Sunday, February 06, 2011

Isaiah 60 - Awaken to the Glory!

Contextual Notes:
The first 39 chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy focus on the coming Messiah-King who will judge sin. Chapters 40-55 focus on the comfort the Servant Messiah will bring by suffering, dying, and rising again, thus fulfilling all God’s covenants (54-55). From chapter 56, Isaiah focuses on how Messiah’s suffering changes our future despite our present sinful condition. Messiah’s kingdom is open to all (56:1-8). Repentance is the key to healing and peace (57:14-21), not mere religious activity (58:1-5). Serving like the Servant (58:6-10), which brings blessing and restoration (58:11-14). Though sin may separate us from God (59:1-8) and others (59:9-15a), the Redeemer intercedes for those who repent (59:15b-21). The result? An awakening to hope (60:1-9), honor (60:10-14), and transformation (60:15-22) – the Millennial Reign of this Messiah.

Key Truth: Isaiah wrote Isaiah 60 to teach Israel that the Redeemer-Messiah’s Reign will include an Awakening to the reality of His Hope, His Honor, and His transformation.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about being a father.
Key Verse: Isaiah 60:1
Pray and Read:  Isaiah 60

Sermon Points:
1.   Awaken to Hope! (Isaiah 60:1-9)
2.   Awaken to Honor! (Isaiah 60:10-14)
3.   Awaken to Transformation! (Isaiah 60:15-22)

Exposition:   Note well,

1.   AWAKEN TO HOPE! (Isaiah 60:1-9)
a.   After announcing that the Redeemer will come to Zion, to those who will repent (59:17a, 20-21) and bring his people into a covenant, Isaiah now turns his attention to the restoration of Jerusalem, and he sees something that is glorious. The tone now shifts again as Isaiah describes the future glory of Jerusalem, calling Zion to awake (60:1-3). Still drowsy, she is urged to look and see the glory of fulfilled hope (60:4-9). And what does he urge a sleeping Israel to see? The end time Messiah reigning on his throne in what theologians call the Millennium. This is the second time Isaiah has done this. In chapters 51-52, he announces the deliverance of the peoples and in chapter 52 the renewal of Jerusalem. In chapter 53 Isaiah reveals the Messiah as the Suffering Servant. Next time we will see this pattern, because in our sequence (chapters 59-60), the Messiah himself speaks, revealing himself in chapter 61.
b.   One of the most persistent themes of OT prophecy envisions the end of history when the Messiah will set up a kingdom on earth with a capital at Jerusalem. From there, the Messiah-King, a descendant of David, will rule over all the nations on the planet. This bright vision comes after the Messiah’s crushing defeat of evil and the great spiritual conversion sweeping the nations and Israel. Theologians often call this period the Millennium, a word meaning 1,000 years. This vision is found here in Isaiah 60:1-61:6 and in many other places in Isaiah: 2:1-4; 4:2-6; 9:6-7; 11:1-16; 24:1-13; 32:1-5; 33:17-27; 35:1-10; 52:7-10; 61:1-6; 66:15-23. And Isaiah is not the only place: Jeremiah 31:1-27; 33:14-34; Ezekiel 20:32-44; 34:20-31; Daniel 2:31-45; 7:1-28; 9:20-27; Hosea 3:4-5; Joel 2:28-3:2, 9-21; Amos 9:9-15; Obadiah 15-21; Micah 4:1-5; Zechariah 2:1-13; 14:1-21; and Malachi 3:1-5; 4:1-6.
c.   ILLUSTRATION: Christ commanded the leper to “Be clean,” but the leper had no power to obey himself, but as Christ speaks the leper is cleansed (Matthew 8:1-4). The leper understood. So when God commands Jerusalem to “Arise,” he enables Jerusalem to arise. It is a word of power as when Peter commanded the little girl Tabitha to arise (Acts 9:40). In the same way, we are called to Arise and Shine, and he gives us the ability to do that.
d.   60:1 – Qumi ori – Arise, shine. Having received the light, her salvation, Zion is to be a light – evangelism. Zion can be a light because light has come to her. Now Zion is called to radiate that light. This salvation dispels the darkness of ignorance, sin, and evil.
e.   Qum (Arise) – I want to look at the important first word here, qum (arise). The Hebrew word for arise is qum, a very important word in the history of redemption. I noticed this several years ago when I was preaching chronologically through the journeys of the children of Israel in the Wilderness. In Numbers 10:35-36, Moses shouts in praise to the Lord, “Arise, O Lord, let your enemies be scattered!” Moses is prophesying the resurrection of Jesus Christ that His enemies may be scattered. And in Christ’s resurrection, his enemies, even the last enemy, death, was defeated. Note also that the text mentions that the ark traveled three days before Moses prophesies to the Lord to arise. Notice that the Ark of the Covenant, i.e., the Presence of the Lord, was seeking a place of rest for the people of God.
f.    John Gill writes of Numbers 10:36, “Perhaps Moses, under a spirit of prophecy, might have a further view, even to the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, when they shall return and seek the true Messiah, and be turned to him, and when all Israel shall be saved.”
g.   We have learned that the best commentary on Scripture is Scripture itself. It explains itself. Two Psalms have the same line and the same word, qum (arise) as Numbers 10:35 and Isaiah 60:1. Psalm 68:1 explains Moses’ words as a clear prophecy of Jesus Christ’s ascension in Psalm 68:18: “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious – that you O Lord God, might dwell there.”  (see Paul’s understanding of this verse in Ephesians 4:7-10). And verse 19 prophesies Jesus as Savior: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”

