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The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light

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posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:10 PM
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One of the best-known portions of Handel’s Messiah is the aria based on “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah ch9 v2), immediately followed by “For unto us a child is born”.
And of course we associate those words with Christmas.
The same verse is quoted by Matthew, though not in connection with the birth of Jesus.
But I think we get a better understanding of the prophecy if we begin by placing it in its original context.

This verse can be seen as belonging to a group of prophecies linked by themes of hope and despair, light and darkness.
The section really goes back to the middle of the previous chapter.
The prophet declares “I will wait for the Lord…and I will hope in him”, even though the Lord is currently “hiding his face from” (not showing open support for) the house of Jacob.
He’s already offered signs and portents of hope for Israel in his own preaching and in the names of his own children- ch8 vv16-18

Then he gives examples of the “darkness” which this hope is combatting.
One is the “darkness” of the kind of teaching which takes people away from God.
Specifically, “the wizards who chirp and mutter”, offering their clients the opportunity to consult the dead.
Can people not see the absurdity? Why should living people deal with the dead, when they have a Living God who can be consulted much more fittingly?
For this teaching, “there is no dawn”.
The deceived people will go into exile, cursing their rulers and their God.
Wherever they look, they will see nothing but “distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish”. vv19-22

Next the prophet, or the collector of the prophecies, picks up the words “gloom” and “anguish” to introduce a promise of hope for the land from which the recent exiles have been taken.
This applies to the tribal territories of Zebulon and Naphtali. It covers a swathe of land, stretching over “the way of the sea” (west of the sea of Galilee) and “beyond the Jordan” (east of the sea of Galilee).
Thanks to the Assyrians and their shifting of the population, this has become (for the moment) “Galilee of the Gentiles”.
There will be a dawn for this land.
The gloom and anguish will cease, and it will be brought back to its former glories.

Then we come to “the people that walked in darkness”.
This verse is introducing a fresh element in this group of prophecies.
The prophet breaks out into verse again after the prose remarks about Galilee.
In fact the Hebrew text begins the new chapter at this point.

So the promise that “the light will shine” should really be taken with the words that follow.
In other words, the promise is not restricted to the land of Galilee, but belongs to God’s people as a whole.
So “Thou has multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy”.
God’s people is restored in numbers and prosperity.
God has “broken the rod” of the nation’s oppressor, and the yoke of his burden.
The enemies of God’s people have been overcome.

This victory is the victory of the child whose birth is proclaimed in v6, so Handel is quite right to link the two passages.
His kingdom will be upheld with justice and righteousness, and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.
This is looking forward to the time of God’s final victory over what is wrong in the world.

Turning now to the New Testament use of this passage;
Matthew takes “The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light” as his prophecy.
He begins his quotation from the geographical references in the previous verse, describing “Galilee of the Gentiles”.
This means that he cannot connect the prophecy with the birth of Jesus, because the birth of Jesus has already been linked with Bethlehem in the south.
So he can’t anticipate Handel by bringing in the verse about “Unto us a child is born”, and putting these words into a Nativity context.
Instead, he attaches them to the moment when Jesus begins preaching, after the arrest of John the Baptist.
The “great light” which the people of Galilee have seen is not the birth of Jesus, but the teaching of Jesus. Matthew ch4 vv12-17

We will find the real essence of this prophecy by looking at what the two applications, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, have got in common.

In the first place, the prophecy is God’s response to a state of darkness.
In Isaiah, the darkness is partly the people’s failure to accept the “light” of God’s guidance.
It is partly the oppression which the nation suffers, including, but not limited to, the exile of the tribes of Galilee.
It is also the state of despair which follows on from all this.
In Matthew, the people need the teaching of Jesus because they are still short of the light of God’s guidance.
For the New Testament, though, the focus is transferred from human oppression to the oppressive state of Sin, the whole complex of sin-and-death introduced by the events of Eden.
This is the real reason why people might despair of themselves and of the world.

Secondly, the prophecy is a promise that God will bring his people out of the darkness.
In Isaiah, the oppressors are to be defeated, “as in the time of Midian”.
The lack of the light of God is to be replaced by justice and righteousness.
Consequently, the state of despair is to be replaced by rejoicing.
In the New Testament, the teaching mission of Jesus, which brings God’s light to the people of Galilee, begins a process which completes the overcoming of Sin.
It ends in the establishment of a kingdom of justice and righteousness, filled with the joy of God’s presence.

Finally, in both cases, the promise is focussed upon one person, whose birth begins the fulfilment of the prophecy.
Matthew knows this man as Jesus.




posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

& yet I am kinda lost..... what did you want to say by this immensely long article?



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:20 PM
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a reply to: Necrose
As usual, I put the conclusions at the end, after I've laid out the evidence that leads to the conclusions.
In this case, look to the three final paragraphs, headed
The prophecy is God's response to a state of darkness
The prophecy is a promise from God that he will bring his people out of the state of darkness
The prophecy is focussed upon one person, whose birth brings the fulfilment of the prophecy.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:30 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

But m8, God is within us already. We are him and He is us. Don't care about the messiah, about all those stupid prophecies and the darkness and all this stupid stuff..... the only saviour out there is you.

You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as—Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so—I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it.

