Thoughts on Isaiah 7-12

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We find here not only the great principles of the government of God, but moreover the introduction of a personage (Immanuel, the Lord Jesus) on the scene of prophecy and the consequences of this introduction. God had raised up to Israel a stay in David. It was the last support of God's people on the earth. Before raising up the house of David, God had tried all means possible to maintain relations with His people. The priesthood had failed in Eli, the ark was taken, and God had pronounced Ichabod, The glory is departed. Samuel is brought in, and God abides by His channel in sovereign grace toward His people. Saul (“asked for") is unfaithful. Under priesthood, under royalty, under prophecy, in a word under all forms and all means that God had prepared, Israel always failed. Yet God raised up the house of David. Solomon fails. Though more faithful than others, his family also fails. God had promised to chastise it, but that He would never entirely withdraw His favor. Christ Himself has been the accomplishment of this promise as of all others. Man always fails to keep his relationship with God, but all is accomplished in Jesus. The family of David failed, and it is in Christ alone that the Jews find the blessing that is attached to it.
In the person of Ahaz the family of David abandons completely its fidelity. Ahaz associates himself with the king of Assyria, imitates the altar seen at Damascus, and places it in the very temple of God. When the family of David itself thus fails, and every hope is ruined, prophecy introduces the promise of Christ to be the support of the faithful. This sign was to be in the family of David itself. It is a fact of all importance. The Messiah, the Son of God, was to show Himself in Israel, and Israel to show itself unfaithful spite of the presence of Messiah. What is before us here is the house of David, not Israel alone. By iniquity the conscience is bad and faith is feeble. Ahaz does not ask for a sign. He makes a show of not wishing it by reason of piety.
Though the house of David failed, God does not at all fail; and He says to Isaiah, “Go forth now to meet Ahaz,” He intervenes at the moment the thing is necessary. Shear-jashub signifies the remnant will return. The people being unfaithful have no force against their enemies. But there, in the circumstances where all hope is taken away, God presents the promise that the remnant should be sustained by the testimony of God Himself. He comes in between the sorrowful circumstances and the faithful that his faith should not fail. At the extreme point of the misery God manifests Himself, and all is light. God would have it so; otherwise the heart rests on the flesh and forgets God. If the heart loved. God naturally, this would not be necessary; that is to say, it would not be necessary for every outward prop to fail His children, if their heart were only occupied with counting on Him; but the bent of the heart estranges from God. He had not yet delivered His people from the Assyrian; but where there is a lack of faith, the heart is fearful before the enemy, even before a powerless enemy. God shows comfort to His people. He has a perfect knowledge of all that is done and despises the strength of the enemy. He knows who Pekah and Rezin are, and that Damascus is head of Syria. When it is God who sends our enemies as a chastening against us, we have no strength against them. God knows all the difficulties. What is wanting is the faith which gives a perfect security against all the circumstances possible.
God points out the intentions of the two kings (vers. 4-6), intentions which perhaps Ahaz did not know. But God has, besides, His king at Jerusalem, and they will not succeed in setting up another. “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within three-score and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.” (Vers. 7-9.) God knew all the details, as He gives Ahaz to see. Whatever Syria, Damascus, or Rezin might plan, it was not what God willed. On this all turns. What the Christian wants is consciousness of his relationship with God: then there is nothing to fear. It is not the strength of the enemy which the people have to dread, but their own iniquity which enfeebles them. The danger presented ends in nothing; but if we seek any support whatever in something of this world, God abandons us, leaving us to the consequences of our relation with the support we have chosen. Thus Pekah and Rezin had no strength against Judah, for God would not deliver Jerusalem to these confederate kings; but Ahaz fearful and unbelieving rests on Assyria, and it is from the Assyrian that Judah must be delivered. Meanwhile the true Deliverer, the real support, namely Immanuel, is revealed, when he failed who should have reigned according to God. Therein is a most important lesson.
