Exegesis

A Study of Isaiah 60:1-22

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you." Isaiah 60:1




























The Wailing (Western) Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

Image Credit


The Glory of Israel in the Millennium
and Throughout Eternity

Introduction

The Theme of Isaiah is "Yahweh is Salvation." The first half of the prophecy is "Condemnation: God's Judgment Against the Nations" (Isa. 1-39). The second half is "Exaltation: God's Great Salvation Through His Anointed Servant" (Isa. 40-66). The second half is sub-divided into three sections: 1. The Greatness of God (Isa. 40-48). 2. The Salvation  of the Servant  (Christ) (Isa. 49-59). 3. The Glory of the Kingdom (Isa. 60-66).

This third section (Isa. 60-66) deals extensively with the Glory inherent in Christ's Thousand-Year Reign upon Earth from Jerusalem, Israel (Rev. 20:1-6 and scores of OT prophecies, including Isa. 60-66). Here and there the prophecy laps over into elements of the Eternal Kingdom of God and Christ headquartered in New Jerusalem, the Capital City of New Earth, described in some detail in Rev. 21:1-22:5.

This third section (Isa. 60-66) begins (
Isaiah 60:1-22) with a thunderous affirmation of God's glorious future for the nation of Israel and its capital city Jerusalem. Tragically the Church at large has routinely interpreted this passage (and others like it) in a non-literal fashion. Doing so bankrupts this majestic chapter of the audience and purpose for which the prophet Isaiah wrote it. This second half of his prophecy Isaiah wrote at the behest of God to comfort the nation of Israel (Isa. 40:1-2). Illustrative of this non-literal interpretation is the Roman Catholic Church, which in a footnote referring to Isa. 60:1-6 affirms the following: "The Church makes use of these verses for the first reading of the Mass on the feast of Epiphany, for she sees in them symbols of her universality." This is more than unfortunate, for Isaiah did not write this about the Church at all, but about the nation of Israel in her future restored and glorious kingdom.

Let us examine in some detail this glorious prophecy of Isaiah 60:1-22. And let us revel in the glory God has in store for his restored favorite nation, Israel, and let us allow God to be credible in keeping His promises and covenants with Israel just the way He said He would!

A. Israel's glorious, God-given light of righteousness as it will exist in the Millennium and Eternity. It will draw all nations to her. Isa. 60:1-3

1. Israel is urged to revel in the dawn of the light of God’s glory. Isa. 60:1
  • "Arise, shine; for your light has come" (Isa. 60:1). In Isa. 59:9 the prophet lamented the presence of gloom and darkness among the spiritually and morally depraved people of Israel. But the time is coming, at the return of the Messiah and His establishment of His Kingdom, that righteousness and light and glory and joy will return to the nation. In Isa. 60:1, the prophet turns the attention of the nation to that time. That righteousness and glory of which he speaks is dependent on the new covenant Yahweh has made with His people to redeem them, forgive them and place within them His Spirit and His words (Isa. 59:20-21; Jer. 31:31-34; Rom. 11:25-27).
  • "And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you." God, in the Person of Jesus, will be physically present in Jerusalem, accepting worship, proclaiming truth, and judging between nations (Isa. 2:3-4). His glory, the glory of God-come-in-human-flesh, will manifest itself in light that will be visible anywhere in the city (Ezek. 43:1-7; 44:4; Zech. 2:4-5; Haggai 2:7-9). How much more profoundly will this glory radiate in and from the Eternal City (Rev. 21:10-11, 23-24; 22:5)!
2. The dark gloom of the nations will be contrasted with the glory of Israel. Isa. 60:2
  • "For behold, darkness will cover the earth" (Isa. 60:2). In Isa. 59:9 Isaiah had lamented, “Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.” This pervasive spiritual and moral darkness afflicts the entire earth. And it will so even more as the whole world apostatizes during the Tribulation period (2 Thess. 2:3-12).
  • "Deep darkness the people" (Isa. 60:2).  In an eschatological (last times) sense, “deep darkness,” I believe, refers to the Tribulation period marked by moral and governmental darkness as well as catastrophic events that plague and kill those who dwell upon the earth.
  • "But the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you" (Isa. 60:2). Just as the glory of God and of the Lamb will illuminate the city of New Jerusalem throughout eternity (Rev. 21:10-11, 23), so the glory of the returned Messiah will illuminate the present city of Jerusalem during the Millennial Kingdom (Ezek. 43:1-4).
3. Israel’s light will be a magnet to the Gentiles. Isa. 60:3
  • "Nations will come to your light" (Isa. 60:3). Just as the nations living on New Earth will walk (live and work) by the light of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24), and, drawn by the glorious light of that city, will bring their produce and their manufactured goods into it during the Eternal Kingdom (Rev. 21:26), so during the Millennium, earth’s nations will be magnetized by the light and the glory emanating from King Jesus and illuminating the city. They will be attracted to the light of Millennial Jerusalem just as, in the summertime, insects are attracted to a light glowing in the darkness.
  • "And kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isa. 60:3). Kings reigning in various countries throughout Millennial earth will be magnetically drawn to the brightness and glory of Millennial Jerusalem, illuminated by her King. Just so, kings living upon New Earth will be drawn to the glory and brilliance of New Jerusalem, also illuminated by the same King during the Eternal Kingdom. They will bring their glory – their treasures, commodities, and manufactured goods – into New Jerusalem for the benefit of the citizens of the Capital City (Rev. 21:24, 26).
B. Believing Jews will be restored to Israel with wealth and glory during the Millennium for God's honor. Isa. 60:4-9

1. Israel will rejoice at the return of her expatriates. Isa. 60:4
  • "They all gather together, they come to you" (Isa. 60:4). Jewish people from all over the globe will return to Jerusalem and Israel when the King returns. The Jewish diaspora have been scattered all over the earth, but they will return to their homeland. Jesus the King will “assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:12).   
  • "Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms" (Isa. 60:4). This echoes the words of Isa. 49:22: “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations And set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.’” Not only will Jewish sons and daughters return, but the nations of the earth will assist them in their return to their homeland.
2. Israel will revel in her prosperity. Isa. 60:5
  • "Then you will see and be radiant" (Isa. 60:5). "Radiant" - nahar (5102) is rarely used in the O.T. It continues the theme of light, however. Two similar uses are found in Psa. 34:5 and Jer. 31:12. It almost seems that the faces of Israelis will radiate and reflect the glory of the King to others.
  • "And your heart will thrill and rejoice" (Isa. 60:5). The verb translated "thrill" is the Qal Perfect of pchd (6342), "to fear, dread," rarely, "to be in awe." It usually has a negative connnotation, but in this context a positive one. The verb translated "rejoice" is the Qal Perfect of rchb (7337), which means "to be, or grow, wide, large" (BDB). Combining these two verbs, the sense is that Israelis will be overcome with emotion at what God is doing on their behalf.The Millennial Kingdom will be a time of great emotion for Israel.
  • "Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you" (Isa. 60:5). This must at least mean that Israel will have an abundant commercial trade in fishing, presumably from the Mediterranean, but also, specifically, from the Dead Sea. A life-giving stream of water will flow from underneath the Millennial Temple, and eventually find its way into the Jordan and into the Dead Sea. This life-giving river will nourish fruit trees that produce every month. The Dead Sea will no longer be dead. It will provide fresh-water habitat for “very many fish.” The fish “will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many” (Ezek. 47:1-12).
        In Zechariah 14:8 we are told, “And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.” Whatever life-giving benefits accrue in the Dead (eastern) Sea surely will also apply to the Mediterranean (western) Sea as well. The water flowing from the Millennial Temple will flow both in the dry season and the rainy season. Israel will have enough fish to supply its own domestic population and enough to have a booming trade with other nations.
        It is possible also that Israel will be able to mine mineral treasures from the sea. Israel’s wealth and productivity will be mind-boggling in that day.
  • "The wealth of the nations will come to you" (Isa. 60:5). The world's economy will boom, and Israel will be the greatest beneficiary. Israel will enjoy "most favored nation" status with all the other economies of the world. There will be no boycotts of Israel. Today's growing BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel will be non-existent. Instead, nations will find it economically profitable to trade with Israel, invest in Israel and even donate funds and resources to Israel! Politicians like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar who support BDS will be non-existent, for advocating that policy would be political suicide for them. There will be true justice for all in the Kingdom. The King will not be deceived by appearances or by one-sided reports, for He will be omniscient, and will delight in the fear of the LORD (Isa. 11:3). He will judge the poor with righteousness, and decide in favor of the afflicted with fairness (Isa. 11:4). He will destroy the wicked by verbal command (Isa. 11:4). He will govern with righteousness, faithfulness, and truth (Isa. 11:5).
3. Arabs will participate in the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem. Isa. 60:6-7

a. Arab wealth for the purpose of worship will be transported by camels to Jerusalem. Isa. 60:6
  • "A multitude of camels will cover you" (Isa. 60:6). It is not to be assumed that Israel will own these camels, but that the foreigners listed here will be magnetized by the glory of Israel and will travel there on their camels, bringing goods and wares by which the Israelis will be enriched.
        Many take this wealth of Israel and the city itself “ideally.” “Ideal” is code for, “It is not really going to happen. We must understand this passage metaphorically.” Lest anyone doubt that the camels are to be taken literally, I personally can testify that, even in the 21st Century, desert-dwelling Arabs and other Middle-Eastern peoples place a premium on camels. I have seen camels for sale in the city of Doha, Qatar, for example.
        “Isaiah saw camels as thick as flies on meat covering the land around Jerusalem. These Gentiles will express thanks that Israel has brought the Word of God to them, in its written, spoken, and incarnate forms.” (Thomas Constable, Notes on Isaiah.)
  • "Midian" (Isa. 60:6): Midian refers to a desert area of the western Arabian peninsula on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba bordering the Gulf, although it may have overlapped on the west side of the Gulf also. Midian lay south of Edom (part of modern-day Jordan).
        The implications are staggering in view of today’s religio-geo-politics – people will be coming from almost exclusively Muslim lands – Saudi Arabia and Yemen – to transport items for worship in Jerusalem. They will facilitate the worship of King Jesus, and there will be no competition from Islam, and no more suicide bombings, shellings, or rocket attacks. This is unbelievable in today’s religious/political climate. But it will happen! Yahweh has said, “I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time” (Isa. 60:22).
  • "Ephah" (Isa. 60:6): Ephah is perhaps another name for Midian. Gary V. Smith (Isaiah 40-66, 617): “Ephah was the son of Midian (Gen 25:4), so these two groups probably come together.”
  •  "Sheba" (Isa. 60:6). Sheba is the area at the southwestern most corner of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the Red Sea on the west and the Gulf of Aden on the south. The relatively narrow body of water connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden is known as the Straits of Bab-al-Mandab (“Gate of Grief”). These straits were the site of attempted Somali piracy as recently as 2010. Today Sheba would include at least the western half of modern-day Yemen. The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10; 2 Chron. 9:1-9), bringing with her a great amount of spices and precious stones as gifts to the Israeli King.
  • "They will bring gold and frankincense" (Isa. 60:6). Since these camels will “bear good news of the praises of the LORD,” it is to be understood that the gold may well be used in the construction of the Millennial Temple (Ezek. 40-46), and the frankincense will be used in preparing incense for worship. (So Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 617.)

  • "And will bear good news of the praises of the LORD" (Isa. 60:6). Undoubtedly this refers to the cargoes carried by the camels. One way or another, the goods that the camels transport will be used in the temple worship. But this is not all, I believe, that this passage is telling us. Those who ride and lead these camels will gratefully participate in the worship of the God of Israel. This is all the more astounding when we acknowledge that these drivers will be coming from countries which presently despise Israel and even wish to dispossess her of her land and push her into the sea. But these camel drivers and their owners and their countries will no longer swear allegiance to Allah and Muhammed, but to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to Jesus of Nazareth, King of Israel and King of the World!
b. Arabs will make contributions toward the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem. Isa. 60:7
  •  "Kedar" (Isa. 60:7). Kedar is evidently Arabia. According to Gary V. Smith (Isaiah 40-66, 617) Kedar is the northern Arabian Desert.
  • "Nebaioth" (Isa. 60:7). This city/region is apparently to be identified with Sela, just north of Bozrah. Both are south of the Dead Sea. Nebaioth may be connected with Nabatea, in the region once inhabited by Esau (Edom, in modern day Jordan). Bozrah is connected with Edom (modern day Jordan) in Isa. 63:1. In his encyclopedia article on Nebaioth, A. S. Fulton alleges that "'the rams of Nebaioth' are to serve the ideal Zion as sacrificial victims." I couldn't disagree more. By "ideal Zion" Fulton meant that Zion is merely a metaphor and that these sacrifices in this city will never actually occur. Isaiah meant his readers to understand his prophecy literally, and we do Isaiah and God a great disservice by not believing this Scripture.
  • "They will go up with acceptance on My altar" (Isa. 60:7). This is Yahweh speaking. He asserts that at a future glorious time in the glorious Kingdom of Israel, there will exist a temple with an altar. Ezekiel described this Temple in the glorious Kingdom in great detail (Ezek. 40:1-47:12). We call this Kingdom the Millennial Kingdom, for we are told six times in Rev. 20:1-7 that the Kingdom will last a thousand years.This statement of God about "My altar" recorded by Isaiah means, of course, that there will be animal sacrifices in the Millennium. There are many who use this post-Calvary animal sacrifice as grounds for dismissing the literal reading of the text. But it is better to adjust our theology to the text than to adjust the text to fit our theology. How can there be animal sacrifices after Christ has completed His once-for-all sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:11-12, 28; 10:12-14)? I believe the answer is fairly simple. These Millennial sacrifices are not efficacious, but memorial. And I believe there is a New Testament example – the Church’s observing of the Lord’s Table. The bread and the wine are memorials for the Church, not efficacious. That is, contrary to the teachings of Roman Catholicism and certain mainline Protestant denominations, the Church’s two ordinances are memorial in nature, not efficacious. They illustrate grace; they do not grant grace. The same is to be said for the sacrifices in the Millennium. They illustrate the gracious sacrifice of Jesus. They do not grant grace.
        The presence of a temple helps us to understand that Isaiah here is describing conditions in the Millennial Kingdom, not the Eternal Kingdom. In New Jerusalem, as opposed to Millennial Jerusalem, there will be no temple whatever. God and the Lamb are the temple (Rev. 21:22).
  • "And I shall glorify My glorious house" (Isa. 60:17). This is a reference to the Millennial Temple, described in great detail in Ezekiel 40:1-46:24. There are, unfortunately, a great many scholars who refuse to take this temple literally. One example is C. J. H. Wright in his commentary, The Message of Ezekiel, p. 338. Here are his comments on Ezekiel’s vision of the temple:

