Advent Day 5 The Great Light: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) What is the great light that has dawned in the land of darkness? (verse 2)

2) Why did Isaiah say, “a son would be given to us?” (verse 6)

3) What is the significance of the names the child will be called? (verse 6)

Isaiah 9:1-7

Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future, he will bring honor to the way of the sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils. For you have shattered their oppressive yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as you did on the day of Midian. For every trampling boot of battle and the bloodied garments of war
will be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.

Original Intent

1) What is the great light that has dawned in the land of darkness? (verse 2)
In verses 1-2, the prophet Isaiah describes how Judah turned away from God and His commandments. As a consequence, they suffered invasions from neighboring countries. This is the “gloom of the distressed land” in verse 1. God revealed that even though Judah faced difficulties brought on by the sinful rebellion of God’s people, there was still reason for hope. Isaiah prophesied of Judah’s future dawning with a great light even though they had suffered “gloom and distress”. (Isaiah 9:1-2) Author, David Guzik, describes how the “northern tribes were the first to suffer from the Assyrian invasions, so in God’s mercy, they will be the first to see the light of the Messiah.” The light Isaiah foresaw was the Light of the World (John 8:12), the Messiah (Luke 2:11), the Prince who would bring peace (Isaiah 9:6). Some 700 years after Isaiah’s prophecy, the hope God promised came into the world as a baby born in a humble stable; here was the King of Kings and the Light shining in the darkness of our sin. (John 12:46) Ann Voskamp describes the great gift of Jesus like this, “Our God who breathes stars in the dark—He breathes Bethlehem’s Star, then takes on lungs and breathes in stable air. We are saved from hopelessness because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hand to take the iron-sharp edge of our sins.” When Jesus came, He took all our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross, giving us freedom. He offers all of His love, asking us only to trust Him, repent of our sin, and receive His forgiveness. When we accept His love, His light shines in the darkness of our everyday lives (John 8:12), giving us hope and reason to rejoice!

2) Why did Isaiah say, “a son would be given to us?” (verse 6)
Isaiah 9:6 proclaims, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us. . .”. Isaiah foretold that a King was coming who would be unlike any king the nation had seen before. This king would be Mighty God Himself, sent as a child, God’s son, to reign forever. The Reverend Billy Graham explains, “The ‘Child born’ establishes the fact of Christ’s humanity. The ‘Son given’ establishes the fact of His deity. Jesus is the God-man.” Many of Isaiah’s contemporaries had looked to the kings of Israel, such as Hezekiah, to be that promised king. However, “the kings of Israel never brought about the everlasting rule and time of justice and righteousness that Isaiah described . . . only the Messiah will do so permanently. Jesus the Messiah has begun that process and will bring it to fruition.” (Jewsforjesus.org) Through Isaiah, Father God announced He would give His son to rule and reign over His people. Author, Alyssa Roat, notes, “Jesus was born unto us because His birth was not simply a blessing to His parents . . . This birth was to be of great joy for Israel. The child would not just be a blessing to His parents, but the entire world.” God gave His Son to us as a gift to save us from our sins. God announced this blessing long before it came to give His people hope for the future and prove His trustworthiness. This gift of God’s Son is still available to everyone today through repentance from sin and faith in God’s work on the cross. His Son was freely given to us, and all we need to do is accept this gift to have eternal life. (John 3:16)

3) What is the significance of the names the child will be called? (verse 6)
Isaiah 9:6 records many of the names attributed to the coming King, including “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Theologians differ on the number of names of God contained in this passage. John H. Walton notes early translations suggested five names while most modern versions indicate 4. Some even consider the names as one long name! What is clear is that Isaiah’s list of names for God announce that the coming child would be the hope and light of the world; He would be the Son of God, the Messiah. Walton explains, “As ‘Wonderful’ He is beyond human understanding, as ‘Counsellor’ He has all knowledge, and as ‘The Mighty God’ He has all power. His enemies will fall before Him, and none will be able to rise against Him.” Alyssa Roat notes, “Interestingly, the son would also be Everlasting Father—a nod to the doctrine of the Trinity.” Subby Szterszky explains, “…just as the coming Messiah would be the Prince of Peace from His birth, so He would be the means of that peace through His death.” God wanted His people to know the promised King would be unlike any king before. The attributes recorded by Isaiah describe a King who was wise beyond human standards and undeniably Holy. (Colossians 2:9) Alexander Maclaren asserts of Isaiah’s Spirit-inspired writing, “The prophet conceives of a Messiah as the earthly representative of divinity, as having God with and in Him as no other man has.” The names of God in this passage reveal not only a new kind of earthly King but an eternal King who is the same as He always has been and always will be. (Hebrews 13:8)

