Monday, January 15, 2018

Isaiah Post 40 - The Nations WILL Bless Zion (Chapter 60)

Seven more chapters!  Only seven more!  I feel like the coach in Facing the Giants... four more downs!  (If you haven't seen it, you should.  A perfect blend of a guy movie and a chick movie and filled with faith).

Four more downs!!!

 We are almost to the end of the amazing Book of Isaiah.

Today, we look at chapter 60, which starts out quite vividly:

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;

But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

We see here a call to God's people to rise and shine His love.  We also see a description of our world today, which is covered in darkness. We are living as in the days of Noah. Even the LORD's rainbow was stolen for unholy purposes. Good is called evil and evil is called good.

BUT, as the passage continues, we see the promise that the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  You is specifically Israel here.

Verse three moves along with the prophecy that the nations shall come to your [Israel's] light, and kings to the brightness of your [Israel's] rising.
Israel arose out of the ashes of nearly 2000 years in 1948.  Since then, they have been visited by kings and dignitaries from ALL OVER THE WORLD.  You can walk through the King David Hotel and see a long, indoor walkway with signatures of modern-day dignitaries and celebrities on them - including Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy, Isaac Stern, both George Bushes, Nelson Mandela, and Metallica, to name a few.  In fact, I have been in Israel during the visits of the Pope and President Trump.  Both visits were very interesting!

Famous indoor sidewalk at the King David Hotel

The passage continues:  LIFT UP YOUR EYES AND SEE: Sons and daughters are gathering together, coming from afar.  This is the miracle of the Jewish people returning to their ancient homeland of Israel.

Look at verse 5:
Then you shall see and become radiant,
And your heart shall swell with joy;
Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to yo

People ask me why I continue to visit Israel.  How can I stay away, when I see God's word being fulfilled right under my nose??

The prophecy of blessing to Israel from the nations continues in verses 6-7.  Some of this is happening now, but because such places as Midian and Kedar are mentioned, we can expect much of this to be fulfilled in the future.  Both of these places are in Saudi Arabia, and relations between the two countries are not warm and fuzzy.  For example, if you have an Israeli visa stamp in your passport, Saudi Arabia will not even let you enter the country.  There is, however, a slight warming taking place between the two countries.  Iran is a mutual enemy.  Could it be said that the enemy of my enemy is my friend?

Verse 8 is so interesting:  it asks the question, Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?  WHAT was Isaiah seeing?  Was he seeing the planeloads of Jews returning to the Land?  It happens constantly now.  Jews are being brought home by the planeload from all over the world.  It happens constantly now, but here are a few notable examples:

  • Operation Moses 1984-1985, a covert rescue of Ethiopian Jews from camps in Sudan
  • Operation Solomon, 1991 (14.000 Jews evacuated from Ethiopia over a period of 2 days)
  • Operation Exodus - Currently brings planeloads of Jews from the US to Israel
  • Nearly one million Jews have emigrated from the former Soviet Union, mostly on planes
Ethiopian Jews being flown to Israel
Israel contains numerous aliyah return centers, which help new immigrants get settled, find jobs, and learn Hebrew.

Verse 9 continues with a prophecy that the coastlands are waiting and ships are bringing back the sons and daughters of Israel!  And today it is not just airplanes, but ships that are returning Jews to the land as well – especially since World War 2.  I recommend the book Exodus by Leon Uris.  It's long, but vividly tells the story of immigrants coming back to the land of Israel and making it bloom.

Verse 10 begins a section where the Gentiles are plunged into the action as well.
And their kings shall minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
But in My favor I have had mercy on you.

Therefore your gates shall be open continually;
They shall not be shut day or night,
(Today the city gates are always open and don't close at night, except following an occasional terror attack or security for a dignitary's visit)

That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles,
And their kings in procession.
Yep.  Happening.

For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish,
And those nations shall be utterly ruined.

Oh that more nations would heed this prophetic warning.

"The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
The cypress, the pine, and the box tree together,
To beautify the place of My sanctuary;
And I will make the place of My feet glorious.
This is describing the soon-to-be-built temple.  The second temple was built after the return from Babylon, and then was later beautified by King Herod, just in time for the feet of the Messiah to walk there.  The next temple will be built for the same purpose.

Also the sons of those who afflicted you
Shall come bowing to you,
And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet;
And they shall call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

“Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
So that no one went through you,
I will make you an eternal excellence,
A joy of many generations.

Wow, what a turnaround of events.

Let me give you a quick testimony from a rabbi friend of mine who is building a unique farm and yeshiva (Bible school) in the Judean desert. A group of Germans came there last year to help them build the walls of the facility.  The German visitors worked from sunup to sundown while they were there. They were children of World War 2 Nazis.

The Jews have been irrationally hated for millennia.  This scripture lets us know that there will be an end to the hatred.  And history is beginning to prove that this is so... albeit slowly.

Chapter 60 continues with a reference to drinking the milk of the Gentiles.  A mother nursing her child provides physical sustenance and love.  In the same way, the nations will be doing the same to Israel.

Verse 17 is interesting:
“Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
Instead of iron I will bring silver,
Instead of wood, bronze,
And instead of stones, iron.

We see a picture of substances being upgraded, all the way to God.  We are being shown an allegory of the reversal of sin, with the ultimate substance being gold.

Substances in scripture represent different things:

  • Gold represents God:  His divineness and deity.
  • Silver represents redemption
  • Bronze is a representation of sin and the altar
  • Iron represents strength, crushing, and inflexible rule
  • Wood  represents perishable man.
Stones. however, carry many meanings in scripture.  Rocks can be jagged or smooth.  They can be instruments of destruction.  David killed Goliath with a stone, which had been smoothed out by living water.  They can also be foundational to a building.  The Messiah is our cornerstone.  We believers are all living stones, part of His spiritual building.

The scripture continues:
I will also make your officers peace,
And your magistrates righteousness.
Violence shall no longer be heard in your land,
Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders;
But you shall call your walls Salvation,
And your gates Praise.

No more violence!! We know this is a future prophecy because there is still much violence today.

A note about the gate of Praise...  The only non-Muslim entrance to the Temple Mount has been historically called the Mughrabi bridge.  Last year, a 13-year-old girl named Hallel was murdered in her bed by a terrorist who had broken into her family's home.  In her memory, the name of this entrance was changed to Hallel Gate.  Hallel, as you may know, means praise.

The Hallel Gate, formerly known as the Mughrabi

Chapter 60 wraps up nicely with a lovely picture of the coming kingdom:

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.
Your sun shall no longer go down,
Nor shall your moon withdraw itself;
For the LORD will be your everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning shall be ended.
Also your people shall all be 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 its time.”

Compare this passage to Revelation 21:23-26:
The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.

This even goes beyond the Millenial kingdom to the New Jersualem, which comes down to earth after the 1000 years. 

Jerusalem is absolutely central to God’s plan. It’s why it is the center of world attention, especially today. Psalm 2 says,  - Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?... Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”

Can we even imagine how it will be?

The next post is (finally) ready.  Click here.

To start at the beginning of this series on Isaiah, click here.

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