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Isaiah 60:1-22 - Homiletics

The characteristics of the final Church of the Redeemer.

Isaiah's teaching on this subject divides itself under three heads.

I. THE CHURCH SHALL BE RADIANT WITH A LIGHT DERIVED FROM HER LORD . The radiance spoken of (verses 1-3) is a radiance of moral and spiritual goodness. The absolute moral perfection of the Son of man can, of course, be but faintly and feebly imitated by his followers. Still, they are bound to imitate him; for he "left them an example, that they should follow his steps" ( 1 Peter 2:21 ). And they are helped in their imitation by their Lord himself, who infuses into them of his own righteousness, and gives them "grace for grace" ( John 1:16 ). And the result is that ultimately they, even in this life, more or less bear his image and are made like to him. "We all," says St. Paul, "with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" ( 2 Corinthians 3:18 ). And the resemblance will be greater hereafter. For in their final state they will be cleansed from all stain of sin.

II. THE CHURCH SHALL BE A GREAT NATION , A VAST COMMUNITY , WHICH SHALL FILL THE NEW EARTH AND NEW HEAVENS . The "little one" was to "become a thousand," and the "small one a strong nation" (verse 22). The Gentiles from every quarter were to flock in (verses 3, 4, 14), and haste to the brightness of Zion's rising. Distinctions of race were to be abolished, and Zion's gates were to stand open always, to receive all comers (verse 11). The result was to be a vast influx; and in the ultimate kingdom of the Redeemer would be contained people from every nation under heaven. Besides the mystical hundred and forty-four thousand, representative of the twelve tribes of Israel, St. John saw in the apocalyptic vision "a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, which stood before the throne, and before the Lamb" in the heavenly kingdom, "clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" ( Revelation 7:9 ).

III. THE CHURCH SHALL CEASE TO HAVE ENEMIES OR SUFFER VIOLENCE , AND SHALL ENJOY EVERLASTING PEACE . When the pit has closed on the ungodly, and Satan has been bound and shut up, and her sins have not only been forgiven, but purged away ( Isaiah 1:25 ), then the Church will find herself kept in perfect peace, with no trouble either from within or from without, with no enemy to vex her, with no faults to mourn (verse 20), with no temptations against which to struggle. Rest and peace are main objects of human desire; only the peace, to be satisfactory, must be a prolonged quiet energy, instinct with consciousness and life. Such an energy is the reverential and loving adoration which the blessed souls render continually to their present God, as they cast their crowns before his throne, and cry, "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb" ( Revelation 7:10 ). The Divine presence will be a perpetually present joy, contenting those who live in it, and causing them to feel an eternal peaceful delight.

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