Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"The Earth is Full of His Glory?"

Allison Quient:
Dr. Beitzel strikes again with some amazing insight into the Biblical text. Usually our Bibles translate Isa 6:3b as “All the earth is full of His glory,” but Beitzel speculates that this history of interpretation could have come from the later Greek translation of the Old Testament. However, is this the best translation? It all depends on how you take the word for fullness (mala). Usually we take it as a noun, but it can actually be translated as: “that which fills all the earth is His glory” (Inf Con).

What does this difference mean for the rest of the passage and theology? Some might immediately protest that this translation makes God’s glory dependant on man. However, I don’t see how this would be necessitated. God is personal and God is holy and He desires the holiness of His people. He desired the earth to be filled and Israel to be the light to the nations and entered into a covenant relationship with His people. This is His holy desire being fulfilled.

This translation makes more sense in the context of the rest of Isaiah. For instance, consider the grim description of death in v.12 and 13 and ch.7. Many people die and this is a sign of the covenant having been broken and God’s judgment in the land. God’s glory can be found when His people fill the land and His covenant is kept.

What does this understanding of Israel’s land and its people mean for the final restoration of all of the earth?
For the post, click HERE.

--Nick

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