(8.) On Christ as the Dayspring

(8.) On Christ as the Dayspring

(8.) On Christ as the Dayspring.

“Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high shall visit us; to give light to those who sit in darkness, to shine upon those in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

DAYSPRING: literal archaic meaning, “dawn” or “sunrise”; various translations offered these titles for Jesus: “God’s Sunrise (MSG); “the Morning Light from heaven (NLT); the Rising Sun (NIV); the Star that heralds the day (NJB); the Light from on high (AMP); the Orient (the East, referring to the sun rising in the east, from an Orthodox Christmas prayer).

Zechariah is claiming in his prophetic song that the Messiah is the Dawn of a new day. He is the Sun rising in the east. He is the Star that gives life to the earth. He is the Sunlight for all those in darkness. He is the Light from heaven who will enlighten the world. Zechariah directly echoes Isaiah’s prophecies: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Is. 9:2); “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Is. 60:1). Many scholars too believe that Zechariah is also referring to a passage in the Hebrew Bible, Malachi 4:2“For you who revere my name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”  This is the messianic prophecy that closes the Old Testament, and Zechariah believes the impending arrival of the Messiah fulfills that particular prophecy.

Sun… Righteousness… Healing… Wings.

THE SUN. All through Scripture God is acknowledged as the light, the source of light for the world, the whole creation and all its people. David’s messianic prophecy in 2 Samuel 23:3-4 is a good place to start: “He is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.” 

  1. “For the Lord God is a sun…” (Ps. 84:11);
  2. “The Lord make His face shine upon you…” (Numbers 6:25);
  3. “He wraps Himself in light as with a garment.” (Ps. 104:2);
  4. “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” (James 1:17);
  5. The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” (Is. 60:19);
  6. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Rev. 1:16).

OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Integrity. Goodness. Virtue. Uprightness. Justice. Moral Purity. It’s not surprising that the NJB translates this as “the sun of justice,” since justice and righteousness are intimately related in Scripture.The Orthodox Jewish Bible (Tanakh) translates it as the “sun of victory.” The idea of a strong Messiah who will be victorious with great power was founded on His righteousness and saving justice. The Messiah will be righteous and just and triumphant.

  1. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Ps. 97:2 and Ps. 89:14);
  2. This is the Name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jer. 23:6);
  3. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.” (Ps. 36:6);
  4. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made.” (Ps. 145:17);
  5. Righteousness will be His belt and faithfulness the sash around His waist.” (Is. 11:5);
  6. Your right hand of power is filled with righteousness.” (Ps. 48:10);
  7. See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.” (Zech 9:9);
  8. Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” (Rev. 16:7);

WITH HEALING. When the Triune God created the world, everything was healthy and whole. He pronounced it “Good!” No living creature experienced sickness until the Fall, which introduced brokenness and ill health to the world. Ever since, God has wanted to bring His creation back to full health; He has wanted to restore creation. The Messiah proved to be a Divine Partner in this earthly restoration. And the sun is a perfect metaphor for Jesus regarding that healing process, because the sun itself has so many healing properties: builds strong bones, strengthens mental health, heals many skin conditions, strengthens the immune system, prevents many chronic diseases, lowers blood pressure, improves autoimmune  system, and extends life expectancy. The sun indeed does rise with healing in its wings, and Jesus came to mirror that healing and restoration. The Messiah was, and still is, a healer. His ministry was all about healing.

  1. The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of His servant.” (Ps. 35:27);
  2. I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 30:17);
  3. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19);
  4. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, the epileptics and paralytics, and He healed them all” (Matt. 4:24);
  5. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38);
  6. “At that very time, Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So He replied to the messengers, ‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:20-22).

IN ITS WINGS. Many believe that the sun’s wings here is simply a poetic expression of the sun’s rays, the sun beams as they stretch away from the sun to cover over the earth. An example is in Ps. 139:9, which mentions “the wings of the dawn.” Others, though, believe that wings in this context is a reference to the tallit, the Jewish ritual prayer shawl that was worn by Jewish adult males. The tallit was a rectangular garment, with four corners, worn over the head shoulders as a shawl to remind believers to pray, to obey the Torah, to live under the Lordship of God, and to seek shelter and protection under His care.When the tallit-wearer raises his arms in prayer, it looks like wings, and so the corner edges, or fringe borders, of the tallit were always referred to as wings. Malachi’s messianic prophecy states the Messiah, the Sun of righteousness, will rise with healing it its wings. In other words, the borders of His tallit would literally be an important part of the Messiah’s healing ministry on earth. Seemingly confirming this view, the Jewish Bible’s (Tanakh) version states that the literal words in this verse is “will rise with healing in the folds of its garments.” Malachi’s prophetic word about wings was fulfilled in Jesus:

  1. People brought all their sick to Him and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.” (Matt. 14:36);
  2. “And wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the marketplaces, and entreating Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.” (Mark 6:56);
  3. “As Jesus was on His way, the crowds almost crushed Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stoppped.” (Luke 8:43-44);
  4. For He had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch Him.” (Mark 3:10);
  5. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.” (Ps. 104:1).

Casting Crowns – Healer (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube