For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,
that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

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 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2007 James Melough

60:1. “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

Though addressed specifically to Isaiah relative to Israel’s millennial glory, it applies also to every believer, see Ro 8:16-18, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

60:2. “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.”

That spiritual darkness which began with the rebellion of Adam has continued to increase, and today covers the earth with an almost impenetrable pall, except where the light of the gospel has pierced the darkness of individual hearts, revealing their sin, and desperate need of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, see 2 Cor 4:3-6, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The increasing darkness covering the world today is the assurance to believers of the imminence of the Lord’s return to rapture them to heaven to eternal glory.

60:3. “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

This describes what will be in the Millennium, when as noted already, Jerusalem will be the capital of the world, and all nations will gladly acknowledge Israel’s supremacy, Solomon’s reign being a type of that coming era of Jewish glory.

60:4. “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side

The description continues to be of Israel’s regathering at the beginning of the Millennium, and only spiritual blindness will obscure the fact that the continuing return of the Jews to Palestine is the positive proof that the rapture of the Church could be today, with Israel’s complete restoration the next event on God’s calendar.

60:5. “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces (wealth) of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”

The word “fear” in the KJ translation of this verse is generally recognized as inaccurate, better renderings being, “tremble (with joy),” ERV; “shall thrill and be enlarged,” ASV; “shall throb and overflow,” NAB; “shall thrill with pride,” NEB; “your heart a-thrill and throbbing,” Moffatt.

“... the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee” is also translated, “the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before thee,” NAB; and “the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee,” is also translated “the wealth of nations shall come unto thee,” ERV; “you shall possess the wealth of nations,” NEB, and “... the forces of the Gentiles” is better translated as in the ERV and ASV “the wealth of nations.”

It seems that the ships of the world will sail continually to Palestine, and by that trade increase her wealth.

60:6. “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 show forth the praises of the Lord.”

“The multitude of camels shall cover thee,” means that “Caravans of camels shall fill you,” the description continuing to be of Millennial Israel’s flourishing commerce, and of the Gentiles’ joyful acknowledgment of Jehovah’s greatness.

60:7. “All flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nabaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.”

The AMP translation of this verse is, “The eastern pastoral tribes will join the trading tribes - all the flocks of Kedar - and My glorious house I will glorify.”

This continues the description of Millennial conditions worldwide relative to worship. Animal sacrifices will be offered, pointing back to Christ’s sacrifice, as those of the OT age anticipated it; and the glory of the Temple in Jerusalem will exceed that of the past.

60:8. “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?”

60:9. “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tahshish 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.”

Another translation of this verse reads, “Who are these that sail along like clouds, that fly like doves to their dovecotes? They are vessels assembling from the coasts and islands, ships from Tarshish leading the convoy; they bring your sons from afar, their gold and their silver with them, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel; for He has made you glorious.”

The reference to their flying as a cloud, and as doves, is understood by many to be a reference to the airplanes that will carry the Jews from all over the world, back to Palestine.

In the Millennium the Jews, who for twenty weary centuries have been scattered and despoiled by the Gentiles, will be brought back to Palestine, bringing with them the riches given them by God, see Deut., 28:13, “And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to follow them ....”

The future of believers of this present era is even brighter: we will reign with Him as promised in 2 Tim 2:11-12, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him ....”

60:10. “And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.”

Israel’s God-given dominion over the nations has been forfeited by her disobedience, but it will be restored in the Millennium as described here, her former enemies being they who will be foremost in rebuilding her. The nations will willingly acknowledge her sovereignty, their kings themselves bringing gifts as tokens of their submission to her rule, her promotion following her own repentant confession of rebellion against God, and her glad acceptance of His rightful dominion.

60:11. “Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces (riches) of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.”

Under God’s assurance of peace and safety Jerusalem’s gates will never need to be shut again. By day and by night the representatives of the nations will bring her their riches.

Commentators disagree as to whether the nations will bring their gifts voluntarily or by compulsion, but the context indicates the former; and the same condition governs our giving: all that we render to God is to be out of willing grateful hearts acknowledging Him as the Giver of every good and perfect gift, see James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

60:12. “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”

“.... wasted” here is associated with the idea of drought, indicating that the destruction of the rebel nations may be specifically by drought.

60:13. “The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fire 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.”

Literally the reference is to the bringing of lumber from the mountains of Lebanon for the building of God’s house, but spiritually the application is to the coming of all nations to worship Jehovah in Jerusalem during the Millennium.

60:14. “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.”

Israel’s former foes will come bowing in humble submission acknowledging her superiority, confessing that Jerusalem is the governmental center of the millennial earth. The former “parched place” (the literal meaning of Zion), will then be as the garden of the Lord to the whole earth.

60:15. “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellence, a joy of many nations.”

The transformation Palestine is yet to undergo will surpass men’s imagination. From being a virtual desert she will become as a well watered garden, a burgeoning paradise.

60:16. “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.”

Taylor has translated this verse, “Powerful kings and mighty nations shall provide you with the choicest of their goods to satisfy your every need....”

The fulfillment of this promise will cause millennial Israel to acknowledge the kindness and greatness of God toward her. We of this present dispensation of grace are guilty of base ingratitude when we forget to thank Him for the blessings He has showered upon us, for He has blessed us “with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ,” Eph 1:3, those blessings having been secured for us at incalculable cost: the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s being described here as “the mighty One of Jacob” should remind us of our unworthiness to receive such blessings: they were secured for us by what the Lord Jesus Christ suffered at Calvary when we were spiritual “Jacobs,” i.e., natural men, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. He died there the death we deserved to die, but by His death He has expiated all our sins, enabling God on a perfectly just basis to pardon them all, and bestow His priceless gift of eternal life, so that spiritually we are no longer Jacob, but Israel “a prince of God.”

60:17. “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.”

This continues to expand on God’s phenomenal blessing and enrichment of millennial Israel, the latter part of the verse being also translated, “I will make peace thy government, and righteousness thy magistracy,” ABPS; “I will put Peace in as magistrate, and integrity as the government,” JERUSALEM BIBLE.

60:18. “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.”

This poetical description of millennial Jerusalem points to the universal salvation and praise that will result from Israel’s equitable government. It will be the antithesis of what has been in the past when her perversity has provoked the angry resentment of the nations.

60:19. “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.”

The effulgence of God’s glory, eclipsing that of the sun, will be Jerusalem’s light by day and night, the context indicating that this may be in the Millennium, though some understand it to refer to the eternal state.

60:20. “Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall the moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” This indicates the eternal continuance of Israel’s millennial peace and glory.

60:21. “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.”

The description appears to be still of millennial conditions, and the eternal blessedness of converted Israel whose obedience will glorify God, as in the past her disobedience has dishonored Him.

60:22. “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten in his time.”

The AAT translation of this verse is, “The least one shall become a tribe, the smallest a mighty nation - I the Lord will hasten it in its proper time,” and the NAB rendering reads, “The smallest shall become a thousand, the youngest, a mighty nation; I, the Lord, will swiftly accomplish these things when their time comes,” and seems to continue to describe millennial conditions


[Isaiah 61]

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