Tonight we are jumping back into our study on Isaiah and we will be examining Chapters 60-62. The chapters describe the future glory of Zion. Some believe these chapters only describe the future glory of physical Jereruselm when the captive children of Israel would return and rebuild. While there are some things we could apply to them, there are other things mentioned in these chapters that could only apply to the church that Jesus built. Also, Jesus applied Isaiah 61:1-2 to Himself in Luke 4:16-21.
In order to present these three chapters in a timely manner, I am going to have to leave out a lot details that could be made. So, letís begin.
Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.† 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.†
Jesus is the true light that came into a dark world. Thanks to Him, His disciples could arise and shine and show Christ working through them just as we are to do today. I have no doubt in mind that these verses ultimately point to the spiritual Zion that was established by Jesus and proclaimed by His disciples. Next, we are going to see the results of this new spiritual Zion and how it would affect the whole world.
Isaiah 60:3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.† 4 " Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.† 5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.† 6 The multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD.† 7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; They shall ascend with acceptance on My altar, And I will glorify the house of My glory.† 8 "Who are these who fly like a cloud, And like doves to their roosts?† 9 Surely the coastlands shall wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, To bring your sons from afar, Their silver and their gold with them, To the name of the LORD your God, And to the Holy One of Israel, Because He has glorified you.† 10 " The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, And their kings shall minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, But in My favor I have had mercy on you.† 11 Therefore your gates shall be open continually; They shall not be shut day or night, That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, And their kings in procession.
I do not believe this section of Scripture is talking about physical Israel and the rebuilding of its walls, but speaks of how the Gentiles and foreign nations would contribute and be added to the new spiritual Jerusalem of the N.T. Isaiah gives us an image of the spiritual Jerusalem being like a mother that is well pleased that her children are coming to her. While some might apply these sons and daughters to the Jews only, we are about to see that this has a bigger picture than that and includes adopted sons and daughters, which are the Gentiles.
All one has to do is read through the N.T. and you can see how the Gentiles were† eager to become part of the new spiritual Israel. As our text describes, Gentiles have come far and wide to be part of Godís kingdom, and they have contributed their wealth for its sake because they have seen the importance of the light that Jesus has brought to this dark world.
From verse 10-11, we can know that Isaiah did not intended a literal interpretation that applied to physical Israel once they returned and rebuilt the walls and the temple of God because just the opposite happened them. The children of Israel had great opposition as† they tried to rebuild. Also, they closed their gates every night, while all this opposition was happening according to:
Nehemiah 7:3 And I said to them, "Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house."
While our text from Isaiah does not fit physical Israel, it does fit spiritual Israel because sons of foreigners and kings have all contributed to the growth of the church. Its doors are always open. Think about this. Why would one build a physical wall, yet never close the physical gate? The physical wall would serve little purpose if the gate was never closed. I believe this shows how these verses are indeed pointing to spiritual Jererusalem and not physical Jerusalem.
Isaiah 60:12 For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, And those nations shall be utterly ruined.† 13 "The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, The cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I will make the place of My feet glorious.† 14 Also the sons of those who afflicted you Shall come bowing to you, And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; And they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.† 15 " Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, So that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, A joy of many generations.† 16 You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, And milk the breast of kings; You shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.† 17 " Instead of bronze I will bring gold, Instead of iron I will bring silver, Instead of wood, bronze, And instead of stones, iron. I will also make your officers peace, And your magistrates righteousness.† 18 Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise.
One thing I want to remind you of is that when Isaiah was speaking the Word of God and prophesying about future events, a lot of what he was speaking was a mystery to him, but we are fortunate because we get to see the big picture and see how these things he was saying can be applied to the spiritual kingdom of God.
Isaiah talks about those kingdoms that would oppose Him will perish. This has been a common occurrence throughout history. If a nation opposes Godís people and His will, and they promote the evil way, they usually fall. Even if they thrive for a long time they will not escape the day of Judgment, when every knee will bow before the Lord. †He also describes this idea of how beautiful spiritual Jerusalem will be by describing it with physical things so that we can comprehend its beauty with our limited human imaginations.
