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This is the 17th message from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Last time, I gave a message from Isaiah 58:11,「The Lord will guide you always; 」Chapter 58 reflects the formal way of worship at that time. The message of God’s condemnation toward hypocritical prayer and fasting is written. But now we are walking in faith in Jesus, who has accomplished the work of redemption on the cross. We gather here for worship every week and give our utmost gratitude to Jesus. There is no need for formal fasting anymore. We don’t have to be proud of our action to be accepted by God. We are saved by the grace of God. God is caring for our hearts. And God is listening to any small prayers that we give. The Lord constantly guides us. Let us walk every day with that kind of faith.
Chapter 59 points out the sin that separates human from God. However, seeing such people, verse 15 says that God broke His heart for human. It broke His heart, so his own arm achieved salvation for him (verse 16). That includes Gentiles and, of course, the Israelites. Isaiah 59:20 says,「“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.」
(Isaiah 59:20 NIV)
Paul in the New Testament quoted this passage and gave a prophetic message to the Jewish people who crucified Christ and made their hearts stubborn, that they will also be saved. (Reference; Romans 11: 25-27.) The Redeemer will come. It was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus Christ, but the promise of the Lord’s salvation is given in verse 21 that He will never leave God’s people.
Today we will read Chapter 60. It describes the glory of Zion and the wealth it brings to Zion. We would like to see this passage from the perspective of the people captured by Babylon and from the perspective of us living in the last days. Now, please read Chapter 60.
Verse 1 says,「“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.」(Isaiah 60:1 NIV)
Jesus Christ will come and glorify Zion. John 1: 4-5 introduces Jesus as the light of all mankind and describes that the light shines in darkness. The time will come when the glory of Jesus will be poured upon all the people, especially upon believers. The same is true in this day and in the birth of Jesus. Darkness covers the world. People live with various anxieties and worries. However, the time will surely come when the Lord will shine upon the believers. Isaiah boldly speaks to the believers to arise, shine, and receive the glory of the Lord.
Verses 4-9 describe the gathering of people and wealth in Zion. Verse 4 says, 「“Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.」(Isaiah 60:4 NIV)
It prophesies that believers come together to worship in Zion from all over the world. Gentiles will also come together as sons and daughters. It is expressed that people bring treasures to Zion in order to worship God from many different places. Especially in verse 7, the words “Kedar’s flocks” and “the rams of Nebaioth” are mentioned, which are the names of the children of Ishmael, the son of Abraham. (Reference; Genesis 25:13) Ishmael is the father of the Arab people, so if you understand it literally, it is prophesied that Arab people meaning Muslims will gather in Zion and worship together. Verse 7 says,「…The rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple.」(Isaiah 60:7 NIV)
Verses 10-18 describe how the whole world gathers in Zion and submits to God, the Holy one of Israel. Verses 10 and 11 says,「“Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you….. Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night,」(Isaiah 60:10-11 NIV) All people will serve God, so there will be no conflict, and there will be no need to close the gate. It is written in verse 13 that the world-famous Lebanese wood is used in the sanctuary of God and honors God’s footrest. The wealth of the world will be used to worship the true God. In verses 14 and 15, the people who oppressed Israel will also bow down to Zion and they will call it the City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. They say, “Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.」God’s plan is wonderful and amazing. The time will come when Zion will be transformed into a city of eternal pride and joy for generations. I imagine how hopeful these prophecies were for those who lost their country and were captivated by Babylon. The people freed from the captivity will rebuild the city of eternal pride and joy. Zion was used to refer to Jerusalem and its temples in Isaiah’s time, but in the New Testament, it is synonymous with heavenly Jerusalem and is mainly used to refer to God’s people. God calls us, God’s people a city of eternal pride and joy.
In verses 19-22, the glory of God is shining upon Zion. We no longer have to rely on the light of the sun or the moon. God created both the sun and the moon. Verse 19 says,「…for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.」(Isaiah 60:19 NIV) This word comes true when new heaven and earth are created, as in Revelation 21:1. We believers will become the holy city, the New Jerusalem, and the people of God. The time will come when we will be free from all suffering and live with Jesus in new heaven and earth. Revelation 22: 5 says,「There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.」 Let us believe in this promise and live a shining life with Jesus.