God offers a sign to the feeble-hearted Ahaz and to the people seeking a prop apart from God. He would show to the worldling all that is possible for Him to show of grace and power; and He would make His children feel that their incredulity and unfaithfulness are without excuse. God bids the king ask a sign below or above (vers. 10, 11); but Ahaz (ver. 12) shrinks from being too near God and having a real proof that God was there, for fear of being obliged to follow Him, to abandon the outward supports of his infidelity, and to renounce everything but God. There is nothing that the outward people of God dread so much as nearness to God; though His nearness is a blessing without limit, the heart dreads it, because it will not quit what God condemns.
Nevertheless God will not abandon the house of David. He promises Immanuel. (Vers. 13-15.) The application of this promise concerns the house of David and the people of Israel, not here the salvation of the church. God gives the sign in spite of them. It is the birth of the Messiah. Ahaz did not wish God to be near him; but God would be with them, and Immanuel is the sign.
The two kings occasioned fear to Ahaz; but he on whom he sought to rest is sent as a chastening on him. (See 2 Kings 16) There is what one should fear-that God should take the rod. He will hiss for the enemy, for the fly far off in Egypt, for the bee in Assyria; He will shave as with a hired razor, “so as to sweep all clean. (Vers. 17-20.) God would be our strength: the heart of man never wishes it. The fear we have of evil befalling us makes us seek support in that which appears to us a way without danger; and these are the very things God employs to chastise us. The kings of Israel and of Syria came against Judah of their own will. God stops them. Ahaz and his people would lean on the king of Assyria; and God makes the Assyrian come against them in the end.
It is always what the will of man seeks that becomes the instrument of chastening. When the assaults against the people of God flow only from the will of man, there is nothing to fear. Beware of dreading the nearness of God: it is to be far from the source of all blessings.
Chapter 8.
Notwithstanding the grace of God abides toward His people. The scourge of God comes; but if He brings the Assyrian, He promises at the same time Immanuel. If Maher-shalal-hash-baz testifies to the Assyrian in making speed to the spoil and hastening the prey, God cannot abandon the house of David and Immanuel's land. (Vers-1-10.) The Assyrian shall go over and reach even to the neck; but no farther. God thereon vindicates against him the rights of Messiah, even as it is ever our resource that we are Christ's. This people had refused the softly flowing waters of Shiloah, they had despised the house of David, rejoicing in Rezin and Pekah, not in God's gentle way which keeps the heart ever dependent. If the flesh can have a support, it is in man, in what looks strong; it has no confidence if there be only God for the morrow. From the moment we would for tomorrow rest on a good thought of to-day, it is our own righteousness. God would have us be in appearance the most feeble, that He should be our only strength.
As they despised the waters of Shiloah, the Lord brings on them the waters of the river strong and many; He sends against them as their muter him on whom they leaned. Such is the end of man's wisdom. “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For Jehovah spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” (Vers. 9-12.) How busy is human prudence, and how vain! We are taught of God not to imitate this. The nations shall do all this, but their counsels come to naught, “for God is with us.” The one counsel for the faithful is Immanuel. “Neither fear ye their fear nor be afraid.” Their word shall not stand. The thought of the Assyrian is to do his own will, not that of God. All depends on this only word, Immanuel. What avails confederacy against Him? The Lord spoke in strength of hand. Therefore His word is, “Sanctify Jehovah of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And be shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” (Vers. 13-15.) Give to God all the holy heed that is due to Him. Nothing then can shake us, because nothing can shake God. Yet is He in Jesus for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both houses of Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem—this because of their infidelity. They too did not like to have the Eternal near them. The introduction of the Messiah is in view of the power and the invasion of the Assyrian. (Compare Mic. 5) But the result for the mass of the people is that they reject Immanuel, and stumble on Him to their own utter ruin.
The remnant is separated, the testimony bound up and sealed. (Ver. 16.) The Eternal came Himself in the person of Jesus. He is the confidence, the sanctuary, of those that believe; He is a rock of offense to the unbelieving. Hence results a relation more intimate: “Seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait upon Jehovah, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Vers. 17, 18.) The testimony is sealed there, while God turns away His face from the house of Jacob: nay more, “Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me.” They are for signs and for wonders in Israel.
