Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 1st, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 60

The Pulpit CommentariesThe Pulpit Commentaries

Verses 1-22



Isaiah 60:1-22

A SONG OF TRIUMPH UPON GLORIFIED ZION. This is rather a detached poem than an integral portion of a book. It is complete in itself, and but slightly connected, either with what precedes or with what follows. Delitzsch and Mr. Cheyne regard it as a "counterpart" to the magnificent ode in Isaiah 47:1-15, which describes the fall and ruin of Babylon. It is composed of five stanzas, of nearly equal length:

(1) Isaiah 47:1-4;

(2) Isaiah 47:5-9;

(3) Isaiah 47:10-14;

(4) Isa 47:15 -18; and

(5) verses 19-22.

Isaiah 60:1-4

The first stanza. Zion's brightness and numbers.

Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine. The subject of the address does not distinctly appear until Isaiah 60:14, where it is found to be "the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel." Zion has long been prostrate in the dust from the prophet's standpoint, and covered with thick darkness. Now she is bidden to "arise" and "shine forth as the day." For thy light is come. Zion cannot shine with her own light, for she has no light of her own, having preferred to "walk in darkness" (Isaiah 59:9). But she may reflect the radiance which streams from the Person of Jehovah, whose glory is risen upon her. "In thy light shall we see light" (Psalms 36:9).

Isaiah 60:2

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth. As in Egypt a "thick darkness" covered the whole land at the word of Moses (Exodus 10:22), while still "the children of Israel had light in their dwellings," so now the world and "the nations' of the world lay in a deep obscurity, into which scarcely a ray of light penetrated, while on Israel there dawned a glory which streamed from the throne of God, and at once transfigured her, and gave her the appearance of an angel of the Most High. In the radiance of this light she was to stand up and show herself, and then great results would follow.

Isaiah 60:3

The Gentiles shall come to thy light. Plunged in darkness themselves (Isaiah 60:2), the Gentiles shall be astonished and attracted by Israel's radiance, and shall draw near to it and seek to partake of it. Among them shall come even their "kings," drawn by the brightness of the glory (comp. Isaiah 49:23).

Isaiah 60:4

Lift up thine eyes (see Isaiah 49:18). Thy sons … thy daughters. Not so much Jews of the dispersion, as Gentiles, who will become thy adopted "sons" and "daughters." Shall be nursed at thy side; rather, shall be carried on thy side. Oriental mothers often carry a small child on their hip, with the ,arm round it to prevent its falling off.

Isaiah 60:5-9

The second stanza. Zion's wealth.

Isaiah 60:5

Thine heart shall fear; rather, shall throb; "beat with excitement." Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee; i.e. the maritime commerce, which has hitherto enriched other nations, shall be turned thy way and be at thy disposal. The forces of the Gentiles; rather, the riches of the Gentiles—as in Isaiah 8:4; Isaiah 10:14; Isaiah 30:6; Isaiah 61:6. Details of the riches fellow in Isaiah 61:6-9.

Isaiah 60:6

The multitude of camels; rather, a multitude—a continual stream of caravans (Kay). These would be composed of merchants from Midian and Ephah, and would bring goods from Sheba. The Midianite caravans of camels are mentioned as early as the time of Jacob, when they carried "spicery and balm and myrrh" from the land of Gilead into Egypt (Genesis 37:25, Genesis 37:28, Genesis 37:36). Ephah is a sub-tribe of Midian (Genesis 25:4). These nomads would visit the distant Sheba, in Happy Arabia, for purposes of trade, and would procure there gold and incense, which they would convey to Palestine. The "Sheba" intended is doubtless that whose queen visited Solomon, and brought with her gold in abundance, and "of spices very great store, and precious stones" (1 Kings 10:10). The Egyptians appear to have called the kingdom of the Shebaim (Sabaeans) "Punt," and to have traded with it from a very early time, especially for frankincense. The dromedaries; rather, the young camels, or the camel colts. All they from Sheba shall come; rather, they (i.e. the camels of Midian and Ephah) shall come all together from Sheba.

Isaiah 60:7

Kedar … Nebaioth. Arab tribes, like the Midianites and Sabaeans. (With respect to Kedar, see the comment on Isaiah 21:15.) "Nebaioth" stands for the tribe called by the Greeks and Romans the "Nabataeans," and by the Assyrians the "Nabaiti," who were one of the most powerful in the peninsula. About me. 645 Nathan, their king, warred with Asshur-bani-pal. During the Maccabee period we find the Nabataeans in alliance with the Jews, and giving them some valuable assistance (l Macc. 5:25; 9:35). The locality of the Nabataeans was northern Arabia, or the tract lying between the Elanitic Gulf and the Lower Euphrates. The wealth of the Nabataeans and the Kedarenes was in their flocks and herds; and this wealth, it is prophesied, they will place, at the disposal of Israel. Mine altar … the house of my glory. The renovated Zion contains a glorious temple, and the temple has in it an altar, to which the sheep and rams are brought—not, however, to be offered in sacrifice, but to be presented to God and become a part of the wealth of the Church.

Isaiah 60:8

Who are these, etc.? The prophet beholds the waters of the Mediterranean Sea covered with numerous ships, whose sails remind him of white clouds moving across the blue expanse of heaven, and again of doves wending their way homewards to their accustomed dove-cotes. The "windows" of the dove-cotes are the openings through which the birds pass into the towers where they breed.

Isaiah 60:9

Surely the isles shall wait for me. The "isles," or maritime countries of the West, have long waited for a Redeemer (Isaiah 41:1; Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 51:5, etc.). They shall send their sons, and their gifts, in ships, which will come from far, and cover the Mediterranean (see the preceding verse). The ships of Tarshish. Either ships belonging to the people of Tartessus, in Spain, who had a widely extended commerce in ancient times (Herod; 1.163; 4.152; 1 Kings 10:22; Ezekiel 27:12; Jonah 1:3; etc.), or ships of a peculiar class, such as were considered suitable for the long and dangerous voyage to the distant Western port (see the comment on Isaiah 2:16). To bring thy sons from far (see the comment on Isaiah 60:4). Unto the Name of the Lord; i.e. "to the place where the Lord has set his Name" (comp. Isaiah 18:7).

Isaiah 60:10-14

The third stanza. Zion's reconstruction.

Isaiah 60:10

The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls. Cyrus aided in the supply of timber for the construction of the second temple (Ezra 3:7). Artaxerxes Longimanus sanctioned the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:5-8). The passage has, however, a meaning beyond the literal one. "Strangers" of all kinds, Greeks, and Romans, and Syrians, and Africans, and Cauls, and Spaniards, and others, assisted in building and enlarging the walls of the Church as it spread over the world, set up its bulwarks in the Creeds, and fenced it round about with various decrees and canons. Their kings shall minister unto thee (see the comment on verse 3). Among ministrant kings may be mentioned Cyrus, Darius the son of Hystaspes, Artaxerxes Longimanus, Alexander the Great, Constantine, Theodosius, Charlemagne, St. Louis, etc. I had mercy on thee. A preterit of prophetic certitude. Mr. Cheyne translates, "I will have compassion upon thee."

