ISAIAH CHAPTER 60.
The Glorification of Zion through the Personal Glory of Jehovah.
THE GLORY OF THE MESSIAH UPON THE GENTILES. — V. 1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. V. 2. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people, the expression referring to the murky darkness of a cloudy day; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. Here the evangelist of the Old Testament addresses himself to the congregation of believers, first of all among His own people, the faithful in Israel. It is a cry which goes forth, in undiminished power, to the Church of all times. As one who has been sluggish and asleep the Church is bidden, “Arise!” As one who has hidden her light from men she is commanded, “Shine,” he a light, show the power of a real light! The reason for this summons is the opening of the Messianic period: “For come is thy Light,” the Day-star from on high, the Messiah. In Him the glory of Jehovah has arisen upon the Church, like the sun arising in all his splendor and majesty. While the earth as a whole is covered by the darkness signifying the lack of the proper knowledge of God and a total abandonment to sin and iniquity, while a dark and cloudy thickness surrounds the people and lies like a pall upon them, the light which arose upon the Church, upon those who waited for the coming of the Messiah, stands out, by way of contrast, in all the greater beauty and glory, shining upon those who have waited for His coming during all the long centuries since the first Gospel-message was proclaimed. V. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising, where the rays of the Sun of Righteousness were illuminating the world. V. 4. Lift up thine eyes round about and see: All they gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. V. 5. Then thou shalt see and flow together, be bright with joy, shine with exultation, and thine heart shall fear and be enlarged, swell with delight, because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee, with all their wealth and power. V. 6. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries, the young camels, of Midian and Ephah. All they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord, blessing the name of Jehovah, setting forth His glory. Here the universal power and extent of Messiah’s reign is pictured. Although in His own person He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He was still the Salvation of all men to the ends of the earth. And His power was to be exerted through His Church as His agent and instrument, as the bearer and proclaimer of the Gospel-message. The Church, bearing the light of the Gospel, should know that Gentiles, a great multitude from the midst of the heathen world, would walk in this light, even kings, some of the mighty of the earth, in the brightness of her coming up, as she would shine forth like the sun in glory. Knowing this, the Church should use her eyes, should see the Gentiles gathering themselves from every part of the world. From afar off her new sons, born through the power of the Gospel, would come, and at her side, in her midst, her newly gained daughters would be nourished and brought up by the study of the Word. This fact should then again react upon the Church. It should arouse her to more fervent efforts, to shine with ever greater brightness, with awe and an enlarged heart. For the multitudes of the heathen along the shores of the Great Sea would be converted and join her forces, the flower and might of the Gentiles would enroll under Messiah’s banner. From Midian, in the far Southeast, from Ephah and Sheba in the Arabian wilderness, from the ends of the earth they would come, overcome by the might of the Messiah in His Word and gladly sacrificing of their earthly goods to Him, as they bless and extol the name of Jehovah. Cp. Matt. 2. V. 7. All the flocks of Kedar, in the south of Arabia Deserta, the chief possession of its inhabitants, shall be gathered together unto thee, as a gift of worship, the rams of Nebaioth, the most excellent of the flocks of the sons of Ishmael in Arabia Petraea, shall minister unto thee, be used as sacrificial animals; they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar, as acceptable gifts, well-pleasing to the Lord, and I will glorify the house of My glory, the Temple where He lived in the fullness of His glory, as revealed to men. We have here a picture of the manner in which men from every part of the world are gained for the truth of the Gospel and thereupon honor the Lord with the gifts of their hands. V. 8. Who are these that fly as a cloud? so the prophet asks in directing the eyes of the Church to the West, and as the doves to their windows? the mass of people seeking the Lord’s Sanctuary being represented as an almost numberless multitude. The answer is given in a beautiful verse: v. 9. Surely the isles, the inhabitants of the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean Sea, shall wait for Me and the ships of Tarshish, here representing their owners, first, as the first among the Gentiles to acknowledge Jehovah, to bring thy Sons from far, in great haste, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord, thy God, in order to give Him honor and praise for the blessings of salvation vouchsafed them, and to the Holy One of Israel, whose zeal against all enemies has resulted in the highest benefit to them, because He hath glorified thee, making them partakers of His divine glory. V. 10. And the sons of strangers, the Gentiles of whom the entire chapter is speaking, shall build up thy walls, so that Jerusalem may rise out of her ruins, a picture of the restoration of the Church, and their kings shall minister unto thee, many of the mighty ones of the earth bowing under the scepter of the Messiah and becoming affiliated with. His Church; for in My wrath I smote thee, in permitting the Chaldeans to lead Judah into captivity, but in My favor have I had mercy on thee. Cp. chap. 54, 7. 8. V. 11. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day nor night, since the gifts of God’s mercy are dispensed in the Church without ceasing, until the end of time, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, large armies of heathen from every part of the world, and that their kings may be brought, as willing converts to Zion’s King. Cp. Luke 14, 23. V. 12. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish, be utterly destroyed; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted, by the Lord’s judgment of punishment for their enmity against Him. In accordance with this prophecy the Lord visited His Church with the glory of His mercy and brought about the conversion of many Gentiles, all of whom place themselves with all their gifts in the service of the Church.
THE HAPPINESS ATTENDING THE GLORIFICATION OF THE MESSIAH. — V. 13. The glory of Lebanon, the wonderful forest growth which adorned its mountains, shall come unto thee, men of excellence everywhere devoting themselves to the service of the Lord and His Church, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, the cypress, ilex, and cedar, the finest trees of Lebanon’s forest, to beautify the place of My Sanctuary, and I will make the place of My feet glorious, so that Zion, the city of God, the Church of Jehovah, will immediately be recognized as a dwelling of the Lord. V. 14. The sons also of them that afflicted thee, of the former oppressors and enemies of the Church, shall come bending unto thee, in humble submission to Jehovah; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet, in a gesture of complete surrender; and they shall call thee The City of the Lord, of Jehovah, the covenant God, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel, who is a jealous God and zealous of His own honor and of that of His Church. Thus the confession of the mouth agrees with the outward behavior and conduct. V. 15. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, chap. 54, 1, so that no man went through thee, an expression increasing the picture of complete desolation, I will make thee an eternal excellency, the highest expression of unparalleled magnificence, a joy of many generations, so that many people would delight in her. V. 16. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, enjoy the gifts brought by them, and shalt suck the breast of kings, have the use of the most precious treasures of earth, and thou shalt know that I, the Lord, am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob, He to whose unvarying faithfulness and almighty power Zion owes all that she is and has. In this way the glorification of the Church by the Lord will cause her former enemies and oppressors to give her reverence and love. V. 17. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood, brass, and for stones, iron, replacing the former inexpensive building materials with the most precious metals, with the most durable materials, so that the city would be both well protected and beautifully ornamented; I will also make thy officers peace and thine exactors righteousness, so that the government of Zion would be peace and the salvation of righteousness, security within and safety without, so that there is no further need of rulers. V. 18. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, on account of the fact that the members of the Church will be united by the bands of the most cordial love, wasting nor destruction within thy borders, the enemies no longer being permitted to work their evil will without hindrance; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation and thy gates Praise, the place of walls and gates being taken by the deliverance and redemption of Jehovah and by the reputation which Zion would have throughout the world. That this has been fulfilled in the Church of the New Testament is evident frotn the fact that the enmity of the world has not only not succeeded in overcoming the Church, hut has even resulted in a condition which gives the Church a certain standing in the midst of the so-called Christian nations. V. 19. The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee, Zion no longer being in need of these external, physical light bodies; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting Light, and thy God thy Glory, namely, in and through the Word of His grace, from which the Church derives all her light. V. 20. Thy Sun, the Lord Himself, shall no more go down, neither shall thy Moon withdraw itself, disappearing by setting, for the Lord shall be thine everlasting Light, in an uninterrupted continuity, Jas. 1,17, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Ceaseless happiness, endless joy and delight, is the lot of the Church under the gracious rule of the Lord. Cp. Rev. 7, 17. V. 21. Thy people also shall be all righteous, as the nature of the covenant of mercy demands, by virtue of the righteousness imputed to them; they shall inherit the land forever, Matt. 5, 5, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, a true garden of Jehovah, owing everything to His grace, that I may be glorified, for this is the final aim and object of His expressions of mercy. V. 22. A little one, the smallest and most insignificant member of Zion, shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation, equaling a great many enemies in might; I, the Lord, will hasten it in His time. When the period fixed by His eternal counsel has come, His plans go into effect with a suddenness which overwhelms all those who are not on His side, who are not upheld by His power. Therefore all believers should be careful to discern the signs of the times and know what pertains to their peace.