SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Isaiah 60:1 through 66:24
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” (Isaiah 60:19)
The final chapters of Isaiah are filled with consolation and hope as Isaiah unfolds God’s promise of future blessings through His Messiah. There are many beautiful descriptions of a new creation in which God will rule as King, judging the wicked and establishing eternal peace.
Our text proclaims the prophecy of the glory of Jerusalem in the last days. It begins by saying that the Messiah will come to Jerusalem. This light that shined is not just for Jerusalem alone but for all mankind. God will send the Messiah, as a Servant, who would die to take away sins. Later, God will set up His own kingdom as the faithful Prince of Peace who rules with righteousness. He will then come as sovereign Lord.
Isaiah proclaimed that God promises comfort, deliverance, and restoration in His future kingdom. The Messiah will rule over those who have faithfully followed Him. What a bright future for those who are faithful!
These last seven chapters are like windows that allow a glimpse into a future time. The Hebrew writers often did not cover events in a chronological manner. Many people today are used to thinking sequentially, so it is important to realize that prophecies that are together in Scripture may cover different time periods. Some of the events in Isaiah happen at Christ’s first coming to earth as Redeemer; others pertain to Israel returning to its homeland to become a nation (1948); some of the events occur during the Millennial Reign; and some deal with the New Heaven and New Earth. We understand the order of these events by looking at the whole of God’s Word.
Isaiah predicted many events right down to the finest detail. He prophesied that Jerusalem would fall more than 100 years before it happened (586 B.C.), and that the Temple would be rebuilt about 200 years before it occurred. In more recent times Israel has, as promised, become a nation again after 2000 years. This very small country (slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey) is featured in the daily news of the world. Israel has received billions of dollars in aid and assets from all over the world as prophesied throughout today’s text. Surrounded by enemies, Israel has one of the most-feared military forces in the world. This tiny country is blossoming and has become an object of international attention to the superpowers of the earth.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- Consider for a moment a time when you have had to cope with a circumstance that left you feeling like you were in total darkness. Perhaps you could see no way out. Why is it appropriate to portray God in terms of light?
Discuss the feeling and consequences of being in darkness. Darkness absorbs color and becomes only confusing shades of grey, then black. You might bring up how a path can be seen clearly when there is light, but when the sun goes down and dusk sets in, the shadows cause the path to disappear. That is why it is so dangerous to hike in the mountains when it gets late in the day. When we cannot see our way, unease or even panic can set in. When this happens in the spiritual realm, we may feel panic and helplessness for a time, but peace comes when we remember that Jesus is the Light. As we turn to Him, He will lead us in a clear path, and the confusion and fear will go away. The path may lead through the valley of the shadow, but His Light within will comfort us.
As a follow-up question, you could ask: In what way could you serve as a light to the darkened world around you? Bring out that we can be a reflection of Jesus. When we live to honor Him, our lives will be a testimony of truth. If we reach out in love to those who are in spiritual darkness, they will often be attracted to the Light we reflect. You may discuss with your class practical ways to do this.
- According to Isaiah’s prophecy, what are some of the things in store for those who remain faithful?
Some day, God will set up His kingdom upon this earth, and we will reign with Christ. Those who persecuted or despised us will then serve us. We will spend all eternity with the One who loves us so much. It truly will be worth it all when we see Jesus! You may take some time to discuss with your class more of the wonderful glories of Heaven that await those who are faithful.
- God has given us many beautiful promises (Isaiah 61:1-3). There are those who have nothing but ashes to show for their lives. Some suffer from depression or a “heavy spirit.” Some are broken-hearted. What are some of the promises God offers these people? How can you apply these promises to your own life?
God has promised to bind up the brokenhearted, to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
These promises are for us today. As we seek the Lord, He will be faithful to His Word. When a soul is brokenhearted because of sin, the Lord offers salvation and healing. The life that is in ashes will find restoration and beauty. Those that feel heavy-hearted may use this very Scripture to seek the Lord and claim His promise. As we look in faith to God, His Light will shine more and more. There will be a deep peace, and a spring of joy will begin to well up. Any time that seems dark or dry, we can go back and reclaim the promise.
- Isaiah predicted that a change of name would reflect a change of status for Israel (Isaiah 62:4). What name changes did God pronounce for His people? Why are they significant?
