Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the specific prophecies of Isaiah concerning the restored kingdom of God on earth.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the inspired word. We thank Thee that it is profitable for correction, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness. And we thank Thee that first of all the apostle has said that it is profitable for doctrine, for teaching. And we thank Thee for this opportunity that we have again tonight of turning to the Scriptures, reading the ancient prophets’ writings and noting the relevance of them for us today. We thank Thee for the hope that they inspire within us as we reflect upon the things that Thou art doing in this world of ours. We especially give Thee thanks for the fact that all things are proceeding according to the plan of our eternal God who works all things according to the counsel of his own will as Paul has put it, and so, there are no surprises with Thee. We thank Thee too, Lord, that Thou art not frustrated in Thy purposes, but all of the things that Thou hast devised shall come to pass.
And now as we turn tonight to one of the final chapters of the prophecy that we have been looking at, we thank Thee for the marvelous presentation of the future and the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ as represented by the worship and high regard that the nation shall ultimately come to concerning him. When we reflect upon the darkness about us, and the way in which our Lord Jesus Christ is denigrated and scorned by the world today, we thank Thee that there is a day coming in which men in heaven, on the earth and under the earth shall come to realize the supreme glory of the Son of God. And we are so grateful to Thee, Lord, that Thou hast given us by Thy grace an insight into that before that future time. Be with us tonight as we read and ponder and reflect upon Thy word through the Prophet Isaiah. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Tonight we are turning to Isaiah chapter 60, and the subject is “The City of the Kingdom of God.” And in view of the fact that it will be helpful to us to have the chapter as a whole before us, in my opening comments I’m going to do what I have not been doing too much and that is to read the entire chapter through at the beginning. So let’s turn to Isaiah chapter 60, and we’re going to look at the entire chapter, the 22 verses of it. The prophet writes,
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 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. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, (The Authorized Version renders that “flow together,” but if you have New American Standard Bible or Revised Standard Bible, there is pretty much agreement by Hebrew scholars that the words “flow together” should be translated “be radiant”) Then thou shalt see, and be radiant, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries 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. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. (Evidently what is involved here is language that anticipates the rebuilding of a temple in the land.) The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the LORD (Now notice the term “the LORD,” the covenant-keeping God.) The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.”
The 60th chapter of Isaiah, as you can tell, is a chapter upon which many of the authors of Scripture have later leaned because so many of the things that are stated here are found in other parts of holy Scripture. And particularly, if you’ve read through the Bible and read the final book of the Bible, and what Christian does not turn with great anticipation after salvation to read the Book of Revelation, you’ll notice that in the last two chapters of that book, we have things that are drawn directly from Isaiah chapter 60.
Now the chapter itself has been given many interpretations and has been put to many uses. For example, it has been referred to the ingathering of Gentiles into the church of Jesus Christ. In other words, what we have just read of the Gentiles coming to the city of Jerusalem and bringing the abundance of their wealth to the city, that has been spiritualized to mean the Gentiles coming into the church of the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in him. In other words, the prophecy is being fulfilled today. When a Gentile believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, he comes into the church, the body of Christ, and that’s the reality of which this speaks in symbol.
And then it has also been interpreted as showing that the church should live by the gifts and endowments of the world, (That’s a strange interpretation, isn’t it?) because here Jerusalem and Zion is said to be the place and the people to whom the Gentiles bring their wealth. Well, that has been interpreted as indicating that the church ought to live off the gifts and endowments of the world and should not rather look simply to the Lord for the supply of their funds. I don’t think this is the origination of the preacher’s comment, but no doubt you’ve heard preachers say when individuals who are unbelievers want to give things to the church that we ought not to refuse them because after all that money has been used by Satan long enough, why shouldn’t we use it for a while? Well, that usually draws, just as it has drawn tonight, a few smiles and occasionally a chuckle or two, but it’s thoroughly unscriptural. And the church should refuse to be supported by those who are unbelievers because in the final analysis, the glory for all that the church does by the power of God should be attributed to the Lord God. And therefore, we should look to him and be satisfied with what he supplies. So, I personally do not think the application of this passage to that has anything to support it at all.
But the chapter has been given a third interpretation. It has been interpreted as obligating us to build costly and magnificent places for the public worship of God. As one reads this chapter and reads about the temple and the magnificence of the temple and how the Gentiles bring all of their wealth into it, one does envision a picture of a remarkable scene in which the temple rebuilt and the city of Jerusalem and all of the wealth of the Gentiles brought into it, and one can, in the light of the temples of the Old Testament, conjure up in his mind a magnificent building. But I do not see any connection myself, if there is to be such a magnificent building, between that and constructing magnificent buildings in the present age. In fact, it often seems rather strange to me that the church of Jesus Christ does construct magnificent and costly structures when their worship could be carried on in a much simpler and probably a more profound way.
The background of the last half of Isaiah, as we’ve been trying to point out, is the deliverance of the nation from Babylon in their captivity. The prophet, of course, lived before that time, but he’s writing as a prophet. And he’s looking into the future, and he is seeing Israel’s captivity in the land of Babylon, and he’s also seeing their deliverance from the captivity. And against the background of that prophetic picture, he not only writes of that, but he writes of the future knowing from the Old Testament passages written in the Law of Moses that Israel is to be scattered to the four corners of the earth ultimately. And so, the return from the captivity in Babylon, he sees as an example of what God is going to do on a much broader scale in the future.
Now today, of course, we look out and we see Israel scattered to the four corners of the earth in divine discipline. This is the last stage of the discipline of the nation, and from the four corners of the earth they shall be gathered back into the land at the time of the Second Advent of our Lord. We just read in verse 20 and 21 of chapter 59,
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.”
So the prophecy is set then in the context of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus, the redeemer coming “to Zion and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.”
Now if you remember, we have been looking at chapter after chapter skipping some of them because we are dealing just with the Messianic prophecies. And we look as we look all the way back to chapter 48 of the Book of Isaiah where that section kind of began, there was an assurance of deliverance for the nation. And then in chapters 49 through 53, the prophet set forth the means of that deliverance, and he found it in the suffering servant of Jehovah and the atoning work that he would accomplish.
In chapter 54, most recently, we saw that Zion was hailed from afar. And in chapter 55, an invitation is offered to enter into Zion, the prophet writing, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat.”
And then in chapter 56, 57, 58 and 59, he writes particularly of the rekindling of their civil and moral conscience because he writes in a day in which the morality of the nation is at an extremely low level. Outwardly they have been prosperous during the days of Azaiah, but within, spiritual corruption had been spreading, and just like a tree, the rot was from within. And so, he laid great stress in these preceding chapters on the fact that there is no blessing from God until there is also spiritual confession and restoration to a holy status before the Lord God. And so now, Zion is bidden to rise and enjoy the prophesied glory that will come when the Messiah comes at his second coming.
The theme, I think, is very clear from what we have read. Jerusalem is to be light in the Lord although crushed and desolate now. And one can see that because he says, “Arise, shine.” In other words, they are in a state in which they are asked to arise, so their state is not that of glory. Further, he says in verse 2, “For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: But the LORD shall arise upon thee.”
So Jerusalem is crushed and desolate now, but the time is coming when the Messianic king will come, and the city and the people of the city are called upon poetically and prophetically to arise and assume the place that is prophesied for them and promised to them by the holy Scriptures.
Now I notice as I read through this chapter, and I think you probably did too, that the Messianic king is not stressed in Isaiah chapter 60. The thing that is stressed in Isaiah chapter 60 is the Messianic city itself. So that is why if we were to entitle this chapter, we should lay, it seems to me, some stress upon the fact that the prophet writes about the city of the Lord God. In other words, he’s going to tell us what Jerusalem is going to be like in the future.
So let’s turn now and look at verses 1 through 3 first, where we see Jerusalem glorified by the coming glory of Jehovah. Now remember the condition of Israel in captivity; that’s the background of the prophecy. And out of the prostration of judgment and discipline, and out of the night of sin, and particularly the night of the sin of the future worldwide captivity, comes appeal to rise and shine. And the very directness with which the prophet opens the 60th chapter is reflective of the east, for if you’ve been in the east much, you know that the east sun seems to leap above the horizon. And that’s the figure that is given right here in the opening line. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” In other words, it’s something like our Lord’s statement to Lazarus in the garden where he had been buried, “Lazarus, come forth.” And Zion at the word of God and the coming of the redeemer is to become light in his coming.
Now in the 2nd verse, he says, “The darkness shall cover the earth.” The earth is to be enlightened by what happens to Israel. Trouble now, but the time is coming when the glory of the Lord shall be seen through the restored Israel over the whole of the earth.
