Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold…
It is worthy of closest observation that the Bible standpoint is as distinct from the astrologer's position as it is from that of the modern observer. It differs equally from each in this respect, that God's believing children are ever taught to regard these mightiest natural powers as our servants, and not as our sovereigns. Instead of their regulating our destiny, it is our destiny which regulates their continuance and perpetuity. So in this passage we have an example of faith's astronomy.
I. We have here A VISION OF INTENSE GLORY. We are told that even now the moonlight in the lands with which Isaiah was familiar is far more brilliant than that with which we are favoured. It is the strength of those moonbeams that gives significance to the promise, "The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night." And yet the prophet, with all his acquaintance with brighter heavens than ours, ventures upon the conception of still further splendour both by night and by day. It is evident that he is not looking at these things from a bare mundane standpoint. But he is in an ecstasy over the blessed intents of love which God has or His people, and he finds all the ordinary accounts of well-being too scant and meagre to portray the good which is in store; and so, in a bold flight of descriptive eloquence, he tells of sevenfold suns and of sun-like moons diffusing through renovated skies all the myriad benefits of their beams with unfailing profusion. We observe that this forecast of increased glory is the reverse of that which natural calculation would give. The natural theory that finds favour is that the sun once shone more potently than now he does, and that in the future his ray will become still feebler, until night and death settle down upon the entire solar system. While science, then, tells us of exhausting power and expiring energy, it is the province of revelation and of faith which accepts it to speak of superior founts of being, those original sources from which the sun itself and all on which it shines first derived their existence. We observe, again, that human calculation, if it did foresee such an augmentation of sunlight, would be ready to account it disastrous rather than welcome. A seven-fold sun would only emit one flash, and anon this globe would be drawn into its flaming vortex, and the brightness would be but that of conflagration and ruin. Again, then, we have to hall another wisdom besides that of men, which contemplates exaltation where sense only detects degradation, and which effects felicity where carnal reason would only anticipate evil. For "the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man." There was as much disposition in Isaiah's day as there is in ours to think that the world and the sun are wearing out and growing old, and also to think that an intense blaze would be obnoxious rather than welcome. But Isaiah was moved by the Holy Ghost to tell us of a light that should be at once of surpassing effulgence, and yet of sweet and benign influence; a light that should shine, not upon a trembling and alarmed race, but upon those whose breach had been bound up and whose wound had been healed. A vision this, then, of fuller light, of fairer sight, and of people with capacities of beholding and revelling in these sun-like moons and seven-fold suns. Intellectually this promise is accomplished in our days by our discoveries in the structure of the heavens. The moon is for us a grander object than the sun was to the beholders of ancient days, and the sun now strikes our minds as sevenfold, yea, as we speak now, a thousand fold, more magnificent than they thought him then. But the benefit of these discoveries to our spirits was all vouchsafed to Isaiah when the Holy Ghost moved him to contemplate in believing rapture the great resources of God and the beneficence with which He would unlock those resources for the enrichment of men upon whom He would shine with other light than that of suns and moons in the day when the Lord shall bind up the breach of His people. The seven-fold sun is the visage of God Himself; the moon equalling the sun is the glory of the Lamb illuminating the Holy City.
II. This glory is set forth as TARRYING FOR A CERTAIN DAY. Our temptation is to think that our circumstances make our characters. But there is more of truth in the contrary thought, that our characters make our circumstances. The land of Palestine has become barren, but this did not produce the degeneracy of her people, but the people degenerated first and the land subsequently. God "turneth a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein." So material things may lend their aid to spiritual results, but really it is the spiritual that regulates the material. The first great change must happen in us, then we shall be qualified to behold and to enjoy the splendour that God will disclose without us. "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun" on a certain day at a date which is determined, not by the chronology of suns and moons, but by that of quickened spirits and broken hearts in the day that the Lord shall bind up the breach of His people.
III. Notice, ON WHAT IT IS THIS VISION OF GLORY IS THUS SUSPENDED. There is "joy amongst the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth," and it is no exaggeration to say that the events that transpire within human hearts are of more account in God's eyes than the vastest convulsions of nature. And the wonder is that sin has not altered that. The story of Joshua's command over the heavenly orbs is not too severe a demand upon my faith when once I have a firm grasp of the truth that the sun has a personal Maker and Maser. But that when we have erred and offended, when the constancy and regularity which the heavenly masses show is found wanting in us, and we become like shooting stars, wandering on a devious way without settled orbit or consistency of course, that God should still track us with His pity, that He should still reserve Lines of gracious attraction for us, and that even for such offenders as we He should submit an entire universe to reconstruction — is not this the most incredible thing of all? Two practical interpretations may be assigned to this imagery.
(1) The joy of the new convert may be depicted thus. The exultation of the delivered one often causes all outward sights to appear brighter because of the soul's quickened enjoyment.
(2) Or, again, the prosperity that attends upon Christian union and concord may be delineated by this imagery.
(J. M. Stephens, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.
WEB: Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, in the day that Yahweh binds up the fracture of his people, and heals the wound they were struck with.