Isaiah 60:11

Thy gates shall be open continually. That all who seek salvation may have free access at all times. There is no fear of enemies entering, since war has ceased (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:9, etc.). The forces of the Gentiles; rather, the wealth of the Gentiles, as in Isaiah 60:5. That their kings may be brought; i.e. forced to come by their subjects, who know that their own prosperity is involved in complete submission to the Church established in Zion, and therefore compel their kings to come and render their homage in person.

Isaiah 60:12

The nation … that will not serve thee shall perish. God's curse shall be upon them; they shall wither and decay for lack of the Divine favour and of the graces which God dispenses to mankind through his Church (comp. Zechariah 14:17-19).

Isaiah 60:13

The glory of Lebanon shall come (comp. Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 41:19). Considered as imagery, the representation is that the barren hills which stand about Jerusalem shall, in the new state of things, be decked with tall and beautiful forest trees, all the sylvan scenery of Lebanon being transported to Southern Palestine, so as to encompass the city of God with a garden as delightful as that of Eden. The spiritual meaning is that graces of all kinds shall abound in and around the holy city, and shall make it beautiful and glorious. The fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together (comp. Isaiah 41:19, where the same words occur in the same order; and, for the trees intended, see the comment on that passage). To beautify the place of my sanctuary. Not with "avenues of cedars and plane trees leading up to it" (Delitzsch), which was a style of ornamentation quite unknown to the lie-brews; but with groves, and thickets, and sylvan glades, and wooded slopes all around it, as round the Syrian temples in the Lebanon. The place of my feet. The Jewish temple, as the special place of God's presence upon earth, was frequently termed "God's footstool" (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalms 99:5; Psalms 132:7; Lamentations 2:1). He that towers above the heavens had there set his foot. The metaphor is transferred to the renovated Zion.

Isaiah 60:14

The sons (i.e. descendants) also of them that afflicted thee; i.e. of the various nations that at different times oppressed and afflicted Israel—as Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, etc. Shall come bending unto thee. Bowing themselves down to the new Israel—the Israel of God—as the eleven sheaves bowed themselves down to Joseph's sheaf (Genesis 37:7). At the soles of thy feet (comp. Isaiah 49:23). Shall call thee, The city of the Lord. Hitherto her enemies had bestowed on Jerusalem disparaging names, as "Forsaken,'' or "Desolate" (Isaiah 62:4). Now they will substitute for such names titles of honour, such as "City of Jehovah," "Zion of Israel's Holy One."

Isaiah 60:15-18

The fourth stanza, Zion's prosperity.

Isaiah 60:15

Thou hast been forsaken and hated (comp. Isaiah 54:7; Isaiah 62:4). Zion has been a wife repudiated for her adulteries, "forsaken" by her husband, and the object of his just "hate." So that no man went through thee. The mixed metaphor is awkward, but readily intelligible. Zion is at once a city and a wife. As a wife, she is "hated and forsaken," as a city, no man goes through her. An eternal excellency (comp. Isaiah 59:21, and see the Homiletics on the passage).

Isaiah 60:16

Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles (comp. Deuteronomy 33:19). As a child at the mother's breast, thou shall obtain kindly nourishment through the means of the Gentiles, who acknowledge thee for their superior, and place all their means at thy disposal (supra, Isaiah 60:5-11). Among these, the most liberal, and the most prompt to render aid, will be their kings (see the comment on Isaiah 60:10). Thou shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour. This clause is repeated from Isaiah 49:26. It is a phrase containing in it a mysterious depth of promise.

Isaiah 60:17

For brass I will bring gold; rather, for copper. "Brass" was an alloy little known to the Oriental nations. The general idea is that the glorious age of Solomon would return (1 Kings 10:21, 1 Kings 10:27), and Zion be as resplendent and as wealthy as in his time. The material splendour is, no doubt, throughout the whole description, typical in the main of spiritual glories and excellences. I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. "Peace" and "righteousness" are here personified; and the declaration is that they shall bear rule in the community whereof the prophet is speaking (comp, Isaiah 32:16, Isaiah 32:17).

Isaiah 60:18

Violence shall no more be heard in thy land (comp. Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 35:9). The entire cessation of war and violence is one of the most characteristic features of the "last times," when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning-hooks. "The Prince of Peace" shall ultimately establish peace. It is not surprising that men of earnest religious feeling should have thought, at various times, that they saw the actual commencement of the reign of peace upon earth, so distinctly promised, so earnestly longed for, so necessary for the happiness of mankind. But to a calm and dispassionate observer the nineteenth century seems scarcely more advanced upon the road which leads to this desirable end than the first. Thou shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The true wall of the city will be the "salvation" of which God assures it, and the true gates will be the "praise," or renown, which it has among the nations of the earth (comp. Isaiah 26:1).

Isaiah 60:19-22

The fifth stanza. Zion's crowning glories.

Isaiah 60:19

The sun shall be no more thy light by day. Here Isaiah anticipates one of the most sublime thoughts in the Revelation of St. John the Divine, viz. that the heavenly Jerusalem, illuminated perpetually by the radiance of the Divine Presence, shall need neither light of the sun by day, nor of the moon by night, but shall be sufficiently illumined by the direct and primary light which streams down upon it from God himself. Whether the sun and moon will continue to exist or not is beyond the prophet's ken—he makes no announcement on the subject; sufficient for him that the redeemed bask perpetually in a Divine radiance shed upon them by the "Father of lights" (see Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5). The germ of the idea appears in the earlier prophecies (Isaiah 24:23). For brightness; rather, for illumination. The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light. God is "the Father of lights" (James 1:17)—"the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9). All other light is but his shadow and his reflex—his creature (Genesis 1:3)—therefore perishable, not to be reckoned on for continuance (Psalms 102:26; Hebrews 1:11). But God abides; therefore his light will abide. He is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8). And thy God thy glory (comp. Zechariah 2:5). God will not only be the Light of the Church, but her "Glory" and boast. As the Shechinah was the glory of the first, so "the eternal unchangeable light of Jehovah, with its peaceful gentleness and perfect purity" (Delitzsch), will be the glory of the final temple.

