Jerusalem, the metropolitan city of the millennial earth: the center
of light, the focus of all that is beautiful. Her new name.
have been the visions that have passed before the eye of the prophet,
but it is now the Spirit of Christ in the prophet (1 Pet. 1:11) who
speaks, and as He in resurrection-joy leads the singing of His people,
so here He directs their longings. That same Spirit, indwelling us,
directs our desires, and gives expression to them in "groanings that
cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26).
1: For the sake of mount Zion, I'll ne'er hold my peace,
For the sake of Jerusalem will I rest, never,
Till her righteousness beams as the brightness of morn,
Her salvation shines forth as a night-torch that's blazing!
2: Then shall the Gentiles thy righteousness see,
All the kings of the earth see thy glory;
And thou shalt be called by a name that is new,
Which the mouth of Jehovah determines.
3: A coronet glorious then shalt thou be,
Held in the hand of Jehovah;
A diadem royal then shalt thou be,
Held in the palm of thy God!
4: Azubah1 shalt thou be called nevermore,
Nor thy land be called Shemamah,
But Hephzibah shalt thou henceforth be called,
And thy land shall be called Beulah.
The delight of Jehovah shall then be in thee,
And thy land shall be loved as if married.
5: A young man marries a virgin,
Thy children shall thus marry thee!
The bridegroom joys o'er the bride,
Thy God shall joy over thee!
have heard the gospel preached to Israel; shall it be "mixed with
faith" in the hearers? If it be, then it will awaken the keenest
longings for the actual fulfilment of the promises as to Zion's glory.
The very purpose of the visions has been to awaken such thirsting as
only their fulfilment can satisfy. It is thus—on the same
principle—that God ever works in men. Glorious things were spoken of
that land that flowed with abundance; its hills and vales, its
fountains and rills, its stones of iron and brass-filled mounts—all
were made to pass before the people brought out of bondage. Would they
spring eagerly to grasp the prize? Alas, it was not mixed with faith in
them that heard, and two only of all the mass of adults ever saw that
fair scene (Heb. 4:2).
Look at poor Job; a dark, gloomy, dense cloud
overhangs him. But a beam of light surprises him and, for a time at
least, he sees God, not against but for him, and in that clear light he
looks afar into the future when his Redeemer shall stand—the Last—upon
the earth and from his flesh he shall see God (Job 19). That vision
closes with: "My reins faint with longing for that day."2
again, and give closer attention, for we are personally interested
here: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there
shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there
be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that
sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. . . . These
words are true and faithful." Do we believe them? Do we mix them with
faith? Then shall we thirst for their fulfilment, and thirsting, we may
hear this word: "I will give to him that is athirst of the water of
life freely." Thirst, longing, desire is the necessary prerequisite of
salvation, not only in its beginnings, but to the very end!
here the Spirit of Christ says, O rest not content till what we have
seen in vision becomes an actuality, and all the nations of the earth
shall see in Jerusalem's glory that she is now at last counted
righteous by her God; for here the very word "righteousness" is
parallel and equivalent to "salvation," as indeed it often is in the
Old Testament; the righteousness shines as the daylight, the salvation
as a night illumination. How beautiful shall Jerusalem be then! Jehovah
holds her in his hand as a king may admire the crown that he takes in
his hand for that purpose, and that beauty and glory must surely have
another name than "Forsaken" or "Desolate"—these must be changed to
"Delightful," and "Married," for she has a Protector now who loves her
with an everlasting love. There is no "as" at the beginning of verse 5,
but the force of the simile is strengthened rather than not by the
omission; a young man's affection forces him to its object, equally
naturally thy children will be drawn to thee with a love, to which
nothing can compare save the first fresh love of a young man for his
bride. And it is well to note that it is only the tender affection of
that bridal love that is in view; for this alone would be fitting in
the words, "Thy children shall marry thee." The young bridegroom has
gained, and joys in, the beauty of his bride. Thy children shall gain
their beloved city and rejoice in its beauty.
6: O Salem, I've placed a watch on thy walls,
Nor by day nor by night to be silent.
O ye reminders who wait on the Lord,
Be ceaseless in your intercession;
7: Nor give Him to rest till Salem He make
The object of earth's jubilation.
8: By His right hand, Jehovah hath sworn,
And by His arm that is mighty,
Ne'er will I give thy wheat to thy foes,
Nor thy wine, for which thou hast labored,
To be drunk by the sons of the stranger:
9: But they who have toiled in reaping the wheat,
Shall themselves eat the bread, the Lord praising;
They who have gathered, shall drink of the wine
In the courts of My Sanctuary.
Israel's Messiah speaks, and so identified are His desires with the
full accomplishment of Jerusalem's glory that He appoints watchmen on
her walls, not only to oversee and guard the beloved city, but neither
to rest themselves nor, by their importunate appealings, to give
Jehovah rest till He brings the word of the prophetic vision to its
perfect fulfilment. Jerusalem is restored to Jehovah's favor; her walls
are again rebuilt, but still she has not reached the perfection of her
destiny, nor until she has, must she rest, nor (and this is surely a
marvelous expression to be suggested in the inspired Word) permit her
Lord to rest!
He loves such importunity that, when assured of His mind, will not accept "no" for an answer, nor take silence as a refusal.
this then mean that if we only pray long enough, we may obtain anything
that we may desire? Most people would probably refuse this; and say
surely it must have the limitation of being in accord with His will,
not our fickle desire. But even granting this, must we not guard it
still further? For this would make us to be real beneficent
distributors of blessings whether for ourselves or for others, and God
so hard to move that only the utmost importunity, the most strenuous
pressure of our petitions could change His attitude. He does not long
to bless, it is we who are the real source of good. It only needs to be
thus stated to be instantly rejected by every true child of God. We
feel that it is nothing less than blasphemy, and yet is it not the way
that the matter is commonly put? Does not this scripture, "Give Him no
rest," teach it? And would not the parable of the unjust judge favor
such a thought? Alas, people press that parable till they actually make
it teach that God is Himself the unjust judge, or has the same callous
disposition man-ward. I have read that one mighty in prayer used to
argue it out syllogistically thus: "I desire the eternal salvation of
an individual. I am told in the Scripture that God 'will have all men
to be saved' (1 Tim. 2:4), therefore He would have that man to be
saved, so I know that I am desiring what He wills; and, 'If we ask
anything according to His will He heareth us: and if we know that He
heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that
we desired of Him' (1 John 5:14, 15), SO I know that my prayer will
result eventually in the salvation of that individual, even if I have
to pray fifty years for it, as in some cases I have." That sounds
perfectly logical, and yet who does not feel somewhat uneasy even in
reading it? For we say: "Why limit your prayers to one, or even a few?
The Scripture says 'all men.' Why not then pray persistently and feel
sure that all men will be eventually saved, and not one of all mankind
ever be lost, since you have been told that that is the will of God?
And are you not seriously at fault if you do not grasp and plead thus
confidently for all men?"
