Thursday, May 14, 2020

Hope for the Future Increase of the Church

Last Sunday I preached on Isaiah 66:7-14, a prophecy of God's restoration of his church which portrays the church as a mother who would miraculously give birth to abundant children who would be nursed and cared for by her. Here I wanted to share John Calvin's comment on verse eight of this passage. Even though the church may seem nearly barren for a time, God shall in time make his church fruitful through the gospel, even as Calvin observed during the time of the Reformation.
"Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children."
(Isaiah 66:8)
John Calvin:
"He extols the greatness of the thing of which he has spoken; for he means that there shall be a wonderful and 'unheard of' restoration of the Church; so that believers shall not judge of it from the order of nature, but from the grace of God; for when men reflect upon it: they think that it is like a dream, as the Psalmist says (Psalm 126:1). He does not mean that the Church shall be restored perfectly and in a moment; for the advancement of this restoration is great and long-continued, and is even slow in the estimation of the flesh; but he shews that even the beginning of it exceeds all the capacity of the human understanding. And yet he does not speak hyperbolically; for we often see that the Church brings forth, which previously did not appear to be pregnant. Nay more, when she is thought to be barren, she is rendered fruitful by the preaching of the gospel; so that we greatly admire the event, when it has happened, which formerly we reckoned to be altogether incredible. 
"These things were fulfilled in some measure, when the people returned from Babylon; but a far brighter testimony was given in the gospel, by the publication of which a diversified and numerous offspring was immediately brought forth. In our own times, have we not seen the fulfillment of this prophecy? How many children has the Church brought forth during the last thirty years, in which the gospel has been preached? Has not the Lord his people, at the present day, in vast numbers, throughout the whole world? Nothing, therefore, has been here foretold that is not clearly seen." (

No comments: