Plunging into The Glory; Isaiah 60-66
July 1, 2015

C. R. Oliver

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July 1, 2015

Plunging into The Glory
Isaiah 60-66


The last six chapters comprise a climax to "the re-introduction of God to His people." For fifty-nine chapters the prophet unfolded a dramatic display of the intervening power of the Almighty in behalf of His covenant people. Now, it is time to rehearse what has been said and rapidly close his work.

In these six chapters, Isaiah used a broad brush to show how God has followed a plan from the beginning of time to the end of the ages. That plan has never been far removed from His people and its intent is to bring His kingdom on earth and a New Jerusalem where the old one stands.

Jerusalem is special. The current fight over its control is expected in light of the prophecy that surrounds it. Like a magnet drawing the nations to judgment, earthly Jerusalem will end as the heavenly one descends (Similar to Jacobs ladder, heaven and earth will come together).

As these last chapters unfold, it becomes the duty of both the writer and the reader to separate what is a promise to national Israel and what is promised to the church. To help in this task, one needs to remember Isaiah uses familiar events in Israel's history to reveal future events in the providence of God. For instance, he used Israel's deliverance from Egypt (as a reminder) to show his nation that God is still able to deliver His people.

Now, he equates Israel's restoration (after the Babylonian captivity, which was an event taking place after his lifetime) to be evidence that God can yet rescue and glorify His people. As in any comparison, Isaiah vacillates between items cogent to Israel's Babylonian return and those at the end of the ages. Just as Israel had to rebuild their cities and Temple after the return of Zerubbabel, God is shown bestowing His favor on the Church and promises His Temple reign on earth will be magnificent.

One of the hallmark passages is in chapter 61, which Jesus quoted in the Temple (as recorded in Luke 4:18ff). Jesus stopped short of quoting the entire passage, however. He ended before announcing, "the day of vengeance." He deliberately separated the beginning of His ministry from those times of violent intervention by the heavens.

Chapter 60:

This chapter begins with a mandate:
Isaiah 60:1-3
'Arise, My people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you. 2 Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you. 3 All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the Lord upon you.'
The Lord opens His treatise to the church with a command: "Arise, Let your light shine for all the nations to see." What will be the result of shining out to the nations? "All nations will come to your light." (We have seen this proven. All nations and tribes of men have responded to the Gospel light, either positively or negatively.)
Notice also, "Darkness, as black as night, shall cover all the peoples of the earth." As in the day of deliverance from Egypt, the children of light stood out against the background darkness of Pharaoh.
Isaiah then uses the "known" world of his day as well as citing familiar places (that were at unease with Israel), portraying them as coming to bow before them. In like manner, the church will see those who have opposed its message coming to support it.
Isaiah 60:10-12
'Foreigners will come and build your cities. Presidents and kings will send you aid. For though I destroyed you in my anger, I will have mercy on you through My grace. 11 Your gates will stay wide open around the clock to receive the wealth of many lands. The kings of the world will cater to you. 12 For the nations refusing to be your allies will perish; they shall be destroyed.'
Isaiah will soon juxtapose the differences between the restoration of Israel after Babylon and the glorification of the church after persecution.

When Zerubbabel arrived to restore the ancient city and Ezra came to rebuild the Temple, the response of the people was twofold. From the younger generation there was rejoicing, but with the elder citizenry there was weeping. The elders realized the rebuilt Temple did not have the glory of the former. In other words, Jerusalem was rebuilt, but only national Israel was restored - spiritual Israel was not restored. This was the case when Jesus arrived and in many ways is the case today!

However, when modern Israel emerged, it was to be a sign to the church (The Isaiah promises were about to take place in them. A single sentence proves it).
Isaiah 60:13
My Temple will be glorious.
(Previously God said in Isaiah 60:7, 'I will glorify My glorious Temple in that day.')

Then, the prophet points to the timeframe for this aggrandizement:
Isaiah 60:19-61:1
'No longer will you need the sun or moon to give you light, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and He will be your glory. 20 Your sun shall never set; the moon shall not go down--for the Lord will be your everlasting light; your days of mourning all will end. 21 All your people will be good. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with My own hands; this will bring Me glory. 22 The smallest family shall multiply into a clan; the tiny group shall be a mighty nation. I, the Lord, will bring it all to pass when it is time.'
It is now time for this prophecy to be fulfilled.

Chapter 61:

The context for this glorious transformation began with Jesus and the birth of the early church. When the church was born, it was born in Israel and in Jerusalem. No longer would the territory be known as the habitation of the Jews, for a transformation began with the birth of the glory-filled upper room. Spiritual association with this event changed forever the relevance of that city. No longer would it be characterized as the place of the Temple, but the place of the birth of His Kingdom on earth. Jesus positioned it as the seat of the church.
Isaiah 60:18
Your walls will be 'Salvation' and your gates 'Praise!'
When Jesus began His ministry, He quoted the following passages from Isaiah 61 and He did so inside the Temple. He established spiritual Israel and the spiritual Temple at that time. He reiterated the fact when He spoke to the woman at the well, "neither will you worship in this mountain nor in Jerusalem..."

When Jesus quoted what is recorded in Luke 4:18ff, He stopped short of the complete passage. "The day of vengeance" had not come, and He was not at liberty to announce it.
Isaiah 61:1-3
'The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

Luke 4:18-19
18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."
Isaiah 61: 3 is oft quoted. The rejection of the Church and its message has brought Inquisitions, periods of dark oppression, death, hunger and family separation, but in "the day of the Lord," those trials are forever gone.
Isaiah 61:6-7 TLB
You shall be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You shall be fed with the treasures of the nations and shall glory in their riches. 7 Instead of shame and dishonor, you shall have a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.
Double Grace is upon the glorious church (Grace: the enabler, helper to be what God called one to be, the great provider for the task He has called you to do, the great covering for the anointing flowing out of your life, the great eraser of all your sin and shame).

Paul declared the church to be comprised of priests and kings administering grace through the New Covenant. Isaiah saw the day and prophesied it so to be!
Isaiah 61:8
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Chapter 62:

At the beginning of this chapter, Isaiah declares His love for the people of God and Jerusalem. He sees the promise of God in the distance and commits himself to be an intercessor until God delivers those pledges. In these next two chapters, there are some immutable promises: First, He promises to bless His people and be constantly available to them. Second, He promises to punish those who rebel against Him and trouble His people. Below is Isaiah's commitment to that agenda.
Isaiah 62:1-2
Because I love Zion, because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I will not cease to pray for her or to cry out to God on her behalf until she shines forth in His righteousness and is glorious in His salvation. 2 The nations shall see your righteousness. Kings shall be blinded by your glory; and God will confer on you a new name. TLB
While introducing this portion, a rare thing occurs; Isaiah talks about himself and his feelings. Clearly, it is a response to the overwhelming prospect facing the transformation that must take place. He even says God will give Zion a new name. The old name is associated with sin, rebellion and is despised on the earth. The New Name is associated with God's glory. God has done this before, in giving a new name to Abraham and Sarah, as well as Jacob.
Isaiah 62:12
(God's covenant people) shall be called "The Holy People" and "The Lord's Redeemed," and Jerusalem shall be called "The Land of Desire" and "The City God Has Blessed." TLB
Spiritual authority takes place in the following passages. Isaiah establishes a plan of action based on the edict of God. He establishes intercessors with one goal in mind. This plan will end when God does His final work. The question is: where are the intercessors?
Isaiah 62:6
O Jerusalem, I have set intercessors on your walls who shall cry to God all day and all night for the fulfillment of his promises. Take no rest, all you who pray, and give God no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes her respected and admired throughout the earth.
This plan of action is exactly what is required today for the establishment of the glorious church. A call to ceaseless prayer is currently being circulated among the saints. This is a time of serious intercession, just as in Isaiah's day. We know God's promises, it is time to usher them in.