Isaiah 60:20

Thy sun … thy moon. That which is to thee instead of sun and moon—Jehovah's brightness. The days of thy mourning shall be ended. Till the new Jerusalem descends from heaven (Revelation 21:2), and Christ reigns personally over his people (Revelation 22:5), the Church is always, more or less, in a state of mourning. The Bridegroom is away (Matthew 9:15); his light shines upon his Church only by snatches; his Church feels itself unworthy of him—cold, unloving, stained with sin. Fasting, weeping, and mourning befit such a state of things. But in the final condition of the redeemed their mourning shall be ended, "sorrow and sighing shall have fled away" (Isaiah 35:10); God shall have "wiped away all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 21:4); "There shall be no more death" (Revelation 21:4); "no more curse" (Revelation 22:3); "neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4). The days of mourning shall be ended.

Isaiah 60:21

Thy people also shall be all righteous. Here the prophet touches the root of the matter. Pain and sorrow are the fruit of sin. Once let sin disappear, and sorrow goes with it. It is the foundation of all the glory and all the happiness of the redeemed in their Lord's final kingdom, that they are cleansed from all defilement of sin, and "are as the angels" (Mark 12:25). They shall inherit the land; rather, the earth—the "new heavens and new earth" of Isaiah:17; Isaiah 66:22. The branch of my planting; rather, a sprout of my planting; i.e. a sprout which I have planted.

Isaiah 60:22

A little one; i.e. the "little flock" of our Lord's own time on earth (Luke 12:32), will become a strong nation—a countless multitude (Revelation 7:9). In his time; rather, in its time, when the time fixed in God's counsels for the final establishment of Christ's kingdom arrives.


Isaiah 60:1-22

The characteristics of the final Church of the Redeemer.

Isaiah's teaching on this subject divides itself under three heads.

I. THE CHURCH SHALL BE RADIANT WITH A LIGHT DERIVED FROM HER LORD. The radiance spoken of (verses 1-3) is a radiance of moral and spiritual goodness. The absolute moral perfection of the Son of man can, of course, be but faintly and feebly imitated by his followers. Still, they are bound to imitate him; for he "left them an example, that they should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). And they are helped in their imitation by their Lord himself, who infuses into them of his own righteousness, and gives them "grace for grace" (John 1:16). And the result is that ultimately they, even in this life, more or less bear his image and are made like to him. "We all," says St. Paul, "with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). And the resemblance will be greater hereafter. For in their final state they will be cleansed from all stain of sin.

II. THE CHURCH SHALL BE A GREAT NATION, A VAST COMMUNITY, WHICH SHALL FILL THE NEW EARTH AND NEW HEAVENS. The "little one" was to "become a thousand," and the "small one a strong nation" (verse 22). The Gentiles from every quarter were to flock in (verses 3, 4, 14), and haste to the brightness of Zion's rising. Distinctions of race were to be abolished, and Zion's gates were to stand open always, to receive all comers (verse 11). The result was to be a vast influx; and in the ultimate kingdom of the Redeemer would be contained people from every nation under heaven. Besides the mystical hundred and forty-four thousand, representative of the twelve tribes of Israel, St. John saw in the apocalyptic vision "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, which stood before the throne, and before the Lamb" in the heavenly kingdom, "clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (Revelation 7:9).

III. THE CHURCH SHALL CEASE TO HAVE ENEMIES OR SUFFER VIOLENCE, AND SHALL ENJOY EVERLASTING PEACE. When the pit has closed on the ungodly, and Satan has been bound and shut up, and her sins have not only been forgiven, but purged away (Isaiah 1:25), then the Church will find herself kept in perfect peace, with no trouble either from within or from without, with no enemy to vex her, with no faults to mourn (verse 20), with no temptations against which to struggle. Rest and peace are main objects of human desire; only the peace, to be satisfactory, must be a prolonged quiet energy, instinct with consciousness and life. Such an energy is the reverential and loving adoration which the blessed souls render continually to their present God, as they cast their crowns before his throne, and cry, "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb" (Revelation 7:10). The Divine presence will be a perpetually present joy, contenting those who live in it, and causing them to feel an eternal peaceful delight.


Isaiah 60:1-14

The rebuilding of the temple.

I. THE DAWN OF THE NEW DAY. Zion, lying like a prostrate woman on the ground, is bidden to arise, because the glory of her God has dawned upon her. And this in contrast to the thick darkness enwrapping the earth in general. This darkness means alienation from God. As the Israelites had light in their dwellings when thick darkness was on the land of Egypt, so again now. Israel is the "central and mediatorial people." Here a community of God; yonder a world exiled from God. The contrast continues, and ever must continue. "We are of God; the whole world lieth in the evil one." The glory of the pure Church is nothing but a reflection from the Eternal. He is a Sun to enlighten the understanding, open the eyes of the mind, thrill the heart with love. When through the faithlessness of the Church that splendour fades from her, there are no conversions, there is little interest in religion. When it reappears, nations set forth to that light, kings to the brilliance of that dawn.

II. THE RETURN FROM EXILE AND INFLUX OF WEALTH. Here the prophet exults in the contemplation of Arabian wealth flowing into the holy city. Their gifts are viewed as religions, as sacrificial,—consecrated to God. "The wealth of the heathen world shall be consecrated to the service of the Church. In part this has been the case. No small part of the great wealth of the Roman empire flowed into the Christian Church. The time will come when the wealth of India and China, and of Africa, and of the entire world, shall be devoted to the service of God."

III. THE NEW JERUSALEM. The walls shall be raised by the willing hands of strangers, probably the converted heathen, whose kings shall become servants of Zion; an endless stream of caravans shall flow through the open gates. And "eager to minister to Israel, the far-off nations force their reluctant chiefs to join them." For the very existence of these nations must depend on their organic connection with Israel. The Prophet Zechariah significantly declares that the nations who refuse to come up to Jerusalem to worship shall not enjoy the blessing of rain (Zechariah 14:17, Zechariah 14:18), which means they must perish, and their land become desolate. Whatever is said of the territory is said of the nation. To Zion, thus effulgent in her revived glory, shall be attracted also the beauty of natural products—the splendour of the trees of Lebanon, that the courts of the temple and the whole city may be decorated in honour of Jehovah. The oppressors, once so hated and feared, will come in the attitude of crouching suppliants, and they will call the city, "City of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel." This magnificent picture may be construed:

1. As a picture of the ideal Church in relation to mankind. True, in this imperfect state, the prophecy can be but imperfectly realized. The glorious Church, without spot or blemish, remains the dream of lofty prophets and apostles. But without such dreams religious life must become despondent and dreary, fiat and sad. While we listen to such oracles, translate them into song and set them to music, we purify and uplift our hearts. Sursum corda! We rise a little nearer to heaven, or bring heaven a little nearer to earth.

2. As a picture of heaven. There stands the heavenly temple; thither a vast multitude has congregated; and there a vast fund of spiritual riches has accumulated. Prophecy and religious poetry in general are but illusory enchantments unless they point to a reality in that state unseen.—J.

