The Grass Withers, the Flower Fades,
But the Word of God Endures Forever
40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the (Milky) way of the Lord, make (red radius line) straight in the desert a (Milky Way) highway for our God.
4 Every (Milky Way) valley shall be exalted, and every (Milky Way) mountain and hill shall be made low: and the (Milky Way) crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together (in 2026 A.D.): for the (Milky Way) mouth of the Lord hath spoken it (blue sun breath).
The voice of a herald is heard in the wilderness making proclamation (blue breath), that every obstacle should be removed, that Yahweh might return to Zion conducting his people. As he had conducted them from the land of Egypt, so he was about to conduct them from Babylon, and to appear again in Jerusalem and in the temple. Between Babylon and Jerusalem there was an immense tract of country which was a pathless desert. Through this land the people would naturally be conducted; and the voice of the herald is heard demanding that a highway should be made - in the manner of a herald who preceded an army, and who required valleys to he filled, and roads to be constructed, over which the monarch and his army might pass with ease and safety. It is to be observed that the main thing here is not that the people should return, and a way be made for them, but that Yahweh was about to return to Jerusalem, and that the pathway should he made for him. He was to be their leader and guide, and this was the principal source of comfort in their return. In this, the Holy Spirit, who directed and inspired the prophet, purposely suggests language that would be applicable to a far more important even, when the herald of the Messiah should announce his coming. The main thing which the voice was to cry is represented in Isaiah 40:6-8. That was, that Yahweh was faithful to his promises, and that his predictions would be certainly fulfilled. Everything else would fade away - the grass would wither, the flower would fail, and the people would die - but the word of Yahweh would be unfailing, and this would be manifest alike in the release of the people from Babylon, and in the coming of the Messiah.
The time of the exile at Babylon was about to be completed. Yahweh was about to conduct his people again to their own country through the pathless wilderness, as he had formerly conducted them from Egypt to the land of promise. The prophet, therefore, represents himself as hearing the voice of a herald, or a forerunner in the pathless waste, giving direction that a way should be made for the return of the people. The whole scene is represented as a march, or return of Yahweh at the head of his people to the land of Judea. The idea is taken from the practice of Eastern monarchs, who whenever they entered on a journey or an expedition, especially through a barren and unfrequented or inhospitable country, sent harbingers or heralds before them to prepare the way.
To do this, it was necessary for them to provide supplies, and make bridges, or find fording places over the streams; to level hills, and construct causeways over valleys, or fill them up; and to make a way through the forest which might lie in their intended line of march. This was necessary, because these contemplated expeditions often involved the necessity of marching through countries where there were no public highways that would afford facilities for the passage of an army. Thus Arrian (Hist. liv. 30) says of Alexander, 'He now proceeded to the River Indus, the army' that is, η? στρατια´ heŻ stratia, a part of the army, or an army sufficient for the purpose, 'going before, which made a way for him, for otherwise there would have been no mode of passing through that region.' 'When a great prince in the East,' says Paxton, 'sets out on a journey, it is usual to send a party of men before him to clear the way.
6 The voice said, Cry (blue breath). And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is (green Milky Way) grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the (blue) flower of the (Milky Way) field:
7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it (blue breath): surely the people is grass.
8 The (Milky Way) grass withereth, the (blue sun) flower fadeth: but the word of our God (blue breath) shall stand for ever.
"Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground;
Another race the following spring supplies;
They fall successive, and successive rise:
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these, when those are passed away." (Homer's Iliad 6:146)
"For what is man? calamitous by birth,
They owe their life and nourishment to earth;
Like yearly leaves, that now, with beauty crowned,
Smile in the sun; now, wither on the ground." (Homer's Iliad 21:464)
"Our life like wine, when but few years are past,
Is brisk and strong, -- like vinegar at last." (Antiph. fr.8)
9 O Zion (Ursa Minor -- Little Flock), that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high (red radius line) mountain; O Jerusalem (Ursa Minor -- Little Flock), that bringest good tidings, lift up thy (blue breath) voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong (Sagittarius) hand (in 2026 A.D.), and his (Sagittarius) arm shall rule for him: behold, his (solar blue earth -- "they shall inherit the earth" -- Matt. 5:5) reward is with him, and his (brown lunar crescent) work before him.
11 He shall feed his (Aries) flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his (Auriga) arm, and carry them in his (Auriga) bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
The general idea is, that all obstructions were to be removed, so that the march would be without embarrassment. As applicable to the work of John also, the language means in general, that whatever there was in the opinions, habits, conduct, in the pride, self-confidence, and irreligion of the nation that would prevent his cordial reception, was to be removed.
12 Who hath measured the (blue solar) waters in the hollow of his (Sagittarius) hand, and meted out (blue solar) heaven with the (Sagittarius bow; or red radius lines compass) span, and comprehended the (brown lunar) dust of the earth in a (red radius line compass) measure, and weighed the (brown lunar) mountains in (Libra) scales, and the (brown lunar crescent) hills in a balance? (Sagittarius holding blue sun and Libra holding brown moon)
13 Who hath directed the (blue solar) Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he (blue breath) counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a (blue) drop of a (black Zodiac circle) bucket, and are counted as the small (brown) dust of the (black Zodiac circle trays; or Libra) balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient (brown lunar crescent wood) to burn, nor the beasts thereof (Leo, Taurus, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, etc.) sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity (high maintenance).
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a (red radius line fir tree; brown lunar crescent) tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the (black Zodiac) circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers (Scorpio alternate); that stretcheth out the heavens as a (Milky Way) curtain, and spreadeth them out as a (red radius lines) tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the (Perseus; Orion) princes to nothing; he maketh the (Gemini) judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them (blue breath), and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble (Zodiac spinning).
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them (the many stars) all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (a resurrection in 2026 A.D.); they shall mount up with wings as eagles (Aquila; Lyra; Cygnus); they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (a resurrection in 2026 A.D.).