The people have lost God who disowns them meanwhile, and, seeking light but finding none, they turn to familiar spirits and wizards. But the true heart, having Christ before it, cleaves to God and his word” To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Vers. 19, 20.) And then we pass from the anguish and darkness of despair for the Jew when he refused the Messiah to the last days when light begins to dawn once more. ( Vers. 21, 22; chap. 9: 1, 2.)
Thus chapter 7 presents to us Immanuel heir of David's house and hope of the remnant which shall return (Shear-jashub); chapter 8, the land of Canaan in relation to Him. It is Immanuel's land. There the remnant separated; and the nations in misery and darkness, till the despised light re-appears in glory (chap. 9: 1-7), overleaping the mystery of Christ and the church of the heavenly places, after which the general history of Israel is resumed in continuation of the judgments of chapter v. Chapters 6-9:7 are a parenthesis to introduce Messiah.
We have seen in chapters 7, 8 Messiah born to reign. It is no longer only principles, or reasonings of God with His vineyard. There abides the absolute promise of God, though the son of the virgin, Immanuel, be rejected. Christ and His disciples, instead of being received, become a sign in Israel. Incredulity seeks a support, and this support becomes a difficulty and scourge, but there remains for faith the accomplishment of God's mind in Christ.
The waters of Shiloah being despised, the Assyrian comes into the country. The prophet with the two children is for a sign to the two houses of Israel. The Jews have in unbelief rejected Jesus, who is become a stumbling-stone to them, and their chastisement is in anguish and darkness. Two consequences result from this. The remnant could not enjoy the earthly promises made to the Messiah, but they have the testimony sealed up. Those who have rejected the testimony wander without light from God in the land which is trodden under the feet of the Gentiles. The Jews abide in bondage. Syria attacks Zebulun and Naphtali; it is the first invasion. Tiglath Pileser comes into Galilee; it is the second. But what follows is worse. Nevertheless the light shines in this land of the shadow of death; but all becomes graver still by the rejection of this light.
Christ having been manifested to but rejected by the nation, they are blinded. A judicial darkness is fallen on the Jews. His rejection by them opens the way for the election from among the Gentiles, whilst the elect from Israel are added to the church. Jehovah hides His face from the house of Jacob (chap. viii. 17); but the prophetic Spirit waits for Him to act in favor of Israel. The church anticipates the faith of Israel when the Messiah is rejected, believing in Him; and this even becomes the occasion of provoking Israel to jealousy.
If Israel had received Jesus, Israel would have been blessed; the wickedness of man would not have been proved, and Israel would not have lost their right to the promises. The wisdom of God places Israel under mercy like the Gentiles (Rom. 11), and opens thus the door to the Gentiles in accomplishing the promises. Jesus is minister of the truth of God for the Jews and of mercy for the Gentiles. (Rom. 15) We have pre-trusted in Christ (Eph. 1:1212That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Ephesians 1:12)); that is, those of the Jews whose hope was in Christ before the nation bows at the end when He is seen in glory. We have believed without seeing, in contrast with Thomas and Israel. Those who shall believe when they see Him are to be blessed, but are not to be in His glory. This changes nothing as to the promises on God's part. Israel had lost all right to the promises; but these abide, because God had sworn to Abraham, and He is faithful. He judges Israel, hides His face from Jacob; nevertheless He keeps all His promises, and Israel waits till judgment falls on faithless Christendom, as it fell on the Jews. God can resume His ways with His people, and Israel shall be blessed.
