THE LIGHT OF THE LORD WILL BE REFLECTED IN TRANSFORMED ISRAEL, SERVED BY TRANSFORMED NATIONS IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
Our passage this morning is all about Transformation – the transformation of the nation of Israel that will happen in the last days and the transformation of the Gentile nations that will reverse their history of oppression and end up serving and enriching Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. Transformation is a big word for a big concept = “a fundamental change in character or condition.” God is in the business of Transformation. That is what He is doing in our lives as believers in Jesus Christ:
2 Cor. 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
How is that work going in your life? Do you sense a growing maturity as the Lord changes you? Are you different today than you were 5 years ago? This work is totally accomplished by a sovereign God who works by grace through faith by the power of His Spirit.
The nation of Israel as we have studied these past couple of years certainly is in need of a major transformation. They are not functioning as God intended them to be a light to the Gentile nations. They have not been receptive to the Word of God or to the Messiah whom God has sent. And yet God has not rejected His chosen people. Certainly the world of nations in which we live today needs radical transformation. There is no love for the law of God or desire to worship Him in spirit and truth. Yet the picture we are going to find in Isaiah 60 is one of a transformed Israel and a transformed world of Gentile nations. What are we to make of this passage?
Today we are simply going to read the chapter as an overview – so that we can think about it this week and then come back and go through it again in more detail. But before reading the passage we are going to spend a large part of time in some foundational material.
4 Foundational Passages to understanding Isaiah 60:
1) Gen. 12:1-3 — Abrahamic Covenant – understand how vs. 12 picks up on this theme
A covenant is an agreement between two parties. There are two basic types of covenants: conditional and unconditional. A conditional or bilateral covenant is an agreement that is binding on both parties for its fulfillment. Both parties agree to fulfill certain conditions. If either party fails to meet their responsibilities, the covenant is broken and neither party has to fulfill the expectations of the covenant. An unconditional or unilateral covenant is an agreement between two parties, but only one of the two parties has to do something. Nothing is required of the other party. The actual Abrahamic Covenant is found in Genesis 12:1–3. The ceremony recorded in Genesis 15 indicates the unconditional nature of the covenant.
There are three main features to the Abrahamic Covenant:
1. The promise of land (Genesis 12:1). God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to a land that He would give him (Genesis 12:1). This promise is reiterated in Genesis 13:14–18 where it is confirmed by a shoe covenant; its dimensions are given in Genesis 15:18–21 (precluding any notion of this being fulfilled in heaven). The land aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant is expanded in Deuteronomy 30:1–10, which is the Palestinian Covenant.
2. The promise of descendants (Genesis 12:2). God promised Abraham that He would make a great nation out of him. Abraham, who was 75 years old and childless (Genesis 12:4), was promised many descendants. This promise is amplified in Genesis 17:6 where God promised that nations and kings would descend from the aged patriarch. This promise (which is expanded in the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7:12–16) would eventuate in the Davidic throne with Messiah’s kingdom rule over the Hebrew people.
3. The promise of blessing and redemption (Genesis 12:3). God promised to bless Abraham and the families of the earth through him. This promise is amplified in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31–34; cf. Hebrews 8:6–13) and has to do with “Israel’s spiritual blessing and redemption.” Jeremiah 31:34 anticipates the forgiveness of sin. The unconditional and eternal nature of the covenant is seen in that the covenant is reaffirmed to Isaac (Genesis 21:12; 26:3–4). The “I will” promises again suggest the unconditional aspect of the covenant. The covenant is later confirmed to Jacob (Genesis 28:14–15). It is noteworthy that God reaffirmed these promises amid the sins of the patriarchs, which fact further emphasizes the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic Covenant.
