Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned…
The acceptableness of any announcement will depend very much upon the state of mind and feeling in which we are found in respect to the subject of such announcement. Go to the soldier, wearied with a long campaign, and many a hazardous engagement, longing for a sight of his beloved home — to him how welcome will be the announcement, "Thy warfare is accomplished!" It was on this principle that the prophet Isaiah was directed to take a message of consolation to the ancient people of God. The language of the text may, without any impropriety, be applied to the termination of any state of anxiety, hardship, and grief.
I. THE LIFE OF THE TRUE BELIEVER IS A WARFARE. Frequently is it represented to us in the Holy Scripture by this form of military phraseology. Hence, says the apostle, "Fight the good fight of faith"; and, writing to Timothy, "That by these thou mightest war a good warfare"; "I have fought a good fight," etc.
1. The great principle of the conflict is faith, founded and implanted in the mind by a super-natural agency. No man will ever in a Christian sense contend, until he is united by a living faith to Jesus, the Son of God: for faith acquaints him with his spiritual enemies; faith is the principle of the new life which puts itself into an attitude of resistance against all that is hostile to itself. "This is the victory that over-cometh the world, even our faith." When a man is slumbering in his sin, nothing is further from his thoughts than to maintain a spiritual conflict with invisible, spiritual existences; but, under the influence of faith, he will find he is surrounded by a legion of foes. He looks within, and there he finds the corruption of fallen nature. Besides the corruption of an evil nature, there are the powers of darkness. The world, even in its lawful form, is a very serious enemy to our spiritual progress and our spiritual peace.
2. This contention will continue as long as life shall last.
II. THE HOUR OF DEATH WITNESSES THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THIS WARFARE.
1. Death is the instrumental means of separating us from our connection with the present evil world; it strikes at once a line of demarcation, which throws us beyond the reach of all the elements of this present sensible life. He upon whom death has performed his solemn office, has no further interest in the possessions, the endearments, the gains, the business, the pleasures, and the satisfactions of this vain world.
2. Then, death terminates the strife of sin.
3. Death confesses that the believer is a conqueror over himself, and fields the palm of victory at the moment when he inflicts the blow (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
III. THE CONSOLING AND EXHILARATING QUALITIES OF THIS BLESSED CONSUMMATION.
1. When the warfare ends, the rest begins.
2. This state of rest is also a state of peculiar and inexpressible delight. It is something more than rest, as implying a cessation from toil and from contention; it is a joyful rest. Think of the place of rest into which the departed spirits of the just are received. They are where Christ is; they behold His glory. And then, consider the society to which the ransomed spirits of the just are admitted. Think of the employments to which they are advanced. They serve God day and night in His temple, and His name is in their foreheads.
3. This felicity is evermore increasing.
4. This felicity will be for ever and ever. "So shall we ever be with the Lord."
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.