Read Isaiah 46-48.

There is a great refrain in these chapters, running all the way from Chs 44-48. “Where is my equal? … Who is my like?” (46: 4-5); then, “for I am God, there is no other, I am God and there is no one like me” (46:9). This is God’s proclamation in the face of the gods of Babylon, whose statues are carried off, loaded on the backs of beasts of burden (46:1-2), and whose consort Ishtar is cursed (47). Then, once more, before the House of Jacob, the people of Israel, God proclaims: “I am he; I am the first, I am the last also” (48:12).  So here we have the Alpha and the Omega (Rev 1:8) hung in the front of our church: The all-encompassing unity of God in the words of Isaiah transferred to Jesus in the fullness of time.

To me, those gods carted off on the backs of pack animals are a counterpoint to Jesus’ triumphal arrival riding on the back of a donkey. I’ve attached an image of that, which I photographed on a tile wall in the Armenian Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.

– Bert DeVries


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