It is really, while apparently logical,
a distortion of the Scripture, however innocently and even piously
done. The word in Timothy simply tells us of the disposition of God to
man—what is His wish. It does not speak of His eternal purpose, or His
counsels, which must be irresistibly carried out, but of His beneficent
Has God then purposed and willed men to be
lost? How carefully that is negatived, not only here but by 2 Peter
3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count
slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing3 that
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." The
apparently logical argument mentioned leaves out a most important
factor: the human will; this Scripture never does. Was it because our
Lord was not willing to give life, that those Jews lacked it? Nay. "Ye
will not come to Me that ye might have life" (John 5:40) is His
faithful and true word. Is one saved? It is entirely of God's grace. Is
one lost? It is entirely of his own will. The human will must ever be
taken into account, and never must we place the God of all grace, whose
very name is Love, in the position of being the unwilling One, and we
Here God has distinctly made it clear that His
purpose is to bring Jerusalem to the place of metropolitan glory; then,
cries Messiah, let us place the foot of our faith on that sure promise,
and beseech Him to do what He has told us it is His purpose to do; for
thus He admits us men into a partnership with Himself in the work of
blessing. Our Lord (the Express Image of His Person as He is) said:
"Pray ye therefore the lord of the harvest that he would send forth
laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2), as if the gathering in of the
sheaves were not the very strongest desire of the farmer himself, and
he needed to be importuned—"given no rest"—to save his own crops! It is
nothing but God's gracious thoughtfulness and love for man, as if He
said: "I want your companionship, your partnership, in this happy work;
and there is not one of you that cannot ask Me to send out laborers
into the world-harvest field. That is not a matter of gift or
discriminative ability, but open to all, but when I hear one asking
that, I shall know whom to send." Let us be careful not so to distort
prayer that we, however unintentionally, make the salvation of sinners
to depend on our winning over to mercy an unwilling or indifferent God,
and ignore entirely the power of the human will.
Verses 7 to 9 are too clear to need comment.
10: Go forth! Go forth through the wide-opened gates!
Make the road clear for the people!
Raise up! Raise up the way for their feet,
Clear it from stones that might stumble!
A banner lift up o'er the nations.
11: Jehovah hath caused this word to resound
Afar to th' earth's furthest borders:
Announce to the daughter of Zion the news,
Behold, thy salvation approaches;
Behold, His reward with Him He doth bring,
His retributive work lies before Him.
12: They shall be called a nation of saints,
Those whom the Lord hath redeemed;
Derooshah4 the name that thou shalt be called,
A city that is not forsaken.
again we have an illustration of that basic truth that earth ever
provides symbols of heaven, the seen being pictures of the unseen. In
this way Israel, the elect nation of God on the earth, provides
pictures of the heavenly people. Thus in the repeated, "Go forth! Go
forth through the gates," it is literal Babylon whose gates open to let
the captive Israelites go free. Then their return to their own city is
made easy by that "high-way" that shall make the journey homeward a
path of triumph. Literal as all this is, it still affords the picture
that affects us.
Quite as surely as Israel was subject to Babylon, so
we, even this very day, are in subjection to that "Confusion" of which
the very name Babylon speaks. Is there no confusion in Christendom? Out
of that confusion the Lord is ever calling His people, although their
complete deliverance will await that gathering shout of 1 Thess. 4:16,
when indeed a very high-way will be ours, for the clouds of heaven
shall be our chariots to take us to His Presence.
If we agree
with those who hear in these stirring words a call to the captives in
Babylon to flee from that literal city, yet reason revolts from being
satisfied with the escape of about 40,000, under Ezra and Nehemiah,
definitely fulfilling such a series of glorious prophecies as in these
All this divinely recorded history has its deeper
meaning beneath the surface, and the ancient literal Babylon, and the
deliverance from it, become a foreshadowing of eternal verities, both
for us on whom the ends of the ages are come, and for Israel.
also foreshadows another earthly fulfilment when the restored Jerusalem
shall attract her children from earth's remotest bounds; and the
Gentiles shall at length own that that is indeed the favored nation,
the one that is truly "holy," amid all those on earth. Once again, too,
here we have that figure of a banner raised aloft so that all eyes are
turned to it; for what, of all the events of history, could so win the
rapt attention of earth's inhabitants as Jesus the Lord enthroned in
Jerusalem, and His Jewish people flocking to Him, the nations owning
that this is as life from the dead for Israel, and for the earth
itself, its "regeneration." But let no one think that this prophecy is
being fulfilled today; for unbelief cannot attract this tender delight
The words should either all be in Hebrew, or all translated—they mean
in the order given: "Forsaken," "Desolate," "My delight in her," and
2 As the last clause of verse 27 should read.
3 The word here is boulomai, which is stronger than the thelo of 1 Tim. 2:3.
This word means, "Sought out," but as it is a title, and we have
adopted the Hebrew in verse 4, it seems only consistent to do so here.