Justice, Judgment & Mercy – Part 8
A Study of Isaiah 59-61
“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. 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 thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” Isaiah 60:15-18
The prophecy concerning Jerusalem is multi-leveled in meaning and application. In speaking of the city in such intimate terms he is also addressing the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob and in a very real sense this is a message to the Church in the days to come. Jerusalem will be the place of Jesus’ throne and from that City His kingdom rule will spread throughout the world. But there must first come a restoration and then a transformation.
“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee…”
Jerusalem was first overrun and conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the people of Israel were taken into captivity. The first temple was ransacked and destroyed leaving the city desolate. The second siege was by the Romans who also destroyed the second temple. Roman Emperor Titus lead the siege in 70 AD and from that time there has been no Temple in the Holy City. For generations the city was desolate, no common trading or travel went on within its borders. It was a desolate place. The Jewish people were hated and despised by the Roman world. The City, as it represented the God of the Jews was also despised. The early Christian Church in Jerusalem, mostly Jews who had converted to Christianity, were not allowed in the Synagogues from the time of the beginning of the revolt with Rome in 66 AD.
But this was not God’s intent for His City. The very name Jerusalem means City of Peace. It was intended to be a place where all nations could come to be in the presence of God. Jesus affirmed this when He drove out the moneychangers from the temple court.
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.” Mark 11:18-15
What has been rarely acknowledged or understood even to today is that the Temple was never about the Jews exclusively. From the time it was first conceived it was to be a type of the pattern of things in Heaven. The Temple on earth represented the place of God’s dwelling among men for all nations to worship Him there.
Every nation was to be welcomed into the presence of God by way of the portal of the outer court where all could gather to pray regardless of national status or relationship to the 12 tribes of Israel.
But the Jewish hierarchy had made it a place for commerce for their own selfish gain, not unlike what the Catholic Church hierarchy did during the middle ages selling indulgences (the so called bones of St. Peter or locks of Jesus hair or a strip of the burial cloth that Jesus was bound in in the tomb, and all kinds of artifacts for people to purchase to buy favor in Heaven or redeem loved ones out of hell and all sorts of detestable abominations in the place consecrated to the worship of God.
But the day is coming when the glory of Jerusalem will radiate around the world with the presence of the Lamb of God seated on His throne there. Generations to come for all eternity will marvel at its excellence and beauty.
Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
Like a child receives nourishment and sustenance from its mother’s breast so shall the Gentile nations bring their resource and wealth willingly to bless the Lord, even the great storehouses of Kings will be open to the inhabitants of the Golden City the City Of The King, Jerusalem. And with all these wonders the people will know that God is God and God alone, and Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer not only of Israel but also of the Church and of the world, of whosoever will choose to believe that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) and Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord, is Lord indeed.
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 thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.
After the destruction of the Temple and the sacking of Jerusalem there was nothing left of the glory days of Solomon’s Temple. Now only brass, iron, wood and stone could be found. These were elements of hard labor without decoration or beauty and of little value since they were in abundant supply. But now God is giving gold and silver for wood and brass and wood and brass for iron and stone. This meant that life would no longer be the toilsome day to day routine of exacting labor but now there would be place for celebration for adornment and decoration for beauty and the enjoyment of life in both prosperity and peace.
Whereas, those who had extracted unjust taxes and forced people to pay exorbitant fees for the basic necessities of life by treachery and threats now would be exercising their work by peace and righteousness. The people would make their offerings not out of necessity or grudgingly but out of a heart of gratitude and love for the One who redeemed their lives from the grave.
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” Isaiah 60:15-18
There will be no more war or destruction, but the walls of the City will be Salvation and the gates Praise. When the Lamb is enthroned in The Holy City there will be no wall to keep out or to keep in. The wall will be salvation and the point of entry along the wall will be praise.
“A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5