As we come to the last passage of the last chapter of the Prophet Isaiah, we are given a glimpse of God’s sovereign purpose for His people throughout history. The mission of Zion has always been to declare the glory of God to all the inhabitants of the earth. Throughout the millennia, the glories of God’s salvation has been evident. From the slain animal in the Garden to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve, through the Old Testament sacrificial rituals, to the ultimate manifestation of God’s salvific work in Christ, God has glorified Himself through his redemptive grace.
Through His judgment of Israel and the restoration of a remnant of His faithful people after 70 years of captivity, Yahweh will begin to bring the nations of the world to Zion to behold His glories. That initial event took place with the coming of the Magi to Bethlehem.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. ... After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:1-2; 9–11, NIV84)
Since that moment, more and more of the Gentile nations have discovered the glories of the Lord, God. It’s the story of world evangelism, as succeeding generations of believers, beginning at Jerusalem then going to Judea, then to Samaria and finally to the ends of the earth. And in every part of the world where Christians went and settled, nations of people turned to God and saw His glories—particularly the glories of His salvation.
At the end of time, all the nations of the world will be drawn to the New Jerusalem where people from every tribe, and tongue, and nation and people will have a place with God.
The prophecy closes with a solemn warning for those who ignore God and continue in their sin. God is sovereign over life and in His time He will punish sin and accomplish His purpose concerning His faithful people. In this closing passage, the hope of God and heaven shines bright against the dark backdrop of judgment and hell. In fact, the final verse of Isaiah is so disturbing to the Jews that many Jews to this day do not end their reading of the prophet with verse 24, but go back and re-read verse 23 as the ending for Isaiah: "They will all come and bow down and worship before me."
Yet, it is fitting that Isaiah ends with a word of God's judgment, because as we shall see, God's judgment also reveals God's glory. In this final message I want you to see:
In Revelation 5 John writes about the multitudes upon multitudes, thousands upon thousands—countless numbers from every tribe and language and nation and tongue. Hear what these multitudes sing: "In a loud voice they sang: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! '" (Revelation 5:12).
May our lives always show the same glory in this world.