This chapter begins with the glorious announcement that Israel's light has come. It then portrays Israel's millennial exaltation, with the nations of the world streaming to Jerusalem, bringing their wealth with them as tribute.
In the previous chapter, Israel is pictured groping around in pitch darkness, until Jesus appears as her warrior-redeemer and she repents of her sin. Chapter 60 begins with the glorious announcement that Israel's light has come. It then portrays Israel's millennial exaltation, with the nations of the world streaming to Jerusalem, bringing their wealth with them as tribute.

Israel is told to arise and shine, for the glory of the Lord shines on her (v1). Deep darkness covers the earth and the nations, but the Lord shines on Israel to dispel this darkness (v2) - see also Isaiah 25:7. This darkness depicts the spiritual ignorance of the masses, and the bleakness of life on earth after three and a half years of world war during the Great Tribulation. The light of Jesus comes first to Israel, drawing nations and kings to her bright light (v3). As the nations come, they safely escort their Jewish citizens back to Israel (v4). Israel will smile with excitement, and her heart swell with pride (v5). The wealth of the seafaring nations will be brought to her (v5), and the wealth of desert nations (v6). The nations' wealth is brought by land (v6-7), by air (v8) and by sea (v9). In verse 6 to 7, various Arab nations from the Arabian Peninsula are specified, all of them being descendants of Abraham through his concubines, Hagar and Keturah (Genesis 25:1-16). Midian and Ephah represent northern Arabia. Sheba is Yemen in southern Arabia. Kedar and Nebaioth represent central Arabia. All of them bring different types of offerings. The sheep of Nebaioth and Kedar are acceptable on God's altar in the temple (v7). Why such an emphasis on nations of the Arabian Peninsula? Nebaioth and Kedar were the first two sons of Ishmael, and the Prophet Mohammed is believed to descend from Kedar. All of these nations represent the heartland of Islam, but in the Great Tribulation, Arabia is portrayed as the Great Prostitute, where the city called Mystery Babylon is located. Jesus the warrior delivers Israel by defeating the Great Prostitute and the rest of Antichrist's Islamic empire. The statement that "All the sheep of Kedar will be gathered to you" may imply that Kedar is one of the nations that will be totally destroyed (as in verse 12), in which case the sheep of Kedar are spoils of war (see Micah 4:13). Alternatively, they may be a voluntary peace offering made by survivors from Kedar (see Isaiah 42:11). In verse 9, the coastlands (representing distant seafaring nations) seek God, and send large ships to bring their Jewish citizens back to Israel, along with offerings of silver and gold. They also supply foreign workers who will rebuild Jerusalem's walls (v10), and their kings will serve Israel.

In verse 10b, God acknowledges that he struck Israel down in anger, but now he has compassion on her and restores his favour. When and how did God strike her? In Isaiah 10, verses 5 and 24, the Antichrist is called the Assyrian and is portrayed as the rod or club that God uses to punish Israel. God strikes Israel by allowing the Antichrist to strike her, but his purpose is to save Israel through it (Jeremiah 30:7), and then in turn to punish the Antichrist and his followers.

In verses 11 to 12, Jerusalem's gates remain open day and night to receive the ever-flowing wealth coming from the nations. Nations that do not serve Israel will be totally destroyed (v12). At the beginning of the Millennium, it is likely to take some time for Christ's kingdom to be fully established throughout the nations of the world, and almost certainly there will be pockets of resistance that need to be overcome.

Verse 13 portrays the magnificent rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, with cedar wood being brought from Lebanon, just as when Solomon built the first temple. The third temple, in which Antichrist sets up the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27) will almost certainly have been destroyed in the events of the Great Tribulation, including the biggest ever earthquake (Revelation 16:18). So the millennial temple in view here is the fourth temple (see Ezekiel 40-48).

Verses 14 to 16 speak of future generations, first of those who oppressed Israel, and then of Israel herself. The children of Israel's oppressors come bowing down (v14), the implication being that the oppressors themselves will likely have already been killed. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, "Fathers must not be put to death for what their children do, nor children for what their fathers do". All who treated Israel with disrespect will now bow down at her feet, and Zion will be called The City of the Lord. In verse 15 Israel, that was once a nation abandoned by God, becomes a permanent source of pride and joy to future generations. Verse 16 says that Israel will drink the milk of nations, and gives an unusual picture of Israel's children being nursed at the breasts of kings! The implication is that their wealth will supply Israel. Israel will recognise Jesus, the Lord, as their deliverer, protector (kinsman redeemer) and powerful ruler. Verse 17 is a portrayal of abundant wealth and prosperity in Israel, similar to that in Israel's golden days when Solomon was king (2 Chronicles 9:20). Verse 18 portrays Israel enjoying peace and security, also as in the days of Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:9). Her walled are named 'Deliverance' (or 'Salvation'), and her gates 'Praise'.

