INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 62
This chapter is a continuation of the prophecy of the glory of the church in the latter day. The prophet expresses his earnest desire for it, and his full assurance of it, Isaiah 62:1 which should lie in a new name, by which she should be called, and in her being a glorious crown and diadem in the hand of the Lord, Isaiah 62:3, in having her sons with her, and the Lord rejoicing over her, Isaiah 62:5, in having watchmen on her walls, and such as are the Lord's remembrancers in the midst of her, Isaiah 62:6, in plenty of food, Isaiah 62:8, in the coming of the Saviour, and in the gathering of elect Gentiles both to him and her, Isaiah 62:10.
For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,.... By Zion and Jerusalem, the church in Gospel times is meant, as it often is in this book, and elsewhere; see Hebrews 12:22, for whose glory, prosperity, and safety, a concern is here expressed. Some take them to be the words of God himself, as the Targum and Kimchi; who seems to be silent and at rest, and even as it were asleep, when he does not arise and exert himself on the behalf of his people; but here he declares he would not be as one silent and at rest, nor let the kingdoms and nations of the world be at rest until the deliverer of his people was come, either Cyrus the type, or Christ the antitype: others take them to be the words of Israel in captivity, as Aben Ezra; though he afterwards observes they are the words of God, or of the church of God, soliciting her own restoration, prosperity, and glory: but they are the words of the prophet, expressing his great love and affection for the church, and his importunate desire of her happiness, intimating that he would never leave off praying for it till it was completed; not that he expected to live till the Messiah came, or to see the glory of the latter day, and of the church in it; but the sense is, that he would continue praying for it without ceasing as long as he lived, and he knew his prayers and his prophecies would live after he was dead; and that there would be persons raised up in the church that would succeed him in this work, till all the glorious things promised and prophesied of should be accomplished:
until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness; meaning either till the church's innocence is made as clear as the brightness of the sun at noonday, and she is vindicated from the calumnies and reproaches cast upon her, and open vengeance is taken on her enemies by the Lord, from whom her righteousness is, and by whom her wrongs will be righted; or until the righteousness of Christ, which is by imputation her righteousness, is wrought out by him and revealed in the Gospel, and she appears to all to be clothed with it, as with the sun, Revelation 12:1, which will be the case when to her shall be given to be arrayed openly with that fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints, and will be the time of her open marriage to the Lamb, Revelation 19:7,
and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth; which gives light, and is seen afar off; her open deliverance from all her enemies, Pagan, Papal, and Mahometan; and her salvation by Jesus Christ, which will be more clearly published in the Gospel ministry in the latter day, and more openly seen and enjoyed in the effects of it. The Vulgate Latin version of this and the preceding clause is,
"until her righteous one goes forth as brightness, and her Saviour as a lamp that burneth;'
meaning Christ the righteous, and the Saviour of his body the church, who in his first coming was as a burning and shining light, even like the sun, the light of the world; and whose spiritual coming will be in such a glorious manner, that he will destroy antichrist with the brightness of it, and is therefore very desirable, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The Targum of the whole is,
"till I work salvation for Zion, I will give no rest to the people; and till consolation comes to Jerusalem, I will not let the kingdoms rest, till her light is revealed as the morning, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth.'
