I. THE MOUNTAINS DROPPING WINE SYMBOLIZE THE SPIRITUAL JOYS OF CHRIST'S CHURCH. The Scriptures speak of wine as "making glad the heart of man." The "new wine" of the gospel is for the enjoyment of the elect. The wine of the kingdom is of celestial vintage; they who partake of it are "filled with the Spirit." The joy of the new covenant, the joy of the Lord, is the portion of the rescued, emancipated, and consecrated Israel.
II. THE HILLS FLOWING WITH MILK SYMBOLIZE THE SPIRITUAL NUTRIMENT OF CHRIST'S CHURCH. We are taught by the apostle to "desire the sincere milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby." Even the babes in Christ can partake of this nourishing spiritual diet; but the strong men do not disdain the food. As Canaan was "a land flowing with milk and honey," so the Church of the blessed Saviour abounds with all that can enrich and nourish and bless the people of God. "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more."
III. THE RIVERS FLOWING WITH WATERS SYMBOLIZE THE REVIVAL AND REFRESHMENT OF CHRIST'S CHURCH, Several of the prophets, expatiating (as they loved to do) upon the glorious prospect afforded them by inspiration of the future of the Church, describe one element of that happy future by the figure of a river flowing from its source in the Lord's house at Jerusalem, and fertilizing the soil until it should enter the Dead Sea or the Mediterranean. And the Apostle John beheld the river of the water of life, flowing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. How exact is the correspondence between the prediction and the reality! It was in Jerusalem that Jesus was condemned, and hard by that he suffered; and his cross was the source of a river of spiritual blessing to mankind. Wherever his Spirit penetrates, there life is revived, souls are saved, society is purified, weariness is refreshed. Not earth only, but heaven, is fertilized and cheered by the water which Christ gives in a sweet, unceasing stream. - T.
For I will cleanse their
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine.I. IT WILL BE AN AGE IN WHICH GREAT TEMPORAL PROSPERITY WILL BE WITNESSED. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters." Here we have set forth the temporal prosperity which the Church of God is destined to enjoy after the destruction of its enemies. The Church is now in great poverty. It does not possess the good things of the material universe. The world itself is barren. It is rendered so by greed and covetousness. But the day is coming when the meek shall inherit the earth, and when the earth shall spontaneously and richly yield her increase. The earth shall yield her harvest responsive to the smile of heaven.
II. IT WILL BE AN AGE IN WHICH THE HALLOWED MORAL INFLUENCES OF THE SANCTUARY SHALL PERVADE SOCIETY. "And a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim." Thus in the age to come there will issue from the sanctuary of the Lord a moral influence as pure, refreshing, and quickening as a stream of water, which shall be beneficial to the social life of men; indeed, society will be pervaded by the tide of thought, feeling, and praise which takes its rise in the secret place of the Most High. This tide shall reach even to the valley of Shittim; the most distant and barren places of society shall be awakened into moral verdure by the advent of the life-giving stream.
III. IT WILL BE AN AGE IN WHICH MORAL GOODNESS WILL BE CONTINUOUS AND PROGRESSIVE. "But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation." Then the redemption of the good will be eternal. They shall never again be led into captivity. Their moral condition will be permanent and happy: they shall dwell in it for ever. Sin of every kind is doomed to become a "desolate wilderness"; but purity, righteousness, truth, and virtuous character shall continue and progress in meaning and splendour through the ages.
IV. IT WILL BE AN AGE IN WHICH THE DIVINE PRESENCE WILL BE RICHLY MANIFESTED. "For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." The men of the age will be made morally pure, and then God will come and dwell in their midst. Lessons: —
1. The world has not yet reached its ideal condition.
2. There are agencies at work seeking to bring the world under Divine influences.
3. Let us derive encouragement from this picture of the future of the race.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
blood that I have not cleansed:
for the Lord dwelleth in Zion. —
Purified: — These words must be understood in the Christian and spiritual, not in the Jewish and literal sense. The Judah here spoken of is the spiritual Judah; those who are followers of the Lord, by the regenerating grace of God.
I. VITAL CONSECRATION TO GOD. "I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed." Take this strictly in a spiritual sense.
1. Medicinally. Illustrate by the circumstances of the cleansing of the leper. It is said, "the priest shall consider"; and we may be sure the Great Physician will consider those who seek Him with their sin-disease. And He will cleanse them, even cleanse the blood which is the life.
2. It relates to their citizenship. For nothing that defileth, worketh abomination, and maketh a lie, can enter into the city, can be reckoned a citizen.
II. THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. "The Lord dwelleth in Zion."
1. As the strength of Zion. It is strong if salvation be the walls.
2. As the security, or peace, of Zion. The defence of His people.
3. As "the source of happiness" to His people.
1. Purity. "I will cleanse, etc. Put last here, as a reason for the rest.
2. Plenty. "The mountains shall drop new wine." Such abundance shall they have of suitable provision.
3. Perpetuity. This crowns the rest.(1) The Church of Christ shall continue in the world to the end of time. All the living members of that Church shall be established in their happiness to the utmost ages of eternity.
( Matthew Henry.)
For the Lord dwelleth in Zion
I. The Church is the greatest WITNESS OF GOD. The very existence of the Church on earth shows that it is a witness of God's being, providence, and redemption. This will appear if we consider —
1. The Church of God is decidedly opposed to the principles and practice of the great mass of mankind. Its creed and conduct are thought to be holy, just, benevolent, and productive of happiness.
2. A great portion of mankind have in every age and clime opposed the Church. You cannot put your finger on a page of ecclesiastical history without discovering this.
3. Still the Church not only has existed, but it has increased. I am not able to account for this unless it be Divine interposition. From these considerations we can confidently say that the Church is a living witness of God in the midst of faithless generations. May it ever be a bold, brave, honest witness against sin in all its forms.
II. The Church is the brightest ILLUSTRATION OF GOD.
1. By publishing God's. own revelations. This was done by writing, translating, and. printing. If this had not been done, we should have been to this day under the influence of Druidism. Let the Word of God have free course, and wherever it goes it will cause the wilderness to blossom as the rose, and the parched earth to appear in verdure, fertility, and beauty.
2. By imitating His moral perfections. It not only says such a being as God exists, but in effect says, Look on me, and you shall see God's character exhibited. One of the servants of said once, very sagaciously, "Plato has written a book against anger, and yet he is one of the most angry of men." Christians speak much of Christianity as a system of love, yet they are hating and persecuting one another.
III. The Church is the highest INSTRUMENT OF GOD.
1. It ameliorates the outward sufferings of the world. I believe that there is throughout the world a favourable disposition towards Christianity, because it is calculated to better the temporal condition of mankind. Let us endeavour not to contradict this impression.
2. It converts the moral heart of the world. What a noble work God has given His Church to do; what a solemn charge! The conversion of the whole world. Let every individual feel his own responsibility. Let us unite in prayer, that we may be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
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