        In other words, the purpose of Ezekiel’s vision was not to provide guidance as to how the temple was to be rebuilt, but to provide reassurance of the hope that it would be rebuilt, and to point beyond the physical temple to the restored relationship between God in his holiness and his humble and obedient people.

    But there is no reason given either in this text (Isaiah 60:7) or in the Ezekiel text (Ezek. 40-46), that anything in either passage is to be taken metaphorically and not literally. What is the point here in Isaiah of talking about the camels from different Arab countries who will bring goods for temple worship if there will be no temple? What is the point of talking about the rams of Nebaioth being sacrificed on Yahweh’s altar if there will be no altar? Sadly, men like Wright, I fear, are driven by a theological and exegetical agenda in their abhorrence of a literal interpretation of Scripture.
4. Maritime (Western) nations will cooperate in returning expatriates back to Israel. Isa. 60:8-9

a. The expedited travel. Isa. 60:8
  • Isaiah uses two metaphors here to describe the rapid transit of Gentile ships in transporting expatriate Israelis back to to their homeland. The first metaphor is that of wind-driven clouds scudding across the sky. The second metaphor is that of doves returning rapidly in flight to their dove-cotes. Isaiah asks, "Who are these who fly ....?" He will answer the question in the next verse.
b. The participation of coastal, maritime nations. Isa. 60:9a
  • He answers the question in the previous verse by quoting God as saying, "Surely the coastlands will wait for Me." In other words, nations from afar who border the sea will be believers in Yahweh, seeking to perform his bidding, stated in Isa. 60:9b.

  • Moreover, ships from Spain will be in the vanguard, carrying precious human Israeli cargo back to their homeland in Israel. Where is Tarshish? It is most likely a city on the Southwestern coast of Spain, west of the Straits of Gibraltar. Tarshish apparently had large, fast ships (Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 617). Observe that Tarshish is mentioned in the same context in Psalm 72:10.
c. The objectives of the Maritime nations. Isa. 60:9b

(1) To return Israeli sons to Israel from distant places.

(2) To transport the expatriates’ wealth, defined as "silver and gold."

(3) To honor the name of Yahweh, God of Israel.

(4) To acknowledge Yahweh’s glorification of Israel.

C. Earth's Nations will serve Israel during the Millennium and throughout Eternity. Isa. 60:10-14

1. Gentiles will assist Israel. Isa. 60:10

a. Foreigners will reinforce the defense infrastructure of Jerusalem and other Israeli cities. More literally, "sons of foreigners" will build up, reinforce, and repair your walls. In ancient times, walls were built as defense fortifications. That will not be the case during the Millennium, for foreign nations will not dare risk the wrath of Jesus, the Great King (Psa. 2:12). The idea probably is that broken walls are a bad advertisement for a city. Cities with spruced up and reinforced and repaired walls testify to the wealth and well-being and orderliness of that city. That these walls are not actually being repaired for the purpose of defense is illustrated by the assertion that "Your gates will be open continually" and not "closed day or night" (Isa. 60:11).

b. Gentile kings will serve Israel. Today rulers from the nations around the world despise Israel. Many of the earth's nations have taken an aggressively anti-Jewish stance and have imprisoned, tortured, and killed Israelis. Russia, Germany, Iran, and many Arab nations come to mind. Today, the United Nations is vociferously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. But that day is coming to an end. In Christ's Millennial Kingdom, the earth's kings will serve Israel! What an about-face!

c. God's past and present Divine prerogative.
  • Past Prerogative – Wrathful Discipline. God's past treatment of Israel (from the vantage point of the Millennial Kingdom) will have been wrathful discipline (Isa. 60:10). That is why Israel has been treated with contempt for generations. This contemptible treatment has been God's Divine Discipline against a disobedient people who ultimately killed their own King, Jesus, the Messiah.

  • Present Prerogative – Compassion and Favor. But in the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will have repented of her grievous sins (Isa. 59:20-21; Zech. 12:10-13:1) and God's New Covenant with Israel will be in effect (Jer. 31:31-34). And God will treat Israel with favor and compassion (Isa. 60:10)l
2. The city of Jerusalem will be accessible. Isa. 60:11-12

a. The policy of continually-open gates. Isa. 60:11a.
  • During the Millennium, Jerusalem's gates will be open 24 hours a day. In Hebraistic poetic style, Isaiah adds, "her gates will not be closed by day or by night." This shows a city at peace with no enemy nations anywhere threatening to invade her.

  • Isaiah has already told us that, “in the last days,” people from nations all over the world will swarm to Mount Zion in Jerusalem and the house of the God of Jacob. They will want
    the King to teach them His laws so they can walk in His paths (Isa. 2:2-3). And we learned that the nations will “hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war” (Isa. 2:4). Since there is no military threat nor animosity toward Israel during the Millennial Kingdom, there will be no threat of sabotage or terrorism. Jerusalem’s gates will be open around the clock, not closed during the daytime or the night time.

  • But the Apostle John picks up the same theme of open gates and applies it supremely to New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:25). Certainly in New Jerusalem there will be no threat whatsoever from any nations or kings, for all inhabitants of New Jerusalem and New Earth will be righteous people (Rev. 22:14-15). It will be more than safe for New Jerusalem's citizens to leave its massive twelve gates (Rev. 21:12-13) open around the clock.
b. The reason for open access. Isa. 60:11b

(1) To transfer wealth from the nations to Israel.
  • Surprisingly enough, the reason given for the continually open gates here is not a security issue at all, but rather a commercial issue. Leaving the gates open around the clock permits representatives from all earth’s nations continually to bring goods and services into the city. This will be a “round-the-clock” operation! This feature serves to illustrate the tremendous wealth that will accrue to Jerusalem and to Israel during this Golden Age!

  • This same idea is picked up again in the New Jerusalem. The gates will never be closed in New Jerusalem “and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it” (Rev. 21:25-26). A careful reading of Revelation 21:1-22:5 helps us realize that our future as glorified believers of the Church does not reside in heaven, but in New Jerusalem. But there will be a great many of New Earth’s redeemed nations who do not live in the city, but rather upon New Earth. They are the ones who will bring goods and services into the gigantic, brilliant, and holy city, New Jerusalem, capital city of Israel and home of the Church.
(2) To display symbols of conquest and subservience.
  • Isa. 60:11 ends with the clause, "With their kings led in procession." In ancient times, conquering rulers led conquered kings in a triumphant victory procession through the streets of the capitol of the victorious nation. That is the idea here, though I suspect the terms of the victory procession are amicable here, not insulting. There will be a great number of nations gathered around Jerusalem to subjugate Israel abjectly and annihilate as many Israelis as possible at the close of the Tribulation period (Zech. 12:1-5). But the LORD will utterly destroy the enemy nations who have fought against Israel (Zech. 12:6-9; 14:1-5, 12-15). At the start of the Millennium, only genuine worshipers of Yahweh and His Messiah will be left to populate the Millennial Earth (Matt. 25:31-46). Rulers from formerly anti-Israel states will willingly come to Jerusalem, gladly showing their allegiance to the new King of the Earth (Isa. 2:1-3; Zech. 14:9, 16-19).

c. The necessity of international cooperation. Isa. 60:12

(1) Non-serving nations will be destroyed.
  • There is no hint here (in Isa. 60:12) as to how non-cooperative nations will be punished. But there is a hint in Zechariah 14:1-21. There we learn that nations who survive the battles at the close of the Tribulation will come up year by year to worship the King, Yahweh of Troops, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. Nations who do not come up to worship the King will receive no rain (Zech. 14:16-19). If the Millennial Kingdom is merely a metaphor, this provision makes absolutely no sense. One year’s experience of total drought will compel a nation to come worship the King next year!
(2) Uncooperative nations will be ruined.
  • Both the first and second members of these parallel statements in the Hebrew text reveal that parts of Isaiah 60:1-22 can only apply to the Millennium and not to the conditions in New Jerusalem and upon New Earth. The earth at the beginning of the Millennium will be populated by people who have survived the Tribulation, but who are willingly subservient to Messiah Jesus. These will be men and women living under utopian conditions in their natural bodies. And they will be joyful, loyal followers of Jesus. However, they will have children. Tragically, Scripture reveals that many of these children, though outwardly submissive to the King, are inwardly not genuine believers in Him. As time goes on during the Millennium, these unbelievers may put up mild resistance to the King's policies. One of the policies that will draw the ire of some is the mandatory appearance in Jerusalem at the Feast of Booths (Zech. 14:16). They will not feel like attending, and according to Zech. 14:16-19, they will receive no rain the following year. They will reluctantly attend the following year, no doubt! This simply illustrates the fact that at the close of the Millennium, when Satan is released from the Abyss, he will find on earth a great many sympathetic ears to deceive into revolting against the great King (Rev. 20:7-9a). And this will end in their tragic, fiery demise (Rev. 20:9b).
3. Lebanon will participate in the beautification of Jerusalem. Isa. 60:13

a. Lebanon's glory will come to Jerusalem. This glory will consist of various trees from Lebanon. The NASB mentions by name the juniper, the box tree, and the cypress. "Juniper" (berowsh, 1265), is more frequently translated as cypress, but also as fir. "Box tree" (tidhar, 8410) is seldom used and probably refers to a hardwood, perhaps elm or box tree. Some believe it is a species of cedar growing in Lebanon. "Cypress" (teashshur, 8391) is also seldom used. It is perhaps a cypress or cedar. BDB identifies it as "box tree," a small evergreen tree. Isaiah sees these trees as indigenous to Lebanon and well-suited to bring glory to Millennial Jerusalem.

