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1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
1 But [Nevertheless] there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time [Et HaRishon] He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun [Artzah Zevulun] and the land of Naphtali [Artzah Naphtali], but in the latter time [acharon (afterward, in the future)] hath he made it glorious [did bring to honour Derech HaYam], by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan [Way to the Sea, land between Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean), beyond Yarden in the], Galilee of the nations [Galil HaGoyim]. RV/ [OJB].
(The OJB has v1 as the last verse of Ch 8)
Chapter 9 is a new beginning: a wonderful new beginning: the new beginning.
Verse 1: Zebulun and Naphtali-the land of Galilee-suffered the most and the longest in the heathen invasions. They were the gateway to the land, and took the full brunt of the invader every time. The darkness struck them first and hardest, but it was to them that the Light most especially came.
Immanuel's home and headquarters were in Galilee. Most of his labours were there. Most of his followers were Galileans, and to speak with Galilean accent was to identify one as associated with him, as we see in the case of Peter (Mk. 14:70).
And the angel addressed the up-gazing disciples who watched him ascend, as "Ye men of Galilee" (Acts 1:11).
Galilee was known as "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15), because of its mixed and cosmopolitan character, so different from the rigid and legalistic Jerusalem. Jesus' seeming origin in, and association with, Galilee was a great stumbling-block to the Jewish leaders-
"Search and see: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet" (Jn. 7:52). *
2 The people that walked in darkness [choshech] have seen a great light [Ohr gadol]: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death [eretz tzalmavet], upon them hath the light shined [Ohr dawned].
Matthew leaves no doubt of the meaning in telling us (4:16) that this Light was Immanuel in their midst. *
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation [Thou shalt multiply the Goy], and not (to him- KJV mgn) increased the joy [and increase its simchah]: they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest [simchat baKatzir], and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
The margin gives "to him" for "not," and Revised Version follows this, though "not" is best supported textually, and it's hard to see how "not" could creep in, if it were not the original, but the change the other way is easy.
If we accept the "not," then it's clearly a contrast of the past with the new joyful Light of righteousness. The nation had been "increased" in the past, as in the splendid days of Solomon, but without real and lasting joy, which can only be founded on righteousness. But this new Light of "God with us," and what he accomplished, guarantees eternal joy: for the nation of Israel, and for the whole world. *
4 For thou hast broken the yoke [ol] of his burden, and the staff [mateh] of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor [shevet hanogesh (rod of the task master)], as in the day of Midian [yom of Midyan [See Judges 7:25)].
The "days of Midian" refer back to the marvellous and typical victory of Gideon and his little band of three hundred (Jdgs. 7). "Thou hast broken" is certainly prophetic: the prophetic past speaking of the future, because of its surety in the Purpose of God.
When the Great Light Immanuel had completed his mission in his first advent, and his death had been swallowed up in victory, the oppressor's yoke was indeed broken. But this will not be consummated in its fulness until the last enemy, death, is destroyed at the millennium's end (1 Cor. 15:26).
This verse refers, too, to the final destruction of the Assyrian on the mountains of Israel by Immanuel returned: the man who shall be the Peace when the Assyrian comes into the land for the last time (Mic. 5:5), for the next verses lead on into the glory of his Throne and Kingdom. *
5 For every battle [boot] of the [tramping] warrior is with confused noise [in the battle's tumult], and garments [ simlah] rolled in blood [megolalah in damim]; but this shall be with [for] burning and fuel of fire [ma'acholet eish].
5 For all the armour of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall even be for burning, for fuel of fire. (RV)
Here again, the detailed translations are various, and the Revised Version varies considerably, but the basic picture is clear. Here is the final worldwide conflict, when God sets His King upon His holy hill of Zion (Psa. 2), when Christ descends from heaven in flaming fire taking vengeance (2 Thess. 1:8), and when the King of kings and Lord of lords treads the winepress of the wrath of God (Rev. 19:15-16).