One certainly looks forward with great anticipation to the future and the fact that the world is going to perceive in sudden form a picture of the glory of the Lord God, the glory of the Lord God’s people, and also, they’re going to give testimony to the magnificence of his grace in the salvation of Israel, a nation born again in a day.
I think every Christian must look forward with great anticipation to what God is going to do so suddenly for his scattered people. And we do that, and we feel that way, at least, I feel that way, and I think I speak for most Christians, I feel that way because it’s going to be a magnificent promulgation and dissemination of the effects of the saving glory of Jesus Christ. And one cannot help since we have received that, and since we’ve come to know it, one cannot help but feel that this is one of the great events of all history when Jesus Christ comes again and the nation realizes the truth that he is the Messiah and comes to him, and the world comes to know in measure the greatness of the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I was saying Sunday, the very thought of this often seems to make my flesh crawl with anticipation. I look forward to that because our Lord is going to be glorified in the eyes of this world.
Now he says, “The Gentiles shall come to thy light, (in the 3rd verse) and kings to the brightness of thy coming.” This, of course, is to take place after the time of the tribulation period because it is during the time of the tribulation period that Israel is going to be so disciplined in such a sharp and severe way that they will finally turn as a nation to the Lord. I think as one sees the evangelization that is going on today among Jewish people, one cannot help but sense some anticipations of this. I know when I first became a Christian, now about forty years, well over forty years ago now, there was very little successful work among Jewish people. I do not know what the percentage is. I don’t know of anyone who has done any research on this, but in the Christian church, it seems today that there is a much higher percentage of Jewish converts to Christianity. Jewish Christians, Hebrew Christians, there have always been those, as Paul points out in Romans chapter 11. But it does seem to me that there is a kind of anticipation of this magnificent day when the nation shall be converted in a day.
So Jerusalem is glorified by the coming glory of Jehovah in verse 1 through verse 3. And then in verse 4 through verse 9, the prophet speaks of Jerusalem being glorified by the coming of the citizens to that city and the coming of Gentile wealth to the city. I know what you’re thinking. Why, why is there any need for Gentile wealth to come to Jerusalem? They’ve already got it. But he’s not really speaking of things as we speak of them. It’s not true, the Jews don’t have all the money. And furthermore, not all Jews are wealthy Jews. That’s a Gentile misconception. But what he is speaking about here is something far more magnificent than that. And this is the voluntary coming of the Gentiles to the city of Jerusalem with their wealth.
No doubt, there is also involved in this some commercialization, some trade, proper trade. But what especially is set out as one looks at this is the fact that the nations are happy to come because they too have come to see in the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ the activity of the triune God. Listen to what the prophet says, “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far” In other words, there is going to be a regathering of the nation after the coming of our Lord to the earth, just as there has been in measure a regathering of Israel before his coming, some of which we have seen in our day.
“They shall come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.” You might at this point, turn over with me to Matthew chapter 24 and verse 27 through verse 31 where the Lord Jesus in the Olivet Discourse describes the Second Advent of our Lord and some of this same thing that Isaiah writes about. In Matthew chapter 24 and verse 27, we read,
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, (and notice this) and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
And so, one of the things that our Lord will do at his Second Advent is to gather his elect from the four corners of the earth to which they have been sent in divine discipline. Now he writes about it in verse 4 of Isaiah chapter 60, “Thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”
Then in verse 5, he says, “Then thou shalt see, and be radiant,” an evidence evidently of the joy of the times. And yet at the same time, they are so amazed by this tremendous transformation that the astonishment that they feel is something like the trembling of fear before a sovereign God, for he says, “Then thou shalt see, and be radiant, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come to thee.” They are astonished and amazed at the transformation that God is going to bring about at the second coming.
Now we read on, “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah.” For the sake of time I’d like for you to notice the 8th verse, “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” And this is evidently a reference to the fact that when they are gathered back into the land at the second coming of the Lord Jesus, the figure that the author uses is of the clouds that fly over the sea. And so the fast-moving clouds are designed to picture the crowds of people that come back to the land. Whether they come by boat, or whether they come by airplane, it is not stated here. We simply know that they are going to come, and there is going to be a great movement back to the land.
Now in verse 10 through verse 14 the prophet continues, and here he speaks of Jerusalem glorified by the service of the Gentiles. Some Gentiles don’t like to think of this, but this is the mind of our sovereign God. It’s kind of humbling, isn’t it, to think that the Gentiles will serve the Nation Israel. It’s rather humbling, is it not, to think that our blessings come to us through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? For the promises, “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” were promises given to Abraham and confirmed to Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob.
