A Clear Shining Testimony Recovered
We are thus led into chapter 60 of Isaiah. All that has gone before has prepared the way, always with this in view: "Arise, shine: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Here, then, we come to this matter of the recovered testimony; the shining light of the Church in the midst of dark conditions, in a very dark world. "For ... darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee." That is the thing that is uppermost in this last section of Isaiah's prophecies. When the testimony is restored (verse 1), the nations are affected by it: "Lift up, thine eyes round about, and see: they all gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be carried in the arms. Then thou shalt see and be lightened, and thine heart shall tremble and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto thee, the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee" (verses 4, 5).
When the testimony is clear, when the shining is undimmed; when God has in His House, in His people, conditions answering to all that the Cross means, then you have this effect all around: the nations are affected, the peoples are touched; something happens, and a wealth, an enrichment, a fullness comes back to the Church itself. If the Lord has things according to His mind: in other words, if He really has His testimony in fullness, undimmed, without cloud, without shadow, in the midst of His people, in the vessel of His House: then the nations feel the effect, the impact, of it, and the Church itself is greatly enriched. "Surely the isles shall wait for Me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee" (verse 9).
The New Testament Counterpart
Now this, we know, is Old Testament prophecy. We recognize that the prophet was saying more than he knew - that his utterances contained and combined two interwoven elements. On the old side, as far as Israel was concerned, there was history in the making; but on the other side, all the way through this, there was (as in chapter 53) a pointing on to the Messiah - to the Lord Himself; to the Cross, and to all that was to follow the Cross in resurrection. There was the temporal and the passing, but there was also the spiritual and the eternal, which the Holy Spirit always saw and had in view in history.
Thus, in every connection, as we have seen, we are so to speak 'handed on,' by these prophecies, to the New Testament. And the New Testament counterpart of what we have been seeing in Isaiah about the recovered testimony is found particularly in one of Paul's letters, namely, in his Second Letter to the Corinthians.
(continued with # 3 - "Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians")