and the maker of it as a spark, or "his work"; so the Targum,
"and the work of their hands shall be as a spark of fire;''
or like the embers and ashes of a coal, which are blown away and lost at once: so antichrist, and all his evil works, as well as all his evil workers under him, will be entirely consumed: or, as it may be rendered, "he that wrought him": that is, Satan, for his coming is after the working of Satan; he has his seat, power, and authority, from the dragon, the old serpent, and the devil, and may be truly called a creature of his, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
and they shall both burn together; both the pope and the devil in the lake of fire and brimstone, into which they will both be cast, Revelation 20:10.
and none shall quench them; that fire will be unquenchable and everlasting; they will be tormented for ever and ever, and so will all the worshippers of the beast, Matthew 25:41. The Chaldee paraphrase is,
"so the wicked shall be consumed, and their evil works, and there shall be no mercy upon them.''
INTRODUCTION TO Isaiah 2
This chapter contains a vision or prophecy of the enlargement of Christ's kingdom and interest, and of the glory of his church in the latter day, by the calling of the Gentiles, and the numerous conversions of them to it, and of the abolition of idolatry, and the destruction of the antichristian party. The inscription to it is in Isaiah 2:1 the prophecy itself follows; the date of it is the last days; the subject matter of it, the kingdom, interest, and church of Christ, signified by the mountain of the Lord's house; its glorious estate is expressed by its establishment on the mountains; by its exaltation above the hills; and by the great numbers that should flock to it, and should encourage one another to go up to it, in order to learn the ways of God, and walk in them; the means of which is the Gospel preached, that should go out of Jerusalem; the effect of that is peace among the nations: hence the house of Jacob is exhorted to walk in the light held forth by it, Isaiah 2:2 and then the reasons are given of God's rejecting and forsaking some that bear the Christian name, called the house of Jacob; namely, their Heathenish superstition, idolatry, covetousness, and confidence in their riches; who are sarcastically called upon to hide themselves in the rocks for fear of the Lord, Isaiah 2:6 when the judgments of God are denounced on the proud and lofty, comparable to cedars, oaks, mountains, hills, high towers, fenced walls, and ships of the ocean, at which time, Christ, and he alone, will be exalted, and idolatry utterly abolished; the consequence of which will be the utmost dread and terror to all idolaters, Isaiah 2:11 and the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to such to cease from the man of sin, and have him in no account, Isaiah 2:22.
"the word of prophecy, which Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prophesied:''
or the thing, the "decree", as some choose to render it, the purpose of God concerning things to come, which was revealed to the prophet, and he here declares:
concerning Judah and Jerusalem; the church and people of God, and what should befall them and their enemies in the latter day: this inscription stands for this and the three following chapters.
That the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains; by "the mountain" of the Lord's house is meant, not Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, as Kimchi interprets it; nor the temple itself, as the Targum; though in the last days of it, and at the first coming of the Messiah, that had a greater glory than ever it had before, through the personal presence of Christ in it; through the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles there, on the day of Pentecost; and through the Gospel being first preached here by Christ and his apostles, from whence it went forth into all the world, as is afterwards predicted it should; but the kingdom of Christ, which is his church, is here designed; called "the Lord's house", because of his building, and where he dwells, and which he will at this time beautify and glorify; the materials of it are lively stones, or true believers; laid on Christ the foundation, into which there is no right entrance but through faith in him, who is the door, and where is plenty of provisions; the pillars and beams of it are the ministers of the Gospel, and its windows are the ordinances: here Christ is as a Son over his own house; he is the Master of it, the High Priest and Prophet in it; and his servants are the stewards of it, to give to everyone their portion; and happy are they that have a name and a place in it: and it is called "the mountain", in allusion to Mount Zion, on which the temple stood; because of its immovableness, being secured in the everlasting and electing love of God, and in the unalterable covenant of grace, founded on the Rock Christ, and guarded by the mighty power of God. This is "established in the top of the mountains"; in Christ, who is higher than the kings of the earth, signified by mountains, Revelation 17:9 who is the Head of all principality and power; not in their first head, or in themselves, is the establishment of the saints, but in Christ, 2 Corinthians 1:21 he is the stability of their persons, of their grace, and of their life, spiritual and eternal. Here it seems to denote the superiority of the kingdom and interest of Christ to all civil and religious states; the settlement and security of it; its standing above them, and continuance when they shall be no more, even all antichristian states, both Papal, Pagan, and Mahometan, Revelation 16:19.
