In this installment the focus is on the Holy City, and the changes the Lord will bring to Zion. Included among these are vast wealth, eternal light, and a new name.
Isaiah 60. The Glory of Zion
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
The word translated darkness in this passage is the same as in Genesis 1:2, before God said, “Let there be light.” It was also used to describe the darkness so thick it could be felt in the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 10:21) It has spiritual as well as physical properties. The Lord Jesus spoke of this in the Olivet Discourse. He was actually quoting from Isaiah 13:10 in speaking of the time immediately after the end of the Great Tribulation. But as you can see, the language is almost identical.
“Immediately after the distress of those days” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (The word for “bodies” literally means “powers”. This is more than falling stars. Spiritual powers in the heavens will be shaken as He returns.)
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. (Matt. 24:29-30)
Isaiah prophesied that the 2nd Coming will bring the dawn of Israel’s greatest Age. The time of separation caused by their rejection of the Messiah will have ended with their acceptance. He is the Light that brings them life. The unbelieving world will mourn, realizing too late that they’ve been wrong about everything, and will remain in darkness forever. Although Isaiah directed this chapter to the Holy City, the blessings will accrue to Israel as a whole.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (Isaiah 60:3-5)
As we learned in a previous installment, the gentile world will pay homage to Israel. And it will be expressed in much more tangible ways than simply lending a helping hand to the returnees. As we’ll see the focal point will be the Holy City, now the City of Light in every respect.
Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. (Isaiah 60:6)
Midian, Ephah, and Sheba were sons and grandsons of Abraham and Ketura, the wife he took after Sarah died. (Genesis 25:1-4) These names are all associated with the Arabian Peninsula. Like the Wise Men of old they’ll bring expensive gifts as they come to praise the Lord. Gold is a gift for a King and incense (KJV frankincense) evokes images of the priesthood. Notice there’s no myrrh mentioned here. Myrrh was an embalming spice and its absence indicates that God will never again have to die for man. His sacrifice was a once for all time event. (Hebrews 10:12)
All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. (Isaiah 60:7)
Kedar was the 2nd son of Ishmael, and Nebaioth was Ishmael’s first born. Perhaps Kedar was mentioned first because of the greater prominence he would gain as the patriarch of the line of Mohamed. In addition to sacrificial animals for the temple offerings, some see the former followers of Mohamed symbolized here, giving homage to the God of Israel and serving Him.
“Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. (Isaiah 60:8-9)
From all around the world the wealth of the nations will pour into the Holy City, in honor of the God of Israel. Men who were previously unaware will be awakened to their Jewish heritage. God’s people, once thought to be on the brink of extinction, will form a seemingly endless procession to their ancestral home in His Holy City, like flocks of migrating birds returning to their homes.
“Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion. Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations— their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.
“The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the pine, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn the place of my sanctuary; and I will glorify the place of my feet. The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 60:10-14)
Upon arriving at the Millennial Temple at the beginning of the Kingdom Age, God will say, ”This is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever.” (Ezekiel 43:7) Israel will once again be pre-imminent among nations and the Holy City will not only be its capitol, it will be the everlasting home of the God of the Universe. The nations of the world will offer their services and bring their wealth. Those who have been Israel’s blood enemies for a hundred generations will come and bow down upon entering the Holy City.
“Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. (Isaiah 60:15-18)
The Holy City will be the source of pride and joy for all generations of Earth’s people. Wealth and favor will be accompanied by peace and righteousness, with violence, ruin and destruction consigned forever to the past. Once again the Hebrew word translated Salvation is Yeshua, but in this case the word for praise actually means a hymn or song of praise. It’s absolutely fascinating to me that the walls and gates of the Holy city are modeled in the contemporary evangelical church. The emphasis is on Jesus, expressed in song after song of praise and worship.
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. (Isaiah 60:19-20)
The promises here are similar to those given the Church. Neither will require the light of the Sun or Moon. As the Lamb is the lamp of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23), the Father is the everlasting light of Israel. And the Glory of God illuminates them both.
Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.” (Isaiah 60:21)
The full portion of the Promised Land will be Israel’s home forever, and they will spread out from there to found other nations. It’s a promise from the Lord.
You may have noticed that although the entire chapter was spoken to the Holy City, not once was the name Jerusalem mentioned. Two chapters later, Isaiah explained this.
Isaiah 62. Zion’s New Name
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:1-5)
Hephzibah means “my delight is in her” and Beulah means “married”. But these are not the official names of the Holy City either. For that we need to consult Ezekiel again.
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is There .”(Ezekiel 48:35) In Hebrew it’s JHVH (Jehovah) Shammah, and it means that out of the entire universe, God will have chosen to live among His people in the land He promised them, in the city they will have built for Him.
Back To The Present
In the coming days we will likely see the most intense efforts yet to divide the Promised Land. Indications are that the USA and Europe will exert almost unbearable pressure upon the new government of Israel to go along. Loyalties are shifting rapidly. It appears that very soon the US will publicly invite the Moslem world to help forge a global US-Moslem reconciliation that will leave Israel out in the cold. A Palestinian State will be their reward for peace in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, and Iran will be allowed to produce the remaining components for a nuclear weapon on the promise that they’ll stop short of actually assembling them. Israel will have no say in these matters.
I first heard the phrase “prophecy on fast-forward” from Hal Lindsey a few years back. He was talking about what would happen if the US ever abandoned Israel. More and more, commentators are using it in reference to the days just ahead. We’ve all heard the Lord’s command from Psalm 122:6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.” It’s more important to do this now than ever before.
We bring this installment to a close with Isaiah’s version of the Lord’s command:
You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7)
In the most literal form of this commandment we’re being told not to be silent about this in our prayers, but to make it a constant plea, and to allow the Lord no peace and quiet until He achieves this. It’s easy to become sick at heart as we see the way things are going in the world today. Our defense against this is prayer. Constant, urgent, fervent prayer.