God’s method of fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant is literal, inasmuch as God partially fulfilled the covenant in history: God blessed Abraham by giving him the land (Genesis 13:14–17), and, centuries later, the sons of Abraham took control of the land: “So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there” (Joshua 21:43). God blessed Abraham spiritually (Genesis 13:8, 18; 14:22, 23; 21:22); God gave him numerous descendants (Genesis 22:17; 49:3–28). An important element of the Abrahamic Covenant, however, demands a still-future fulfillment with Messiah’s kingdom rule:
(1) Israel as a nation will possess the totality of the land in the future. Numerous Old Testament passages anticipate the future blessing of Israel and her possession of the land as promised to Abraham. Ezekiel envisions a future day when Israel is restored to the land (Ezekiel 20:33–37, 40–42; 36:1–37:28).
(2) Israel as a nation will be converted, forgiven, and restored (Romans 11:25–27).
(3) Israel will repent and receive the forgiveness of God in the future (Zechariah 12:10–14). The Abrahamic Covenant finds its ultimate fulfillment in connection with the return of Messiah to rescue and bless His people Israel. It is through the nation Israel that God promised in Genesis 12:1–3 to bless the nations of the world. That ultimate blessing will issue in the forgiveness of sins and Messiah’s glorious kingdom reign on earth.
2) John 1:4-9; John 8:12 Jesus as the Light of the world
(John 8:12) is the second of seven “I AM” declarations of Jesus, recorded only in John’s gospel, that point to His unique divine identity and purpose. In declaring Himself to be the Light of the world, Jesus was claiming that He is the exclusive source of spiritual light. No other source of spiritual truth is available to mankind.
There are two types of light in the world. We can perceive one, or both, or neither! When we are born into this world, we perceive physical light, and by it we learn of our Creator’s handiwork in the things we see. However, although that light is good, there is another Light, a Light so important that the Son of God had to come in order to both declare and impart it to men. John 8:12 records, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.’” The allegory used by the Lord in this verse speaks of the light of His Truth, the light of His Word, the light of eternal Life. Those who perceive the true Light will never walk in spiritual darkness.
We take a candle into a room to dispel the darkness. Likewise, the Light of Jesus Christ has to be taken into the darkness of sin that engulfs the hearts and lives of those who are not following Him. That’s the condition behind having this Light—that we follow Him. If we do not follow Him, we will not have this light, this truth, this eternal life. . .
Following Jesus is the condition of two promises in John 8:12. First, His followers will never walk in darkness, which is a reference to the assurance of salvation we enjoy. As true followers of the Light, we will never follow the ways of sin, never live in a state of continually sinning (1 John 1:5–7). Rather, we repent of our sin in order to stay close to the Light of the world. The second promise is that we will reflect the Light of Life. Just as He came as the Light of the world, He commands us to be “lights,” too. In Matthew 5:14–16 we see believers depicted as the light of the world. Just as the moon has no light of its own, reflecting the light of the sun, so are believers to reflect the Light of Christ so that all can see it in us. The Light is evident to others by the good deeds we do in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
3) Romans 9-11 – the temporary and partial setting aside of the nation of Israel during this present church age with the anticipation that the end times will see a grafting back in of a saved ethnic nation of Israel when at a point in time God turns their hearts back to receive their Messiah
Clear explanation that God is not finished with dealing with Israel as an ethnic nation.
4) Rev. 20-21 – Millennial Kingdom and the New Jerusalem (new heavens and new earth)
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3 very different Eschatological, Hermeneutical Grids:
1) Postmill approach – gospel is progressively spreading and conquering the world; then Jesus will return when His kingdom has been victorious (does not seem to mesh with worldwide events) The belief that the church is responsible for arranging the “golden age” of Christ’s rule in people’s hearts, resulting in godly overtones in politics, entertainment, family, and social life. Dominion Theology is one branch. Views the premill view as pessimistic.
2) Amill, Covenant Theology approach – The belief that the millennial kingdom is not literal, that it began at Christ’s resurrection and is manifest either in the hearts of saints in heaven or saints on earth. Replacement theology — the church has replaced Israel as the target for the fulfillment of OT promises related to the glorious future of God’s people (result is you must gloss over the details of much of Isaiah’s prophecy) Where do you see symbolic, figurative language and how do you interpret that language? Value is that it emphasizes the unity of God’s people and the centrality of Christ’s work of redemption; are not Jew and Gentile now without distinction in the church of Jesus Christ?
