Where would we like to live? We may think of the places where we were born or the places where we grew up. Some people have a special place where they once spent vacations with all the good associations that come with having time off together with those they love. We read of attractive tourist areas and see pictures of homes or surroundings where we would love to live. God speaks of His city, Zion, in Isaiah 60. In the Old Testament era, the affections of the people of God were drawn to Jerusalem and to the place of the temple of the Lord, Mount Zion. The church is God’s city in the New Covenant era, and ultimately we are told that we are citizens of heaven.
Who will bring us to heaven? The world that we live in now is a place of darkness. If we are covered with thick darkness and we cannot find the way home, we are lost. This is the word that we sometimes use to describe those who do not know the blessings of God. They are lost. When the glory of God rises upon our hearts, then we can shine with the light that comes from God Himself. It is He who can bring us out of darkness.
In Old Testament times there was a sharp distinction between Jews and everyone else. The Jews alone were God’s special people. All of the other nations lived in shadows, without God and without hope. But in Isaiah 60 God promises that the nations shall be brought to Zion, and shall be children of God. Will they all become Jews? This was a difficult matter for the early church to consider. The special Old Testament position of the Jews was so firmly believed that it was hard to imagine that Gentiles could be in right relation with God without becoming circumcised Jews first. But the work of Christ did something not only for Jews. The dividing wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile was torn down through Christ’s fulfillment of the Law. The grace of God could be embraced by those who were once strangers to Zion. They too could count God’s city as their home.
The language of the prophets makes it sound like all of these new worshipers and servants of God will be in Jerusalem and will do what the Old Covenant worshipers did. God’s fulfillment of His promises would show something more—something much bigger. Gentiles would be used by God to build up His holy Zion. All who are in Christ are included in the holy city. But even this blessing is only a small portion of the Lord’s good plan.
One day Zion will be brighter than the sun. The Lord will be our everlasting radiance, and the God who spoke light into being will be our glory. That brightness will never be covered by clouds, or extinguished by troubles, and we will all have the splendor of perfect holiness as the gift of God to the citizens of the resurrection world.
Only God could do this. He has accomplished it through Christ and the cross. There are many wonderful places on this earth, places that we would love to visit. There are other spots that we once knew well, and they have a special place in our hearts. But the one place where we want to be for eternity is the new Zion. There we shall see King Jesus, our Redeemer, and we shall be with every child of the Kingdom forever.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Glorious Light, come to Your children this day that we might come to You. Let us rejoice in the sight of Your face. We bring gifts from far off, things that you have given to us. We bring You our children and our lives. We will fear You above every King, and love You more than any other lover. You are God. You are building a glorious sanctuary out of the living stones that You have gathered in Zion. We will feed upon Your good gifts, and be strengthened by Your Son. You make us to be a temple that lasts forever. None can destroy Your good Work. You are the glory of Your people, O God. We shall possess the land forever. You will bring Your Day of victory at just the right time.