Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 13
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
1901 ASV Translation:
32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.
Textual Issues: There are no textual variations in 2:32 between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
July 31, 2005
- I. The Issue: the Incarnation as a Glory of God's People, Israel.
- A. "Glory" is a "status" issue, deeply sought after by humanity in general and smugly capitalized on by the Jews.
- B. God's People.
- 1. There is, in this terminology, a long history of the election by Yahweh of Israel so that there was a special, unparalleled relationship between the Creator and Israel as a nation.
- 2. This election by God was an indication of an enormous "status" for the nation in the plans of Yahweh, the Servant God.
- a. As such, it was a major bone of contention between Israel and the rest of the nations because of the "twist" both sides gave it in ignorance of the nature of the servant kingdom.
- 1) The Jews took the Gentiles' notion of "kingdom" and "twisted" election into a statement of "dominion superiority" (Mark 10:35-45).
- 2) The Gentiles took the Jews' notion of "dominion superiority" and blasphemed Yahweh because of His "favoritism" (Romans 2:24).
- 3) The outworking of true "status" before God is His use of an individual (or nation) in the work of bringing blessedness to others. The bottom line issue of "status" is the Gospel that the Creator died on behalf of the creature because of the creature's great value in the Creator's eyes. But, one rung up that ladder is the fact that the Creator, because of the creature's value, has made the communication of Life to the creature His greatest objective. Thus, to be a tool of God for Life for someone else is a "glory" (In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 Paul declares those are his glory who are alive by God's use of him in outreach). The incarnation of deity in the person of Mary's baby was the fullest statement of this kind of "glory" and Israel's instrumentality in God's program of bringing His Son into the realm of humanity for the Life of humanity is Israel's greatest "glory". What both Jew and Gentile had turned into a "life for me on the backs of others" was, in reality, "life for others on my back". Therefore, we may say that the true point of "election" is not "I get to be saved and you don't", but "I get to be your servant so you can be blessed". Election unto salvation is true, but salvation unto selfish dominion is false.
- 4) Jesus rebuttal of the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, in His comment "salvation is out of the Jews", is evidence of the kind of "glory" that Yahweh had extended to the Jews by election.
- b. As such, it required a basis for confidence so that the "elect" could exult in their election.
- 1) The "Jews" determined that this basis would be "signs" (1 Corinthians 1:22)...what they considered "proof" of their special significance to God.
- a) When Nicodemus came to Jesus on the basis of "signs", Jesus confronted his lack of "new birth" as a basis for exclusion from the benefits of election.
- i. This clearly meant that participation in the benefits of "election" was not "automatic" to the "election"...there had to be a new birth involved.
- ii. This pretty much dissolved the erroneous assumption that one was "elect" because he/she had a place in the "corporate body of the elected".
- b) When John chose "seven signs" as the foundational content of his gospel record, he did two things: first, he acknowledged the power of "signs" to convince (John 20:31); and second, he established the true nature of a "sign".
- i. A "sign" was not simply a demonstration of "power" -- which appeals greatly to both Jew and Gentile under the "dominion superiority" thesis. If this was the essence of a "sign", all John would have had to do was record miracle after miracle and people would have fallen all over themselves to "believe" in the message producing the power. The danger that is built into this misguided thesis is revealed in Revelation 13:13 in its context where the false prophet trades on an "Elijah-miracle" to establish the antichrist's claims as "truth".
- ii. A "sign" was the phenomenal exercise of the power of the Servant God in harmony with His phenomenal servant-agenda. John not only recorded the exercise of phenomenal power, but he then proceeded to draw out the significance of that exercise in terms of benefit to those for whom the power was exercised. In other words, no "sign" is a "sign" if it caters to the thesis that "I" ought to have the right to "be exalted" over another in terms of a master/slave relationship so that "I" profit, not my slave. God's use of "signs" was to bring people into "rest" while men's use of "signs" is to bring people into "subjection".
- 2) Simeon claimed that Jesus was not only the content of Israel's "glory", but also the basis for Israel's experience of that "glory".
- a) There is no question that the "virgin birth" was a "sign" of remarkable proportions (Isaiah 7:10-16). Nor is there any denying that Isaiah 7:4 precedes the giving of the "sign" as a statement of Yahweh's interest in the king's "soul" as it is in turmoil over the spectre of invasion.
- b) But the "point" was not that "signs should establish the content of the Truth", but that "the Truth should establish the meaning of the signs."
- 3. Thus, the "status" issue is front and center both because of the reference to "glory" and because of the label, "God's People, Israel", but the "kind" of "status" is absolutely crucial to the entire "T"heology of "Glory". Any time "status" is turned into a declaration of one's "worth" to "be served", it is perverse. Even the Son of Man did not come to "be served", but, contrariwise, "to serve" as the fundamental expression of His true essential nature. And every time "status" is used to bring true benefit to another, it is an expression of the "glory" of God.