ISAIAH 40
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[Yeshayah 40 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

 


1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your Elohim. 

Are we included in the phrase‭ "‬My people‭?" ‬This is the only point to settle in order to be justified in appropriating the comfort.‭ ‬We are not Israelites according to the flesh,‭ ‬though a good many misguided people are of that opinion.‭ ‬We are Gentiles by descent and physical constitution.‭ ‬But we may be among the people addressed as‭ "‬my people‭" ‬for all that.‭

"‬God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people.‭"

Peter was first employed in this work:‭ ‬and Peter writing to some of those so taken out,‭ ‬says,

"‬In times past,‭ ‬ye were not a people but are now the people of God‭"

‭ ‬In times past,‭ ‬we were not a people:‭ ‬are we now the people of God‭? ‬We are,‭ ‬if we have been the subjects of the process which changed those in Peter's day from the no-people to the‭ "‬people‭" ‬state.‭ ‬Have we been the subjects of this process‭? ‬This is only another way of asking,‭ ‬Have we believed and obeyed the gospel:‭ ‬for this was the process by which the Gentiles in Peter's day became,‭ "‬no more strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the Saints,‭ ‬and of the household of God.‭" (‬Eph.‭ ii‬: 19‭)‬.‭

That we have believed and obeyed the gospel,‭ ‬we know:‭ ‬for this is a matter susceptible of demonstration.‭ ‬Therefore,‭ ‬we overstrain nothing in listening to these comforting words to Isaiah as though spoken concerning ourselves.

We certainly stand in need of comfort.‭ ‬Comfort is for those who mourn and are distressed‭; ‬and that is necessarily the condition of everyone who,‭ ‬in an age like this,‭ ‬is in sympathy with divine objects and principles,‭ ‬and thus discerns the true position of things as they are.‭

When we faint and languish by reason of that position-when we are oppressed by the constant effort to endure the prosperity of all that is opposed to God,‭ ‬and the weak and dishonourable and downtrodden state of everything identified with his name and honour,‭ ‬let us remember that that very experience is our qualification for the comfort which God himself has condescended to proclaim for his people.‭

Let us not think as if‭ "‬some strange thing had happened unto us.‭" ‬Weary and lonely and desolate as we may sometimes feel ourselves,‭ ‬we should only aggravate our affliction if we allowed ourselves to suppose there was anything wrong in such a state in the truth‭; ‬or to forget that such a state is expressly arranged for those who are being prepared for divine use in the gladsome ages beyond.‭ ‬God commands us to be comforted in the midst of our distress.‭ ‬Therefore let us be comforted.

But it may be said,‭ ‬the comfort of‭ ‬Isaiah‭ ‬40.‭ ‬is for Jerusalem,‭ ‬and not for us:‭

‭"‬Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,‭ ‬and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished,‭ ‬that her iniquity is pardoned:‭ ‬for she hath received of Yahweh's hand double for all sins,‭"

‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬the comfort is for Jerusalem,‭ ‬but it does not follow that it is not for us.‭ ‬The Jerusalem addressed is not the merely architectural Jerusalem,‭ ‬but Jerusalem with her citizens,‭ ‬and not these in the statistical sense at any given moment,‭ ‬but in the sense of including all that belong to her by spiritual relation and ultimate association in the final purpose of God.‭

These are scattered all up and down the ages,‭ ‬and have not all belonged to the literal Jerusalem.‭ ‬Multitudes of the literal inhabitants of Jerusalem have nothing to do with them-the population of the city at the present hour,‭ ‬for example,‭ ‬or at the crisis of her destruction by Titus.‭

The complete and perfected Jerusalem,‭ ‬that will come out of the fires of affliction glorified at the coming of Christ,‭ ‬will include in her citizen roll myriads who never saw the literal city in the days of their mortal existence.‭ ‬If we are among the saved,‭ ‬she will include us,‭ ‬and therefore we are entitled to recognise ourselves addressed in words addressed to her.‭ "‬Comfort to Jerusalem and all her children,‭" ‬is the purpose,‭ ‬as the opening symphony of‭ ‬Isaiah‭ ‬40.,‭ ‬considering it as a musical performance throughout,‭ ‬which it is in the highest sense.

Bro Roberts - Sunday Morning 40






2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem [to the lev Yerushalayim], and cry [Speak ye , and preach] unto her, that her warfare is accomplished [ tzeva'a (time of hard service, warfare) is ended], that her iniquity [ avon] is pardoned [nirtzah (punitively paid for, pardoned)]: for she hath received of Yahweh's hand double [Yad kiflayim (double) in payment] for all her sins [chattot].

"Her warfare IS accomplished and her iniquity IS pardoned." These things have been recorded for over twenty-six hundred years and the end is not yet. Some may be reminded, perhaps a little bitterly, of the statement by Paul to the Romans (4:17) that"God calleth those things which be not as though they were already."

Clearly there could be no more striking example.

To speak assuringly of warfare being over when it still had a cruel course of over 2,000 years to run may seem poor and misleading comfort - but is this the truth of the matter? A thoughtful consideration will show that this is but a narrow and unreasonable viewpoint.

Comfort depends upon the state of the mind.

The comfort offered by the Scriptures is not dependent upon immediate fulfillment. It is the assurance of an ultimate reign of peace and good, that is separated from no individual by more than the brief span of a human life-time. Its comfort is not that distress is finished, but that distress is a controlled and necessary ingredient of the final result.

This is the viewpoint that prophet and apostle exhort us to maintain. We must live in patience and godliness, buoyed up by hope. We must center our minds resolutely upon that which is to come and face all present trouble in the confidence of this expectation.

"Sorrow endureth for the night," says the Psalmist (30:5) - and the night may be long - "but joy cometh in the morning." The course of wisdom is not to ignore or belittle the sorrow, but to balance the whole picture. We shall not be overwhelmed by the one if the other is kept rightly in mind.

Thus we can enter into the spirit of these words of Isaiah and reap the comfort intended. We are not to regard the delay with skeptical impatience or lagging faith, but we are to build our lives and hopes upon these things in the quiet and calm confidence that they represent the realities and that in God's good time all will be accomplished. *


7 The grass [khatzir] withereth, the flower [ tzitz] fadeth [falleth]: because the spirit [Ruach]of Yahweh bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass [khatzir].

Where is hope?

This is the thoughtful but purely natural view. It sees things only as they appear and leaves out the most important feature. *



8 The grass withereth [khatzir], the flower fadeth [tzitz falleth]: but the word [Devar] of our Elohim shall stand for ever.

9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings [Mevaseret Tziyon (O Herald, Preacher of Besorah - Good News, Gospel)], get thee up into the high mountain [har gavo'ah]; O Jerusalem [Mevaseret Yerushalayim], that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength [ko'ach]; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold [towns of Yehudah, Hinei ] your Elohim!

10 Behold [Hinei], the Lord Yahweh will come with strong hand [chazak], and His arm [His zero'a (Moshiach, see Isaiah 53:1)]shall rule for him: behold, His reward [hinei, His sachar ] is with Him, and His work [pe'ullah (work, recompense, retribution, penal reward {for His enemies})] before Him.

The chapter breaks into the long, exalted eulogy to the power and greatness and unchangeableness of God... What is its purpose?

To raise and broaden the mortal conception of the meaning and purpose of life. To train the mind into channels that give a balanced, proportioned, spiritual outlook.

The human mind can be engrossed in the meanest and most trivial matters, or it can be devoted to the highest and loftiest considerations of divinity and holiness. The natural tendency of gravity pulls it downward, but the mighty divine magnetism of the Spirit draws it upward.

As the mind thinks, so it becomes. A man is but the aggregation of his own thoughts.

Every spiritual thought is an ingredient of the new creature - a strengthening of the spirit - a step towards life. Therefore, says Paul (Phil. 4:8):

"Whatsoever things are true, lovely, gracious and just, THINK on these things."

-and thereby become gradually like them. *

Bro Growcott - Lift up your eyes on high.



Yahweh is omnipotent


12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

The Father's Omnipotence. Verse 12 seems to compass the whole compass of the earth in all its fundamental features of oceans, continents and atmosphere which are all balanced in their several relations, geological, hydrological, isostatic, topographic and so forth.

The question who hath measured and balanced and weighed out all this, implies that it is not chance, but the, design of the Omnipotent Creator for the behoof of man and the creatures upon its surface or in its depths.

That God has a plan and purpose with the earth, and intends to beautify and glorify the earth (Nu.l4.21, Hbk.2.l4).

Bro Richard Lister



14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?

Now, as the Scripture saith, the Great Builder of the heavens and the earth is God. "His hand hath laid the foundations of the earth, and His right hand hath spanned the heavens." The Builder of all things either left the elements of the world to a random and accidental aggroupement, or He "ordered them in all things." Where is the man among "philosophers" who will stultify, or idiotize himself by saying that the Creator permitted chance to elaborate the terrestrial system?