and shall be exalted above the hills; Mount Zion is above Mount Sinai, or the Gospel dispensation is preferable to the legal one. It is an observation of Jarchi, that it shall be exalted by a greater sign or miracle that shall be done in it than was done in Sinai, Carmel, and Tabor; the law was given on Sinai, and many wonders wrought; but on Zion the Messiah himself appeared, and his Gospel was published, and miracles wrought by him. And in the latter day, when Christ, and he alone, shall be exalted, as he will at the time this prophecy refers to, Isaiah 2:11 the church will be exalted; the glory of the Lord will be risen upon her; the interest of Christ will exceed all other interests; his religion will be the prevailing one; the kingdoms of this world will become his; and his dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the end of the earth. This may also denote the visibility of the kingdom and church of Christ; it will be as a city on a hill; and however obscure the church is now, being in the wilderness, it will at this time be visible to all:
and all nations shall flow unto it; that is, many out of all nations shall be converted, and come freely and willingly to join themselves to the church of Christ; they shall come in great numbers, in company together, and that continually, like flowing streams; they shall first flow to the Lord, and to his goodness, and then to his church and ordinances; see Isaiah 60:4.
Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; the church of Christ, so called; See Gill on Isaiah 2:2. This expresses the concern that truly gracious souls have for the house of God, and his worship in it; they go up to it, considering it both as their duty and their privilege; and which they do frequently and constantly, with much spiritual pleasure, though sometimes with difficulty, finding their account in it, and knowing it is for the glory of God; and not content with so doing themselves, they encourage others to do so likewise; either professors of religion with them, who are negligent and backward through a spirit of slumber and slothfulness on them; through lukewarmness, coldness, and leaving their first love; through an over love to the world, and the things of it; and through a vain conceit of themselves, as being as knowing as their teachers, or wiser than they: or else such who have made no profession, who are quite ignorant of divine things, these they endeavour to bring with them, out of love to their souls, that they may be under the means of grace, in order to their conversion; and such as are inquiring the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, these they encourage to join with them in holy fellowship; and in all they set an example by a constant attendance themselves; they do not stir them up to go alone, either one or other, but propose to go with them. See Psalm 122:1.
and he will teach us of his ways: that is, the Lord the God of Jacob, the covenant God and Father of his church and people, who often in this prophecy go by the name of Jacob; he is the teacher, and there is none teacheth like him; and happy are they who are taught of God, and who have heard and learnt of the Father, and come to Christ: he taught men by his Son, when here on earth; who was a teacher that came from God, taught the way of God in truth, and with authority, as the Scribes and Pharisees did not: and then by his Spirit, sent after him to teach all things, and bring all things to remembrance; and since by his apostles and ministers, who have gifts, and a commission to teach men; though all human teachings are of no avail, without a divine blessing, unless accompanied with the anointing, which teacheth all things; and which will be abundantly bestowed in the latter day, when all the children of Zion, and that come to the house of the Lord, will be taught of God. Kimchi says, the teacher here is the King Messiah; the "us" to be taught are Gentiles, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, whom Christ, under the Gospel dispensation, has given his ministers a commission to teach; and here design such as are humble souls, and sensible of their ignorance, and who know something of Christ, and believe in him; yet, as they know but in part, they desire to know more. The things taught them are the "ways" of the Lord; his ways of love, grace, and mercy, in the salvation of men; the steps he took in eternity towards it, by consulting and contriving the best method of it, forming it in his Son, and agreeing with him in covenant about it, and choosing the persons in him he designed to save: and also his goings forth in time, by sending his Son into this world, to obtain salvation for them, and his Spirit into their hearts, to apply it to them; likewise the ways which he prescribes and directs his people to walk in, such as the ordinances of the Gospel, and every path of duty: and the place where these are taught is the church of God, and to this school all that desire to learn should go; and there is ever something more and more of these ways to be learnt; for they are not all learnt at once, only part of his ways; and it is but a small portion, we know of these in the present state, which God has taken in order to bring about our salvation.
