Monday, December 19, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 170

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 170

Chapter 60 is titled "The Glory Of Zion" and it deals not with the return of the exiles to Jerusalem, as we have been studying in Chapter 59, but the kingdom of the Messiah when He rules the earth from the throne of David. 

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Isaiah 60:1-3) In yesterday's passage the Lord saw there was no deliverer, no mediator like Moses to plead for the people, and so He became the Deliverer. Christ came in the flesh to be the mediator between man and God. He came first to Israel but since then has drawn people from every nation to salvation. When He reigns from Jerusalem someday, all the nations of the world will come to honor Him and kings will bow down at His feet.

Our world seems dark today. Last night I opened up a news website only to close it after glancing down the headlines and noting they contained nothing but news of crimes and disasters. I didn't have the heart to read all that bad news. No wonder the gospel is called the good news! Sometimes it's the only good news we can find to read in this dark world, but just imagine how thick the darkness would be without it. Light began to dawn when Christ was born and it shined even more brightly after He took our sins upon Himself and rose in victory over the grave. But just think how bright His light will be when He reigns as King of kings and there is no more death or sorrow or sickness or sin or wars or disasters!

Isaiah envisions some future day when Zion will be all the Lord wants her to be, with all her scattered people regathered. And the peoples of the world will look to her as the nation whose God is the only God. "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. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come." (Isaiah 60:4-5) Israel will not be conquering the nations and taking their wealth; these gifts are a free offering of people who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.

"Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Median and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord." (Isaiah 60:6) When Christ was born, wise men from the east sometimes referred to as kings came bearing gifts of gold and incense and myrrh. These gifts symbolized three very important aspects of the identity of this Child. First, gold was a gift given to kings, and this gift indicated the belief of the wise men that this Child would be the King of the Jews. Second, incense was an offering made to gods, and these men are declaring their belief that this Child has come to earth as God in the flesh. Third, myrrh symbolized suffering, mourning, and death, and this was a prophetic gift that foretold what Jesus would endure for the sake of mankind. We take note that, in the kingdom of the risen Christ, no myrrh is brought, but only the gold and incense. He is God and King, but His suffering is over. And the suffering of mankind is over as well. A new and brighter day has dawned and the sun will never set on it. There will be no more suffering or mourning or death, not for Christ and not for those who have trusted in Him.

"All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nabaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on My altar, and I will adorn My glorious temple." (Isaiah 60:7) After studying various works and commentaries on verse 7, it appears that many mainstream scholars believe the "offerings" of verse 7 are not sacrifices but simply a part of the wealth that is brought to Zion. There is a difference between an offering and a sacrifice, and since Christ came as the Lamb of God there is no more need of animal sacrifice. In Chapter 60 we find each nation bringing the best of what its country produces, and the lands of Kedar and Nabaioth were particularly suitable for the raising of flocks and herds. In addition, the people of Kedar and Nabaioth are considered to be the descendants of Abraham through his son Ishmael, which indicates the eventual peace between those who belong to Ishmael and those who belong to Isaac.

Christ came to first make peace between God and man, and through Him someday man will be at peace with his fellow man. Then the song the angels sang in Luke 2:14 will be fulfilled, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." 

Below is our worship song link for today.

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