The Attraction of the Gentiles

60: 4-9

   DIG: What is the context, the time period in view here? What will be the reaction of the Jews to the call to bring them home? Who are the sheep Gentiles and what will they do? From what directions will people come to Jerusalem? How will they come? Why will they do so? What is missing from the gifts the magi brought the baby Jesus? Why? How are the sheep and rams used as offerings?

   REFLECT: Is this something to look forward to, or to dread in your eyes? Is your giving as joyful as these Gentiles? Why do you think their giving is so great? What was the reason for their giving? How do you honor the LORD with your giving?

    Throughout her long history, the nations, or the Gentiles of the world have continually attacked the Jews of Isra'el. But during the messianic Kingdom, the Jews will find that they are an attraction to the Gentiles. But this will not be to gain favor with them, or repay them for their suffering. Nor will it be to recognize them as a superior race. It will be to share with them in the worship of the LORD. And when the Gentiles come, they will bring two things with them, Isra'el’s sons and daughters and the wealth of the world (Isaiah 60:11, 61:6; Haggai 2:7-8; Zechariah 14:14). Lift up your eyes and look about you is the same phrase as in 49:18, and with the same meaning. All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters carried on the arm (60:4). The gathered nation of Isra'el will be literally coming home to ADONAI.

    Then God said: You will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come (60:5). Isra'el will also rejoice because the sheep Gentiles of Matthew 25:31-46 will also desire to worship the LORD in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16-19). The riches that they will bring are an expression of thanks to God, proclaiming the praise of ADONAI. The Gentiles will not bring the riches of the nations so that the Jews can finally enjoy that which is their due. If they expect it, they will lose their covenant blessings (Malachi 2:1-9). No, the Gentiles will bring the riches of the nations out of a grateful heart, and because the Jews will receive them as a gift from God, they may enjoy them forever.

    There are six examples (six is the number of mankind) of the nations that will bring the wealth of the nations to Isra'el. Herds of camels will cover your Land, young camels of (1) Midian and (2) Ephah (60:6a). First, Isaiah mentions Midian, south of the Dead Sea, which has its origin in Genesis 25:2. In fact, Midian was one of the other sons of Abraham from Keturah, his third wife after the death of Sarah. He also mentions Ephah who was the son of Midian and the grandson of Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:3-4; First Chronicles 1:33).

    And all from (3) Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of ADONAI (60:6b). When the magi came to worship the child King in Bethlehem they brought gifts with them (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Av – The Visit of the Magi). What gift is left out at Messiah’s Second Coming we see in this passage? Myrrh! They will not bring myrrh because it speaks of death. When He comes again, nothing will speak of His death. Gold speaks of His kingship and incense points to His deity. But there will be no myrrh because He will not come to die upon a cross for the sins of the world again. He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS to rule and reign forever (Revelation 5:5 and 19:16).

    Here two sons of Ishmael, (4) Kedar and (5) Nebaioth, are mentioned (Midian is also linked to the Ishmaelites in Genesis 37:28 and Judges 8:24). The prophet’s eye moves to another source of wealth to be brought to the Israelites during the Messianic Kingdom: All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you (60:7a). The next example he talks about is Kedar in northern Arabia. He was the second son of Ishmael. This is one of the Arab tribes mentioned in Genesis 25:13. The Nebaioth (Neb-bi-OATH) are today called the Nabeteons. Nabaioth was the first of twelve sons of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13, 28:9; First Chronicles 1:29). They were a branch of the Edomites. It was the Nabeteons who settled and built the city of Bozrah, which will play a significant role when we get to Chapter 63. So not only were there twelve sons and twelve tribes of the sons of Isaac, but there were twelve sons and twelve tribes of the sons of Ishmael (see my commentary on Genesis Gi – The Twelve Sons of Ishmael).

    The LORD says that those sheep and rams will be accepted as offerings on His altar. The flocks will minister to ADONAI. This is the verb (srt) used to describe the honored and voluntary ministry of the priests in the Temple. Here, the sheep and the rams are pictured as ministering to Messiah, who declares that He will adorn His glorious Millennial Temple as sacrifices (60:7). Ezekiel 40-48 describes Messiah’s Temple where offerings will be made on the bronze altar there, but not for sins (see Db – The Nine Missing Articles in Messiah’s Coming Temple).

    There will be an abundance of wealth brought to worship Jesus Christ from the descendants of Ishmael. Whether the gifts from Sheba will be gold, silver and incense, we do not know. But what we do know, is that descendants of Ishmael will bring their wealth to the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem to honor the LORD, the Holy One of Israel (see my commentary on Revelation Fk- Gentiles in the Messianic Kingdom).

    Who are these that fly along like clouds on the horizon, like doves to their nests (60:8). The clouds are a picture of speed and the nests represent safety (Psalm 84:3). Next the prophet lifts his eyes to the west, where he sees a fleet of ships whose sails seem like clouds on the horizon of the Mediterranean Sea. The speed of the ships is compared with the swiftness of doves when returning to their nests. They fly more swiftly when they return with food to their young than when they depart in search of it (Hosea 11:11).

    This is the God for whom the nations have been waiting (24:14-16, 51:5), and as soon as they receive word of His triumph they are off, with the great seagoing (6) ships of Tarshish (23:1). Evidently the way Tarshish is used here refers to all seagoing nations whose ships will be used to return Israel to the Land of Promise. Now Isaiah sums up what he has said before. The cargo of these ships will be Zion’s children and the offerings of the Gentile nations. They will come because God has shown His beauty through His people (also see 55:5).240 Surely the islands look to Me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish (60:9a). Tarshish was a name given to colonies of the Phoenicians. There was more than one Tarshish, but they all originate with the Phoenicians.

    Consciously or unconsciously, the world’s longings can only find their fulfillment in the Holy One of Isra'el. So the colonies of Phoenicia, which include North Africa, Spain, England and the coast of Africa, will all be involved in this world-wide regathering. Isaiah says that they will bring no insights, but their ministry will be to carry Isra'el’s sons and daughters from afar, with their silver and gold. Instead of the Gentiles demanding payment, they will send the Jews off with gifts just as the Egyptians did (Exodus 12:35-36). They will do this to honor the LORD, the Holy One of Isra'el. They will recognize that He has endowed Isra'el with splendor (60:9b).

 

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