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Psalm 119:130, 135

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Psalm 119:130, ‘The unfolding of your word gives light, it imparts understanding to the simple.’

Psalm 119:135, ‘Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.’

The unfolding of YHWH’s word gives light; the opening up of His words imparts a radiance perceptible to mind and heart, a light that imparts understanding to the simple just as the sun illumines the shadowed and darkened world of night. This is what happens when the Lord’s words are ‘opened up.’ The words of God are ‘apocalyptic,’ they require an ‘unveiling’.

Now, this happens through the labor of teachers, to be sure, but ultimately, the opening of God’s words so that they might shine their light upon His people is the opening achieved through the Passion of the risen Christ and the subsequent outpouring of the Spirit from His own lance-opened heart (Lk 24:45; Jn 19:34ff, 20:22; 2 Cor.3:15-16; Rev.5:9). The words of YHWH are opened in their full radiance by the post-resurrection Spirit.

And what is revealed in this opening? Well, the key here is to note that both ‘light’ in v. 130 and ‘shine’ in v.135 represent the same Hebrew verb, אוֹר. In v.130, the unfolding of God’s words gives light (אוֹר), while in verse 135, it is the face of YHWH that shines (אוֹר) on His people. The implication of the shared vocabulary is that the light unleashed (אוֹר) in the opening of God’s words IS the shining (אוֹר) of YHWH’s face, the radiance of His own intimate and personal presence, turned toward His people in covenant grace and mercy.

And the shining face of God revealed by this scriptural apocalypse is ultimately the face of the slain and risen Christ, the face turned toward us in love and so marred beyond human semblance under our curse, the face of the crucified one; even as it is the face now transfigured in the radiance of resurrection glory, the face in which we receive the saving and vitalizing knowledge of the glory of the only true God. Yes, this is the radiant visage closed up in every word of God and revealed when the resurrection-given Spirit removes the veil, opening Scripture as a witness to the saving beauty of God in the refulgent face of the anastasiform Jesus Christ.