Light and glory

Isaiah wrote around the time of the collapse and captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel, but his dealings were with the kings of the south. He warned against the coming invasion of Assyria and the ultimate fall, exile, and restoration of a reunited Israel.

In the beginning of chapter 60, he casts the restoration in terms of Genesis 1. Darkness covers the face of the earth and the light of the glory of God shines and begins a new creation. This restoration is also a new exodus. Jeremiah says that the return from exile would be so great that the people would no longer say, “‘As Yahweh lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As Yahweh lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’” And here Isaiah says that unlike the exodus from Egypt where the people were driven out, these would be carried home on the hip, lifted up and exalted by kings. Even the particular form of the word for “savior”, moshiya’, in verse 16 carries a whisper of the exodus – “I am Yahweh, your Moses.”*

Like the building of the tabernacle, He reforms Israel in the image of His glory and makes her a beautiful house, so that all nations would come to see her beauty and to praise the God of glory. The light and glory and beauty of His new creation is heavily emphasized and the language pushes beyond the return from exile and is echoed in the vision of the beauty of the glorious bridal city of Revelation 21-22. The gold and silver of the city reflect the light of God. The wealth and worship and the kings of the nations stream into the city through the gates which never close. The sun and moon are no longer set in the heavens as rulers, but God is sun and moon, the king and light of His people.

*Thank you to Peter Leithart for this insight

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