Whence the Words of Ephesians 5:14? Part 4

The other passage collated by the DUTCH TRANSLATORS is that in Isaiah 9:2, which verse immediately coheres with Isaiah 9:1, for the gloom shall not be thick to him to whom it was a vexation: in the former time He made the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali vile:  but in the latter time He honored it, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Nations.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon the inhabitants of the land of the shadow of death light hath shined.  The fulfillment of this prophecy is indicated by Matthew the Evangelist, Matthew 4:12-16.  Thence it appears that in this passage Isaiah prophesies concerning the time of the Advent of Messiah, and the beginning of the new economy; but that this promise has regard most nearly to the Jewish nation, and most especially indeed to that part of the people that was dwelling in Galilee; which, as it was formerly pressed most grievously, and was everywhere held to be vile, even more than Judea and its inhabitants; so it would not be altogether darkened, but the God of Israel would magnify it with a singular honor, even above the other regions of the land of Israel, since He would illuminate this people, sitting in darkness and in the valley of the shadow of death, with a new light and brilliantly flashing splendor.  Of course, among the characteristics of the time of the Advent of Messiah this also is able to be enumerated, that manifest and deep Darkness occupied just about the entire world, in the idolatry of all Nations; but also in the sects of the Jews and corruptions of the Pharisees and Sadducees:  which Darkness was at last to be dispelled by the rising of a Star out of Jacob,[1] and of the Sun of Righteousness[2] and Dayspring from on high:[3]  see SPANHEIM’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century I, chapter I, § 2, column 518.  At that juncture of time Sarah, completely barren, would be a mother, in small number bearing genuine offspring to be place together with free Isaac.  In the external and visible assembly of the Church, the Darkness of ignorance would prevail through the removal of the key of knowledge,[4] and also errors, impiety, misery, and many an image of spiritual death; which would be clearly seen especially in Galilee bordering upon the nations, the inhabitants of which thoroughly mixed with the Gentiles.  These things would be dispelled by the pleasing Light of the fulfillment of the Gospel, and the appearance of Messiah, who Himself, as the Dayspring from on high, would publicly proclaim that Gospel in his walking through the land of Israel through several successive years, with the beginning of His preaching being in Galilee:  with such success, that hence many were gladdened with the blessed Light of knowledge, holiness, and consolation, by comparison with Luke 1:78, 79:  see the Commentaries of the Most Illustrious VITRINGA, SEBASTIAN SCHMIDT, and the Reverend HELLENBROEK,[5] on this passage.  From the argument of this Isaian passage traced in rough outline it is easily demonstrated that, although it comes nearer to the text of which we speak thatn that other one out of Isaiah 26, of which we just now treated, it differs too much from the Pauline words, than that we might say that the Apostle here sets down his admonition with its subjoined promise as taken from this oracle of Isaiah.  But, while the Apostle urges his admonition with a promise, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, and Christ shall give thee light, we are unwilling to deny that, with the text verily cited by Paul these things that occur in Isaiah 9:1, 2, with respect had to that promise, are therefore able to be compared as parallel for greater confirmation, with the utmost plausibility also from the sentence of the Apostle; especially since the promise is here made to Galilee of the Nations, where Jews were not only bordering upon the Gentiles, but also mixed together with Gentiles.  But similarly with the promise, whereby Paul commends his admonition set forth from the Ancient Scripture, whatever other prophecies of the Prophets deserve to be consulted as parallels, in which Messiah is promised not only as the Light, bu especially as the Light of the Gentiles, which after the accomplishment of salvation would fall to Messiah for an hereditary possession as the reward of His work; especially Isaiah 42:6, 7, I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness, that I might hold thine hand: and I, keeping thee, will give thee as a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles:  To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoner from the prison, those sitting in darkness from the prison house.  Isaiah 49:6, And He (Jehovah) said, It is too small a thing that thou shouldest be to me a servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; and so I have given thee as a Light to the Gentiles, so that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of the earth.

[1] Numbers 24:17.

[2] Malachi 4:2.

[3] Luke 1:78.

[4] See Luke 11:52.

[5] Abraham Hellenbroek (1658-1731) was a Dutch Reformed Pastor of the Nadere Reformatie.

Leave a Comment