Summary: This is not just about a City, but about the whole People of God.
A JOYOUS PROSPECT
Isaiah’s so-called ‘Song of the Vineyard’ (Isaiah 5:1-7), spoke of a time when judgment and desolation loomed large upon the horizon of his contemporaries. There the husbandman (cf. John 15:1) looked for a fruitful harvest, but the vineyard yielded only bad fruit (Isaiah 5:4). The LORD looked for justice and righteousness in Israel, but found instead only oppression, and cries of distress (Isaiah 5:7).
In our present passage, Isaiah takes the part of one of the ‘watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem’ who ‘never hold their peace day or night’; who ‘make mention of the LORD’ and ‘do not keep silent’ (cf. Isaiah 62:6). Such is his zeal for Zion, that he “will not hold his peace”; he “will not rest”: until Jerusalem’s “righteousness goes forth as brightness”; and “her salvation shines forth as a lamp that burns” (Isaiah 62:1).
The prophet himself had been clothed (by the LORD) ‘with the garments of salvation’; and had been covered (by the LORD) ‘with the robe of righteousness’ (cf. Isaiah 61:10-11). What is more natural than for him (or us) to desire that others also should receive the gift of salvation (through our Lord Jesus Christ), and be clothed with (His) righteousness? Then at last the LORD will have His harvest!
The involvement of Gentiles and kings (Isaiah 62:2) certainly anticipates the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied elsewhere that “in the last days” the mountain of the LORD's house would be exalted above all hills, and people from all nations would gather to worship (Isaiah 2:2-3; cf. Isaiah 60:1-3). According to the Apostle Peter, the last days began at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-17).
The bestowing of a “new name” (Isaiah 62:2) points forward to our new identity in Christ (Revelation 2:17). There is an identification with the new name of God (Revelation 3:12), and a hitherto hidden name of Jesus (Revelation 19:12). Whatever the name is, it will be pronounced by God.
According to the LORD’s judgment, the northern kingdom of Ephraim/Israel wore a crown of pride, and their hitherto glorious beauty was a fading flower (Isaiah 28:1). The restored Jerusalem, however, was to be “a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD”; His restored people are displayed as a “royal diadem” in the hand of their God (Isaiah 62:3). This is the reverse side of an earlier image, where it is the ‘LORD of hosts’ who will be ‘a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people’ (Isaiah 28:5).
In the immediate context, a once forsaken people and a once desolate land will be restored (Isaiah 62:4; cf. Isaiah 54:1; Isaiah 54:6). Here, a City “Forsaken” becomes ‘a City Not Forsaken’ (Isaiah 62:12). The same reversal as is found in the prophecy of Hosea, where ‘Not My People’ (Hosea 1:9) becomes ‘You Are My People’ (Hosea 2:23). The Apostle Paul takes this to include not only the Jews, but the Gentiles also (Romans 9:22-26). The Apostle Peter also takes up this thought, indicating that those who were once ‘Not a People’ are now ‘the People of God’; that those who had not received mercy, have now received mercy (1 Peter 2:10).
There is, in our present passage, the renewing of the LORD’s rejoicing over Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:5; cf. Isaiah 65:19; Jeremiah 32:41). However, this is not just about a City, but about the whole People of God, who are here portrayed as ‘marrying’ the City that birthed them (Isaiah 62:5). In like manner, Christian believers become a part of the one true Church of our Lord Jesus Christ the very first moment they put their trust in Him.
There is much rejoicing in heaven over every sinner who comes to repentance (Luke 15:10). In fact, the joyous prospect of our birth into the family of God is exactly what Jesus had in view when He went to Calvary. Let us look to Him as 'The Author and Finisher of our Faith: who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’ (Hebrews 12:2).