Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition of Isaiah's revelation of the restoration of Israel in the Promised Land.
[Prayer] To begin with a word of prayer. Father, we thank Thee for the teaching of the word of God, and we pray now as we turn to one of the great chapters of the prophecy of Isaiah that the Spirit may again teach us, and that we may learn things that will help us in our daily life, in order that we may please Thee and serve Thee acceptably. We pray for each one present and ask that the word may minister to them in the power and demonstration of the Spirit.
We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Isaiah, chapter 60, and our subject for tonight is visitors of the future or the glory of the city of the kingdom of God. Isaiah, chapter 60, has been given many interpretations, and it has been put to many uses. One of the uses to which it has been put is this, it refers some say to the end gathering of the Gentiles into the church. For example, we read in verse 5, then Thou shalt see, and flow together; the Hebrew text it better 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.
And this is interpreted by a process of spiritualizing as meaning that the Gentiles shall be gathered into the church of Jesus Christ. I think that is a wrong use. This chapter has also been set forth as a chapter that shows us that the church should live by the gifts and endowments from this world. And you will notice that in this the 5th verse, it is stated the forces or the wealth of the Gentiles shall come unto Thee. We read the same thing in verse 6. We read the same thing in verse 7, and so we are told that this chapter supports the idea that the church are to be supported and ought to be willing to be supported by the material goods of the world, because do not the Gentiles give their wealth to the Jews. That means again by process of spiritualizing that the wealth of the Gentiles is welcome to the church. So if those who do not know Jesus Christ wish to give us large gifts, why should we not take it?
I have some good friends who like to say that after all the devil has used that money for a long, long time, why should not the church be allowed to use it now? Now that may be a kind of reasoning that appeals to a certain class of people in the 20th Century, but it is not the teaching of the word of God, but this chapter has been used to support that idea. I think that the Bible teaches that the church is to be supported by the voluntary gifts of those who know Jesus Christ, and that we should refuse gifts from the world. We have illustrations of this, beginning in Genesis, chapter 14 and on through the entire Bible. We must not let the world say, we have been responsible for the blessing of God upon the church.
Now that is the use to which Isaiah 60 has been put, that is I think an unscriptural use. And believe it or not, but this chapter has been put to this use also, namely, that as you read Isaiah, chapter 60, you can learn that costly and magnificent buildings for use in the public worship of God is surely justifiable because we read in this chapter of the rebuilding or building of a temple and of elaborate expense from all parts of the world being undertaken in behalf of it and so consequently, if it is possible for Isaiah to present a picture here of a lavish construction of the temple of God, why should not we have lavish buildings for the exercise of public worship, in the church or for the church. Again I think that that is an unwarranted application of Isaiah, chapter 60. This has to do with something entirely different.
Remember in our study of Isaiah, particularly the last 27 chapters, the background is the deliverance from the Babylonian captivity. Isaiah writes in the 8th Century [B.C.], but he looks forward by virtue of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 150 years, to the time when Israel will be in captivity, and he addresses them in the light of their captivity. This captivity becomes the basis of exhortation to them, but it also becomes a typical illustration of their captivity, which they shall experience after the first coming of Jesus Christ among the nations of the world. So that while he writes with Babylon and their captivity in the background, that is typical, illustrative of the great worldwide captivity or dispersion, in which Israel is at the present time. So these prophecies of the Old Testament, written against the background of the Babylonian captivity, often go far beyond that, centuries beyond it, down into and beyond the present day, looking at Israel in its worldwide captivity, and its ultimate return to its land, and the construction of the temple and the establishment of the worship of God, during the time of the kingdom of God upon the earth.
Now Isaiah, chapter 60, is a chapter, which is set in that context and last time I overlooked something that was very important. I did not take time to relate verse 20 and 21 of chapter 59 to the New Testament, and I think it would be fitting for us right now to read verses 20 and 21 of chapter 59 and then turn to Romans, chapter 11, in order that you may see that what I have just said to you is not simply my interpretation, but is apostolic interpretation, and I do not mean for you to think by that that I am the thirteenth Apostle, though sometimes you may think that I think that in my heart.
Chapter 59, verses 20 and 21, and we read, 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 forever. Now notice, he has said 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. And he speaks about putting his spirit upon them and upon their seed and their seed’s seed forever. Now that text does not refer to the first coming of our Lord. It refers to the second coming of our Lord.
Now will you turn to Romans 11, and we shall see this confirm. Romans 11, verse 25, passage we read in the preceding hour, part of it. Paul says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part, not entirely, there have been converted Jews through the centuries. The church began with its membership almost entirely Israelitish. Down through the years, there has existed a remnant, according to the election of grace there is today and the church of Jesus Christ, a remnant in Israel. Charles Fineberg, if you do not know him, you know he is part of the remnant, because his name is Fineberg.
Barry Leventhal, some of you know. He is a Jewish Christian boy, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, two students at our seminary. You would know Fruchtenbaum were part of the remnant. Do you know, he was a believer? It is Jewish remnant. There have been always been Jewish believers. Now from this remnant of Jewish believers, there is come into existence a church, full of Gentiles at the present time, but also containing that root of Jewish believers.
Now he said, blindness in part has happened to Israel. Until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, until the full number of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. Now that does not mean, every single Israelite. In the Old Testament, we have the expression all Israel, in contexts in which it is obvious that all Israel were not referred to. It means Israel as a whole, Israel as a nation, its leadership. In other words, the nation as a whole, but not every one. So all Israel, Israel as a nation, shall be saved, as it is written. Paul says, they shall be saved. He does not say, they are being saved. Now, he says, they shall be saved. Just as it is written in the Bible. He did not say in the old Bible. He just said, as it is written for the Old Testament was still vital and living to him.
So what passage does refer? Isaiah 59. There shall come out of Zion the deliverer. That is chapter 59, verse 19, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. When I shall take away their sins. So you see, when I say to you that Isaiah, chapter 40 through 66 is a section of Scripture which refers to the future from the present time, I am not just making this out. This is derived from the apostolic use of the prophecy of Isaiah. So the deliverer out of Zion referred to in chapter 59, verse 20, and the statement of verse 21 is a statement that refers to the future from our standpoint. And Paul over here sitting on the front row, mind you, if he were here he would not be sitting on the front row, but if he were here and sitting on the front row, and I were to say, now Paul what do you think of that, he would say, now Lewis is absolutely correct. That is exactly the sense that I intended for you to get out of that. Of course he has one or two little things that I do not agree with, and he wrong on those, but the basic sense that he is trying to get over, he is right about.
Now that is background. Now we have been reading these chapters, beginning with chapter 48, and we have noticed this, if we have been careful. Chapter 47 of Isaiah, the prophet announced that ultimately Babylon was going to be judged. Isn’t it striking too that the Bible ends on that note in the Book of Revelation with the great whore judged by God. Then in chapter 48 and following, he begins to build up to the climax of the wonderful future of the city from heaven, the New Jerusalem, which is going to exist upon the earth, and over which the Messianic king shall rule, the people having been gathered again into it and the temple reconstructed. So Isaiah, chapter 48 is a chapter which speaks of the assurance of deliverance. Chapters 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, three of those are great servant passages. Remember chapter 49, the servant of Jehovah passage. Chapter 50, the servant of Jehovah passage. Chapter 52 verse 13 through chapter 53 verse 12, the servant of Jehovah passage. Those chapters, from 49 through 53, tell us how and on what basis Jerusalem is going to be delivered and freed, and the basis is the saving work of the servant of Jehovah, who is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then in 54, Zion is hailed from afar, and a prophet looks often to the distant future and sees the great city of Jerusalem in its kingdom aspect, but he sees it afar off. In chapter 55, he issues an invitation to enter Zion. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. In chapters 56, 57, 58, and 59, he rekindles the civil and moral conscience of the nation, and of course riding against the background of the Babylonian captivity, he really has in mind, the future. Now these great chapters, I feel, will be used be Israel in the days of the kingdom to carry out just exactly the kind of kingdom that God desires to have as a testimony to the whole of the earth.