Chapter 63:

Similar to the role of the "daughters of Jerusalem" in the Song of Solomon, Isaiah participates in a dialogue with God. (See: Song of Solomon 3:6-8.)
Isaiah 63:1-7

The Prophet:
'Who is this who comes…with his magnificent garments of crimson? Who is this in royal robes, marching in the greatness of his strength?'
God's Answer:
'It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation; I, the Lord, the One who is mighty to save!'
The Prophet:
'Why are your clothes so red, as from treading out the grapes?'
God's Answer:
'I have trodden the winepress alone. No one was there to help Me. In My wrath I have trodden My enemies like grapes. In My fury I trampled My foes. It is their blood you see upon My clothes. 4 For the time has come for Me to avenge My people, to redeem them from the hands of their oppressors. 5 I looked but no one came to help them; I was amazed and appalled. So I executed vengeance alone; unaided, I meted out judgment.
6 I crushed the heathen nations in My anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground.'
The Prophet:
7 I will tell of the loving-kindnesses of God.
The Lord revealed no one rose to help Him. That which Jesus could not announce (that day in the Temple) has arrived, "the day of vengeance." Where are His helpers? Where are those intercessors? Where are the people of God who stand with Him and are His servants?

Answering the Lord's declaration, Isaiah verbalizes what should have been a national prayer from Israel. He experienes the distance from God that has characterized His people. Isaiah takes on the personae of the whole nation and their history of abandoning the Lord. He truly is an intercessor.

Hear his plea:
Isaiah 63:19
O God, why do you treat us as though we weren't your people, as though we were a heathen nation that never called you "Lord"?
Chapter 64 (Intercession Continued):
Isaiah 64:1 Oh, that You would burst forth from the skies and come down. Isaiah 64:2-5
The consuming fire of Your glory would burn down the forests and boil the oceans dry. The nations would tremble before You; then Your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! 3 So it was before when You came down, for You did awesome things beyond our highest expectations, and how the mountains quaked! 4 For since the world began no one has seen or heard of such a God as ours, who works for those who wait for him! 5 You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways.

Isaiah 64:5 (His national confession)
We are not godly; we are constant sinners and have been all our lives.

8 Yet, O Lord, You are our Father.

12 Will You stand silent and still punish us?
Isaiah offers one of the greatest prayers in the Bible. It would do well to stand on the steps of all the nation's capitols and cry out what he cried out, lest the nations experience what Israel did.

The Lord answered His plea.

Chapter 65:
Isaiah 65:1
The Lord says, "People who never before inquired about Me are now seeking me out. Nations who never before searched for Me are finding Me."
The Lord reminded Isaiah that even though Israel had forgotten Him, there are others who have not. The birth of the Church caused the expansion of His people and the establishment of His kingdom. He revealed to Isaiah He no longer depends on Israel to be His witness to the world. Even though His plan is set before Him, He will honor His chosen ones.
Isaiah 65:8-9
8 'I will not destroy them all,' says the Lord; 'for just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, 'Don't throw them all away--there are some good grapes there!') so I will not destroy all Israel, for I have true servants there. 9 I will preserve a remnant of My people to possess the land of Israel.
There was an Israel of God within Israel the nation; just as there is a people of God among the flocks of churches. O' church, just as it should not have been in the days of Isaiah, it should not be today, not all Israel was God's Israel and not all the church is THE CHURCH.

However, the message of God is clear for this hour. Rise Up, O Church within the church, and let your light shine!
2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'
Isaiah said it as well.
Isaiah 28:16-17
Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
Whoever believes will not act hastily.
17 Also I will make justice the measuring line,
And righteousness the plummet;
The Lord's answer to Isaiah's intercession did not veer from His plan.
Isaiah 65:13-15
13 Therefore, the Lord God says, "You shall starve, but My servants shall eat; you shall be thirsty while they drink; you shall be sad and ashamed, but they shall rejoice. 14 You shall cry in sorrow and vexation and despair, while they sing for joy. 15 Your name shall be a curse word among My people, for the Lord God will slay you and call His true servants by another name.
The Lord points to a future time, maybe even beyond current times, when He will establish His Temple, His Jerusalem, His heaven on earth, with the people of a NEW NAME.
Isaiah 65:16-25
'And yet, the days will come when all who invoke a blessing or take an oath shall swear by the God of Truth; for I will put aside My anger and forget the evil that you did. 17 For see, I am creating new heavens and a new earth--so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18 Be glad; rejoice forever in My creation. Look! I will recreate Jerusalem as a place of happiness, and her people shall be a joy! 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and in My people; and the voice of weeping and crying shall not be heard there anymore.'

