Septuagint Isaiah 62:1-2
Septuagint Isaiah 62 flows smoothly from the previous chapters, continuing the promises to Sion and joy in the Lord that began in Septuagint Isaiah 59:16a.
Verse 1: Righteousness, Light, and Salvation
1 For Sion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as light, and my salvation burn as a torch. (LXE) (Septuagint in English, Brenton) (1)
The Septuagint translation clearly presents God as the speaker in verse 1. This is because of the phrase, “my salvation.” Septuagint Isaiah 59:15-16 indicates that only God saves. The text states that God’s salvation through his Servant (see prior chapters in Isaiah, especially 53) accomplishes righteousness for the people of Jerusalem. Her righteousness shall go forth as light.
The Servant himself came as light. Chapter 61:1 states, “Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Paul in Ephesians 5:14 identifies the light that shines as the Servant/Christ. John the apostle also identifies Christ as light in John 1:4-9. The Servant speaks of the light that shines from his followers in Luke 8:16-17; 11:33-36. The light of which the Servant speaks in Isaiah is the same light that emanated from the first followers of Christ. The time frame, of course, was immediately after the Servant’s incarnation.
Acts 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)
In the above passage, the phrase “the Lord has commanded us” refers back to Isaiah 49:6. There, the Servant relates how God had spoken to him and given him the assignment of bringing in Gentiles the world over into the fold of Israel and Jacob. Clearly, God’s will is that his beloved people of Zion should share one salvation with Gentile believers.
Salvation, Spirit, Light, and Fire
Verse 62:1 quotes God (and the Servant) as stating, “my salvation [will] burn as a torch.” Revelation 4:5 represents the “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” as the “seven Spirits of God” (NASB). Isaiah prophesies the pouring forth of God’s Spirit in connection with the Servant’s salvation ministry (see Isaiah 57:16; 59:21; and 61:1-3). Paul teaches that believers who are saved receive the seal of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). And, the disciples first shone brightly in their testimony to the Servant/Christ in the streets of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. This followed the descent upon them of God’s Spirit, as tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-4).
Verses 2-4: The Church and Zion
As a youngster in Christ (a baby in the Lord), I grew up in him singing worship songs with a congregation of Christians. We often sang these words from the prophet Jeremiah.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Jeremiah 31:12 (2)
Now, in context, Jeremiah spoke of ethnic Israelites who would return to their homeland Zion. But even more than that, Jeremiah spoke of the birth of the Servant/Christ in verse 15, just three verses forward. The point is, Christians recognize many of the Old Testament passages and promises as applying to both Jewish believers and Gentile believers in Christ.
Verse 2: Gentiles and a New Name
2 And the Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and kings your glory: and one shall call you by a new name, which the Lord shall name.
Righteousness: Much of the New Testament focuses on mandating Christians to practice love and righteousness (Matthew 5:43-44; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Colossians 3:14; Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 12:22-24; Ephesians 4:17-32). Jesus said that the testimony of his followers to the world would be their love (John 13:35).
Glory: The New Testament bears witness to and fulfills the prophesies of Isaiah again and again. The love for humanity (both Israelites and Gentiles) that God prophesies and expresses through Isaiah shines so brightly that it creates glory (see again Acts 13:47-48, Isaiah 49:6, and John 13:35). The Servant’s fruitful sacrifice upon the cross for Israel and for all humanity shines brightly. The Servant’s accomplished work of salvation by means of the cross is the most glorious act of God ever witnessed. This sacrifice still shines brightly today.
New Name: The righteousness and glory that God accomplishes for humanity through his Servant far exceeds the geographical boundaries of Israel. God’s glory is spirit. His glory in his Servant cannot fully be expressed by any concrete, materialistic means, such as jewels, precious metals, and magnificent architecture. God’s glory is in his living Spirit, which enlightens and unifies the spirits of every willing human being who lives by faith in his Servant/Son.
Therefore, Isaiah teaches in Isaiah 62:2 that God’s people need a new name. Their tent has stretched far beyond the boundaries of its former pegs (Isaiah 54:2-3). The new name indicates the radical change God infuses into the very heart of Zion by the pouring out of his Spirit. The cleansing and sanctifying work of his Servant on the cross makes the union of Spirit with humanity possible. The new name honors the Servant/Anointed One of God. The Servant’s followers are named after the Servant. Their new name is “Christian.”
Acts 11:26 … For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Acts 26:28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”
The gathered people of Zion were formerly known as a “synagogue,” a “bringing together.” The new name of the gathered people of Zion, which now includes believing Gentiles, is “church,” or “called out.” God “calls out” people to gather together with him. God meets with his people through his Spirit.
The Greek word for “church” occurs in the Old Testament. A “church” is an assembly of people. Translations of the Old Testament use the word “assembly,” rather than “church.” See Judges 21:8; 1 Chronicles 29:1; Deuteronomy 31:30; and Joshua 8:35.
God Calls Gentiles to Join His People: For the calling that God performs, see Isaiah 41:8-9; 41:25; 42:6 and 49:1 (God calls his Servant); Isaiah 43:7; 51:2 (God calls Abraham); and Isaiah 54:5 (God calls Zion, the barren one of Isaiah 54:1).
The following verses also relate God’s prevailing intention to summon and join believing Gentiles with his people of believing Israel. See Isaiah 2:2-3; 5:26; 11:10, 12; 12:4; 25:6; 42:1, 4, 6; 49:6, 8 (Septuagint), Isaiah 49:22-23; Isaiah 51:4-5; 52:10; 54:3; 55:4, 5; 56:7; 60:3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16.
In this portion of Isaiah, the prophet writes mostly about God’s relation with his people. He has great plans for them. Part of this plan includes an influx of Gentiles. On this point, the text is clear. Zion will be different from the time of the Servant’s Advent forward. A new day is dawning. And with that new day, in honor of the Lord’s Servant, his christened one, God provides a new name for those in Zion whom God saves.
60:1 Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and there shall be gross darkness on the nations: but the Lord shall appear upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you. 3 And kings shall walk in your light, and nations in your brightness. 4 Lift up your eyes round about, and behold your children gathered: all your sons have come from far, and your daughters shall be borne on men’s shoulders. 5 Then shall you see, and fear, and be amazed in your heart; for the wealth of the sea shall come round to you, and of nations and peoples; and herds of camels shall come to you… 62:1 For Sion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as light, and my salvation burn as a torch. 2 And the Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and kings your glory: and one shall call you by a new name, which the Lord shall name. (Septuagint Isaiah 60:1-5; 62:1-2)
1 The online version is a translation of the Greek Septuagint by Sir Lancelot Brenton, updated into Americanized English in 2012. Public domain copyright information can be found here: LXX2012: Septuagint in American English 2012 (ebible.org).
2 Words taken from Jeremiah 31:12 (Bible Gateway) and sung to the tune available here: Hymnal.net.