They shall not build, and another inhabit - The reverse of the curse denounced on the disobedient, Deuteronomy 28:30; : "Thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell therein; thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof."
For as the days of a tree - It is commonly supposed that the oak, one of the most longlived of the trees, lasts about a thousand years; being five hundred years growing to full perfection, and as many decaying: which seems to be a moderate and probable computation. See Evelyn, Sylva, B. 3 chap. 3. The present emperor of China, in his very ingenious and sensible poem entitled Eloge de Moukden, a translation of which in French was published at Paris, 1770, speaks of a tree in his country which lives more than a hundred ages: and another, which after fourscore ages is only in its prime, pp. 37, 38. But his imperial majesty's commentators, in their note on the place, carry the matter much farther; and quote authority, which affirms, that the tree last mentioned by the emperor, the immortal tree, after having lived ten thousand years, is still only in its prime. I suspect that the Chinese enlarge somewhat in their national chronology, as well as in that of their trees. See Chou King. Preface, by Mons. de Guignes. The prophet's idea seems to be, that they shall live to the age of the antediluvians; which seems to be very justly expressed by the days of a tree, according to our notions. The rabbins have said that this refers to the tree of life, which endures five hundred years. - L.
They shall not build, and another inhabit - Every man shall enjoy the avails of his labor.
For as the days I of a tree are the days of my people - That is, in that future time, such shall be the length of the lives of the people (see Isaiah 65:21). The Septuagint renders this, ‹The days of the tree of life.‘ The Syriac, ‹As the days of trees.‘ The Chaldee as the Septuagint. The idea is, that the lives of his people would be greatly prolonged (see the notes at Isaiah 65:20). A tree is among the most long-lived of material objects. The oak, the terebinth, the cypress, the cedar, the banyan, attain to a great age. Many trees also live to a much longer period than a thousand years. The Baobab tree of Senegal (Adansonia digitata) is supposed to attain the age of several thousand years. Adanson inferred that one which he measured, and found to be thirty feet in diameter, had attained the age of 5150 years. Having made an incision to a certain depth, he first counted three hundred rings of annual growth, and observed what thickness the tree had gained in that period. The average rate of growth of younger trees, of the same species, was then ascertained, and the calculation made according to a supposed mean rate of increase. De Candolle considers it not improbable that the celebrated Taxodium, of Chapultepec, in Mexico, which is 117 feet in circumference, may be still more aged. In Macartney‘s Embassy to China, i. 131, an account is given of a tree of this description, which was found to be at the base no less than fifty-six feet in girth. On the longevity of trees, see Bibliotheca Univ., May 1831, quoted in Lyell‘s Geology, ii. 261. The idea here is, simply, that his people would attain to an age like that of the trees of the forest; that is, that the state of things under the Messiah would be as if human life were greatly prolonged (see the notes at Isaiah 65:20).
And mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands - Margin, ‹Make them continue long,‘ or ‹wear out.‘ The word used here (יבלוּ yeballû from בלה bâlâh ) means properly to fall, to fall away, to fail; to wear out, to wax old Deuteronomy 8:4; Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 50:9; Isaiah 51:6; hence, in Piel, to consume. The idea here is, that they would live to consume; that is, to enjoy the productions of their own labor. Their property should not be wrested from them by injurious taxation, or by plunder; but they would be permitted long to possess it, until they should wear it out, or until it should be consumed. Vulgate, ‹The works of their hands shall be of long continuance (inveterabunt ),‘ or shall be kept a long time. The Septuagint, ‹For the works of their labors ( των πόνων tōn ponōn ) shall become old, or of long continuance ( παλαιώσου palaiōsousin ).‘ See the notes at Isaiah 62:8-9.
The Word of God is plain and distinct upon this point of labor. No man or woman who is converted to God can be anything but a worker.... TDG 33.4Read in context »
Of every gift that God has bestowed, leading men to unselfish effort, a record is kept in heaven. To trace this in its wide-spreading lines, to look upon those who by our efforts have been uplifted and ennobled, to behold in their history the outworking of true principles—this will be one of the studies and rewards of the heavenly school. Ed 306.1
There we shall know even as also we are known. There the loves and sympathies that God has planted in the soul will find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages, the sacred fellowship that binds together “the whole family in heaven and earth”—all are among the experiences of the hereafter. Ed 306.2
There will be music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived. Ed 307.1Read in context »
Now is the time of trial, of test, of proving. Those who like Saul, will persist in having their own way, will suffer as he did, loss of honor, and finally the loss of the soul (Letter 13, 1892). 3BC 1164.1
26. The Law of Kindness on Your Lips—The Lord will help every one of us where we need help the most in the grand work of overcoming and conquering self. Let the law of kindness be upon your lips and the oil of grace in your heart. This will produce wonderful results. You will be tender, sympathetic, courteous. You need all these graces. The Holy Spirit must be received and brought into your character; then it will be as holy fire, giving forth incense which will rise up to God, not from lips that condemn, but as a healer of the souls of men. Your countenance will express the image of the divine. No sharp, critical, blunt, or severe words should be spoken. This is common fire, and must be left out of all our councils and intercourse with our brethren. God requires every soul in His service to kindle their censers from the coals of sacred fire. The common, severe, harsh words that come from your lips so readily must be withheld, and the Spirit of God speak through the human agent. By beholding the character of Christ you will become changed into His likeness. The grace of Christ alone can change your heart and then you will reflect the image of the Lord Jesus. God calls upon us to be like Him,—pure, holy, and undefiled. We are to bear the divine image (Letter 84, 1899). 3BC 1164.2Read in context »
There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will appear new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects of study to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul. PK 731.1
The prophets to whom these great scenes were revealed longed to understand their full import. They “inquired and searched diligently: ... searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.... Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you.” 1 Peter 1:10-12. PK 731.2
To us who are standing on the very verge of their fulfillment, of what deep moment, what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come—events for which, since our first parents turned their steps from Eden, God's children have watched and waited, longed and prayed! PK 731.3Read in context »