20 'No longer will babies die when only a few days old; no longer will men be considered old at 100! Only sinners will die that young! 21 In those days, when a man builds a house, he will keep on living in it--it will not be destroyed by invading armies as in the past. My people will plant vineyards and eat the fruit themselves--their enemies will not confiscate it. For My people will live as long as trees and will long enjoy their hard--won gains. 23 Their harvests will not be eaten by their enemies; their children will not be born to be cannon fodder. For they are the children of those the Lord has blessed; and their children, too, shall be blessed. 24 I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking to Me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25 The wolf and lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw as the ox does, and poisonous snakes shall strike no more! In those days nothing and no one shall be hurt or destroyed in all My Holy Mountain,' says the Lord. TLB
(Reader: Can you read this passage without shouting, "Haste the Day?" If not, then you had best read it again!)

Yes, the Lord knew the sin of His people without Isaiah's national confession.

Most of this chapter reveals the intricacies of a people who did not honor Him, but He chose to promise a new day. We have a forward-facing God, who dwells not on the past, but in what He can do with the future. The nations of the earth are fast becoming what is defined in the first portion of this chapter. Nonetheless, His eye is cast toward the end of "that" and the beginning of "His Day."

Chapter 66:

The final chapter in Isaiah is one of separation. The Lord separates the unholy Jew from the holy ones. He separates the nations that support Israel and those who do not. He promises blessing to the holy and retribution to the loose, unchaste, hypocritical religious fakers. He knows the difference.

The Lord promises a New Jerusalem which will be established in a day. Many point to these Scriptures and say, "1948 saw Israel born in a day," here is proof. The beginning lines of this chapter seem to aim at the Zionist wish to re-establish the Temple and sacrifices.
Isaiah 66:1-4
'Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool: What Temple can you build for Me as good as that? 2 My hand has made both earth and skies, and they are Mine. Yet I will look with pity on the man who has a humble and a contrite heart, who trembles at My word.'

3 'But those who choose their own ways, delighting in their sins, are cursed. God will not accept their offerings. When such men sacrifice an ox on the altar of God, it is no more acceptable to him than human sacrifice. If they sacrifice a lamb or bring an offering of grain, it is as loathsome to God as putting a dog or the blood of a swine on his altar! When they burn incense to him, he counts it the same as though they blessed an idol. 4 I will send great troubles upon them--all the things they feared, for when I called them, they refused to answer, and when I spoke to them, they would not hear. Instead, they did wrong before my eyes and chose what they knew I despised.'
When secular-religious people take charge of sacred duties, the sacred becomes unholy.

This entire chapter is spoken to those familiar with the things of God. Look at the passages that say, "I called and you didn't answer." (The rich man in hell was a devout Jew!)

Note: that which began in Chapter 65 will be repeated.
Isaiah 65:12 'When I called, you didn't answer; when I spoke, you wouldn't listen. You deliberately sinned before my very eyes, choosing to do what you know I despise.'

Isaiah 66:4
'When I called them, they refused to answer, and when I spoke to them, they would not hear. Instead, they did wrong before my eyes and chose what they knew I despised."
Chip Brim was correct in asking God, "Why are you going to punish this nation?" God's answer came in sounds, sounds of "a gavel coming down." Bam: no prayer in public schools. Bam: Roe vs. Wade. Bam: Take down the Ten Commandments from government building. Bam: Gay marriage. With each gavel sound came another determination against God.

Repetition is a didactic form; it adds emphasis and sets principles.
Isaiah 66:2
'Yet I will look with pity on the man who has a humble and a contrite heart, who trembles at My word.'