b. The purpose of the trees will be to glorify the Millennial Temple, the place where King Jesus will hold court and accept worship. "I shall make the place of my feet glorious!" "The place of My sanctuary": Once again there is firm evidence of a Millennial Temple, complete with animal sacrifices (see Isa. 60:7; Ezek. 40:1-46:24). This cannot possibly refer metaphorically to “the restored relationship between God in his holiness and his humble and obedient people” (Wright, The Message of Ezekiel, p. 338), for in New Jerusalem in the eternal Kingdom there will be no temple whatever (Rev. 21:23). Moreover, there will be no animal sacrifices in New Jerusalem, for there will be no death (Rev. 21:1-4).

4. Israel's former enemies will be subservient to her. Isa. 60:14.

a. The change of posture
  • "The sons of those who afflicted you": In the last 75-100 years, a great many nations have afflicted Israel. Among them are Germany, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestinian Arabs, and even Britain, which, by its actions, gave support to Arabs even as it ended the British Mandate of Palestine on May 15, 1948. But as the Great Tribulation nears the end, all nations from around the world will invade Israel and occupy Jerusalem in a Satanically-motivated effort to implement a "Final Solution" to the Jewish problem (Zech. 12:3; Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3). During and after Christ's return, all enemies of Israel, who are also enemies of God and of Christ, will be destroyed (Rev. 19:11-21; Matt. 25:41-46).

  • "will come bowing to you": But all over the world, from among Israel's enemies, there will be a significant number of people who recognize and accept Jesus as God's Anointed King (Matt. 25:31-40). These will come and bow deferentially to Israelis, acknowledging them as the chosen of God.
  • "And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet": We who live in America are somewhat familiar with the protocol involved in bowing in Japan. The lower the bow, the greater the deference. The bowing described here is the ultimate bowing. One cannot demonstrate greater subservience than by prostrating himself at the soles of another’s feet! Indeed, in the Arab world of the Middle East, it is impolite for a man to cross his legs in public because that exposes the sole of his foot to his neighbor, who stands to be greatly offended. So when an Arab reporter threw his shoes at President George Bush, that was a huge insult! Israel is the most despised nation in the world. But in the Kingdom, those who formerly despised Israel will prostrate themselves at the soles of Israeli feet. How remarkable!
b. They will call Jerusalem "The City of Yahweh!"
  • Great pressure has been placed upon Israel to give up its claim to Jerusalem as its capital city and to cede it to so-called "Palestinians" who have no historical claim whatever to the city as the capital of an Arab country. The United Nations and even U. S. Presidents have increasingly applied pressure on Israel to allow the Arabs to claim Jerusalem in some way as the capital of a "Palestinian" state. To his credit, President Donald Trump has moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the rightful capital of Israel. Since the days of King David, Jerusalem has been the capital city of Israel, and of no other country. That is because Jerusalem is the city of Yahweh. It is not the “Palestinians’” to commandeer or the United Nations’ to award or the United States’ to bully. It is the city of Yahweh. And so it shall ever be. Beginning in the Millennium, Jerusalem will be known as the City of Yahweh. That will be true also in the Eternal State.
c. They will acknowledge that Zion belongs to the Holy One of Israel!
  • Literally, the last two phrases read, “And they shall call you “City of Yahweh,” “Zion of Holy (One) of Israel.” Calling someone a “Zionist” is almost the worst possible epithet in some quarters. But those who abhor Zionism neither know the Scriptures nor abide by them, at least in this matter. Zion is God’s city, and it is His choice of a city. It is His city for eternity. God, is, in fact, the world’s greatest Zionist. For a further study of this matter, see “Is God a Zionist?”

  • For the lexical data, see tsyōn (6726).
D. The wealthy, glorious, international supremacy of Israel will endure during the Millennium and overlap into Eternity. Isa. 60:15-22

1. There will be a reversal of past animosity! Isa. 60:15
  • Past attitudes toward Israel: “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through":


      • The Land under the Mamluks became a backwater province ruled from Damascus. Acre, Jaffa, and other ports were destroyed for fear of new crusades, and maritime as well as overland commerce was interrupted. By the end of the Middle Ages, the country's towns were virtually in ruins, most of Jerusalem was abandoned, and the small Jewish community was poverty-stricken.

