For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
If we seek at all times to trace the providences of God we shall often find that He makes His throne darkness to us; and from the thick darkness we hear a voice saying, "What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." But in tracing the operations of the word of His grace, and the state of His Church, we find this clearly made known. The eternal fiat has gone forth, "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
I. THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF THIS PROPHECY. The "glory of the Lord" has various meanings. A grand display of it was made when Moses and Aaron and the seventy elders were called up into the mount. Any particular visible display of God's presence was His glory. But the term has also reference to the Gospel. There was a glory attending the law, but this was much more glorious. It is more glorious than the law in its Author, His Person, and His work. The Gospel is peculiarly glorious above the law —
1. In its extent. If we look at former times we might perhaps think that God had selected a few — one family — as His peculiar treasure; but now we find this was only that the coming of the Messiah might be more clearly marked.
2. It re presents the Divine attributes more gloriously than the law. Majesty, justice, hatred of sin were shown. Here is the richest display both of grace and justice. Here God's glory is concentrated as in a focus.
3. It is more glorious as life and immortality are more clearly revealed "The knowledge," etc; This word has also various meanings. Sometimes it means "discrimination;" at others, "publication"; and when applied by a believer, it is full assurance. The knowledge in the text implies —
(2) impression.All the theoretical displays of the Gospel are of no avail without the impression of its truth. The design of the Gospel is to change him who heartily believes it into its own nature. It is the glory of God, and it changes the soul from glory to glory, and makes it partaker of the Divine nature.
3. Performance. Believe and obey the Gospel. The sinner believes; the believer works.
4. This leads us to the universal tendency of this knowledge. Like leaven, it will work its way.
II. WHAT IS SAID CONCERNING THIS GLORY. The margin of some Bibles reads, "the channels of the sea."
1. Clearness. These channels are very deep; so is Divine science — not superficial.
2. Experience. The waters do touch every surface of land; they wash every shore. The glory of God shall be felt by every people.
3. Universal. The channels are effectually covered; so shall the world be filled.
III. REMARKS IN SUPPORT OF THE PROPHET'S DECLARATION.
1. God's covenant with Abraham. "All the families of the earth were to be blessed in him."
2. It was renewed to Isaac, Jacob, etc.; but especially to Jesus Christ.
3. It was the burden of all the prophecies.
4. See the commission of the apostles.
5. We may refer the accomplishment of this to the promised agency of the Holy Ghost.
6. We argue it from the effects which have been produced. Application —
(1) You are interested in this individually.
(2) See what God expects from us.
(J. Summerfield, A. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.