And we will walk in his paths; in Christ, the way, by faith, and in all his ordinances and paths of duty, according to the rule of his word; in imitation of him, and as he walked; in a dependence on his wisdom, grace, and strength, continuing therein; for walking is a progressive motion, and designs a series and course of obedience and perseverance in it:
for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; by which is meant the law or doctrine of the Messiah, Isaiah 42:4 for the Hebrew word signifies any doctrine, and so the evangelical one, the law or doctrine of faith, of justification by faith in Christ's righteousness, Romans 3:27 together with all other doctrines of the same kind; called the "word of the Lord", which the Lord Christ is the author, preacher, sum, and substance of; the word of righteousness, peace, reconciliation, life, and salvation by him. This first began according to his commission and direction to be preached at Jerusalem, and from thence it went forth into all the world; and it is in Zion, in the church of God, it is now preached, and will be more clearly and fully in the latter day; and so is an argument and an encouraging reason to engage persons to go up thither and hear it.
(p) Apud Wagenseil. Tela ignea, p. 29.
and shall rebuke many people; either the church shall rebuke by her ministers, whose work it is to reprove and rebuke for and to convince of both immorality and error; or, the word preached by them, which is the means of the conviction and conversion of sinners; or, Christ by his Spirit, whose office it is to reprove and convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. It is a prophecy of numerous conversions among the Gentiles, in the latter day:
and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: instruments of war shall be no more used, but shall be turned into instruments of husbandry, much more advantageous and useful to mankind.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. This clearly proves that this prophecy belongs to future times; for this has never yet had its accomplishment in any sense; not in a literal sense; for though there was an universal peace all the world over, at the birth of Christ, in the times of Augustus Caesar, yet there afterwards were, as our Lord foretold there would be, wars, and rumours of wars, and nation should rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and so it has been, more or less, ever since; nor in a spiritual sense, for though Christ has made peace by the blood of his cross, and came and preached it by his ministers, and wherever the Gospel of peace takes place, it makes men of peaceable dispositions, and reconciles them, as to God and Christ, and the way of salvation by him, so to one another; and it is peace saints are called to, and, when grace is in exercise, it rules in their hearts; and yet there have been sad contentions and quarrels among the people of God, and which yet still continue; but in the latter day glory, or spiritual reign of Christ, this prophecy will be fulfilled in every sense; for after the hour of temptation is over, that shall try all the earth, after the slaying of the witnesses and their rising, after the battle at Armageddon, when the beast and false prophet will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire, there will be no more wars in the world, nor any persecution of the saints; and then will the peaceable kingdom of Christ appear, and all his subjects, and the members of his church, will live in the utmost unity and harmony together; they shall no more envy and vex one another; and of this peace there will be no end, Psalm 72:7 these words are applied to the times of the Messiah, both by ancient (q) and modern (r) Jews.
(q) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 63. 1.((r) R. Nachman. Disputat. cum fratre Paulo, p. 41. R. Isaac. Chizzuk Emuna, par. 1. cap. 1. p. 43, 44. Kimchi in Isaiah 65.19.
come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord; meaning either Christ, in whom the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is given, and the glory of all the perfections of the divine nature is displayed; who is that light that dwells with the Lord, was sent forth by him, and came into this world as the light of it, and is given for a light to the Gentiles, as well as the glory of the people of Israel; and who is the author of all light; of corporeal light, in the first creation; of the sun, moon, and stars; of the light of nature in every man; of the light of the Gospel of the grace of God; of the spiritual light of grace in the hearts of his people; and of the light of eternal glory: or else the Gospel is intended, called the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:4 by which some are only notionally enlightened, and some spiritually and savingly, when it is attended with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ: or rather, the light of the latter day glory, which includes the other two; when Christ and his Gospel will be more clearly revealed and seen, not only by the watchmen, who will see eye to eye, but by all the saints; when the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun sevenfold as the light of seven days, and the whole earth shall be lightened with its glory, Isaiah 30:26 and to "walk" in this light, as it respects Christ, is to walk by faith in him, to go on in believing views of him, and to walk in imitation of him, and as he directs; and as it respects the Gospel, it is to embrace it, profess it, hold it fast, and hold it forth; and to walk as that prescribes and guides, and as becomes it; and to walk as children of the light, wisely and circumspectly; worthy of the calling of God, of the grace he calls by, and the kingdom he calls to: and to walk in the light of the latter day glory is to enjoy it, and share in all the blessings of it, with perseverance therein, through the grace of God; and such walking is pleasant and comfortable; such shall have the communion of God and Christ, and fellowship one with another, and at last enjoy the light of life.
