And who as I shall call
Which of the idols of the Gentiles can do as the king of Israel, the Lord of hosts has done? call things that are not, as though they were? call all creatures into being? call men by their names before they were born, as Isaac; Josiah, and Cyrus, of whom mention is made in the latter end of this chapter, and call them to service and usefulness in their day and generation? and call whom he pleases by his grace to eternal glory? and shall declare it;
the end from the beginning, things future that are yet to come to pass; or the purposes and decrees of God, his counsel and covenant, his mind and will? and set it in order for me;
give an exact and orderly account of things that shall be throughout the successive ages of time; as Jehovah did with respect to the people of Israel, whose God and king he was; he foretold to Abraham their going into Egypt, and bondage there, their deliverance from thence, and settlement in the land of Canaan, and now their deliverance from Babylon, and by name who should be the instrument of it; none of the gods of the Gentiles could do this, or anything like it, or order and dispose all occurrences in providence for his own glory, and the good of men: since I appointed the ancient people?
meaning either the ancient patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their posterity, the children of Israel, who were early formed into a body politic, and into a church state; see ( Deuteronomy 32:6-8 ) , or rather the first man, and the first race of men that inhabited the world before the flood, called the old world; and so the sense is, who ever did the things I have done, from the time I made man, and other creatures, and placed them on the earth, or from the creation of the world? so Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi interpret it; though it is best of all to understand this of the people of God, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, in the Lamb's book of life, from the foundation of the world; who are, as the words may be rendered, "the people of eternity" F25; and may be so called, because they were in some sense a people that were "from eternity", as the Targum paraphrases it; not that they had an actual personal being so early, for they are but creatures of time, raised up in successive generations, and but of yesterday, and of a short continuance; yet they had from all eternity a representative being in Christ, as their federal head; they were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, and had grace given them in him before the world began, ( Ephesians 1:3 Ephesians 1:4 ) ( 2 Timothy 1:9 ) they were the people of God taken into covenant by him from everlasting, for so early was the covenant of grace made with Christ, and them in him; they stood so early related to God as his children, and to Christ as his spouse and bride; so early were they on the thoughts of God, and on his heart, and in his affections, as they were also upon Christ's, and in his hands, and their names so early registered in his book of life; so that they may be said to be indeed an "ancient people", or "a people of eternity"; and they may be called so, because they will continue for ever, as the days of heaven, and as the sun and moon, before the Lord, ( Psalms 89:29 Psalms 89:35 ) , everlasting habitations are provided for them, and they shall be for ever with the Lord; so the Syriac version renders it, "a people for eternity": now these are appointed by the Lord to come into actual being at the time, and in the place he has fixed; they are appointed to many things in life; not unto wrath, either here or hereafter, but to afflictions, and to death itself: and they are appointed to many good things, to be called by grace, to be saved with an everlasting salvation, and to reign with Christ in the New Jerusalem state; see ( Isaiah 24:23 ) where they are called "ancients", as here; and to be glorified with Christ for ever; it follows: and the things that are coming, and shall come? let them show unto
let the idols show to their worshippers if they can, "the things that are coming"; just coming, that are near at hand, that will be tomorrow; and that "shall come", are at a greater distance, which will be in ages to come; or wonderful things, and things future, so Jarchi interprets it; a word F26 like the first being used for signs and wonders. God foretells wonderful things that shall come to pass, and which accordingly do; but the idols of the Gentiles can do nothing of this kind.
F25 (Mlwe Me) "populum seculi", Munster, Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, i.e. "qui a seculo est", Targ. "populum aeternitatis", Gataker.
F26 (twtwa) "sigma", with the Rabbins (twytwa) as here.