Verse 26. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure. The power which made them shall dissolve them, even as the city of thy love was destroyed at thy command; yet neither the ruined city nor the ruined earth can make a change in thee, reverse thy purpose, or diminish thy glory. Thou standest when all things fall.
Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. Time impairs all things, the fashion becomes obsolete and passes away. The visible creation, which is like the garment of the invisible God, is waxing old and wearing out, and our great King is not so poor that he must always wear the same robes; he will ere long fold up the worlds and put them aside as worn out vestures, and he will array himself in new attire, making a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. How readily will all this be done. "Thou shalt change them and they shall be changed;" as in the creation so in the restoration, omnipotence shall work its way without hindrance.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 26. The shall perish. The greater the cirruption, the vaster the destruction. Some think that the fiery deluge shall ascend no higher than did the watery. It may be the earth shall be burned, that is the worst guest at the table, the common sewer of all other creatures, but shall the heavens pass away? It may be the airy heaven; but shall the starry heaven where God hath printed such figures of his glory? Yes, caelum, elementurn, terra, when ignis ubique ferox ruptis regnabit habenis. The former deluge is called the world's winter, the next the world's summer. The one was with a cold and moist element, the other shall be with an element hot and dry. But what then shall become of the saints? They shall be delivered out of all; walking like those three servants in the midst of that great furnace, the burning world, and not be scorched, because there is one among them to deliver them, "the Son of God," Daniel 3:25 , their Redeemer. But shall all quite perish? No, there is rather a mutation than an abolition of their substance. Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed, not abolished. The concupiscence shall pass, not the essence; the form, not the nature. In the altering of an old garment, we destroy it not, but trim it, refresh it, and make it seem new. They pass, they do not perish; the dross is purged, the metal stays. The corrupt quality shall be renewed, and all things restored to that original beauty wherein they were created. "The end of all things is at hand," 1 Peter 4:7 : an end of us, an end of our days, an end of our ways, and end of our thoughts. If a man could say as Job's messenger, I alone am escaped, it were somewhat; or might find an ark with Noah. But there is no ark to defend them from that heat, but only the bosom of Jesus Christ. Thomas Adams.
Verse 26. Like a garment. The whole creation is as a garment, wherein the Lord shows his power clothed unto men; whence in particular he is said to clothe himself with light as with a garment. And in it is the hiding of his power. Hid it is, as a man is hid with a garment; not that he should not be seen at all, but that he should not be seen perfectly and as he is. It shows the man, and he is known by it; but also it hides him, that he is not perfectly or fully seen. So are the works of creation unto God, he so far makes them his garment or clothing as in them to give out some instances of his power and wisdom; but he is also hid in them, in that by them no creature can come to the full and perfect knowledge of him. Now, when this work shall cease, and God shall unclothe or unveil all his glory to his saints, and they shall know him perfectly, see him as he is, so far as a created nature is capable of that comprehension, then will he lay them aside and fold them up, at least as to that use, as easily as a man lays aside a garment that he will wear or use no more. This lies in the metaphor. John Owen.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- How far God may change -- only in his garments, or outward manifestations of creation and providence.
- Wherein he cannot change -- his nature, attributes, covenant, love, etc.
- The comfortable truths which may be safely inferred, or which gather support from this fact.
- The material universe of God.
- No more to him than a garment to the wearer.
- Ever waxing old, but he the same.
- Soon to be changed and left to perish, but of his years no end.
- Our relation to each
- Let us never love the dress more than the wearer.
- Nor trust more in the changeful than in the abiding.
- Nor live for that which will die out.