What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.
edit on 21-12-2014 by Necrose because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:32 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Assuming that particular religion is true, we can assume Jesus is an article of reincarnation, for he rose from the dead in the bible. From there, can we claim that Jesus is still alive, just in a different body so the devil's soldiers don't crucify him again? What if was also born without the knowledge that he was Jesus, like he had to learn his mission all over again, in an environment completely unknown to his previous incarnation, with a consciousness wiped empty before birth.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:33 PM
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a reply to: Lynk3

yeah and all asian religions are bollocks right?
aaah



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:35 PM
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a reply to: Necrose
Obviously this thread is being written within the parameters of Biblical theology.
I'm not open to being converted to another religion.

The OP is dicussing the meaning of a Biblical prophecy.
That is the chosen topic.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:40 PM
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originally posted by: Lynk3
Assuming that particular religion is true, we can assume Jesus is an article of reincarnation, for he rose from the dead in the bible.

I will correct you on one point. What happens to Jesus is resurrection, not reincarnation. "Reincarnation" means receiving a new physical body, and that isn't what the New Testament describes.

Apart from that, the resurrection is not the topic of this thread.
I won't be dragged off the topic into other areas.
edit on 21-12-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:43 PM
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Thanks D .Kind of makes me want to read some Spurgeon .Have you published any of your writing ? peace a reply to: DISRAELI



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I always imagine a hypothetical situation -- I am born in the middle of jungle, somewhere far away from the other tribes and living only with my parents. They unaware of any christian religion, would obviously not strive me to see any kind of vision of the divine God or alike so I would live my life without all those presumptions.
How would the christian God reach me and say: "Hey Richard, it's me, I am somewhere up there hidden in the clouds watching all your steps, knowing anything I could possibly know and I urge you to trust me and believe in me so you can live very happily afterlife in my paradise with your fellows believers." ?

I guess he wouldn't have reached me out and I wouldn't have known about him. Yet I would probably live a happy life without any struggles. (within the bounds of primitive people's lives)

The same about Eskimos. They don't know and they don't need to know. So why do we, right here in the EU (or the US) ? Why us?

^^
& This was probably the ultimate argument for me .. alongside the argument about the omnipotence of God.
If God cannot create a stone heavy enough so he cannot lift it, he is not omnipotent. ... or make a box through which he can't see.
--> therefore omnipotence is a paradox itself, and thus not real,...or is it?
edit on 21-12-2014 by Necrose because: grammar



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

The topic of this thread is fulfillment of a prophecy. To anyone born in a time way after the completion of the bible, the scriptures can interpreted as a prophecy for their era, therefore your OP's point can be related to my response and to any point in time, including a billion years from now, as long as the bible survives that long. And resurrection, reincarnation? I know he was resurrected in the bible. I'm wondering if he could've been reincarnated after his final death into a different body to continue his legacy. Eternal Wisdom.

P.S. I don't actually follow this religion, I'm Agnostic at best, leaning towards more Quantum Theories of the universe like dimensions, simulations, synchronocity, etc. I'm just entertaining curiosity.
edit on 01412k3 by Lynk3 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:49 PM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
At the moment, this is the place where I'm doing my publishing, but I may find other ways at a later date.
I have some Spurgeon on my bookshelves. I hardly deserve being mentioned in the same sentence, but thank you nonetheless.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:52 PM
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a reply to: Necrose
A common form of argument, but not related to the topic of the thread, and therefore a de-railing exercise.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:54 PM
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I think I have read all your stuff here . Might have went a little quick on some ,but this op has that style and presentation similar to Spurgeon .very nice ...peace a reply to: DISRAELI



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:55 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I know, I am always hoping that one day I will stumble upon a believer that will answer those "questions" or elaborate/argue through those paradoxes and stuff.
That day hasn't come yet though and I do not mean to de-rail the thread so I won't post any further.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:56 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Or you just disregard anything that doesnt 100% agree with your mode of thinking. Which is what I concluded based on you calling my reply off-topic, which makes no sense because the OP is about propechy and my reply was about continuation of legacy through eternity.

Necrose is entertaining the idea that God's world isn't perfect and that's why a prophet is needed. To guide people away from the mistakes of God, or else darkness can start to reign.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 12:59 PM
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originally posted by: Lynk3
The topic of this thread is fulfillment of a prophecy.

To be exact, the birth of Jesus understood as fulfilment of a prophecy.
That's where we begin to apply the prophecy, within the parameters of the Christian faith.



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 01:06 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Don't worry Disraeli, we can chat in the paradise... or hell
we are going to have plenty of time then.
You know these topics are better discussed in a long discourse.
edit on 21-12-2014 by Necrose because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I honestly don't care what your original post was about at this point, I want you to entertain my thought process instead of being stuck on yours. I have more than decent comprehension skills and can understand what your OP is about without you telling me the same thing over and over. And faith is nothing but an interpretation of the world around you, so faith is limitless, shows no bounds. Therefore, there are no paramaters of Christian faith. Beliefs stretch past the pages of a bible.
edit on 01412k3 by Lynk3 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2014 @ 01:07 PM
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originally posted by: Lynk3
Or you just disregard anything that doesnt 100% agree with your mode of thinking.

No, I disregard anything not related to the topic of the thread.
I do it for this reason;
I am aware that the standard tactic of anti-religious campaigning on this forum is to de-rail religious threads by dragging into them each and every quibble they can think of on any aspect of religion, however unrelated to the topic in question it might be. Thus every thread becomes an exercise in "let's throw in every anti-religious argument we can find".
So I nip that tactic in the bud by putting up threads with carefully defined limits and refusing to move beyond them.
It is an anti-trolling strategy made necessary by the character of this forum.



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