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness,.... The innocence of her case, and the justness of her cause, and the vengeance took on her enemies, all being so clear as before declared; as well as her justifying righteousness, which being published in the Gospel to the Gentiles, they shall see it, embrace it, and shall be justified by it, Romans 1:17 or "thy righteous One", as the Vulgate Latin version, Christ:
and all kings thy glory; or, "thy glorious One", as the same version; her Lord in whom she glories, and who is a glory to her, whom kings shall fall down before and worship, Psalm 72:10 or the glorious state of the church, which shall draw the eyes of kings unto it, and who shall promote it by bringing their glory into it, Isaiah 60:1. Vitringa thinks all this refers to the times of Constantine, before which kings had not seen the glory of the church, nor had she seen kings subject to her; but now they began to see the glory of the kingdom of Christ: but it is better to interpret it of the latter day, when not only kings begin to see, not a few of them, but all in general shall see it:
and thou shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name; either "Jehovah Shammah", "The Lord is there"; his presence being among his church and people at this time in a remarkable manner, Ezekiel 48:35 or Jehovah our righteousness; this being most clearly revealed, as before observed, Jeremiah 33:16 or Christ, to whom she is so closely united, and so nearly allied, as to have his name on her, 1 Corinthians 12:12 or the church, and church of God, and of Christ, names only to be met with in the New Testament, and under the Gospel dispensation; or the name of Christians from Christ, Acts 11:26, or, as is more commonly received, the name of the sons of God, which the church of converted Jews shall have in the latter day, when the name of "Loammi" is taken off from them, Hosea 1:10, and to this passage there may be an allusion in Revelation 2:17. This name is a new name; a renewed one, at the time of regeneration and faith, which was anciently provided in predestination, and bestowed in the covenant of grace; a renowned one, better than that of sons and daughters of the greatest potentates, and attended with various privileges; a wonderful name, an instance of marvellous grace in God, who stood in no need of adopted ones, and to them so unworthy of it; and which is ever new, and will always continue; this blessing of grace is of God, and not of men, and is to be ascribed to the grace of God, Father, Son and Spirit. Kimchi makes this new name to be "Hephzibah", Isaiah 62:4, not amiss.
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord,.... The church and her members are glorious in themselves, through the righteousness of Christ put upon them; through the grace of Christ wrought in them; and through the honour they are raised unto, being made kings and priests unto God, all which will be more manifest in the latter day: and they are a glory to the Lord; there is a glory arises to him from their election, redemption, sanctification, and glorification, and from the ascriptions of glory made unto him; and they are regarded by him as a crown is by a prince; as a crown of massy gold, stuck with jewels, is rich and valuable, so are they in the eyes of Christ; they are dear and precious to him; high in his esteem; which he will not suffer to be trampled upon, or to be taken away from him, no more than a prince will suffer his crown to be so used or lost: and these are "in" his "hand" as such, which he holds in his hand, and looks at with pleasure and delight, and which he preserves and keeps safe and secure: or, "by the hand of the Lord"
and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God; the same thing expressed in different words, for the further confirmation and illustration of it.
Thou shall no more be termed Forsaken,.... That is, of the Lord her God, as she had seemed to be to others, and thought to be so by herself, Isaiah 49:14, not having so much of his gracious presence as is desirable; sensible communion with him being withheld; the word and ordinances not owned and blessed, or very little; and few souls converted; and the interest of Christ, labouring under many difficulties and discouragements, under the reproaches and persecutions of men, and so looked as if forsaken of God; but in the latter day all these complaints shall be removed; and the presence of God will be very manifest in his churches, and among his people; and they will appear to be his care and charge; see Isaiah 60:15,
neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; as the Gentile world was before the preaching of the Gospel in it; and as the land of Israel now is, and the Jewish people are, having rejected the Messiah, and continuing in impenitence and unbelief; and as the church of Christ is, when the word and ordinances are neglected, or little success attends them; but now more shall be the children of the desolate than of the married wife; many souls shall be born again in Zion, and many sons and daughters brought there, and brought up there, and therefore shall not be called desolate, Isaiah 49:19,
but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah; the former of these was the name of Hezekiah's mother, 2 Kings 21:1 and a fit name for the church of Christ, who is pleasant to him for delights, Song of Solomon 7:6 and the latter well agrees with her being married to Christ. The meaning of these names is explained in the next clause; or the reason of their being given:
for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land is married; the former explains "Hephzibah", which signifies "my delight is in her"; Christ delighted in his church from everlasting, as they were the objects of his own and his Father's love; as chosen in him, and given to him as his spouse and bride, Proverbs 8:31 and he delights in them in time, as clothed with his righteousness, washed in his blood, and adorned with the graces of his Spirit; he delights in their company, to hear their voice, and see their countenance; they are the excellent in the earth, in whom is all his delight, Psalm 16:2, and he will delight in them hereafter, in the spiritual reign, when he will glorify and beautify them, and make them an eternal excellency, Isaiah 60:7, and in the personal reign, when they shall be as a bride adorned for her husband, and his tabernacle shall be among them, and he will reign with them, and they with him; during which time he will be presenting them to himself, and delighting in them, as a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, Revelation 21:2 and in heaven to all eternity. The latter clause explains "Beulah", which signifies "married", as the church secretly was to Christ from all eternity; in the latter day the espousals of her to him will be more open and manifest; then the marriage of the Lamb will be come, and it will more clearly appear that she is in such a state, by the numerous converts in her, or sons and daughters that will be born in her to Christ, both of Jews and Gentiles, Revelation 19:7.
