the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary Hole's Commentary
by Frank Binford Hole
F. B. Hole.
ISAIAH PROPHESIED IN Judah both before and also during the reign of the God-fearing Hezekiah, when under his influence things seemed outwardly to be better. Yet the prophet had to reveal the hidden corruption under the surface. In our Bibles his book is followed by that of Jeremiah, who was raised up of God to speak for Him in the last sad days of Judah's history, when things were hopelessly bad and beyond recovery, and the blow fell on them through Nebuchadnezzar.
The seven nations of Canaan had formerly inhabited the land and done horrible things in it: so much so that God sent Israel against them under Joshua with orders to exterminate them. But now the Lord has to say through Jeremiah. 'A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?' ( Jer_5:30 , Jer_5:31 ). What God did through the Babylonian king 'in the end thereof,' Jeremiah had to see and experience to his deep sorrow. We may get some idea of the depth of his grief, if we read the book of Lamentations, which follows his main prophecy.
This book is followed by Ezekiel who was carried amongst many others into captivity in the days of Jehoiachin some years before the final crash fell on Zedekiah, which Jeremiah witnessed. In the land of his captivity he saw in vision the glory, which marked the presence of God, departing from temple and city, and if God was gone, all was lost.
Yet each of these three prophets predicted God's future intervention in a way that would be altogether new. Isaiah foretold things that should be absolutely new. even, 'new heavens and a new earth,' brought about by the twofold advent of the Messiah; first as the humbled Servant, to suffer for sins, and then as the mighty Arm of Jehovah redeeming in power what He had first redeemed by His blood.
Jeremiah follows, predicting that these new things will be established, not on the old covenant of law but on a new covenant of grace. Let Jeremiah 31.31-31.34 be read and note how again and again, 'I will,' appears, rather than the, 'If ye will,' of Exo_19:8 . In this New Covenant God is going to act according to His own thoughts and purposes in grace, based on the work of Christ, as unfolded by Isaiah.
Ezekiel completes the prophetic outline, that is given to us by these three major prophets. In Ezek 36.0 he foretells the New Birth that will take place with a remnant of Israel before they enter on millennial blessedness, and his next chapter speaks of how they will be spiritually quickened, and brought into a new order of life.
This brings us to Daniel, who raised up by God just as the 'times of the Gentiles' ( Luk_21:24 ) began under Nebuchadnezzar. He was enabled of God to give us a prophetic outline of the course of these times, during which the Messiah would be cut off. Hence tribulation is to be the portion of the people, but with the hope of deliverance at the end.
Daniel's prophecy falls quite simply into two parts after the introductory chapter, which relates the courageous stand of Daniel and his three companions against the taint of idolatry, and the way God honoured it. From the point where the Chaldeans spoke 'to the king in Syriack' ( Dan_2:4 ), to the end of Daniel 7.0 , this language of the Gentiles is used, and Hebrew is only reverted to as we start Daniel 8.0 . Thus the historical details and the prophecies that relate to the Gentile powers are written in the Gentile language. Then in the five chapters that complete the book things are revealed to Daniel that mainly concern his people, though details as to the nations are referred to.