God promised to change Israel’s name from Forsaken and Desolate to Hephzibah, meaning, “my delight is in her,” and Beulah, which means, “to be married.” The names were significant because God loved her as a bridegroom loves his bride.
Discuss with your class that a name can help shape a person’s character and therefore his future. We may give our children a name to live up to. On the other hand, our actions may influence how people perceive a name. We may tell our children not to bring dishonor to the family name.
When we are saved, we are changed from the inside out. Our character is changed, our actions are changed, and we become brand-new people. We are no longer forsaken, but we are the Bride of Christ. We need to keep that name without reproach. When we are saved, our destiny is also changed. In Heaven we shall each receive a new name!
- The prophet calls for the people to prepare the way (Isaiah 62:10). He entreats them to make a highway, gathering out the stones, and to lift up a standard. What is he calling the people to do? In what tangible way can you “prepare the way,” and “lift up a standard” for the Lord?
God is calling His people to be witnesses to the world. To make a highway, they needed to smooth it out, getting rid of all the stones. We as witnesses need to let the Lord perfect us, so that we have no stumbling blocks that could hurt the cause of Christ. We are to lift up the banner for all to see. As we show love to those around us, we are preparing hearts to receive the message that Jesus saves!
With your class, make a list of hindrances that could be considered “stones” in our lives. Examples: an unforgiving spirit, lack of respect for things holy, bitterness, etc.
- Isaiah described a figure approaching Jerusalem who was glorious in apparel, traveling in greatness of strength. The source of the red stain on His garments depicts the blood of His enemies after He had trodden them down in the winepress (Isaiah 63:1-3). How does this prophecy of Christ have significance today? How can we be encouraged by this victory?
This prophecy depicts Christ’s overcoming victory at Calvary. Because of Jesus’ victory over Satan, we who are saved can be overcomers in every spiritual battle we face. Satan may attack us over and over, but each time we are promised victory. We are assured of this because of the single battle Christ waged and won at Calvary. You may discuss with your class ways to access this overcoming power in our lives.
- God tells us that all our righteousness is like filthy rags (64:6). Does this mean there will be no good works in our lives? Explain. List some good works that God would have us do.
God wants us to be aware that there is nothing inherently good in mankind. Man is born in sin, and his motives are selfish, even when good works are performed. The only “good” that is pure is the goodness of God. When we are saved, His righteousness enters our lives. Then the good that we do is motivated by pure motives. It is then not our righteousness, but His righteousness.
God tells us that we must show the fruits of His righteousness in our Christian walk. Then we are to labor for the Kingdom of God. We are to look to the harvest fields that are ripe and ready for reaping. You may discuss with your class practical “work” they can do to please God.
- God says that He does not care much for great feats or sacrifices that one may make for Him (Isaiah 66:1-2). He promises to look to the one who has a poor and contrite spirit. What does it mean to be poor and contrite in spirit?
To be poor in spirit is to be humble. A contrite spirit is a penitent spirit. God puts great value on humility, and He hates pride in any manner. A person must have a repentant or penitent heart to be saved. From that point on he must remain humble before the Lord. A humble spirit is closely akin to a submissive spirit, and God can use one who is fully submitted to him. A consecrated spirit will follow, as one continues to be submissive to God. A humble person who is seeking for more of God will find it natural to receive the experience of sanctification.
- According to Isaiah 66:7-13, why does God know how to comfort us?
In this passage, God indicated His purpose to restore Israel and make Jerusalem the center of the world’s spiritual sustenance. This will take place during the Millennial Reign. Just as the birth process is unstoppable, so God will fulfill His promises. As a mother feeds her baby and cares for it, so God will satisfy those who come to Him. Discuss with your class that although the prophecies of this passage have not yet been completely fulfilled, God is our Father and has a strong parental love for us. He will nurture us as a mother does a child. When Jesus came to earth, He experienced the difficult things that we go through, and therefore has an understanding love.
Ask your class how we should react to those around us who are hurting. Bring out that we should be quick to identify someone who is suffering, and be ready to give hope to the troubled heart. We may need to help with a physical need for someone in want. Or we may have opportunity to give emotional comfort and empathy to one who is suffering grief or despair.
Isaiah concluded his prophecy in these final chapters. His message was one of denunciation of sin, and hope for people who seek the Lord. How relevant His message is today!