    • Again, under Ottoman Rule from 1517-1917 we read the following:

      • With a gradual decline in the quality of Ottoman rule, the country suffered widespread neglect. By the end of the 18th century, much of the Land was owned by absentee landlords and leased to impoverished tenant farmers, and taxation was as crippling as it was capricious. The great forests of Galilee and the Carmel mountain range were denuded of trees; swamp and desert encroached on agricultural land.

  • Future attitudes toward Israel during the Theocratic Kingdom:
    • "I will make you an everlasting pride" (Isa. 60:15): Since Israel as a nation, and Jerusalem as its capital is almost universally despised, even among many who call themselves Christians, that animosity must and will change. Jerusalem and Israel will be a source of everlasting pride, not only for Israelis, but for all followers of the great King!
2. Israel will benefit from international nurture because of Yahweh's salvation! Isa. 60:16
  • Israel will be protected and nurtured by nations and kings. “You will also suck the milk of nations and suck the breast of kings": To western ears this turn of phrase seems rather crude, and even embarrassing. But to Middle Eastern ears it made perfect sense and was not embarrassing. It means that in the Millennial Kingdom Israel will be protected and nurtured by nations and kings. Thomas Constable writes, “It is easy for us to see how Gentile nations will sustain Israel in the future, because ever since 1948, certain Gentile nations have sustained the modern state of Israel.”
  • Israel will know Yahweh as her Savior and Redeemer. A great purpose of God’s elevating of Israel to the status of “Most-Favored-Nation” is that Israel will finally come to know that Yahweh is her Savior and Redeemer. It is God’s will that all of His people humbly acknowledge His greatness and kindness. People who do not do that are among the most arrogant and dysfunctional of mankind.
3. Yahweh will bless Israel during the Millennial Age. Isa. 60:17

a. His material blessing: "Instead of bronze I will bring gold": In each case an inferior substance is replaced by a superior one. This simply illustrates the honored and blessed condition of Israel and Zion in the Millennial age. It is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel clear back in Deuteronomy 27:1-26 and Deut. 28:1-68. If Israel obeyed God, she would be blessed in every way. But if she disobeyed God, she would be cursed in every way. God guarantees Israel’s obedience through the New Covenant, and so He guarantees her blessings. The Church has not replaced Israel. Israel’s greatest days are ahead. And when Israel is right with God, Gentiles will be right with God. And both Israel and the nations will experience the untold blessings that accrue with obedience.

b. His spiritual blessing: "And I will make peace your administrators and righteousness your overseers": The city of Jerusalem, the State of Israel, and the entire world will be filled with peace because there will be universal righteousness. If righteousness is lacking, there can be no peace. The initial fulfillment of this promise will take place during the Millennial Kingdom. But the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy will take place in New Jerusalem and upon New Earth. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). None of them will be permitted on New Earth or in New Jerusalem.

4. Yahweh will preserve Israel from war and terrorism. Isa. 60:18

a. There will be an absence of war and destruction.
  • There will be no invasion of the land of Israel. "Violence will not be heard again in your land,"
  • There will be no terrorism within Israel's borders. "nor devastation or destruction within your borders."
b. The symbols of safety and security.
  • As signified by the name of her walls: "But you will call your walls 'salvation.'"
  • As signified by the name of her gates: "and your gates, 'praise.'"
5. There will be an eternal glory of Israel that will emanate from Israel's God. Isa. 60:19-20

a. There will be a displacement of natural light. Isa. 60:19a
  • There will be no need of the sun by day.
  • There will be no need of the moon by night.
    • This passage is not saying that the sun and moon will cease to exist during the Millennial Kingdom. It is saying that for people living in Jerusalem, and perhaps in Israel, there will be no need for sun or moon. The reason is that Yahweh, meaning Jesus Himself, will be Israel’s eternal light source, as well as the source of her glory.

    • This condition is repeated in regard to New Jerusalem and New Earth (Rev. 21:23, 25; 22:5). Once again, it does not necessarily mean that New Universe will have no stars or that New Earth will have no sun or moon. But they will be superfluous. The light of the great city, coming from the Lamb and from God, is so bright that people on New Earth live by its light. It is so penetrating that inside the city, there will be no need of any artificial lighting (Rev. 22:5). There will be no such thing as a darkened room inside New Jerusalem!
b. There will be a supernatural source of light. Isa. 60:19b
  • Yahweh will be her eternal source of light.
  • Israel's God will be the source of her glory.
c. There will be an eternal presence of light. Isa. 60:20
  • God, the source of Israel's light, will, in contrast to the sun, never set.
  • God, the source of Israel's light, will, in contrast to the moon, never wane.
  • Because of that supernatural light, Israel's time of grief and sorrow has ended.
6. The condition of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel during the Kingdom. Isa. 60:21-22