Isaiah 60:15-22

The favour of Jehovah to his people.

Zion is again imagined as the bride of Jehovah. No more is she to be "hated," i.e. neglected (Genesis 29:31; Deuteronomy 21:15), like one less beloved. No more are her streets to be deserted of passengers. She is to be made an "everlasting pride, the delight of successive generations." The kings of the earth are to be tender over her, and she is to be enriched by the resources of the nations.

I. JEHOVAH THE SAVIOUR AND THE RULER. (Repeated from Isaiah 49:26.) Happy the people whose God is Jehovah, the "Hero of Jacob"! Every image of temporal riches and prosperity, such as the gold of Solomon's palace, or the silver common as stones, and the cedars as sycamores (1 Kings 10:21, 1 Kings 10:27), may but faintly shadow forth the splendour of the city under the true and eternal King. Better still, the politics will be those of peace. By a figure of speech, peace itself and righteousness are said to govern the city. And so spiritual shall be the sources of its strength, "it shall need no walls nor gates; for Jehovah shall be a constant source of salvation, and of a renown which shall keep all foes at a distance" (Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah 33:21). Nothing less than righteousness prevailing in every department of Church and state can satisfy that ideal which has been revealed to us, and which our souls thirst to see realized. Violence is to cease. "The pure gospel of the Redeemer has never originated a single war of invasion, nor produced a scene of bloodshed or prompted to strife. Let us look forward to a time when the mad passions of kings and nations will be subdued, and wars only be known among the sad and disgraceful records of the past."

THE ETERNAL SPLENDOUR OF THE CITY OF GOD. Jehovah himself, and material luminaries, shall enlighten it (Isaiah 30:26; cf. Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5). All the wonders of the natural world must pale and turn lustreless before the effulgence of moral beauty. The glory of the Church is its great Head—his Name, attributes, laws, and protecting care. Not so much wealth, talent, numbers, influence, but the character of her sovereign Lord, is her boast. The Church shall enjoy a perpetual existence, living through all changes and surviving all revolutions. Discipline and sorrow shall one day have done their work, and the people shall "all be righteous." They will possess the land, will inherit all that God has done for its welfare, will enter into all his plans and purposes, enjoy the fruit of his agelong spiritual husbandry. And from this state of things fresh lustre will ever be reflected upon his holy Name. There would be immense increase by accessions from the Gentile world. Nor will there be unnecessary delay. The lesson is to wait, pray, and toil until the day dawn—till,

"Crowned with light, imperial Salem rise,
Exalt her towering head, and lift her eyes!"

"He that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:37). These inspired visions have deep relation to the truth; if they he not translated into fact in our time, we may be translated to the sphere where they are realities.—J.


Isaiah 60:1

The blessed dawn.

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." The original reads, "Be enlightened; for thy light cometh." For it does not follow that all are enlightened to whom the light comes. There must be a receptive and a reflecting power in us.

I. OPPORTUNITIES ARE NOT ENOUGH. These come to nations and to men; but we must arise, and shake ourselves from slumber and indifference. Israel is to live as a witness for God. We are not to be as the vortex swallowing up all heavenly privileges; but a fountain, to send them abroad. A lighthouse is not for our own vessels, but for the merchandise of the world. The light shines there in Israel that the Gentiles may come to the brightness of its rising. Light is come. What an advent! How valueless is all else in creation without light!

1. The light of a new morning of national life.

2. The fight of an evangelical prophet, like Isaiah, who sees not only Israel's ruin, but Israel's remedy too.

II. HUMAN ENDEAVOURS ARE NOT ENOUGH. Isaiah does not say, "I have come." He does not point to the medium, but to the light itself. "The glory of the Lord." This is seen to be such:

1. By its unique character. There is no light like the light of inspiration.

2. By its glorious influence. It brings safe guidance, sure prosperity, and spiritual peace.—W.M.S.

Isaiah 60:15

A promise to Israel.

"I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations." God's estimate of honour is the only real and permanent one. Nations have sought other excellences. The Egyptians excelled in architecture; the Greeks in art and beauty; the Romans in government and military prowess. The Jew was to excel in righteousness and religion.

I. GOD'S IDEAL IS IMMORTAL. "An eternal excellency."

1. Military empire passes from kingdom to kingdom.

2. Taste changes alike in art and architecture. But the moral law is eternal.

II. THE CONTRAST IS COMPLETE. The "forsaken" shall have arise among them One who shall fulfil the words of the sixteenth verse, "Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." The "hated" shall find and feel the tender love of God; for (verse 10) "In my favour have I had mercy on thee." Scorn and contumely, what are they when the heart glows with the love of God, and the character wins his everlasting favour?—W.M.S.

Isaiah 60:20

Eternal day.

"Thy sun shall no more go down," etc. We are told in the preceding verse who this sun is. It is God. As the Light of the soul, he shall live for ever. We speak of sun and moon, not only as they exist in nature, but figuratively, as symbolic of joy and gladness to the human heart. Many things are in this sense lights to us here, but their glory is often dimmed, often eclipsed in darkness; but hereafter "the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting Light, and thy God thy Glory." Night is indispensable to nature here. Its dews and darkness answer numberless purposes of good in the wide creation. And must we not say that the gloom and mystery of life have all a meaning, a Divine intent? and that the spirit of the probationer for eternity is perfected in it? To have all sunshine in a world so stained with sin would argue that God thinks lightly of evil. It is not so. This life of ours has much of gloom; but all its darkness, directly or indirectly, springs from sin. The eclipse is caused by the selfishness of man coming between God and the soul. Will God always cause us to endure so much of darkness? No. But we must wait his time. We must wait his place. We may put off our black dress and dress in bridal robes when, as our text says, "the days of our mourning shall be ended." Light is beautiful. "Surely light is sweet." Think how many golden harvest-fields the all-ripening sun has looked down upon; how many scenes of blest content its rays have rested on. Many of our frames of mind are materially affected by the merry sunshine. The sun not only ripens the corn, it gladdens the heart. But there is a sunshine of the soul not at all connected with this. There are joys which nothing outward can bestow or remove. Yes; there are many miserable hearts on the brightest days. The sunshine cannot replace the smile of a vanished face. Likewise there are many glad hearts on the gloomiest days. Nothing can steal from them the blessedness of being loved and doing good. I would remark, however, that—

I. THE SUNSHINE OF LIFE IS UNCERTAIN. Do dark days come suddenly on mariners in distant seas, in other zones? So imperceptibly comes sorrow to human hearts. We have no control over the landscape and the heart. Its fairest scenes may be darkened in an hour! Imagine a belated traveller seeing the sun go down. This is so! What sad intelligence may come! What unbidden conjecture may arise! What surmise] What thought may come forth from the chambers of memory! What spoken words—what sad scenes may quench the light of joy and gladness in the human countenance! Yes; you have marked this; perhaps your own words may have produced it. How many can bear evidence of this! They will be ready to echo my words when I say, "Let us be very thankful for so much bright sunshine as we have, for the joys which are the rewards and accompaniments of Christian life." Yes; "they will bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp, with the psaltery;" they will be glad, but they will rejoice with trembling, for they "know not what a day," etc.