From the first to the second verse of chapter 9 the present economy is quite passed over, and we light on the accomplishment of the promises for Israel. It is a question of Israel and the world, not of the church. The prophetic Spirit waits for what God will do, and beholds across the ages the glory of Jehovah in the Messiah shedding His blessing on His people Israel. The first coming of Jesus has not accomplished verses 2-7. He has not delivered His people from the yoke of the Gentiles, the reign of the false king, or the efficacious lie of Satan. One often sees half a passage of the Old Testament cited in the New Testament, because the accomplishment of the other half is not arrived. Thus Christ is gone on high and has received gifts for men, but not yet'“ for the rebellious,” that is, the Jews who will receive the rain of the latter season. All the present economy lies in the interval. It is no question at present either of Jews or Greeks, but of man, a new creation in Christ and called out of the world for heaven.
The Child was already born, the Son given; but Israel have not owned Him. When they are renewed, Christ will be owned, as born “unto us” and given “unto us.” The church anticipates the people in all this; but for heaven.
There is here a principle of intelligence for prophecy to see how we can employ the passages put in the mouth of the Jews. In chapter 53:1-4 it is the Jews who esteemed Christ “smitten of God and afflicted.” They said if He were the Son of God, let Him come down from the cross. Not so the believer, who enters into the enjoyment of the fruits of His suffering. “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It remains true that He died for the Jews as an elect nation, but also to gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. These in the name of Jesus can say, that God caused the iniquities of us all to meet on Him. But Gentiles as such cannot say “we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;” as grafted on the olive, they can now say what Israel will say by-and-by. The church can say more, for on our behalf Jesus sits on the throne not of David, but of His Father. We shall sit on Christ's throne, but not on the throne of David; to it we have no right whatever, not being of David's lineage. But we shall be seated on the more elevated throne of our Lord as the glorified Son of man. We are one with Christ the coming King and shall reign with Him, kings and priests to God, even His Father. In this sense it is not for us to say like Israel, “Unto us a child is, born,” because we shall not be subjects of the kingdom but co-heirs with Christ the King, not the people reigned over but kings reigning with Him.
Christ has not yet the government here spoken of upon His shoulders, nor is there the increase of government and peace without end, nor is His name yet called Prince of Peace as here in the exercise of His functions. He is prince or originator of life whom God raised up from among the dead. He has not come yet to give peace in the earth, but a sword and division. He would have us fight, clothed with all spiritual armor. When Christ shall reign, He will be Prince of Peace as Son of David, and peace shall be on the earth. Christ must have the pre-eminence in all things, and have every sort of glory, as Son of God, Son of man, Son of David, &c., all things put under Him, and not merely Israel or the Gentiles. We shall sit with Him on His throne, as now He sits on the Father's. Up to the present we are seated in heavenly places in Him, not with Him as yet, on high.
But He will also have the throne of David. God loves the people, and Jerusalem is the city of the great King: Jesus will have this glory, the church has it not. The Jews will enjoy it under His reign. It is an earthly state, and more limited. Jesus is also head of angels, and will have that glory too. He is personally the image of the invisible God, and Son of man, head over all things, as all the ends of the earth shall call Him blessed. (Psa. 72)
We have been instruments of mischief to all creation, which now waits for the manifestation of the children of God for its, blessing and happiness too. We are gathered a kind of first-fruits of the new creation, while God hides His face from the house of Jacob. What gracious consideration in God towards us, for whom, having been in Adam the instruments of the ruin of creation, the creation waits, that we should be manifested with the Second man for the blessing! When Christ shall be Priest on His throne, the counsel of peace shall proceed for the blessing of the earth. As to us identified now with His humiliation, we shall be identified with His glory; alone, we shall see Him as He is in the intimacy of His love. The Jews will Lee Him as He shall be manifested in earthly glory.
In the expression of faith, as in the Psalms, mercy is always before righteousness, because Israel had failed completely in righteousness, and there must be recourse to mercy and grace.
We find in prophecy great principles of truth which can guide us, Christians, but also circumstances which do not concern us. Spiritual intelligence seizes the place of the church and the exaltation that God reserves for His Son Jesus, that all glory may center in Him. The Christian's heart is happy in seeing Jesus exalted everywhere and with all glory. The scriptures bear testimony to Him, and, in proportion as we apprehend better the glory of Jesus, the scriptures become more easy for us to understand.