The Revised Version translation, which seems here to get closer to the sense, emphasizes the result of this climactic battle in the burning up of all the instruments of war: the removal of war from the earth. *
6 For unto us a child [yeled] is born, unto us a son [ben] is given: and the government [misrah (dominion)] shall be upon his shoulder: and his name [Shmo] shall be called Wonderful [ Peleh], Counsellor [Yoetz], The mighty El [El Gibbor], The everlasting Father [Avi Ad (Possessor of Eternity)], The Prince of Peace [Sar Shalom].
The anointed Jesus (not the dead body lying in the sepulchre of the Arimathean Joseph) is eternal power manifested in flesh; and, therefore, AIL, or in Saxon "God." Now Mi-cha-lo? -- WHO-LIKE-TO-HIM among the sons of the mighty? (Psalm 89:6). Therefore, because there is none to compare with him the "child born" and the "son given" to Judah, is styled in Isaiah 9:6, AIL givbor, "the Mighty Power."
... it will be said of him, Mi-cha-el? Who like to God? to "Yahweh the Man of War"? Who will contend with him? (Isaiah 50:8), with Jesus, the Eternal's king of the Jews?
Jesus, then, the Son of David and Son of the Eternal Power by David's daughter, is Michael the great Prince of Israel, who comes to redeem his kinsmen and their inheritance, and to break in pieces their oppressors.
Phanerosis - Michael the Great Prince
Here is the Hope of mankind-from among mankind, but by the special initiative of God, the special control and guidance of God, the special personal manifestation of God in a unique, chosen vessel from Adam's fallen race. This is the great "Mystery of Godliness"- Immanuel-"God with us." This appears in the wonderful names he bears.
"The government shall be upon his shoulder"
Here is the Son of David, to sit upon his regal throne, ruling from the River to the ends of the earth (Psa. 72:8). Here is the Seed of Abraham, to have universal dominion over his enemies, to possess their gates, and bring blessing to all the nations (Gen. 22:17-18).
"His name shall be called WONDERFUL".
No more fitting term could begin the description of him: his "Name" or character or identification. All God's works are wonderful, and we do well to revel constantly in the glory of their wonderfulness. But of all the wonders of Creation, Christ is the most wonderful of all. Using the same word, the Psalmist prays (119:18)
"Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law."
Let that be our constant search and desire. It is wholesome, and purifying, and beautifying, and productive of great joy.
" . . . COUNSELLOR . . ." (v. 6).
That is, Guide, Teacher, Instructor, Advisor. How great is this need! And how perfectly he fills it! - not only the Perfect Teacher, but the Perfect Example of his own teaching. Let us realize how much we need teaching in everything: how little we know at very best, how little we are able alone to direct our own way in wisdom and well-being.
His being Counsellor is inseparably related to his being the Word made flesh. All the Word is about him, and centers wholly around him. We find him in a multitude of ways on all its pages. Here is where we learn of him, and get to know him, and are "counselled" by him.
" . . . THE MIGHTY GOD . . .".
We need have no difficulty with this title. It is the essential foundation. His Name would be incomplete without this aspect. There are two considerations that explain it-
1. The term "God" (Ail or El in the original) is applied by God to others than Christ, as Christ himself pointed out from the Psalms in defending its application to himself (Psa. 82:1, 6)
"God (Elohim) judgeth among the gods (elohim) . . . I (God) have said that ye (Israel) are gods (elohim), and all of you are children of the Most High."
2. But the second consideration (actually related to the first, but of specific and unique application to Christ) is the most relevant here: he was Immanuel-"God with us"-
"God was manifest in the flesh . . . God was IN Christ . . . He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:19; Jn. 14:9).
This manifestation is an essential part of his glorious Name.
" . . . THE EVERLASTING FATHER . . ." .
This should be "Father of the Future," or "Father of Eternity." The Hebrew is Abi-Ad. He is Father of all Future Eternity in that all springs from him. He laid the foundation in his perfect life and death, and so opened the way for the future. He alone was worthy and able to open the Seals of the Divine Plan of the Ages (Rev. 5:5). Without him, there could have been no future. And individually, without him no one has any future. He is the "Beginning of the (New) Creation" (Rev. 3:14; Col. 1:15).
"THE PRINCE OF PEACE . . ." .