The thing is absurd. Chance is defined to be the cause of fortuitous, or accidental events. What is that cause? The fool says in his heart it is not God. Why does he say so? Because he would make the cause of all things a mere physical disposition in matter, destitute of all intellectual and moral attributes, in order that he may get rid of all responsibility to such a Being.

He hates truth, righteousness, and holiness, and therefore he vainly strives to persuade himself that there is no God of a truthful, righteous, and holy character. But no man of any pretentions to sound mind would affirm this. Nothing has been elaborated by chance. The Scriptures declare that everything was measured, meted out, and weighed, and that the Spirit of the Lord executed His work without any to counsel or instruct Him.

...God, then, had in His own mind a pattern, or design, of all the work that was before Him, before He uttered a word, or His spirit began to move. This design, or archetype, which placed the beginning and the end of all things before Him in one panoramic view, was constructed in harmony with the principles--the eternal principles of His vast, unbounded realm, which coincide with the immutable attributes of His character. The work He was about to execute was for His own pleasure, as saith the Scripture, "Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are, and were created." But, when the work is finished, which, for His own pleasure, God labors to elaborate, what will

it consist in? This inquiry we make as the spectators of the wonders of creation, providence, and redemption. We behold the materials of these departments of Eternal Wisdom, and we ask to what are all things tending? What temple, or edifice, is the Divine Architect raising for His own pleasure and glory?

 If we turn our thoughts within us, there is no voice there which unfolds the philosophy of His doings; if we soar into the heavens, or descend into the sea, if we search through the high places of the earth--we find no answer; for "who hath known the mind of the Lord, who hath been His counsellor, or who hath instructed Him?" If we would ascertain what God designs to elaborate out of the past, the present, and the future, we must be content to assume the attitude of listeners, that He may reveal to us from His own lips what He intends to evolve in the consummation of His plans.

Elpis Israel 1.6.



15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

We must thoroughly realize the utter insignificance and helplessness of man. Abject lowliness and dependency is the only reasonable and sensible attitude when the true picture is

perceived. God will not for a moment consider any who boldly and obstinately ignore these facts and regard themselves or mankind as of any consequence. The Spirit, through Isaiah,

gives the evaluation of man in the sight of God, "

...The insignificance of man is established by Scripture. "Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie-laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than a breath" (Psa. 62:9).

It is clear that Christ's way and viewpoint of life is not a formula for worldly success. This fact must be accepted at the outset. It is impossible to have both, although tremendous contortions are executed in a vain effort to get around this divinely stated principle.

Bro Growcott - The Fleeting Cross and the Eternal Crown



17 All nations [Kol HaGoyim] before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity [ tohu].

We are nothing: absolutely nothing. Let us get that straight. As soon as we start to think we are anything, or others think we are anything, or tell us we are anything, we are in danger. Man is nothing. God is everything. Be part of God.

Bro Growcott - Search Me O God



21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.

THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD‭; H‬IS OVERSIGHT AND GUIDANCE IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN

That the defence of this plainly-taught doctrine of the scripture should be necessary among the brethren of Christ,‭ ‬seems singular and strange:‭ ‬but so it is.‭ ‬Some deny that God interferes with,‭ ‬or in any way directs,‭ ‬the course of human events,‭ ‬either nationally,‭ ‬socially,‭ ‬or individually‭; ‬some perhaps acknowledge the interposition in the affairs of nations,‭ ‬but deny it in individual cases.‭ ‬They affirm that all things,‭ ‬since the days of the apostles,‭ ‬have been left to chance and the course of nature,‭ ‬and that the Lord never stoops to notice such trifles as private affairs and transactions among His people‭; ‬although we are taught in the Word that these small transactions form the life of which we are called to give account in the day of judgment.

The national phase of the subject,‭ ‬being more easily recognized and understood,‭ ‬will occupy our attention first.‭ ‬We wish to trace the Lord's operations in mundane affairs,‭ ‬apart from miraculous manifestations,‭ ‬without outward and visible sign‭; ‬for,‭ ‬say the objectors,‭ ‬the days of miracles and spiritual gifts have long since passed away.‭ ‬But could we possibly believe,‭ ‬that the opening of the seven seals,‭ ‬the blowing of the seven trumpets,‭ ‬the outpouring of the seven vials upon the nations of the earth-turning their ways upside down,‭ ‬contrary to their own will and devising-could possibly have been effected,‭ ‬without the most scrutinizing supervision and direction on the part of Deity‭? ‬Undoubtedly not.‭

