Isaiah 60 – The Glorious Light of God’s Kingdom
A. The glory of Israel in the Kingdom of God.
1. (1-3) The glorious light of God’s Kingdom.
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.
a. Arise, shine; for your light has come: After the thick and desperate darkness described in Isaiah 59:9-10, this is the glorious rescue from the Redeemer. Light has come – so God tells His people to respond to it, and to arise and shine.
i. Darkness is for lying down; light is for rising up. Darkness is for gloom and sleep; light is for shining. When the light has come, we must respond, and arise, shine.
ii. First we receive God’s light (your light has come), and then we have a service to perform (arise, shine). You can’t shine until your light has come, but once it has come, there is something wrong if you don’t arise and shine.
b. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you: This is no earthly light; this is light that emanates from the glory of the Lord. This is like the light of Jesus in the Transfiguration, when His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light (Matthew 17:2). Sometimes harsh, bright light can be disturbing or uncomfortable – but not this warm, wonderful light that pulsates from the glory of the Lord.
c. Gentiles shall come to your light: When the Lord lifts up His glorious light over Israel, the Gentile nations shall see it and be attracted to the light. Even kings will be attracted to the brightness of Israel’s rising. This will be ultimately fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus when Israel is lifted up among all nations.
i. While in principle this chapter has application to all God’s people, it is specifically directed to Israel, and will be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom. Not all have seen this. Adam Clarke writes, “The subject of this chapter is the great increase and flourishing state of the Church of God by the conversion and accession of the heathen nations to it.” But the fact that the Lord speaks of the Gentiles here in opposition to the subjects of the prophecy shows He speaks to Israel as Israel. Replacement theology just doesn’t work here, or anywhere.
2. (4-13) Great treasures come to Israel in the Kingdom.
“Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
They all gather together, they come to you;
Your sons shall come from afar,
And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.
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 you.
The multitude of camels shall cover your land,
The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;
All those from Sheba shall come;
They shall bring gold and incense,
And they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you,
The rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you;
They shall ascend with acceptance on My altar,
And I will glorify the house of My glory.
“Who are these who fly like a cloud,
And like doves to their roosts?
Surely the coastlands shall wait for Me;
And the ships of Tarshish will come first,
To bring your sons from afar,
Their silver and their gold with them,
To the name of the Lord your God,
And to the Holy One of Israel,
Because He has glorified you.
“The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls,
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,
That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles,
And their kings in procession.
For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish,
And those nations shall be utterly ruined.
“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.
a. Your sons shall come from afar: Through this passage, one of the great themes is regathering. We may suppose that in the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus, every Jewish person remaining on the earth will be gathered into the land of Israel from every nation on earth. The present-day regathering of Israel is a precious preview of this ultimate and complete regathering.
b. The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you: Not only will they receive the treasure of their people, but also the literal treasure of the Gentiles shall come to Israel in the Millennial Kingdom. The nations will willingly give them their wealth, much as the Egyptians willingly gave the Israelites riches when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:35-36). So much will be given that they will need to keep the gates of the city open continually.
c. They shall bring gold…. their silver and their gold with them: Why do the nations bestow such riches on little Israel? First, they recognize that they thereby give it to God. They bring their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the Lord your God, and to the Holy One of Israel. Second, they do it because they see the work of God in Israel: because He has glorified you. So they willingly give to and serve Israel (The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you).
d. To beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious: Another reason the riches of the nations pour into Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus will be to build and support the Millennial Temple. The Millennial Temple – described in great depth in Ezekiel 40-47 – stands as a place memorializing God’s presence and work in history. There will apparently also be priests and sacrifices at the temple, but not for atonement – because atonement was finished at the cross. The sacrifices are for worship, consecration, and perhaps historical reenactment.
B. The glory of Israel in the Kingdom contrasted with their previous state.
1. (14-18) How the nations treated Israel, and how they will treat them in the Kingdom.
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.
You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles,
And milk the breast of kings;
You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
“Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
Instead of iron I will bring silver,
Instead of wood, bronze,
And instead of stones, iron.
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.
a. The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you: Those who previously persecuted Israel, and specifically Jerusalem, will have a different heart and mind in the Millennial Kingdom. Then they will come bowing to Jerusalem; they will recognize it as The City of the Lord.
b. Instead of bronze I will bring gold: God will take what was old – and perhaps functional, but not full of glory – and replace it with far better things. More of a miracle than turning bronze to gold is turning magistrates to righteousness.
c. 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: What a glorious transformation! From the violence and unrestrained bloodshed of Isaiah 59:6-8, to walls called Salvation and gates called Praise.
i. The ultimate fulfillment of these things waits because the Millennial Kingdom is not yet here. But the King of that Kingdom is here and wants to do some of that work on a different level. For example, a home can see a beautiful transformation right now. It can be said of a Christian home, violence shall no longer be heard in your home, neither wasting nor destruction within your walls; but you shall call your walls Salvation and your doors Praise.
d. You shall know: This explains why God does this. It is not because Israel is so great and has earned this as an achievement through hard work. He does it that You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. He does a work so great that all know it is His doing.
2. (19-22) How the Lord will treat Israel in the 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.”
a. The sun shall no longer be your light by day…but the Lord will be to you an everlasting light: This is like the light of the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21:23, where the Lord Himself is the light. But just as important as having the Lord as your everlasting light is having your God your glory, and to glory in no one or nothing else.
i. “In the old order of creation, life was governed rigidly by night and day and unpredictably by the fitfulness of sun and moon. But in the new order of salvation, the ruling principle is the changeless presence of the Lord.” (Motyer)
b. They shall inherit the land forever: When we remember the context of Isaiah’s prophecy, it makes it even more precious. Isaiah was mostly written under the shadow of coming defeat and exile. To those dispossessed people of God, Isaiah pointed them to a day when they shall inherit the land forever.
i. This promise would not be fulfilled because the people of God were so good. Rather, the Lord said that it would be seen as the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.
c. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time: God didn’t say it would happen soon, though in an eternal scale we might consider it soon. But God would hasten it – hurry it along, expedite it – in its time. When its time has come, the Lord will hasten it, but not before its time.
i. The promise seems too good to be true, and we are conditioned to think that if it seems too good to be true, it is. But God is too good not to be true.
(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – firstname.lastname@example.org