver. 12). The words apparently lead us to two classes of persons to be blessed at our Saviour's coming.
1. "They shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord;"
2. "Thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken?' There may be a reference in the first class to the converted Gentiles (), and in the second to the converted Jews. Through the chapter these are combined, while the Jews arc addressed by the personal pronoun (ver. 2). In this view, our text would contain a delightful reciprocation of congratulation between Jews and Gentiles. Yet, as the leading subject of the chapter is the restoration of the Jews, and as, in the preceding verse, the ends of the world are to be addressed on the subject, it is rather probable that the word "they" may here refer to the admiring nations of the earth. They shall call them, i.e. the Jews, the holy or consecrated people, the redeemed of the Lord;" and then the prophet himself, as if beholding Jerusalem thus glorious, changes the person and number of his language, and in the rapture of exultation exclaims, "Thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken."
III. THE. DUTIES TO "WHICH WE ARE CALLED (ver. 10). Here the inhabitants of cities, where. ever the Jews may be, are called to prepare roads for their return to their own land, that they and the nations at large may be ready to receive and welcome the great Lord and King of the whole earth. The general direction is to prepare the Jews, and thus also the Gentiles, for the coming Saviour.
1. Indifference is to be cast off. "Go through, go through the gates." The double direction shows the ardour of the Divine mind, the importance of the duty, how dull Christians in general would be to it, and how needful to rouse them by repeated exhortations.
2. A way is to be prepared. "Prepare ye the way of the people," etc.
3. A standard is also to be lifted up for the nations. "Lift up a standard for the people." This is added not only as a duty to be discharged, but as a great encouragement to fulfil duties to the Jews, by the blessed effect it will undoubtedly have upon all nations. The meaning of this standard will be more clear by referring to Isaiah 11:10-12. A standard is a token of war: it is to assemble, direct and encourage the army, and to animate them in proceeding against their enemies. To lift up this standard is to preach the Gospel. But for whom is this standard to be lifted up? "For the people. The original is in the plural number, "for the peoples," and it is by the best translators rendered, "the nations." The restoration of the Jews, then, is a part of the Divine plan for attracting the attention of and for blessing the whole world.
Gather out the stones.I. ENDEAVOUR TO REMOVE SOME OF THE STUMBLING-BLOCKS OUT OF THE POOR BEGINNER'S WAY.
1. Let us begin with a very old and common difficulty, the doctrine of election. Many will say, "Perhaps I am not one of God's chosen." I know not any better way of practically treating the matter than of saying, "I will go to Jesus because He bids me.' When you are ill you do not know whether you are ordained to get well, but you send for the doctor; you cannot toll whether you are predestined to be rich, but you endeavour to make money; you do not know whether you will live through the day, but you work to provide yourself with bread; thus common-sense cuts the knot which mere theory can never untie. Leave the subtleties of argument alone, and act as sensible men. Go to Jesus and try whether He will reject you.
2. A deep sense of sin. If there had not been great sin, there would not have been need of a great Saviour.
3. A fear that the day of grace has passed. The Lord's grace can come to a man at any time, and at any hour.
4. A tendency to blasphemous thoughts. They should lead you to go and tell Jesus Christ about it, but they should not drive you to despair.
5. The absence of anything like a horrible thought, or a terror, or an alarm. If you arc allowed to come to Jesus without being so molested by the Evil One, do not fret about that, but rather rejoice. There is no need to go round by bell's gate to get to heaven.
6. A want of sensibility with regard to their sins. A man is saved by having his heart broken, and being led to cast himself upon Jesus; and if you have not yet received this part of salvation, your business is to come to Jesus for it, not to stay away till you get it of yourself, and then come to Christ with your feelings as a recommendation.
7. "I cannot believe." The smallest grain of saving faith will save a man. It is the object of faith we should look to.
8. "I do not think I can be saved, because I am not like so-and-so." Do be content to have nothing good in yourself, and to be nothing good, and to take all your good from Jesus Christ.
9. "I never have any joy and peace." You shall receive the joy when you exercise the faith.
II. POINT YOU TO HIM WHO IS "THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE" who has already cleared the stumbling-blocks out of the way.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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