Isaiah 60

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come

The long awaited Messiah will come to save his people as a light which shineth in a dark place. 

Charles W. Penrose

I bear this testimony with words of truth and soberness, before God and all men. I know this is God's work, and I know it will prevail. I know it will not be left to another people. (Dan. 2:44) I know it will remain, and every power and every influence that rises against it, to destroy it, will itself perish and be destroyed, and every arm that is lifted against this work will, in the due time of the Lord, be palsied and withered, for it is the work of the great God, and it will stand forever…

And the Zion of our God shall arise and shine, (Isa. 60:1) and the glory thereof shall stream forth to the uttermost parts of the earth, and God will break down every nation, kingdom and government of the earth which refuses to hearken to his voice, until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our God and His Christ, and He shall reign (Rev. 11:15) from pole to pole and from shore to shore. (Journal of Discourses, 25:50)

Isaiah 60:2 darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people

Thomas S. Monson

When Jesus of Nazareth personally walked the rock-strewn pathways of the Holy Land, he, as the Good Shepherd, showed all who would believe how they might follow that narrow way and enter that strait gate to life eternal. “Come, follow me,” he invited. “I am the way.”…

History records that most men indeed did not come unto him, nor did they follow the way he taught. Crucified was the Lord, slain were the apostles, rejected was the truth. The bright daylight of enlightenment slipped away, and the lengthening shadows of a black night enshrouded the earth.

One word and one word alone describes the dismal state that prevailed: apostasy. Generations before, Isaiah had prophesied: “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” (Isa. 60:2.) Amos had foretold of a famine in the land: “Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11.) Had not Peter warned of false teachers bringing damnable heresies, and Paul predicted that the time would come when sound doctrine would not be endured?

The dark ages of history seemed never to end. Was there to be no termination to this blasphemous night? Had a loving Father forgotten mankind? Would he send forth no heavenly messengers as in former days? (Ensign, May 1975, 15)

Bruce R. McConkie

When the gospel sun went down almost two millennia ago, when the priesthood was taken away and a dreary dusk descended in the congregations that once had known light, when light and truth no longer shone forth from heaven, and when those on earth no longer were taught and directed by apostles and prophets, then spiritual darkness reigned. Darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. (See Isa. 60:2.) The dark ages had their beginning, and the light of heaven no longer dwelt in the hearts of those who professed to worship Him whose we are. (Ensign, May 1978, 12)

Bruce R. McConkie

And with the gospel dawn and the spread of truth over all the earth, the terrors of the night are vanishing away. Where there was fear and ignorance and superstition, now there is love and light and pure religion. Fear has become courage; ignorance is transformed into wisdom; superstition and tradition are replaced by the light and truth of heaven.

Soon the wolves of wickedness will no longer howl and the jackals of sin no longer snivel and snipe at the ongoing kingdom, and the great millennial day will be upon us.

This is thy day, O Zion! “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. …

   His glory shall be seen upon thee.

   And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. …

   Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. …

   The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” (Isa. 60:1–3, 18–19.) (Ensign, May 1978, 13)

Isaiah 60:3 the Gentiles shall come to thy light

Orson Pratt

Kings, nobles, and great men, from all the principal nations of the earth, will come flocking to Zion with their armies, and their servants to view the grandeur of Zion; and they will have to be obedient to the mandates of the great King who shall issue forth His laws from Zion, (Isa. 2:3) or it will be no place for them to abide in…

Then, I rejoice; I look forward to the day of glory, when the glory of Zion shall be like a light upon a hill (Matt. 5:14) which will illuminate the whole world; and the great men of the earth will come to see the glory of God, and be taught in the holy commandments that will proceed forth from our midst; and they will look upon Zion, and wonder, and be astonished. (Journal of Discourses, 3:74)

Elaine S. Dalton

I hope you will never hesitate to “let your light so shine … that [others will] see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (Matt. 5:16) I hope you too will raise your banners high. I know that as you lead in righteousness, this scripture in Isaiah will be fulfilled: “For, behold, … the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”  (Isa. 60:2) It will be discernable, and “the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”  (Isa. 60:3)

I can see a day when the world will look to you and say: “Who are you? Who are these young women who radiate this light? Why are you so happy? Why do you know your direction in such a confusing world?” And you will arise and stand on your feet and say with conviction: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.’”

My call to you is the same as Moroni’s call: “Awake, and arise … , O daughter[s] of Zion.”  (Moro. 10:31) He saw you. He saw this day. These are your days! It is up to you to decide that you will “arise and shine forth.” I believe that as you awake and arise, your light will be a standard to the nations, but I also believe your standards will be a light to the nations. (Conference Report, April 2006, 111)

Isaiah 60:3-10 Lift up thine eyes round about and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee

There is a subtle tone of incredulity here—as if the Lord is encouraging to believe something that seems impossible.  “Do you see all these people coming to Jerusalem and Zion?  They aren’t just coming because I am here.  They are coming to honor you as the chosen people of the Lord!  They will bring you their wealth, their resources, and surprisingly, their praise—for you are the covenant children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Orson Pratt

Inquires one—“Is Zion going to become popular, so that Gentiles and kings and great men will come to her light?” Yes, certainly; and not only Gentiles, kings and great men, but many of all the nations of the earth have got to come to Zion, and, according to this very chapter, that nation and kingdom that will not serve Zion shall perish, and be utterly wasted away. (Isa. 60:12) Has there ever been such a people as this since the day Isaiah lived? There never has; but such a people and such a time are coming, and Zion will be that people. “The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isa. 60:3) Thy gates shall be open continually; that men may bring the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.” (Isa. 60:11) (Journal of Discourses, 18:153-154)

Isaiah 60:5 the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee

“The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee.”  In other words, the majority of those who live on the isles of the sea will be converted to the gospel and therefore will come to honor the chosen people. 

Orson Pratt

“But,” inquire the people, “do you believe that the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled yet?” No; they are not fulfilled yet. Hundreds and thousands, and tens of thousands of the Gentiles among the various nations of the earth will yet bow to the fulness of the Gospel; and they will come, and the gates of Zion will not be shut day nor night, (Isa. 60:11) that the forces of the Gentiles may flow unto her. The Lord will continue to work among both Israel and Gentiles, and His power will increase, the more we send the Gospel among Israel; the more the servants of God seek for the seed of Jacob, the more will the powers of heaven be displayed for the redemption of that people. They are the promised seed; God has not forgotten the prayers of their fathers; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob prayed for their posterity, and they had faith for them, and in them all the nations of the earth are to be blessed. (Journal of Discourses, 2:41)

Isaiah 60:6-7 all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense

The nomadic tribes of Arabia, in other words the Arab nations surrounding Jerusalem, will no longer fight against Israel but come to honor the King as the queen of Sheba did in the days of Solomon.  The Arab nations have plenty of gold; the last thing they want to do is give it to Israel.  That will change.

Dromedaries are faster breed of camels-one hump camels.  Isaiah is prophesying of the blessings of the Millennium but anyplace that is covered with a multitude of messy camels and a drove of spitting dromedaries is a messy place!

“According to my Bible Atlas (Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl G Rasmussen), Midian was a descendant of Abraham and Keturah and the ancestor of an Arabian tribe that bore his name.  Midian is mentioned 57 times in the OT.  They were a nomadic people but believed to have its center in NW Arabia.

“Midian was also a part of Sheba:

Ephah is believed to be a separate tribe of Sheba like Midian but is unknown exactly where it was located:

Sheba was on the Arabian peninsula now Yemen:

“According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas and Merrill C Tenney, the camels mentioned carried trade goods from Sheba northward to the Mediterranean countries. Sheba was very wealthy through the control of the trade in perfumes and incense.  The Queen of Sheba visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12), riding a camel as well bearing just such gifts.

Kedar is another name for Arabia:

“According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Kedar is mentioned numerous times in the Bible (Isaiah mentions it in:  Isaiah 21:17, Isaiah 42:11).  Kedar also had great wealth and Zondervan infers due to the number of references in the Bible that Kedar must have been well-known to the Israelites from 1000-500 BC.  Kedar was also one of the distant lands.

Nebaioth is in Northern Arabia” (

Isaiah 60:8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

God, in mercy, has restored the light,

though men still grope,

unable to recognize what they so desperately need.

And who are these

that fly as a cloud,

and like doves to their windows?

Like Noah’s dove,

bringing the gladdest of tidings,

God’s messengers come,

clutching truth so tightly.

Pray, oh pray,

that those to whom they wing their way

will welcome these doves

who bring them light.