II. THE SUNSHINE OF LIFE IS MUCH DEPENDENT ON THE STATE OF OUR SOULS. We may be surrounded by the sweetest natural and the holiest moral associations, and yet sometimes be very sad. It may be at home, or even in the sanctuary of God. A little pebble placed near the eye will intercept the light of the sun; and a little object may keep away from us the smile of God and the sweet sanction of our own conscience. We feel discontented with ourselves, that, having a cross so near to go to, we should yet bear the burden of so many sins; that, having a Friend so near, we should let him share so few of our sorrows. But the cause of this is the explanation of our sadness: we so often love the sins we cherish; we so often forsake the Friend we should make our own. As it is with a sermon, so it is with all the aspects of life, so much hangs on the state of our own soul. But look up higher. The souls that listened where you do, trod the same earth, wept the same tears as you do,—they are sad nevermore, for the state of their souls is purer than the purest lake which reflects the overhanging hills; so pure that they consciously and clearly bear the image of him who knew no sin.

III. THE SUNSHINE OF HEAVEN WILL BE SOFT AS WELL AS BRIGHT. It is likened to the moon as well as to the sun. Heaven is not only pictured to us by the symbols of the waving palms, and the majestic multitude, and the thrilling anthem, and the reverberating choir, and the glad hosannah! No; there will be soft moonlight as well as sunlight. Much and most of our happiness here is not of the outwardly buoyant and ecstatic character. It is calm and peaceful joy which you crave no vivid image for. This one suits it though—the moonlight. Yes; how many voyagers has it lent its soft light to guide amongst the breakers! How many travellers, imperilled by the way, has it kept in safety from the precipice and the watercourse! How many will sing of the beauty as well as the safety it gives] Never did the sleeping city stand out in such calm and stately grandeur. Never did the overhanging worlds glow with a serener or a steadier beauty. We cannot always bear the gaze of the sun; but ask the Indian missionary, and he will tell you the sweet loveliness of the moon. It is a type, then, as I think, of a calmer joy; the blessedness of a being who, no longer vexed with anger, hate, or jealousy, no more burdened with pride, or prejudice, or selfishness, sees and enjoys God in all around and all within him. Who—what shall disturb this joy? "Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself."

IV. THE SUNSHINE OF HEAVEN WILL BE COMMON TO ALL CHRISTIANS. Some of us here to-day may be for a time walking in darkness, whilst some are rejoicing in the light. There sits the sad widower, and there the joyful husband; there the pensive widow, there the glad wife; there the fatherless orphan, there the fond child. Yea, and deeper are the differences. There is one who, by the grace of God, has just conquered some besetting sin; beside him, one who stilt indulges it. There, one whose commerce with the court of heaven is small; and there, one who, like Enoch, walks with God. There, one who pitches his tabernacle with the open door towards the cross; there, one who has his tent open towards the world. Here are different phases of human experience, different states of physical health, and different degrees of the spiritual life. Consequently the sunshine of one is not the sunshine of all. In heaven it wilt be common. I do not say all will have the same degree of blessedness. I believe they will not. But all will be at rest. There will be no such difference as between sorrow and joy. All will be happy up to the measure of their being; all will participate in a joy of which the sublimest foretastings on earth are but the faintest shadows. Mark, then, the language. "Thy sun shall no more go down." It belongs to thee. We are not of the night, as we are in the night.

V. THE SUNSHINE OF HEAVEN SHALL NEVER REST ON GRAVES. "The days of thy mourning shall be ended." I have often thought on the brightest days of the many new tombs which the sun's light falls on. But a few days since, closed eyes rejoiced in the light as well as mine. Ah! and there are eyes looking on the world which looked on it with them; scenes of sea and land, hill and vale, forest and flood, which photographed themselves on both hearts alike. One is now a clod of the valley. Much of the description of heaven, to inspirit our hearts, rests in what there is not there. And there are no more graves. There is no new tomb for Joseph in the garden of the better country. We shall hear no lamentation for the dead there—"Rachel weeping for her children, because they are not." We shall never, as did the disciples, stand with Jesus at the grave there. No voice will ever say, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!" "Lazarus, come forth!" No; there are no graves, neither in the sea nor in the rock; for "the days of thy mourning shall be ended."—W.M.S.

Isaiah 60:20

Departed grief.

"The days of thy mourning shall be ended.". What a glorious perspective there is in these words! In the fairest skies we are accustomed to expect some clouds to start up from the bed of the sea, or to come suddenly across the blue firmament heralded by some fleecy outrider. Nor do we expect perpetuity of joy in human life. Life is ever the subject of risk and danger. We never part without uncertainty as to meeting again; we never know but our day of glory may set in tears. There comes, too, in time, to us all that "last glance of love which becomes the sharpest pang of sorrow."

I. NIGHT. On earth our experience is often that of mourning. We are sorrowful.

1. Over the ravages of sin in ourselves and in the world.

2. Over the contrast between our ideals and our imperfections.

3. Over the influences of mutability and mortality.

4. Over the weakness of our faith and the coldness of our love to Christ.

II. MORNING. "Ended." Some things end for a time only. We are liable to them again. Fear returns. Disaffection of friends, awhile ago removed, recommences once more. Pain eased gives place to after-anguish. Friend after friend departs. After one victory over temptation comes another and a fiercer conflict. "Mourning ended." Why? God is our everlasting "Light;" for:

1. We are all righteous. (Isaiah 60:21.) The new nature is perfected in those who have the new name; there is no sorrow where there is no sin.

2. We are all at home. "They shall inherit the land for ever." At last the craving for rest is satisfied. At last what we have so long sought here we shall find there. All here mocks us with a sense of change, disruption, and death. There "thy sun shall no more go down."—W.M.S.

Isaiah 60:22


"A little one shall become a thousand," etc. This is a Divine rebuke of our estimates. We look at outward magnitudes; God looks at that which has inward extension in itself.

I. THIS IS TRUE HISTORICALLY. Israel found it so. The Pilgrim Fathers found it so. And many Churches have found it so, where there has been loving co-operation and personal consecration. Look how the despised mission work in India grew to a mighty force, despite the satirical review of Jefferies. Look how the native schools, with their slender beginnings, have grown to millions of disciples.