a. All Israelis will be righteous. Isa. 60:21a
  • At Christ’s return He will gather all Israelis from all over the world for judgment. The judgment will take place in the desert of the nations, somewhere outside the land of Israel. He will make all Jewish people to pass under the rod. All rebels will be weeded out and not allowed to enter the land (Ezek. 20:33-38; Matt. 25:1-30). I presume they will be destroyed and will await a final judgment of the wicked at the end of time (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 20:11-15). Those who survive that judgment will have done so because God had softened their hardened hearts of stone and replaced them with hearts of flesh (Ezek. 11:17-20; 36:24-28). He had placed His Spirit within them so that they wanted to obey and love Him and serve Him. God has guaranteed this transformation by His New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). Thus will come the time when “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26-27; cf. Isa. 59:20-21).
b. Israel will possess her God-given land forever. Isa. 60:21b
c. Yahweh's motivation in permanently establishing righteous Israel in the land of her inheritance: so that Yahweh might be glorified. Isa. 60:21c

d. The supernatural preeminence of the Jewish people. Isa. 60:22a
  • "The smallest one will become a clan,"
  • "And the least one a mighty nation."
e. The Guarantor and timing of Jewish preeminence: "I the LORD will hasten it in its time!" Isa. 60:22b
  • Amillennialists and unbelievers can deny that there is any future for Israel; politicians can attempt to thwart and redefine Israel’s future; terrorists can attempt to destroy Israelis; nations can attempt to annihilate her; but no one can stop the inevitable, inexorable activity of Yahweh. In His own time, He will elevate Israel to the place of international honor, glory, and supremacy. His own Anointed One, Jesus of Nazareth, will be eternal King of Israel. And God’s Sovereign march through history and final redemption of the elect of all nations will ultimately take place.
Conclusion

A future time of great glory exists for the restored nation of Israel. This glory will manifest itself both in the future Millennium and in the Eternal Kingdom of New Jerusalem and New Earth. Israel's God-given light of righteousness in the Millennium and in Eternity will draw all nations to her (Isa. 60:1-3). Believing Jewish people will be restored to Israel with wealth and glory during the coming Millennium. This will accrue to the glory of God (Isa. 60:4-9). There will be great joy as expatriate Israelis from all over the world return to Jerusalem and to Israel with the assistance and blessing of redeemed Gentiles. Arab nations, formerly stout observers of Islam, will joyfully and voluntarily participate in and contribute to the worship of Yahweh and His glorious Millennial Temple, which will replace the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque (Isa. 60:6-7). Maritime and other Western nations will assist in the repatriation of exiled Jewish people back to their homeland ((Isa 60:8-9). Earth's nations will serve Israel both in the Millennium and throughout Eternity (Isa. 60:10-14). Foreigners will rebuild the walls of Israeli towns and cities during the Millennium, and Gentile kings will serve Israel (Isa. 60:10). This will be a time of great peace, and Israel will have no enemies. The gates of Jerusalem (and other cities) will be open round the clock (Isa. 60:11). International commerce will be transacted with Israel that will greatly increase the wealth and commercial success of Jerusalem and Israel. Rulers of formerly anti-Israel nations will participate in parades through down-town Jerusalem and will signify their subservience to and cooperation with the nation of Israel and its King, Jesus (Isa. 60:11). Non-cooperating nations will be destroyed and ruined for they will receive no rain (Isa. 60:12; Zech. 14:16-19). The forests of Lebanon will yield trees that will beautify the Temple in Jerusalem (Isa. 60:13). Israel's former enemies will serve her and come bowing at the feet of Israeli officials and, especially, Israel's great King, Jesus (Isa. 60:14). They will acknowledge that Jerusalem is not the capital of the Islamic Palestinians, but it is the favored city, not of Allah, but of Yahweh, Israel's God. They will acknowledge the legitimacy of Zion and Zionism (Isa. 60:14). Finally, Israel's wealthy, glorious international supremacy will endure not only throughout the Millennium on this present earth, but will endure throughout eternity in the glorious Capital City of New Jerusalem reigning over New Earth (Isa. 60:15-22; Rev. 21:1-22:5). There will be a reversal amongst all nations of past animosity toward Israel (Isa. 60:15). Israel will benefit from international nurture and protection because of Yahweh's salvation (Isa. 60:16). Yahweh will bless Israel during the Millennial Age both spiritually and physically (Isa. 60:17). Yahweh will preserve Israel from war and terrorism (Isa. 60:18). There will be an eternal glory of Israel that will emanate from Israel's God. This glory will manifest itself in supernatural light which displaces and outshines the light of the sun and moon (Isa. 60:19-20). All Israelis will be righteous, and they will possess their God-given land of Israel forever (Isa. 60:21). Israelis will be supernaturally preeminent (Isa.60:22). The Guarantor and Sovereign fulfiller of Israel's pre-eminent destiny is none other than Yahweh Himself. "I the LORD will hasten it in its time!" (Isa. 60:22).




(Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.)




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Posted January 1, 2020