3) Premill approach – There remains a program for ethnic Israel where God will fulfill the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant in a 1000 year millennial kingdom where Jerusalem will be the focus of worldwide governance and worship (leads to some unexpected details – like the renewal of some form of sacrifices in a temple located in Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom); the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.
Along with this perspective comes an understanding of the telescoping nature of OT prophecy in the light of progressive revelation – 2 events like the first and second coming of Jesus are not distinguished as distinct in the OT; same is true as to how the Millennial Kingdom and the eternal state are treated
What happens when you try to read Isaiah 60 from each of these 3 very different perspectives?
Try that on your own this week – take 3 different passes through the chapter and pretend that you are a theologian from each of those 3 camps. How would you interpret each verse? What challenges would be presented; problem passages for your position?
THE LIGHT OF THE LORD WILL BE REFLECTED IN TRANSFORMED ISRAEL AS A MAGNET TO ATTRACT GENTILE NATIONS TO SERVE AND ENRICH ISRAEL AND WORSHIP THE HOLY GOD OF ISRAEL IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
Parunak: Zion will shine with the light of the Lord when he restores her society and exalts her in the eyes of the nations
Largely following the structural outline of Motyer which sees the chapter revolving around the fulcrum point of vs. 12; 5 stanzas before vs. 12 and 5 stanzas after vs. 12 – total of 10 stanzas;
I have grouped them in sets of 2 each
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Oswalt: 8 key themes recur throughout chaps 60-62:
1) God will save his people [theme of the book]
2) he will give light to them [they will reflect His light]
3) he will share his glory with them [it’s ultimately about the glory of God]
4) the nations will be drawn to what they see of God in Israel [Magnet imagery]
5) they will restore Zion’s children to her [Regathering from all over the world]
6) they will bring their wealth to give to Israel’s God [Enriching]
7) those who had oppressed Israel will be brought low and she will be exalted over them
8) she will both experience and exemplify the righteousness of God
As will be shown, all of these have threads that reach back through the entire book and come to their climax here.
Arab nations continually issue dire threats against the nation of Israel:
Iran’s new president created a sense of outrage in the west yesterday by describing Israel as a “disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the face of the earth”. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is more hardline than his predecessor, told students in Tehran that a new wave of Palestinian attacks would be enough to finish off Israel. Oct 2005
A branch of ISIS on Egypt’s volatile Sinai Peninsula has reportedly threatened to attack Israel in a video released Wednesday. Nov 11, 2015
Israel’s claim to land called Palestine – hotly disputed by Muslims
Does God keep His unconditional promises? Don’t depend on obedience of His people
Remember the structure we talked about from Motyer’s outline – 10 stanzas – 5 each revolving around vs 12 – working outward in concentric circles
At the heart you have the Transformation of the Nations
Outside of that you have the Transformation of Israel
The bookends at the beginning and the end speak of the Light of the Lord
We will read 2 stanzas at a time and make our comments on these 5 sections of Is. 60
I. (:1-5) THE LIGHT OF THE LORD BECOMES THE LIGHT OF ISRAEL – ATTRACTING THE NATIONS AND ENRICHING ISRAEL
A. (:1-3) Stanza 1 – Reflecting the Light of the Lord and Attracting the Nations
1. (:1-2) Reflecting the Light of the Lord — Arise, Shine – Double Imperative
“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the LORD will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.”
Song: “Rise and Shine and give God the Glory, children of the Lord”
Application for us every day as the sun comes up and a new day dawns – Arise, Shine
A command which we don’t have the capability naturally to obey
Borgman: The commands point out our own impotence – like the leper and blind man and lame man
Pelagius: if God gives command there must be inherent ability to obey the command
Augustine: Lord command what you will and then grant what you command – where does the power come from? How is the command fulfilled? By the accompanying power of God that comes with the command – “for your light has come”
Luke 1:78-79; Ephes 5:14 — because NT makes reference to these OT prophecies as having connection to the First Coming of Christ – don’t make the mistake that there is no ultimate fulfillment yet future; remember in Acts 2:14-21 how Peter referenced the prophecy of Joel about the outpouring of God’s Spirit – many details of that prophecy remain to be fulfilled in the end times – sun being turned into darkness and the moon into blood; the terrible Day of the Lord has not yet come – but we still make application to us today of the spiritual blessings associated with the first coming of Christ
Isaiah is talking about the Glory of Jerusalem during the millennial kingdom; don’t confuse with the eternal state of new heavens and new earth
Stedman: God’s glory had once dwelt in the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38), only to depart because of Israel’s sin (1 Sam. 4:21). God’s glory then came into the temple (1 kings 8:11), but it departed when the nation turned to idols (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23). The glory came to Israel in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14), but the nation nailed that glory to a cross. Today, God’s glory dwells in His church (Eph. 2:20-22) and in His people individually (1 Cor. 6:19-20); but one day His glory will be revealed to the earth when He answers His people’s prayer: “Thy kingdom come.”
Look at the darkness of this wicked world – especially will be true in the Tribulation period – read the book of Revelation – extreme demonic activity – Amos 5:18 “Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, for what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you? It will be darkness and not light”
Oswalt: This is that deliverance into a life empowered by the Spirit of God (cf. 59:21) in which the light of God is reflected by the people of God. Like a city gleaming in the light of the newly risen sun, they shine with a beauty that is not their own. . . The only hope for Israel for the human race is in the “coming” of God. He has come and will come again, like the dawning of anew day, to bring the healing, peace, and righteousness that we cannot bring to ourselves (cf. Mal. 4:2). . . In the beginning, Israel sought to glorify itself by associating with the high and the mighty of the earth’s nations (Isa. 2). The result of that effort was the opposite of what was intended. They were abased and humiliated (chs. 2-3). Glory belongs to God alone. Nevertheless, God promised that he would somehow share his glory with them (ch. 4).
Beall: The only reason Zion is able to give light is that she has received the light of the Lord. Similarly, unless we have received the Lord’s light, we are unable to help others see the light reflected in us. The Lord is Himself the light, as this verse and vv. 19-20 make plain. This truth is echoed in John 1:4-9 and John 8:12. . . The darkness/light imagery was used earlier by Isaiah in Isa 8:22-9:2, also in the context of the darkness of the world before the Redeemer vs. the light brought about by the Messiah, especially in His millennial reign (see Isa 9:6-7). The same imagery is used in 58:8, 10 as well. Though things may look gloomy because of sin and oppression, God will break through as the morning sun upon a dark world.
2. (:3) Attracting the Nations
“And nations will come to your light,
kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Oswalt: The brightness of the presence of God (cf;. 4:5) in the person of the Savior will be irresistible. However far God’s people may fall short of all that God is, if they will only reflect the light of the incarnation in some part of its power, even kings will want to come to fall at his feet.
Constable: In the future manifestation of light, the Gentile nations and their leaders will look to Israel for light (righteousness and illumination). They will not seek Israel because she is light but because of the light that she will reflect and make manifest to the world. We can see a foreview of the revelation of God’s light coming through the 144,000 Jewish missionaries who will preach the gospel during the Tribulation (cf. Rev. 7:1-8). This preaching will not fulfill this promise, however. The present preaching of the gospel by the church is only a foretaste of what is also to come through Israel.
B. (:4-5) Stanza 2 – Regathering and Rejoicing in Your Enrichment by the Nations
1. (:4) Regathering — Lift Up / See – Double Imperative
“Lift up your eyes round about, and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be carried in the arms.”
Regathering of Israel’s faithful remnant in preparation for entering the millennial kingdom
Parunak: Zechariah, who prophesied during the time of Zerubbabel, envisions a yet-future time of exile. His prophecy is universally mistranslated; the most natural rendering of the words is:
Zec 1:17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities from prosperity shall yet be scattered abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
Zechariah’s prophecy of subsequent scattering was fulfilled when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 73 and 135. Thus the sixth century return is not the end of Zion’s mourning, as Isa 60:20 promises. . .
