The Future Glory of Israel
1 [b] Arise, shine, for your light has come,and [c] the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,and thick darkness the peoples;but the Lord will arise upon you,and his glory will be seen upon you.3 [d] And nations shall come to your light,and kings to the brightness of your rising.4 [e] Lift up your eyes all around, and see;they all gather together, they come to you;[f] your sons shall come from afar,and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.5 Then you shall see and [g] be radiant;your heart shall thrill and exult,because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,[h] the wealth of the nations shall come to you.6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,the young camels of [i] Midian and [j] Ephah;all those from [k] Sheba shall come.[l] They shall bring gold and frankincense,and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.7 All the flocks of [m] Kedar shall be gathered to you;the rams of [n] Nebaioth shall minister to you;[o] they shall come up with acceptance on my altar,[p] and I will beautify my beautiful house
Making the King proud!
For many years, my family lived in rented homes. You pay monthly and you live there. Your stuff is there, but you do not own the home. You are there for a while, and you move, or maybe your Landlord sells the home. You have an interest in the home, but it is not the same as owning the home. The church belongs to God. We are here for a little while to be involved, take care of it, and use it to expand God’s Kingdom and show His glory to those around us. My goal in this series is to help this congregation as we work to grow God’s kingdom in our local community. Our goal is to follow Him and give Him the glory, because it’s His church anyway. Remember, It’s about Him, not us.
Last article, we discussed the main purpose of the church being displaying God’s glory in our community. This is an important foundational issue to get right. It’s important because everything else flows out of whether we get this right.
3 P’s – Purpose, Passion and People?
Love God, Love People, Make Disciples?
All this must flow out of a desire to show God’s glory.
The passage we are going to look at today gives us a small look to the “end-game” of God’s Glory.
This is a prophecy and picture of God returning for His own V1
There is a lot going on in this passage that was written so many years ago that hasn’t fully happened yet. We have had glimmers of pieces of this, but trust me, we WILL know when it happens. Matthew Henry gives this introduction to Isaiah chapter 60:
We meet with nothing in the history of the Jews which can be deemed a fulfilment of the prophecy in this chapter; we must conclude it relates principally to future events. It predicts the purity and enlargement of the church. The conversion of souls is here described.
Isaiah’s prophecy here is a lot like that in Revelation, in that it can be interpreted and analyzed to the point where we forget the point in the first place. Much like Revelation, it can really be summed up in a statement – God is in control, the Son is coming back to reign, and we have been given the job of making disciples in the meantime. A key marker to this that we will come back to a couple of times this morning is the returning of the Jews to Christ after a time of spiritual darkness in the world. Adam Clark makes that point very clear in his commentary.
The subject is the very flourishing condition of the Church of Jesus Christ at that period of the Gospel dispensation when both Jews and Gentiles shall become one fold under one Shepherd. The imagery employed is of the most consolatory and magnificent description. This blessed state of the world shall follow a time of gross darkness – Adam Clarke Commentary
Is that to say that it will get worse before it gets better? I can’t say. I can say that those that honestly look at end times and the theological views will see that During the Civil War in the US, theologians thought we were close. During both World Wars, theologians thought we were close. They were all in some very bad situations. You look at some of the things going on today and ask the same question… I don’t know. I do know our job in the meantime. Love God, Love people, Make Disciples. Our job isn’t to know the day or the hour, it’s to be ready and make disciples in the meantime.
It’s easy to get distracted in the darkness of our world v2
Verse 2 paints a picture of the things going on just before God comes back in His glory. The Hebrew for darkness/thick darkness paints the word picture of a thick vapor that envelops everything around it and you cannot see out of it. Barnes addressed this in his commentary
the idea here is, that the nations would be enveloped in a cloud of ignorance and sin so dense and obscure that no light could penetrate it – a description strikingly applicable to the whole pagan world.- Barnes Notes
Is this today? There is definitely darkness. There is no disputing that. How much worse does it have to become to qualify as what Isaiah is talking about here? I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to know. I do know God hasn’t said “its time” yet, so we keep on working for Him.
However, we can praise the Lord that this spiritual darkness will be overcome. It is not the focus of this passage. God is bigger and more powerful than any that oppose Him, and every knee will bow and tongue confess.
Do you believe that AND live it?
This is the big point of this passage. All nations will come to Him. Israel will be a light to the nations. All will be blessed as a result. God will be given glory.
God’s glory will shine through His people, Many nations will come to God through His people V3-5
Verse 3 of chapter 60 is a picture of what I have been talking about the last couple weeks when I asked the question – Is our church a lighthouse in the community? In this passage, God’s people Israel are showing His glory, and nations from all around are coming to them for the knowledge of Him as a result. It’s a matter of “we see you are different. We see you are blessed, we want to know more”
Dr Thomas Constable points out in his commentary that he believes the events of this passage to be taking place during Christ’s millennial kingdom that we read about in the book of Revelation. He also goes on to say,
Israel will rejoice and be amazed because the nations will bring their wealth and give it to Israel. The nations will do this because Israel will be the Lord”s vehicle for bringing the knowledge of God to them. The gifts are really in praise of the Lord, not to gain Israel”s favor, or to repay her for her sufferings, or because she is a superior race. – Dr Thomas Constable
This last part is truly an amazing picture. Israel is blessing the nations with the word of God, and the nations are bringing material blessings to Israel. By boat and by land, people and abundant material possessions are flowing in.
In Barnes notes, he mentions that the people listed in verse 7 are Arab people, from the south, descendants of Ishmael. This sounds possibly as far from today as we could imagine.
In the end, we see that God is truly glorified here as His house is built up, and offerings being laid at the altar. So, it does point to a time of the temple being rebuilt at a future time in Jerusalem. All are worshipping HIM.
This is all great, but what does it mean to us today?
This passage is a show of what God can do with a people if we let Him. It shows us that God is about His glory being shown to the nations. For today, The US is still a nation. We have a job to do. Show God’s glory. How? Love God, Love people, Make Disciples. How does that happen? We get our 3 P’s in Line, purpose, passion and people.
It’s all connected. We must be in tune with where God is leading us to connect in our community, even a connected Global community!. Whether it is working with another local church to make a larger impact than we can on our own, or whether it’s doing what we can to minister to a family in crisis, the end game is not about us. It’s about God’s Glory being shown, always. We don’t get to choose what that looks like.
The thing that we must discern as a church is the specifics of God’s leading. Making the most for him from the resources He has given us.
Everything about what we do as a church and as Christ followers should revolve around bringing Glory to God. Is what we do as a church bringing glory to God?
Is what we do as Christ followers during the week?
What about what we watch on TV? What we read and post online?
John Piper says it best:
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him
Are we satisfied that we are bringing glory to God through what we say and do every day? I’m not. I have days (or minutes) that I totally blow it. It means that I have to ask forgiveness, and start again the next day with new mercies. We have a God that is in the forgiving business. For that I am very thankful.
FB Hole speaks to God’s glory in his commentary on Isaiah 6 :
So whether it be for the saint of today, called by the Gospel to a heavenly portion, or whether for the renewed Israelites of the future — salvation stands securely based upon righteousness. And because righteousness will be established praise also will “spring forth before all the nations.” It will be so obviously the work of God that the glory of it and the praise will be His.
It’s all about Him. It’s not about us. I
- Is what we are doing as a congregation bringing glory to God?
- Are we satisfied that we are bringing glory to God through what we say and do every day?
- Have we become distracted by the spiritual darkness in our world?