Verse 19 says that the sun and moon will no longer be Israel's light sources, because God will be their everlasting light, and their time of sorrow will be over. Light here represents not just physical light, but also God's blessing, which contrasts with the darkness they experienced metaphorically in the Great Tribulation. Verse 20 says the sun will no longer set, nor the moon disappear, which is slightly confusing. The sun and moon in verse 20 seem to refer to the Lord's light, which replaces the physical sun and moon as Israel's light sources (v19). It doesn't necessarily mean that the world will stop rotating on its axis. At this point, the distinction between Millennial Jerusalem (on this present earth) is somewhat blurred with the New Jerusalem that rests on the New Earth in the eternal age after the Millennium. These statements about the sun and moon are very similar to those in Revelation 21:23-25, which relate to the New Jerusalem. However, the millennial Jerusalem in view in this chapter has a temple (v13), which is not present in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22). Furthermore, verse 22 describes the great multiplication of Israel's population during the Millennium, but in Matthew 22:30, Jesus described life in the eternal age when he said, "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven". So millennial Jerusalem is still in view at the end of this chapter, rather than the New Jerusalem, but the distinction is blurred.

Verse 21 says that all Israel will be godly. Paul seems to have this verse in mind when he says in Romans 11:26, "And so all Israel will be saved", although he then goes on to quote Isaiah 59:20-21. Because of this, Israel will never again be driven out of the land, so they will possess the land permanently. God will firmly plant them in the land, they will be his workmanship (see Ephesians 2:10), and God will reveal his glory through them.

Verse 22 describes Israel's massive population growth during the Millennium. God will fulfil his promise to Abraham and Isaac, to multiply their descendants like the stars in the sky (Genesis 22:17 and 26:4).

The chapter ends with an interesting statement, "When the right time comes, I the Lord will quickly do this!" This is an important statement regarding the end-times generally. When the right time comes, end-time events will come together very quickly and suddenly, taking most people by surprise, just as Jesus and Paul said that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43 and 1 Thessalonians 5:2). This makes it all the more important to study and understand end-time prophecy. As Paul goes on to say in verses 4 to 5, "But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness".
Places: Zion, Israel, Midian, Ephah, Sheba, Yemen, Kedar, Nebaioth, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Tarshish, Coastlands, Millennial Jerusalem, New Jerusalem
Symbols: Light and darkness,
Tags: Jesus delivers Israel, Jesus as light, Nations bring tribute to Jesus, Nations serve Israel, Fall of Islam, Jesus conquers Islam, Millennium, Millennial Jerusalem, Return of exiles to Israel, Prosperity for Israel, Millennial temple, Millennial peace, All Israel saved, Thief in the night, Aeroplanes
Zion’s Future Splendor
1 “Arise! Shine! For your light arrives! The splendor of the Lord shines on you!
2 For, look, darkness covers the earth and deep darkness covers the nations, but the Lord shines on you; his splendor appears over you.
3 Nations come to your light, kings to your bright light.
4 Look all around you! They all gather and come to you – your sons come from far away and your daughters are escorted by guardians.
5 Then you will look and smile, you will be excited and your heart will swell with pride. For the riches of distant lands will belong to you and the wealth of nations will come to you.
6 Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the Lord.
7 All the sheep of Kedar will be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth will be available to you as sacrifices. They will go up on my altar acceptably, and I will bestow honor on my majestic temple.
8 Who are these who float along like a cloud, who fly like doves to their shelters?
9 Indeed, the coastlands look eagerly for me, the large ships (Hebrew: the ships of Tarshish) are in the lead, bringing your sons from far away, along with their silver and gold, to honor the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has bestowed honor on you.
10 Foreigners will rebuild your walls; their kings will serve you. Even though I struck you down in my anger, I will restore my favor and have compassion on you.
11 Your gates will remain open at all times; they will not be shut during the day or at night, so that the wealth of nations may be delivered, with their kings leading the way.
12 Indeed, nations or kingdoms that do not serve you will perish; such nations will definitely be destroyed.
13 The splendor of Lebanon will come to you, its evergreens, firs, and cypresses together, to beautify my palace; I will bestow honor on my throne room.
14 The children of your oppressors will come bowing to you; all who treated you with disrespect will bow down at your feet. They will call you, ‘The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You were once abandoned and despised, with no one passing through, but I will make you a permanent source of pride and joy to coming generations.
16 You will drink the milk of nations; you will nurse at the breasts of kings. Then you will recognize that I, the Lord, am your deliverer, your protector, the Powerful One of Jacob.
17 Instead of bronze, I will bring you gold, instead of iron, I will bring you silver, instead of wood, I will bring you bronze, instead of stones, I will bring you iron. I will make prosperity your overseer, and vindication your sovereign ruler.
18 Sounds of violence will no longer be heard in your land, or the sounds of destruction and devastation within your borders. You will name your walls, ‘Deliverance,’ and your gates, ‘Praise.’
19 The sun will no longer supply light for you by day, nor will the moon’s brightness shine on you; the Lord will be your permanent source of light – the splendor of your God will shine upon you.
20 Your sun will no longer set; your moon will not disappear; the Lord will be your permanent source of light; your time of sorrow will be over.
21 All of your people will be godly; they will possess the land permanently. I will plant them like a shoot; they will be the product of my labor, through whom I reveal my splendor.
22 The least of you will multiply into a thousand; the smallest of you will become a large nation. When the right time comes, I the Lord will quickly do this!”