The covenant position understands Isaiah’s promise as referring to the salvation of the Gentiles. Young writes, “Here the prophet refers not to apostate Israelites, but to the heathen who have been converted and are coming from afar in all directions.”3 Yet 49:22 clearly distinguishes Zion’s children from the Gentiles who bring them back.
Understood in its most natural sense, this promise is not fully realized either in the returns of the sixth and fifth centuries BC, nor in the founding of the modern state of Israel, nor in the growth of the church over the ages. The natural understanding of this promise requires a restoration that has not yet happened.
2. (:5) Rejoicing in Your Enrichment
“Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will thrill and rejoice;
Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you,
The wealth of the nations will come to you.”
Constable: The nations and their leaders will bring the disbursed Israelites back to their land as well (cf. 11:12; 49:18). They will also bring their wealth and give it to the Israelites (cf. v. 11; 61:6; Hag. 2:7-8; Zech. 14:14). This will delight the Israelites, as well as surprise them, since throughout history the nations have taken from Israel. . . Israel will rejoice and be amazed because the nations will bring their wealth and give it to Israel. The nations will do this because Israel will be the Lord’s vehicle for bringing the knowledge of God to them. The gifts are really in praise of the Lord, not to gain Israel’s favor, or to repay her for her sufferings, or because she is a superior race.
The nation of Israel will surely enjoy a favored position as they are blessed by the wealth of all nations – can’t say that we have seen that fulfillment yet in history
II. (:6-9) TRANSFORMATION OF ISRAEL – A MAGNET AND A MIRROR
A. (:6-7) Stanza 3 – Magnet for Enrichment and Worship
1. (:6) Extravagant Material Gifts – Focus on Praising the Lord
“A multitude of camels will cover you,
The young camels of Midian and Ephah;
All those from Sheba will come;”
They will bring gold and frankincense,
And will bear good news of the praises of the LORD.”
Oswalt: From the riches of the northwest, the prophet’s mind turns to the wealth of the southeast and the abundance of the Arabian caravans (cf. ch. 21).
Parunak: These promises of material tribute are a major issue in deciding between the interpretive alternatives that we are considering in this chapter. How are we to understand such promises? These prophecies are part of an important example of “manifold fulfillment”: an initial prophecy is repeated down through history, sometimes in words and sometimes in events that foreshadow or partially realize the promise, until the time of the actual fulfillment. . . The coming of the wise men is another link in this chain of manifold fulfillment. But it does not exhaust the promise, any more than did the visit of the Queen of Sheba . . .
One consequence of manifold fulfillment is that an earlier prophecy may telescope together events that later history shows to be separated in time. We saw this at the end of ch. 59 in the two aspects of the Redeemer’s work, establishing the new covenant (which happened 2000 years ago) and defeating his enemies (which has not yet begun). It is likely that Isa 60 is a similar telescoping of the 1000 years of Rev 20:4 (when Gentiles will come from across the seas to rebuild Jerusalem and offer sacrifice at her temple) and the New Heavens and New Earth of Rev 21 (a new order, without temple, sea, or heavenly lights).
Oswalt: The value of gold is still recognized today, but in ancient times incense was almost equally valuable, both because of its widespread use in worship and for its aromatic powers in a world where the only thing to do with distasteful odors was to try to cover them. These items were still the symbols of the wealth of the East when the wise men brought their gifts to the infant Jesus many years later (Matt. 2:11).
2. (:7) Abundant Sacrificial Animals – Focus on Worshiping the Lord
“All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you,
The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you;
will go up with acceptance on My altar,
And I shall glorify My glorious house.”
Eze 40-48 – sacrifices will be offered in the millennial kingdom; fullest and most detailed picture of worship in the millennial kingdom – all of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant as well as the Davidic and New Covenants will reach their ultimate fulfillment
Constable: Isaiah’s vision of the future Jerusalem included a temple and altar (cf. v. 13), but John’s vision of the future Jerusalem excluded both (Rev. 21:22). The solution is probably that Isaiah described the millennial city, and John the eternal city.