II. THIS IS TRUE CONDITIONALLY. God must be with us! "I the Lord will hasten it." "It is to be in his time." There is no promise to the "little one," whatever skill, energy, or endeavour there may be—only God is with them. When we are on the side of truth, we are on the side of conquest. When we are waiting in disappointed moods, God is hastening on the sure foundation, which he is laying. When we are fascinated with the meretricious glory of the world, we see it laid low and Christ's kingdom established on its ruins.—W.M.S.


Isaiah 60:1-22

The Church triumphant.

With other eyes than ours the Jews must have read these glowing words. They saw in them a fascinating picture of a triumphant people; they saw the Jerusalem of their knowledge and of their love made strong and glorious in some coming time. Their patriotic hopes were kindled and must have been raised to a white heat of intensity as they dwelt on the gladdening, transporting promise. In the midst of surrounding darkness covering the whole earth (Isaiah 60:2), Zion shines forth with a light which proceeds from nothing less than the Divine Presence itself (Isaiah 60:1, Isaiah 60:2). Attracted by its radiant beams, her exiled sons and daughters return from the strange lands whither they have gone into captivity, while from every quarter the wealth of Gentile nations flows to her feet. She trembles for very joy, her heart expands with the fulness of its emotion, as she welcomes her children to her heart, as she receives these treasures into her gates (Isaiah 60:4-6). The produce of other lands is laid on the altar of Jehovah, and brightens the lustre of that glorious house (Isaiah 60:7). Precious tribute is brought from distant coasts (Isaiah 60:9), and they who once contemptuously humiliated her, now build up the walls of her strength and find their safety in her service (Isaiah 60:10-12, Isaiah 60:14). In place of saddest desolation and signs of Divine departure shall be proofs of national supremacy and the recovered favour of the Lord (Isaiah 60:15, Isaiah 60:16). The excellences of earlier days will be eclipsed by the future splendour; the rude arm of force shall give place to the gentle hand of righteousness; the salvation of Jehovah shall surround the city; and songs of praise shall be on the lips of the citizens (Isaiah 60:17, Isaiah 60:18). The light of noon in all its radiance is but a picture of the glory which will rest upon her in the abiding presence of Jehovah; and joy, rectitude, and enlargement will be her blessed portion (Isaiah 60:20-22). There may be intervening days before this is realized; but when the hour is reached for it to come, the Lord will hasten its arrival. But "God fulfils himself in many ways;" he redeems his promises to us otherwise than we hope and even confidently expect. Jerusalem has never attained, and is not likely to realize, the prosperity and power here depicted; in some other way than that of national glory must we look for the fulfilment of this brilliant vision. We shall find it in the triumph of the Church of Christ, of the "Israel of God," which the Divine Redeemer has lived and died to establish. The features of this "golden age," as thus realized, are indicated in the text; they are—

I. THE EXALTATION OF THE DIVINE. Its glory will be manifestly the "glory of the Lord" (Isaiah 60:1, Isaiah 60:2). And everything is to work for the exaltation of Christ (Isaiah 60:20, Isaiah 60:21). Whatever does not aim at this or make for this is alien, intrusive, harmful.

II. THE POSSESSION OF VITAL PRINCIPLES. (Isaiah 60:12.) All that opposes itself to those truths and principles of which the Church of Christ is the exponent and depository will fail and perish.

III. PERFECT ACCESSIBILITY. (Isaiah 60:11.) Its gates are never to be shut. The Church which is exclusive, the Christian society which is repelling, the minister or messenger of Christ who is forbidding, the message which does not welcome the wandering, bears on the face of it a decisive condemnation.

IV. TRIUMPH OVER ITS BITTEREST ENEMIES. (Isaiah 60:10, Isaiah 60:14, Isaiah 60:15.) Those who smote and scorned shall acknowledge its heavenly origin, and their lips shall utter the redeeming truth; their own hands shall build the walls of Zion.

V. THE INCOMING OF THE REMOTEST. (Isaiah 60:6, Isaiah 60:8, Isaiah 60:9.)

1. Those most distant in space. They shall seek entrance who come from furthest latitudes, whose language, laws, customs, are most strange.

2. Those most distant in spirit—they who have been farthest from God, dwelling in the thickest and grossest darkness with which the land has been covered (Isaiah 60:2).

VI. LAYING ALL THINGS UNDER TRIBUTE. NOt only the glory of nature (Isaiah 60:18), but also the greatness of mankind (Isaiah 60:16); fairest and finest fruits of the field, and the proudest products of society, shall minister to its strength and promote its cause.

VII. SPECIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE KINGDOM AND GLORY OF CHRIST. (Isaiah 60:7.) As the flocks and herds of Kedar and Nabathea would add something, by their novelty and peculiarity, to the glories of the temple; so will the especial characteristics of Christian converts, of the Englishman, of the Italian, of the Indian, of the Chinaman, etc; contribute to the glories of the Church: so will "the imagination of the East, the passion of the South, the vigour of the North, and the enterprise of the West," bring their own tribute to the glory of Christ.

VIII. THE PREVALENCE OF PEACE. (Isaiah 60:17, Isaiah 60:18.)

IX. THE REIGN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Isaiah 60:17, Isaiah 60:21.)

X. EVER-ENLARGING PROSPERITY. (Isaiah 60:17, Isaiah 60:22.)

The special lessons to be learnt from this description of the Church triumphant are:

1. That in all matters pertaining to the kingdom of God, it is his glory that should be sedulously kept in view.

2. That the Church of Christ must expect to prove an attractive power in the midst of encompassing evil.

3. That it must address itself to the restoration and acquisition of those that seem least likely to be gained.

4. That each community should consider what is the particular contribution it can bring to adorn the doctrine and strengthen the cause of its Master.

5. That the Church should be incessantly active in its holy mission.

6. That it should take care that moral Had spiritual excellency marks it course as well as numerical growth and the brilliancy of its conquests.

7. That it must maintain the attitude of devout expectancy and holy gratitude, remembering that all its strength and hope are in "the Lord, its Saviour and its Redeemer."—C.


Isaiah 60:1

The call to shine if we have light: or, the duty of doing as well as knowing.

Our first response to God is the reception of his light; but the second is the giving forth of that light. We read this truth and duty in its Christian phases, and urge it by the use of Christian persuasions. Our Lord made very much of the connection between knowing and doing, profession and practice. His disciples must be salt, that savours something or somebody; light, that shines forth on somebody. See the parables of the ten talents, the husbandmen, the sower and the seed, and the barren fig-tree. God always looks for fitting signs and expressions wherever there is life. See the direct teachings of Christ. "He that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them;" "He that doeth the will … the same is my brother;" "Yea, blessed are they that hear the Word, and do it." This union of doing with professing is necessary:

1. To satisfy us of the reality of our own piety. Illustrate from the seed—if there is life in it, that life will show itself to the light. Men expect to see religion influencing conduct. We expect this in others. Others expect it in us. They look for our shining if we profess to have received God's light. No excellence of creed can excuse unsubdued tempers, unrestrained habits, indifference to the welfare of others, and silence concerning what we have tasted and handled and felt of the Word of life. We must test ourselves if we would be assured of our own vitality. No breath, no life. No shining, no light.