The study of the Apocalypse alone is sufficient to shew the Lord's wonderful dealings with the peoples of the earth.‭ ‬Job tells us how that Yahweh‭ "‬maketh the judges fools,‭ ‬and leadeth counsellors away spòiled‭;" "‬He poureth contempt upon princes,‭ ‬and weakeneth the strength of the mighty‭; "‬He increaseth the nations and destroyeth them‭; ‬He enlargeth the nations and straighteneth again.‭"

These passages shew,‭ ‬in unmistakable terms,‭ ‬the utter powerlessness and dependence of earth's great ones,‭ ‬and the mighty communities of peoples over which they rule‭; ‬how they are regarded but as a drop in a bucket,‭ ‬and‭ "‬dust of the balance,‭" ‬in the hands of Him who holds the scale of destinies.‭ ‬Isaiah also informs us that‭ "‬it is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,‭ ‬and the inhabitants are as grasshoppers.‭"

‭ ‬It is‭ "‬He that bringeth the princes to nothing,‭ ‬and maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.‭" "‬All flesh is grass‭; ‬the grass withereth,‭ ‬the flower fadeth,‭ ‬because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.‭" ‬This conviction was most forcibly impressed upon the mind of Nebuchadnezzar,‭ ‬when the glory of his reign suffered a blight by the Spirit of God blowing upon it:‭ ‬its beauty turned quickly into ashes,‭ ‬and he was forced to acknowledge that‭ "‬the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,‭ ‬and giveth it to whomsoever He will.‭"

The boundaries of their habitation also being appointed,‭ ‬and their times determined upon by the Lord,‭ ‬as Paul told the Athenians in his address on Mars‭' ‬Hill.‭ ‬The various changes which have taken place in the boundaries of the nations having been but the necessary working of God's plan,‭ ‬for the developing of the four great empires that have arisen successively,‭ ‬and their fragmental division into ten kingdoms,‭ ‬in the latter days.‭ ‬The manner or method by which these changes have been wrought,‭ ‬has not been by what men call‭ "‬miraculous‭" ‬interpositions‭; ‬the effects are seen,‭ ‬but the hand is invisible‭; ‬the work is carried on in silence,‭ ‬like the growth of a tree,‭ ‬or the diffusion of light,‭ ‬or the ebbing and flowing of earth's tidal waters:‭ ‬these,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬being reckoned as merely natural phenomena.‭

But,‭ ‬natural laws are inactive without a motive power:‭ ‬if the power is withheld,‭ ‬the law ceases to act.‭

The doctrine of the Lord's directing interposition in the affairs of men,‭ ‬threads the labyrinth of testimonies from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelations.‭ ‬It is the pillar of support,‭ ‬the groundwork upon which the whole is constructed‭; ‬the filling-up of every interval,‭ ‬the connecting of every link.‭ ‬Nations are composed of individuals,‭ ‬and national results spring from individual efforts.‭

‭Sis Eusebia Thomas

The Ambassador of the Coming Age, March 1868



31 But they that wait upon Yahweh shall renew their strength [ko'ach]; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Bring Christ into the economy of human life, and you bring light, hope, joy, friendship with God and man, and an eternal inheritance in reserve. Some say they do not want an eternal inheritance. Some say the present life is quite long enough for them; that immortality would tire them. Such is the grunt of the sow, which knows no higher good than the mire and the wallow. They speak foolishly. They reason from present weakness and incapacity.

Whence comes the sensation of "tire"? From the incapability of an animal nature to keep up the supply of energy which enjoyment consumes. No doubt a body such as we have would tire of living for ever; but it is not the present body that is to live for ever. The present body is to be changed: it is to be made a spiritual body; and the spiritual body is powerful where the animal body is weak. There will be no "tire" or satiety with the spirit body.

Weariness belongs to weakness only, and comes in the ratio of weakness purely. A person in poor health tires sooner than one that is robust. One laid on a sick bed is tired as soon as he begins; one that is well can go on for hours, and enjoy what he is about. A spiritual body is strong, and incapable of fatigue. Therefore, endless days will be endless sweetness and joy; chiefly because heart and nature will be one with God, the inexhaustible fountain of sweetness, glory and joy.

These things are accessible to us in Christ, and in Christ only. Well may we meet at this table in honour of him and in remembrance of him. It is good for us to be here. It is to our profit to call him to memory. If we remember him, he will remember us in the day of his gladness. If we forget him, he cannot forget himself. He is in heaven, and at the appointed time will come, whether we on earth remember him or not. When that day comes, we shall realize how much it has been to our well-being to have been kept in the way of his commandments, and to have waited on the memorial of his name.

Bro Roberts - The Beauty of Christ