Chapters 9: 8-12.
The Spirit of God has given in the preceding chapters the Messiah (hope of the remnant and deliverer from the Assyrian), whose presentation to the Jews changes all the conditions of the nation. He resumes now the prophetic history of the people of Israel. God has chastised His people, but this has not yet dealt with their pride: they confide yet in themselves. (Vers. 8-12.) The anger of Jehovah is not yet turned away, but His hand is stretched out still, for the people do not turn to Him that smites them, and has not discerned His hand. And till this is seen, there is resistance and a strengthening of self in one's own power.
There are three things in the chastenings of God's people: 1st, the instrument; 2nd, the enemy's malice; 3rd, the hidden intention of God. If one looks at the instrument, it is only to accuse, or to be discontented. But even behind the malice of Satan there is the goodness of God. Sometimes the heart avows that the chastening is come in consequence of known evil, and then would just reform itself a little. But the hand of God abides stretched out still because there is no return to Him that smites, but the effort by a certain quantity of hypocrisy to appease God. The conscience has not been put in direct relation with God.
The consequence is (ver. 14) His cutting from Israel Lead and tail, branch and root, leaders and led. So God takes away even a Christian from this world as a chastisement. (1 Cor. 11)
When the people of God go wrong, there is always the spirit of false prophecy which would make them believe that all goes well. Men in authority love that they should not be discouraged: see the opposition to Jeremiah in Jerusalem. To this the false prophet lends help, to hinder the conscience from turning back to God, who would by chastening bring the conscience into direct, contact with Him. The spirit of falsehood would persuade that they are very happy. They that call them blessed are the misleaders. Those that are so called and believe them are swallowed up. (Ver. 15.)
When the people of God are in a good state, they have at heart the glory of God, without which they cannot be satisfied. It is not enough for them that there is no evil going on-this suffices man, but not the glory of God. There are still divisions and miseries because of their iniquities. (Vers. 18-20.) But the people is not yet turned to God, and His hand is stretched out still. (Ver. 21.) God does not crush His people even when He mites. He leaves some consolation. Nevertheless His people take up their pride again. (Chap. 10: 1-4.)
At last God calls the great instrument of His anger. (Chap. 10:5, &c.) The Assyrian is the rod of His wrath.
There are two phases in the history of the Jewish people. There is first the time when they are owned as the people of God, who chastens them by Egypt and Assyria, yet owns them. Later on He rejects them, and the people become Lo-ammi, Not-His-people. When Israel was carried away captive, it was Lo-ruhamah, but there was not yet an absolute cutting off as a people. When Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem, the people became Lo-ammi. Israel is rejected. God no more owns His people. He watches over them still for final restoration to their land, but the times of the Gentiles begin.
Messiah has been presented to the Jews, but not to the ten tribes which had been carried away by the Assyrian. All the history whilst Israel is not owned belongs to the times of the Gentiles. Now in this part of Isaiah we leave aside the times of the Gentiles to follow Israel. God owns His people even in chastising them. The Assyrian is the instrument of the chastisement.
We see in Mic. 5:1-71Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. 2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 3Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. 6And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. 7And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. (Micah 5:1‑7) that, when the Assyrian shall come into the land, Christ the ruler in Israel will be found there, “the peace.” This is not yet arrived. He shall be the peace then when the Assyrian enters. There is a remarkable type of this final attack of the Assyrian in the history of Sennacherib against Hezekiah. Therefore it is that chapters 36-39 are given. The Holy Spirit takes the actual and real circumstances of the Jews to bind up with them the prophecy of the last days. When Sennacherib came, it was Hezekiah who was in Jerusalem. He is a type of the time when Christ is to be there.
God employs the pride and iniquity of the wicked for the chastisement of His people; and after wars He destroys the instrument. The Assyrian, God's rod to strike Israel, glorifies himself against God, who breaks the rod. So in the early part of this century Napoleon Bonaparte smote all the people of the Roman empire, but, being wrong, was after that smitten.