His culminating title. He is Prince of Peace in every sense, truly. External, universal, calm, tranquil peace on earth: all nature and all mankind in perfect harmonious accord. But far more than that, he is Prince of the Peace of God that passeth all understanding, the inner Peace, the Perfect Peace -
"Great peace have they which love Thy law . . . Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee" (Psa. 119:165; Isa. 26:3).
"Be careful - concerned, anxious, worried, troubled- for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, SHALL keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).Bro Growcott - Prince of Peace
Elpis Israel 1.4.
The Prince of Peace
I had published the truth, and the books had gone abroad into parts where I could not have gone. I was astonished to find so large and hearty a body of believers in Australia. Our privileges as believers were great even now. The truth brought human nature to its best where allowed a perfect work. It enabled us to get the best satisfaction out of even the present mortal life. No doubt it brought its drawbacks and crosses; but, take it all in all, we found the truth of Paul's statement that godliness was profitable for the life that now is as well as that which is to come. We experienced it on a holiday like this.
None of the crowd that were out that day had the pure satisfaction imparted to us on that hillside by the truth. They lacked the beautiful and noble ideals that came with the truth. They had the Prince of Wales; we had the Prince of Peace. What could the Prince of Wales do for them? No doubt, for the time being, he filled an important place as a key-stone in the general fabric of social order and security, as would be seen by reference to past epochs of British history, when a disputed succession meant war and confusion. But beyond this general function he conferred no benefit on the millions who honoured his name.
How different it was with that other Prince, whose name we bore, whose birth was not without fulness of truth declared by the angels on Bethlehem's plains to be
"glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
The last of his names in Isaiah ix. 6 was suggestive of great difference between him and the greatest of earthly princes. "His name shall be called Wonderful." There was nothing "wonderful" in the name of the Prince of Wales, but the name Jesus (yahhoshua) told us of the wonderful fact of the Name of the Eternal Creator being vested in a man for the salvation of the world, "Counseller."
The Prince of Wales could give us no counsel above ordinary men, if so much. But here was a Prince in whom, as Paul expressed, "is filled up all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," and whose word followed will bring everlasting well-being. "The mighty God." The Prince of Wales was a failing mortal, like the rest of us, who would presently disappear at the summons of the King of Terrors: but the Prince of Peace was God manifest in the flesh, and alive for evermore, with "all power in heaven and earth in his hand." "The Everlasting Father." A father to his people is one who provides for all their needs.
This it is not in the power of the Prince of Wales to do so. Millions of British subjects are in dire poverty, the deepest mental darkness, and in misery manifold. What can he do for them? Would he even look at the widow over his carriage panels? The Prince of Peace will judge for the poor and the needy, and fill the hungry with good things. Men shall be blest in him-all men, and "his name shall endure for ever." Even if the Prince of Wales were the benefactor that some rulers have been, he must pass away and give place to the common run of self-blessers. But the Prince of Peace is immovable by change, decay, or death-"the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," "The Prince of Peace." The world requires peace. Life cannot be sweet without peace.
The Prince of Wales cannot give it. There are more war preparations in his day than there ever were before. But our Prince shall give peace to the ends of the earth. He shall speak peace to the heathen: and he will not leave it to their choice whether they will have it or not. He shall break the battle bow out of the earth by main force and compel them to submit to one head, which is the only way of abolishing war.
"He shall rebuke strong nations afar off, and they shall study war no more."
Mockers thought his name, "the Prince of Peace." a mockery, because war instead of peace had so far been the result of his appearance. Men should not judge an unfinished work. As the proverb has it, "Fools and children should not see things half done." Even the very circumstance that mockers tried to make capital out of was a proof of the truthfulness of the matter they mocked. Christ said he had not come at that time to bring peace, but a sword: and it had been so, and would be so till the time came for Christ to justify his Name by forcing peace on the world at the point of the sword.
When wickedness is punished and overthrown, the foundation of righteousness thus laid will give "quietness and assurance for ever."
"All nations shall call him blessed" at last, and then the great names of Gentile times will be forgotten.
TC 07/1896 p255-266 - A Voyage to Australia - Bro Roberts