Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

And his bride is prepared to welcome him

For he who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the LORD of hosts;
Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth
. - Isaiah 54:5

In Isaiah Chapter 54, the prophet is speaking of Israel's return to Jerusalem after being in bondage in Babylon. It is for Israel's unfaithfulness that God "forsakes" her for a brief moment in his anger, he gives her up. However, God is forever faithful and when Israel repents, he is quick to take her back with great tenderness and mercy. So, the prophet calls for Jerusalem to raise a glad cry at the return of her children, to make room for her innumerable children who are the returning exiles.

In a larger sense, Isaiah 54 speaks to the Gentiles as well, specifically the Gentiles who are brought into the family of God through Christ. After the fall, humanity spiralled away from the one God, and worshiped in his place idols which are created things. The only group left to worship the true God was a small nomadic group of Hebrews which were surrounded by a sea of pagans. It was left to the Hebrews to reveal God to the world, so that through them, all the world may return to God. God enters a successive number of covenants with his people, Israel, the Hebrews, which they fail to keep thus incurring the curses which are inherent to those who do not keep their covenant oath. The result, Israel often wandered and suffered as an unfaithful wife who was left by her faithful husband.

With the coming of Christ, the Son of the living God, a new and everlasting covenant is forged, but this time, God himself swears the oath on behalf of mankind (through the God-Man, Jesus), and since God is always faithful, this covenant will never be broken and fulfills the requirements of all the other covenants. So when we revisit Isaiah 54 in light of the new and everlasting covenant, we see the deserted wife is an image of the Gentiles who were forsaken by God for a "brief moment" after the fall of Adam and Eve, but now are to be incorporated through Christ into the "new Israel" which is the Church, the bride of Christ.

As we approach the coming of the Lord, let us be mindful that God has wedded himself to us through his Son by the incarnation. He is the bridegroom, we are the bride. May he find us faithful when he comes again in glory.


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