New Dawn

Photo by Nathan Cowley on

A big theme in Isaiah is “light in the darkness.”  The situation described earlier in the book is of darkness falling on the land causing people to become lost, stumbling about. It’s the darkness of night because night and sleep are associated with sadness, despair and death.  So, here in the later chapters, we are offered a new dawn, light has come.  If this offered hope for the people of Israel, then it is also hope for you and me, whatever we are facing but it also includes a call to wake up and face this new day that God has given us.

Read Isaiah 60

If the people and the land have been in darkness, now, light is shining. This light promises new life, guidance and direction, healing and a new start.  The light comes from God himself as he reveals his glory.  In response, the people are to arise. It’s time to get up from sleep and they too are to shine. They are to reflect the goodness and glory of God in their lives. As they shine, this will draw people from other nations and lands to see what God is doing and to look to them for hope (v1-3).

If they are to shine, to be radiant, then this is something that they will need to work up from within themselves but will come in natural response to what God is doing.  In echoes of Solomon’s day when the country prospered and the Queen of Sheba brought gifts, the land will prosper again. Farms will thrive with livestock, camel caravans will bring trade and income through the land, treasuries will be refilled with gold and the Temple will be rebuilt (v4-7). Even more wonderful than restored prosperity will be the joy of seeing the descendants of the exiles return (v8-9).

This reversal of fortunes will mean that instead of God’s people being used to build the cities and wealth of other nations where they had been dispersed to, they will be served by people from other nations. Again, there are echoes of the help that Solomon received from Lebanon when building the Temple.  Open gated cities point to peace and security (v10-18).

The language of the last view verses is taken up by John in the final few chapters of Revelation, speaking of the new Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, the church.  There as here, we are told that God’s presence will be one day so close to his people that he will be all the light they need, there will not be need for the sun because they will find in him the source of all light, life and goodness (v19-22).

How is this all fulfilled?

The New Testament is clear that these prophecies point to Christ.  They are fulfilled in him.  The people were not meant to look to a better, grander, physical temple.  The rebuilt house would be destroyed in AD70 but Jesus is the one from whom streams of water flow out (c.f. Ezekiel 47).  He was the place where God and man were reconciled and atonement offered.  It is his church that is the new city without need for gates. That promise of complete peace and security points us forward beyond the now and not yet to when Christ returns.


Meditate on verse 1

“Arise, shine, for your light has come.”

  1. What does it mean to see God as light?
  2. How has he come to us?
  3. Are you awake?
  4. How can you shine?

Come Holy Spirit, awaken your church, revive and restore us so that we may shine for you.

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