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee,.... As a young man, having married a virgin, possesses and enjoys her, and lives and dwells with her in great harmony and love, having a delight and complacency in her, there being a suitableness in her person and age; so those that are born in Zion, and brought up there, have communion with the church, and enjoy the ordinances of it; dwell and continue with her, and delight in her fellowship, ways, and worship; and have their hearts knit in love to her, professing the same faith, joining in the same worship, and walking with her in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. So the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it
and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee; Christ is the Lord God of his church and people; Immanuel, God with us; and he stands in the relation of a bridegroom to them, and they in the relation of a bride to him; and as such he rejoices over them with exceeding great joy, and that to do them good; so he rejoiced over them from all eternity, when first betrothed to him; and so he does in time, in redemption: this was the joy set before him, which animated him to bear the cross, and despise the shame of it; namely, that those would be redeemed, and saved by him, and brought to glory; he rejoices at the conversion of them, and will present them to himself with joy in the spiritual and personal reign, and to his Father at the last day; and particularly, what is meant here, there will be such a profusion of blessings on the church in the latter day, as will abundantly show the joy of Christ in his people.
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem,.... Not angels, as Jarchi; nor kings, as Kimchi; nor princes and civil magistrates, as others; nor the mourners in Zion, as Aben Ezra; but ministers of the Gospel; as the prophets of the Old Testament are called watch men, Isaiah 21:11, so ministers of the New, Isaiah 52:8 who are to watch in all things over themselves, and for the souls of men; for their good, and to guard them against that which is evil, pernicious, and dangerous, both in principle and practice, 2 Timothy 4:5. The allusion is to watchmen on the walls of cities, whose business is to keep their place and stand, and not move from it; to look out diligently, and descry an enemy, or any approaching danger, and give notice of it; and to defend the outworks of the city, and repel the enemy; all which requires courage, constancy, vigilance, and sobriety. The church is a city, and a walled one; God himself is a wall about her; salvation by Christ is as walls and bulwarks to her; and ministers of the Gospel are set for the defence of her: this is an ordinance and appointment of God; these watchmen are not of men's setting, nor do they take this office to themselves; but are placed in it by the Lord, who makes them able ministers, qualifies them for watchmen, and enables them to perform their work; and which is an instance of the love of God to his church, and of his care of it:
which shall never hold their peace day nor night; as the living creatures in Revelation 4:8, which are an emblem of Gospel ministers; who are always to be employed, and to be continually praying or preaching; the two principal branches of their ministry, Acts 6:4, they are not to be silent, but either praying in private or in public for direction and assistance in their meditations; for supply of the gifts and graces of the Spirit in their ministration, and for success in their work; and that all blessings of grace might descend on those to whom they minister: or else preaching the Gospel; being constant in season, and out of season; frequently inculcating the doctrines of Christ; constantly affirming these things; ever informing, instructing, and exhorting the people. It was Austin's wish that death might find him either praying or preaching:
ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; some take this to be an address to the same persons; and they may be described as such that make mention of the Lord in their ministrations; of the grace and love of God the Father; of the person, office, and grace of Christ; and of the operations of the Spirit: or, "as the remembrancers of the Lord"
And give him no rest,.... Not let him alone, as he desired that Moses would, but wrestle with him as Jacob did, and not let him go without the blessing; be importunate with him, as the widow with the unjust judge; and be incessant in prayer:
until he establish; his church; which, though founded by him, and built upon the sure foundation of his laying, upon a rock, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail; yet, as to its outward state, is sometimes fluctuating and unstable; it is not always in the same place, nor in the same circumstances; but in the latter day it will be established on the top of the mountains, and will be a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; which is the Lord's work to do, and which he has promised; and therefore may be prayed for in faith, nor should saints cease praying till it is done, Isaiah 2:2,
and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth; matter of praise; till the church and its members become famous in the world, and shall be praised by men, and God shall be praised for their sakes; for the purity of Gospel doctrines and ordinances; for unity in worship; for cordial love and affection to each other; for holiness of life and conversation; for number, and for figure, converts numerous, and many of these great personages; when what is now to its discredit and dispraise will be removed; all false doctrine, or mixtures of it the many sects and parties which go by the Christian name; the sad divisions and animosities among them; the impure lives of many professors; the small number of real Christians; their meanness and poverty.
