Saturday, September 6, 2014

Matthew Henry on Isaiah 49:23 and Rulers Supporting the Church

Isaiah 49:23 prophesies favorably of rulers assisting the church in the New Covenant era:
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. (Isaiah 49:23)
On this text, Matthew Henry writes:
Some of the princes of the nations shall become patrons and protectors to the church: King shall be thy nursing fathers, to carry thy sons in their arms (as Moses, Num. 11:12 ); and, because women are the most proper nurses, their queens shall be thy nursing mothers. This promise was in part fulfilled to the Jews, after their return out of captivity. Several of the kings of Persia were very tender of their interests, countenanced and encouraged them, as Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes; Esther the queen was a nursing mother to the Jews that remained in their captivity, putting her life in her hand to snatch the child out of the flames. 
The Christian church, after a long captivity, was happy in some such kings and queens as Constantine and his mother Helena, and afterwards Theodosius, and others, who nursed the church with all possible care and tenderness. Whenever the sceptre of government is put into the hands of religious princes, then this promise is fulfilled. The church in this world is in an infant state, and it is in the power of princes and magistrates to do it a great deal of service; it is happy when they do so, when their power is a praise to those that do well. 
2. Others of them, who stand it out against the church’s interests, will be forced to yield and to repent of their opposition: They shall bow down to thee and lick the dust. The promise to the church of Philadelphia seems to be borrowed from this (Rev. 3:9 ): I will make those of the synagogue of Satan to come and worship before thy feet. Or it may be meant of the willing subjection which kings and kingdoms shall pay to Christ the church’s King, as he manifests himself in the church (Ps. 72:11 ): All kings shall fall down before him. And by all this it shall be made to appear, (1.) That God is the Lord, the sovereign Lord of all, against whom there is no standing out nor rising up. (2.) That those who wait for him, in a dependence upon his promise and a resignation to his will, shall not be made ashamed of their hope; for the vision of peace is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak and shall not lie(Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah 49)

No comments: