They that dwell under his shadow shall return - The Targum is curious: "They shall be gathered together from the midst of their captivity; they shall dwell under the shadow of his Christ, and the dead shall revive."
They shall revive as the corn - The justness and beauty of this metaphor is not generally perceived. After the corn has been a short time above the earth, in a single spike, the blades begin to separate, and the stalk to spring out of the center. The side leaves turn back to make way for the protruding stalk; and fall bending down to the earth, assuming a withered appearance, though still attached to the plant. To look at the corn in this state, no one, unacquainted with the circumstance, could entertain any sanguine hope of a copious harvest. In a short time other leaves spring out; the former freshen, and begin to stand erect; and the whole seems to revive from a vegetative death. This is the circumstance to which the prophet refers "they shall revive as the corn." Of this a prudent and profitable use may be made.
3. By and by the pardon comes, and God's love is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost; every hope is revived and realized, the full corn in the ear becomes manifest; and this answers to the corn in its third state. "They shall revive as the corn." Glory be to God for his unspeakable gift!
They that dwell under his shadow - that is, the shadow of the restored Israel, who had just been described under the image of a magnificent tree uniting in itself all perfections.: “They that are under the shadow of the Church are together under the shadow of Christ the Head thereof, and also of God the Father.” The Jews, of old, explained it, “they shall dwell under the shadow of their Messias.” These, he says, “shall return,” i. e., they shall turn to be quite other than they had been, even back to Him, to whom they belonged, whose creatures they were, God. “They shall revive as the corn.” The words may be differently rendered, in the same general meaning. The simple words, “They shall revive” (literally, “give life” to, or “preserve in life,”) “corn,” have been filled up differently. Some of old, (from where ours has been taken) understood it, “they shall revive” themselves, and so, “shall live”, and that either “as corn,” (as it is said, “shall grow as the vine”); or “by corn” which is also very natural, since “bread is the staff of life,” and our spiritual Bread is the support of our spiritual life.
Or lastly, (of which the grammar is easier, yet the idiom less natural) it as been rendered “they shall give life to corn,” make corn to live, by cultivating it. In all ways the sense is perfect. If we render, “shall revive” as “corn,” it means, being, as it were, dead, they shall net only live again with renewed life, but shall even increase. Corn first dies in its outward form, and so is multiplied; the fruit-bearing branches of the vine are pruned and cut, and so they bear richer fruit. So through suffering, chastisement, or the heavy hand of God or man, the Church, being purified, yields more abundant fruits of grace. Or if rendered, “shall make corn to grow,” since the prophet, all around, is under figures of God‘s workings in nature, speaking of His workings of grace, then it is the same image, as when our Lord speaks of those “who receive the seed in an honest and true heart and bring forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” Matthew 13:23. Or if we were to render, “shall produce life through wheat,” what were this, but that seed-corn, which, for us and for our salvation, was sown in the earth, and died, and “brought forth much fruit;” the Bread of life, of which our Lord says, “I am the Bread of life, whoso eateth of this bread shall live forever, and the bread which I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world?” John 6:48, John 6:51.
The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon - The grapes of Lebanon have been of the size of plums; its wine has been spoken of as the best in the East or even in the world. Formerly Israel was as a luxuriant, but empty, vine, bringing forth no fruit to God Hosea 10:1. God “looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes” Isaiah 5:2. Now its glory and luxuriance should not hinder its bearing fruit, and “that,” the noblest of its kind. Rich and fragrant is the odor of graces, the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and not fleeting, but abiding.
The wheat develops “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” The object of the husbandman in the sowing of the seed and the culture of the growing plant is the production of grain. He desires bread for the hungry, and seed for future harvests. So the divine Husbandman looks for a harvest as the reward of His labor and sacrifice. Christ is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men; and He does this through those who believe in Him. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing—the reproduction of Christ's character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others. COL 67.1
The plant does not germinate, grow, or bring forth fruit for itself, but to “give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.” Isaiah 55:10. So no man is to live unto himself. The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls. COL 67.2
There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely. COL 67.3Read in context »
The plant grows by receiving that which God has provided to sustain its life. So spiritual growth is attained through co-operation with divine agencies. As the plant takes root in the soil, so we are to take root in Christ. As the plant receives the sunshine, the dew, and the rain, so are we to receive the Holy Spirit. If our hearts are stayed upon Christ, He will come unto us “as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” As the Sun of Righteousness, He will arise upon us “with healing in His wings.” We shall “grow as the lily.” We “shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.” Hosea 6:3; Malachi 4:2; Hosea 14:5, 7. Ed 106.1
The wheat develops, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28. The object of the husbandman in the sowing of the seed and the culture of the plant, is the production of grain—bread for the hungry, and seed for future harvests. So the divine Husbandman looks for a harvest. He is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts and lives of His followers, that through them He may be reproduced in other hearts and lives. Ed 106.2
The gradual development of the plant from the seed is an object lesson in child training. There is “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28. He who gave this parable created the tiny seed, gave it its vital properties, and ordained the laws that govern its growth. And the truths taught by the parable were made a reality in His own life. He, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, became a babe in Bethlehem, and for a time represented the helpless infant in its mother's care. In childhood He spoke and acted as a child, honoring His parents, and carrying out their wishes in helpful ways. But from the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in grace and in a knowledge of truth. Ed 106.3Read in context »
The change of heart by which we become children of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth. Again, it is compared to the germination of the good seed sown by the husbandman. In like manner those who are just converted to Christ are, “as new-born babes,” to “grow up” to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 4:15. Or like the good seed sown in the field, they are to grow up and bring forth fruit. Isaiah says that they shall “be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3. So from natural life, illustrations are drawn, to help us better to understand the mysterious truths of spiritual life. SC 67.1
Not all the wisdom and skill of man can produce life in the smallest object in nature. It is only through the life which God Himself has imparted, that either plant or animal can live. So it is only through the life from God that spiritual life is begotten in the hearts of men. Unless a man is “born from above,” he cannot become a partaker of the life which Christ came to give. John 3:3, margin. SC 67.2Read in context »
With what unwearied love did Christ minister to Israel during the period of added probation. Upon the cross He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. After His ascension the gospel was preached first at Jerusalem. There the Holy Spirit was poured out. There the first gospel church revealed the power of the risen Saviour. There Stephen—“his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15)—bore his testimony and laid down his life. All that heaven itself could give was bestowed. “What could have been done more to My vineyard,” Christ said, “that I have not done in it?” Isaiah 5:4. So His care and labor for you are not lessened, but increased. Still He says, “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” Isaiah 27:3. COL 218.1
“If it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that”— COL 218.2
The heart that does not respond to divine agencies becomes hardened until it is no longer susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Then it is that the word is spoken, “Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” COL 218.3Read in context »
The transgressors were given many opportunities to repent. In their hour of deepest apostasy and greatest need, God's message to them was one of forgiveness and hope. “O Israel,” He declared, “thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee?” Hosea 13:9, 10. PK 283.1
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord,” the prophet entreated; “for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3. PK 283.2
To those who had lost sight of the plan of the ages for the deliverance of sinners ensnared by the power of Satan, the Lord offered restoration and peace. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely,” He declared: “for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found. PK 283.3Read in context »