Parunak: while the temple was standing, the Jewish [NT] believers did not hesitate to participate in the temple rituals, not as a remembrance of sin, but as a remembrance of the Savior of whom they were a type. They did not impose these practices on the Gentiles (Acts 15), and when the temple was destroyed, it became impossible to follow the law of sacrifice. However, when the temple is restored, in the coming time of Israel’s exaltation, these sacrifices will be resumed as a further remembrance of the one who loved us and gave himself for us, and Jews and Gentiles will together bring their memorial sacrifices.
B. (:8-9) Stanza 4 – Mirror of God’s Glory to the Nations
2. (:8) Eager Response by the Nations
“Who are these who fly like a cloud,
And like the doves to their lattices?”
Motyer: these Gentiles come with the speed of flying clouds and the naturalness of homing pigeons
Is this a reference to transportation by airplanes?? Or to the white sails of ships?? Different modes of transportation are in view in this section; land travel by camels; travel by sea and now travel by air
Beall: In v. 8, the Lord asks a rhetorical question: who are they that are flying like doves to their roosts? The answer is that they are the coastlands who are waiting for the Lord. This response must be compared to 42:4, in which the Servant will not be discouraged until He has established justice in the earth (in the Millennium), “and the coastlands shall wait for His law”–here in 60:8, the coastlands simply wait for the Lawgiver Himself. The similar wording of these two passages indicates that the Servant of 42:4 is to be identified with the Lord. These coastlands will provide ships which will bring Israelites (Zion’s sons) from far places, as well as silver and gold, all for the Lord’s name and glory (a constant theme of this chapter). God has so beautified Zion, that the coastlands will desire to come to her (see also 55:5).
6. (:9) Fulfilled Anticipation – Culminating in Worship of God and Enrichment of Israel
a. Fulfilled Anticipation Described
“Surely the coastlands will wait for Me;
And the ships of Tarshish will come first, To bring your sons from afar, Their silver and their gold with them,”
Parunak: These white things are the sails of ships — Note the approach from the west, not from the east as in the return from Babylon . . .
Note the symmetry. Israel chose to follow other gods than the one who had made them a people. So he reciprocates, setting them aside from their privileged position for a time in favor of the Gentiles.
Now that the Messiah has come, this dynamic has begun to operate, as Paul writes to the Romans, Rom 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
Isaiah anticipates a day when this process will be complete, and the salvation of the Gentiles becomes the mechanism for the salvation of “all Israel.” Paul concludes, Rom 11:25 blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: He does not write, “and then all Israel shall be saved,” but “and so all Israel shall be saved.”
His point is not just when Israel will be saved, but how. The salvation of the Gentiles is the means for bringing Israel back to the Lord.
b. Focus of Worship Identified = Holy One of Israel who has glorified His Nation
“For the name of the LORD your God,
And for the Holy One of Israel
because He has glorified you.”
Oswalt: This is the next-to-last occurrence of the phrase “Holy One of Israel” in the book (the last is in 60:14), and it expresses the climax in the uses of the term in the book. The phrase serves to express that unique combination of transcendence and immanence that characterizes the God of the Bible. In his moral perfection, no creature can exist alongside him; in his awesome power, no one can contend with him; in his sole creatorship, he has no rival; in his self-giving to the people of earth, he is unmatched; in the purity of his love, there is nothing else to judge by. In a hundred ways the book has explored the wonder of the Person to whom this phrase applies. Now the Holy One who is the final judge is displayed to the nations as the God of Israel, who has given himself away to his people in love. Is it any wonder that they come flying from earth’s remotest bounds to throw themselves at his feet?
Parunak: Our peace and joy may capture people’s attention, but in itself it will not save people. We must confront them with the name of the Lord. Giving a testimony of what the Lord means to us is fine, but we must also preach the gospel. The two (testimony and preaching) are different. Both are important. People need to see that our experience is genuine, but they also need to understand the character of the God who lies at the heart of that experience.
III. (:10-14) TRANSFORMATION OF THE NATIONS TO SERVE ISRAEL AND WORSHIP THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL
A. (:10-11) Stanza 5 – Edification and Enrichment
1. (:10) Edification of the City by Ministering Nations
“And foreigners will build up your walls,
And their kings will minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
And in My favor I have had compassion on you.”
Parunak: A major focus of our discussion in this chapter is whether these events apply to the original return to Babylon, the church in the present evil age, or the coming Day of the Lord. Statements such as this indicate that the entity in view was previously the object of the Lord’s wrath, but is now restored. That works if we understand Zion to be the capital of the Jewish nation. It doesn’t work if we understand it to be the church, for God has never been wroth with his church, and has never smitten it. The true people of God in every age are shielded from God’s wrath by the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus. The reversal that the Lord promises only makes sense if Zion is physical Israel, turned from rebellion to repentance.
2. (:11) Enrichment by the Nations Who Come in Submission
“And your gates will be open continually;
They will not be closed day or night,
So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
With their kings led in procession.”
Rev. 21:25 – And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. gates can be left open where there is complete peace and security and no enemies threatening to attack
Parunak: But note the distinction. Isaiah envisions a context in which there is day and night, but the gates stay open. John applies the description to an epoch in which there is no night at all, and emphasizes that fact. As we suggested before, Isaiah’s vision merges the Millennium (the present earth restored to its Edenic condition) with the New Heavens and the New Earth.
(:12) PIVOT VERSE – CONTRASTING ABRAHAMIC CURSE
“For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish,
And the nations will be utterly ruined.”
This entire chapter is about the promised blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant:
“I will bless those who bless you
[and the one who curses you I will curse.]
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
But at the heart of the chapter we are reminded of the contrasting Abrahamic curse
Should this verse impact a nation’s foreign policy today with respect to the nation of Israel?
I say “Yes!” but understand that others will disagree. You might say that the present nation is not the saved remnant of the end times – that is true, but throughout OT times the nation was not comprised of just the saved remnant either and yet God pronounced judgments against those nations that treated her harshly; Israel is still the nation that God has singled out for His special focus in the eventual establishment of His worldwide kingdom
No sitting on the fence – either you support Israel or you do not and you will be utterly ruined
B. (:13-14) Stanza 6 – Beautification and Bowing Down in Genuine Worship
1. (:13) Beautification of the Temple
“The glory of Lebanon will come to you,
The juniper, the box tree, and the cypress together,
To beautify the place of My sanctuary;
And I shall make the place of My feet glorious.”
Constable: The nations will bring all their finest products to Jerusalem as gifts to the Lord.
Young: The place of God’s feet is another designation for the Temple, which is often referred to as God’s footstool (e.g. 1 Chron. 28:2) – testimony of David:
“I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God.”
2. (:14) Bowing Down in Genuine Worship
“And the sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you,
And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet;
And they will call you the city of the LORD,
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
Parunak: [The place is important – not just as representing the people who live there –]
David is the chosen king, and Jerusalem is the chosen city. We cannot say why God should choose one city over another, any more than we can say why he has chosen the Jews as his people, or David as his king, or each of us as his child. But the fact remains that he has chosen such a place, independent of who happens to live there at the moment: Mount Zion, latitude 31° 46’ N, longitude 35° 14’ E. The medieval churchmen with good reason called this place omphalos mundi, “the navel of the world.” There almighty God has chosen to set his name. There he will enthrone his king, and there all nations will come to worship him.
IV. (:15-18) TRANSFORMATION OF ISRAEL
A. (:15-16) Stanza 7 – Superiority of Exaltation Over Rejection
1. (:15-16a) Promise of Exaltation – where there had been rejection
“Whereas you have been forsaken and hated With no one passing through,
I will make you an everlasting pride, A joy from generation to generation.
You will also suck the milk of nations, And will suck the breast of kings;”
Almost all nations today hate Israel; city will no longer be center of contention and strife
MacArthur: As a mother feeds her infant, so Gentiles and kings will provide wealth and power to Zion.
Young: As a mother gives the milk of her breasts to her child, so do the nations give of their own life and vital energy to the Church so that the Church is in possession of nourishing food for a healthful growth. To show the luxuriant quality and richness of the food that Zion receives, it is stated also that she will suck the breast of kings.
The best of what the nations have to offer will belong to Israel
2. (:16b) Purpose of Exaltation
“Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, And your Redeemer,
the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Beall: The same names for the Lord also occur in 49:26 in connection with the Gentiles: both Jew and Gentile would, at last, know the person of the Lord.
B. (:17-18) Stanza 8 – Superiority of Substance and Security
1. (:17a) Superiority of Substance — Precious Metals (Gold and Silver)
“Instead of bronze I will bring gold, And instead of iron I will bring silver,
And instead of wood, bronze, And instead of stones, iron.”
– from wood and stones
– to bronze and iron
– to gold and silver
God is going to make things superior over what they are today – more beautiful; more valuable
In Solomon’s day, so much gold that silver was considered worthless like dust
2. (:17b-18) Superiority of Security – Peace and Salvation
a. Peace and Righteousness
“And I will make peace your administrators,
And righteousness your overseers.”
b. No Violence or Destruction
“Violence will not be heard again in your land,
Nor devastation or destruction within your borders;”
No more bombs blowing up in the market place
No fear of missiles being launched against your land
c. Salvation and Praise
“But you will call your walls salvation,
and your gates praise.”
V. (:19-22) THE LIGHT OF THE LORD SHINES FOREVER
A. (:19-20) Stanza 9 — Superiority of Shining –
Presence of the Lord for an Everlasting Light
“No longer will you have the sun for light by day,
Nor for brightness will the moon give you light;
But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And your God for your glory.
Your sun will set no more, Neither will your moon wane;
For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning will be finished.”
MacArthur: Isaiah, looking beyond the millennial kingdom, sees a view of the new Jerusalem following the Millennium (Rev 21:23; 22:5). His prophetic perspective did not allow him to distinguish the eternal phase of the future kingdom from the temporal one, just as the OT prophets could not distinguish between the first and second advent of Christ.
Parunak: The idea that the Messiah is light appears early in the book, when Isaiah promises light first to those in Galilee, where Messiah would arise :
Isa 9:1 the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, … the way of the sea … 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Now the later chapters, contemplating the Messiah’s kingdom, are full of promises of light:
58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. 58:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
So the Lord is our light. When we forsake him, we walk in darkness. He sends his Servant to be our light, and promises one day to restore Zion and her citizens to the full light of the Lord. . .
both the Lord and Messiah are described as the source of light.
• The Lord, the Holy One of Israel, is “the light of Israel” (10:17; 60:19, 20).
• He sends Messiah to be “the light of the Gentiles” (42:6; 49:6).
• Messiah himself claims to be “the light of the peoples” (51:4).
B. (:21-22) Stanza 10 — Superiority of Sustainability –
Possessing the Land Forever as a Mighty Nation
“Then all your people will be righteous;
They will possess the land forever,
The branch of My planting, The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.
The smallest one will become a clan, And the least one a mighty nation.
I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.”
God not pleased when we deny His future plans for His chosen people – Replacement theology does not glorify God
God is glorified by the literal fulfillment of all of His promises
Reference to God’s promises to Abraham – the smallest one; the least one; the one who had no children and no ability to have children
Nothing is too difficult for God; He will usher us into a future that is beyond our wildest expectations and imaginations
Constable: they will possess the Promised Land forever, rather than having to leave it because of their sins (cf. Gen. 17:8). Young wrote, “Inheritance of the land is a symbol of the future spiritual blessings that come to man through Christ.”695 If this is so, why did God give specific geographical boundaries for the Promised Land several times after Israel possessed the land partially? . . . With posterity come glory, influence, and power (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26-31).
As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper this morning I like this closing emphasis on the speed in which the Lord is bringing about the fulfillment of these end time events … just as the Book of Rev. closes with a longing for the Lord Jesus to come back quickly – certainly the nation of Israel in it present downtrodden and oppressed state must say Amen to the promise here of the Lord that He will hasten it in its time.