Everyday Application

1) What is the great light that has dawned in the land of darkness? (verse 2)
In Jane Eyre’s novel, the heroine becomes a vagrant, hungry, and near death. She stumbles toward a light in a far-off window, collapsing at the door of a clergyman’s home, who rescues her. That light drew her from the dangers of the night and her emotional and physical distress to find the help she desperately needed. Isaiah prophesied of an even greater Hope, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” Many today are living in a land of darkness. More savage than the darkness of physical danger or emotional trauma, every human being is “condemned already” because of our sinful offense against a Holy God. (John 3:18) There is no amount of goodness we can muster up to atone for the great debt we owe the Perfectly Righteous One. (Romans 6:23) Our only hope is God Himself, extending Himself to die in our place, effectively paying our debt and offering complete forgiveness. Like Jane’s heroine, motivated to seek the light that drew her in, so we can cast our eyes on the Great Light of Christ who alone is able to save us from the darkness of our sin. His redemption offers to make us new in such dramatic fashion by His Spirit that we have access to Hope in the middle of every struggle. John 1:4-5 reveals Jesus as the Life and Light of God. His light shines in our darkness and is never overcome by darkness. When we have Jesus lighting our way, the darkness of sin and its destruction cannot overwhelm us. We may still need the help of therapies, medications, and healthy habits, but we have a hope in Jesus that shines like a light in our darkest circumstances and provides freedom from sin. Not only is God lighting our path, but He also makes us a light to point others to Him. (Matthew 5:16)

2) Why did Isaiah say, “a son would be given to us?” (verse 6)
The reality of God coming to earth as the Son of Man (Mark 14:62) is unbelievable. Isaiah’s announcement of His coming was nearly unfathomable to the people of Judah. “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Imagining God as man is extraordinary enough, but for Him to come as a child, the infant Son of God, is astonishing. Catherine McNeil notes, “To reveal Himself He came to earth not on a bolt of lightning or on a cloud, but carried in a womb, born of a woman, knitted into flesh and blood—incarnated. To redeem us, this same human body was broken, His flesh torn, His blood spilt—death.The most incredible gift God could give came in such a humble way, wrapped in humanity, the child of common people born in a lowly stable. (Luke 2:12) The gift no one anticipated came in a way no one expected to bring us the freedom we could never earn and, because of sin, didn’t deserve. This blessed gift of a child, a son given to us and sacrificed for us, remains the greatest gift ever given!

3) What is the significance of the names the child will be called? (verse 6)
As a child, I was fascinated by the meaning of names. I poured over my parents’ baby name book to see if the people I knew matched the meaning of their names. I decided my friend Mandy was definitely “lovable,” but I had no idea if my friend Dean was anything like a “valley”! In college, I enjoyed a language class that studied the etymology of towns and cities, where I learned my hometown was named after a railroad official. This is one reason I love to study the hundreds of names of the Lord in the Bible. These names tell us about God’s nature and characteristics. Daniel J. Ebert IV tells us, “Divine names in the Bible are integral to God’s self-revelation . . . These names and their functions reveal God’s nature and teach Israel about their relationship to Him.” In Isaiah 9:6, God reveals something about the nature of the Messiah when He says, “He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” The Messiah’s name is Wise Counselor because He has wisdom beyond any on earth. (1 Corinthians 1:25) His name is Mighty God because He is the second person of the triune Godhead. The Messiah is called Eternal Father because He is eternally existent as the Alpha and Omega. (Revelation 21:6) Christ is described as the Prince of Peace because He offers unsurpassable peace. (John 14:27) He demonstrates this peace by reconciling us to the Father through His death on the cross if we place our trust in Him alone. (2 Corinthians 5:18) When Isaiah recorded these names of the Messiah, he was announcing the divinity of the coming King and declaring the hope and peace Immanuel, or God with us (Matthew 1:22-23), would bring. When we go beyond simply understanding the meaning of God’s names and actively trust Him and His character in the middle of our everyday lives, we are engaging in knowing Him as the God He revealed Himself to be.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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