The final vision was of judgment executed. In this there was no symbol, no sign. We hear the manifesto of Jehovah Himself. It is one of the most awe-inspiring visions of the whole Bible.
The message proceeded in two phases. First, announcement of judgment, irrevocable and irresistible; second, announcement of the procedure as reasonable and discriminative. Jehovah is seen standing by the altar, declaring the stroke of destruction to be inevitable, and all attempts at escape futile, because He has proceeded to act. While the judgment is to be reasonable and discriminative, the claims in which Israel had trusted were nothing. They became as children of Ethiopians. Philistines and Syrians had also been led by God. The eyes of Jehovah were on the sinful kingdom. The sifting process must go forward, but no grain of wheat should perish. The phrase "in that day" indicates the closing message of restoration, and all that is to precede it.
It is now declared that the reason of the divine judgment is not revenge, but the only way in which it is possible to usher in the restored order on which the heart of God is set. The process of restoration is described as threefold. First, preliminary: "I will raise up . . . that they may possess"; second: progressive, "I will bring again the captivity . . . they shall build the waste cities . . . Plant vineyards . . . make gardens"; finally, permanent: "I will plant them . . . they shall no more be plucked up."
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26