And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
this glory that was dimly revealed in the raising up of Cyrus to deliver Israel from the bondage of Babylon, and brightly revealed in "raising up his Son Jesus, to bless men, by turning them from their iniquities." It may be shown that God, as the great Spirit, never can be seen or known by any creature, because all creatures are put under limitations of the senses. No creature can apprehend "essences;" he is limited to "accidents." Nobody has seen the sun; it is the glory, the shining, the ray, of the sun that reveals it to us. So "no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Christ is the "Image" of God, which we can see; the "Word" of God, which we can hear; the "Glory" of God, making a holy warmth about us, which we can feel. He is "the Brightness of the Father's glory, the express Image of his Person." His revelation is made that we might know the true God, and in the knowledge find "eternal life." This view appears to be, in a very special manner, commended and enforced by the Apostle John, in his Gospel; and from this Gospel illustrations may be taken.
I. GOD REVEALED IN JOHN'S PROLOGUE. Explain the figure of the "Word," as meaning the medium, or agency, by which God communicates his thought to men's minds. It is, as it were, God translated for man's apprehension. But the "Word" is a Person, and John says, "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father."
II. GOD REVEALED AT CANA. Putting forth miraculous power to provide for man's need, Christ showed God's constant care of men, and led men's thoughts to the mystery of God that was in him, for John says, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus... and manifested forth his glory."
III. GOD REVEALED AT LAZARUS'S GRAVE. Pleading with Martha, our Lord spake thus: "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"
IV. GOD REVEALED IN THE VOICE FROM HEAVEN. In a moment of sore trouble, Jesus exclaimed," Father, glorify thy Name;" as if he felt that his supreme work was to show the Father forth. "And there came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again" (John 12:28).
V. GOD REVEALED AT THE SUPPER-TABLE. When Judas left the table, and the beginning of the end had evidently come, Jesus said, in a meditative, but most revealing way, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him" (John 13:31; see also John 14:13).
VI. GOD REVEALED IN THE HIGH-PRIESTLY PRAYER. This is our Lord's supreme desire: "Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." And this is his sublimest thought, as he looks back over his brief life: "I have glorified thee on the earth." Christ is the Glory that reveals God for us, "who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that our faith and hope might be in God." - R.T.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.
I. THE GLORY OF THE LORD. When Isaiah was favoured with the Divine vision the angels sang, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory." Another inspired writer observes, "The heavens declare the glory of God." In the display of this glory God "hath clothed Himself with light as with a garment"; and hath peculiarly manifested it in those two grand events, the creation and redemption of the world. Hence the glad tidings are emphatically called "the glorious Gospel"; and the spiritual instruction of the Gospel is called "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." This plan of redemption is the arena of heaven, into which the angels "desire to look." It is the rich assemblage of love and mercy, justice and faithfulness, truth and goodness.
II. THE REVELATION OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD. The dispensation under which God revealed Himself to our first parents is commonly called the Covenant of Works. The condition required was perfect obedience. By the sin of Adam and Eve this covenant was broken, and "judgment passed on all to condemnation." The glory of the Lord shone round about our offending parents when the very sentence of condemnation was associated with an intimation of mercy. The glory of the Lord was first revealed in the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. As generations succeeded, it pleased the most High God gradually to reveal larger discoveries of this sovereign remedy of human woe. In the days of Abraham the promise of mercy was repeated (Galatians 3:8, 17). The inspired compositions of King David more explicitly unfolded the Divine glory in the redemption of sinners. The grand accomplishment of the words of our text was reserved for the personal appearance of the Son of God.
III. THE GLORIOUS EXTENT OF THIS REVELATION. "All flesh shall see it together." At the period of this prophecy the earth was full of darkness and habitations of cruelty. The light of Israel was, comparatively, but as the light of a taper. The space which it illuminated was contracted. The glory of the Lord to be revealed under the Christian dispensation was to resemble the sun in the firmament: it was to shine for all kingdoms, nations, and languages under heaven. It was to be "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of God's people, Israel." The aspect of the present times encourages us to hope that the day is rapidly advancing when "all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
IV. THE GLORY OF THIS ANIMATING PROSPECT IS CONFIRMED BY ITS CERTAINTY.
V. THE DUTY OF MISSIONARY EXERTIONS IN ORDER TO PROMOTE THE REVELATION OF THIS GLORY.
1. Doth any one ask, "Where is the authority for missionary exertions?" It stands upon the authority of the Most High God.
2. The duty is great, as you regard the exceeding great love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. The duty is great, as you consider the personal obligation which you yourselves are under to missionary societies.
4. The duty is great, as God, in His bounty, hath entrusted you with talents to promote this charitable work.
(Basil Wood, M. A.)
I. AS TO ITS NATURE.
1. It is the King Messiah in person.(1) The historical allusion is to the Shechinah.(2) But prophetically it is applied to Christ. Jewish expositors apply it to Messiah. It follows, then, that —
2. The Shechinah was a type of Christ.(1) It was an undoubted symbol of Divinity. It was the medium in which it pleased God to reveal Himself in ancient times. The complement of such a symbol must needs be a Divine person. The type cannot be grander than the antitype.(2) It was a standing miracle. In it vapour and fire were miraculously supported in union. It is therefore called the "support of cloud and fire." "Pillar" is an unfortunate translation of the Hebrew. A luminous canopy extending over London in its whole extent could scarcely be called a pillar. But the nation of Israel, whether in encampment or on march, could scarcely occupy less space. This miracle would set forth the wonderful union of the Godhead and manhood in the person of Christ.(3) But further, on more nearly considering the Shechinah, it was found to enshrine a beatified human form. This is distinguished as the "similitude of Jehovah" (Exodus 24:10, 11; Numbers 12:8
; Isaiah 6:1-5; Ezekiel 1:26). This very thing is seen in the holy mount, only that the true humanity of Jesus transfigured is itself the similitude. Behold, then, the "Image of the Invisible God"; the "brightness of His glory and the express image of His person."(4) In this character Messiah will come when in full form He appears as the King (Daniel 7:13; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7).
3. Meanwhile Christ reveals Himself in His Spirit. He displays —(1) The glory of His wisdom.(2) The glory of His power.(3) The glory of mercy, justice, and holiness in His method of pardoning and saving sinners.
II. AS TO ITS EXTENT. "All flesh shall see it together."
1. This term includes the Jew. The day is coming when "all Israel shall be saved" — when the nation shall become Christian.
2. It also comprehends the Gentile.(1) Presage of the calling of the Gentiles was given when the Magi Worshipped at Bethlehem.(2) Further presage was given when Jesus, though "sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," nevertheless opened His ministry in "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matthew 4:12-16).(3) It was also presaged in incidents of His ministry. The healing of the centurion's servant. The preaching to the Samaritans (John 4:39, 42). The healing of the Canaanite's daughter (Matthew 15:11-28).
3. The grand fulfilment is future.(1) As yet "all flesh" have not seen the glory of the Lord. Certainly all flesh have not seen it "together."(2) But this shall be.(3) Distinctions of Jew and Gentile will merge in the universal blaze of the glory of Christ.
III. AS TO ITS CERTAINTY. "The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
1. The Lord can do it.
2. He will do it.(1) His honour is pledged.(3) His existence is pledged.(3) "He cannot deny Himself." "The Scripture cannot be broken."
3. Are we prepared to meet Christ?
(J. A. Macdonald, M. A.)
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