“For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set
them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and
they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”
When the name
Jacob is used the focus is upon the nation as an earthly people, but when
the name Israel is used, what is written relates to them as a spiritual
people, hence the propriety of God’s first extending mercy, and then
bestowing blessing. This is the pattern of His dealing with all men. He is
merciful, and faithful to pardon sin in response to penitent faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. His setting them “in their own land” is the
typological declaration of the fact that at the moment of conversion every
believer ceases to be a bond slave in Satan’s kingdom of darkness, and
becomes instead a willing servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in His kingdom of
light, their ultimate bliss being to dwell with Him for ever in heaven,
where there is no night, as it is written, “And there shall be no night
there,” Revelation 22:5.
In the context
of this verse however, the reference is to God’s settling redeemed Israel in
Palestine in the Millennium, hence the twice repeated use of the earthly
name Jacob; the strangers who will be joined with them being the converted
Gentiles of that coming glorious era.
“And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the
house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and
handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and
they shall rule over their oppressors.”
immediate reference is to the regathering of Israel from their bondage in
Babylon, the ultimate application is to their return to Palestine from the
scattering that will occur during the coming Great Tribulation. From that
diaspora God will not only restore them to their land, but will in addition
promote them to supremacy over all nations.
expectation of the Church however, is infinitely higher, for we who comprise
her will then reign with Him from the heavenly Jerusalem, not only during
the Millennium, but for ever. How great a recompense that will be for those
who loved not their lives unto death, but were willing to die - and often by
the most cruel means - rather than deny their Lord Who redeemed their souls
by His own precious blood.
“And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest
from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou
wast made to serve,”
This was the
Lord’s comfort to His earthly people Israel languishing under the brutal
bondage of Babylon, but it embraces also those who for centuries of this
Christian era, were tortured and slain by spiritual Babylon, Papal Rome.
“That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say,
How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!”
also rendered extortioner: exactress of gold: tyrant. As the
historical reference was to literal Babylon, so is the spiritual allusion to
what Babylon represents: Papal Rome, one of the richest entities on earth.
But as literal Babylon has long since ceased to exist, so will Papal Rome
also be destroyed, the Beast ruler of the now imminent Great Tribulation
being her God-appointed annihilator.
“golden city” is generally understood to relate to the wealth and glory of
ancient Babylon, and who will deny that the clear application is also to
“The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the
So sure was
the destruction of ancient Babylon that the prophet could speak of it as
already accomplished. The annihilation of Papal Rome is equally certain.
“He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the
nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.”
is to God’s avengement of Babylon’s ruthless sadistic tyranny over the
subject nations, none being either willing or able to aid the fallen former
oppressor. So will it be also relative to spiritual Babylon, Papal Rome, in
the coming Great Tribulation. None will be willing or able to deliver her
out of the hand of the Beast.
“The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.”
There has been
no such period in the past, nor will there be any fulfillment of this before
“Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.”
The fir trees
represent the people; and the cedars of Lebanon, the rulers: they all
rejoiced together at Babylon’s destruction which came at the hand of
Sennacherib in 689 BC; but there can be little question that the ultimate
reference is to the overthrow of Papal Rome by the Beast in the Great
“Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth
up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised
up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”
the amazement that will be in hell when the Pope and all his “princes” are
killed by the Beast, and their souls descend into that dread place. The
raising up of the kings from their thrones doesn’t mean that those who had
been kings on earth will occupy thrones in hell: there are no thrones in
that awful realm. The description is of their former earthly state of
“All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we?
art thou become like unto us?”
It will be
thus that the doomed denizens of hell will greet the arrival of the last
Pope into the darkness and torment of that dread realm. He who had been
greater than any earthly king, having wielded dominion over countless
deluded millions world-wide, will be brought down to the common level of
every other sinner, to await with them consignment to eternal torment in the
quenchless flame of the lake of fire.
“Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols (lyres):
the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”
the idea of magnificence, might, power, pride, etc., and only the willfully
blind will refuse to recognize that all of these things are the trappings of
popery. The earthly glory and power of Papal Rome exceeds that of any
earthly potentate, for its dominion is over men’s souls. But the day is
fast approaching when what is here predicted will be fulfilled in terrible
reality, when the Beast, as God’s instrument, will destroy the last vestige
of papal power, and bring its agents down to the grave.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art
thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
howling: shining one, the latter meaning indicating something of the
glory that was his in his unfallen condition; and the former suggesting the
vast difference between those two states.
didst weaken the nations” clearly relates to his evil activity as a fallen
creature, and not to his original perfect state, “weaken” here meaning to
crush and trample down into the earth. In the Amplified Bible
translation he is addressed as “O blasphemous satanic king of Babylon,”
which identifies him, not only as the evil power behind the throne of
literal ancient Babylon, but also of the present wicked power which Babylon
represents, Papal Rome - the nations still being weakened by the activity of
that Satanic system, for poverty and ignorance are concomitant with the
degree of Papal power.
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt
my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the
congregation, in the sides of the north:”
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most
“I will ascend
into heaven” should not be taken as implying that Satan has never been in
heaven - he has, - but was expelled when he attempted to occupy the highest
place there: the very throne of God.
customary to think of God’s throne as being in the heavens in a general
sense, but it is instructive to consider that were two men to stand, one at
the north pole and the other at the south, and point to heaven, they would
be pointing in opposite directions. The verse we are now considering
identifies the northern heavens as being God’s dwelling place; and it
is significant that there is a void in the northern heavens which no
telescope has been able to penetrate; and it is interesting to consider also
that the North or Pole star is the one in relation to which virtually all
earthly directions are calculated.
