“I, ADONAI, called You in righteousness, I will take hold of Your hand, I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations. – Isa 42:6, TLV
On the second day of Chanukah, we light two lights using our shamash light. Two lights makes me think of the two communities and the two arms with which HaShem reaches out to humans. Messiah Yeshua is the Light of Israel and the Light to the Nations. Here in Isaiah, we have the beauty and poetry of a messianic prophecy as HaShem declares that Messiah will be two things, and will have two purposes:
- A Covenant to the People: These people are the Children of Israel, the Jewish people. First, Yeshua is the Messiah bringing the New Covenant to his people, Israel.
- A Light to the Nations: And then Messiah will shine forth out of Israel and be the Light to the Nations, the Light of the World.
This is exactly what Rav Shaul was talking about in Rom 1:16, “… it is the power of G-d for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Isaiah continues in chapter 60 to tell us that Zion (Jerusalem) will, through Messiah, become the Light of the World.
Arise, shine, for your light has come! The glory of ADONAI has risen on you. For behold, darkness covers the earth, and deep darkness the peoples. But ADONAI will arise upon you, and His glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light, kings to the brilliance of your rising. – Isa 60:1-3, TLV
And in turn the people of the nations grafted in under Messiah will reflect the Light of the World back to his people, Israel:
“Salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy.” – Rom 11:11, TLV
These two candles, the Jew and the Gentile — both lit by the Messiah, The Light of the World — need each other. Ponder the blessings to both of us, in that Messiah came first to his own people, the Jews, and then by the grace of HaShem extended the reach of His Light to the Gentile nations. He calls us to stand together shoulder-to-shoulder and shine to the world.
So He says, “It is too trifling a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved ones of Israel. So I will give You as a light for the nations, that You should be My salvation to the end of the earth.” – Isa 49:6, TLV