The “Wealth Of The Nations”: A Study In The Intertextuality Of Isaiah 60:5, 11 -- By: Charles E. Cruise

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 58:2 (Jun 2015)
Article: The “Wealth Of The Nations”: A Study In The Intertextuality Of Isaiah 60:5, 11
Author: Charles E. Cruise

The “Wealth Of The Nations”:
A Study In The Intertextuality Of Isaiah 60:5, 11

Charles E. Cruise*

* Charles E. Cruise is a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015.

The picture in Isaiah 60 of an eschatological journey of Gentile nations bearing material riches to Jerusalem presents certain exegetical and theological challenges. A cursory reading of the text might suggest that, in relation to the NT, Isaiah is foreshadowing the post-Pentecost ingathering of the Gentiles to the kingdom of God. The mood would seem to be a joyous one among the pacified rebels as they prepare to realize their equal citizenship with Jews in the glorious eternal city. A close study of the literary context and the intertextual links, however, reveals quite a different situation. There is much to suggest that, for the Gentiles marching to Jerusalem, fear outweighs all other emotions, and that their journey is one of compulsion, for they are not to arrive in Jerusalem as free citizens but as slaves. As a vanquished people, their wealth now rightfully belongs to another.

Where do the defeated Gentiles of Isaiah 60 fit into the larger narrative of salvation history revealed in the biblical corpus? To what extent is Isaiah’s scene, with its unique language, picked up by the NT authors? And what, if any, theological tensions become apparent in approaching the NT, especially the eschatological passages of Revelation 20–22?

A highly beneficial way of addressing these questions is through a canonical-linguistic study. As evident by its name, such an analysis involves an emphasis on language and takes place within the limits of the biblical canon. “Meaning and truth are crucially related to language use,” and “the normative use [of language] is ultimately not that of ecclesial culture but of the biblical canon.”1 Canonical-linguistic analysis involves listening for linguistic echoes and typological figurations in order “to hear the two-testament witness to God in Christ, taking seriously its plain sense, in conjunction with the apostolic teaching.”2 The final form of the text is dealt with, so there is a presumptive unity for Isaiah as well as for the entire canon.3 However, such unity does not eclipse the distinctive message and context of the OT, since

“both testaments make a discrete witness to...

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