And so we have come to chapter 60, and here in the First verse, we have the clue to the chapter, Zion is bidden to rise and enjoy her prophesied glory. And the theme is clear. It is this. Jerusalem is to be light in the Lord. She is crushed and desolate now, crushed and desolate in Babylon, crushed and desolate in the dispersion to the four corners of the earth at the present time, but there is a time coming when Jerusalem shall be light in the Lord to the whole of the earth. Notice the invitation. Arise, shine; for Thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. You will notice that verse 1 speaks about light and then the last two verses speak about light. Thy people also shall be all righteous. Isn’t it interesting? All of Jerusalem citizen shall be righteous. Thy people also shall be all righteous. They shall inherit the land forever, 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 people are light in the Lord. Morally excellent.
Well let us look now at the chapter and there are five movements in the chapter. First of all, Jerusalem is glorified by the coming glory of Jehovah, verses 1 though 3. Jerusalem is glorified by the coming glory of Jehovah. Remember the condition of Israel in the captivity, and remember her condition now. Scattered to the four corners of the earth. You know, wherever you go in the world, you find Jews. They have been dispersed to the four corners of the earth. They have managed to collect in large numbers in some places. For example, in New York City, in Israel, in Russia, though they have not collected there, they have been collected in Russia, where they are not permitted to leave, but wherever you go, you will find the Jews. They have been dispersed to the four corners of the earth, literally.
Now here, arise, shine; for Thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. So out of the frustration of the judgment and out the night of sin and the future worldwide captivity comes this appeal to rise and shine. And what is striking about this is language that is used. In the Hebrew text at this point, in chapter 60, the prophet says, quwm’i owr’i, which is a very emphatic way of expressing what he is tying to get over. Quwm’I, stand; owr’I, give light. Stand, give light and it all seems to happen like this. If you had grown in the east, you would know why. In the east, we do not have a long dawn. The sun, the minute it comes up, it is up and you feel it. It is fast, it is quick. And this is the figure behind these opening words of chapter 60. Arise, shine. It is very much like the words that open the Book of Genesis. Let there be light and there was light.
In the New Testament, it is like the word of Jehovah, which our Lord spoke at the grave of Lazarus. Lazarus, come forth and Lazarus came forth, came forth bound hand and feet. And so God is speaking through the prophet to Jerusalem, and she shall come into her blessing in this way, for this nation shall be converted in a day. Arise, shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. At our Lord Second Advent, Israel shall quickly see her city become the capital of the earth. Amazing thing. Zion is to arise. Lest you have any doubts about what he is referring to, read again verses 20 and 21 of chapter 59, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.
Then he states in the Second verse, for behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people. Everywhere else there shall be darkness. I wonder if, though this is not expressed and I want to warn you, it is not expressed in the text, I wonder if Isaiah here is not referring to the fact that receding our Lord’s coming, there is to be great darkness upon the earth for it is the time of the great tribulation, and it is during this time that all of the judgments of the Book of Revelation from chapter 6 through chapter 19 are being poured out. And so we have the trumpets and the bulls and the seals, all of those judgments, and amidst all of those judgments, there is spiritual darkness over all of the earth.
And when our Lord comes, there is light in Jerusalem, but everywhere else for a moment there is darkness and that seems to be the picture. The anti-christ is here and it is he who is destroyed at our Lord’s coming. 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. This of course takes place after our Lord’s coming, after the Great Tribulation. The Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy coming. Then shall be conversion among the Gentile such as the world has never seen.
If you think that Billy Graham is a great evangelist and I surely would agree with that. The ones who have been converted through Graham shall be just a little handful in comparison with what shall happen when our Lord comes again to the earth. Let me read again from Romans chapter 11, verses 11 though 15. After having stated that Israel has stumbled, Paul says, Romans 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. Is not that an unenabling thing. Do you know why? Because Gentiles get saved in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy that is why. This is their olive tree Paul says, not ours. Their olive tree. We enjoy the salvation of Jehovah, which is their salvation. It just barely got in by the grace of God. Now he says, now if the fall of them, Jews, be the riches of the world. In other words, if by Israel’s stumbling, many Gentiles have come to be saved and the diminishing of them, the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness.
On other words, if Israel in its diminution in the present day, if in the fact that there are few Jews that know the Lord today, there has been a great blessing come to the Gentiles, how much more blessing to the world will come when Jews as a nation turn to the Lord. Verse 13, for I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office. If by any means I may provoke to jealousy them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. I am telling you Gentiles about this in order that I might make some of my Jewish brethren jealous and have them get saved. Verse 15, for if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but such a thing as life from the dead? It is going to be like one job resurrection. When Israel comes into it’s blessing again, all the tremendous blessing of the world when Israel is converted as a nation — the greatest saving work ever done to be done then. Israel responds.