h.   In Psalm 132:8 we find Moses’ declaration quoted: “Arise O Lord, let your enemies be scattered,” where the arising is connected with the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16). See verse 11: “The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: ‘One of your own descendants I will place on your throne . . . for ever and ever.” And verse 17 connects David and the Messiah: “here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.”
i.    Before we get too far afield, but with this additional commentary on the word qum (arise), we see that this word doesn’t just mean to wake up from sleep, but to wake up from death – to be resurrected.
j.    ILLUSTRATION: Edward J. Young agrees: “This glory . . . was manifested in particular in the history of redemption, as in the Shekinah and the pillar of cloud and fire. It accompanies salvation, for salvation is a manifestation of the Lord’s glory.”[1] Young sees something important here. Salvation as the glory of the Lord and a result of arising (qumi), i.e., resurrection. Because of the resurrection, salvation has come, and we are called to radiate it to those around us.
k.   Arise – This arising is in resurrection, and it results in a radiance, a shining forth, for our Light has come. Our Messiah has come. Our Redeemer has come to Zion, to those who repent of their sins (59:20), and he has made a covenant (not with us, but on behalf of us) (59:21). The result is the new life of resurrection, that brings hope (60:1-9), honor (60:10-14), and transformation (60:15-22). It causes us to radiate with evangelism. It penetrates the darkness of sin (60:2). It shines forth the glory of this Messiah (60:3-4), breaking the power of depression and failure (60:5), reassigning the desolate inheritances (49:8-9).
l.    60:4 – Look!  The text says, “lift up your eyes and look.” If we simply look around us and see the present sin and distress around us, we may well be discouraged. But if we look up, or if we look ahead, the situation is very different. Everything around us is transformed by the certainty that God is near and that his perspective is superior to our own.
m. APPLICATION:  Paul understood this whole concept. Galatians 2:20. What about you? Are you living the Christ-life? Are you living for yourself? Do you make decisions based on what will make you happy or more money rather than on what your Lord approves of? In your business, in your family, whose standards do you use when making a decision? Yours? The worlds? Or the Lords? Are you living a life of submission to the Lord of your life? If not, why not?

2.   AWAKEN TO HONOR! (Isaiah 60:10-14)
a.   The nations that persecuted Israel will honor her (60:10-12) and nature herself will overflow (60:13-14).
b.   Here are themes of the return of the people to the Land (60:4; 49:222-23); foreign kings bringing wealth to the city (60:5b-9), bowing down before God (60:14-15), the nations reconstructing the city (60:10; 44:28; 45:13; Ezra 1:4; 6:3-5)
c.   APPLICATION: Repentance of our sin (59:20) brings us a Redeemer who brings us honor. Being a Christian is an honor. Being a Christian gives us spiritual authority in the heavenly realms and the natural realm. Why is it an honor? Because we have the honor to bear his Name. That’s all it takes to make Christianity honorable. Even for those being persecuted for their faith, Christianity is an honor for them to endure trials for his Name.

3.   AWAKEN TO TRANSFORMATION! (Isaiah 60:15-22)
a.   God’s presence transforms not only the city but also her people (60:15-122). 60:18 – No more mourning or invasions of this city (54:14-17).
b.   60:19-20: God’s presence. The city mentioned here could never match the Jerusalem after the Exile or any city outside the end-time. The only comparable city to the one here is very much like the heavenly city found in Revelation 21-22. These verses tie together the chapter, ending the way it begins, with the light of God (Psalm 36:9). Compare 60:3-5a, 11, 19 with Revelation 21:23-27).
c.   60:21-22: Only those who serve the Lord will live in Jerusalem, and they will prosper (54:13). Verse 21 reveals why the promises of the chapter await fulfillment. The material blessings must be accompanied by inward righteousness that comes from the Messiah himself, that God may display his splendor, and he will act in the fullness of time.
d.   APPLICATION: One of these days a King will sit down literally on a throne in Jerusalem, the King of Kings, and he will judge the nations. Where will you be? Will you be celebrating in his presence and worshiping Him? Or will you find yourself one of his enemies, one that he never knew? Jesus is coming back, and he is coming back to your world. He’s coming back without a warning. He’s coming with wrath and force. He’s coming with power and judgment. And He’s coming on a white horse!
Invitation: Won’t you leave your pride behind, repent of your sins, and come to him today?

[1] Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), 3:443-4.