vs. 1-10 - THE GLORY OF THE LAST TIMES AND THE MESSIANIC AGE
On the punishment of God’s enemies will follow the peace, prosperity, and glory
of His Church. Previously, the Church is in affliction, waste, and desolate. Its
enemies once removed, destroyed, swept out of the way, it rises instantly
in all its beauty to a condition which words are poor to paint. The highest
resources of the poetic art are called in to give some idea of the glory and
happiness of the final Church of the redeemed.
v. 1 – “the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose”
v. 2 - "they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the
excellency of our God"
The culminating joy and delight and blessedness of the Church shall be the
vision of God - either the spiritual perception of His presence (Matthew 5:8;
Romans 1:20) or the actual beatific vision (1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelation
21:11, 23; 22:4)
v. 3 – “Strengthen ye the weak hands…confirm the feeble knees” - In the
Church of the redeemed there will be “weak” brethren as well as strong, “feeble”
as well as healthful (1 Corinthians 3:1; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 5:12- 14). So Paul:
“We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to
please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).
v. 4 – “Say to them that are of a fearful heart….your God…..will come and
save you” - rather, He will come Himself to save you” - There is One alone who
can save, and He must do it Himself, and, to do it, He must “come” to us. The words
were at once an announcement of the Incarnation, and a promise to every
trembling, doubting heart — a promise of direct Divine assistance, of the presence
of God within us, (Immanuel) of help potent to save. The predominant thought of
the prophet appears to have been Messianic, and hence the burst of glorious
prophecy which follows — a burst of prophecy most inadequately
expounded of the time of the return from the Captivity.
vs. 5-6 –“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened” - In the literal
sense, our Lord claims these prophecies to Himself and His earthly career,
when He says to the disciples of John the Baptist, “Go and show John those
things which ye do hear and see, the blind receive their sight, and the lame
walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear” (Matthew 11:4, 5); but
they have doubtless a further spiritual sense, in which they belong to the
whole period of his mediatorial kingdom, and are correlative to former
utterances of the prophet, in which the blinded eyes and deaf ears and
stammering tongues of God’s people had been spoken of and made the
subject of complaint (Isaiah 6:10; 29:10, etc.). Our Lord’s miracles
of bodily healing, performed during the three years of His earthly ministry,
were types and foreshadowings of those far more precious miracles of
spiritual healing, which the Great Physician is ever performing on the sick
and infirm of His Church, by opening the eyes of their understandings, and
unstopping the deaf ears of their hearts, and loosening the strings of their
tongues to hymn His praise, and stirring their paralyzed spiritual natures to
active exertions in his service. Doubtless Isaiah, or the Spirit which guided
him, intended to point to both these classes of miracles, and not to one of
them only, as characteristic of the Messiah’s kingdom.
vs. 6-7 - For in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in
the desert” - The wilderness of humanity shall be renovated by a large
effluence of God’s grace (Isaiah 30:25; 32:2; 41:18; 43:19; John 7:37, 38).
The parched ground shall become, etc.; rather, the glistening
sand. That hot glow of the parched desert soil, which produces the mirage,
shall be replaced by a real lake of cool water. Illusive imitations of
goodness shall give way to the display of genuine virtues and excellences.
er. 8. — And an highway shall be there, and a way (Isaiah 30:21).
There shall be a clear “way” marked out in which all shall be bound
to walk — a “strait and narrow way” doubtless (Matthew 7:14), but
one not readily missed. “The way shall be called The way of holiness” - It
shall be that path through the dangers and difficulties of life which holiness
points out and requires. The unclean shall not pass over it. It is that right course
of life, which “the unclean” do not follow, though they might do so if they chose,
but which the righteous follow to their great gain and advantage -but it
shall be for those” - rather, as in the margin, but He shall be with them; God,
i.e. shall be with those who seek to walk in the way, and not to err from it.
He shall direct them, support them, sustain their footsteps – “the wayfaring
men” - rather, they that walk in the way — that make up their minds to try to
walk in it. Though fools; i.e. however simple and unlearned they may be —
“shall not err therein” - shall not wander from the way through mere simplicity.
It shall be easy to find, difficult to miss.
9 – “No lion shall be there” - No great tyrannical power, like
2:11, 12) or
take it captive, or enslave it – “no “ravenous beast”shall make it his prey. In
proportion as the Church is holy (v. 8) it shall be free from the
molestation of bloody persecutors (Isaiah 11:9) – “the redeemed shall walk
there” - those whom God has purchased for his own (Exodus 6:6; Hosea13:14)
- shall be free to walk there, untroubled by cruel enemies. There is
an under-current of comparison between the blessedness of the last times
the existing troubles of
v. 10 – “The ransomed of the Lord shall return” - The blessedness of
the last times would be incomplete to Jewish ideas without this crowning
feature. There had already been a great dispersion of the faithful (Isaiah
1:7-9); there was to be a still greater one (Isaiah 11:11);
not be content or happy until her “outcasts” were recalled, “the dispersed
The return here prophesied is again announced, in almost the same
words, in Isaiah 51:11 –“with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” –
anointed, as it were, with “the oil of gladness” (Psalm 45:7) forever and ever.
“sorrow and sighing shall flee away” - (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; 21:4).
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The glory of the Church not temporal greatness, but spiritual perfection.
Amid the wealth of metaphor which Isaiah employs to depict the final
prosperity, glory, and happiness of the Church, it is remarkable how little
use is made of any images drawn from the conditions or circumstances of
Characteristic features of that day and age:
that are behind material things – the ability to see the glory and
excellency of the Most High
goodness and greatness, the “glory and excellency” of the Lord,