God has forsaken His people in that that He allowed them to be destroyed and taken into captivity. Even after they returned and rebuilt physical Israel, they found themselves in ruins once again because they became corrupt and God forsook them once again as Jesus points out in Mt. 23:38, and their precious physical Jerusalem was destroyed again in a.d. 70. However, the Scriptures do not ever say that God will forsake His spiritual kingdom because it will never be destroyed.
Under the spiritual kingdom, we are not to be violent, but we are to strive to be at peace with those around us. We are to focus on salvation and praise.
Isaiah 60:19 " The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.† 20 Your sun shall no longer go down, Nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the LORD will be your everlasting light, And the days of your mourning shall be ended.† 21 Also your people shall all be righteous; They shall inherit the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.† 22 A little one shall become a thousand, And a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time."
I love this description of those who are part of the spiritual kingdom and how God is our everlasting light. Not only does this paint a beautiful picture of the future spiritual kingdom, it ultimately describes our final home when we will be in the kingdom of heaven.
John uses similar language to describe the church and it untimate home in heaven.
Revelation 22:5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
Revelation 21:4 ††"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Thanks to Jesus, we have been made righteous through Him (Rom. 5:19). When Jesus presents the church to the Father in heaven only the righteous will be allowed in heaven. The land in our verses does not refer to an inheritance on this earth because our land, ďif you willĒ will be in heaven (1 Pet. 1:4).
Verse 22 talks about how a little one will become a 1000. Well, think about how the kingdom of God started out with just 12 apostles and 120 followers. From that point forward, the kingdom grew and grew. Godís kingdom has never ceased to exist and will continue to thrive because Godís Word will remain intact until Jesus comes again.
What we can learn from this chapter is that God loves His people and He has always taken care of them. Yes, He allowed them to suffer at the hands of their enemies when they turned their back on them, but He never did allow them to become completely destroyed. As Christians, we are part of the new spiritual kingdom. We can be thankful for what God has made possible for us through His Son, and we can continue to have hope as we look forward to when all the faithful are in heaven with God.
Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;† 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,† 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
One of the challenges of Isaiahís prophecies is the fact that part of them can have fulfillment in the near future and offer hope for the Jews that would go into captivity, while at the same time pointing to the time of Christ where the prophecy is ultimately fulfilled. As we read through this chapter, I think you will see exactly what I am talking about. While some of the prophecies we have studied, one could effectively argue that they were too vague to say for sure they pointed to Jesus or to the church. However, that is not the case with the first two verses of this chapter because Jesus Himself applies this prophecy to the first century.
Luke 4:16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.† 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:† 18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;† 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."† 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.† 21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
The Spirit of the Lord being upon Him is a clear reference to the Holy Spirit descending on Him when He was baptized. No one can deny that Jesus was a proclaimer of Godís truth. His message would be for all. It is a message of hope that can free everyone from the shackles of sin. God was certainly glorified by Jesus in all that He did, and we are to follow in His footsteps.
Isaiah 61:4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.† 5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
Verses like these can bring your mind back to physical Israel. However, this can easily be seen in the spiritual sense of how the Jews would take part in rebuilding themselves under the new system of faith that came through Jesus. Some take the idea from verse 5 that the Jews are to be the prominent ones in the church while the Gentiles to the menial work. However, we must not take something describing something spiritual to far as this could be just saying that the Gentiles are going to be laboring in the kingdom of God with the Jews. Besides, God does not show partiality.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 61:6 †But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast.
I believe this verse also point to the time of the church because the only time that we find Godís people all being called priest is under the new covenant (1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 5:10).
Isaiah 61:7 Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.† 8 "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant.† 9 Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, And their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, That they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed."
This section is a bit vague in my opinion, but keeping with the thought of this describing spiritual things under the N.T. I see this saying that under the N.T. system, we will have no reason to be ashamed and we will be satisfied with where we are. As Christian, we have been blessed by God. This text also points out how God hates sin, but loves justice and the righteous way.