It is also to
be noted that the north is the direction which is scripturally associated
with intelligence (of which God is the Source), in contrast to faith, which
is associated with the south, while the east is invariably connected with
departure from God, as the west is with approach to Him. Note for example
that when Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden they went eastward, Genesis
3:24; and that the wise men came from the east to visit the baby
Jesus, Matthew 2:1, Scripture recording that when returning they went back,
“by another way,” Matthew 2:12, which was of course eastward, but the Divine
Penman has been careful not to associate them even indirectly with the
direction which speaks of evil.
“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
How great has
been the fall of this once mighty spirit! From having had free access to
heaven for untold ages as the anointed cherub,
see 7:1, his end is to be as recorded
in Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the
lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and
shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
“They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee,
saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake
described here are generally taken to be the occupants of the lake of fire,
their scrutiny of Satan occurring when he himself is finally cast into that
awful place of eternal torment.
“That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that
opened not the house of his prisoners?”
devastation of the earth very probably includes not just what will occur in
the Great Tribulation, but all the evil that the arch fiend has wrought in
the world in the ages since his fall.
mentioned here appear to be all those who have died without having been born
again, the new birth being the only way by which men can escape from Satan’s
thraldom, he doing everything in his power to prevent sinners from trusting
in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and thus escaping his bondage.
“All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in
his own house.”
mentioned here is that of earth, not heaven, as is made clear by less
ambiguous translations, e.g., “... they all are lying in state, each one in
his crypt,” Rotherham Translation; “... sleep in honor, each within
his tomb,” Moffatt; “The kings of the nations lie in stately glory in
their graves,” Taylor; the honor and glory being not heavenly, but
earthly, and therefore worthless.
“But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the
raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down
to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.”
translation here is metaphorical: Satan has never had, nor will he ever have
a grave. His end will be to be cast into the eternal torment of the lake of
“...abominable” in the present context means detested, abhorred,
loathsome dung or carrion, as revolting as the blood-soaked garments on
a rotting corpse.
stones of the pit” means “sepulchers excavated amongst stones.” Satan’s end
would be as ignominious as that of a trampled and unburied carcase.
“Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed
thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be
to emphasize that Satan, because of his unique wickedness, would never have
a burial, nor would his name ever be associated with praise and honor, but
with eternal infamy.
“Prepare a slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers;
that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world
Every man born
into this world is spiritually a child of Satan, and becomes a child of God
only by being born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior:
see Christ’s words to the hypocritical religious leaders of Israel, “Ye are
of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do ....” John
8:44. The eternal inheritance of the unconverted is to share their
spiritual father’s fate, i.e., suffer everlasting torment in the lake of
is the inheritance of believers! Those of them who survive the terrible
judgments of the Great Tribulation will inherit the transformed earth in the
Millennium, and then dwell with the Lord for ever in the new heavens and new
earth, together with the believers of all the ages.
“For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from
Babylon the name, and remnant and son, and nephew, saith the Lord.
fulfilled literally in the destruction of ancient Babylon by the Medes and
Persians in 539 BC, but the reference here is to what literal Babylon
represents: Papal Rome and apostate Protestantism, which will have become
one in the Great Tribulation.
“I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I
will sweep it with the besom (broom) of destruction, saith the Lord of
is also rendered porcupine, hedgehog, hoot owl, bustard, creatures
that inhabit lonely, desolate places, or swamp land. The particularly
appropriate metaphoric description continues to be of God’s destruction of
spiritual Babylon, Papal Rome and apostate Protestantism, in the Great
Tribulation, (see comments on verse 22)
“The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it
come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:”
renders this verse, “... what I have planned shall happen, what I have
decided shall be fulfilled.”
thwart God’s purposes.
I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under
foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from
off their shoulders.”
“This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the
hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.”
has translated this verse, “This is My plan for the whole earth - I will do
it by My mighty power that reaches everywhere around the world.”
“For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his
hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”
here means armies, and the truth being emphasized is that God is
omnipotent. None can stand against Him or alter His purposes, for He
controls not only the armies of men, but also of angels.
“In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden.”
Ahaz died in
“Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina (Philistia), because the rod of him that
smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a
cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”
“the rod” God had used to smite the Philistines in the past, and He warns
them, the Philistines, not to rejoice because that “rod” had been broken. (See
Isaiah 37:36 for the account of God’s destruction of the Assyrian army
when He slew 185,000 of them in one night while they slept).
“cockatrice” out of the serpent’s root was king Hezekiah of Judah who proved
to be an even more terrible scourge of the Philistines than the Assyrians
“And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in
safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy
The poor and
needy mentioned here were God’s people Israel whom He would protect and
bless; but He would exterminate the Philistines, history bearing eloquent
testimony to the fulfillment of His word: Israel has been preserved to this
day, but the Philistines faded from the page of history more than 2,000
“Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there
shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed
from the north would be the well-trained Assyrian army; there being among
them “none alone” meaning that there would be no stragglers or deserters.
They would be dedicated to the destruction of the Philistines.
“What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath
founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.”
here is Philistia, and the messengers, those whom they would send to Israel
with questions, undoubtedly mocking, concerning her God, her response being
to inform them that Jehovah was He, and that she had implicit trust in Him.
It would be
well were we prepared to give a similar answer to those who question us
concerning our faith and the One in Whom it rests with complete confidence.