When the Assyrian shall have done his work, it is the ceasing of the indignation against Israel: an important point in Israel's history. The destruction of the Assyrian (not of Antichrist) is the end of Jehovah's anger. The Antichrist will have appeared and been judged before. The remnant shall return, the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God, who will search out and punish the glory of man's high looks on all sides, and shall make a consumption even determined in all the land. Christ will maintain Israel,
Chapter 11.
It is no question here either of Christ as head of the church or of the church's glory. He is presented as Messiah for the earth ruling, the judgment on the enemy being executed. He is not here called the Root of David, the source of blessing, but a Branch. In Rev. 5 He is the Root of David, in chapter 12. He is Offspring as well as Root. For the church He has a suited relation. He is not judging the earth yet. When He comes again, He will judge, and slay the wicked (Compare ver. 4 and 2 Thess. 2) Consequently Christ must be looked for to reign over the earth, ruling in righteousness and deciding with equity for the meek of the earth. Actually it is the haughty and unjust who possess the earth. Christ and His own have not yet His rights here below.
In verses 5-9 we see the fruit of the curse gone from the earth, which, by the presence of Christ and the Spirit poured from on high, shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. Christ is not here glorified above, nor is it the gospel here below.
Verse 10 is not at all realized yet. Christ is an object of reproach, not of glory. But “in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” He will be the center and the Gentiles will seek Him then: now it is the hour when God the Father seeks true worshippers, a people from among the Gentiles for His name.
In that day not only will the curse of the earth be taken away, and the nations flock to Christ the exalted King; but “the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, froth Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Vers. 11, 12.) As He of old brought His people out of Egypt He will recover the remnant of them from the north and south, east and west. Ephraim and Judah will not only be re-united as a people, but in heart also (ver. 13), as they never have been.
From verse 14 we learn that the neighboring nations, which escape the last great Assyrian, or king of the north (Dan. 11:4141He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. (Daniel 11:41)), shall become objects of judgment to returned Israel, when they spoil their more distant enemies. The comparison of the two prophets shows exactness in detail, where unbelief sees only extinct races and thinks accomplishment impossible.
It is plain that verses 15, 16 can only apply to an earthly deliverance of Israel like that out of Egypt.
Chapter 12.
Here we have a song of praise and thanksgiving for their deliverance. “Thou shalt say,” &c. (ver. 1) means unequivocally Israel. God's anger has not only turned away and ceased, but He is their salvation. (Ver. 2.) For all Israel in that day shall be saved. Therefore with joy they draw water out of those exhaustless wells and say Hallelujah. (Vers. 3, 4.) But it is Jah Jehovah, not the Father as we know Him now through the Lord Jesus. The effect of their deliverance is that His glory as the Eternal is known in all the earth. (Ver. 5.) The Father is known in His family, not in all the earth as such, though by His children everywhere. But here it is the kingdom, and He is known as the Holy One of Israel in Zion. Jehovah reigns, and by Israel He makes Himself known in all the earth.
If one have well seized these two chapters, we cannot confound what is said of Israel and of the church. Christ as the Judge of all must have slain the wicked with the breath of His lips (see chap. 30: 33) in order that the blessing should come to pass. Otherwise we confound the kingdom of Christ's patience with the kingdom of righteous government. If one makes the church believe that this happy time is come, and that she is to make good all these things, it is to mislead the faithful and to encourage unbelievers. For natural pride is increased by these misapplications of what can only be realized by Christ's coming to reign. Our place meanwhile is to suffer with Christ.
Here we can remark the force of 2 Peter 1:2020Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20): no prophecy of scripture is of its own [particular] interpretation. It is not a question of Nineveh, &c., nor of any other thing in or by itself, but finally of the glory of Jesus, where all meets and all ends. It speaks of a vast and connected system of glory which must be taken as a whole, even as the Spirit wrote it.