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Isaiah 60:15 says,
15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride [ga’own, “majesty, excellence, exaltation, pride”], a joy from generation to generation.
Many read this with an Old Covenant mindset and envision genetic Jews or Israelites being exalted over others. They may even justify “everlasting pride” in a carnal manner. But Isaiah is a New Covenant prophet, especially in Isaiah 40-66, and he has already demonstrated many times his emphasis on the New Covenant.
Isaiah 60 is clearly directed at the sons of God, not at biological Israelites. The sons of God are those who will manifest the light of God’s glory. Paul tells us clearly that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Neither can the children of flesh be anything but slaves who are born of the bondwoman.
Slaves are not inheritors (Galatians 4:30). To be an inheritor one must change mothers, as did the Apostle Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascus. Inheritors are those who are able to claim Sarah (heavenly Jerusalem) as their spiritual mother, for she is the New Covenant. Inheritors are those who are begotten by God, not those who are begotten by natural means. They are also brought to full birth by Sarah, the New Covenant, which is the prophetic fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
Exaltation and Pride
The Hebrew word ga’own can be used either in a positive or a negative sense, depending on the context. The word begins with the letter gimel, which literally means a camel but signifies being lifted up. A camel kneels while a rider mounts and then lifts up the rider. To be lifted up can signify unhealthy pride or arrogance (Proverbs 16:18), or it can refer to God’s exaltation (Exodus 15:7). Isaiah uses the term to show the exaltation of the sons of God to the position of authority as they reign with Christ (Revelation 20:6).
It is not about the exaltation of the flesh, for such exaltation would only continue the present world order. It is about the exaltation of those who have overcome the world as they are rewarded for their faith and endurance.
Comforting the Sons of God
Isaiah 60:16 continues,
16 You will also suck the milk of nations and suck the breast of kings; then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
This metaphor pictures the sons of God being nursed by their mother. We know that Isaiah was using metaphorical language, because it is hardly possible to “suck the breast of kings.” Most interpret this carnally in terms of the wealth of nations being used to support the Jews during the Millennium. But the prophet’s real focus is seen later in Isaiah 66:10, 11, 12, 13,
10 Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, 11 that you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, that you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom. 12 … And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. 13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.
The prophet’s main focus is on comfort (nacham), which is his main theme throughout the last half of his book, beginning with Isaiah 40:1, “comfort My people.” Hence, it is his metaphor describing the work of the Holy Spirit, who is “the Comforter” (John 14:26 KJV). The sons of God are said to be comforted, even as a baby is comforted by his mother. Everyone understands how babies are comforted when their mother nurses them.
The real wealth of nations, pictured as milk, is found in the work of the Holy Spirit. The mother in this case is said to be “Jerusalem,” and we must then discern which city the prophet was referencing. From a New Covenant perspective, the New Jerusalem is the mother of the sons of God (“Isaac,” Galatians 4:28), even as the Old Jerusalem is the mother of Old Covenant people (Ishmael, “who was born according to the flesh,” Galatians 4:29).
The prophets never distinguish between the two Jerusalems, leaving to the New Testament writers to tell us the difference. Hence, if we were to study only Isaiah’s writings—or any of the prophets—we might never know that there were two cities and therefore two mothers. But we know from the writings of John and Paul that there were two cities and two mothers.
Which mother is ours depends on which covenant we claim and which city we think is the mother of the Kingdom. When we pray for Jerusalem, we are petitioning the divine court to give the inheritance to either the earthly or heavenly city, that is, either to Hagar or Sarah. So to use Isaiah’s metaphor, when the sons of God are brought to full birth, which mother will nurse them and give them comfort?
It is clear that Isaiah was not speaking of Hagar comforting Ishmael but of Sarah comforting Isaac. New Covenant believers are the Isaac company, or the “children of promise” (Galatians 4:28). Those who retain an Old Covenant mindset, of course, will disagree.
The Reign of Peace and Righteousness
In Isaiah 60:17 we read,
17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your administrators and righteousness your overseers.
Everything will be upgraded. Those who are wealthy build with gold, while the poor build with bronze, which has a similar color but less value. When the temple of Solomon was built, much gold was used; but when the second temple was built, its glory was only a shadow of the glory of the first temple (Haggai 2:3).
Yet in the time that the sons of God are given the authority due to them, the spiritual temple will be made of living stones and the gold of that temple will be their divine nature. This is the prophet’s metaphor for an upgrade in peace and righteousness. The “administrators” (pekuddah) are those who are in authority.
The word translated “overseers” (nagas) means slave drivers or taskmasters, as seen so often in the kingdoms of men. But in the Kingdom of God they will be righteous. This does not mean that God will put carnally-minded taskmasters in authority. It means that instead of the usual oppression, there will be “righteousness.”
This comes about because the sons of God, who are birthed in the feast of Tabernacles, will be righteous and will establish peace (shalom). For this reason, Isaiah 60:17 adds,
17 Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation and your gates praise.
Righteous rulers bring justice and peace to the land. The earth has long awaited the manifestation of the sons of God. During the Age to come, the Kingdom will still have borders, for there will be nations remaining outside of those borders, as we see in Revelation 20:8. During that time, the Kingdom of Light will be established in a large portion of the earth, while the other nations who reject the rule of Christ will be in “outer darkness” (Matthew 22:13).
Hence, Isaiah speaks of the borders of the Kingdom. The borders will be removed only after the final battle when the Christ conquers the rest of the nations at the end of the thousand years.
The “walls” of the New Jerusalem will be called “salvation” and the gates will be called “praise.” The walls and gates of this city are described metaphorically in Revelation 21:10-21.