About the Author

Rev Aaron Eime is the deacon of Christ Church in the Old City of Jerusalem, the first Protestant Church in the Middle East. Aaron studied at the Hebrew University in the Masters Program with the focus towards Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation of Bible. Aaron also studied Psychology and Sociology at Queensland University in Australia in the Social Work Program. He is a dedicated Bible teacher exploring the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith. He has taught Internationally in many countries including Europe, North America, Hong Kong and China. Aaron is the Director of Research and Education at Christ Church. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 3 children.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Light and Salvation

There are many pairings in the Hebrew Bible of words, thoughts and phrases. Words get grouped together and become over time synonymous with each other. David prays in Psalm 27, ‘Whom shall I fear?’ with the pairing of Light with Salvation in reference to God, ’The Lord is my Light and my Salvation’. Out of all the possible words to choose from how did Light come to be paired with Salvation? 

Light appears as the first order of Creation. God creates Light first among all things. Yet this light of Creation was different to the light we visibly see in our daily lives of the present. God’s light is very special. Almost by definition it has to be. God’s light is not of the same substance as the light that emanates from the sun. We see that in the Creation order with the sun being made on day 4 of Creation yet God’s light existed from day 1. 

The light that comes from the sun is different from God’s light. God’s light can distinguish good from evil, the sun’s light cannot. The light from the sun chases away the night’s darkness. It provides light for my family and for the thief who comes to steal. It provides light for the doctor to heal, the liar to lie and for the killer to kill. But God’s light is different. When God made Light He did something with it. He moved it. When God moved the Light, what remained behind in the place of the Light? Darkness. ‘And God separated the light from the darkness’ (Genesis 1vs4).

God’s Light continued to play a role in human history. One of the plagues of Egypt was Darkness. Darkness for the face of Egypt and the Egyptians but Light for Israel in Goshen. The light of God could distinguish the good from the bad. A Midrash (Jewish Commentary) of the Exodus tells a story that the Light would move independently for every Israelite. It was impossible for the Israelite to wander off into the darkness. The Egyptians of course noticed this in their slave population. So when an Egyptian would need to cook food, he would have to go bring an Israelite into the kitchen so light would be available to cook with. The Midrash is a story, not to be taking literally. It shows again how God provided for His people, and how they could be a blessing to even their own oppressors, and to show that God’s Light can move. 

During the Exodus itself, God guided His people through the wilderness in the form of Light. A pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The light once again moved. It acted as a guide for Israel in the desert, but also as a fiery shield to wall off the advancing Egyptian army. The Light of God was enduring, a guide in an unknown world, protection against the adversary, a comfort in the midst of danger, and overall part of the redemption from bondage into freedom. Light became synonymous with the redemptive activity of God. It entered Jewish prayer life. A call to experience the Light of Heaven in present day reality. Salvation became part and parcel of all that encompassed the Light of God. 

The prophet Isaiah declares, ‘Arise shine, for your Light has come’ and yet the next sentence reminds us that ‘Darkness covers the face of the people.’ (Isaiah 60vs1-2). The call is to reflect the Light of God, in all its redemptive and healing power. To be Lights to the Nations. As we bring the light of God, we bring Salvation. Light is paired with Salvation. Light and the messianic hope to a dark world. Remember that God’s Light can move. So if we leave, then the Light leaves with us.