Isaiah 61:10 †I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.† 11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
I think these words are beautiful and fit perfectly with what we have through Christ. Yes, we should rejoice in the Lord and be thankful that we have been clothed in Christ, by putting Him on in baptism:
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Also, we know that the birth of the church and the spreading of the good news throughout the world caused righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.† 2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name.
This prophecy goes hand and hand with what Isaiah said earlier in:
Isaiah 56:5 †Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off.
This new name being spoken about is Christian. Note the following points that prove it.
1. This would be a name given by God.
ESV 1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
The name Christian is this new name that Godís people are to be known by and when wear it, it glorifies God.
2. This new name would be given within Godís wall, which is a reference to His church. Also, I believe this prophecy limits this new name to the time when the Gentiles will get to become part of Godís people as can be seen further in Isaiah 56. So, I do not believe it was an accident, but perfect timing when we see Godís people being called Christian at the first Gentile church in Antioch in:
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
3. This new name would be better than that of sons and daughters and it would be an everlasting name that will not be cut off. Again, what name could be more appropriate to honor Christ and the salvation He brought to us than Christian? So, the name Christian is certainly better than any name a son or daughter may have, and it is a everlasting name. I am fully convinced that there is no other name this could be talking about except Christian.
Isaiah 62:3 You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God.† 4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, And your land shall be married.† 5 For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah speaks in metaphors about the future church. The church Jesus would establish would be an honorable beautiful thing. It would be a crown of glory in the protection of Godís hand. Godís people would no longer be called forsaken or desolate as they had in the O.T. times, instead they would be the delight of the Lord as Hephzibah means. They would also be known as the bride of Christ as indicated by the name Beulah. These two names were used to show Godís relationship with His people under the new covenant are not the new name He would call them by because these are not new names, but Christian sure was. Isaiah teaches us the idea of how God will take care of His people and rejoice over them just a man would with the woman he marries. When you really think about what Isaiah is saying here, it should cause you to feel great to be a Christian.
Isaiah 62:6 †I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent,† 7 And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.† 8 The LORD has sworn by His right hand And by the arm of His strength: "Surely I will no longer give your grain As food for your enemies; And the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, For which you have labored.† 9 But those who have gathered it shall eat it, And praise the LORD; Those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts."
While your mind might want to go back to physical Israel, keeping with the theme of this chapter, I believe this is referring to the time of the church and Godís protection of it. These watchmen on the walls are not referring to O.T. prophets or angels. Instead, I believe it is referring to the Apostles, elders, evangelist, and teachers of the N.T. times. They certainly did not hold their tongues, and they relentlessly spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the known world of their time - something, we are to continue to do today. We should continue to praise God for the protection and security of His kingdom.
Isaiah 62:10 Go through, Go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; Build up, Build up the highway! Take out the stones, Lift up a banner for the peoples!† 11 Indeed the LORD has proclaimed To the end of the world: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.' "† 12 And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
If there was not so much in this chapter that pointed to the church, we could read these last verses as talking about the glorious triumph of Godís people returning from their Babylonian captivity and how God allowed them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild. However, based on all we have seen in the chapter, I see this talking metaphorically about the church when Jesus came and broke down all walls between Jews and Gentile, so that all could be saved. Thanks to Christ, there is no longer any obstacles in the way for people to be saved. Salvation is available for all who will accept it.
Certainly those that are Christians are to be called Holy people:
1 Peter 1:15 †but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,† 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
We have certainly been redeemed by the Lord:
1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,† 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Christianity is certainly sought out, and we are not forsaken:
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;† 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed Ė
Hebrews 13:5 †Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
In conclusion, I want you to consider the words of Paul:
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
I donít know about you, but these three chapters in Isaiah have boosted my hope and my comfort in God, and I hope they have done the same for you. Letís us never stop learning from Godís Word.