Isaiah 60 - 61
The Branch will Bring Glory of Zion

Introductory Remarks: In the preceding chapters 54 to 59, Isaiah's generation has been the primary subject of explanations of why YHWH was at a distance from the nation. The practices and sins of the nation and their preoccupation with the things of this world connected with a cursory lip service to the true religion had created the distance. It is not YHWH who has created the gap but the nation. Never the less, even though the rejection of the nation on account of the listed failings is completely covered in the preceding six chapters there is now a return to the theme of the remnant having within themselves the seeds of renewal which will be followed by the introduction of the new heavens and new earth of the promised Zion. In the chapters that follow to the end of the book, the primary theme is the events that bring into reality the promise of Zion and the call of the Gentiles into the new kingdom. Even though it will be reiterated in these chapters that this generation is not to enjoy those blessings, the main theme is: conditions leading up to and the birth of the new nation of Zion.
It is obvious in what follows that highly figurative language describes spiritual events in physical terms. The wicked and their destruction as well as the blessed and their blessings are described in physical terms that must have a figurative or spiritual fulfillment. There is no possibility of a purely physical fulfillment of the following passages. See the Introduction to this section in the preceding document for more details on this theme.

 1. Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

 Verses 1-3: Light of the Gentiles: This motif has already been used several times by Isaiah to refer to the Messiah. In "Nazarene Messiah" passages he is called the "light of the Gentiles" in Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6. He is also connected with the "shekina" motif which seems to be referred to here and supporting this view the Isaiah Targum inserts the words "but the Shekina of the Lord shall dwell in thee" in verse 2.

 4 Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. 5 Then you shall see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, the forces of the Gentiles shall come to you. 6 The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD. 7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you: they shall come up willingly to my altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

 Verse 7: I will glorify the house of my glory: Verse 21 below shows that it is the "Nazarene" and the "Nazarenes" who will be the vehicle of this Glory. That this is a messianic passage and is illustrated with highly figurative language that must be fulfilled spiritually can be seen on almost every line. This sets the stage for the remainder of the book. That is: that those things that refer to the Messiah and the messianic age are to be understood in a figurative or spiritual way. they will not be fulfilled literally. Sucking milk from the breast of Gentile kings in a place where there is light but no sun to give light is only one example of the plentitude of images in the rest of this section from chapter 60 to 66. In the remaining chapters there will be brief reminders of the literal sin and error of the nation which brought upon them literal calamities with returns to the more compelling information in the section: that is: describing the coming of the Messiah and the birth of Zion and its glories in highly figurative language that can not be taken literally.

8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? 9. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Carthage first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you.

Verse 9: Ships of Carthage Please see the explanation in the introduction to chapters 60 - 66 where the problem of literalizing passages like this is explained.

 For an explanation of the relation of Tarshish to Carthage see comments in isaiah 23. Hit the back button to return to this place.

 10 And the sons of strangers shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you: for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor have I had mercy on you. 11 Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; and the armies of the Gentiles will be brought and their kings will be led to you. 12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14 The sons of those who afflicted you shall also come kneeling to you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15. In the same way that you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. 16 You shall also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shall suck the breast of kings: and you shall know that I the LORD am your Savior and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. 17 For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make your officers peace, and your oppressors righteousness. 18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.

Salvation is the name Jesus: Hebrew is 

19 The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither shall the brightness of the moon give light to you: but the LORD shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. 20 Your sun shall no more go down; neither shall your moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. 21 Your people also shall all be righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch. of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified

 Verse 21: The branch of my planting: The word "branch" here is the same word that is used in Isa 11:1 which refers to the Messiah's roots being found in the family of David. This word (Nazar)  refers to the Messiah in 11:1 and to his followers in this passage. It is interesting that practicing Jews still use these words, almost exclusively to refer to Jesus of Nazareth as Notsriy  (the nazarene) and to His followers as Notsriym  (the Nazarenes). Here it is the Nazarene followers or the church of Jesus Christ that is the plant which is destined to bring glory to all. The object of "to bring glory" is obscure in the text and could refer to anyone or any entity in the context: Zion, the people of God, YHWH or the Messiah or all.

 22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hurry it in its time.

Isaiah 61

 1. The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

 Verses 1-2: The spirit of the LORD... has anointed me: This passage is quoted in Luke 4:18-19 when it was read by Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth where he plainly identified himself as the one spoken of here.

3 To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Verse 3: Them that mourn in Zion: The remnant so often spoken of by Isaiah who look not to the earth but who look for the perfection of Zion which has been promised to come. It is this remnant who will bring the glory spoken of again here and in 60:21 just above here where they are also called the planting of the Lord. This is an oblique reference to the Nazarenes.

4. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine dressers. 6 But you shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: you shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall you boast yourselves.

Verse 6: Priests: Rev 1:6 and 5:10 both confirm what Peter said in 1 Pet. 2:5 and 9. That is that Christians are now a kingdom of Priests and according to the passages in Revelation we reign in the earth during the Christian dispensation.

 Verse 6: Ministers: The New Testament has too many references to confirm that all Christians are Ministers, just as Jesus came "not to be ministered unto but to minister and give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28)

 7 In place of shame you shall have a double portion; and in place of confusion they shall rejoice in their possession: therefore in their land they shall possess the double portion: everlasting joy shall be to them.

Verse 7: Double Portion: The double portion continues the messianic references that tie the Old Testament types to the New Testament experience. The double portion was the right of the first born. (See Deut 21:17) The "bechor" received the "bechorah. or birthright which entitled him to receive 2 times the portion allotted to his siblings when the heritage was divided. Joseph is the best example of this system on the Old Testament. The birthright could be lost because of sin, as was the cases of Reuben, Simeon and Levi who lost the birthright and/or were passed over because of sin. or it could be disposed of as in the case of Esau who despised his birthright and lost it to Jacob. This is made clearer in 2 Chron 5: Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. 2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:). The giving of the double portion is illustrated in Gen 48:22. In that chapter the division of the inheritance to the 12 patriarchs is outlined. Joseph is said to have received the double portion of the first born or the birthright. In the New Testament we are all considered to be "firstborn" and therefore recipients of the double portion. See Heb. 12:23

 8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Verse 8: Everlasting covenant: This covenant to come shows that there is another covenant expected in the future which will supersede the covenant that was made on Sinai. A new order has been predicted with new relations that are not possible under the covenant of Sinai. That covenant was made to the nation of Israel and did not include the Gentiles. The covenant to come will not only include the Gentiles but the leaders of the religious life is to come from them according to the remaining prophecies in this section, especially but not only in Isaiah 66.

9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD has blessed. 10. I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth her bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

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