Isaiah 66:5
5 'Hear the words of God, all you who fear him, and tremble at his words: "Your brethren hate you and cast you out for being loyal to My name." "Glory to God," they scoff. "Be happy in the Lord!" But they shall be put to shame.'
TLB I believe there are three separate scenes regarding Jerusalem in this final prophetic word. I firmly believe the Lord gave Isaiah a vision of Jerusalem that scanned its spiritual significance from the beginning of time to the very end of time. Isaiah witnessed the Jerusalem of his day, but saw it spiritually from its start to finish (note: Acts 3).
l. The Jerusalem of Jesus' Day:
Isaiah 66:6
6 'What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the Lord taking vengeance upon his enemies.'

Judgment begins with the house of God. The cleansing of the Temple was more than a symbolic act, it signaled a change in its place with God. The Supreme Sacrifice removed the necessity of bulls, goats and sheep.

2. The last days Jerusalem which changed the focus of nations by its birth and significance. All of the ramifications of "special place" return to it. Nations will come there for judgment.

Isaiah 66:10-16
'Rejoice with Jerusalem; be glad with her, all you who love her, you who mourned for her. 11 Delight in Jerusalem; drink deep of her glory even as an infant at a mother's generous breasts. 12 Prosperity shall overflow Jerusalem like a river," says the Lord, "for I will send it; the riches of the Gentiles will flow to her. Her children shall be nursed at her breasts, carried on her hips and dandled on her knees. 13 I will comfort you there as a little one is comforted by its mother.'

14 When you see Jerusalem, your heart will rejoice; vigorous health will be yours. All the world will see the good hand of God upon his people and his wrath upon his enemies. 15 For see, the Lord will come with fire and with swift chariots of doom to pour out the fury of his anger and his hot rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For the Lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword, and the slain of the Lord shall be many!

Division is seen once again, this time between the "good hand of the Lord" and that of His wrath.

All the nations which are forming alliances against modern Israel are mentioned by their ancient names. (A description of their sins and why God fumes against them is enumerated.) Because of the nature of intermingled prophetic times, some of these passages may bleed over into the New Jerusalem time.

Isaiah 66:17-21 7 'Those who worship idols that are hidden behind a tree in the garden, feasting there on pork and mouse and all forbidden meat--they will come to an evil end,' says Jehovah. 18 "I see full well what they are doing; I know what they are thinking, so I will gather together all nations and people against Jerusalem, where they shall see My glory. 19 I will perform a mighty miracle against them, and I will send those who escape, as missionaries to the nations--to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal, Javan, and to the lands beyond the sea that have not heard my fame nor seen my glory. There they shall declare My glory to the Gentiles. 20 And they shall bring back all your brethren from every nation as a gift to the Lord, transporting them gently on horses and in chariots, and in litters, and on mules and camels, to My holy mountain, to Jerusalem," says the Lord. "It will be like offerings flowing into the Temple of the Lord at harvest time, carried in vessels consecrated to the Lord. 21 And I will appoint some of those returning to be my priests and Levites," says the Lord.
I find it interesting that of those who escape the wrath of the Lord, of such will become the missionaries to the world. They will have seen His power and they willingly scatter to tell the nations about Him. They are believers for sure. They will also be the source of returning His people to the city.

Note: it says "will be like offerings flowing into the Temple." It does not say there will be a Temple in Jerusalem. Those returning will be because of the missionaries (Converts to the Lord Jesus).

Many things are "not said" in these passages.

The shift back and forth between blessing and judgment is a beautiful integration of the Presence of the Lord in the scenario. His overt activities in these historical events make the difference. Time is not a factor to Him, there is no past or future-only the Now!
3. The New Jerusalem Isaiah 66:22-24
As surely as My new heavens and earth shall remain, so surely shall you always be My people, with a name that shall never disappear. 23 All mankind shall come to worship Me from week to week and month to month. 24 And they shall go out and look at the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me, for their worm shall never die; their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be a disgusting sight to all mankind."
Isaiah accomplished his task of re-introducing God to His people and to the world. His emphasis on the glory and power of the Lord toward His own and toward those who oppose Him flow through his work. Beginning with the majesty of Isaiah 6, when he beheld the Throne of God and with it his commitment "Here am I Lord, send me," he does not waver from his task.

Israel had forgotten who they were and who their God was. Isaiah brought them face to face with their destiny. This destiny was fulfilled in the last chapter, as their Great and Good God stepped in and once again caused His people to flourish.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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