Ministering to Jerusalem

Isaiah 60: 10-11.

10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in My wrath I smote thee, but in My favour have I had mercy on thee.

11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.

Everything is going to be different during the Millennium. The nations who hated the Jews for centuries will be helping to rebuild Jerusalem. The kings of those nation will minister to Israel, because God will have mercy on Israel and will draw all other nations to them in service and protection.

Jerusalem’s gates will always be open, because Jesus will reign and there will be peace on earth. It will no longer be necessary to close the gates to keep people out, because the people will be coming to worship Jesus Christ, and to minister to the land of Israel. No more fear, no more sorrow. It is hard to imagine all that in this time when Israel is the target of all the surrounding nations. Things will certainly be different when Jesus comes!

Regathering

Isaiah 60: 8-9.

Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee.

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The picture in verse eight is not of actual birds, but rather of sailing ships, their sails like clouds, coming over the horizon toward Israel, as clarified in the next verse. The prediction concerns the regathering of Israel and their coming in ships from the far ends of the earth. Gentiles will help in this regathering and the restoration of Palestine. The reference to clouds, and doves to their window, is appropriate in view of the ancient custom in the East, of building special cotes for the birds.

Tribute and Sacrifice

Isaiah 60:6-7.

The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on Mine altar, and I will glorify the house of My glory.

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Camels are fascinating creatures, perfectly created for desert travel. Their feet don’t sink into the sand. Their bodies possess many little cells to be filled with water, which makes them perfect for the desert. Those cells can be filled in one 15-minute drinking session, and can last for 20-30 days. There are sometimes referred to as land-ships, they can carry 600-800 lb. loads. Bactrians have two humps; dromedaries have one. The prophecy here indicates that people from all lands, using camels for transport and as beasts of burden, will flock to Israel. They will be bringing expensive gifts such as gold and incense.

It is said that the magi who visited Jesus when He was a little child brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh; they most likely traveled on camels. Here we see that scene re-enacted, only this time Jesus is indeed Messiah, acknowledged to be so by His own people.

Verse 7 speaks of the Gentiles who will travel to Jerusalem to make sacrifice in commemoration of what Jesus did on the cross. These sacrifices will take place annually, as a memorial (Ezek. 40:1-46:26; Zech. 14:16-21.)

Lift up Thine Eyes

Isaiah 60: 4-5.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

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Lift up thine eyes  is a command used throughout scripture to encourage, to give hope, to tell us not to despair. In this passage, there is so much joy, so much excitement! Those who are weary and discouraged need only to lift up their eyes to see that God is fufilling His promises to Israel.

Many will already have returned to Israel, but there will still be thousands scattered around the nations at the time of the Second Advent. These are the ones in verse 4 who will gather from far places. The sons and daughters of Israel will return. I think the picture of the daughters being nursed, or protected, at the sides of their families is especially sweet.

In verse 5, “thine heart shall fear” is not that they will be afraid of this massive return to Israel, but that they will be in awe at the fulfillment of the promise of that return.

The riches of the oceans, sea-faring people, and the Gentiles will be converted (turned to Israel for use in the universal government of the Messiah and the universal missionary and restoration programs among all people.

The world will become a completely different place than it was when all people suffered under the darkness of the Antichrist. It will be a glorious time, indeed.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Why Doesn’t God Answer my Prayers?

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This is not a new question. It has been asked by every generation of believers since Jesus walked this earth. I opened up this topic last Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 because of a conversation with someone about her feeling that God wasn’t hearing her prayers. I’ve been reading and studying all week, and I will tell you that I don’t have THE ONLY ANSWER to this question! I have what I believe are several good and biblical answers. You are welcome to respond in the comments; just be courteous; don’t write a 15-page thesis; no profanity, no potty mouth. This is a discussion, not a debate.

First, I want to remind you that God’s ways are higher than ours; His knowledge is greater than ours. Isaiah 55:8-9:

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

When your children were small, did you give them everything they asked for? Even when they let the big, fat tears flow, and said, “Pleeeeeease, Mommy? Pleeeeease, Daddy?” Your heart may have wanted to give them the world on a platter, but you knew they weren’t always ready for what they were asking.

When I was a little kid, sometimes my parents just said, “No.” Back then, you didn’t whine and plead and keep on asking, if you had any sense at all.

Sometimes, they said, “Not now. We’ll talk about it when you’re older.” Or, the plain truth: “We can’t afford it.”

On rare occasions, we would stop at the Dairy Queen for a five-cent cone. Yes, you could get a decent amount of ice cream for five cents back then. Or, even more rarely, we’d drive to an A&W for a hamburger and a frosty mug of root beer. I don’t remember praying for those things, but it sure felt like an answer to prayer!

My point (pardon the diversion down memory lane) is that even loving parents don’t always give their children what they ask for because they know it would not be good for the child. So we trusted them and accepted their decision. Not always without resentment, but we got over that, too.

Here’s the thing. God is always good. Always. He cannot NOT be good, because His goodness is one of His attributes. His holiness, the primary attribute of God, does not permit a lack of goodness–not even for a moment.

So I have to believe that, and accept that He knows far more than I do what is best for me–even when He doesn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted Him too.

Well, there is much more. I can see that I’ll be more than one or two weeks on this topic. So–hoping to see you next Sunday!

The Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 60: 1-3.

 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

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The Light of Israel in the Millennium and New Earth period will be the glory of God. The same will be true for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:23).

Darkness will literally cover the earth just before the appearance of the the glory of God at the 2nd advent of Christ, making the glory appear more glorious as it expels the darkness which will come by the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars (13:10; Joel 3:15; Matt. 24:29, Acts 2:20). We must not understand darkness  as being spiritual, but literal where it is clear, as in these passages. Surely there will be spiritual darkness as Antichrist throws his power over the earth, but there will also be a literal darkness, unexplainable to the human mind. Perhaps some will say it is global warming 🙂

“His glory” in v. 2 is the same as the light in v. 1.

So great and so beautiful will be the light in Israel that it will attract the Gentiles from all nations, including the rulers of the Gentile nations.

The earth will have gone through the horrors of the Tribulation period. Hundreds of thousands will have died for their faith. The darkness will seem all-consuming, and impenetrable. And then——the glory of God will burst upon Israel and Jerusalem, and people from all around the world will be drawn to the Light.

What an exciting time that will be!

The Redeemer shall Come!

Isaiah 59:20-21.

20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.

21 As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.

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Repentance must come before blessing. No one who refuses to turn from his sin will be saved; he will not be delivered from the wrath to come until he has repented and turned to God.

In verse 20, God speaks directly and not through the prophet. At this point, Isaiah becomes the recorder of God’s Word. He promises, once Israel has truly repented and turned to God, that His Spirit will be upon the people, and that His Word will be in their mouths; that is, they will love His Word again, and will speak of it, and teach and preach it. Not only that, but the same promise is made to their children, and their children’s children, for all eternity.