Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker,
&c.] He whose name alone is Jehovah, who is glorious in holiness, the Sanctifier of his people, and the Maker of them, both as creatures, and new creatures: ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of
my hands command ye me;
these words are not spoken to idolaters, or the idolatrous Jews, or those of them that were inclined to idolatry; directing them to ask of the Lord, and not of their idols, things to come, which they were not able to show, and to seek to him for, and insist upon the performance of his promises to them, his children, and creatures; but to the spiritual Israel of God, as the preface shows, directing them to inquire after things future, concerning his children and people, especially among the Gentiles, whom the carnal Jews despised; and to expect, and believe, and even as it were demand the performance of them, being promised and prophesied of: there are some who are the "sons" of God, not by creation only, or by natural birth, or by desert, or merely by profession, but by adopting grace; which is a very great and excellent privilege, preferable to civil or national adoption, or to the highest rank of sonship among men; a blessing which continues forever, and entitles to eternal life: and these become the work of the Lord's hands in regeneration; they are made new creatures; they are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus; whatever is wrought in them is of his operation, faith, hope, love, and every grace, which make up that good work which shall be performed until the day of Christ: first, men are the sons of God by adoption, and then they are his workmanship in regeneration; and the latter because of the former, and of which the latter is an evidence: now there were and are "things to come", concerning these persons; there were some things to come, and which were to come to pass, and did, in the first times of the Gospel, as the incarnation of Christ, and redemption by him; his sufferings and death, and the glory that should follow; the effusion of Spirit, and the conversion of the Gentiles; all which were for the sake of these "sons" of God, and respected them: and there are other things yet to come concerning them, and will be accomplished in the latter day; some things sad and sorrowful, as the giving the outward court to the Gentiles, the Protestant churches to the Papists, and the slaying of the witnesses; and others desirable and joyful, as the numerous conversions of the Jews and Gentiles; their extensive knowledge of spiritual things, and their abundant peace and prosperity; the increase of brotherly love, their purity, spirituality, holiness, and righteousness; their power, authority, and dominion, both in the spiritual and personal reign of Christ, and their ultimate glory. And now the Lord allows his people, and encourages them to "ask" of him these things; to inquire of him by prayer, and by searching the Scriptures, what these things are that are to come; what of them have been accomplished, and what of them remain to be accomplished, "and how long it will be to the end of these wonders", ( Daniel 12:6 ) , and so Jarchi interprets the word, rendered "things to come in the text", signs and wonders: and they may and should pray for the accomplishment of them; yea, insist upon and demand them. The Lord not only allows his people to put him in remembrance of his promises and prophecies, but to plead for, and, as it were, require the performance of them; and so the words are an encouragement to the importunate prayer of faith. Faith in prayer has great power with God, a kind of command over him; it holds him to his word; it will not let him go without the blessing; nor let him alone till he has made good his promise; nor give him any rest, day nor night, till he has fulfilled the things to come concerning his sons. Some F18 read the words by way of interrogation, "do ye ask or question me concerning things to come?" what I intend to do hereafter? am I obliged to give you an account of my secret purposes and designs? or make you acquainted with future events? "do ye, or should ye, command me concerning, my sons and the works of my hands?" will you prescribe to me what I shall do in my family? am I a father, and must I be directed what to do with my sons? am I the Maker of all men, and must I be told what to do with the work of my hands? what arrogance and insolence is this! but the former reading and sense are best.
F18 So Gataker, and some in the Dutch annotations, and Vitringa.