And that is what he means here, when he says in chapter 60, verse 3, and the Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising. And the influence of Israel and Jerusalem shall extend to the four corners of the earth. That is the first movement. The second movement, in verses 4 through 9, Jerusalem glorified by the coming of citizens and Gentile wealth. Let us read beginning of verse 4. I know what you are thinking, when we say that the wealth of the Gentiles is going to Jerusalem, you are already saying well that have got it already. But in that day, in that day, the gentiles are going to enjoy bringing their wealth to Jerusalem. We do not enjoy it now.
Verse 4, lift up Thine eyes round about, and see. All they gather themselves together, they come to Thee. Thy sons shall come from far. In others, a re-gathering in the Nation Israel. And Thy daughters shall be nursed at Thy side. That is way they nurse in the east. They carry their children on the side, and so it is a picture of Jerusalem, moving along with her citizens, being nursed from her side. Then Thou shalt see, and be radiant. The Hebrew word here translated flow together should be rendered be radiant. I am glad to notice that the RSV has “be radiant” here, and that is the proper rendering of that Hebrew word. 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, that is the wealth. The wealth of the Gentiles shall come unto Thee.
Now I want you to notice what he has been saying. He has been saying that when Jerusalem is restored to its blessing. First of all in the Fourth verse, Thy Son shall come from far. There is going to be re-gathering of Israel. Now will you turn with me to the New Testament and I want to show you that our Lord Jesus has stated the same thing is going to happen when he comes again to the earth. Matthew, chapter 24, this is the Olive had discoursed, remember.
“And the disciples have asked when shall these things be, what shall be the sign of Thy coming and end of the age? (And so in verse 27 of Matthew 24, we read this) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. It shall be sudden. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, just before his return, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. This is our Lord speaking, and then, they asked what was the sign of his coming, then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn. Notice it, he did not nations. All the tribes of the earth shall mourn. He is speaking about Zachariah. They shall look unto me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn, every tribe apart. 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 they shall gather together his elect. Who are his elect? Why the Nation Israel. His elect ones, his chosen ones. From the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other, once they have been dispersed.
So we read in Isaiah chapter 60, verse 4, Thy sons shall come from far, and Thy daughters shall be nursed at Thy side. There shall be a re-gathering. He says the forces of the Gentiles and I want you to turn with me to the Book of Haggai. You are going to know some of these Minor Prophets after tonight, aren’t you? All of you can find name as real quickly now. And now we are going to learn how to find Haggai. Where is that book? I will tell you this, if you get to Zachariah, you are close. It is not in the New Testament Harry. I would not kid you if I did not know you could find those books very easily.
Haggai chapter 2, verse 6 and verse 7. This is one of the great Messianic prophecies of this book. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. In Hebrews, in the Apostle of the Hebrews, the Twelfth chapter, the author quotes this as taking place at the time the kingdom is to be received. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come, and in the Hebrew text that is pleural, desire. It is the desirable things. It is the wealth of the nations. And the desire of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house. What house? The Temple. I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. So the same prophecy. It is taught in the Old Testament that when our Lord comes back to the earth to establish his kingdom, the temple shall be rebuilt, and the forces or wealth of the Gentile shall be brought to that template, to be enjoyed, to be used in the construction of that temple and to be enjoyed by all.
And so we read here, the forces of the Gentile shall come unto Thee, in verse 5. By the way, you will notice that here, even in the future, Israel and the Gentiles are distinguished. Never in the Bible is the term Israel used of Gentiles. Israel and the Gentiles are distinguished and they are distinguished still here. Zion, the forces of the Gentile shall come unto Thee. Now to read on verse 6,
“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 shew 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.”
The house of course is the temple. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? One interpreter, I do not think that he has any special knowledge at all; I think he is probably pushing it and stretching it a little bit. He says about who are these that fly as a cloud; he says this can well be realized in view of the enormous development of passenger aviation in our time.
