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Isaiah 60: Zion's Bright Beginning & Gracious Growth

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, May 15, 2010.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    May 29, 2007
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    Zion's Bright Beginning & Gracious Growth

    Isaiah 60

    Studying out this rich subject of God's Kingdom revealed in Isaiah, I might say with Solomon "My heart is overflowing with a good theme", Psalm 45:1. But I cannot match his other confession: "My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." On the contrary, I feel dull, stupid, slow-witted when I think of all the wonderful riches in this chapter of Isaiah 60. And distracted by necessary lesser things that seem to crowd in evilly - but you know what I mean.

    Let's take a stab at it. To think about these things can only help us. A good part of seeking those things that are above, Col. 3:1, is to know and reckon to be true those spiritual blessings that we have right now in Christ Jesus: We cannot, at the same time, be down in the dumps and have our heart in the heavenlies.

    One of the first things I noticed about this chapter was the very close correspondence to a small section in Revelation; More exactly, Rev. 21:23 - 27 and Rev. 22: 1 - 2.

    Here is the fascinating thing: those themes in Isaiah 60 that we, from our perspective, view as historical or ongoing, have cross-references in Revelation which we have been taught to see (from our perspective) as still future. But more on this later.

    The Bright Beginning of Zion, verse 1-3

    Arise, shine;
    For your light has come!
    And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.

    For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
    And deep darkness the people;
    But the LORD will arise over you,
    And His glory will be seen upon you.

    The Gentiles shall come to your light,
    And kings to the brightness of your rising.

    Disclaimer: I am not going to do an exhaustive (exhausting!) exposition of all these verses. Some passages, given our ongoing Zion study, merit especial attention.

    "Arise, shine" is one of several of Isaiah's coupled divine imperatives, going back to 40:1, "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" Also, "Awake, awake!", twice in chapter 51. "Depart, depart!" in chapter 52. There are others, too, either repetition of a single word or, as in 60:1, two similar imperatives linked together. There is probably a good study here.

    But an unusual aspect of this light of Zion is that it is actually partial. The light is not world-wide. See verse 2. The world is in the darkness of Egypt, but we - at the same time - are in the bright land of Goshen, Exodus 10:21 - 23. We Christians are to shine as lights in a dark world, Matt. 5:14; Phil. 2:15. Christ is the Light of the World. He also rules as King amidst enemies, Psalm 110:2. These two ideas help us to appreciate our first (of seven) cross-references in Revelation, 21:23 - 24:

    The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

    And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

    I realize that most readers of this passage see this as referring to a future and universal brightness, but please consider the fact that this is a cross-reference to - and a further clarification of - Isaiah 60:2 - 3.

    In both of these passages we have light.
    In both of these passages the light is ascribed to the glory of God.
    In both of these passages we have kings coming into this light.
    Because the passage in Isaiah is not future to our time, we should consider seeing Revelation 21 in the same framework.

    More to come.

    #1 asterisktom, May 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2010