Because they be replenished from the east, or "more than the east" (s); than the eastern people, the Syrians and Chaldeans; that is, were more filled with witchcrafts and sorceries than they, as Kimchi explains it; of the sorceries of the Romish antichrist, see Revelation 9:21 the words may be rendered, "because they be full from of old time" (t); or, as of old, or more than they were of old; namely, fuller of idols than formerly; so the Targum paraphrases it,
"because your land is full of idols, as of old;''
and so Rome Papal is as full of idols, or fuller, than Rome Pagan was. Some, as Aben Ezra, understand this of their being filled with the wisdom of the children of the east, 1 Kings 4:30 and others of the riches of the east:
and are soothsayers like the Philistines: who were a people given to divination and soothsaying, 1 Samuel 6:2 and some of the popes of Rome have studied the black art, and by such wicked means have got into the Papal chair; for under this may be included all evil arts and fallacious methods, by which they have deceived themselves and others:
and they please themselves in the children of strangers; being brought into their convents, monasteries, and nunneries; the priests and nuns vowing celibacy and virginity, and contenting themselves with the children of others: or they love strange flesh, delight in sodomitical practices, and unnatural lusts with boys and men; wherefore Rome is called Sodom and Egypt, Revelation 11:8 or they content and delight themselves in the laws, customs, rites, ceremonies, and doctrines of other nations; many of the Gentile notions and practices being introduced into the faith and worship of the church of Rome; wherefore the Papists go by the name of Gentiles, Revelation 11:2. The Targum is,
"and they walk in the laws of the people,''
or study strange sciences, and not the statutes and laws of God; so some interpret it, as Ben Melech observes, and who also mentions another sense some give, that they please themselves in images they renew daily.
(s) "prae oriente, vel filiis orientis", Vatablus. (t) , Sept.; "ut olim", Vulg. Lat. Sic Syr. & Ar.
neither is there any end of their treasures; laid up in the pope's coffers, in their churches, monasteries, and convents:
their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots; for the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. to ride on and in. Horses and chariots are mentioned among the wares and merchandise of Rome, in Revelation 18:13.
and they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made; namely, idols of gold, silver, brass, wood, and stone, Revelation 9:20.
therefore forgive them not; their sins of soothsaying, covetousness, and idolatry; and such that worship the beast and his image shall not be forgiven, but drink of the wine of divine wrath, and be tormented with fire for ever and ever, Revelation 14:9. These are either the words of the prophet to the Lord representing the church, and imprecating evils on antichristian worshippers; or of the angel to the Christian powers, exhorting them not to spare Babylon, Revelation 18:6 some refer these words to the mean and great men bowing down and humbling themselves, and read them in connection with them thus, "and lifts not up unto them"; that is, the head or soul; so Aben Ezra, who also observes, that the word "earth" may be wanting, and supplied thus, "and the earth shall not bear them"; they shall be destroyed from off it, both the idols and the worshippers of them. See Psalm 10:16.
so for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty; lest he should pour out his wrath and vengeance upon them, and be a consuming fire to them, before whose glory and majesty they will not be able to stand; for this is to be understood not of a filial reverence of God, but of a servile fear of punishment; and these words are sarcastically said, suggesting that rocks and mountains will be no protection or security for them.
and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down; of the followers of antichrist, who have boasted of their wisdom and knowledge, of their number, power, greatness, and authority, of their wealth and riches, and of their merits and works of supererogation; their pride will now be stained, and all their glory laid in the dust:
and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day: in his divine Person, and in all his offices, and especially in his kingly office; he shall be King over all the earth, the kingdoms of this world will become his, he shall be the one Lord, and his name one, Zechariah 14:9 this will be in the spiritual reign of Christ, in the latter day, or last day of the Gospel dispensation, when the church will be exalted, as in Isaiah 2:2 and in the personal reign of Christ it will still more appear, that he, and he alone, will be exalted by and among his people, among whom his tabernacle will be, for then he will have no rivals; not only all rule, power, and authority among men, will be put down, and the beast and false prophet will have been cast alive into the lake of fire; but Satan, the god of this world, will be taken and bound, and cast into the bottomless pit, and so remain during the time of Christ's thousand years' reign with his saints on earth: this passage is referred by the Jews (u) to the end of the six thousand years the world according to them shall stand.
(u) T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 31. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 92. 2. & 97. 1.
shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low; either the day of his mighty power and efficacious grace shall be upon them to convert them; when they who thought themselves in a good estate, rich, and standing in need of nothing, shall now perceive themselves to be in a very poor, wretched, and miserable one; and when such who have trusted in and boasted of their own righteousness, and despised others, and would not submit to the righteousness of Christ; shall now renounce their own, and gladly embrace his; and when those who prided themselves with their free will, strength, and power, will now find that they can do nothing of themselves, and without Christ, his Spirit and grace; and such, who fancied that their own right hand could save them, will now see that there is salvation in no other but Christ, and will prostrate themselves before him, and seek unto him alone for peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life: or else this means the day of the Lord's vengeance on his proud and haughty enemies, who would not have him to reign over them; these shall be as stubble, when the day of the Lord, which will burn like an oven, will consume and destroy them, Malachi 4:1.
and upon all the oaks of Bashan; nobles, princes, governors of provinces, as the same writers explain the words, oaks being inferior to cedars: the day of the Lord will be upon these, and their destruction come on at the battle of Armageddon, Revelation 19:18.
"and upon all that dwell in a high tower, and upon all that reside by a fortified wall.''
"and upon all that dwell in the islands of the sea.''
See Revelation 16:20. Tarshish, as Vitringa observes, designs Tartessus or Gades in Spain, which must bring to mind the memorable destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1558, as he also notes.
And upon all pleasant pictures; of Christ and the Virgin Mary, of angels, and of saints departed, the Papists make use of to help their devotion. The Targum is,
"and upon all that dwell in beautiful palaces;''
such as those of the pope and his cardinals at Rome, and of archbishops and bishops at other places. The Septuagint version is, "and upon all the sight of the beauty of ships"; such were the ships of the Phoenicians, which were very much ornamented, and beautiful to behold.
for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty; see Gill on Isaiah 2:10.
when be ariseth; out of his place; Jarchi says, at the day of judgment; but it respects the judgment of the great whore, and the time when Babylon the great shall come in remembrance before God:
to shake terribly the earth; at which earthquake, or shaking of the earth, that is, a revolution of the antichristian state, the tenth part of the city will fall, and seven thousand men of name be slain, Revelation 9:13 and so the Targum paraphrases it,
"when he shall be revealed, to break in pieces the wicked of the earth;''
which will be done by him, as the vessels of a potter are broken to shivers, Revelation 2:27.
which they made each one for himself to worship; everyone having their peculiar idol, the work of their own hands; which shows their gross ignorance and wretched stupidity:
to the moles, and to the bats; that is, either they shall leave them to persons as blind and ignorant as moles and bats; or rather they shall cast them into the holes which moles make, and bats have recourse unto. The Targum makes these the objects of worship, rendering the words,
"that they may worship the idols and images;''
and the Jewish writers interpret them of images worshipped in the form of moles and bats; though we never read of those creatures being worshipped, Moles were sacrificed to Neptune (w). Kimchi refers this text to the times of the Messiah; and some of their ancient writers (x) apply it to the Messiah, and to his arising and appearing in the land of Galilee.
(w) Phurnutus de Natura Deorum, p. 59. (x) Zohar in Exod. fol. 3. 3. &. in Numb. fol. 99. 3.
for fear of the Lord, &c. See Gill on Isaiah 2:10, Isaiah 2:19.