THE DIMNESS OF ANGUISH
Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.
Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and … increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Although the English word, “dimness” is shown here two times in our passage, (8:22 & 9:1), they are not the same Hebrew word. They do come from the same Hebrew root word, however. These words show us that we were all sometimes darkness (Eph. 5:8); that all mankind have sinned and come short of his glory! But there is a difference in mankind due to their relation to God’s light!
You will notice that in verses 19 and 20 of chapter eight there are those who seek anything but the true word of God from his true prophets! These are said to have The Dimness of Anguish! They are separated by God to be driven to darkness! That is, their inner darkness, which they have chosen shall drive them into eternal, outer darkness!
They are described by John 3:19, 20. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. You can mark it down, dear reader, EVERY ONE – without a single exception – who hates the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, does so because their deeds are evil! These, along with all the elect, were born in sin and darkness. But these, unlike the elect, despise and reject the light when it is presented to them. These will never endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (2 Tim. 4:3).
We learn from 1 John 1:7-9, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Light from God is given to reveal man’s lost, sinful condition! But these are unwilling to part with their lusts that the light reveals! Therefore these are those that say, we have no sin, bringing the deeper darkness of self deception upon themselves! These kinds of light-rejecting, sin-denying religionists are addressed by our Lord in John 9 after his healing of the man blind from birth. John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
They which see are those religionists who reject God’s assessment of their lost and blind condition. It’s like the man who really has cancer but won’t admit there is anything wrong. So the disease destroys him! Salvation is only for confessed, realized sinners! For the Lord Jesus only came to seek and save the lost! (Lk. 19:10). If you say you are not lost, the cross and it’s sacrifice are of no benefit to you!
Be careful that you do not make dedication to any religious order your salvation! You may have the light of the world in doing so, but you do not have the light of life unless you follow by faith, the Lord Himself! (John 8:12). Isaiah 50:11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.
Concerning the other word, dimness, as found in Isaiah 9:1, we see that those designated by this different Hebrew word have a darkness, but it shall never drive them into eternal, outer darkness! They were born into sin and darkness just like every other human being. Listen to their description in Paul’s Ephesian letter. Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. These were children under the wrath of God at the time of their lost condition, but they are not now considered to be among the children of disobedience!
What makes the difference? Eph. 2:4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Grace! Grace! Grace makes the difference! The good news of the gospel is set forth in verse six of chapter nine of our passage! For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
You will see the works of those in Isaiah 8:19-22, how they labor hard to put out the light! It requires great effort to go to hell! But these in Isaiah 9:1, who are told that their dimness shall not be according to previous vexation have nothing listed of works! It is all seen to be because God had great mercy upon them, and sent them the Light of his Son! The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
And where did this effectual light appear? Was it not in Zebulon, Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations? Now let us read Matthew 4:12-17.
Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
I’ll eat your hat if those are not the very places where the Light of Life came preaching the gospel of repentance! And among these are some of those who did not hate the light! Of these we read, But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:21). These are given to have the active embodiment of the character of The Truth within them by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! They don’t just HAVE truths, they DO according to the indwelling Truth Himself! Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Now let us consider those two different Hebrew words here both translated dimness in English. They are both, as I have stated, from the same root word. Just as both the elect and the reprobate are both from the first Adam. As in Adam all die! But, as we have seen, God and his marvelous grace makes the difference! Even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corin. 15:22).
The first dimness, which brings on anguish means, “To cover with obscurity,” according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. These are not just obscure, but take action “To” cover themselves therewith! Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
But the second usage of this word dimness only means, “obscurity!” These are lost! These are in dimness! These have also come short of God’s glory! But they, once quickened by the Holy Spirit, and brought into a spiritual resurrection, seek the Lord while he may be found! They actually come to the light for verification that their new nature’s deeds are actually accomplished through them by God!
To the former, God says in Proverbs 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
The latter come to say, Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: Psalm 104:1,2. They come to realize as in Psalm 36:9, For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
There is the occurrence of another word in our passage which appears twice. It is the word, shoulder, as found both in verses 4 and 6 of chapter nine. In verse four those who have sat in darkness, but have seen a great light are told of the breaking of the rod that smote their shoulder to drive them under their former burden. And how did the removal of this affliction come about? It came about by his providing his shoulder to henceforth manage all God’s government among all men! For he was given all power in heaven and in earth! He inserted his shoulder where theirs once had been!
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Glory to God, and to the Lamb forever! “In my place condemned he stood!” Thou art worthy to receive all glory, for thou hast redeemed us by thy blood!
Pastor Gene Breed