2. To prove the truth of Christianity. It makes great pretensions. How shall it support and prove them? Only by living examples. Experiment tests everything, and constantly fresh experiments are needed. After all argument and evidence are exhausted, we ought to be able to say, "See what Christianity has done: the demon-possessed, the blind, the lame, the drunken, the strong-tempered, the selfish, are changed, and now they shine." Then, if we would offer to the men around us the best plea for Christianity, we must just shine. "Arise, shine; for thy light is come."

3. To extend the work of the Light-bringer, the Redeemer. Christian living is the supreme persuasion. Men may resist eloquence, reasoning, force,—they cannot resist the power of godliness; it is like the influence of leaven; it is like the testimony of the dawning day, which men must heed. Jerusalem of old—Jerusalem spiritualized as the modern Church—may well be bidden to "put on the beautiful garments" of godly living, and "arise and shine."—R.T.

Isaiah 60:7

God's presence the glory of God's house.

"I will glorify the house of my glory" (comp. Haggai 2:7-8; Malachi 3:1). Rendered literally, the sentence would read, "My house of beauty will I beautify." Foreshadowings of this spiritual truth are found in God's presence making the charm of the Eden-home; God's presence abiding as a glory between the cherubim in the holy of holies; and God's presence coming in the symbol of the descending cloud on Solomon's temple. It was the great glory of Herod's restored temple, that the God-Man walked and worshipped and taught within its courts. It is the exceeding great glory of the Church, the spiritual temple, that God the Spirit comes to it, dwells in it, is the inspiration of it, and glorifies it. There is no glory in a shrine without the Deity. The sunshine, streaming through the windows of the old cathedral, fills the whole place with wondrous and solemnizing lights and shades; and the sunshine of the Divine presence fills the heart and the sanctuary with the only true glory and beauty and joy. "The Church is the house of God's glory, where he manifests his glory to his people, and receives that homage by which they do honour to him."

I. WE OUGHT TO GLORIFY GOD'S HOUSE. One idea of the text is that the restored temple at Jerusalem would be honoured by abundant supplies of sacrifices. That old way of worshipping has given place to spiritual forms, such as prayer and praise and instruction; then we should give the best possible attention to these, that in so doing we may honour God's house. The best song, the best gifts, the best architecture, all should be devoted to the glorifying of God's house. And the best, most regular, most reverent, attendance at public worship may be our way of honouring God. "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord." That is the way to glorify God for his goodness.

II. GOD ALONE CAN TRULY GLORIFY GOD'S HOUSE. If he is not present, accepting the worship, inspiring the worship, and sanctifying the worship, then it is all vain show, empty form, deluding ceremony. Write up "Ichabod," for the "glory is departed." God's presence is known in the enduement of his ministers with righteousness, and in the making of his chosen people joyful.—R.T.

Isaiah 60:11

Open gospel-gates.

"Thy gates also shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night." Compare the picture of the new Jerusalem, in Revelation 21:25, "And the gates thereof shall in no wise be shut by day (for there shall be no night there): and they shall bring the glory and the honour of the nations into it." The figure is taken from a country in which the cities were defended by walls and gates, and these gates were closed at night. Closed gates represented the old limitation and exclusiveness of Judaism. Open gates suggest the fulness and freeness of the gospel provision and the gospel offer. "Here the open gates have their special reason assigned—to admit the ever in-streaming world, with its offerings and homage." "The words of the text imply a state of peace, in which there would be no danger of attack; and the constant stream of pilgrims, with their offerings, entering by night as well as by day."

I. OPEN GATES ARE A PROCLAMATION OF PEACE. The Church does not want to hurt anybody, so it feels no fear of anybody wanting to hurt it. Illustrate from the open country of America; it can keep its gates open, because it does not want to injure or take advantage of any other nation, and so it is unable to conceive of other nations wanting to injure it. George Macdonald has, in 'Thomas Wingfold, Curate,' a very curious, but very striking, conception of a heaven of sweetest peace, where there is no money to create greed, and where everybody wants to serve his neighbour, and nobody wants to injure his neighbour. That place can keep its gate open; and so can Christ's Church. Even in some parts of our country, people's doors are never locked. It is a delightful sign of peaceful living.

II. OPEN GATES ARE AN INVITATION TO ENTER. Illustrate by the silent, yet powerful, call of the open church doors on the sabbath day. We hear them singing to us and saying-

''Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou may'st win!"

The gospel's "whosoever will" is Divine persuasion. It gives us confidence; we all can come under that "whosoever."

III. OPEN GATES ARE AN ASSURANCE OF WELCOME AND PROVISION. There is something inside the temple, inside the city, which thus boldly dares to open its doors. There must be a "feast of fat things,… of wines on the lees well refined." Illustrate from our Lord's parable of the gospel-feast. He would not open thus wide his doors if the oxen were not killed and the fatlings ready. Unfold what precious and all-satisfying things for souls the Lord Jesus has provided, and plead that, whether it be morning-time of life, noontime, evening, or night, the gates are open, and we may enter now.—R.T.

Isaiah 60:12

The condition of national prosperity.

"Every nation shall fall unless it serves the Lord, the righteous God, the God of Israel, through whom alone is salvation. The figure of serving Israel means serving the God of Israel" (Matthew Arnold). Foerster remarks that "the Roman pontiffs abuse this oracle of the prophet to establish their tyranny over monarchs. In particular, it is recorded of Pius IV; that at the time of his election he caused a coin to be struck, on one side of which was his own image, adorned with a triple crown, and on the other these words of the prophet were inscribed." Barnes gives suggestions for the historical illustration of the passage: "The idea of the verse is that no nation can flourish and long continue that does not obey the Law of God, or where the true religion does not prevail, and the worship of the true God is not maintained. History is full of affecting illustrations of this. The ancient republics and kingdoms fell because they had not the true religion. The kingdoms of Babylon, Assyria, Macedonia, and Egypt; the Roman empire, and all the ancient monarchies and republics, soon fell to ruin because they had not the salutary restraints of the true religion, and because they lacked the protection of the true God. France cast off the government of God in the first Revolution, and was drenched in blood. It is a maxim of universal truth that the nation which does not admit the influence of the laws and the government of God must be destroyed. No empire is strong enough to wage successful war with the great Jehovah; and, sooner or later, notwithstanding all that human policy can do, corruption, sensuality, luxury, pride, and far-spreading vice will expose a nation to the displeasure of God, and bring down the heavy arm of his vengeance." The precise form in which this subject is dealt with must depend on the standpoint of the preacher. It is better, therefore, only to give the lines in which thoughts, arguments, and persuasions may run. The conditions of national prosperity are—

I. BELIEF IN GOD. Atheism never has built up, and never can build up, a stable nation. An atheistic nation is like a wall of loose stones. There is nothing to bind it into a unity of strength.

II. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD. From different points of view the absolute necessity for some public and authorized testimony of the national faith may be urged.

III. OBEDIENCE TO GOD. By the recognition of his Law as the absolute standard of national righteousness, the final court of appeal.

IV. REFERENCE TO GOD. In all times of national perplexity or peril. "Righteousness exalteth a nation," but righteousness is this—trying to know God's will, and trying to do it.—R.T.

Isaiah 60:13

Glorifying the second temple.

There are no records of such overwhelming manifestations of the Divine glory at the dedication of the second temple as were granted when Solomon consecrated the first. And yet its glory was to be higher than any reached in the experiences of Solomon's temple. There was to be a spiritual presence of God, which was to be realized by the help of the human presence of Christ.

I. EVIDENCES OF THE FULFILMENT OF This PROMISE. Or signs of the spiritual presence and spiritual power of God in his Church.

1. Quickening of religious life; or conversions.

2. Renewals of religious life; or sanctification.

3. Enlargement of religious feelings. This, however, may be spurious, or it may be sound.

4. Reconsecration to religious work.

II. THE CONDITIONS ON WHICH THE FULFILMENTS OF THIS PROMISE DEPEND. Our moral attitudes. We must be set for the blessing. The Church that would have the spiritual presence of God must be

(1) maintaining the Christian spirit;

(2) living the Christian life;

(3) upholding the Christian worship;

(4) working the Christian work.

Then there is much preparing and fitting work for us to do, if God is to "make the place of his feet glorious" where we unite in his worship.—R.T.

Isaiah 60:16

The Mighty One of Jacob.

"And thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." It is singular and significant that Jehovah should here be so closely identified with Jacob, and not, as usual, with the three great patriarchs. We are to get our ideas of him as a Saviour and Redeemer precisely from what he was to Jacob, and what he did for Jacob. Now, the striking thing in the life of Jacob is that he had much more trouble with himself than with his circumstances. The cursory view might make much of the changeableness and the hardships of Jacob's checkered life; but he easily mastered his circumstances. The deeper view sees throughout the career a constant struggle with the bad self, which never gets more than a partial victory, until life draws near to its close, and then the hero of a thousand fights with the bad self is enabled to speak of "the angel that redeemed me from all evil." That angel the prophet suggestively calls the "Mighty One of Jacob." This, then, is our point. The glory of God our Redeemer is that he can redeem us from our bad selves. Show what is meant by and included in the "bad self."

I. THE STRUGGLE WITH THE BAD SELF IS A SECRET STRUGGLE, We do not talk about it. We do not put forth any signs of it. Men think our earthly troubles are our great troubles, but the truth is that no cry goes forth from us with such intensity of passion as the cry which no fellow-creature hears, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Nobody knows how hard we are trying to put away the "old man with his corruptions."

II. THE STRUGGLE WITH THE BAD SELF IS A HOPELESS STRUGGLE. It is if we carry it on in our own strength. "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" What Jacob-like man or woman ever yet sang a victory-song over his own giant self, and praised the weapons and the skill that gained the triumph? Jacobs that try to get quit of the bad self in their own strength end in the dust, under giant Self's foot.

III. THE STRUGGLE WITH THE BAD SELF IS JUST THE STRUGGLE IN WHICH WE MAY HAVE, AND SHOULD REJOICE TO HAVE, A DIVINE HELPER. He, the "Mighty One of Jacob," has access to souls, and influence on souls. He "strengtheneth us with strength in the soul." He will not cease his gracious working until his people are "all glorious within." Of this we may be sure, in this we may have supreme consolation-over the secret inner strife of our souls, the Lord, the Saviour, the Redeemer, graciously presides.—R.T.

Isaiah 60:19

Our everlasting Light.

Contrasts are suggested with brief days that darken into night, and cloudy days that hide the sunshining. It passes our comprehension, indeed, but it kindles our imagination, to conceive of a day that knows no ending, and a sunrising that never reaches its meridian. Yet we often feel as if we wanted life to be all sunshine; it shall be when we are altogether good. While we are encompassed with infirmities, and must be under discipline, God cannot be to us an "everlasting Light;" there must be clouds coming betwixt, Which our fearing, trembling souls fashion into his forms. In the white heavens, white souls need no sun and no moon to shine upon them, for the glory of God doth lighten them. But this is ideal glory, and the question for us is—How near can we get to it now?

I. FOR US GOD MAY BE THE LIGHT OF THE MATERIAL WORLD. To let ourselves be so engrossed with business affairs that there is no room for God in thought, or heart, or life, is to lose the everlasting light—to be unable to see God in common everyday things. It is hardly conceivable that any man could wish to have this fair earth with its vales and hills, without the gilding beautifying sunshine. O poor earth, dull and dead, like sunless winter in Arctic climes! And yet thousands are willing to have this earth of material relationships without the sunshine of God. Exactly what men want, but do not know that they want, is God their everlasting Light. Common life, with him, is lived in the sunshine.

II. FOR US GOD MAY BE THE LIGHT OF THE INTELLECTUAL WORLD. In our day he is only allowed to shine intermittently in this world, and there are many who would blot him out of this sky if they could. Others, who would not go so far as that, would gladly make a thick, foggy atmosphere of their own wisdom, through which he can only shine dimly. We shall never get the full glory of the treasures of the intellectual world until we let the revealing rays of the "everlasting light" fall everywhere upon them.

III. FOR US GOD MAY BE THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. Indeed, there is no light at all in the spiritual world if he does not shine. And the one thing above all others which they crave after who dwell in that spiritual world is the full, constant, unshaded, glowing, life-renewing power of the everlasting Light.—R.T.

Isaiah 60:21

The heaven of universal righteousness.

"Thy people also shall be all righteous." "There are no people on earth that are all righteous; there is a mixture of some bad in the best societies on this side of heaven; but there are no mixtures there. They shall be ' all righteous,' that is, they shall be entirely righteous; as there shall be none corrupt among them, so there shall be no corruption among them; the spirit of just men shall there be made perfect" (Matthew Henry). Universal righteousness includes the following things.





No picture of a material heaven can be so inspiring to us as this sublime picture of a moral state, in which everybody tries to do the right, and finds triumphant grace given to him for the doing.—R.T.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Isaiah 60". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/isaiah-60.html. 1897.
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