And remember Paul’s figure that we’ve referred to several times, the figure of the olive tree in Romans chapter 11, and he says as a result of the unbelief of the generation in our Lord’s day, that generation was cut off. And we Gentiles, he said, have been grafted into the olive tree. In other words, we’ve been brought into relationship with the Abrahamic promises. And we partake of the Abrahamic promises. Now we must not think that they no longer have those promises as a nation.
Now when a Jewish man does not believe in the gospel of Christ in our Lord’s day or in our day, he is cut off from the inheritance of the covenantal promises. And the generation in our Lord’s day by its unbelief was cut off, scattered to the four corners of the earth. But the nation as a nation still possesses the promises. And individuals in the meantime who believe are a remnant and are now related to that olive tree, so that when a Jewish man believes today, he is a member of what Paul calls “The Israel of God.” There is an Israel of God today, converted Hebrew Christians, they make up the Israel of God. It’s a remnant, Paul says, but they possess the promises of God.
Now Paul in Romans chapter 11 says very plainly that Gentiles when they come to faith in Christ, they are grafted in among them, that is, the Jewish believers, and they become fellow partakers of the root and fatness of the olive tree. In other words, when we are converted, we are made part of the people of God who inherit the promises given to Abraham.
Now we are grafted into the tree. And in fact, Paul says we are grafted in contrary to nature, because we’re not the natural branches. Israel is the natural branches. And then Paul concludes his climatic 23rd and 24th verse of his illustration by saying, look, he’s just said, you Gentiles don’t boast yourself against those branches that have been broken off. You stand simply by faith. And God is well able to cut you off too, so be not high minded, but fear. Then he said , look, if God cut off the natural branches and grafted in unnatural branches, how much more likely is it that he will graft in again the natural branches into, and these are the climatic words of the Greek text and also of the English text, “into their own olive tree.” In other words, the olive tree, the possession of the Abrahamic promises, belongs directly to the nation even today.
That’s why Paul says in Romans chapter 3, I’ve wrung the changes on this because so many people forget this. After Paul has said, “He is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God,” one might say, what’s the advantage of being a Jew then? If a Jew had got to be a believer just like a Gentile, what’s the advantage of being a Jew? It’s a good question, very valid question. Paul had been asked that a number of times. That’s why he anticipates it. “What advantage then hath the Jew? (Romans 3:1) or what is the profit of circumcision?” And then he answers his question, “Much every way.” Mind you, he’s speaking in the age in which we live. And he says today Israel has an advantage. “Much every way: because to them have been committed the oracles of God.” That’s an expression that refers to the promises of God. Commentators have differed over it. I’m giving you the inspired interpretation.
Now one might say at this point, “But they didn’t believe. As a nation they didn’t believe. Doesn’t that cancel their promises.” Well, as individuals they lose their covenantal blessings, that’s true. If a Jewish man in the day of our Lord or down through the years or today does not believe the ancient promises and passes out of this human existence without faith in the Messiah, he’s lost just like a Gentile. But as a nation, they still have promises. “What if some did not believe?” Paul says, “shall their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?” In other words, God gave those promises unconditionally, now if Israel turns aside from him and doesn’t believe, does that make those promises null and void?
Listen to Paul’s answer. He feels very strongly about this. He doesn’t say, ‘Now giving it a great deal of consideration, I don’t really think so.’ That’s the language of a professor of New Testament. But he said, “God forbid.” “May it not come to be” is the literal Greek expression. “May it not come to be: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
So in other words, the unbelief of the Nation Israel cannot cancel the ultimate fulfillment of those promises to the nation. So there will come on this earth a nation. Israel as a nation shall turn to the Lord, and the promises shall be fulfilled to them. That’s a magnificent thing. It’s a testimony to the faithfulness of God. That’s why I say it kind of makes my flesh crawl because I can just see the whole of this world of which we are a part coming to the conviction God does keep his word. This Bible is true. God has not forgotten his promises.
Now you know, there is one side of me that looks forward to that very much, and I try to bring that part under the judgment of God because I must confess that I would love to be here when some well-known modernist preachers are here and see their faces when God fulfills his promises. But I must put that from me, I must not think of that. I must not think of that at all.
Now Jerusalem is glorified by the service of the Gentiles, verse 10 through verse 14.