(Deanna Harrison Neilson, “Like Doves,” New Era, Apr. 1992, 51)

Isaiah 60:12 the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish

Orson Pratt

What! No people or nation left that will not serve Zion? Not one. What will become of this great republic (i.e. U.S.A) with its forty millions of people, and which is spreading forth continually? If they will comply with the ordinances of Zion, repent of their sins and be prepared for this great and glorious day, God will save them; but if they will not they will be utterly wasted away. Thus have the prophets declared. (Journal of Discourses, 14:46)

Wilford Woodruff

The hand of God has guided this Church from its incipiency to the present time. God will continue to direct its affairs, and there is no power on the earth or under the earth that can ever stop its progress, for he himself, has decreed that the Zion of the latter days shall never be overthrown; but on the contrary, as he has said through the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah, “For the nation and the kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Pretty strong doctrine to be taught by a humble man of God (i.e. Joseph Smith, see D&C 45:66-70). Nevertheless, time will bring it about and it is not in the power of man to prevent it. I am a believer in revelation. I am a believer, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, with every particle of spirit in me, that God will bring about, literally and to the very letter, all that he has spoken through his servants, ancient and modern. (Journal of Discourses, 19:362)

Isaiah 60:14-15 thou hast been forsaken and hated

Jeremiah said the Jews would be scattered, that they would become a “reproach… a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.” (Jer. 24:9)  The Jews have been a “hiss and a byword” for 2000 years. Nephi prophesied they would  become a hiss and a byword, and be hated among all nations.”

   Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers.

   Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.

   Yea, and all the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord, saith the prophet; every nation, kindred, tongue and people shall be blessed. (1 Ne 19:14-17)

No nation has been more denigrated, persecuted, mocked, or slandered.  Political cartoons speak volumes.  The voice of anti-Semitism hasn’t quieted since the Holocaust—even in the United States—the vitriol seems to get louder and louder.

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After all the hatred, are we to believe that the Jews will become the most beloved and honored people on the face of the earth?  Isaiah prophecies some crazy stuff!  These cartoon artists will have to repent.   He declares that those who have despised Israel will come begging for forgiveness, honoring Jerusalem and praising Zion.  What cataclysmic event could make such a change of public opinion?  Perhaps the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would do it. “They that have laughed shall see their folly.  And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed” (D&C 45:49-50)

What will Christ say to the Arabs?  What will he say to the Chinese?  What will he say to the millions in India?  What will he say to the Gentiles?  What will he say to the Jews?  We only know the answer to the last of these questions (see D&C 45:51-53).

Isaiah 60:17 for brass I will bring gold

Brigham Young

Do you not know, brethren, that the day will come of which the Lord says, “For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron;” and yet if those things were now delivered into our hands, there would be selfishness. I have seen that spirit manifested, and I am afraid of it. I am more afraid of covetousness in our Elders than I am of the hordes of hell. (Journal of Discourses, 5:353)

John Taylor

By the help of the Lord, we will try, first, to purify ourselves, to purify our households, to get rid of covetousness, deception and fraud of every kind, to act honorably before God and before all men, and to love not the world, nor the things that are in the world; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 Jn. 2:15) Anything that we may have or possess comes from God; and if we are exalted, if we possess the good things of the world—which I tell you in the name of Israel's God we shall, in spite of all men and all their influences, for the people of Zion will be the richest of all people. (D&C 38:39) This is in accordance with the Scriptures. The Scripture tells us: [quotes Isa. 60:17-18]. (Journal of Discourses, 26:37-38)

Orson Pratt

It will be a time of great plenty of the precious metals. In those days God will give the keys of the treasures of the earth and he will open them up to the people. (Journal of Discourses, 18:154)

Isaiah 60:19-20 the sun shall be no more thy light by day

Orson Pratt

The presence of the Lord will be in their midst, and it will radiate over their temples, it will light their city by night and by day. (Isa. 60:19-20; Rev. 21:23; Rev. 22:5) “But are you sure,” says one, “that such a thing will take place?” I have no time to read all the Lord says on the subject, but if you read the 60th chapter of Isaiah, you will find that the sun shall be no longer necessary by day, nor the moon by night, to give light to a certain people. Why? Because “the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down.”  Not like our sun which arises in the morning and exists above the horizon for a few hours, then descends, and darkness covers the earth. Not so with this light, the glorious divine light that will lighten up the heights of Zion. (Jer. 31:12) It will never go down, (Isa. 60:20) it will be a standing miracle by day and by night, from one week to another, month after month, year after year, until the one thousand years shall have rolled away over the heads of the people that dwell on the earth. (Journal of Discourses, 24:28)