DAY 4: THE GLORY OF THE LORD ACCORDING TO ISAIAH
Ang kaluwalhatian ng Panginoon ayon kay Isaias
Filipino | Isaiah 7 and 9
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
– Isaiah 7:14
Rooted in the misery of poverty and corruption, Filipinos resiliently long for the reversal of this kind of discourse, something we could claim and recognize as a glorious path.
We may dub it as a signpost of God’s reign on earth as in heaven, the formation of a new kind of polis that ushers in renewal and transformation. The Advent of the Messiah graciously presents such a splendid story, ever told and experienced by people who hope in God. One place we encounter this amazing vision of renewal through His dominion—from “gloom” to “glory”—is in Isaiah, especially in 7:14 and 9:6–7.
Because the “glory of God” is interwoven into the fabric of the biblical story, Scripture speaks of the glory in different senses (adjective, noun, verb), referring variably to God’s honour, dignity, exaltation, or reverence. The expression is related in many respects to the concept of God’s name in the Old Testament. Morgan and Peterson summarized it well:
God, who is intrinsically glorious (glory possessed), graciously and joyfully displays his glory (glory displayed) largely through his creation, image–bearers, providence, and redemptive acts. God’s people respond by glorifying him (glory ascribed).
God receives glory (glory received) and, through uniting his people to the glorious Christ, shares his glory with them (glory shared)—all to his glory (glory purposed, displayed, ascribed, received and graciously shared throughout eternity).1
Isaiah 42:8 declares, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” And Isaiah’s chapters 7 and 9 stand in continuity with the Scripture’s emphasis, prophesying about the glory to be revealed in the coming Messiah. In Isaiah 7 and 9, God’s glory is revealed in power. Immanuel means “God with us.” Immanuel is foretold in Isaiah as one who embodies God’s justice and righteousness. The angel, addressing Mary in Matthew’s gospel, specifically identifies Immanuel with Jesus. Through Isaiah, God announces the coming birth to a “young woman” of a child named “Immanuel” as a sign to King Ahaz, a Judean king in Isaiah’s time who engaged in pagan worship and mollified the Assyrians, that God will come in Ahaz’s own day, by the time “the child” knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, with mighty acts of judgment and mercy. Isaiah not only continues to apply the name Immanuel to the one doing God’s work (8:8) but also announces that God will be with Israel as helper and saviour (Isaiah 41:10; 43:2, 5). The later Greek translation of the Old Testament will render “young woman” in Isaiah 7 as “virgin,” and the New Testament will pick up this translation to announce the birth of Jesus, who will also be called “Emmanuel” (Matthew 1:23). Matthew builds on Isaiah’s reiteration of God’s covenant promises to Israel regarding the coming of God, which is the display of his glory.
Other New Testament writers also reflect the vision of a glorious, sovereign being painted in Isaiah 7 and 9 as a signpost of His glory. Jesus was rich and secure in the glory of eternity. Yet He willingly became poor and entered the world of suffering and death in the flow of time on earth (Galatians 4:4). He did this in order to die for the sins of humanity so that all who put their allegiance in Him can be forgiven of their sin and one day experience the wealth and security of living in glory with God. Indeed, the glory of the Lord is revealed in what He does. God will destroy the powers that oppress the people, and a holy child will be born (Isaiah 9). This child will grow into an authority, hence, the “Prince of Peace,” who will rule over a world where war and violence have vanished, one that will be perfectly righteous (Isaiah 9:6–7). Believe it or not, God will accomplish all this (Isaiah 9:7: “The zeal of the Lord …”)! His words will come to pass.
To Filipinos, and to all who belong to the samahan ng mga kinatawan ni Kristo (community of God’s people), the message of Isaiah 7 and 9 does not only come as a word of reassurance but a message of hope. God governs through His beloved Son, Jesus the Messiah, for His beloved community! Ultimately, God’s glory will be displayed and His light will shine (John 3:19, 8:12) for and through His people.
1 Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A Peterson, The Glory of God and Paul: Texts, Themes, and Theology. NSBT 58 (Downers Grove: IVP, 2022).
DR ROLEX M. CAILING
Quezon City, Philippines
Dr Rolex Cailing is a Langham Scholar and Langham– published author who currently serves as Senior Pastor of LifeReach Ministries and Professor of New Testament Studies at Asia Graduate School of Theology (AGST) in Quezon City, Philippines and at the Center for Biblical Studies Institute and Seminary (CBSIS) in Antipolo City, Philippines.