BROTHER BEEBE: - Will you give your views on Isaiah xxv. 10. “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
REPLY: At the request of our brother, we will offer a few remarks on the subject proposed; and such as we have we will give. And first, we do not understand with some of our brethren, that the predictions of this chapter have reference to some future millenial glory of the church; but we rather understand the whole chapter as a prediction of the coming of the Messiah, and the introduction and progress of his gospel among the Gentiles.
In the preceding chapter, the dissolution of the former heavens (namely, the Jewish) is mentioned, when the elements of that dispensation should pass away, their heavens be rolled together as a scroll, and their host be consumed; in the execution of which, his sword shall be bathed in heaven. (or Jerusalem; which was literally fulfilled in the destruction of that devoted city) Immediately on the removal of the old heavens and old earth, and of the former sea, the new heavens, wherein dwelleth righteousness, (Christ) is brought to view; hence the remarkable language of the commencement of this chapter. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” The prophet continues his description of the glory that should be at that time displayed; the wonders that should be wrought by the gospel among them; when the eyes of the blind should be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing, &c. In perfect harmony with these predictions, the vials of divine wrath have been executed on the Jewish nation; and a way of holiness opened up in the desert, through which we are assured the ransomed of the Lord shall come to Zion. But to the text.
“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion,” &c. In the illustration of the spirituality of this text, the following questions demand our serious consideration, viz:
First. Who are known in the scriptures of truth as the ransomed people of God?
Second. From what captivity are they released, by the ransom spoken of?
Third. To what Zion shall they come; and why is their coming thereto called a return?
1st. The people recognized in the scriptures as the ransomed of the Lord, in a spiritual sense, are those for whom Christ died; as his blood was the ransom price demanded by law and justice, and promptly paid by our Redeemer. The doctrine of a general atonement, as contended for by Fullerites and Arminians in general, is among the doctrines and delusions of men; for Christ has distinctly informed us, that he laid down his life for his sheep; and as distinctly that some portion of the human family are not his sheep. And the apostle, under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost, has said, “Feed the flock of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.” By comparing the two last quoted texts, we may clearly see that his church, his body, his bride, his elect, or those the Father gave him, and those exclusively are the ransomed of the Lord. They are not redeemed with such corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, who gave himself for us, he might redeem us all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works; And our prophet says, (lxii. 12) “And they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord; and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”
2nd. From what are these ransomed? The very idea of a ransom, implies captivity; and not only the redemption of the persons or property from captivity, but also a previous title to the persons or property redeemed, on the part of him in whom the right of redemption lies. For instance, our neighbor’s ship and cargo is captured on the seas, and taken into a foreign port; the government which holds this property will release it for a certain sum of money. Now should we, or any other disinterested person, pay the sum demanded, it would not make that ship and cargo our property; because we had no previous right or interest in that property. So the elect of God were the captured property of our Lord Jesus Christ; the title to them was in him from everlasting; “Ere sin was born, or Adam’s dust was fashioned to a man.” But like sheep they went astray; and in their connection with Adam, violated the law under which we as a part of the human family were created; and being lawful captives to divine justice, were seized and thrust into the prison of death, and shut up “without one cheerful ray of hope, or spark of glimmering day.” Such was the inflexible nature of the law of God, and such the inexorable demands of justice, that nothing short of the life and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ could redeem us. But blessed be his holy name, his blood cleanseth from all sin; and although great was the price, he has paid the utmost farthing; so that by his stripes, those for whom he suffered are healed. Hence we discover, the ransomed people are redeemed from the law, from its curse, and from its dominion; from sin, from guilt, and from death and hell; from alienation to God, and are made the happy participants of that justification from all things from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses; which is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Our limits forbid that we should enlarge.
3d. To what are we redeemed? Christ being the end of the law to every one that believeth, the ransomed are not brought to Mount Sinia, to the mount that might be touched, as some have supposed, and others have affirmed; but to Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the First Born, which were written in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. See Heb. Xii. 18-24.
But why does the prophet say they shall return? This Sion, or heavenly Jerusalem, to which all the ransomed of the Lord are, and shall be brought, describes the gospel state of the church, and refers to her origin in the person of Christ, as dwelling in the bosom of the eternal Father before the worlds were made. John had a view of her, descending from God out of heaven, adorned as a bride for her husband. And inasmuch as the ransomed of the Lord had life given them in Christ, and did exist in him as the bone of his bone, and the flesh of his flesh, as the members of his body, &c., so their redemption and release from sin, death and hell, from the demands of the law, and the thunderbolts of divine justice, which he bore in his own body on the tree, for them; and their being brought experimentally into the enjoyment of their inheritance in Christ Jesus, is properly and truly a returning. And when the church which he has ransomed shall arrive at the ultimate perfection of her joy and glory, when she shall see him as he is, and be like him, when death is swallowed up in victory, and the triumphant notes burst forth from every redeemed soul, “O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?” Christ will present no more to the Father than the Father gave him at the first. But not a soul of them shall be left behind; for he assures us, All that the Father giveth him shall come to him; and. they that come, he will in no wise cast out.
Well then might the inspired prophet tell us, that their return from their wanderings, from their captivity, their prisons and their chains, to Sion, shall be attended with songs; for he puts a new song in their mouths, (a song which they could never sing, if they were not redeemed) and joy upon their heads - everlasting joy. How sweet the thought, that the joy and gladness of the saints must endure forever and ever!
May God grant, brother Keller, that you, and. the writer of these lines, with all who love our Lord, may participate in that joy, and that gladness, and that song; and if we never see each other in this vale of tears, may we meet at last, in the full assemblage of the royal priesthood of our blessed Redeemer; even so. Amen.
August 1, 1839.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 512 – 516