Isaiah 48:16 MEANING

Isaiah 48:16
(16) Come ye near unto me.--Here the address would seem to be made to Israel. At first Jehovah appears as the speaker, and as using much the same language as before. At the close the prophet appears abruptly, as speaking in his own person. Perhaps, indeed, the prophet is the speaker throughout. A paraphrase will perhaps help to explain the sequence of thought. "I have not from the beginning of my prophetic work spoken in dark, ambiguous speeches like the oracles of the heathen. From the time that the great work began to unfold itself I was present, contemplating it. Now the time of revelation has come. The Lord God hath sent me (this is the Hebrew order); and His Spirit. This gives, it is believed, an adequate explanation. By some interpreters the closing words are referred to the mysterious "Servant of the Lord," and by others the Spirit is made the object and not the subject of the word "sent."

Verses 16-22. - THE THIRD ADDRESS. Israel is reminded of God's merciful teaching and leading in the past (vers. 16, 17); expostulated with on their disobedience (vers. 18, 19); exhorted to go forth boldly and joyfully from Babylon (vers. 20, 21); and finally warned that God's blessings - even such a blessing as deliverance - are no blessings to any but the righteous (ver. 22). Verse 16. - I have not spoken in secret from the beginning. God, "from the beginning," i.e. from his first dealings with Israel, had raised up a succession of prophets, who had declared his will, not "in secret," or ambiguously, but openly and plainly, so that all who heard might understand (comp. Isaiah 45:19, and see the comment ad loc.). From the time that it was, there am I; i.e. "from the time that the earth was, there (in the succession of my prophetic messengers) was I." It was I who spake by their mouth, and thus announced my will publicly. And now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me. Dr. Kay supposes that "one Divine Personage is here sent by another" - the Second Person of the Holy Trinity by the First and by the Third; but it is against the analogy of faith that the Third Person should send the Second. Probably Mr. Cheyne is right in suggesting that "here a fresh speaker is introduced," and also right in his supposition that the fresh speaker is "the prophet himself," who tells us that he is now carrying on the goodly succession which has been "from the beginning," and is sent to deliver his message by God (the Father) and his (Holy) Spirit. On the tendency of Isaiah to "hypostatize" the Spirit of God, see the comment on Isaiah 40:13; and compare Mr. Cheyne's note on the same passage ('Prophecies of Isaiah,' vol. 1. p. 243).

48:16-22 The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send. This is to be applied to Christ. He was sent, and he had the Spirit without measure. Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance. God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God's will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ. The spiritual blessings of redemption, and the rescue of the church from antichristian tyranny, are here pointed to. But whatever changes take place, the Lord warned impenitent sinners that no good would come to them; that inward anguish and outward trouble, which spring from guilt and from the Divine wrath, must be their portion for ever.Come ye near unto me, hear ye this,.... An address to the Jews, to attend the ministry of Christ, and hear the doctrine he had delivered to them:

I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the beginning of his ministry; which be exercised not in private houses, but in the synagogues of the Jews, and in the temple, whither a large concourse of people resorted, John 18:20,

from the time that it was, there am I; from the time that his ministry began there, he was in the same places, in Judea and Galilee, always publicly preaching the Gospel, and doing good: or rather, "before the time that it was, there was I" (n); Christ existed before his incarnation, before he appeared as the great Prophet in Israel; he existed as the Word and Son of God from all eternity, and was with God his Father from everlasting; he was by him, and brought up with him, and lay in his bosom so early:

and now the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me; in the fulness of time, in the likeness of sinful flesh, to preach the Gospel, fulfil the law, and to redeem and save the Lord's people. Here is a glorious testimony of a trinity of Persons in the Godhead; Christ the Son of God is sent in human nature, and as Mediator Jehovah the Father and the Spirit are the senders of him; and so is a proof of the mission, commission, and authority of Christ, who came not of himself, but was sent of God, John 8:42, it may be rendered, "and now the Lord God hath sent me and his Spirit" (o); both were sent of God, and in this order; first, Christ, to be the Redeemer and Saviour; and then the Spirit, to be the Convincer and Comforter; see John 14:26.

(n) "ex tempore antequam fieret", V. L. "nondum existente tempore horum eventuum", Forerius. (o) "misit me et spiritum ejus", Lutherus, Castalio; "et spiritum suum", Cocceius, Vitringa.

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