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Isaiah 59:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For clothing "For his clothing" - תלבשת tilbosheth . "I cannot but think that this word, תלבשת tilbosheth, is an interpolation.

  1. It is in no one ancient version.
  • It is redundant in the sense, as it is before expressed in בגדי bigdey .
  • It makes the hemistich just so much longer than it ought to be, if it is compared with the others adjoining.
  • It makes a form of construction in this clause less elegant than that in the others.
  • It might probably be in some margin a various reading for בגדי bigdey, and thence taken into the text.
  • This is more probable, as its form is such as it would be if it were in regimine, as it must be before נקם nakam ." - Dr. Jubb. Two sorts of armor are mentioned: a breast-plate and a helmet, to bring righteousness and salvation to those who fear him; and the garments of vengeance and the cloak of zeal for the destruction of all those who finally oppose him, and reject his Gospel.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    For he put on righteousness - That is, God the Redeemer. The prophet here introduces him as going forth to vindicate his people clad like an ancient warrior. In the declaration that he ‹put on righteousness,‘ the essential idea is, that he was pure and holy. The same image is used by the prophet in another figure in Isaiah 11:5 (see the note at that place).

    As a breastplate - The breastplate was a well-known piece of ancient armor, designed to defend the breast from the darts and the sword of an enemy. The design here is, to represent the Redeemer as a hero; and accordingly allusion is made to the various parts of the armor of a warrior. Yet he was not to be literally armed for battle. Instead of being an earthly conqueror, clad in steel, and defended with brass, his weapons were moral weapons, and his conquests were spiritual. The various parts of his weapons were ‹righteousness.‘ ‹salvation,‘ and ‹zeal.‘ This statement should have been, in itself, sufficient to keep the Jews front anticipating a Messiah who would be a bloody warrior and distinguished for deeds of conquest and blood. This figure of speech is not uncommon. Paul (in Ephesians 6:14-17; compare 2 Corinthians 6:7) has carried it out to greater length, and introduced more particulars in the description of the spiritual armor of the Christian.

    And an helmet of salvation - The helmet was a piece of defensive armor for the head. It was made of iron or brass, and usually surmounted by a crest of hair. It was designed to guard the head from the stroke of a sword. No particular stress should be laid on the fact, that it is said that ‹salvation‘ would be the helmet. The design is to represent the Redeemer by the figure of a hero clad in armor, yet there seems to be no particular reason why salvation should be referred to as the helmet, or righteousness as the cuirass or breastplate. Nothing is gained by a fanciful attempt to spiritualize or explain them.

    And he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing - By ‹garments,‘ here, Vitringa supposes that there is reference to the interior garments which were worn by the Orientals corresponding to the tunic of the Romans. But it is more probable that the allusion is to the other parts of the dress or armor in general of the ancient warrior. The statement that he was clad in the garments of vengeance means, that he would go forth to vindicate his people, and to take vengeance on his foes. It would not be for mere defense that he would be thus armed for battle; but he would go forth for aggressive movements, in subduing his enemies and delivering his people (compare Isaiah 63:1-6).

    And was clad with zeal as a cloak - The cloak worn by men in military as well as in civil life, was a loose flowing robe or mantle that was thrown over the body, usually fastened on the right shoulder by a hook or clasp, and suffered to flow in graceful folds down to the feet. In battle, it would be laid aside, or secured by a girdle about the loins. Vitringa remarks, that, as it was usually of purple color, it was adapted to represent the zeal which would burn for vengeance on an enemy. But the whole figure here is that drawn from a warrior or a conqueror: a hero prepared alike for defense and offence. The idea is, that he would be able to defend and vindicate his people, and to carry on aggressive warfare against his enemies. But it was not to be a warfare literally of blood and carnage. It was to be such as would be accomplished by righteousness, and zeal, and a desire to secure salvation. The triumph of righteousness was the great object still; the conquests of the Redeemer were to be those of truth.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    This passage is connected with the following chapters. It is generally thought to describe the coming of the Messiah, as the Avenger and Deliverer of his church. There was none to intercede with God to turn away his wrath; none to interpose for the support of justice and truth. Yet He engaged his own strength and righteousness for his people. God will make his justice upon the enemies of his church and people plainly appear. When the enemy threatens to bear down all without control, then the Spirit of the Lord shall stop him, put him to flight. He that has delivered, will still deliver. A far more glorious salvation is promised to be wrought out by the Messiah in the fulness of time, which all the prophets had in view. The Son of God shall come to us to be our Redeemer; the Spirit of God shall come to be our Sanctifier: thus the Comforter shall abide with the church for ever, Joh 14:16. The word of Christ will always continue in the mouths of the faithful; and whatever is pretended to be the mind of the Spirit, must be tried by the Scriptures. We must lament the progress of infidelity and impiety. But the cause of the Redeemer shall gain a complete victory even on earth, and the believer will be more than conqueror when the Lord receives him to his glory in heaven.
    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW), 1153

    13-17 (Revelation 12:17). Satan Setting Trained Agents at Work—The condition of the world at the time of Christ is well described by the prophet Isaiah. He says that the people were found “transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God.” [Isaiah 59:13-17 quoted.] 4BC 1153.1

    The condition of the world previous to the first appearing of Christ is a picture of the condition of the world just previous to His second advent. The same iniquity will exist, Satan manifests the same delusive power upon the minds of men. He is setting his trained agents at work, and moving them to intense activity. He is securing his army of human agents to engage in the last conflict against the Prince of life, to overthrow the law of God, which is the foundation of His throne. Satan will work with miraculous presentations to confirm men in the belief that he is what he claims to be,—the prince of this world, and that victory is his. He will turn his forces against those who are loyal to God, but though he may cause pain, distress, and human agony, he cannot defile the soul. He may cause affliction to the people of God as he did to Christ, but he cannot cause one of Christ's little ones to perish. The people of God in these last days must expect to enter into the thick of the conflict; for the prophetic Word says, “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Letter 43, 1895). 4BC 1153.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 358-9

    I have a message for you: “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” TM 358.1

    “Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.... So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” TM 358.2

    *****

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    Ellen G. White
    Early Writings, 36

    At the commencement of the holy Sabbath, January 5, 1849, we engaged in prayer with Brother Belden's family at Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. I was taken off in vision to the most holy place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel. On the bottom of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate. Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction, and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silence no longer, but pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His truth. I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead were separate and distinct, one following the other, also that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out. EW 36.1

    I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus’ work was done in the sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judgments of God upon them, and that if they could rid the earth of us, the plagues would then be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, “Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” I asked who this company were. The angel said, “These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.” I heard them cry with a loud voice, “We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.” And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet—trodden the Sabbath underfoot—and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. EW 36.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Maranatha, 55.4

    Today the voice of mercy is calling, and Jesus is drawing men by the cords of His love; but the day will come when Jesus will put on the garments of vengeance.... The wickedness of the world is increasing every day, and when a certain line is reached, the register will be closed, and the account settled. There will be no more a sacrifice for sin. The Lord cometh. Long has mercy extended a hand of love, of patience and forbearance, toward a guilty world. The invitation has been given, “Let him take hold of my strength....” But men have presumed upon His mercy and refused His grace. Mar 55.4

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 691

    God has given His word for all to investigate, that they may learn the way to life. None need err if they will submit to the conditions of salvation laid down in the word of God. Probation is granted to all, that all may form characters for eternal life. An opportunity will be given to all to decide for life or death. Men will be judged according to the measure of light given them. None will be accountable for their darkness and their errors if the light has not been brought to them. They have not sinned in not accepting what has not been given them. All will be tested before Jesus leaves His position in the most holy place. The probation of all closes when the pleading for sinners is ended and the garments of vengeance are put on. 2T 691.1

    Many entertain the view that probation is granted after Jesus leaves His work as mediator in the most holy apartment. This is the sophistry of Satan. God tests and proves the world by the light which He is pleased to give them previous to the coming of Christ. Characters are then formed for life or death. But the probation of those who choose to live a life of sin, and neglect the great salvation offered, closes when Christ's ministration ceases just previous to His appearing in the clouds of heaven. 2T 691.2

    Those who love the world, and whose minds are carnal and at enmity with God, will flatter themselves that a period of probation will be granted after Christ appears in the clouds of heaven. The carnal heart, which is so averse to submission and obedience, will be deceived with this pleasing view. Many will remain in carnal security and continue in rebellion against God, flattering themselves that there is then to be a period for repentance of sin and an opportunity for them to accept the truth which now is unpopular and crossing to their natural inclination and desires. When they have nothing to venture, nothing to lose, by yielding obedience to Christ and the truth, they think they will take their chance for salvation. 2T 691.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 208

    Of the Amorites the Lord said: “In the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Although this nation was conspicuous because of its idolatry and corruption, it had not yet filled up the cup of its iniquity, and God would not give command for its utter destruction. The people were to see the divine power manifested in a marked manner, that they might be left without excuse. The compassionate Creator was willing to bear with their iniquity until the fourth generation. Then, if no change was seen for the better, His judgments were to fall upon them. 5T 208.1

    With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps an account with all nations. While His mercy is tendered with calls to repentance, this account will remain open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath commences. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. There is no more pleading of mercy in their behalf. 5T 208.2

    The prophet, looking down the ages, had this time presented before his vision. The nations of this age have been the recipients of unprecedented mercies. The choicest of heaven's blessings have been given them, but increased pride, covetousness, idolatry, contempt of God, and base ingratitude are written against them. They are fast closing up their account with God. 5T 208.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 690

    Has God ever revealed to these self-deceived ones that no reproofs or corrections from Him are to have any weight with them unless they come through direct vision? I dwell upon this point because the position that many are now taking upon it is a delusion of Satan to ruin souls. When he has ensnared and weakened them through his sophistry, so that when they are reproved they persist in making of none effect the workings of God's Spirit, his triumph over them will be complete. Some who profess righteousness will, like Judas, betray their Lord into the hands of His bitterest enemies. These self-confident ones, determined to have their own way and to advocate their own ideas, will go on from bad to worse, until they will pursue any course rather than to give up their own will. They will go on blindly in the way of evil, but, like the deluded Pharisees, so self-deceived that they think they are doing God's service. Christ portrayed the course which a certain class will take when they have a chance to develop their true character: “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.” 5T 690.1

    God has given me a marked, solemn experience in connection with His work; and you may be assured that so long as my life is spared, I shall not cease to lift a warning voice as I am impressed by the Spirit of God, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. I have no special wisdom in myself; I am only an instrument in the Lord's hands to do the work He has set for me to do. The instructions that I have given by pen or voice have been an expression of the light that God has given me. I have tried to place before you the principles that the Spirit of God has for years been impressing upon my mind and writing on my heart. 5T 691.1

    And now, brethren, I entreat you not to interpose between me and the people, and turn away the light which God would have come to them. Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united. For Christ's sake do not confuse the minds of the people with human sophistry and skepticism, and make of none effect the work that the Lord would do. Do not, by your lack of spiritual discernment, make of this agency of God a rock of offense whereby many shall be caused to stumble and fall, “and be snared, and be taken.” 5T 691.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 42

    Now the church is militant. Now we are confronted with a world in midnight darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. But the day is coming in which the battle will have been fought, the victory won. The will of God is to be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Then the nations will own no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving—the robe of Christ's righteousness. All nature, in its surpassing loveliness, will offer to God a constant tribute of praise and adoration. The world will be bathed in the light of heaven. The years will move on in gladness. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold greater than it is now. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming: “There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death.” 8T 42.1

    This is the scene that is presented to me. But the church must and will fight against seen and unseen foes. Satan's agencies in human form are on the ground. Men have confederated to oppose the Lord of hosts. These confederacies will continue until Christ shall leave His place of intercession before the mercy seat and shall put on the garments of vengeance. Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God. Professed saints and avowed unbelievers take their stand with these parties. This is no time for the people of God to be weaklings. We cannot afford to be off our guard for one moment. 8T 42.2

    “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17. 8T 42.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 149

    I tell you the things which I have seen, and which are true, that by well-directed, persevering effort there might be many, very many, more souls brought to a knowledge of the truth. Oh, the end is near! Who is ready for Christ to rise from His throne to put on the garments of vengeance? Whose names are registered in the Lamb's book of life? The names of those only will be there who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Your erroneous ideas, your objectionable phases of character, must be given up, and you must be clothed with the garments of Christ's righteousness. Faith and love—how destitute are the churches of these! The heavenly Merchantman counsels you, “Buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; ... and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” God forbid that those who are preaching in our conferences should be like the foolish virgins, having lamps, but destitute of the oil of grace which makes the lamp burn and give forth light. Oh, we want more praying ministers—men who carry a solemn weight of souls—men who have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Without faith it is impossible to please God. How imperfect is faith in our churches! Why do we not believe the Lord will do just as He says He will? TM 149.1

    We are God's servants, and to each of us He has given talents, both natural and spiritual. As children of God, we should be constantly gaining in fitness for the heavenly mansions which Christ told His disciples He was going away to prepare for them. He who lays hold upon the righteousness of Christ may become a perfect man in Christ Jesus. Working from a high standpoint, seeking to follow the example of Christ, we shall grow up into His likeness, possessing more and more refinement. TM 150.1

    The Saviour prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” Those who are disciplined by the truth will be doers of the word; they will be diligent Bible readers, searching the Scriptures with an earnest desire to understand the will of God, and to do His will intelligently. TM 150.2

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