The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength,.... By Christ, say some, who is the arm of the Lord, the power of God, by whom he made the world, and upholds all things; but though he sometimes is said to swear unto him, and concerning him, yet is never said to swear by him; rather the attribute of omnipotence is here designed; as God is sometimes said to swear by his holiness, so here by his almighty power; the consideration of which itself is a great encouragement to faith, to believe the fulfilment of promises, because God is able; but his swearing by it is a further confirmation of it; it is as if he had said, let me not be thought to be the omnipotent God I am, if I do not do so and so; or as sure as I have such a right hand, and arm of strength, what follows shall certainly be accomplished:
surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the strangers shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: this was threatened to the people of Israel, in case of sinning against God, and revolting from him; and was accomplished in the times of their captivity in Babylon, Deuteronomy 28:33 but here it is promised, and the strongest assurance given, it should be so no more; which cannot respect the deliverance of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity; for it is certain that after that their enemies did eat their corn, and drink their wine; the Romans came and took away their city and nation, as they feared, and all their good things; wherefore this must refer to future times, to times yet to come, when this people, being converted, shall be restored to their own land, and enjoy great plenty of good things, and never more be disturbed by their enemies: though all this may be understood in a spiritual sense of the "corn" and "wine" of the Gospel, and the ministration of it; which was first provided for them, and they were invited to partake of it; and in preparing which the apostles and first ministers of the word, being Jews, "laboured"; but they rejecting it, it was carried to the Gentiles, who had been their "enemies", and were "aliens" from the commonwealth of Israel, which they gladly received and fed upon; but now it is promised, that the Gospel, being again brought unto them, should no more be taken from them, but ever continue with them; even all the means of grace, and ordinances of the Gospel, for the comfort and refreshment of their souls.
But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord,.... That is, the corn; they who have manured the land, sowed seed in it, reaped it when ripe, gathered it in its season; these shall eat the fruit of their labours, and praise the Lord for it, acknowledge his bounty and goodness to them; for notwithstanding all the diligence, industry, and labour of men, it is through the blessing of the Lord, and owing to his favour, that they have bread, and a sufficiency of it, to eat; which when they have, they should be thankful for it, Deuteronomy 8:10.
and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness: that is, the wine they shall drink; having planted vineyards, and gathered the grapes when ripe, and brought them to the winepress, and there made wine of them; they shall drink it at a proper time and place: the allusion is to the priests and Levites eating and drinking holy things, within the compass and bounds of the temple; and may signify the converted Jews, partaking of the Gospel and Gospel ordinances in the house of God, as well as the Gentiles, being all now made priests unto God. The Arabic version interprets it of persons "gathered", that should eat and drink. The Targum is express, they that gather the corn in, and they that press the wine.
Go through, go through the gates,.... Open them, and keep them open for persons to enter in; meaning not the gates of Jerusalem, which those in it should open for the reception of the Jews returning from Babylon, though there may be an allusion to it; but the gates of the church in the latter day, which shall stand open night and day, that converts, who shall flock unto it, may enter in thereat, whether Jews or Gentiles; see Isaiah 26:1,
prepare you the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; for the people of the Jews, or the Gentiles, by the destruction of the eastern and western antichrist, and by the preaching of the Gospel; by which means way will be made for the kings of the east, and for the eastern kingdoms being converted, and becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, and his Christ; see Revelation 16:12,
gather out the stones; all things that offend, that are a stumblingblock to Jews, Pagans, and Mahometans, and hinder them embracing the Christian religion; as errors, heresies, schisms, false doctrines, false worship, idolatry, and superstition. Jarchi thinks there is a respect to the corruption of nature; and so the Targum interprets it, the thought of the evil imagination, which is as a stone: or, "pitch" or "strow it with stones"
lift up a standard for the people; that they may know where to come or go; this is to be understood of the preaching of the Gospel, and of lifting up Christ as a standard or ensign in it, to whom the people might be directed, invited, and encouraged to come; see Isaiah 11:10. The Targum is,
"the prophet said, pass by, and return through the gates; turn the heart of the people to the right way; publish good things and comforts to the righteous, who remove the thought of the evil imagination, which was as a stone of stumbling; lift up a sign to the people.'
Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world,.... This is not to be interpreted of the proclamation by Cyrus, giving liberty to the people of the Jews to return to their own land, for that did not reach to the end of the world; but of the proclamation of the Gospel, which, as when first published, the sound of it went into all the earth, and the words of it to the ends of the world, Romans 10:18. So it will be in the latter day, when it shall be preached to all nations, from one end of the world to the other, Revelation 14:6,
Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold, thy salvation cometh; or "thy Saviour"
"behold, a reward to them that do his word is with him, and all their works are manifest before him.'
The word behold is three times used in this verse, to raise attention to what is said, and as pointing out something wonderful, and to express the certainty of it.
And they shall call them the holy people,.... For whom the way is prepared, to whom the standard is lifted up, and the proclamation made, and who upon it are gathered in to Christ the Saviour, and to the church: these shall be called, by men that know them, have a spirit of discerning, and are capable of judging, "the holy people"; a people separated and set apart for God, for his service and glory; chosen to be a special people, above all the people of the earth; chosen through sanctification of the Spirit, and to holiness here and hereafter, and so sanctified by God the Father, as in Judges 1:1, and in consequence of it are made holy by the Spirit of God, in the effectual calling; they are not holy by nature, nor by their own power, but by the grace of God, who calls them with a holy calling, and to holiness, and implants principles of grace and holiness in them, so that they are truly and really so. This character respects the church and its members in the latter day, when everyone that remains in Jerusalem, and every pot and vessel there, shall be holiness to the Lord; yea, that shall be upon the bells of the horses, Isaiah 4:3,
the redeemed of the Lord; which character includes the blessing of redemption, from whence the denomination is, which is a blessing of a spiritual nature; the redemption of the soul from sin, Satan, the law, its curse, and condemnation, and from all enemies; a blessing early in the heart of God; contrived by his infinite wisdom; secured in the covenant of grace; wrought out by Christ; is a plenteous one, containing various blessings of grace in it, and, in its effects and consequences, of an eternal duration: this character is also expressive of Christ, as the author of the above blessing: these are not redeemed by themselves, nor by their friends, nor by men, nor by angels, but by the Lord; who, as man, is the near kinsman of his people, and has the right to redeem; as God, he is mighty and able to redeem them; and who by his precious blood has obtained redemption for them; so that he has a property in them, which is asserted in this character; they are not their own, nor any other's but his, a peculiar people, redeemed from among men, the special favourites of heaven; and who, in consequence of it, are called, and kept, and saved with an everlasting salvation:
and thou shalt be called, Sought out; thou, daughter of Zion; or the church of God, consisting of elect, redeemed, and called ones; such as are sought out of the ruins of the fall, among the men of the world, and dust of the earth; found in a very miserable condition, usually by means of the Gospel, and by Christ, who knows them well, where are, and what the time of finding them, and can by name, and does; all which is the fruit and effect of his love unto them; though this character may chiefly respect the notice that will be taken of the church in the latter day; whereas she has been Zion, whom no man seeks after, Jeremiah 30:17, now she shall be sought and flocked unto by all nations, and by great personages, even by the kings and princes of the earth, Isaiah 2:2.
A city not forsaken; the city of the living God, of which saints are fellow citizens, consisting of many persons, in good and flourishing circumstances, and which shall not be forsaken of men, as it has been, Isaiah 60:15, but shall be filled with converts, both Jews and Gentiles; nor forsaken of God, but shall enjoy his gracious presence, and sensible communion with him in his ordinances; nor shall any of its true members be forsaken, or the work of grace in them; they shall none of them perish, but have everlasting life; so that here is a cluster of glorious doctrines, in their order and connection one with another: election in the first character; redemption in the second; effectual calling in the third; and final perseverance in the last.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 62". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://pro.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany