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Isaiah 60 hidden in Revelation 21

There are several parallels between Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21, which are both prophecies about the holy city. Many of the hidden references to Isaiah's prophecy in Revelation 21 are revealed by the links to corresponding verses in the other chapter below.

Isaiah 60

Revelation 21

In the table below the corresponding verses and phrases in the two chapters are compared.

Isaiah 60

Revelation 21

Isaiah 60:1
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Revelation 21:3
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Isaiah 60:2
the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Revelation 21:11
Having the glory of God:

Isaiah 60:3
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,

Revelation 21:24
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it:

Isaiah 60:5
the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee

Revelation 21:1
there was no more sea.

Isaiah 60:5, 7
the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee ... I will glorify the house of my glory.

Revelation 21:26
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

Isaiah 60:6
they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.

Revelation 21:21
the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

Isaiah 60:11
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night;

Revelation 21:25
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day:

Isaiah 60:12
the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Isaiah 60:14
they shall call thee; The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Revelation 21:10
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem,

Isaiah 60:16
thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Revelation 21:6
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Isaiah 60:18
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders;

Revelation 21:27
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Isaiah 60:18
thou shalt call thy walls Salvation ...

Revelation 21:24
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it:

Isaiah 60:18
and thy gates Praise.

Revelation 21:12, 21
And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel ... And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl:

Isaiah 60:19
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:

Revelation 21:23
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it:

Isaiah 60:20
Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself:

Revelation 21:25
there shall be no night there.

Isaiah 60:20
the LORD shall be thine everlasting light,

Revelation 21:23
the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Isaiah 60:20
the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Revelation 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:

Isaiah 60:21
Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever

Revelation 21:27
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Below are some comments by scholars who noted some correspondence Revelation 21 and Isaiah 60. R.A. Torrey wrote in Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, Note to Isa. 60:11:

The subject of this chapter, says Bp. Lowth, is the great increase and flourishing state of the church of God, by the conversion and accession of the heathen nations to it; which is set forth in such ample and exalted terms, as plainly shew that the full completion of this prophecy is reserved for future times.  This subject is displayed in the most splendid colors, under a great variety of images highly poetical, designed to give a general idea of the glories of that perfect state of the church of God, which we are taught to expect in the latter times; when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and the Jews shall be converted and gathered from their dispersions, and "the kingdom of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ."

Frank Binford Hole (1874-1964) stated in his Isaiah commentary:

In the latter part of Revelation 21, we have described the new and heavenly Jerusalem, which is "the Lamb's wife"-a symbolic description; of the church in its heavenly position during the millennial age, and if we compare with it the details of our chapter concerning the earthly Jerusalem, we notice certain similarities, and yet striking contrasts. The presence of the Lord is the glory of both cities. The gates of both are open continually to receive the wealth and honour of the nations. Both have an abundance of "gold," and find their everlasting "light" in the Lord.

But the contrasts are more numerous. The gates of the earthly will not be shut day or night of the heavenly not shut by day -but the day is an eternal one, for there is no night there. The glory of the earthly will be the temple, described in verse 13 as "the place of My feet." Jehovah will have His feet On the earth; but in the heavenly there is no temple, for "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." It is the place of His presence rather than the place of His feet. The earthly will know a glory brighter than the sun; but the heavenly will have no need of the sun for the Lamb is the light thereof. Gold will be brought plentifully into the earthly; but in the heavenly it forms the street, and they walk on it. We think we may say that the difference is accounted for by the introduction, in Revelation, of THE LAMB.

Jan Fekkes wrote in Isaiah and prophetic traditions in the book of Revelation, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1994, p. 265:

In the final pericope of the New Jerusalem vision (Rev. 21.22-22.5) John shifts from architectural imagery to a picture of life in the city itself. The outward physical description gives way to an inward view of the Holy City and its citizens. With thic change of perspective comes a corresponding change in biblical foundations. From the building oracle of Isaiah 54 which dominated Rev. 21.18-21, John now turns to the Zion prophecy of Isaiah 60, with its emphasis on the relationship between the glorious future Jerusalem and the nations. For one who is consciously building on New Jerusalem prophecies, the transition from Isaiah 54 to Isaiah 60 is a natural one. For since none of the prophecies in Isaiah 55-59 are directed to Zion, these two chapters are thematically contiguous. Although allusions to Isaiah 60 control this final section, John blends in traditions from other New Jerusalem prophecies as well (Isa. 52; Zech. 14; Ezek. 47).

