Thursday, August 5, 2010

Isaiah, the Wise Men, and Heaven

There is a prophecy in Isaiah that finds a shadow of fulfillment with the magi who bring gifts to the baby Jesus, and an ultimate fulfillment in the new Jerusalem for which we long.

Isaiah is speaking of the future glory of God's people (after the present suffering) and says:
...darkness shall cover the earth...but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.  ...they come to you...the wealth of the nations shall come to you.  A multitude of camels shall shall cover you...They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.  ...Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession.  Isaiah 60:2-6, 11, ESV
God's promises of blessing to his covenant people only come through Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Mediator of the new covenant, whose blood is the blood of the new covenant.  So at Christ's birth this prophecy is "prefigured" (ESV Study Bible notes).  We see in Matthew 2:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came...  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  Matthew 2:1, 10-11, ESV
Then, finally, we are shown a glimpse of the future, ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.  In Revelation we read:
“Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  ...By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.   Revelation 21:9b-11; 24-26, ESV
What a glorious King!  Jesus alone is worthy of the honor and praise and wealth of all the nations.  And his redeemed people have been made to share in his glory!  We will shine with his light and see the kings come with their gifts, and we will glorify the Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever.  Hallelujah!

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