So I guess what we are to say according to him, is that what we see in verse 8 is the 747, a whole fleet of 747s, moving back towards Israel with Jews packed in it to return to the land since our Lord has come. Now this of course is just a figure on the part of Isaiah to express the fact that there are great numbers coming back to the land, but there is no evidence that this is the Boeing 747,
“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.”
Now that is the second movement. The third movement, Jerusalem glorified by the service of the Gentiles. Now only do they bring their wealth, but they are going to serve. And so we read in verse 10, and the sons of strangers shall build up Thy walls, and their king shall minister unto Thee. Israel’s former enemies shall reverence her and they give themselves as well as their goods too.
Paul when speaks about the Macedonians and the wonderful way in which they gave to the poor in Jerusalem, remember he said that they have not only given off their substance, but they first gave themselves, which by the way is a principle that should be true of the church. God is a great deal more interested in you giving yourself, than he is in your giving your money to his work. If, for example, you had nothing but you gave yourself, he would be infinitely pleased. If you have great goods, and you give a few thousand dollars, but you hold back yourself, he is not nearly so happy as if you had given yourself, and no more money. Of course, he is greatly pleased when you give yourself, and then when you give generously to see that his work is carried out. And so here when the Gentiles come back, they not only give their money, but they give themselves. They are involved in what is transpiring in this great kingdom day, and we have the right field to apply to ourselves.
“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. (Obedience is necessary during the kingdom age) 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.”
This of course is again a reference to the temple. By the way, you would notice that everything great in the world of men and in the world of nature pays homage, and even those that were enemies, verse 14, the sons also of them that afflicted Thee shall come bending unto Thee. Even the enemies shall pay homage to Jerusalem. The temple has to be rebuilt. Isn’t that amazing?
I mentioned Arnold Fruchtenbaum is one of our students at the seminary. He is a converted Hebrew. He was converted through the activities of the one of the Jewish missions in New York City, and he became active in the work of that mission. And during the war, the seven-day war or the six-day war of 1967, Arnold was in Jerusalem, working on his master’s degree, and he did not accept the advice of the authorities to leave, he stayed; and he has told some of his experiences that he had while only four blocks from the Jordanian border, and the shells were falling all around him, and he has described some of the things that happened immediately afterwards.
And I am going to read a few lines from something that he wrote in The Chosen People, which is the publication of this society, commissioned to the Jews. “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 there issued a decree that the temple mount is off limits for the 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. This is what they said.
“In Mia Shiram, which means something like the remnants, the ultraorthodox quarter of Jerusalem; (now you must remember that in Israel there are all types of Jews. There are those who are liberal, there are those who are conservative, there are those who are orthodox, there are those who are ultraorthodox, there are the fundamentalists of the orthodox, you know. These people have actually believed the Bible literally. The people like that around, and among those Jews there are people like that and are there are least little friends groups, you know, probably press over there calls them the rightists, you know. And he said something to say about them. He says,) Messianic speculation reached a new peak among them, one group in Mia Shiram actually claim that the Messiah will be the grandson of their leading Rabbi. Another group came out and said that their Messiah must either come this Shevuoath or on Shevuoath seven years from now. He is talking about a month of the year.
Since the Messiah failed to come this Shevuoath, he must come on Shevuoath in 1974, while most religious groups have been abstained from setting any Messianic dates. The capture of the religious groups, the capture of old city has caused messianic speculation to run high among all religious groups. They now speak of the messiah coming not in the distant future, but as coming any day now. We know of course that the messiah is not going to come in that sense to the earth any day. We know that the Bible has set forth the events of The Great Tribulation period, which must intervene, but it is striking I think that those who read the Bible and look at the events of the present day do see that there is an evidence which may indicate that these great prophecies may not be far from fulfillment. At any rate, we can see what the text of Scripture says.
Now let us notice the fourth movement, beginning with verse 15, Jerusalem is glorified by prosperity and stability. Verse 15 through verse 18, and here Isaiah expatiates in striking figures upon the prosperity and stability of the city of the Lord. Now I did not read both verse 14, so I think I should finish that verse, but this movement begins in verse 15. 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, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Now Jerusalem glorified by prosperity and stability, whereas Thou has been forsaken, Thou has bend. You know I am almost talking like a Canadian. Whereas Thou has been forsaken and hated, it has really been. 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. This is the striking figures, some of the striking figures that Isaiah uses.
