Pristine Grace

Isa 46:9-13, (GILL)
9  Remember the former things of old,.... The things that were from the beginning, or the ancient things done by the Lord, whether as the effects of power, wisdom, and goodness, or in wrath, or in mercy; such as the creation of the heavens, and the earth, and all things in them; the destruction of the old world, and of Sodom and Gomorrah; the bringing of Israel out of Egypt through the Red sea and wilderness, to Canaan's land, and all the wondrous things then done for them; which are so many proofs of the true deity of the God of Israel, in opposition to the idols of the Gentiles:

for I am God, and there is none else; as he must needs be what did the above things:

I am God, and there is none like me; for greatness or goodness, or that has done the like things; not one of the gods of the Gentiles.

10  Declaring the end from the beginning,.... The end of the Jewish state, both as a church, and a commonwealth, from the first settlement of it in the times of Moses, and by him, De 32:29. The end of the world, and all things in it, as early as the times of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, Jude 1:14. The end and issue of every event, at least of many very remarkable and momentous ones, before they came to pass; and particularly things relating to Christ, the beginning and end; the fulfilling end of the moral law for righteousness; the scope and design of the ceremonial law, to which that tended, and in which it issued; as well as the end of the whole Scripture, of the prophecies and promises of it: and this end was declared very early, and spoken of by all the prophets that were from the beginning of the world; and which is a full proof of the omniscience of God, and so of his true deity, Lu 1:70.

And from the ancient times the things that are not yet done; that were not at this time done, though they are since: such as the captivity of the Jews, and their return from it; also the incarnation of Christ, his obedience and sufferings, and the glory that should follow; his resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of God; the work of redemption by him; the effusion of the Spirit; the spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles, and their conversion; and others which are now not yet done; as the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, and the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles; the glory of the church in those times as to knowledge, peace, purity, power, and authority; the destruction of antichrist; and the second coming of the Messiah; all which have been declared from ancient times; and as the former have been accomplished, there is reason to believe the latter will:

saying, my counsel shall stand; the purposes and decrees of God, which are within himself, wisely formed by him, eternal and not frustrable; and which shall stand, or be accomplished, being the counsels of him who is all wise, all knowing, all powerful, unchangeable, true, and faithful; whether they respect the providence of God in relation to the world in general, and the government of it, or to particular persons, and their affairs, from the time of their birth to their death; or whether they respect his grace and goodness in the salvation of men; such as his purpose according to election, the covenant of his grace, redemption by Christ, the effectual calling, and eternal glorification; all which, as they are according to the will and counsel of God; stand firm and sure, and shall have their full accomplishment; see Ps 33:11.

And I will do all my pleasure; as he has done in creation, and does in providence, so he has done, can do, and does in grace, in predestination and redemption, and in the effectual calling. And particularly this may refer to the deliverance of the Jews by Cyrus, a type of Christ, and deliverance by him, as follows:

11  Calling a ravenous bird from the east,.... Or "a flying fowl", or "swift winged bird" [u]; for the word used does not so much denote rapaciousness as swiftness; which well agrees with Cyrus, who is here meant, and not Abraham, as Jarchi, nor Nebuchadnezzar, as others; and who was always swift in all his expeditions, and always recommended celerity and dispatch of business to his soldiers and others, as Xenophon [w] often observes; and very remarkable is that speech of Tigranes to him, in which he tells him [x], that he so far exceeded the king of Armenia in swiftness, that he came upon him with a great army, from a far country, before he could get his army together, which was just by him. And very observable are the words of Cyrus himself, who was desirous of being a thorough horseman, that he might seem to be anyrwpov pthnov, "a winged" or "flying man" [y] So the Targum here renders it, a swift bird. Aben Ezra, who interprets it of Cyrus, says he is so called, as if he flew to do the will of God; and Kimchi observes of Cyrus, that he has this name because he came swiftly, and in haste, as a bird that flies: and it is no unusual thing for a mighty monarch, or a general, marching with his army, to be compared to a flying bird, particularly an eagle, Jer 48:40 and may be the bird intended here, which well suits with Cyrus, who had, as Plutarch [z] reports, an aquiline nose; hence men that have such noses, among the Persians, are highly esteemed: and Xenophon [a] says, that the standard of Cyrus was a golden eagle upon the top of a high spear, and which is retained by the kings of Persia. Cyrus is said to be called from the east, because, as Kimchi observes, his country lay to the east of Babylon:

the man that executeth my counsel from afar country; as Persia was from Babylon, Assyria and other provinces lying between; but though he lived in a far country, and knew nothing of the affairs of the people of God in Babylon, or what work he was to do, yet God called him, and brought him to do his will, which he was ignorant of: so God sometimes puts into the hearts of men to fulfil his will, which they are strangers to, Re 17:17. It is in the Hebrew text, "the man of my counsel" [b]; not with whom the Lord consulted, for none are of his counsel in this sense; but whom in his counsels, decrees, and purposes, he appointed to such service, and whom he made use of as an instrument to do his pleasure; see Isa 44:8

yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass: I have purposed, I will also do it; the counsel of the Lord, concerning the deliverance of his people from Babylon, by the hand of Cyrus; this he had purposed in his own breast, had spoken of in prophecy, and would certainly perform. R. Joseph Kimchi interprets this verse of the Messiah, and so does Jerom, of whom, no doubt, Cyrus was a type; and what is here said agrees with him: he may be compared to a flying bird for his swiftness in coming at the appointed time; he came from the east, as the rising sun of righteousness; he was the man of God's counsel in the highest sense, and came, being called, to execute it; the work of redemption was according to the eternal purpose of God, and spoke of by all the holy prophets, and now accomplished; and his righteousness and salvation are made mention of in the following verses.