Gregory K. Beale wrote in The book of Revelation: a commentary on the Greek text,  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999,  p. 1062:

Some interpret 21:10-22:5 as a literal description of an actual physical city. But this is highly improbable since "the bride of the Lamb" (v 10), that is, the eternal community of the redeemed (so 21:2, 10), is equated with the detailed layout of the city in 21:11-22:5: "I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb,... and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem" (21:9-10).
 21:9-22-5 is a recapitulation of the immediately preceeding section of 21:1-8 that amplifies the picture there of God's consummate communion with his people and their consummate safety in the new creation. For example, 21:2 is developed in 21:9-11; 21:3 in 21:22-24 and 22:3; 21:6 in 22:1; and 21:8 in 21:27a. Such use of parallelism and recapitualtion is typical in the Apocalypse and characteristic of Hebrew style. This is seen in Isaiah 60, which is repeatedly alluded to in Rev. 21:11-22:5 (e.g., cf. Isa. 60:1b with 60:2b and 19b; 60:4c with 60:9b; 60:5b with 60:11b; and 60:19 with 60:20). The reference to the "city" in Rev. 20:9 suggests that the city portrayed in 21:9-22:5 is revealed in hidden, partial form throughout the church age as a result of Christ's redemptive word. The segment here reveals the perfected form of the city.
Some, however, see 21:9-22:5 as describing the millennium of 20:4-6. With this they see 21:1-8 as portraying the eternal state. In the light of the parallelisms just observed between 21:1-8 and 21:9-22:5, the burden of proof lies on those who do not see the latter recapitulating the former. Likewise, those who view the second section as a later addition or traditional fragment incorporated haphazardly need to adduce more evidence before the thesis can gain persuasiveness.

David Mathewson wrote in Isaiah in the New Testament, Steve Moyise, M. J. J. Menken eds. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. p. 206-209:

Following the detailed description of the material make-up of the New Jerusalem, John turns to a description of life within the city (vv. 22-37). This shift in focus is accompanied by a corresponding shift in OT Vorbild. At this point texts from Isaiah once again dominate.

John draws upon Isaiah 60 for several aspects of his portrayal. Isaiah 60 envisions a time of eschatological restoration when God's glorious presence will suffuse the land and the people will be restored to their homeland. The two statements in Rev. 21:23, that 'the city does not have need of the sun or the moon to illuminate it' and 'for the glory of God will illuminate it', echo Isaiah's 'the sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night' (Isa. 60:19a) and 'the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory' (Isa. 60:19b) respectively. This could be understood to mean only that the sun and moon are no longer necessary, not that they are obliterated. However, given the emphasis on the removal of the old order (20:11), along with the negation of elements from the previous creation that cease to exist in the new (21:4; 21:22), it is probable that John envisions their dissolution here. The allusion to Isaiah 60 functions as a further rationale for the missing temple in John's vision (21:22). The light of God's presence so infuses the entire city that a separate temple is rendered unnecessary.

In 21:24 John picks up yet another significant theme from Isaiah 60: the pilgrimage of the nations to Jerusalem. John's statement that 'all the nations shall walk through to its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it' appears to derive from Isa. 60:3's 'nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn'. However, John's statement is probably a synthesis of a number of elements in Isaiah 60 related to the role of the nations in the eschatological restoration of Jerusalem.

60:3 nations are drawn to Jerusalem's light
60:5 wealth of the nations comes to the city
60:6 nations will come bringing gold and incense
60:10 kings shall come and minister
60:11 nations will bring their wealth and kings come in procession
60:16 Jerusalem sucks the milk of natioins and the breasts of kings

Furthermore, as Bauckham has argued, John was probably also drawing on Isa. 2:2-5, another text which depicts an end-time pilgrimage of the nations to Jerusalem. Syntactically, John's *** can be accounted for by the *** of Isa. 2:5. The upshot of this is that the nations are not only drawn to the light as in Isaiah 60, but they live in it (Isa. 2:5). Although Beale thinks that John refers here to those who have been converted throughout the entire course of the church age, the semantic effect of alluding to pilgrimage texts from Isaiah is that the author evokes the expectation of an end-time conversion of the nations. Like his prophetic predecesor, for John the new Jerusalem is a centre of a universal pilgrimage of the nations to worship God. Those who previously worshipped the beast now render allegiance to God and the Lamb.

Isaiah 60 continues to exert influence in Rev. 21:25-26, where John's new heaven and new earth (v. 22), suggest the appropriateness of reading Rev. 22:5 in the light of Isa. 66:21.