Ye (the Israelites) are my witnesses, and my servant (the prophet) whom I have chosen - That whatever has been said before concerning Sennacherib has been literally fulfilled. The prophet had predicted it; the Israelites saw it accomplished.
Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me - This is a most difficult place. Was there a time when God was not? No! Yet he says, before me. Will there be a time in which God will not exist? No! Yet he says, after me. Are not all these words to be referred to his creation? Before me, no god created any thing, nor was there any thing pre-existent but myself. And after me, i.e., after my creation, such as now exists, there shall be no other class of beings formed. This mode of interpretation frees the passage from all embarrassment, and the context perfectly agrees with it. The words my servant, in this verse, the Targum understands of the Messiah.
Ye are my witnesses - They were his witnesses, because, first, he had given in them predictions of future events which had been literally fulfilled: secondly, by his power of delivering them so often manifested, he had shown that he was a God able to save. Neither of these had been done by the idol-gods (compare Isaiah 44:8).
And believe me - Or rather, confide in me.
Before me there was no God formed - I am the only true, the eternal God. In this expression, Yahweh says that he was the first being. He derived his existence from no one. Perhaps the Hebrew will bear a little more emphasis than is conveyed by our translation. ‹Before me, God was not formed,‘ implying that he was God, and that he existed anterior to all other beings. It was an opinion among the Greeks, that the same gods had not always reigned, but that the more ancient divinities had been expelled by the more modern. It is possible that some such opinion may have prevailed in the oriental idolatry, and that God here means to say, in opposition to that, that he had not succeeded any other God in his kingdom. His dominion was original, underived, and independent.
Neither shall there be after me - He would never cease to live; he would never vacate his throne for another. This expression is equivalent to that which occurs in the Book of Revelation, ‹I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last‘ Revelation 1:11; and it is remarkable that this language, which obviously implies eternity, and which in Isaiah is used expressly to prove the divinity of Yahweh, is, in the passage referred to in the Book of Revelation, applied no less unequivocally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
All who are on the Lord's side are to confess Christ. “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord.” The faith of the genuine believer will be made manifest in purity and holiness of character. Faith works by love and purifies the soul, and with faith there will be corresponding obedience, a faithful doing of the words of Christ. Christianity is always intensely practical, adapting itself to all the circumstances of actual life. “Ye are My witnesses.” To whom? To the world; for you are to bear about with you a holy influence. Christ is to abide in your soul, and you are to talk of Him and make manifest the charms of His character. MYP 200.1Read in context »
We are to compare our characters with the infallible standard of God's law. In order to do this, we must search the Scriptures, measuring our attainments by the word of God. Through the grace of Christ, the highest attainments in character are possible; for every soul who comes under the molding influence of the Spirit of God, may be transformed in mind and heart. In order to understand your condition, it is necessary to study the Bible, and to watch unto prayer. The apostle says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Let not those who are ignorant remain in ignorance. They cannot remain in ignorance, and meet the mind of God. They are to look to the cross of Calvary, and estimate the soul by the value of the offering there made. Jesus says to all believers, “Ye are My witnesses.” “Ye are laborers together with God.” This being true, how earnestly should each one strive to make use of every power to improve every opportunity for becoming efficient that he may be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” FE 214.1
Every talent that has been given to men is to be exercised that it may increase in value, and all the improvement must be rendered back to God. If you are defective in manner, in voice, in education, you need not always remain in this condition. You must continually strive that you may reach a higher standard both in education and in religious experience, that you may become teachers of good things. As servants of the great King, you should individually realize that you are under obligation to improve yourselves by observation, study, and by communion with God. The word of God is able to make you wise, to guide and make you perfect in Christ. The blessed Saviour was a faultless pattern for all His followers to imitate. It is the privilege of the child of God to understand spiritual things, to be able wisely to manage that which may be intrusted to his charge. God does not provide a way whereby any one may have an excuse for doing slipshod work; and yet a great deal of this kind of work has been offered to Him by those who work in His cause, but it is not acceptable unto Him. FE 214.2
Young men and women, have you, as individuals purchased at infinite cost, sought to study to show yourselves approved unto God, workmen which need not be ashamed? Have you brought to God the precious talent of your voice, and put forth painstaking effort to speak clearly, distinctly, and readily? However imperfect may be your manner of utterance, you may correct your faults, and refuse to allow yourself to have a nasal tone, or to speak in a thick, indistinct way. If your articulation is distinct and intelligible, your usefulness will be greatly increased. Then do not leave one defective habit of speech uncorrected. Pray about the matter, and co-operate with the Holy Spirit that is working for your perfection. The Lord, who made man perfect in the beginning, will help you to cultivate your physical and mental powers, and fit you to bear burdens and responsibilities in the cause of God. FE 215.1Read in context »
“Ye are My witnesses,” said Jesus, and in each act of our lives we should inquire: How will our course affect the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom? If you are indeed Christ's disciple, you will choose to walk in His footsteps, however painful this may be to your natural feelings. Said Paul: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” You, Sister L, need to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him, as did Mary of old. God requires of you an entire surrender of your will, your plans and purposes. Jesus is your leader; to Him you must look, in Him you must trust, and you must permit nothing to deter you from the life of consecration which you owe to God. Your conversation must be in heaven, from whence you look for your Saviour. Your piety must be of a character to make itself felt by all within the sphere of your influence. God requires you in every act of life to shun the very appearance of evil. Are you doing this? You are under the most sacred obligation not to belittle or compromise your holy faith by uniting with the Lord's enemies. If you are tempted to disregard the injunctions of His word because others have done so, remember that your example also will exert an influence. Others will do as you do, and thus the evil will be extended. While you profess to be a child of God, a departure on your part from His requirements will result in infinite harm to those who look to you for guidance. 5T 367.1
The salvation of souls will be the constant aim of those who are abiding in Christ. But what have you done to show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness? “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Shake off this fatal infatuation that benumbs your senses and palsies the energies of the soul. 5T 367.2
The very strongest incentives to faithfulness are set before us, the highest motives, the most glorious rewards. Christians are to be Christ's representatives, sons and daughters of God. They are His jewels, His peculiar treasures. Of all who will maintain their steadfastness He declares: “They shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.” Those who reach the portals of eternal bliss will not count that any sacrifice which they have made was too great. 5T 368.1Read in context »
“Lift up a standard for the
people.... Say ye to the
daughter of Zion, Behold, thy
salvation cometh.” Isaiah