[u] jye "avem, a velocitate", Munster; so Vatablus; ab jwe "in volando celeriter et cum impetu", Forerius; so Ben Melech says, Cyrus is surnamed a fowl, because of his great swiftness and haste to come to Babylon; though he observes that some say, that a ravenous fowl is called jye; the singular may be put for the plural; so Cocceius renders it, "volucres", birds, and may design the whole army of Cyrus. [w] Cyropaedia, l. 1. c. 17. and l. 3. c. 6. and l. 6. c. 17. [x] Cyropaedia, l. 3. c. 2. [y] Ib. l. 4. c. 17. [z] In Apothegm. [a] Cyropaedia, l. 7. c. 1. [b] ytue vya "virum mei consilii", Munster, Pagninus, Montanus; so according to the Keri: but the Cetib is wtue vya, "the man of his counsel".

12  Hearken unto me, ye stout hearted,.... This is not an address to the Chaldeans, as Kimchi and others think, who were merciless and cruel to the Jews, and far from doing that which was right unto them, but oppressed them, and would not let them go; but to the Jews themselves, at least to the wicked and profligate among them, who were always a stouthearted, stiffnecked, and a rebellious people; and even those who made more presences to religion were only self-righteous, and were far from true righteousness. The whole may be applied to all persons destitute of the grace of God, professors or profane, who are stout or stubborn hearted; have hard and impenitent hearts; proud and haughty in their hearts; proud of their wisdom, power, and strength; stout in their hearts against God, as appears by their words and actions; oppose themselves to the people of God, his word and ordinances; and some so daring as to make a mock at sin, at religion, and a future state, and outbrave death itself; though when God calls them to an account, as he sometimes does by his judgments here, and will at the last judgment hereafter; or by the workings of his Spirit upon them, convincing them of sin, righteousness, and judgment; their hearts fail, and they cannot be strong and endure; when his word comes with power, and they hear it, and feel the energy of it, they are cut to the heart, and their stout and proud spirits are brought down, and made to submit: even such

that are far from righteousness; as all men are in a state of nature, none are righteous, no, not one, but are full of all unrighteousness; even those that are the most righteous and religious, externally, are without a righteousness; they do not attain to one by the law of works; they go about to establish their own, and do not submit to the righteousness of God, and so are far from it: and indeed all God's elect, in a state of unregeneracy, are far from any knowledge of the righteousness of Christ, they not being yet convinced of the need of it, and it having not yet been revealed and applied unto them, and received by faith; now these are called upon to hear the word externally, which coming with power, causes them to hear spiritually what follows:

13  I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off,.... Meaning either the faithfulness of God, in fulfilling his promises; or the justice of God displayed, in redemption by Christ; or Christ himself, God's righteous One, and the Lord our righteousness; or rather the righteousness of Christ itself, which Jehovah the Father may call his, because he sent his Son to work it out, approved of it, accepted it, and imputes it to his people, and justifies them by it; and which was near to be wrought out by Christ, and revealed in the Gospel; and which is brought near and applied by the Spirit of God to a sensible sinner, to a sinner convinced of the insufficiency of his own righteousness, and of the suitableness and excellency of Christ's, and of his need of it; and which is near in Christ, and in the Gospel, for faith to come at, at any time; nor is it ever far off from the believer, to whom it is imputed, and on whom it is put:

and my salvation shall not tarry; either Christ, who is God's salvation, provided and appointed by him, who was to come as a Saviour, and should not tarry; nor did he tarry beyond the appointed time, Hab 2:3 or the salvation itself wrought out by him; this work is done by Christ, and is published in the Gospel, and is brought nigh and applied by the Spirit of God in conversion, in due and proper time, and shortly will be fully enjoyed in heaven:

and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory: the Saviour himself was to come to Zion; near to Zion was salvation wrought out; here the Gospel of salvation was first published, and out of it the word of it was sent into all the world; and in Zion, the church of God, Christ the Saviour is to be met with; and his salvation is the safety of it, it is placed about it instead of walls and bulwarks; and all this is for the Israel of God, the spiritual Israel, chosen, redeemed, and called, and who shall be saved with an everlasting salvation; and who are the glory of God, have the glory of God, the grace of God in them, and the righteousness of God upon them, by which they are glorious; who enjoy the presence of the glorious God, and who is glorified in them, and by them; whose glory, even the glory of all his perfections, wisdom, grace, mercy, justice, holiness, truth, and faithfulness, is great in their salvation. So Kimchi gives the sense of the words,

"the salvation I will give to them shall be glory to me,''

Or Israel may be called his glory, because he gives glory to them; not only grace here, but glory hereafter, when their salvation wilt be complete, that is, completely enjoyed.

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