“And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come upon thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; (Even the prophet is looking forward to that day too) and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
So Israel’s former enemies by the grace of God shall reverence her. They give themselves as well as their goods. Of course, that anticipates a great change that takes place in many of the Gentile nations as well.
Everything great in the world of man (verse 10, 11 and 12) and everything great in nature (verse 13) “the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together” will pay homage to the Lord God of Israel. And evidently, there is a reference to the rebuilding of a temple, “And I will make the place of my feet glorious.”
I had a student at Dallas Seminary a number of years ago. Some of you in the audience know him, Arnold Fruchtenbaum. Arnold was converted to Christianity. And in the war of 1967, he was in Jerusalem, and he was studying at the Hebrew University for a master’s degree, and it was the time of the Six-day War. And when the war became evident or when it began, all of the Americans were urged to get out of the city immediately, but Arnold insisted on staying. And though he was just a student in school, he was a Hebrew Christian, he stayed there. And when the war was over, and it was a very short war as you remember because Israel won it very readily, he wrote back an article to one of the Jewish missions that had sponsored him and through whom he had come to faith in Christ.
And this is from his article written in 1967, “Walking outside after the war with Jordan was over, I saw a car pass by with the words ‘Rebuild the temple!’ painted on its side. One Israeli soldier told me that they still have one wall of the temple, the Wailing Wall, and all they need to do is to build three more walls and a roof and they would have the temple back. All this talk about the temple must have caused some concern in the rabbinate for soon after they issued a decree that the temple mount is off-limits for Jews except for the Wailing Wall since the area was desecrated and that the area is to remain off-limits until the Messiah comes and the temple is rebuilt.” Things of course have changed a bit there now. But that was an interesting thing that right after that victory there is evidence of the fact that deep down lying deep down in the Jewish consciousness is the desire to rebuild the temple.
Well, just a few moments are left, and let me notice in verse 15 through verse 18 that Jerusalem is glorified by prosperity and stability.
“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; for thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”
In other words, Isaiah expatiates in striking figures, notice this, “Thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and suck the breast of kings,” upon the prosperity and stability of the city of the Lord. Inwardly and outwardly, Zion is an eternal excellency.
And in the last few verses, verse 19 through verse 22, Jerusalem is glorified by the presence of the holy God among his righteous people. Notice now verse 19 through verse 22. And he returns, you’ll notice, to the theme of the beginning. Jerusalem is going to be light.
“The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.”
There’s just two things I’d like to say, and then we have to stop. The prophet doesn’t mention explicitly the Lamb of God because you cannot help but think as you read this that the Book of Revelation in the last two chapters draws heavily upon Isaiah chapter 60. For example, in Revelation chapter 21 and verse 23, listen to this verse in the light of that that we have just read. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” So you can see that the picture that John is given of the new Jerusalem in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation draws heavily upon the symbolism that the prophet sets forth here is Isaiah chapter 60. And so there is a heavy reliance upon it.
Now the first thing that this indicates is that the millennial city, because he mentions they inherit the land forever, the city of the kingdom is a city that merges into the eternal city. And so there is a very close relationship between the city of the kingdom and the eternal city of the new Jerusalem.
A second thing, and with this we close, he doesn’t mention the Lamb. That, of course, is something that the Book of Revelation lays great stress upon in its figures. But notice that the Lamb is here. Look at verse 20, “For the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” And verse 22, “I the LORD will hasten it in his time.” So the servant of Jehovah, according to Isaiah, is the Lamb, and it is he who will be in the city and be the light of it. And John in the Book of Revelation, of course, draws upon that and expresses it explicitly that the Lord Jehovah who keeps his covenant promises is the same Lord Jehovah who offered himself on Calvary’s cross as the Lamb of God and who is the light of the new Jerusalem. This is one of John’s ways and Isaiah’s ways of pointing out that the light of God ultimately triumphs over the darkness of human sin and human rebellion. We look forward to that day.
If you have believed in Christ, one of the great experiences of the future will be to rejoice in the things of which Isaiah prophecies in this 60th chapter.
Let’s close our class in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for these magnificent promises. We marvel that so many years before the time of Christ, Thou didst in mercy and grace unfold so richly the events of both his first and second coming. And Lord, it troubles us and disturbs us and we feel great sorrow over the fact that Israel failed to recognize him as a nation when he came the first time. May Lord we the Gentiles who have been grafted into the olive tree not respond as Israel and fail as we approach the second coming of the Lamb of God. Be with us now as we part or continue to study here tonight. In Jesus’ name. Amen.