The dark day of Yahweh (Am 5:18-5:20)

“Woe to you!

You who desire

The day of Yahweh!

Why do you want

The day of Yahweh?

It is darkness,

Not light.

It is like

As if someone fled

From a lion,

But a bear met him.

It is like

Someone went into the house.

They then rested

Their hand

Against the wall.

Then a serpent bit him.

Is not

The day of Yahweh

Darkness,

Not light?

It is gloom

With no brightness in it.”

The day of Yahweh meant many different things to the ancient Israelites. For some, it was a favorable intervention of Yahweh. For others, as here, it was a day of Yahweh’s anger. After the exile, it was considered a day of hope that the anger of Yahweh would turn on Israel’s oppressors. Then this day of Yahweh became a day of judgment, as a triumph for the righteous. Finally, there were cosmic signs that would accompany this day of Yahweh. Here, Amos wanted to know why anyone would want the day of Yahweh to come, because it was a time of darkness, not light. In fact, he wanted to curse them for wishing the day of Yahweh to come. This day of Yahweh was more like a person fleeing from a lion, only to run into a bear. It was like going into a house, and then resting your arm on the wall, only to be bit by a snake. For Amos, the day of Yahweh was a time of darkness, not light, a time of gloom and not brightness.

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The future resurrection (Dan 12:2-12:3)

“Many of those

Who sleep

In the dust

Of the earth

Shall awake.

Some shall awake

To everlasting life.

Some shall awake

To shame,

To everlasting contempt.

Those who are wise

Shall shine

Like the brightness

Of the sky.

Those who lead many

To righteousness,

Shall shine

Like the stars

Forever and ever.”

Here is the first explicit mention of an afterlife resurrection in the Biblical writings.  Once again, Gabriel was explaining to Daniel what the end times would be like.  Notice that not all people would raise from the dead, only many.  Some will awake to an everlasting life, while others will awaken to shame and everlasting contempt.  The wise ones and the righteous ones would shine like the brightness of the sky and the stars, forever and ever.  Perhaps, this is an indication of a glorified shinny body.

The cherubim in the Temple (Ezek 10:3-10:5)

“Now the cherubim

Were standing

On the south side

Of the house.

When the man went in,

A cloud filled

The inner court.

Then the glory of Yahweh

Rose up from the cherubim

To the threshold

Of the house.

The house was filled

With the cloud.

The court

Was full

Of the brightness

Of the glory

Of Yahweh.

The sound

Of the wings

Of the cherubim

Was heard

As far as the outer court,

Like the voice

Of God Almighty     

When he speaks.”

Once again, this is reminiscent of the vision in chapter 1. The cherubim in the Temple were surrounding the Holy of Holies on the south side of the Temple. The man in linen cloth with the writing case at his side went into the sanctuary as a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of Yahweh rose up from the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the Temple as in the last chapter. This glory of Yahweh was the real presence of God. The whole Temple was filled with a cloud, while the court was full of the brightness and glory of Yahweh. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, as in chapter 1. They sounded like the voice of God Almighty when he spoke.

Blind darkness (Isa 59:9-59:11)

“Therefore justice is far from us.

Righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light.

See!

There is darkness.

We look for brightness.

But we walk in gloom.

We grope along the wall

Like the blind.

We grope

Like those who have no eyes.

We stumble at noon

As in the twilight.

Among the vigorous,

We are like dead.

We all growl like bears.

We moan mournfully like doves.

We wait for justice,

But there is none.

We wait for salvation,

But it is far from us.”

Third Isaiah paints the Israelite community as in a blind darkness. There was no justice or righteousness. They were waiting for light, but there was only darkness. They wanted brightness, but they only had gloom. They were like blind people groping along a wall, as if they had no eyes. They stumbled at noon as if it was twilight. They were like dead people among vigorous live people. They were growling like bears and mourning like doves. They were waiting for justice and salvation, but there was nothing near, only far away things. They were in a dark place.

Expanding instructions (Sir 24:30-24:34)

“As for me,

I was like

A canal from a river.

I was like

A water channel into a garden.

I said.

‘I will water my garden.

I will drench my flower-beds.’

Behold!

My canal became a river.

My river became a sea.

I will again

Make instruction

Shine forth

Like the dawn.

I will make it clear

From far away.

I will again

Pour out teaching

Like prophecy.

I will leave it

To all future generations.

Observe!

I have not labored

For myself alone.

I have labored

For all who seek instruction.”

Sirach says that he was like a little channel from a river. He used that water to irrigate his garden and flowers. Then the channel became a river and the river became a sea. His instructions shined forth like the dawn of a new day. The brightness could be seen from a long distance away. His teaching was like prophecy for all future generations. He was not working for himself, but to give instructions to all seeking it.