You now, Isaiah according to tradition, was a man who was a noble. In fact according to tradition, he was related to the kings of Israel. Now that is unprovable and I am inclined to doubt it, but we do know this, he was a man who spent a great deal of time in the court, and all you have to do to be convinced to that is to turn to Isaiah and the Hebrew text, such as I have here and notice the rich vocabulary that he has, which produces such consternation among our theological students who have to take Hebrews, because his vocabulary is really extensive. It is bigger than Buckley’s. And he is a beautiful user of language,
“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 Savior and Thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold. He is going to beatify the city and enrich it. And for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. I will also make Thy officers peace, and Thine exactor’s 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.”
And now finally the fifth movement, we have only 5 minutes left, Jerusalem glorified by the presence of the holy among his righteous people, and here the prophet returns to his theme with which he began the chapter, Jerusalem is going to be light in the Lord to the nations of the earth. Isaiah does not distinguish between the city of the kingdom and the city of the eternal kingdom. They flow together and you will recognize that these words are the basis of the language of the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. The sun is there, but it is not needed because some one else is there. He is not called the Lamb here. In the Book of Revelation, we read it as the Lamb who gives light to the New Jerusalem. Here it is the Holy One of Israel, it is the Lord, but the lamb and the Lord are the same.
So we read in verse 19,
“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.”
And finally, Thy people also shall be all righteous. What does he mean by that? Well he means that all who enter the city of Jerusalem shall be justified. Now no one is righteous inherently. It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are declared righteous. Paul says that we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. So when I look off to the cross of Jesus Christ and see him as the one who died for me, and I believe in him, I am declared righteous by God, given righteousness. Remember what is God’s righteousness? It is the righteousness which his righteousness requires him to require. Perfect righteousness. And that is given to us when we believe on Jesus Christ. You can say of the church, it is all righteous. Every member of the church of Jesus Christ is justified. Isn’t that wonderful to know that? You know that means that you and I have accepted the God only. We do not come in our merits. We come in his merits. So the door is always open. We are always accepted. We are accepted in him. If we have sinned, we do not lose our acceptance. We lose our fellowship and we confess and are restored, but our acceptance depends not upon us, but upon him and what he has done, and that is settled and finished and complete. And that is going to be true of Israel in that day. Thy people also shall be all righteous. All who enter that kingdom are justified individually. They shall inherit the land for ever, the branch that the Abrahamic promises reach their ultimate fulfillment in the possession by those who are the seed of Abraham of the land that was promised to them.
You know what they will be singing in the streets of Jerusalem, in the kingdom? They will be singing of the faithfulness of the Lord that he has kept his word. Just as Mary sang of the faithfulness of the Lord, when she learnt she was to be the mother of the Messiah. The promises of Abraham are to be fulfilled. And so we read here finally, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I the Lord will hasten it” in his time. And so all the passages of the preceding chapters, which I have spoken of the ultimate glory of Jerusalem, have reached the kind of climax here with lights triumph over darkness in the Second Advent and the glorification of the New Jerusalem of the kingdom day.
The Bible gives us a hausgeschichte; that is story of salvation and it is interesting how in this story of salvation it is frequently pictured as the story of the passing from darkness into light. God created men and men sinned. There was light and darkness came, and throughout the years in the centuries that have intervened, men have lived in darkness. We are living in darkness today spiritually, but the time is coming when the darkness shall be overcome by the light. That is the figurative way of expressing the story of salvation in the Bible. It is the story of innocency of sin, of constant sin, of judgment, of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus; finally the cross, the basis for the removal of the sin; the Second Advent, the instrumentality for the carrying out of it, the introduction of the kingdom, and finally the eternal state that is the hausgeschichte of the Bible, the story of salvation. It is the passage from darkness to light, and here we have it illustrated in the history of Jerusalem.
Time is up, we must stop.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for this great chapter and we pray that our lives, each one of us, may be seen in the light of the great purposes that Thou hast for men. Enable us Lord individually to fulfill the plan and purpose which Thou hast for us personally in this day for Jesus sake and for his glory. Amen.